Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Something I've really had stirring in me is how important it is to stay "connect" not just to people, but to how things in our world are changing. Something I feel that many of us fundamentalist have lost in our endeavor to stay pure, holy, and separate is the ability to connect with our world and be connected with the way in which modern life functions. Anyone who knows me well can attest that I am a stickler for not compromising the Word and not becoming "relevant" at the sake of losing our power and truth. So, I am NOT bashing traditionalism and fundamentalism, but what I am dealing with is something that can be crippling to ministries as a whole and to families.

I consider myself pretty blessed to have grown up in the 80s and 90s and into the early 2000s. I remember life before wireless phones, and even before cellphones (gasp!). I remeber the days of dial-up internet and thinking it was the coolest thing even. We had a clunky beige desktop, that was a top of the line machine back then, that sat in the corner of our breakfast nook....Oh the sound of dial-up kicking in. I remember when we got our first bag phone in the car back in the day.... you could make a phone call from your car! Those were the days! Fast-forward a few years, and i get my first little cellphone with a blue back-lit screen. A text message was a luxury and something you only used to tell mom and dad your sports team was delayed getting home or that you forgot lunch and that was about it. Senior year of high school everyone awaited getting registered at the college they would attend so they could get their .edu email address and sign up for this brand new thing called, Facebook (back then it was only for college students and had launched less than a year before I signed up). This was the start of social media and having parents who were in tune with changing technology, I was on the cutting edge of it all!

Today, social media has flooded our society. In many cases it has replaced truly being "social" with an imitation idea that we call social media. It is tempting to get irritated and just shut it all down or even refuse to get into any of the other social media platforms. With the ever evolving and growing world of social media, it can be frustrating, it can be overwhelming, and it can be a distraction. In everything there will always be negative feelings and ideas and there will always be benefits. You can curse social media all you want, but there are many GOOD things about it. It has opened a HUGE door for spreading the gospel, connecting to believers and friends around the world, and an avenue through which to minister to someone half way around the world that you may have otherwise been unable to reach 15 years ago.

While I see all the benefits the beast of social media has brought us, I am not blind to the way it has also helped to spread the work of the enemy. Pornography and porn related addictions are at an all time high and the average age a young man is first exposed to is 8 years old! Yes, these are terrible and horrible things being accelerated by social media and the internet at large. and we have a choice, we can  say we want nothing to do with it, completely reject the society and separate ourselves like the Amish OR we can tackle it head-on and deal with the real issue, people's hearts and minds. Sadly, I'm seeing many peers and those older than myself rejecting it and refusing to have anything to do with the modern technologies. Arguments cover anything from conspiracy theories and "big brother" to "I'm just not tech-savvy" to "be ye separate." While, the world is having a blast using social media to spread their garbage.

What's really heart-breaking is that when parents refuse to stay current with the world we live in, they have, by default, set their kids up for failure. Many christian adults are refusing to connect with where the world has gone in technology, and all the while our young people are out there fully aware and current with the modern times and free to get exposed to all sorts of debauchery. I personally believe that a wise parent is one who takes every measure possible to guard their children and teenagers' hearts and minds from the wiles of the evil one. And, in our day and time, that means in the area of technology! In our effort to be disconnected with the evils of the world, we have become disconnected with the temptations and stumbling blocks our children face. As parents,God has given you a duty to guard and protect your children, to be fully equipped for their upbringing and development. If we are ignorant of the latest technology trends or social media platforms, we are unequipped for the job in today's culture.

Over the past year, God has been stirring this on my heart as my husband and I transitioned into being full-time Youth Pastors. I had come to a place where I was tired of social media, felt like it was nothing more than a hub of drama, debauchery, and just something not worth my time. As I started really delving into current issues teens face and connecting with our teens, I realized that I needed to step up my game as a youth pastor to be wiser and so when parenthood comes into play, I'm not left on the sidelines in the battle against the enemy for the hearts and minds of my children. It's time for parents to step up their game, I'm blessed that may parents were fully aware of what was happening in the ever changing technology and were very CONNECTED to us kids to prevent the enemy from having easy access to us. As I see now the things teens in general are facing, I see now more than ever that parents need to step up their game, need to be vigilant more than in decades past.  There's a job to be done, we can't be disconnected any longer, we must be connected, alert, and aware of what our children have access to and have a knowledge on how to use and operate those things!

"so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes" - 2 Cor. 2:11 NLT
"Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 ISV

Parents, Youth Pastors, Pastors.... the time to be disconnected is not now, we live in a time where we need to be more connected than ever before to protect our children, teens, and flock!
~ Jessica

If you would like more information on this issue and others like it, please email Jessica  for materials and resources to help you as a parent or minister be better equipped for the issues teens and young people face in today's culture. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

QUALIFIED: series introduction

Too young. Too old. Too immature. Too mature. Too shy. Too bold. Too quiet. Too loud. Too reserved. Too talkative. Too poor. Too rich. Too colloquial. Too sophisticated. Too uncultured. Too cultured. Too spiritual. Too worldly. Too diplomatic. Too blunt. Too weak. Too strong. Too cold. Too warm. Too polite. Too rude. Too lax. Too strict. Too hopeful. Too realistic. Too unqualified. Too qualified. Too sheltered. Too exposed. Too complaisant. Too argumentative.
Too this. Too that....

Do these words strike something in you? Do they sound too familiar?

In my lifetime I've probably heard almost every single one used to describe myself at one time or another. While there have been times where some were accurate, there have also been many more times where they were so far from the truth. Where they were nothing more that the enemy's attempt to use someone's word to cause me to feel unqualified for the place I was was in.

No matter what field or career you find yourself in, these words can be terribly crippling if you allow them a place in your heart. In ministry ESPECIALLY, these words seem to all linger around anyone who's served in ministry for any considerable amount of time. For me, I can't count the times I've heard these words personally, or the number of times I've heard them about my parents and even my pastor. My parents served in the local church when I came into this world, and then before I turned one, they had moved away from their hometown and became senior pastors of a church in North Carolina. I had no choice in the matter, I was born into a pastor's home to grow up a pastor's kid regardless of what I may or may not have wanted. I was thrown into one of the most amazing and most horrible positions in life, a PK. A pastor's kid is just like any other child, except people take out their anger and frustration with the pastor on his family and kids. Its a low-blow, an evil device, but used quiet regularly none the less. As you grow up and start maturing, you're entrusted with responsibilities. These responsibilities are never given to you because you could actually be qualified,  or even remotely good at them, they're simply a fringe benefit of being the pastor's kid and he's just too blind to see your shortcomings, or so they say. Then you come of age, where you could choose a different path, a majority of PK's and Minister's Kids do. Despite all the negative experiences, despite all the hurtful ways "Christians" and congregants treat you. Despite all the stereotypes. Despite all the bad.... I decided to follow the call I knew was on my life. Even though many in my life saw me, and sometimes still do, as nothing more than a kid who benefited from her parents' position of authority, my Heavenly Father saw me as the person He called, the person He set apart, the person He positioned, the person He trained, the person He QUALIFIED.

It has taken me some time to get to a place where I fully realize that people and their opinions are simply that, people. They are imperfect human beings who can be rude, hurtful, and unkind just as much as they can be compassionate, loving, and kind. People will disappoint you and if you purely seek their approval and acceptance, you may have a season of popularity. A season of success. But it can all go away as quickly as it came, and you will be a disappointment to yourself. BUT, when you choose to only be concerned with the approval and acceptance of God, then you will find perfect peace in everything life throws at you. And in that, in realizing who HE qualified you to be, you will find staying power. You will find yourself qualified to stand through all the tests, storms, and battles that life brings. You will find that in spite of it all, you can pray for those who "despitefully use you." (Luke 6:28) That you can stand in the place or the pulpit He's called you to, free from all fear! And in that you become truly qualified to run your race!

When you find the criticism of others weighs more on your feeling qualified or not for the place you're standing, open up your Bible and reflect on the person you see in the perfect mirror of the Word!
Called. Qualified. Anointed. Appointed. Chosen. Sought out. Planted. Raised up. Equipped. Accepted. Righteous. Wise. New. Heir. Joint Heir. Blessed. Free. Bold as a Lion. Strong, Courageous. Full of Love. Holy. Blameless. Predestined. Preordained. Promised.  Alive. Joy. Confident. Complete. Fully Supplied. Loved. 
THAT is who you are and so much MORE!
"For if any one listens but does not obey, he is like a man who carefully looks at his own face in a mirror. Although he has looked carefully at himself, he goes away, and has immediately forgotten the sort of man he is. But he who looks closely into the perfect Law—the Law of freedom—and continues looking, he, being not a hearer who forgets, but an obedient doer, will as the result of his obedience be blessed."
James 1:23-25, WEY

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Culture Doesn't Win

No matter what culture or judges may say, the bible will always be our moral compass of what is right and what is wrong. Sin will always be sin, but thank God that we have an answer for the world, not a compromise, it's the cleansing power of God's love and Grace! hod's love wins over sin! We have a job to do. Stand firm, don't be moved by culture.

Romans 1:18-32
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.... Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God's justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (NLT)

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (NLT)

1 Timothy 1:8-10
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine ... (ESV)
#lovewins #truelovewins #Godislove #Godistheanswer #Godlovesthesinnerhatesthesin #thegospel

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

be part of fvc reVIVE!

Unbiblical View of Love

When you read Paul's writings, by today's "Christian" standards and OPINIONS of "just love each other" he was one of the most judgmental and arrogant Christians out there..... He was calling believers "Dear Idiots of Galatia." he was turning people over "for the destruction of their flesh that their soul may be saved." He was pretty harsh in his judging the fruits and lifestyles of congregants and leaders who were giving themselves over to false doctrine, walking out of love, exploring and living in abased sexual perversion (the society of that time was just, if not more, sexually perverse as our culture), living "drunk with wine wherein is excess", and much much more! And he even judged Peter. All that to say, the modern church has adopted a warped unbiblical view of love. Love has become an excuse for not speaking out against injustice and sin. Love has become a crutch and a handicap to be comfortable and just live our simple life and call ourselves Christians but denying the power of the Gospel. Biblical love is one of the topics I have done much studying on, and I'm a huge believer in the importance of love in our lives as believers! But what modern Christians are claiming love is, have thoroughly missed the mark on true biblical love. It's important that we become scholars of the Word in these days, more than ever before. And that we don't interpret the truths in it in light of our flesh driven  or unsaved friends, family, leaders. The love of God brings men unto repentance, NOT the tolerance and acceptance of God.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Its amazing how hate can completely change the way a person sees the world and others. Hatred is such a powerful thing that it can and will alter your memory, emotions, and opinions without you even noticing it.

"Anyone who claims to live in God’s light and hates a brother or sister is still in the dark. It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. But whoever hates is still in the dark, stumbles around in the dark, doesn’t know which end is up, blinded by the darkness." ~ 1 John 2:9-11 MSG

Short thought for today.... I have a felling there is more to come on this topic. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

FORGIVENESS: is it simply saying 'I'm sorry.'?

Forgiveness. This seems to be one of the most misinterpreted subjects in today's society. It's misinterpretation is right up there with love, which make sense considering how connected the two subjects are. Forgiveness is something I've thought on, meditated on, studied out, failed at, learned about through failure, and lived out. Forgiveness is a growing and maturing process. It is something that will be difficult at times, but to neglect it will cause you an even more difficult time. To some, forgiveness is merely saying, "I'm sorry." As a way of bringing peace, but really lacking any heart or true change to either parties involved. To others, it's a difficult process of laying everything out on the table and getting it off your chest. But, what is TRUE forgiveness? Is it as easy as saying, "I'm sorry." or is it difficult, tasking work? 

For those who may not know, I've grown up in ministry. I was born into a minister's home and for nearly 30 years I have been around the most wonderful situations and the most trying situations. I've seen Christians play church, I've seen others rise to the challenges of life and become a story of victory and success, I've seen others fall into the same patterns as sinners and often fall out of church or off their purpose and course God had laid before them. None of these people started out any different, but they all faced the same choice, forgiveness. Nine times out of ten, when someone falls out of the church and out of fellowship with the body of Christ, offense was the root of it all. This happens when something is done to a person or when they perceive that something is done to them and refuse to let it go. "But Jessica, you have no clue what they did to me!" No, that may be true, but I can say from experience that no matter what they've done to you it is not worth allowing bitterness, offense, and strife, the fruit of unforgiveness, to enter in to your heart. No matter what someone has done to you, you have a choice to live free of the wrongs and hurts caused or to live bound by them daily. The choice is always yours. 

How I learned what true forgiveness is.

As I stated previously, my personal background has shown me many things in the realm of Christian living. It has also afforded me many opportunities to be enslaved to hatred and bitterness towards the church and towards people who call themselves Christians. The temptations have been great in times past. How did I choose to stay in ministry, let alone in the church? Because I learned a valuable lesson many years ago about forgiveness. I was in my late teens and someone who had been very close to me and and integral part of my family's life,  left. They abandoned us. I won't go into the details as I feel it's not profitable, but there was much hurt, pain, and tears caused. At the time I was in college, surrounded by people who bashed Christians and the church as unloving, and having been a loud advocate against such accusations, I was experiencing an unloving situation and now found myself questioning. As the fruit of what this person did was becoming more and more evident, I became angry and bitter towards them. I allowed unforgiveness to grip my heart. At the time, I couldn't even see it. It happened so slow and before I knew it, I wasn't the Jessica I used to be. I was becoming more loose in my beliefs, seeking out advice from worldly people and making horrible decisions. I was so far from who I used to be, why? I didn't know at the time, I couldn't pinpoint it, but I just knew I was dissatisfied. I didn't like who I saw in the mirror, but I didn't know why. While hanging out one evening with some unsaved friends who were sharing their sadness, their troubles, all the things I had the answers to but didn't feel I was good enough to share the answer with them, I mean I was a hypocrite because I was walking in unforgiveness. In the midst of this I heard a voice I knew all to well from my youth, a voice I had muted because of shame and bitterness, but a voice I knew was always there. The voice said, "Jessica, I didn't call you to be like them, I called you to make them like you, spotless in my sight." There was something that ignited in me. But still the question remained, how did I get to this point? I began seeking God's face and seeking answers. Some time later I was in conversation with my mom(she may not even remember this conversation, but I do so very clearly), and the answer came. She said, "Jessi, I feel like you're spiraling out of control and I feel it's because you haven't forgiven so-and-so." And in my heart I knew my mom just gave me the key to being free from the bitterness in my heart. When I acted on this forgiveness, I felt liberated and felt more myself than I had been in a long time, and for the first time I saw how bound I had truly been. Things began to change drastically in my life and the relationship with that person was restored. I didn't lay everything out, nor did I simply leave it at "I'm sorry." I made a decision to forgive, ask their forgiveness for my anger and bitterness, and moved on as if things had never happened. It was that simple. Is this biblical forgiveness? I believe so and I'm going to show you what I found in scriptures that shows me this is the pattern to follow. 

What the Bible says about true forgiveness.

We find that Proverbs 17:9 in the Amplified Bible says, "He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends." And the NLT says it like this, "Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends." True forgiveness forgets the matter completely! This verse tells us that when you cover (hide from sight) an offense and forgive it that you are seeking love. But when we continually try to push our ideas or hurts through and talk or gossip about them, we become separated from even our closest friend. The number one relationship killer is offense. It killed countless marriages, countless pastoral relationships, countless businesses, and the like. 
In Proverbs 10:12 we find that, "Hatred stirs up contentions, but love covers all transgressions." When you have allowed unforgiveness and hatred to grip you heart, you will seek out and find faults with the other person to stir up and talk about. But when you allow love to reign in your heart, you will cover any transgressions the other person may do. And finally Peter tells us, "Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]." (1 Peter 4:8 AMP)
This last one has to be my absolute favorite in dealing with this subject. But there's a very important word each of these verses contains that I want to discuss: COVERS. We see the word "covers" referring to how love handles offenses and wrongs done to us. What does it mean? Does in mean you know it's there, but you just throw a sheet over it? It may be "covered," but you still have the knowledge of what was done to you, right? I had these same questions and had my beliefs of forgiveness challenged many times, but here's the liberating truth I found. The word "covers" used in these verses comes from the Greek word, kalyptō (Pronunciation: kä-lü'p-tō). The word kalyptō is a verb and it means to hide, veil, and to hinder the knowledge of a thing. To hinder the knowledge of a thing! So when we choose to forgive, we choose for the knowledge of all of offenses, hurts, pains, wrongs, violence in word or deed, anything done towards us that has caused us harm will be stripped from our thought life! We really will forgive and forget! We really can live free of those hurts and pains! We really can rise above the criticisms and hateful words of others. And, we really can live free of offense, bitterness, and strife, the fruits of unforgiveness! 

Finally I will leave you with, "Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive]." (Colossians 3:13 AMP)

Remember, no matter what is done to you,  Forgiveness is "readily pardoning" those who have hurt or caused you offense! You CAN quickly forget and move on. True forgiveness is that which lives free of any thoughts of the past. 

Choose to LIVE FREE today!