Don’t Stop Believing the Best About Others

silhouette of two person sitting on chair near tree

Cynicism and suspicion. Those were the two lenses through which I was viewing our friends when we drove past them gathered outside for a cookout to which we weren’t invited.  Immediately, my heart sank. “Why weren’t we invited? Did I do something wrong? No, I don’t think I did anything wrong, they’re just being inconsiderate and cliquey.” And not long after came feelings of hurt, forgottenness, and ultimately disdain towards them.  As I processed with Adam later on, he encouraged me to think through some of the other possible reasons they hadn’t invited us. He pointed out that we had just gotten back from a vacation earlier that day and maybe they hadn’t realized we were home yet. Or maybe since all their kids are similar ages they were having a little get-together for their school-age kids. Or maybe it was a last-minute plan without time for any proactive invites. […]

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“I’m not depressed, but…”

woman on bed

In the beginning, when the world grinded to a halt and everyone stayed home, I received a huge dose of validation as a stay-at-home mom.  Suddenly people were realizing exactly what I do every day, and how demanding it is.  After several weeks, we all settled into a new routine and got used to the new norm.  The good feelings of validation wore off, and I started to feel the struggle. But I’m a stay-at-home mom.  It’s literally in the name.  I’m supposed to have the stay-at-home thing down.   DOWNWARD SPIRAL Initially, it wasn’t too different from our day-to-day.  The biggest change was we were no longer going out.  We were no longer having play-dates.  We were no longer doing our activities.  You see, “stay-at-home” is a misnomer.  We actually go out a lot.  So we, like everyone else, were stuck at home and feeling the struggle.  However, now I […]

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Living on Mission: Are you my neighbor?

person on doorstep gift

This is the second part of my thoughts about Living on Mission.  For its companion, read Living on Mission: What is it Anyway? What was your favorite Bible story growing up?  Maybe it was the story of Noah and all the animals, David and Goliath, Joseph and his very colorful coat, or Jesus walking on water.  For me, it was the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).  (I actually called it The Good “Cemetery,” but hey, I was little, ok?)  I’m not really sure why it stuck with me all these years, but I do know I was drawn to the person who saw a person in need and helped. When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest command is, the second part of His answer included: ”Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It may lead you to wonder who your neighbor really is.  This is the exact […]

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Top 5 Blogs of 2020

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At All The More, 2020 gave us a deeper belief in our mission to encourage one another, all the more (Hebrews 10:23) via our online community. This year brought many new milestones — hiring our first employee, Kylie, launching our first book study on the Book of Psalms, and bringing on new contributors from outside of the U.S. We have much to be grateful for in this community, and that includes these top 5 blogs of the year that encouraged you — our readers — greatly. It encouraged us as well! So, without further ado: Our most-read blog of 2020: What I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage by Natalie Mayo “A spouse who loves Jesus more than they love you can ultimately love you with a truer and deeper love that comes not from their own volition, but from God. His love is truly never-ending and far better than […]

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Home for Christmas

candles

The pandemic has brought about a lot of changes this year.  For one, it has invoked a whole new meaning to the phrase “home for Christmas.”  Sure, our holiday plans look quite a bit different this year, but one of my primary laments is I deeply miss church. Many parts of the United States differ in their various COVID restrictions, but where I live in California, we have not been able to gather as a Body since March.  Our church is one of the larger churches in San Jose, so we have had the ability and resources to produce a lovely online service.  We can still have “church from home.”  We still have worship. Our pastors still teach and speak to our hearts.  We have had baptisms and guest speakers and missions updates.  We take communion – separate but together.  We meet for Bible studies, prayer groups, and other ministries […]

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Changing the Narrative: From Our Imperfect Story to His Redemptive Plan

woman

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A season overflowing with joy and gratitude as we reveal in belonging, surrounded by our loved ones. With long-standing family traditions and the anticipation of creating new memories, it all seems so festive, so perfect—but not for everyone. For some, it’s a season defined by grief, reminded of the things that are no longer and the things they have yet to experience. My Internal Story I feel so alone.  Fear not, for I am with you.  I feel forgotten.  See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.  I feel abandoned. I have loved you with an everlasting love. Grief has been my quiet companion. It waits for me when I wake up and lingers as the day ends. It accompanies me every single day, demanding to be seen, heard, and felt.  With unexpected family turmoil, reminders of hopes deferred, […]

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Community: Bound Together in Love

silhouette of two person sitting on chair near tree

In the Spring of 2010, I walked into a small room in San Jacinto Hall, a dorm at Texas State University. The room felt vibrant and alive, with lots of smiles, laughs, hugs, and conversation. The room was diverse, from skin color to clothing style, but everyone loved deeply; you could just feel it. I was invited by my new friend, Ellen Porter, to a campus night for a student ministry at Texas State. I knew only one person, but everyone introduced themselves to me and made me feel cared for. This was the start of feeling like a part of a community, a family even, that I didn’t even know I needed at the time. When Jesus truly changed my heart and I became a follower of Jesus a month later, it was this same community that helped me walk faithfully, encouraging me, and challenging me weekly to follow […]

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Our Limitedness and His Limitlessness

praying

In response to a friend’s recent question about for others, I shared something that I do not always remember myself: Part of being on mission means accepting the invitation to pray and intercede for others (1 Thessalonians 5:9, Ephesians 6:19).  “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”   Colossians 4:3 I both want to share in others’ burdens by thinking about how they might be feeling, but also turn these burdens over to the Lord (Psalm 55:22, Galatians 6:2). We catch glimpses of the early church doing this regularly (Acts 12:12, 20:36). These prayers are also an opportunity to gain humility as we pray prayers often ones no one even knows about. This could lead us to a different question, “Does it really matter that I pray for […]

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A Citywide Prayer Movement

city landscape sunset

When you think of a city where God is actively moving and doing wondrous works, what do you think of? What do you hope for God to accomplish in your city? I have a hope and prayer for my city that looks like this: For God’s presence to be felt in the city like it feels during an outdoor worship experience where God’s joy, hope and commission is palpably tangible. I pray that nonprofits work together; local pastors be united; people chained to addiction and brokenness be set free; for Christians across the city to have the benefit of Christian co-workers “in their corner” that encourage each other to lead with integrity, conviction, and love. I pray for city-wide discipleship: for older folks to show younger folks how to follow Christ. I pray for Christians to love their neighbors so well that people are drawn to wanting to know who […]

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Whose Legacy Are You Shaped By?

We know that community is important to God. He is one God, with three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He made Adam and Eve because it was “not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) He sent out the disciples two by two. He reminds us to “not neglect meeting together.” (Hebrews 10:25) It is not a surprise then when we hear the phrase, “It takes a village.” This statement holds true for one’s spiritual growth and journey. If you think back on your life and consider who influenced your spiritual journey, you will most likely think of not just one, but a handful of people whose unique personalities, traits, and gifts God used to bring you closer to Him. I would love to invite you to read glimpses of how the church has blessed me in my walk with Christ. Beauty is seen and experienced when we […]

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