Author Archive

Did God Tell Letitia Wright She Would Be in the Black Panther Movie?

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Wright is getting it right. (Yes, we meant to do that.)

You may know 25-year-old Letitia Wright as Shuri from The Black Panther. You may not know that after a serious battle with depression, Letitia is speaking out about how her faith played the major role in her healing and success. There’s something to be learned from her story.

If you follow her on social media, you’ll see her regularly point to God in moments of public success. It’s always cool to see God start showing up in seemingly unlikely places.

“I was putting so much pressure on myself,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. Her ambitious acting career was thriving, but she found herself sinking into a deep depression and questioning her place on earth. It was her faith that saved her.

Hollywood Reporter says, “Sparked by a trip to a Bible study, it was faith that rescued her from this “very dark place,” she says. Immersing herself in Christianity, she found her equilibrium. Acting, she could take or leave; she turned down a film with Nicole Kidman to focus on her rehabilitative journey. “I wrapped it up and was done with it, happy to do anything that was more chilled,” she says. “But that’s not the way God had it with me.”

 

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I only put my confidence in God. 📸 ~ @earlblackman x @godfidenceldn

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When auditions for Black Panther rolled around, she told a friend “I’ve got this role, God has told me.” And sure enough, she got the call and got her break-out role of Shuri, the Black Panther’s genius younger sister. The actress says she relies on hearing God’s voice when deciding whether or not to take a role.  She says, “Just because it may have a big name or a big budget,” she says. “Am I right for this part? Is this what I should be playing? If something feels off in my spirit, I know that’s God’s way of saying, ‘You shouldn’t do that.'”

Is it a coincidence that a Bible Study jump-started her faith and helped her start to hear the voice of God better? We don’t think so. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” 

We don’t know Letitia’s full life story, but this part of it reminds us of how taking time to reset and focus on God’s Word and what He’s saying can change everything. It’s not really about the career success. It’s about combatting depression, finding true and lasting hope despite circumstances, and inviting God to bring peace into every area of our lives.

We’re rooting for you, Letitia!

Read: 3 Beautiful Truths I Learned from Characters in the Black Panther

3 Ways to Ground Yourself in the Truth About Who You Are

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Remember.

That’s your goal now that you’ve heard this truth about your true identity. Here are three incredible ways to remind yourself of who God says you are!

1. The World’s Biggest Small Group Podcast

Get the FULL conversations with each guest from the Identity series! Our conversations with all of them – Tim Tebow, Lauren Daigle, Tauren Wells, Kirk Cameron, Rebekah Lyons – were actually 15-30 minutes of incredible stories and truth! This is your chance to go deeper into each truth about who you are.

Listen to the Podcast!

2. Your Identity Spotify Playlist

Just hit “shuffle” on this Spotify playlist and fill your house, car, or office with songs that speak truth about who God says you are!

3. Sign up for another World’s Biggest Small Group series!

Get more stories and encouragement from well-known people of faith as they tackle topics like suffering, fear, and forgiveness. Pick your topic and sign up to receive easy access to encouragement and truth in your email inbox each day!

Choose my topic!

Who Am I After I’ve Lost Everything? | David Smallbone of for King & Country

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Week 3: Identity in Everyday Life

Today’s application: Knowing I am full of purpose changes how I live when I’ve lost the things important to me.

If you’ve found yourself in a season of life where you feel like you’re losing what you hold dear, this one’s for you. You may not know David Smallbone‘s face, but you might know his kids – for King & Country and Rebecca St. James. He’s been the manager and a driving force behind their music, but not before living a remarkable story of devastating loss and learning to root his identity in Christ.

Now, in his later years, he’s watching friends go through retirement, become empty nesters, or go through marriage trouble, but he firmly believes that no season of life is without beautiful and deep purpose.

David says, “How can I protect my grandchildren – these beautiful young boys? What I can do – I can impact the culture. It really has challenged me… I find myself this year more passionate about Jesus than I can ever remember. I’ve had a remarkable story.

I had a buddy come to me the other day and say, “My daughter came back from college and she used to be a Jesus follower, but she’s not sure about Jesus anymore.” I said, “I want to encourage you to tell your story. With all the challenges that you’ve been through, why are you so passionate about Jesus?” And he is! That’s what I want to encourage anyone who’s watching or listening to this – tell your story! When you start talking about Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes in and helps you with the words! A lot of the time we’re talking to somebody who needs to hear that word of encouragement. Get together with some buddies and talk about the challenges that you’re going through. If Jesus has done something wonderful in your life, talk about it!”

In the final and 3rd week of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re taking the truths we’ve learned and start applying them to everyday situations we face in life and culture. Here’s where you’ll see – our identity truly changes everything. The verse we’re thinking on this week is:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)

Don’t miss out! This is just one day in a 15 day series on Identity. You can subscribe and get each day in your inbox below.

Discovering the Key to Healthy Body Image and Self Worth

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Week 3: Identity in Everyday Life

Today’s application: Knowing I am a child of God and FREE in Christ changes how I view my body image and self-worth.

Have you ever wished you could change something (or multiple things) about the way you look? We’ve been there, too. Today Joy Summers, Betty Rock, and Bekah are unpacking the negative ways they talk to themselves, how they’re actively replacing lies with truth in day-to-day life, and how negative body image and self-worth might actually keep us from our God-given identity!

 

Here’s the article Bekah mentioned called “Learning to Be a Friend to My Body” by Danielle Shaub.

Bekah: “I was getting ready for bed and I made some comment about some weight I put on recently. My husband was like, “Say something nice or I’m not letting you go to bed!” But it worked! I needed that wake-up call because sometimes you get into that pattern of negative, negative, negative. Pretty soon you don’t realize you’re doing it, but that’s what you’re speaking into your life. Just as we wouldn’t want our daughters to copy our bad habits, our Heavenly Father is looking at us and He’s the one who made us fearfully and wonderfully. He doesn’t want us to talk to ourselves like that. He doesn’t want that to be our identity – these negative things that we label ourselves with.”

Joy: “It says “my works are wonderful.” The truth is if God made us exactly how we are, I could lose all the weight in the world and I’m always going to have hips because that’s the way I’m designed. I don’t like that! But I’m trying to go, “Ok, God, if you made me and I look in the mirror and I say negative things about myself, I’m saying negative things about what you’ve done. You’ve already called me wonderful! At the beginning of the World’s Biggest Small Group, we talked about who I am as a child of God. If you’re created and loved by God, that’s our identity! Our body image has nothing to do with that. We have to separate them best we can.”

In the final and 3rd week of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re taking the truths we’ve learned and start applying them to everyday situations we face in life and culture. Here’s where you’ll see – our identity truly changes everything. The verse we’re thinking on this week is:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)

Don’t miss out! This is just one day in a 15 day series on Identity. You can subscribe and get each day in your inbox below.

Who You Are in Christ Changes Everything About Racial Tension | The Bridge Church

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

Week 3: Identity in Everyday Life

Today’s application: Knowing I am made in the image of God changes my attitude toward others.

No matter your race, ethnicity, or culture, conversations about racial tension can make us defensive, defeated, or hurt. Yet, this conversation is radically altered when we know our identity in Christ! So let’s talk about it! Pastor Josh Howerton and Jeremiah Wright from The Bridge Church in Spring Hill, TN join us to share their different perspectives – one black man, one white man, but ultimately, two men who belong to Christ!

Jeremiah: “If I’m making any identity the core of who I am, once it gets attacked, I’m going to fall. But if my identity is in Christ, you can talk about my color, what kind of music I like, the things I affiliate with – and it won’t affect me because that’s not my rock, my foundation. If you talk about Christ, it still doesn’t impact me because he’s the only one of those thing that won’t fail.”

Josh: “White fragility is a concept that people are talking about more than they have. Whenever there’s a racial identity conversation that comes up, it can be the tendency of people in my ethnic group to automatically feel like “I’m being attacked…” Well, again, if the most true thing about me is not that I’m white, the most true thing about me is that I am in Christ, I don’t have to be as defensive in that conversation. It sets me at ease to be able to listen. That person, no matter what comes up, they are not attacking what is central to my identity.”

In the final and 3rd week of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re taking the truths we’ve learned and start applying them to everyday situations we face in life and culture. Here’s where you’ll see – our identity truly changes everything. The verse we’re thinking on this week is:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)

Don’t miss out! This is just one day in a 15 day series on Identity. You can subscribe and get each day in your inbox below.

How Do I Find My Identity as a Parent? | Kirk Cameron

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Week 3: Identity in Everyday Life

Today’s application: Knowing I am not defined by my failures changes how I parent!

Who we are as parents is not perfect. We mess up and say things we wish we hadn’t, yet even then, God is at work in the identity of your kids. Actor, filmmaker, and family man, Kirk Cameron, drops some incredible wisdom on how to take imperfect parenting decisions and turn them into God moments. Keeping our identity rooted in Christ as parents is the best way to encourage our children to find their own identity in Christ, too!

Kirk says, “About parenting regrets… I can look back and say, “I wish I had done that differently.” At the end of the day, the Gospel is not “you get rewarded if you perform well enough.” The Gospel is “God and his grace come to your rescue even when your performance is not as it should be.” I think that grace applies to our parenting as well…

This is a learning experience for me, too. Even when I mess up,  there’s an opportunity for me to model repentance to my kids. I regretted what I said, but we can use it as an opportunity to model responding to our conscience and then repent! Even that, God uses for good if we have our identity rooted in Christ and if we believe this is not all on my shoulders and my performance as a dad. This is really resting on the goodness and graciousness of God who is working with a guy who is still a work-in-process. Together as a family we can continue to move toward the one who is going to make us into the people we want to be.”

In the final and 3rd week of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re taking the truths we’ve learned and start applying them to everyday situations we face in life and culture. Here’s where you’ll see – our identity truly changes everything. The verse we’re thinking on this week is:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)

Eugene Peterson, Author of “The Message,” Has Died

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Eugene Peterson may not be a name familiar to many of us, but he has almost certainly impacted your understanding of the Gospel, even if indirectly. He has written more than a dozen books and has influenced countless pastors, preachers, and theologians.

But the book he might be most famous for is “The Message,” a paraphrase of the Bible. It was never meant to be a study Bible or to be a reliable way to dissect the Greek and Hebrew verbs, but it has strengthened and increased the faith of so many people. Peterson discussed his reasoning behind writing “The Message” with NavPress not long ago.

Eugene Peterson died October 22, 2018 after living a life full of grace, mercy and wisdom. Here are some of our favorite paraphrases from “The Message”:

______________

God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.

______________

If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

______________

We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

______________

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.

 

Some of our favorite things he wrote or said apart from his paraphrase:

Which passages from “The Message” have encouraged you the most? Or shed new light on the meaning of confusing verses?

How to Battle the Lies and Walk in Truth Daily | Denise Hildreth Jones

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Today’s application: Knowing you can’t do this on your own changes how you battle lies in everyday life!

Did you know you have access to the power of God in your everyday life? It’s called walking in the power of the Holy Spirit! Yup, that’s deep, but don’t worry! In today’s video, Denise Hildreth Jones from Reclaiming Heartsministries (and Joy Summers‘ mentor) explains who the Holy Spirit is, what we mean by “His power,” and how you can access it in your everyday life.

Denise says, “When I wake up in the morning, I tell the Lord, “Thank you that I have you in me. I need you! I’m asking you to fill me afresh and anew today.” I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer – I am so utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit. When I’m having a conversation with someone, I am praying, “Lord, I don’t know what you have to say to them, but it’s gonna have to be you!” Well, I just read in John 16:13, the Holy Spirit is going to speak to me the heart of Jesus and the heart of the Father. That’s what we have accessible to us!

I heard someone say one time that what you feed wins. The more we choose to feed the things in our “flesh,” the more we’ll lean to those things. The more we choose to feed our spirit – a lot of people get tired of hear this, but it’s the only way I know to do it – I start my day with worship. I play those things that speak truth to my heart. When you get through wit ha day and you’ve been slathered with everything imaginable, it’s almost like you’re washing yourself. The Word even says that we wash ourselves with the Word. So, I do the practical things every morning and I choose to feed my spirit.”

The book Denise and Joy are referencing is called Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson.

In the final and 3rd week of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re taking the truths we’ve learned and start applying them to everyday situations we face in life and culture. Here’s where you’ll see – our identity truly changes everything. The verse we’re thinking on this week is:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

(Ephesians 2:10 New Living Translation)

Don’t miss out! This is just one day in a 15 day series on Identity. You can subscribe and get each day in your inbox below.

It’s Time to Stop Trying to Do Life Alone | Toby Mac

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Week 2: Lies We Believe

Combatting the lie: I can make it on my own.

TobyMac is one of the most successful and lasting guys in Christian music, so you might be surprised to hear him say, “I’m super aware of how needy I am.” The secret sauce to his success is that he fully realizes – it’s not possible to do this life alone. He describes how the community of people around him and His reliance on God has been key in every aspect of his life.

 

Toby says: “I’m super aware of how needy I am. And I think recognizing that need and recognizing our weaknesses as humans and realizing that we need people around us – that’s one of the secret sauces I would give to people. If you wanna do this for a long time – whatever you do – recognize your need, be aware of the talent that’s around you, and access it, use it, and work together!

… There was a moment in the last 6 months where I had to ask one of my children to leave my house. “You can’t live that here  and be that here and you have to leave here. I love you deeply and that will never change, but you can’t do that here.” They left for a few days, then they came back and we accepted them with open arms. I knew I needed to do that, but I was on my face before God. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

In week 2 of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re combatting the lies we so often believe and learning to replace them with truth. Here’s a verse to think on this week as we learn:

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

(John 10:10 New Living Translation)

 

Am I Defined By My Abilities? | Tim Tebow

Friday, October 19th, 2018

Week 2: Lies We Believe

Combatting the lie: My success defines me.

Tim Tebow was set up for success in the sports world, but it didn’t go exactly as he planned. Instead, God has given him a tremendous story and platform about finding purpose in whatever God has for us. Watch today’s video to learn how to transcend your current life situation and find purpose that goes well beyond our culture’s definition of success. If you like it, check out Tim’s book, This is the Day.

 

Tim says, “You don’t think that there were times when I thought, “Hey, I’m just gonna go win a few Super Bowls. It’s gonna be great!” Our plan is not always God’s plan, but I’ve got to trust the character of God – that He knows more than I do and that He loves me. This is the same God that saved me in my mom’s womb and has given me a platform. He also gave His son for you and for me and for every single person! If He gives those things to me, do you think He would withhold something if it was good for me? No! But He also has done more in my life in the lows more than He ever did in the highs. Very few people can relate to the highs, but most everyone can relate to the lows. That is something I’m grateful to be able to share! 

It’s not easy, but find the bigger picture that transcends whatever you do. It’s looking for the meaning inside of it. I’m not just trying to win games. I’m trying to impact people. Whatever it is, you can transcend the job that you’re doing if you have open eyes and open hands and you’re looking for God moments where you can encourage and love and care for people.”

In week 2 of the World’s Biggest Small Group: Identity, we’re combatting the lies we so often believe and learning to replace them with truth. Here’s a verse to think on this week as we learn:

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

(John 10:10 New Living Translation)

Don’t miss out! This is just one day in a 15 day series on Identity. You can subscribe and get each day in your inbox below.

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