Coming to an End

The end of my first year of college ends tomorrow (or today by the time I finish this post). What a ride it has been. (Get ready it’s story time)

Throwback to a year ago I planned to go to Mississippi State University major in Mechanical Engineering where I had a scholarship and would have cheered for too. However, that all changed (obviously), and here I am now at UTD. Now, you’re probably asking “Sydney you aren’t majoring in Mech???” Well, I got an itch last semester that I just had to scratch…

It started with me accidentally applying for 18hrs of classes instead of 15.I didn’t relieve this mistake until 5 or 6 weeks into 1st semester. I was drowning in calculus and c++. Luckily I dropped a class. Then I got another itch weeks later during my 4 cup of coffee (did I mention I never had coffee before college? Because I never depended on it before).

Engineering didn’t make me happy, however, I noticed I was spending more and more time at church. I didn’t even notice. I just went to get away for a bit from school. So, during the last few sips of my Almond Toffee coffee I shot my advisor an email saying sayōnara, and in January I started taking my EMAC and ATEC classes.

I planned on joining my church’s graphics team, however, God had another plan for me (why can’t I get it right the first time???) He called me to ministry. What. Yes. I am now interning for our kids program (and it’s paid #YASSSS) and specifically in the special needs side of things.

I’m so excited for this new journey. I already love my job, and look forward to the new and crazy opportunities it brings me. I’m not sure what other plans God has for me at church, but I’m eager to find out (because so far so good).

I believe this will be my last post on this blog sadly. I don’t want to leave y’all hangin’ for weeks on end. But who knows I might have an itch to come back and write my heart out in the future if God calls me to it. Thanks to those who read my posts and good luck on your future endeavors.

All the best,

Sydney Jordan

He Has Risen!

Hope everyone has a great Easter for he has risen!

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7 NKJV)

Happy Easter!

A short break

Sorry guys! I went on a short break last week to go out of town for cheer. It was… well a trip. I honestly thought this trip was going to be a lot of fun, however, I was extremely wrong.

I know not everyone in the world is a Christian, so there is a likely chance some people on my cheer team are not. I found this out the hard way this weekend when a select few decided to do something I wasn’t too fond of or accepting of. I noticed myself  becoming closed off and thinking they shouldn’t be doing this or saying that. I don’t know about y’all, but when life gets rough I get quiet and closed out. This isn’t going to solve anything unfortunately.

So what do I do in this situation? Well, I decided to be me. I mean how are you going to show people to Jesus if you don’t act like Him? A question I get a lot is why am I happy all the time. What is the source of it. Well, it’s Jesus. I haven’t always been a happy-go-lucky type of person. It wasn’t until Jesus stepped into my life and changed me.

Now, acting like Jesus and reaching people are two tough things to attempt, and being in that situation I fled at first. I didn’t want to be around anyone, and it took me awhile to figure out that this wasn’t helping anyone. So, I went back. I stood up to what I believe in. I said no to things I knew were wrong and told them why. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop their poor actions, but hopefully this will one day kick in and be a thought in the back of their minds. There isn’t much else to do. I’m pretty sure preaching to them wouldn’t fix anything either. So, the best I could do was take the high road and be myself.

It was hard to do and hard to watch, but the best thing to do was let God do God and show them Him through me. I know y’all are like “Where’s the punch line??”, there isn’t any. Sometimes being a Christian doesn’t mean a big show to change a person. Now, this isn’t always the case just my personal opinion stance on the situation.  In Philippians 2:12-13 it says, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” 

I pray that in those moments God used me to set an impression on those people. That he used me to “fulfill his good purpose”. I hope you are living your life to “fulfill his good purpose” and continue to do that to reach other people.

Alright guys that’s enough from me, we will continue our series on Greater next week! Have a great day and fulfill your purpose!

Elisha

Today we are going to focus on chapter 3 of Greater. Specifically, our focus will be on a guy named Elisha. Elisha is introduced by Steven Furtick as a “nothing glamorous” ordinary guy “plowing a field”.

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Elisha’s life was a continuous cycle of waking up, working, eating, then sleeping. Nothing changed. You would think Elisha would dislike his basic life, but what he lacked in excitement he leveled out in stability.

I can relate to this. I have a very consistent schedule, however, as I type this my work schedule was just changed….interesting?? Anyhow, my schedule week-to-week is the same. School, work, cheer, eat, and try to find time to sleep. I’ve done this every week for the past 6 months.

But, watch out! Steven warns that things you use to say “I get to (do)” you’ll start saying “I have to (do)”. I slowly started seeing this trend in my daily life. I love what I do, I promise, but sometimes I am rushed and I’m more focused on finishing my work than enjoying it and putting my life and effort into it. (if you don’t know I work as an intern at my local church) 

I can definitely say I feel “stuck” in my routine. Sometimes it makes me question whether or not I’m really enjoying what I am doing or if I feel obligated to go it. I’m at a crossroads in my life. Do I continue to work with students or do I pursue a different direction? I’ve had a recent itch to work with the younger kids at my church. It’s the first place I volunteered way back when and recently I’ve been thinking maybe this is were my calling. I do have a long way to go before I have to make a decision, but it has been a frequent thought of mine the past couple of weeks.

In 1st Kings 19:19-20 it says, So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.”

Elisha didn’t hesitate to follow Elijah. He knew there was a greater calling him than plowing fields. I hope this calling is presented to me one day. That I’ll be called to something greater than me and something I can’t refuse. Maybe it’ll be student ministry or youth ministry, but for now I’m just the intern. Slowly, very slowly, I’m trying to figure it out (but not by myself, obviously, God and I have been having some one-on-one sessions about this).

I hope y’all liked my commentary on Chapter 3 of Greater by Steven Furtick. If y’all feel a little stuck in your life like me I encourage you to talk to God about it. Living a stagnate life is boring and not what God wants for you. Get out there and live contagiously. Hope y’all have a great week and see y’all back next time!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” –Hebrews 12:1-3

GREATER

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I know. I’m sorry, I could have come up with a more creative title, but I really wanted to tell y’all what book I’m reading for the next few weeks. It’s Greater by Steven Furtick. I’ve never met Steven Furtick in person, but he has come to my church to speak a few times and is coming back next year for C3 conference (which is really exciting because he’s a really great speaker).

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Anyway, I’ve read the first 2 chapters of the book and so far I like it. I’m not one to read nonfiction books, let alone books based upon Christianity. I’d much rather read the Bible or a small daily devotional if I had the choice. Mostly because I feel those types of books tell me what I need to do and what I’m doing wrong. However, Furtick… Steven… it’s weird calling him either individually… Steven multiple times says he isn’t trying to say if you do this your life will be better, give up this and your prays will be answered, and so-on. He is trying to talk about Jesus and the Bible and how to live a “greater” life.

Steven warns “Most believers aren’t in imminent danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger that’s far greater: wasting them.” When Steven said that it made sense to me. A lot of the time I feel like I’m wasting my life and that I’m not good enough to do the crazy acts and miracles Jesus did. In John 14:12 it says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me  will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” I pretty sure I’ll never be able to cure the blind, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do greater things with Jesus in my heart compared to when I live my life selfishly for my own betterment.

Greater: the life-altering understanding that God is ready to accomplish a kind of greatness in you life that is entirely out of human reach. Beyond Steve Jobs. Beyond what you see in yourself on your best day. But exactly what God has seen in you all along.

Steven hasn’t exactly defined how to live a greater life yet, but he says when you do your confidence in God will grow, and the clarity to know what steps are next in your life, and the courage to do things you wouldn’t necessarily want to do.

That’s just chapter one people. Now on to chapter two. Which I liked a lot, even if it made my own self doubts and shortcomings come to mind. It talked about our “lesser loser life“. Steven tells about his life, but since this is my blog I’ll tell y’all about mine.

I was born in Plano, TX on Oct. 5th, 1994. I grew up in the up and coming city of McKinney. I didn’t know God, I never went to church, and that just how life was. My parents divorced when I was 6 yrs old, and my mom and I continued to live in McKinney until I was 9 yrs old. My dad remarried and shortly after I moved to Plano and switched houses every week between my mom and dad until I was 18 yrs old. Some where in between that time I was introduced to God (read about my story in my past blog post Six Degrees of Separation). Now, unlike Steven I didn’t convince 7 families to leave their lives to build a church, however, I did leave the life I use to have to live a greater one. (except it took awhile to figure out this new life would lead to a greater one)

Backtracking to chapter 1, Steven mentioned some Christians wasting their lives, and I stated that I felt this was a relevant thought that I had for myself. I don’t have doubt that God exists, but I have doubts that I’m worthy enough or I’ll ever live up to the expectations I think God has for me. Steven words it just right, “If the devil can’t suck us into the lesser loser life through complacency, he’ll trap us with condemnation. We believe God can do great things. But we crop ourselves out of the picture.”

Hopefully through this book I/we can learn to live greater lives. We can stop “cropping” ourselves out of Gods plan and wasting the lives He gave us to live and do things like Jesus did in the Bible. Maybe it isn’t multiplying fish and bread, but we’re here for a reason and it’s to live a greater life.

Thanks for read my post for the week. If y’all have any questions or feedback be sure to leave a comment below! Hope y’all are having a great day and see y’all next week!

Farewell Spring Break 2014

Tomorrow is Monday. This means Spring Break is over, my friends are heading back to their colleges, and my sleep schedule is really off and I’m going to be a little grouchy for the next week while I try to make up for it. I’m really sad actually. I had a pretty decent Spring Break. I caught up with my friends and didn’t have any homework for a week. I jut relaxed and took a breather for 9 days. (Pictured: MK, Bradley, Nataly, Me, and Gus. Lincoln showed up later so he isn’t in the picture…obviously).

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Anyway, my Spring Break isn’t the main topic of this post. This actually is going to be a short post about something extra exciting coming up next week! I’m not sure if you have noticed but to the right of my blog there’s a Goodreads Widget of a few books I want to read and guess what?! I have one in my possession and starting next week I will read a few chapters (they’re pretty short) and tell y’all about my readings. What’s the book you might ask? I’m not telling, you’ll have to stay tuned for next week! Get excited, because I am!

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If y’all are in the same boat as me and have to go back to school next week I have a verse for you to get you through it. It’s found in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I know Mondays are tough, but we can make it! Look on the bright side only 2 months left until summer!

What a Week

Last week wasn’t too hot for me, however, this week was a total turn around. So many great things some how got cram-packed together. Seriously if you read last weeks post you knew I had stressful 7 days, but I prayed about it and everything turned around!

Tuesday, I had the absolute joy of going to the Lorde concert down in Dallas with 3 of my best friends. Nataly and I currently go to UTD, but our other 2 friends, Bradley and Lincoln, go to UT in Austin and they drove down for the evening. It was an amazing night and an incredible concert. Lorde performed so well she completely blew me away and the opening act, Lo-Fang, was a surprise too. It definitely was a night I’d relive again… and again. (In the picture it goes Lincoln, me, Bradley, and Nataly)

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Wednesday, at my church we have a youth program called “The Mix”. It’s 6th-12th grade students and we get together to have fun and expand our knowledge on Jesus and what the Bible has to say. I remember going as a student and now I’m an intern there and it’s a whole different experience. Last week we had 5 students gets baptized! It was different watching a student get baptized compared to a friend from school. At The Mix we call ourselves a movement of students that are set on taking over this generation, and that’s what these students are. Week-in and week-out I’m amazed by these students who thirst for the knowledge of the bible and have such a great love for Jesus. Wednesday is continually a highlight of my week.

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Thursday, I had a crazy day. I had brunch with my friend Nataly, but I forgot my wallet and she thankfully paid for my food. Then after class I rushed to my dorm for my roommate to let me in before she left so I won’t be locked out. Literally, I kid you not, 5 seconds after I got off the elevator to my floor the power went out. There was a power-outage all over campus and multiple people got stuck in the elevators in the buildings effected. But praise Jesus He didn’t leave me stuck in an elevator! Not only that I had a government test due that day and I can only imagine the stress and strain that would have put on me if I were to get stuck.

Friday was my little sisters birthday, she turned 11. Linsey and a couple of her closest friends went to Great Wolf Lodge for the night and went to the water park and MagiQuest. She had a blast, and I guess I did too if watching 12 eleven yr olds is a fun evening… (I’m kidding of course!)

Saturday, I had a Basketball game to cheer at and boy was that a game! (Seriously, watch the video linked here!) The UTD boys basketball team is in the NCAA tournament and Saturday they had to win the game to continue on in the tournament to make the “sweet sixteen” top teams. If you didn’t watch the video (which you should it’s only 45 second!) then you would know the teams were tied by the end of the 2nd half. So, overtime was called and it didn’t look too good for UTD. However, they caught up. There’s 9 seconds on the clock and we’re 4 or 5 points behind. The other team fowled so we shot 2 pts then we fowled they missed theirs we dribble the ball down the court and at the buzzer shoot a three pointer! It was insane. I honestly couldn’t believe I show that play right before my eyes (literally, because I’m on the court) Also my family came to the game for a little bit which was exciting too and made the game even better. (Yes, this is my sister Taylor. She is my step-sister so that explains why we don’t look a like. I get questions all the time asking if I’m adopted…I’m not)

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Finally, I end my week with Sunday. Sunday I spend a majority of my day at church. I had the pleasure of being a bobble head and standing around campus with a sign saying “I’m a big hypocrite.” to promote our news series at church. After that I go to FC Kids (our k-5th grade students) to serve with the 4th and 5th grade students. I love this part of my day because I get to help with the special needs and there’s two girls in my class who I’ve “side-by-side”-ed with for over a year now. They’re literally the best kids ever and I love hanging out with them during service every week. After church my mom and I went out to lunch and had some mother daughter time which I love to do when we can (and the place we ate at was to die for, I believe it was Eatzis. I would recommend the lemon cranberry chicken salad). After lunch I rushed to my friend Bradley’s house because him and Lincoln are on Spring Break and came back into town for the week. We hung out all day and Monday morning and it was great to catch up and just hangout (and watch the end of Breaking Bad, because we promised we would watch it together)

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So to sum up this extremely long post about my week, I would like to remind y’all of the power of prayer. Just praying to God to help get you through a tough situation will get you through it! I can personally attest to it, praying has added a whole new dimension to my life I didn’t have before in ways I can’t explain. Before I end I would like to end with a verse I found this week in Mark 11:24 NKJV:

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

Hope y’all are having a great week and enjoy the spring weather! Don’t forget to comment below if you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear from y’all! Also, I know I usually draw my pictures, but I can’t find my cord to my tablet so I hope the original pictures will suffice for the week!

M.I.A.

This was one of those high stress weeks for me, and it took a serious toll on my bible studies. I wasn’t able to crack open my bible like I usually can during the week (except for once, but that was on Sunday and that doesn’t count!). So, you could say I was M.I.A. with my bible for the past 5 days.

I could definitely tell a difference in the way my week went because of my lack of reading. I felt more stressed and that time was slipping away from me. But I got my fix today (Friday) and searched for verses and devotionals online (and in my bible) that focused specifically on busy schedules and lives.

One that really popped out at me was in Matthew 11 verse 28-30.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Jesus is telling us to give him our burdens lean on him for understanding and for relief. Our way isn’t the high way, but his way is the right way. He’s basically a spiritual garbage dump for all your stress and it’s free with no gimmicks! How sweet is it?! #prettyflippin’sweet

A verse like this gives me relief and a heavy weight off my shoulders. I believe completely in this verse that just sitting down to read your bible, pray to Him, and just spend time in the quiet moments to just reflect to Him everything will go according to plan. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us He has a plan for our lives and I know he has the best plan for all who follow Him, so I do my best to follow that path as much as I allow myself to follow it.

I hope this next week no matter how busy you are or stressed out or overwhelmed you get to take the time to talk to God or crack open your bible (or in some cases open your bible app) and take the time to emerge yourself in His presence. I can almost (because He’s God and I’m not) promise that by doing this throughout your week will make your stress levels go down a couple notches.

***Especially pray and search for guidance when you are at your breaking point!***

I wish y’all a stress free week and a warm one too with spring approaching! (At least here in Texas that is!)

Acts of Generosity

The Winter Olympics are coming to a close, and to be completely honest the Winter Olympics aren’t my favorite. The events just don’t capture my attention has much as the Summer Olympics do. However, I do watch on occasion a few events when it’s on just for the fun of it.

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There was a segment on a late night TV news show showing the Men’s cross country skiing event. There was one man, Russian Anton Gafarov, who’s ski broke after a bad fall, but that didn’t stop him from trying to finish the race. It was a tough thing to watch. It breaks your heart to keep watching some one who has trained many years for this only to have to struggle to the finish line.

However, there’s hope. A Canadian coach, Justin Wadsworth,  runs out onto the track and takes his broken ski off and replaces it. This was a true act of kindness, one that has been shown multiple times in the Olympics like when a girl in the ski event who’s pole broke and a Norwegian Coach runs out and gives her a new one even when she pushes his athlete off the medal podium.

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These are the acts of kindness the world needs. Even though these people aren’t from the same country they are unified by the sport they love. And that’s what I love about the Olympics; the love and appreciation for the sport.

This inspires me. It inspires me to step out and be kind to those even if it’s for no reason and has nothing to benefit myself.

Things like this are the kind of actions people need to see and strive to imitate in their lives too. The simplest acts of kindness can make a change that can ripple on to others. Even a small act like paying for the persons food behind you at the drive-thru can make someones day.

I know this isn’t the typical post for my blog with it being only about kindness and not about Jesus or being a devotional, however, I would like to end this with these verses about kindness:

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” – Luke 6:35 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 

Reflection on C3 Night

Have you ever waited for something to finally come and when it does you aren’t expecting it? Well, it felt like C3 last year was just yesterday and now it’s coming back.

I’m really excited for C3 this year, because it’s my first year to go more than just one day. If you don’t know what C3 it’s a huge church conference. C3 stands for Creative Church Culture. However it’s not just church related it’s relevant to everyone. It teaches the tools and skills people need to be a great leader in all aspects of their life.

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C3 is a 3 day all day conference. However, for myself I’ll only be going to the “C3 nights”. They’re free and open to the public. It’s going be a night full of worship, learning and reuniting with old friends.

Wednesday kicked off the first night and we had a special guest: Tony Royster. He’s ranked #1 as the worlds best drummer and has been on tour with Jay-Z  for the past 7 years. Before service he had a drum solo and it was incredible. Not only that he also came out at the end of the night and played with the band during the last song. He was even kind enough to take some pictures with our campus after service. (He’s the guy in the red Chicago Bulls shirt in the picture below)

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During the actual service we had our head pastor, Ed Young, open up for C3 and preach for us.  His sermon started about how there’s points in our lives when we tried to run our own lives. However, the moment we give control of our lives to Christ things start to change. But, this choice can’t be forced upon us it has to be something we give willingly and fully.

Pastor Ed then leads to the topic of Hell. Pastor Ed does a great job of adding humor into such a serious topic by joking around with what he’s saying.

“I’m not here to scare the Hell out of you. I’m here to scare the Hell into you.”

Pastor Ed goes into his points of the sermon shortly after introducing the topic of the night starting with: The Reality of Hell. He uses the story in Luke 16 about Lazarus and a wealthy man. Lazarus was a poor man, a beggar. Lazarus would sit outside this wealthy mans gate and beg for just scraps and crumbs, but the rich man never gave him anything. Eventually they both died and the rich man is sent to Hades while Lazarus is chillin with Abraham not suffering from the flames of Hell. Essentially the rich man in Hell begs for any acts of mercy to quench his suffering, but Abraham tells him it too late.

“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.'” -Luke 16:24-25 NKJV

Pastor Ed then brings up, after the story, that Hell isn’t made for humans. It’s for the Devil and demons and God meant Heaven for humans. Everyone is given the chance to go to heaven, however, not everyone goes. Like I mentioned early Hell is a serious topic, one that people should take very seriously. And the Agony of Hell is a point that people need to see and understand. In Luke 16:24-25 is a prime example of how miserable Hell is and how a drop of water will be just satisfying enough to temporarily comfort the once rich man.

“We are born with a reservation in Hell. Jesus lived a righteous life… and offered us an opportunity to put him in the center of our lives. The reservation is canceled and we are offered to live in Heaven forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.”

Next Pastor Ed hits on the topic of: The Evangelism of Hell. The rich man in Luke 16 tries to beg Abraham to somehow warn his brothers about Hell, however, these attempts are rejected: “‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” – Luke 16:29-31 It’s told in the Bible somewhere that when one goes to Hell they remember every instance that they had the opportunity to accept Christ and when they go there they pray that everyone alive will avoid Hell because it’s that awful and miserable.

The best way to avoid Hell is to reach to others who don’t know Jesus. But, you can only reach to those who want to be reached. It’s a tough reality to face, but it’s true. The Growth of Hell is a constant thing, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’.” – Luke 13:24-25

“I just checked the stats about death. It’s still hovering at about 100%. 1-out-of-1 die.”

Pastor Ed wraps up the night by saying, “God doesn’t want us to go to Hell, but He’s not going to keep you from Hell.” He then asks why he does what he does. Talking about the “Pros and Cons” of working for the church. He asks the audience repeatably, “Is there a Hell?” he goes on to say, “If there’s not a Hell I’ll sell this (the church)… I could be fishing right now.” And the truth behind this is clarifying. Why spend the money, time, and effort if there’s not a Hell?

Concluding this post I’d like to leave you with this verse it’s found in Luke 13 verses 28-30, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God. And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”