The reason behind it all
My mission is simple: to love and serve God by loving and serving people. It's obviously easier said than done, but that's what I want my life to be about. I want to be able to take everything that He has given to me and use it in some way to love others. It's something that I have always struggled with especially when it comes to photography. I've said things like, "Okay God you've given me this talent of photography and now people pay me for photos of themselves. How is that loving and serving them?" But I've come to realize that photography is about a lot more than just taking photos. It's about building relationships, not a cliental, but real relationships. I don't consider it my job to meet someone, take a photos for a few hours, and then never speak to them again. I strive to be intentional with the people I work with getting to know each one of them, sharing about my own life and what God has done in me hopefully to offer just a little bit of encouragement into their own life. But beyond just words, I want to offer my time, talents, finances, and prayers to serve those I work with. I want to serve you in any possible way I can. My mission is sacrifice.
What is the Gospel?
The word "gospel" literally translates to "good news." Okay, so what's the news and why is it so good? Well the news is that God sent His one and only Son to earth to die on a cross and be resurrected 3 days later so that all who believe in Him can have everlasting life (John 3:16). Why's that good? Well that news is really only good if you consider yourself to be sinner in need of a savior. If you're perfect and holy and have never sinned, it's irrelevant to you and you just might be God himself. But that's not the case because Romans 3:23 says that, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." That means that everyone including you and I are all sinners, we've all sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We all deserve death and separation from a holy perfect God because of our sin, but God being His loving gracious self had a plan from the very beginning. He sent His son, Jesus, to the earth as a human to live a sinless life and die a sinners death to be the necessary blood sacrifice for all sin past, present, and future(1 John 2:2). "For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ." - 2 Corinthians 5:21. He didn't deserve to be crucified on the cross, He was innocent. We are the ones that continually turn our backs on Him, but He loves us. Oh how He loves us. Jesus was only looking to do the will of the Father, so He was willing to endure anything for us. And after He was killed and put into tomb for 3 days, He arose alive defeating death once and for all. That's where our hope comes from, the fact that death has no power and no sting now. And God has made the way for each one of us, all we have we have to do is receive it. "Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." - John 14:6. Jesus is the way to freedom and eternal life, and it's a free gift that you can't earn but only accept (Ephesians 2:8). "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9, that's all you have to do to be saved. It sounds too good to be true, but it isn't God is just that good.
I remember always hating going to church as a kid, but my mom would always make me and my brother go. I actually remember asking my mom one day, "When is this church thing going to be done?" meaning that I had no idea it was every Sunday all year for the rest of life! I vaguely remember throwing tantrums in the morning before we would leave screaming how I wasn't going today. Having just a small dose of children in life now, I don't see how she did it. But I thank God for her persistence and steadfastness through that season. Growing up in church, I know I heard the Gospel of Jesus countless times. I heard that, "the Son of God came to earth to die on a cross for my sins and be resurrected again" over and over again. But it never resonated or meant anything to me, and it wasn't until high school that I truly heard it for the first time. I always considered myself a pretty good kid, well at least compared to the other kids around me. I didn't cuss, smoke, or drink so I figured I was doing alright and didn't feel like I needed saving which was a dangerous place to be. We had just started a youth group at our church around the transition from middle school to high school so I started to actually enjoy going to church, mainly because I had friends there now. And not only did I start to enjoy being there, I was more interested and engaged in what it was all about. And one normal Sunday morning when I was around 15 or 16 I remember our pastor at the time giving an invitation after his sermon and the Holy Spirit just tugging on me telling me to go up. I honestly didn't really know what I was doing, and I don't think anyone ever fully understands it at that point, but I knew there was something in me that I couldn't ignore anymore. But I nervously walked up to the pastor, took his hand, and told him I wanted to be saved. Though I didn't so much get what had happened internally, I just had this assurance about it all that I'll never forget. On that day I believe I received God's free gift of salvation, and that I now have the promise of eternity with Him in Heaven. I believe it to be the best decision I or anyone has ever made, it has been an incredible journey since that day growing in my walk with Him with many victories and failures. Though it's not as much of an outlandish story as other believers, it's so special to me because I see how much God cared about me through all my years of faithlessness and apathy. And I know it will be the same for you!
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3