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Remember the wonders he has performed. —1 Chronicles 16:12

About a month before getting engaged to my beautiful wife, I had just moved into my first apartment. When looking ahead at the money we would need to put aside for a wedding and honeymoon within the next year, and comparing it to the money we coming in, I felt like we could barely pay for the wedding, let alone the honeymoon to follow…but we were going to pray for a miracle.

Within just a few days of fervent prayer, I received a promotion at my current job…but God didn’t stop there. Just days later I was also contacted out of the blue by an old acquaintance to start working with him a few hours Saturday mornings. This would be working off of my own computer in my own home, using my graphic and web design abilities.

Within a few weeks I had already saved enough for our honeymoon in its entirety. And this just with the work I did Saturday mornings. Needless to say, I knew it was a miracle! Here was a mighty God caring enough for a soon to be newlywed couple to provide all they would need. And he hasn’t stopped.

When I think of the wonders he has done in my life, I am always reminded of that first Christmas night, when a mighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God wrote His name on the heart of humanity, stunning us with the generosity of forgiveness and the joy of unconditional love. The birth of Christ is the answer to our most fervent prayers for love and forgiveness. From the manger to Calvary, the life of Christ is the greatest wonder of ALL.

A wonder-filled life is ours when we know the Christ of Christmas.

 

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Have you noticed how different the earth looks from a plane window? When we are on the earth without high ground, the surface of the earth curves out of our sight after several miles. But when we are in a plane, or on a mountain, we can see much more. In fact, on a clear night, from a mountain, we can see a candle flicker up to 30 miles away. It’s times like these that really put life into perspective. Studying Church History, for me, was like taking a plane ride over the expanse of time.

Like James 4:14 says, we certainly are like a vapor that vanishes in a moment’s time. We need to trust God with the big picture, because it is much bigger than we can see.

Recently, I have been studying Church history, and it gives us so many encouraging examples of faithful people who listened to, and followed God’s direction, even if they couldn’t see any of the harvest (or the “Big Picture”). People like Adoniram Judson for example; a man who worked as a missionary in Burma during the end of the 19th century. It took Judson 7 years before he won his first convert. Yes, 7 years. To be honest, if I were Judson, I probably would have given up after 7 months. He couldn’t see the big picture, but trusted in a God who does. Later, the seed Judson sowed reaped a harvest so great that thousands of people, from a tribe called the Karen, accepted Christ. At the end of the 20th century, there were more than 100,000 Karen believers. Talk about being faithful to God, even when your work seems futile.

Life is about serving God faithfully, no matter what fruit we can or cannot see

Studying the history of the church and learning about people like Judson, and many others makes it obvious to me; life is about serving God faithfully, no matter what fruit we can or cannot see. We could be a reaping harvest, sowing the seed, or even just removing the rocks, but as the missionary Robert Bruce said: “let it be maintained with comprehension, love, and fervent prayer.” (Neill 1965:311)

We need to apply this right now in our daily lives. Be careful to listen to, and follow God’s direction for us, and remain faithful as long as God is calling you to it…For who knows what God will do with our work of faith tomorrow, next year, or even next century. For God’s plans are much bigger than we can see.

In God’s Love & Grace,

Colton Jansen

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When you were a child, were you ever told to do something, and you didn’t fully understand why? Like buckling your seat belt, taking medicine, or going to bed on time? The truth is, your parents understood the reasons for each of these things you needed to do, and they told you to do them for YOUR benefit, and you can see that now. I believe it is the same with every command God has given us. Take the following scripture in 1 John:

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:5-9 NET

It is clear in this passage that God is telling us to walk in the light. This includes confessing our sins and not burying them. This is honestly for our long term benefit and to those around us. Even if we don’t fully understand, we need to trust God in that it will be for our good! Because God is Light, we MUST walk in the light too. Confess your sins to God today, and open up to a mentor about it to (See James 5:16).

In God’s Hope and Love,

Colton Jansen

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The past few months I have been studying church history in my theology college. This past week we have been learning about the 18th and 19th centuries. Out of the amazing people that we learned about this week, I would have to say Robert Morrison was one of the men that stood out to me most. This week I couldn’t get the thought out of my head; “After seven years of labor, he baptized his first convert.”

Robert Morrison

Robert Morrison (1732-1834)  was the first Christian Protestant missionary in China. One of his most famous quotes was when he was en route to China; the owner of the boat on which the young missionary was traveling sarcastically said:”And so, Mr. Morrison, you really expect to make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese Empire?” “No, sir,” Morrison replied, “but I expect God will.” (Tucker 1983:167)

Morrison dedicated himself to an in-depth study of the Chinese culture and language. Since the interior of the country was closed to missionaries during his time, Morrison mainly worked in the production of Christian literature. After seven years of labor, he baptized his first convert. That’s right, SEVEN years.

The most monumental work of his twenty-seven years of service in China was the translation of the Bible into Wali, the ancient language of China.

Life is about the big picture…

In the small amount of information we learned about Morrison in our book, it was evident that Morrison expected to be used by God in the big picture. He was one of the few pioneers on learning the culture of a people as a means to witness to them. His understanding of the Chinese culture, and his translation of the Bible into Chinese were the building blocks of the now ever growing Church in China.

When I think about Morrison, he is greatly inspirational to me; life isn’t about numbers, figures, or being a “success”…it’s about doing what God made us to do…it’s about the big picture. Whether we are planting a seed, reaping the field, or even just removing the rocks; we need to make life about God and his plans. The picture of life is so much larger than we can ever see. Church, and the Gospel, are not about having an amazing service, or the most people in attendance…it’s about saving that one soul that God loved enough to send his only Son to die for in their place…

Let us learn from Morrison as an example that we can be pioneers for God. It isn’t about the “success” we may or may not see in our lifetime, but the big picture. Let us live to do what God has made us for.

In God’s love and grace,

Colton Jansen

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Here is one of my newest covers I posted. It is one of my absolute all time favorites; The Heart of Worship, by Matt Redman. Check it out! I hope you enjoy!

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For a limited time, we have been able to make available a Crosswalk T-Shirt! Be 1 of at least 100 people to reserve them and you will get these shirts made, and all profits will go into support for LivingForJesus.com and into making more T-Shirts like this one!

cross-walk-shirt

 

Don’t pass up on this shirt as it is only available until June 1st! Reserve it today at teespring.com/l4j-shirts

Spread the word on Facebook or Twitter!

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Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there! I spent quite some time looking at all the different cards this weekend. Now, is it just me, or do you always end up picking the first good card you read, even after looking another 10 minutes!?

Anyways, there are so many things we can learn from mom’s, and in the theme of mothers, let’s learn from one in the book of Luke. Let me share a short verse:

“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled.” – Luke 1:38

Do you happen to know who had this response to God’s call on her? It was Mary! Earlier in Luke Chapter 1, Mary was just told by an angel of the Lord that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Messiah, even though she was a virgin. How intimidating would that be? I would be like, “Slow down. First of all, I’m a virgin, it isn’t physically possible! Secondly, even if God did make it happen, what will the world think since I am unmarried!? You have got the wrong person!!”. But no, “I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” was her response.

Yes, she had questions. And yes, she was probably scared of what might happen. But she responded with faith in God and the heart of a servant. She didn’t know how it would happen, or what the world would think of her, but set her eye’s on the Lord and basically said “Lead and I will follow”. How will you respond to God when He calls you? Will you say “You’ve got the wrong person” or will you respond “I am Your servant, may your word to me be fulfilled?”. Let’s make it the latter.

In God’s Love,

Colton Jansen

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Easter

I can’t believe Easter is here already. Easter…growing up, when I heard that word, my mind would immediately think about wonderful baskets filled with sweet goodies; Peeps, Hershey Kisses, Reese’s and all the good stuff! I would think about the thrilling scavenger hunts we would do with my family, decorating eggs, and of course, the Easter Bunny.

But now a few other things come to my mind first, and these are some of them: An arrival of a long awaited king…His last meal…a rigged trial…a Cross…and finally, an empty tomb. What does it all mean? Why did it all happen? Well, to say it in the most simple, yet profound way; LOVE.

That four letter word: LOVE

Jesus came to this earth, lived a spotless life, endured the pain of our guilt and shame on the cross, died and rose again because he loves us…because he loves YOU.

There is one other thing that has been sticking in my mind this Easter season, and it is found in John 21. This is when Jesus asked Peter one of the most piercing and vulnerable questions of all: Do you love ME?

Easter weekend is when the full extent of God’s love was shown to us, and now will you accept it and love Him back? Whether you are reading this around Easter, or any other day from now on, it is never too late to accept God’s love for you.

In God’s love and grace,

Colton Jansen

 

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When you grow up in the church, like I did, you become familiar with the wonderful stories of the bible. But there was one huge thing that I overlooked for years…and when it finally stuck, it changed my life forever: God thinks about me…not only that; God deeply loves and wants a relationship with ME.

In Psalms 139:13-18a, we see King David praising God about this same revelation:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, -O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!

You see, God has had innumerable thoughts about me, even before I was born. And I know that is the same for each of you. Jesus went to the cross to create the path to have a relationship with you. God has been watching and waiting patiently for each one of us to finally come to him. So…Go.

In God’s Love and Grace,

Colton Jansen

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A few years ago, I was having a difficult time letting go of some of my sins. While I was praying, God showed me a vision:

I was out in my church parking lot, but I wasn’t alone. What stood before me was a large magnet. But not just any magnet, this one was in the shape of a cross.

The sins I struggled with were in my hands, and they were being pulled to the cross, but I kept holding on to them. It took so much effort for me to keep these sins from flying to the cross, but these were my sins to bear…then I heard a small, yet powerful, whisper. It said:

 “I paid for those sins already. Let go.”

I loosened the grip in my hands, and no later did I watch these sins fly immediately to the cross, and stay there. Afterwards, I felt the warmth God’s grace surge across my body as I was weightless.

What sins are you holding onto? What fears and doubts will you just not let go of? The blood of Jesus has made the cross a magnet for your sins, and Jesus is just waiting for you to let go.

Take some time to search your hearts and see what you are holding onto. Confess these to God, trust him, and then, simply, let go.

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