Category Archives: Faithful Fans

What Is Your Life Pointing Towards
by Katie Nelms

By | All Blogs, Faithful Fans | No Comments

There are times when things seem so hectic and uncertain that we feel the need to just be. We think that only a simple word from our mouths will cause an uproar or that if we go outside the safety of our homes, we will be judged or unsafe. I have felt this way to many times over the past six months. If I am being entirely honest with you, I have felt this way several times in my life, especially in high school. I felt as if anything I said would turn people away from me, or that if I lived true to who I was, I would be judged and picked apart for being me. For three years, I lived in the safe space of my personal bubble. I dreaded going to lunch and having to walk through the room, seeing tables that marked different friend groups’ territory. This was something I did not have, I dreaded walking the halls alone, so I became addicted to my phone, something that gave me the slightest bit of comfort, and do not get me started on the heart-stopping moment of being called to the board by my algebra teacher. All of these things left me questioning what I needed to do differently to avoid experiencing this anxiety anymore… and then one night, I asked myself what is my life was pointing towards. And the scariest moment of my life occurred then when I realized it was pointing to nothing. I couldn’t bear the thought that I was living such a vanilla life I had literally become scared to live. 

 I knew it was time for a change, so I found myself signing my name on the list hanging on the door of our campus minister’s office to take part in the upcoming junior-senior retreat. I was terrified, but I recognized Christ did not call us to comfort, and I had been living there for a very long time. A few months later, I arrived at the campgrounds with a pillow, sleeping bag, clothes, and a very closed heart. But throughout that weekend, as I heard each of my peers open up about some of the deepest, most hidden moments of their lives, I realized I wasn’t as alone as I had felt for so long. I remember thinking to myself, you mean to tell me… the captain of the football team … the guy I pass in the hall every day, who is always surrounded by people trying to get his attention, yeah him… his life isn’t perfect? My world was pretty much turned upside down, and in realizing everyone has a story to tell, I also was able to step out of the cozy little bubble that had held me back for so long. Spoiler alert … This was just the beginning of a journey that I am still on, and one of the roadblocks I continue to try and overcome is the fact that I find myself hoping my life points toward me and not Christ. One of my greatest fears has always been that I won’t be known, I think this stemmed from the great loneliness I experienced during high school, and to prevent that from happening, I would do things that brought me further from God that I could be closer to others.

In this, I always felt incredibly empty. The harder I tried to be relevant to others, I realized I had lost what was most important to me, the love of the Father. In this realization, I found where I am genuinely known. Let me tell you there is an incredible amount of peace that comes from knowing you are loved and recognized by the Father, and most importantly, that he calls you by name. That is what I had longed for my entire life. You know that moment when you come in contact with someone you recognize but don’t exactly know, and they say your name… I don’t know about you, but I am always taken aback. Wow, you know my name? You feel known. That is how it is with the Father, he calls us by name, and we call Him by His. When you believe that, even in troubled times, you will live a life of purpose, joy, and peace, and you will know where it comes from and what it is pointing towards, The Father.

Draw Near To Him
by Lola Martin

By | All Blogs, Faithful Fans | No Comments

“If only Jesus were here, He wouldn’t have allowed this to happen,” is a phrase I’ve been hearing go around a lot lately. I have never heard a bigger lie be told than this one.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has brought mass destruction to our world. Whether that be physical, emotional, or spiritual, the suffering that our society is experiencing is so real.

People everywhere are desperate and are in need of great healing. They’re grasping for something, a glimpse of hope, something that will satisfy this desire to be seen and known during this time of uncertainty.

Brothers and sisters, this ache that we feel deep in our hearts is none other than a longing for Christ, Himself. They say every relationship, at one point or another, experiences what we call “ebb and flow.” This “ebb” is distance in a relationship, but it is healthy and all the while necessary for growth. Ebb brings us to a deeper longing, in this case, a longing for the Father and the total outpour of His love for us.

This catastrophic time in our world isn’t a time to fall away from God, but rather a time to draw near to Him. It’s in this time, where God is calling us out into the deep, to a life of complete trust in Him. He longs to be with us, even more than we long to be with Him. This time of solitude is a gift – the ideal opportunity to simply call upon His name and say, “Here I am.”

Sure, we can’t physically be present at the church. Yes, we’re away from our friends and community. But no matter how convicted we are that Jesus is “gone,” He has never left our side. The God that sent His Son into the world to perform miracles and heal people, then eventually suffer and die for our sake, is the same God who is present in each of our hearts in the year 2020. He hasn’t lost His power and He never will. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

That being said, why do we limit Jesus to church? He has the power to act beyond walls, especially during this time. So, I encourage you to beg Him to come into your heart. He will never force you, but know that He is knocking and patiently waiting for your “yes.” It can be scary, it can be uncomfortable, but the beautiful promises that Jesus has for us should far outweigh any fear that we have.

What are you waiting for? Draw near to Him all the more. He is with us.

What Does Your Life Point To?
by Nancy M. Powers

By | Faithful Fans | No Comments

On June 24, 2019, Rise Up marks its anniversary! We celebrate the 4 year anniversary of the beginning of this exciting event ministry for our young church. And I love this date because it is also a day we celebrate St. John the Baptist, the precursor to Christ!

John the Baptist was a relative of Jesus. Remember Mary traveled to visit her relative Elizabeth who was pregnant with John. John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb when Mary approached, pregnant with Jesus. John was an all-in kinda guy. Approximately, in the year 29 A.D., John goes into the wilderness, dons clothes made of camel hair and eats nothing but locusts and honey (this is the garb of a prophet). It was a simple life, intentionally. A life without distraction because he had a job to do. A job that would require prayer, focus, courage and perseverance. John was to point people to Jesus Christ. “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” He preached repentance and shared the good news about Jesus!

So on this anniversary, it’s good for us to reflect on what our lives point to? Are we intentional in our prayer, focus, courage and perseverance in order to become who God created us to be? When people look at us do they see goodness, integrity, honesty? Do our lives point to Jesus Christ as the source and summit of our lives? It’s not easy! John boldly told Roman soldiers with a reputation of corruption to “Rob no one by violence.” He told tax-collectors who were known to be deceitful to “Collect no more than is appointed you.” He even opposed the unlawful marriage of Herod. I’m sure he was ridiculed and thought less of because of his views, but he was bold and he knew “one mightier” was coming to save us all.

This week think of ways your life could better point to Jesus Christ. It could be in the little thing like the way you talk about your faith. Speak bolder. It could be the way you strive to uphold christian virtue. Strive harder. It could be in the way you strengthen yourself. Pray deeper.

Thank you St. John the Baptist for the gift of Rise Up, a ministry pointing young people to Christ. Be our example and lets together build up our young church.

(A huge shoutout and appreciation to Sophia Lee whose original artwork of St. John the Baptist accompanies this blog. Thank you Sophia!)

Breakthrough and Miracles
by Nancy M Powers

By | Faithful Fans | No Comments

In theaters now is a movie based on the true story of a teenage boy who fell through ice and was submerged for over 15 minutes.  After being rescued from the ice, he was rushed to the hospital and for 45 minutes the doctors attempted to revive him with CPR to no avail.  It is a story of hope, perseverance and prayer and begins with a mothers cry at her childs bedside, “Holy Spirit, please come and give me my son back.”  

So often when faced with challenges, we throw our hands in the air and embrace defeat.  We ask where is God in this without reaching out to Him.  The Mom in the movie asked big for sure.  Some challenges may need just a small ask.  But ask we should.  So my question to you is how can miracles happen when we never ask for them?  

I’ve cried out to God a couple times recently.  One big cry was for a friend diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  I wanted a miracle and I prayed for one along with his Mom and a throng of other people.  I claimed it because I knew if God felt like there was more to do here on earth, He’d hear our prayer and heal my friend.  Now I’m not saying I’d hate God if it didn’t happen but I am saying that I felt strongly I had to ask.  So I believed and saw little signs of encouragement along the way…Like the guy in the hospital elevator who’s t-shirt said “God is bigger than cancer”…And the first set of scans that were blurry…And his wife who wanted to slow things down a bit as it was coming too fast, this death sentence.  So when the news came that there was NO stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I praised God for hearing the fervent prayers of us all.  But I have to say, as I told the story over and over again, many wanted to say it was mistakes made.  Their comments left me feeling, “No wonder we miss so many miracles.  We don’t look at life through eyes of faith”.  Miracles must be reviewed, revisited, reflected on.  Look back in your life and reflect on those challenges when you cried out to God.  Maybe the response you received wasn’t the original one intended but I bet you can see Him there.  

In both of these instances, mine and the one in Breakthough, the miracle began with a cry of one, joined by the prayers of many and a God who cares so deeply for us that he is there in every situation…even the smallest of situations.  So don’t be afraid to cry out and then ask others to join you in pray too because where two or three are gathered God is there.  And trust Him.  Even if these people had not been healed, God would still be there providing comfort, encouragement and love.  He really does care that much!  So from this day forward let’s all look for the miracles in our lives! 

Rise Up Take Aways
by Staël Dantes

By | All Blogs, Faithful Fans | No Comments

Biblical and Spiritual Inspirations

Book of Esther<br/>Life of Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio

SUMMARY: Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in, mocked as an oddball or weirdo for what you believe? Have you ever felt as if living your faith would isolate you from your “friends” because they want to do things that go against your values? It would seem that these days, living out your Faith is not the popular thing to do. Many people see faith as an obstacle to Joy, Peace, and Freedom when it is our faith in Jesus that is the key to achieving these. 

In John 14:6 Jesus says the following: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus tells us that the only way we can “come to the father” is by following His example. We need to live the life he has shown us. This means we need to live boldly! 

What does it mean to live boldly? To live boldly is to live confidently and courageously; showing a willingness to take risks. The message of the Gospel is full of power. The love of God for us demands that we live differently. It requires us to live counter-culturally as Jesus showed us. We have the truth, and it is up to us to live by that truth at all costs. 

An incredible example of this can be found in the life of Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio. He was a 14-year-old boy who was put to death by Mexican government officials during the Cristero War because he refused to renounce his Catholic faith. When the Cristero War broke out in 1926 Jose’s mother and the rebel general, Prudencio Mendoza refused to let him enlist. The boy insisted that he wanted the chance to give his life for Jesus Christ. The general finally relented and allowed José to become the flagbearer of the troop. 

During heavy fighting on January 25, 1928, Mendoza’s horse was killed, and José gave his horse to the general so that the fight could go on. Then he sought cover until the government troops captured Jose and imprisoned him in the sacristy of the local church. It was later reported that José was ordered by the government to renounce his faith in Christ, under threat of death but he refused.

To break his resolve, he was made to watch the hanging of another Cristero that they had in custody, but instead José encouraged the man, saying that they would soon meet again in Heaven after death. In prison, José prayed the rosary daily and wrote an emotional letter to his mother, saying that he was ready to fulfill the will of God to whom he dedicated himself. The following is an account of how St. Jose was Martyred: 

“Consequently, they cut the bottom of his feet and obliged him to walk around the town toward the cemetery. They also at times cut him with a machete until he was bleeding from several wounds. He cried and moaned with pain, but he did not give in. At times they stopped him and said, ‘If you shout, “Death to Christ the King” we will spare your life.’ José would only shout, ‘I will never give in. Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!)'”

Jose died on February 10, 1928. He knew what it was to live boldly for his faith and not hold anything back. He is a perfect example to the rest of us on how to live boldly for the Lord. In his world, one could die for practicing the Catholic faith. We must all live a bold example of faith, being unafraid to stand up for the cause of Christ in our everyday lives. We CAN live a counter-cultural lifestyle of faith and virtue and go against the grain of our culture.

Challenged to Rise!

Choose one way you can tangibly be bolder in your faith – whether that’s inviting your family to church, walking away from gossip, to write an essay about your values in school – whatever that looks like for you, DO IT!

Discussion Questions

1.    Has there been a time in your life that you were made fun of or mocked as weird or “different” for your faith? What was that situation like and how did it make you feel?

2.    What does it mean to live boldly?

3.    Who in your life is an example of living a bold life?

4.    What are some challenges that you face to living your faith boldly?

5.    How can the life of St. Jose inspire you to be bolder? 

6.    Who in your life needs the love of God, and how can you be bold in sharing that with them?

Day of Event Volunteer

Let's make things happen!

Please fill out this info and one of our organizers will contact you with more information on how to get started.

We're here to serve you

Submit My Rise Up Talk

Donate

  • $0.00

Blogging

Please fill out this info and one of our organizers will contact you with more information on how to get started.

Elevators

Please fill out this info and one of our organizers will contact you with more information on how to get started.

Donate (1)

  • $0.00