Handmade for a purpose!

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“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,

which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

 

The birth of our second daughter was an exciting day. We didn’t know what she was going to look like, but went into the hospital somewhat expecting she would look  similar her older sister.

Her older sister was born with a head full of thick black hair, that stuck up in a perfect baby mo-hawk way. We kind-of expected that same hair-do for her younger sister.

Much to our surprise, when the nurse handed her to me and my husband, she had the most beautiful light red hair.

The red hair was such a joyful and unexpected surprise! As friends would visit us in the hospital, I would lift up her little pink and blue hospital hat to show her head-full of red locks.

I knew my daughter’s kicks. I had felt her hiccups and movements for the past 9 months. But seeing her for the first time, was a total surprise. But God wasn’t surprised. He knew He had created a little spunky red-headed girl, and He knows what she will become as she grows.

 

We are His handiwork: God made us. Psalm 139 says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He knit us all together in the privacy of our mother’s womb. He knew our hair color, our quirks, our talents, and our name before even our parents did.

God chose us to be His children and to do His works for the Kingdom of God. “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love.” (Ephesians 1:4)

He knows all our habits, our thoughts and feelings. He knows what we think before we even say it. He loves us as His dear children.

Trust our Creator who made you wonderfully that He didn’t make a mistake when He created you. What we see as “limitations and flaws” are not meant to defeat us but bring us close to the one who made us without mistakes. He created each of us for His purpose, on purpose!

Paul admits in 2 Corinthians 12 that he had a struggle and he had an area that he felt weak. Whatever his problem was, it tormented him. He asked God to take away his struggle, but God said “my grace is sufficient.” Paul’s weakness was God’s strength.

We may feel that whatever character defects we think we may have are not meant to limit us. But they are meant to point us to our Strength in times of weakness, so that we can do the good works He’s prepared for us to do.

Ask God to show you how your weakness can help His Kingdom. Pray for Him to help you use your weakness to His advantage. Surrender it over to Him and allow Him to work through that area of your life.

Following the path,

Kelly

www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Refuge

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“Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you.” (Psalm 16: 1-2)

God promises that He will shelter you and keep you safe. This doesn’t mean that everything will go as we want it to. Sometimes God allows things to happen to test our faith. Through the tests and trials, we can trust that He is in control of our lives and will never let us fall.

We will have aches and heartaches in this life—no one get a free ride– But God promises that if we run to Him, He will protect us.

Everything we have comes from God.

Every gift.
Every skill.
Every blessing.

God is the One who gives! During the time we struggle, we need to remember who in charge of it all. Ask God to teach you during the difficult seasons.

God may allow hard times to come, and blessings to diminish to test our worship. Are we worshiping the stuff? Do we worship because of the blessings?

You can rest assured in God. You can fully lean and trust in Him. In the good times and bad, He is the Rock you can stand on.

“Rejoice in the Lord, always,” refers to every situation good, bad and ugly. God is in control and we should rejoice that God is God. The stuff comes and goes; but God is forever!

Following the path,

Kelly

www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Are you Tangled?

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Admit it, we all have an inner control-freak. We all desire control of our lives. We want Jesus to take the wheel only when we are heading towards trouble. But on the easy days, we want Him to back up so we can go at our own pace.

Sometimes we prefer a God we can define, and feel pressed down when He starts being God. We want Him to work on our terms and in our time-frame. But God doesn’t work like that.

We don’t like living with the consequences of our wrong actions. But sin produces consequences and consequences equals discipline. Hebrews 12:11 (msg) says “The trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training.”

God isn’t trying to push us away with discipline; He’s trying to pull us in. He wants us to come to Him. (Matthew 11:28)

One afternoon, our six year old son, decided it would be a fun idea to throw one of those  over-sized exercise balls in the house. To him, it was quick entertainment. He knew he shouldn’t throw the ball in the house. We had talked to him about what could possibly happen.

Well, he didn’t mean to throw it in the direction of the lamp. He told me after the ball had knocked the lamp over onto the floor, that “he forgot” that he wasn’t supposed to throw the ball in the house.

A moment of his forgetfulness, or him wanting to do his own thing rather than following the house rules landed him in the time-out-corner.

These moments as a Mom, when a child does the exact opposite of the rules, are part of raising children. We don’t make rules because we don’t want our children to have fun.

We make rules because we are old enough to know that it could produce some unwanted consequences. My son knew he had done something wrong, but it took breaking the lamp for him to realize the reason why we have that rule.

What if God watches us adults, and sits back and says “goodness, there’s my child making the same mistake she did last week…is she ever going to learn?” He still loves us through our mistakes, but we still have to live through the consequences.

God disciplines us because we are His sons and daughters. “My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s disciple….It’s the child he loves that He disciples.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

We get tangled up in our own desires, and our own sin. We often trip over our own feet. We stumble over the same things, over and over. We can’t move forward because we are tangled in our sin and consequences.

We need God to come help us “throw off all that hinders” so we can move forward in His will. (Hebrews 12.1)

Following the path,

Kelly

www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Our Most Precious Commodity

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“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

“Share with others.” This is concept that is stressed through preschool and most of Kindergarten. Our human nature doesn’t want to share what we have. In a natural, untamed form: we want what we want, when we want it, and we want it all for ourselves.

Sharing with others is something that is learned, not a natural skill we are born with. The writer of Hebrews writes that sharing with others can be a “sacrifice,” and that sacrifice pleases God.

God knows that we have selfish tenancies. He knows that we work hard for the stuff in this life. But what—or WHO—are we working for? Who is our boss?

There is no perfect boss here on earth. They all come up short and have many failings in their leadership. But if we shift who our Ultimate Boss is, God, and start working for Him alone, our focus shifts from working for man to working for God.

Our bi-monthly paycheck may come up short, but if you work for the will of the Father, He will never come up short. When our heart is tuned to Him, our work will not be in vain.

What was shared this week with someone? Whatever gifts, talents, or treasures we have in life, are we sharing them with others around us?

What about time? Time is our most precious commodity; we can never be repaid fully for the minutes we spend doing something. We can be paid in dollar bills, but we can never get back any time. It can slip from our hands quickly and once it’s gone—it’s gone.

Spending time is a sacrifice. Talking with a friend who is struggling with her children or husband, is time spent. Using those few extra minutes to ask your Starbucks Barista “how’s your day?”, is time spent. These few minutes out of our lives can be sacrifices, and can please God through the loving of others.

Our lives are not lived for ourselves, they are meant to be shared with others to bring glory to God. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone.” (Gal6.10)

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Worship as One

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Worshiping together in unity can be difficult at times. God gave each of us unique ideas, gifts, thoughts and opinions. Disagreements about a particular direction to go as a church or how to worship can rip apart its people. The church body isn’t made up of brick and cement; WE are the body of Christ, His church. The church is people made of flesh that gets bruised easily, and feelings that get hurt sometimes.

How does a church filled with differing opinions, worship together in perfect harmony?

Conflict within a church requires a Holy intervention. When a disagreement with another person happens, pray before confronting them. Having a disagreement doesn’t mean that God can’t work through that situation for His glory. Conflict can give an opportunity to grow and mature.

Paul writes in Ephesians to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (-Eph.4.2) He understood that people argue and become passionate about their opinions. He had witnessed church members arguing over which traditions to adhere to, or who was following the right set of rules.

He urged the early churches to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit” (-Eph.4.3) and remain peaceful with one another for the sake of furthering the gospel. Showing love to someone who has hurt us or being patient with a person who gets on our last nerve can be challenging. But putting the unity of people above our own agendas can bring peace among the church. God will work through each situation, but it is only is His timing. Trust that He is working.

We all have different gifts and skills that are used to build up the church body. The lead guitarist’s talent isn’t more valuable to the Kingdom than the janitor’s skill of unplugging a toliet. We are each equipped with a different skill-set to bring glory to God and to build up His church. Each unique skill is important to the church body. (-Eph.4.12)

When we work together it’s “so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature.” (-Eph.4.13) God is working through every person in a unique way and at a different speed of time. We need to be patient while God is working in and through the people around us.

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (-Psalm133.1)

A church building is not meant to be where our faith lives. Our faith is in Christ, and we are complete and unified through Him. We are all one church body as believers in Christ. We should not be divided in Spirit by which church building we choose worship in on a Sunday morning. Relationships beyond the confines of the church walls create unity of one Spirit.

Worship as one body, one heart, one mind, to our One God.

Post featured on WorshipTeamTraining.com

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


The Victory!

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“With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.” Psalm 60:12

Jesus already won the war, but there are still daily battles that need to be fought. The daily battle between what our selfish desires want and who we strive to be in God’s light can be tiresome. We can get worn down trying to fight on our own.

But “with God we will gain the victory.” (Psalm 60.12) Hand the daily struggle over to God. He is the only One who can bring us through with a victory. He will defeat our enemies.

Sometimes it may seem that our enemies have won. We look around us and see other people “winning” in life who maybe shouldn’t be.

Someone who has cheated their way to the top, gets that promotion.
Someone who has lied to get out of a consequence, gets off easy.

Like in a Marvel comic, we don’t like seeing the “bad guy” win!

Have faith in the promises that God gave to you. Through Christ, every injustice, unfair moment, or struggle will be made right and for His good purpose.

Pay attention to what God is doing in your life. What others do or don’t do doesn’t matter. It is about what God is doing through you, not others.

Have the courage of faith that God will see you through. He is on your side!

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


The Gift of Time

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We all have bumps in our road that have led us to where we are today. Some of the bumps are painful and they have left scars; others have healed completely. Either way, these experiences shaped who we are as a person.

God is the one responsible for healing the wounds of life. Sometimes He does it by creating time and space to heal hurts. The critical piece to working through any painful experience is through the power of forgiveness.

In the story of Joseph found in Genesis, God reveals to Joseph at the age of 17, that he has a gift of interpreting dreams. He knew God had called him to a life of greatness. But Joseph, in his immaturity, didn’t fully grasp his gifts.

One morning, after Joseph had a dream about sheaves of grain, he started off sharing his dream with his brothers in this way: “Listen, to this dream I had…” –Gen.37.6

After this, his brothers hated him even more than before and plotted to kill him.

How differently the story of Joseph may have gone if God had allowed him to become 2nd in Command under Pharaoh, immediately after his brothers had tried to kill him.

God allowed Joseph time to heal and forgive from the emotional pain of the ultimate betrayal of his family.

What Joseph may have felt after being betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery: :

  • Bitterness
  • Anger
  • Resentment
  • Revenge
  • Sadness
  • Loneliness
  • Shaken faith in God: asking God “why?”

Because of Joseph’s continued obedience to God, He was able to shape Joseph to become the leader God needed Him to be. Joseph was a little immature with his gifts at the beginning of his development. But God allowed time to shape Joseph to become the humble leader who  would save the entire country of Egypt from famine. Joseph would then extend that same saving to his brothers who betrayed him.

God uses all different ways to shape His people for His mission field. Suffering doesn’t mean forgotten by God, and trial doesn’t mean God’s given up on you.

The trials that come up in life aren’t meant to destroy us, but shape and challenge who we are in Christ.

Looking straight into the face of a challenge we can ask ourselves, “is this meant to harm and destroy me, or is this meant to challenge me to look up towards heaven?”

Whatever is in front of you —good, bad, great, difficult— God has determined this step for you to help shape who you are to become in Him. He has our steps planned out, and gently moves us to each step in His process to create us. -Prov. 16:9

Our pain, suffering, and challenges shaped who we are. We can learn and grow out of our difficult situations.

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Sometimes Faith means Waiting

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No one likes to wait. Are you currently waiting for something to happen or on someone?  Waiting can be challenging.

Personally, I really enjoy warm chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. I cannot tell you how many times I have burned my tongue on one of those ridiculously delicious gooey treats straight out of the oven. Oh the pain of a scorched tongue! This pain was caused by impatience.

In Genesis, is the story of Sarah being frustrated because she was barren. Genesis 11:29 says that “Sarai was barren; she had no child.” Then in Genesis 16, Sarai concludes this is God’s fault for her not having a child. She was bitter, and grew impatient with God timing on giving her and Abraham a son.

If you look ahead in Hebrews 11, Sarah is marked for being one of the many “Bible heroes” who was known for her faith.

Often, faith means waiting.

I can relate to Sarah about being impatient! Sometimes we want things on our own timing. Sarah was no different, and we can read later in Genesis how her impatience had a huge implication. She wanted to take control of the situation and took control God’s perfect plan.

Lamentations 3 (MSG) says: “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It’s a good thing to quietly hope, Quietly hope for help from God.”

God will come through on what He promises. Just like in the story of Abraham and Sarah, God fulfills what He says He’s going to do. We need to trust His timing and provisions.

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Like a Fool

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“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.”
Proverbs 17:28

Confronted with a conflict? It’s easy to spout off the first thing that comes to mind. Often, that quick-tempered reaction can be hurtful and do more damage than if we had just stayed quiet.

Imagine a busy parking lot. You are running late, and there is not a place to park. Just ahead, you spot a car backing up for a spot. You think to yourself “Thank God! What luck, a parking spot!” You press the accelerator pedal and pull forward– but not quite quick enough. A small sports car quickly whips into the spot —YOUR spot!

The anger wells up inside. “How dare they take MY spot? How rude!” You want to lash out. Words come quickly to mind. You may even yell ugly things at them, while sitting safely in your own car.

It’s a conflict, and you’re offended. You believe you are in the right about what you’re entitled to. The person in the other car is completely unaware of how they have ruined your morning by taking your spot.

Take a step back. Is this really your spot? Is it really worth “killing someone with words” over a parking place?

It would be foolish to go chase that person down and give them a piece of your mind. This confrontation could come to a very bad ending.

A wise person keeps their temper and words in check. It’s better to speak with purpose, than react with anger-filled words. It doesn’t mean that you are to be a door-mat and walked over. But it does mean that we need to choose our words carefully when dealing with person-to-person conflict.

What are the words of your heart? God already knows what is deeply embedded in our hearts. Reflect God’s goodness in your life through your words and actions. Carefully tame the rash reaction, and choose the words in the midst of conflict carefully.

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016


Not About the Show

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“Wow, she just killed that solo on Sunday!” or “His voice is amazing, he really brought it!”

He brought what? His Bible? The Holy Spirit?

And what was “killed”? The guitar? Was there a tragedy on the stage?

Have you heard these phrases thrown around in the worship community? They may be just phrases said to encourage the person leading the song, but where do they point people’s attention: to God or to people?

Our songs can’t bring Jesus, He’s already present, are you?

The worship team can’t make the Holy Spirit move, He’s already in the church. We don’t ever have power over the Holy Spirit; He’s already moving through the church. The question needs to be: do you, as an individual, have a willing heart to receive Him?

The songs we sing aren’t just melodies and words on a page or screen; they are prayers to God. Our worship can be public or private. In public, corporate worship, even though it is still among a community of people, God cares greatly about the individual worship: the individual heart of each worshiper.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray. Before He gives His disciples a model of prayer, He empresses upon them what it means to have a more committed relationship with the Father. An example is to not fear, not to worry, but to be filled with hope by prayer that comforts our souls.

He says that when you come before God in prayer, don’t make a show out of your prayers. When you sing or speak your prayers to God, pour out your heart to Him. Don’t be concerned with what someone else is doing or not doing, or if they are doing it better than you. Sing your own prayers to God.

In corporate worship, bring your heart before God in humility. It’s not about the show, the lighting, the sound, or amps. It’s not about the setlist or whether your skinny jean are faded enough.

Worship is about your individual heart in alignment to the Father will. It should be brimming with praises and deeply reverent before God. (Hebrews 12.28) When leading people, point them to our Awesome God.

We want to bring our best and excellence to God during our worship service. But what is the motive behind doing your best? Do you want to give your best to God, or are you looking for an applause from man?

Getting an applause from people not what God is looking for from heaven. (Gal.1.10) Where is your heart while you are “bringing it”? Did the congregation see God working through you, or did you get in the way?

Servant leadership begins on our knees, and worship begins with God.

Before we step up to lead worship, we should ask God “Will this please you? Will this point people towards heaven?”

As worship leaders, we should always look first to seek His Kingdom; ask for His will; and be knocking at God’s door in prayer asking for His guidance. (Matt.6.33)

Servant worship leadership allows time for God to prepare our individual hearts before stepping up to lead His flock in worship. Let God cultivate your heart for worship before you step in front of a mic. Allow the Holy Spirit to move in you as you lead His people.

Post featured on WorshipTeamTraining.com

Following the path,

Kelly

http://www.kellysundsvold.com
Twitter: @KellySundsvold
Instagram: @kellysundsvold
Email: ksundsvold@gmail.com

© Kelly Sundsvold and kellysundsvold.com, 2016