Quick Updates and prayer requests!

Wow!  What a busy year this has proved to be!  Once again, I am so sorry for my lack of writing.  The good Lord knows how I’ve truly missed it!  For this week though, I have some exciting updates and prayer requests that I would love to share with you before getting back to paper-writing, grading, etc…

1- My brother is getting married this weekend!  We are so excited for Brad and Jess 🙂  Please be praying for them as they prepare their hearts for the ceremony, an earthly display of the heavenly marriage of Jesus Christ and the Church!  Praise be to God that He has chosen to display his very own glory, even through earthen and broken vessels like you and me…  Isaiah 54:5

IMG_0462 - Version 2

2- I’ll be leaving to go to Nicaragua for my first ever mission trip in 3 WEEKS!!!! (Trip dates… November 27th-December 11th).  It’s been a loooooonnnnnnnggg time coming, but God has taught me so much, especially in regards to patience, waiting, and trusting HIS timing.  On this trip, I know that God will be teaching me so much about relying on Him, especially while translating and so much more.  Please be praying for me and the team that I’ll be going with as we celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to spread the good news of the Gospel to even more…

To help raise money for the trip, I am selling t-shirts! Here’s a picture of the print…

Nica Shirt proof

159779 Front

 

T-Shirt specs:  light grey, crew-neck (we could potentially order a v-neck though), big navy graphic in the center of the front of the shirt, $15 for adult and $12 for youth

The translation of the Bible verse is:

“All of this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore, we do not lose heart…”

2 Corinthians 4:15-16

Please let me know if you are interested in buying a t-shirt!  If you so, you may send me an email at hollinger.sarah@yahoo.com or you the “Contact Me” page on this website.

3. Lastly, let’s continue to pray for God to increase our desires and longing for Him and His will… Proverbs 17:24 says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” I just love that imagery of setting his face toward wisdom.  After all,

what’s the beginning of wisdom?

FEAR OF THE LORD

and what’s fear of the Lord?

a SECURE FORTRESS and “…a FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:26-27)

As always, thanks for reading!  Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

The woman of Bethany, you and me

What would you do for Jesus?

Before answering that question, picture this: After a long day of teaching and going about town, imagine Jesus and the disciples reclining at a table together.   Unannounced, a woman that heard where Jesus was enters the house and pours a bottle of perfumed ointment that cost 300 days of labor (300 denari) on Jesus’s head.

Let’s think about the cost of that bottle of ointment in this way… With minimum wage now at $7.25 /hr, a work day being 8 hr long, and multiply that by 300 days… For us, that would be similar to pouring $17,400* on Jesus’s head and “only” having his shiny hair to prove it!  No extra mouths were fed, no new ministries were started, no church fund for mission trips was increased, etc.

The disciples are in an outrage and scold the woman!  They talk of what they could have done for the poor with the cost of that bottle.  In their minds–and probably in ours too– her use of that precious and costly resource was not the most practical, effective, nor successful.   But here’s what Jesus said to the disciples, what he still says to you and me:

“Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them.  But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:6-9).

For that lady in Bethany, Jesus was worth everything to her, and she did what she could with what she had.  She didn’t know God’s purpose for her actions at that time–that she was preparing Jesus’s body for burial.  On the other hand, she knew Jesus could heal the sick and feed the poor, and He didn’t need her money to do that.  In this way, her faith was simple, yet it was strong.  She brought him her heart, her devotion, and revealed her trust in God, knowing that He would provide for her needs and the needs of others.

The truth is that I’m still trying to understand that last verse…how wherever the Gospel is proclaimed throughout the whole, wide world–whether in the Amazon rainforest, a house church in Africa, a secret meeting in China, a classroom on a college campus in your state, or your family’s own dinner table–this woman’s actions are being told.  Maybe it deals with her part in preparing him for burial and then he was resurrected, or maybe it’s because of the love that she showed for him… But what is amazing to consider is this: faith in, hope of and love for Jesus will endure beyond our actions, even beyond our name.  We never learn the name of that lady in Bethany.  But even 2,000 years later, we hear of her outrageous love for Jesus and know that it’s being multiplied throughout the Body of Christ as more and more with that same, radical love for Jesus spread the Gospel across the globe.

So my question today is this:  How does the story of the lady in Bethany (Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:2-5) affect you and me today?  Knowing what Jesus thought of that woman’s actions, what do we think he would say about our actions?  Lastly and most importantly, what is Jesus worth to you and to me and how does His worth in our lives compel us to live?

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

 

 

NOTES:

*(that’s not actually what 300 denari would cost today, but it’s just a comparative term…)

fully known

Isn’t it amazing how the memory works?  I was sitting outside this morning for coffee and Bible study, and it felt as though fall was already in the air.  Now for those of you that do not live in Mississippi or have never been here and experienced the heat and humidity… let me tell you… a cool morning in August is RARE!  But all of a sudden, I found myself going back to my freshman year of college and that feeling of  walking to class on sidewalks covered with colorful leaves.  I remembered that exciting and scary place of self-discovery, desiring to find myself in that new place among those new people.

And that’s when it hit me this morning: even then in the midst of trying to get to know myself fully, I was already fully known…

1 Corinthians 13.12

Isn’t the thought of being fully known so incredible?  Imagine someone knowing and understanding all of your thoughts, motives, desires, actions, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, ambitions, struggles, insecurities, pet peeves, joys, accomplishments, secrets.  Let’s go even further though… someone that knows every freckle on your skin, every hair on your head, every cell in your body, every fiber of your being…

That someone is God.

If you are reading this post now and are skeptical about what I have just written, my questions for you are, “Why not?” and “How not?”  Even after the seeking and searching to find yourself, know that there is hope.  Amidst the uncertainty, there is certainty; there is a blessed assurance.  There is an Almighty God that gave us our abilities and proved our worth through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you’re a believer reading this post, my questions for you are also, “Why not?” and “How not?”  Why not live even more freely through faith and trust in the forgiveness that we have received through Jesus.  Why not eagerly confess our sins and share our truest emotions with God?  After all, He already knows them anyways!  It’s just an exercise of trust and a measure taken in order to fall deeper and deeper in love with Him.  With this all in mind, how could we not draw closer to the God that has called us sons and daughters in His kingdom?

 

Proverbs 16:20-21 says,

“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,

and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.”

Consider God’s word this morning.  Discover good, and receive his blessing through trusting him!  He knows us fully because HE is the one that designed every bit of who we are.  Isn’t the sweetness of His words persuasive?

Today I will leave you with these questions to think about… If we truly believe and trust that God has forgiven us because of Jesus dying for our sins, then why not confess all of our sins to our just and merciful Father?  Why try to find our identity in anything other than the One that already knows exactly who we are and who He has called us to be?

Let’s make disciples!

So you became a believer by the grace of God, and you are certain that Jesus is your only way to the Father.  He is your source of joy, hope, peace, strength, and so much more!  Even in the hard times of life, you will be renewed in the hope that He will restore His people.  “Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.  Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:6).

So what do we do next?  Inspired and compelled by His redeeming love, we can’t just keep this life-changing relationship with Jesus to ourselves… Surely we must share the reason for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).  We must be prepared in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  After all, isn’t this what Jesus has commanded us to do?  Let’s look at his words from Matthew.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

What an incredible truth!  There are sooo many things to point out here.  The most recent realization that I had about this passage though, came a few weekends ago in a sermon.  When Pastor Tim at NBC read this passage of scripture, he stopped and said, “Look, did Jesus say that we need to go and make converts?  No, he told us to make disciples!”

What he is referring to through this statement is that we are not called to see how many people that we can “win to/for Jesus.”  Instead, we must seek to grow and develop these new believers, so that they will also go out and live for the cause of Christ.

Over the next few days, I’ll be praying that the Lord would reveal ways that I need to invest in others–both non-believers and believers!  Hopefully you will join me in this prayer, as well.  We can pray while walking around the office building, walking to class, looking through the contacts in our phones, and so many other places.

It’s been such a joy to write to you again.  I pray that God would draw near to you and that you would feel the light of His love and mercy shining upon you.  Remember… the victory has already been won.  We know the end of the story, so let’s live by that confidence that we now have through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! (Hebrews 6:17-20)

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

Here come the school buses!

¡Buenos días!  Good morning 🙂

Starting this week, I began to see a lot of these around town…

A school bus photographed in New York, New Yor...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That’s right!  It’s time for school again.  With this start of the academic school year, there’s something much greater going on than the end of summer and back-to-school shopping deals.  It marks the start of another fundamental step in the development of the children today, the leaders of tomorrow…

One of the realities of the beautiful picture of the Church is this: we are human individuals that are transformed into integral members of a living, breathing, and spiritual body.  The Church extends past the building that you may go to for worship on Sunday morning.  It is global, and yet it is local.  Every member is dependent on the others, and the body can only fully function when ALL of its members are working together.

So how does this relate with seeing school buses driving around town?

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to pray for teachers and students, principals and coaches, cafeteria and janitorial staff, secretaries and counselors, etc.  May our brothers and sisters in Christ that teach raise up within their classrooms and bring glory to God through the way that they discipline, instruct, encourage, and more.  May students be molded and inspired to learn, dream, and ask questions.  Even through secular, public school education, may God make His presence, authority, and authorship of Creation known.  After all, there’s no scientific method or math theory that will gain for us a human intelligence that even comes close to the knowledge and wisdom of the Alpha and Omega, God the Father of Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5.17-18

Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been brought into a right relationship with God.  Now it must be our mission to continue this ministry of bringing everything into a right relationship with Him too!  We’ll talk about this more later, so come back to hear more about the ministry of reconciliation!

As for now though, let’s be praying for the start of another school year!

Praying your day is filled with Sonshine,

Sarah. signature