Posted on Leave a comment

If Hollywood actress Letitia Wright can tell her 1.7 million followers about Jesus, so can we

https://www.instagram.com/tv/B_sQOaKp1Bm/?igshid=k165gzkce06f

Letitia Wright tells 1.7 Million people about Jesus.

Actress Letitia Wright, who played Shuri in the film Black Panther, has posted an IGTV video in which she talks about what Jesus means to her and how he’s changed her life, and then asks those watching if they want to get to know Jesus for themselves.

Letitia has made no secret of the fact that she’s a Christian and mentions her faith regularly in interviews. And now she’s using her position (1.7 million insta followers!) to tell people the difference Jesus makes.

If you want to tell your friends about Jesus, but find it difficult, here is an amazing opportunity to share Letitia’s post on your social media.

It takes guts to do what Letitia has done and if she can do it, so can we. You might say, well “she’s famous so it’s easier for her”. But I’d like to challenge that. Because in many ways she’s got more to lose. What if the powerful film companies object to her sharing her faith? By doing this she’s putting her career on the line and putting all of her faith and security in Jesus. Go girl!

"I tell you the truth, there is nothing like Jesus. His presence is real and his love is real. I'm not perfect, I'm a work in progress. But I know that he wants souls and people to be set free. I've been set free and I continue to be set free every day." 

By Jane Kirby

Posted on Leave a comment

God’s power comes into its own in our weakness

I will never forget hearing Jo Saxton speak at an event about body image. She had been convicted that it was time to change the narrative of negativity that she’d spoken out over her body and replace it with the truth. Jo told us how she stood in front of the mirror naked and said repeatedly, until it sunk in, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Her boldness and vulnerability in front of a few thousand people blew me away and led me to do the same.

Jo is a ground breaker, a strong and resilient woman. Born in London to parents who immigrated from Nigeria, Jo credits her family’s work ethic and the grace of God for her boldness, courage and tenacity and the approach she takes to sharing her wisdom on identity, influence, and living an authentic life.

An author, speaker, podcast host, and leadership coach, Jo has dedicated her career to growing leadership teams around the world and empowering women to find their purpose in their personal lives and in leadership.

In her new book “Ready to Rise: Own Your Voice, Gather Your Community, Step into Your Influence”, Jo tackles the real life issues women face and to show how together we can grow our grit. While drawing from her own journey to leadership, Jo also adds stories of empowered women from the Bible. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Chris, and their two daughters.

Jo’s new book.

Hey Jo, what can you say to followers of Rebel Hearts Rebel Girls during this crisis, that will encourage and empower them?

“In times like this, where our whole work and social lives seem to have been thrust online, it can easy to succumb to the pressure that we must be our ‘best selves’ – now more than ever – and if we don’t, that somehow we are failing.

But I think it’s important that we ask ourselves, what your ‘best self’ actually is – because sometimes it looks a like perfectionism and societal standards of beauty with a spiritual cherry on top.

It also can ignore the realities of systemic privilege and power that actually play a determining role in how women live in the world.

Also, can I be really honest and say too often my best self… SUCKS? Too easily I miss the mark, fall short, or too easily find the past overwhelming me and defining me.

Or I’ll swing between legalism and license, or it shows up like vapid vanity or self- condemnation masked as humility.

I’m comforted by Paul discovering that God’s power comes into its own in our weakness, I’m comforted that we have a Redeemer who forgives, restores, redefines our purpose. I’ll lay down my best self in exchange for that.

And I’m not trying to be clever with word play, and I can live with it sounding cheesy or whatever. I just know that the best I’ve got to offer is a life that is being transformed and renewed by Jesus.”

In her previous book, More than Enchanting: Breaking Through Barriers to Influence Your World, discusses the role of women in church and society. While her book, The Dream of You: Let Go of Broken Identities and Live the Life You Were Made For helps readers address their past, accept their identity, and learn how to create a legacy they want.

Jane Kirby

Posted on Leave a comment

Hope

How are you doing in lockdown, emotionally, physically and spiritually?

How can anyone prepare themselves for a time like this, but if I’ve learnt anything it’s that God will get you through and he’ll strengthen you in the process.

It all boils down to what we put our hope in. For me it came to my attention there were areas in my life that needed addressing. And one of those was the source of my security and comfort.

Is it in my income, in the things I have, the holidays I go on, or all of those little treats that make me feel nice, or do I put my trust 100% in God? And honestly I thought I did. I really believed that my faith was so strong. Solid and unshakeable and to an extent it was. But when this whole thing began, I have to admit I started to feel nervous, scared even. I had horrible thoughts of civil unrest. I remembered studying the 1930’s Great Depression in American History and seeing pictures of queues for food, and devastating homelessness and thinking could that happen again? I let my imagination run wild and fuelled it with news reports. I even lost a bit of weight as I’d lost my appetite!

I had thought that I was pretty secure in my knowledge of who God is and who I am to him. This has shown me there were gaps. God, of course, knew that and what this time has allowed me to do is to go through those areas with him and to allow him to dig out the root of insecurity.

You know when God is trying to tell you something when a bible verse or passage keeps coming up. And for me it’s been the book of Job. As you’ll most probably know, Job loses everything.

Up until this time, I don’t think I’d ever read the book of Job in its entirety, or if I have I’ve not allowed its meaning to sink in. So I made a cup of coffee, picked up my bible and sat in my chair by the window and read it in one sitting.

Forty two chapters later I discover that there is so much to take in from this book. And I recommend, as well as reading the book for yourself (if you haven’t already), you look at the The Bible Project to get a good understanding of what Job goes through.

Job does nothing wrong to deserve what happens to him. Satan says to God, if you take away everything he has, will Job still follow you? God allows Satan to have access to Job’s life and rob him of his children, health and security.

That got me thinking. What if that happened to me? What if I went through the same level of suffering as Job? Would I still say “the Lord gives and takes away but blessed be his name”? Seriously. Have you ever allowed your thoughts to go there? What if everything is taken away. Would you still worship, would you still read your bible? Or would you run from God, would you resent your friends. Would you become angry and bitter?

When the stuff hits the fan, will we still be singing “you make me brave”? Or is it because we live in comfort that we’re able to worship God?

What about the Christians who are persecuted for their faith? Whose everyday living is a battle and who might find themselves imprisoned for saying they follow Jesus. Are they “living life to the full”? Do they have a nice safe and cosy existence?

What we also learn in Job is how his friends jump to conclusions about his suffering. Believing it’s due to sin in his life. They make suggestions about what they think he should do and offer their advice. And as I’m reading this, I’m beginning to recall circumstances when I’ve done the same thing! Definitely needed to ask forgiveness for that.

I heard someone say about this crisis that we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. Some of us will experience hardship as a result of this. We might lose a family member or friend. We might lose our income. It’s all possible.

Some will come through this season unscathed. They might even find things are better for them than before. Should they be smug? And can we be pleased for them, even if what’s going on for us isn’t as easy?

For me I’ve decided I want to learn how to stand firm. How to build resilience. How to “run the race with perseverance”. I’m keeping my feet on solid ground, Jesus the rock.

Fortunately God is kind and gracious and merciful. And it’s his nature to forgive. So I’ve taken some time with him and allowed him to highlight the areas in my life where I was standing on sinking sand. I don’t want to be there. I like my shoes.

I chatted to a friend and shared how I was feeling. I took that to be my confession (see James 5:16). And then I asked God to forgive me.

And now I feel like a massive weight has been taken off my shoulders. Literally. The peace is unbelievable.

The other thing that God flagged with me was a need to fully surrender (I think that is an ongoing work in progress kind of thing). But I wanted to say to God, no matter what might happen, I trust you. I hold onto your promises that “all things work together for good to those who love God.”

It was an absolute relief to get to the end of the book of Job and to see that it doesn’t end in disaster. There is a happy ending. Job doesn’t walk off into obscurity and hopelessness. In fact it says “God blessed the latter part of his life more than the former part.”

So hold on tight. Dig deep. And remember that God is in control.

By Jane Kirby

Posted on Leave a comment

Fear

Are you a slave to fear? Does it affect your living and breathing and all you hold dear?

You’re not the only one. Know you’re not the only one. You aren’t alone. Fear is everywhere. It’s crept into the very fabric of our society. It makes decisions on our behalf. It walks with us, around us, in front of us and behind us.

Fear governs our actions. Infects our dreams. It’s there when we wake and when we go to sleep. It decides how we spend our time and what we think about. Fear influences how we see the world and how we view our future.

Fear is what is known as a schema. A schema is a cognitive framework that helps us to organise and interpret information. According to Wikipedia “Schemata influence attention and the absorption of new knowledge: people are more likely to notice things that fit into their schema, while re-interpreting contradictions to the schema as exceptions or distorting them to fit.” So simply put, schema are learnings that we acquire in life and then influence how we behave.

We also know that fear is spiritually charged. If we allow it to take root in our life it becomes a force we battle with. It can rear its head when we don’t expect it, or we can predict when we might feel it.

The thing about fear is, it’s not ours to keep. God didn’t give it to us. It’s not a gift. We’re not meant to be holding onto it. We need to let it go. But because fear is a learnt behaviour, it needs to be unlearnt and replaced by something new, something bigger and better.

Faith is the answer (and as I write this I know you know that). But how can we have faith if we accelerate towards fear? Let’s apply the brakes, slow down, stop, change gear and then accelerate towards faith.

Here’s how.

1. Physically:

• Stand up straight. And with all your strength I want you to shout out “I say NO to fear. Get lost.”

• Now stamp on it. Jump up and down on the fear. Luke 10: 19 says “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Fear is our enemy and we have the power to overcome it.

2. Emotionally:

• Don’t put your faith in how you feel. If I concentrate on anxious thoughts and a tight feeling in my chest that I’ve often had, I feel fear. If instead, when my thoughts drift towards how I’m feeling, I bring them straight back in line with what God says. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” I literally change my mind. I stop thinking about how I feel and put my faith in and focus my thoughts on what God says. That we’ve been given power, love and a sound mind.

3. Spiritually:

• By choosing fear over faith we’re saying that God is a liar and we don’t believe He is who He says He is; and what the bible says about our future is a lie. Yes I know that’s punchy. But if you think about it, it’s true. By giving room to fear we aren’t walking lives of faith. We’re allowing fear to be bigger than God’s word and His promises to us, and that is a sin.

• So the most powerful thing we can do is to bring all that’s hidden into the light. Throughout the bible we see when God’s people repent and turn back to Him, He heals them.

• Find a friend or a leader you trust and name your fears. Get them out into the open, say sorry to God for believing them and, when you do that they can no longer have any hold over you. In James 5:16 it says “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

The victory over death was won by Jesus on the cross. Jesus said “it is finished” and that means your fear.

I want to add that this is a process. We accumulate all sorts of stuff over the course of our lives (you just have to look inside my wardrobe to see that…) and it can take time. But if old fears surface, just repeat the steps above and trust that God is at work. If you find yourself going back over old ground, stop. Once something has been confessed and repented of, it can no longer have any hold on you. Have faith that it’s been dealt with.

So let’s get back on track and fill our thoughts with faith. God is raising you up to live a radical and exciting life that’s free from all of the rubbish and lies the enemy tries to pin on us. Love has won. The love that put Jesus on the cross and rose Him from death. That’s our focus. That’s our mandate. That’s our mission. Love.

“Light, space, zest— that’s GOD! So, with him on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.” Psalm 27:1 MSG

Jane Kirby @rebelheartsrebelgirls

If you are suffering from anxiety, Jane has written a book, Be Free from Anxiety, over in our book section. Based on her journey.

This article was originally posted on @onelifeleaders

Posted on Leave a comment

From around the world

Ellie, who lives in Columbus, Ohio in the United States, shares what life is like for her in lockdown.

Right now, I am spending this time as a retreat, a time to step back: finding new ways to grow close in my relationship with God, how to be more intentional with my family in person and friends online, and am reevaluating where I have been putting my faith and heart for the past few months. I’m doing lots of reading, lots of homework, and watching some Netflix, but I am so thankful for this time to slow down and to see what’s truly important in life and to see how God is working.

I am finding it challenging in trying to be social without being social in person and also trying not to be bored or stir crazy! It also has been hard for me to have deep prayer time just due to there not being a schedule any more.

To make life more fun one of my friends and I have been trying to do weekly challenges, doing things to get us out of our comfort zones, including watching different movies that we would never have watched, making dream boards, planning things we want to do once life gets back to normal, etc. I also painted my Bible and glued a bunch of pictures on it (with things that draw me into prayer, quotes, etc), so I highly recommend that! Also, I’ve been trying to look for miracles each day (because there are SO many) and to be thankful for everything in all circumstances.

Jesus is teaching me that it is okay and necessary to rest, and to rest with Him, to give Him everything. He’s also been teaching me that He doesn’t stop pouring out when life stops like this, that He wants to keep giving so much to us. And Jesus has been giving me so much hope and joy during this time. Just know how much He loves you and is working for your good, and He will come and be with you during this time, with all your feelings, and give you peace and joy and hope. Also, all the emotions you are feeling are valid, and Jesus wants to be there with you through it all, it’s okay to be raw and honest with Him, He wants you to give it to Him and to let Him be with you.

As a student involved with a lot of things going on in my high school, it has been nice to spend more time with my family and to speak more intentionally with my friends. My family and I are usually running around in 5 different directions, so it’s been really nice for us to sit down and have meals together and to just laugh and be with each other. I recently have started a Zoom call (conference call) with some of my friends where we go on to talk about faith, check in with each other, and pray together, and it has grown to have over 65 members in it, a lot of which are people I have never met before! There has been new friendships that would never have been built if not for it, people are finding hope and peace through this group, and people’s faith is growing and deepening, thank you Jesus!

It has been difficult to find why all of this is happening and trying to deal with all of the things that I am potentially missing out on due to this, and also just the idea of the people that I love getting sick: But every time I have this thought, Jesus just comes and reassures me that His peace is greater than my fear, His hope is greater than my doubt, His love is greater than any sickness. My faith and trust in Christ Jesus is going to stay firm and be triumphant through it all, and all I have to do? Just lean in and and give it all to Him, because He is going to give so much more back to us.

Posted on Leave a comment

I’m in it for the wild ride

Tell us about your style:

Oooh I love this question! Colour colour colour! I have no rules, if I feel like wearing something, I’m gonna jolly well wear it! There are times when I have to shake off some pre-assumed judgements of what people (girls) might think of me and then I try to carry on wearing what I love that makes me (and only me!)  feel good.

Girls, if you want to wear heels on a Tuesday, you should do it too. Game changer. They make me feel like I could change the world ?????

What are you doing right now?:

I’ve just finished my diploma in childcare and now I am nannying and working in a cafe to save some ??.

I have lots of passions and frustrations that I’m working out at the moment. Mostly to do with young people and the epic revival that’s started! I know I have them for a reason however I’m in the process of learning why I have them and what God’s asking me to do about them. I’m not sure what my future looks like but I am guaranteed a good’n if I stick to His plan. 

What worship song do you have on repeat?:

At the moment, my favourite worship song is (so embarrassingly) my dad’s song, 

‘Give thanks for a broken heart’. It is a sum up of the journey me and my family have been on recently and it reminds me of how kind God is throughout all of life.

We’d love to hear about what adventures do you want to go on with Jesus?:

Wow. Goodness me. I’m just in it for the wild ride. Hoping that I’m being obedient to God’s plan, and go wherever he wants me to go. But in terms of what I want, yikes. I would love to be a young person talking to young people about Jesus and how important it is to stay faithful to him. I’m not sure what that looks like yet though ?

I realise that we’ve normalised the idea that  young people come away from God during their teens then come back to faith when they’re adults. I refuse that normal for Generation X, my generation. That time is the most crucial, so if you’re a young person reading, stick with it!! Grin and bear the comments and the mocking. I know how cruel people can be, even teachers. God says ‘Don’t loose your grip on Love and Loyalty’ 

So keep loving people and stay loyal to him because I bet your bottom dollar your gonna thank yourself later. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Understand yourself

Tell us about your style:

“I used to work in the fashion industry and have a wardrobe full of gifts of designer frocks, coats and hats. Sadly this was before I understood what suited me! I’m now a fully signed up charity shopper, committed to not buying new (except shoes and underwear) as I’m understanding the toxic impact of fashion on the environment. My style, if I have one, tends to be ‘less is more’, with a focus on plain, natural fabric and shape, aspiring to Italian chic (with the addition of trainers or brogues).  I don’t often succeed!”

What are you doing right now:

“I work for Resurgo, a charity that transforms the lives of those facing some of the greatest social challenges in the UK. I’m passionate about the power of the individual – everyone can make a difference in some way and lots of small daily actions have a huge impact over a lifetime. The courage to carry on always inspires me.”

What worship song do you have on repeat?:

“’Nothing but the Blood of Jesus’ Guvna B”

Something you have learnt that you would like to have told your younger self:

“Understand yourself.  Stop and look and listen to what you enjoy, gravitate to, comes naturally and also what you struggle with. Listen to those who know you well. This will help guide the big decisions and help understand who you were made to be.”

“This is something I’m still learning…”

Posted on Leave a comment

Learning to say no

Tell us about your style:

Fashion isn’t my forte and my style is definitely a mishmash, but I do love anything colourful, even if it doesn’t necessarily ‘go’. My must-haves are a pair of gold hoops, a baggy pastel jumper and literally anything @lucyandyak

What are you doing right now:

I’m on my exchange year studying in Tokyo and feasting on sushi to my heart’s content.

 

What worship song do you have on repeat?:

I am in no way perfect, nor is my faith, so if I am honest I haven’t been the best at listening to worship recently, never mind having anything on repeat, but when I have dipped in I’ve gravitated to some of the oldies I grew up with like “Mighty to Save”. My favourite of all time is “We Dance” by Steffany Gretzinger – an instant tearjerker.

We’d love to hear something transformational God has done in your life:

Last year was a year of God teaching me to find my worth in Him. This year He has been challenging me not only to know my worth; but to act in alignment with it in my everyday life. Such as learning to be kinder to myself, getting better at saying ‘no’ to things which don’t line up with my priorities and having more confidence to chase the dreams He has placed in my heart. He has been reassuring me that it is okay that I don’t always feel like I can keep up with the speedy machine of life and take things at the pace that He has graced me for in this season. I can rest and trust in the fact it is Him that will get me wherever I need to be. This has given me so much more freedom to slow down and enjoy the little adventures each day brings.