4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Church

We all have different methods of finding a local church to attend. Some of us go where we have the most friends. Others pick churches for their amazing worship team or inspiring sermons. Some of us like a more traditional feel, while others prefer a more contemporary vibe. Truth be told, many of us will attend several different churches throughout our lifetime. Our personal preferences change, we move to new cities, we get married, etc. We all have our reasons for attending a new church. So is there a “right” way to go about choosing a church to attend? Continue Reading

3 Ways to Protect Your Heart from Offense | alyssajhoward.com

3 Ways to Protect Your Heart from Offense

In our politically correct culture, offense is the name of the game. We get offended over every little thing. And I mean every. little. thing. But should offense be a part of the Christian life? The truth is that the Bible calls us to forgive the way Jesus forgave us. That means always and for everything. So if we’re being honest with ourselves, being offended is the exact opposite of that command. Continue Reading

How to Be Intimate with God: Relationships Are a Two-Way Street | alyssajhoward.com

How to Be Intimate with God: Relationships Are a Two-Way Street

The entire purpose of Christianity is for God to be intimate with His creation. I know that may seem like a bold claim, but it’s true. In the Garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve. They had a relationship unlike any other. They were intimate with God. But when sin entered the world, all that changed. Ever since that infamous day in the Garden, God has been at work making all things new. He’s restoring what once was… all so that He could walk with us once again. Continue Reading

It’s Okay to Grieve: A Biblical Look at Losing a Loved One | alyssajhoward.com

It’s Okay to Grieve: A Biblical Look at Losing a Loved One

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was at a concert with friends when I received the call that my grandpa had died. It wasn’t a total surprise. My parents were actually there visiting him in the hospital because we knew his time was short. But none of that mattered. It was still just as hard. It was difficult finding out in front of my friends. I didn’t feel like I could grieve his loss. It wasn’t until later that I was able to let my guard down and cry. Continue Reading

Born of the Spirit: What It Means to Be Adopted by God | alyssajhoward.com

Born of the Spirit: What It Means to Be Adopted by God

Adoption is a beautiful thing. As a parent, you are able to experience the joy of bringing a new family member home for the first time. As a child, you are adopted into a forever family. No longer on your own, you have a family you can rely on who loves you. Some children come from difficult circumstances; and for these kids in particular, adoption means new life. It’s a chance to start fresh and never again face abuse or neglect. Continue Reading

When You Don't Have a Church Home | alyssajhoward.com

When You Don’t Have a Church Home {Why Bother With Church}

I grew up in the church, and I never once questioned the benefits of attending. In my mind, it was simply something Christians were supposed to do. We worship together, give offerings, hear a sermon, and recharge for the week ahead. I always loved church. Perhaps it was my time spent on the worship team or the fact that I’ve always loved to study and learn. Regardless, I looked forward to Sunday mornings.

 

About four years ago, my husband experienced a major disappointment at our church home. He was a major part of the worship team, words were said, feelings were hurt, and it felt as if things were crumbling beneath us. The church itself crumbled as well. Nearly every person we knew left to attend elsewhere. It was a mess.

Deeply wounded, my husband asked if we could take a break. He was extremely burned out and wondered if and how he would ever feel “at home” again in a church. Continue Reading

How to Combat Resentment Before It Takes Root

We all know that forgiveness is a good thing. And not just for Christians. Even non-believers recognize the need to forgive and move forward with one’s life. But what about resentment?

While forgiveness isn’t easy, it’s usually easy to identify a problem. Resentment, however, has a way of sneaking up on you. It’s not so easily recognized. But if left to take root, resentment can grow into something that destroys you from the inside out. Continue Reading

How to Persevere When You've Had a Hard Day | alyssajhoward.com

How to Persevere When You’ve Had a Hard Day

Have you ever had one of those days? A day when you barely struggled to survive? I’ve had a few of them… days when the kids were wild, the house was a wreck, and things were simply not going the way I had planned. I always start my days with the best intentions and to-do lists a mile long. But for some reason, I stray from my original plans. I stop focusing on how to persevere and instead I find myself settling for survival. Continue Reading

How to Respect Authority When You Disagree | alyssajhoward.com

How to Respect Authority When You Disagree

What do we do when we don’t agree with the government on a particular issue? Do we respect authority? Do we rebel? Sadly, according to everything I read online, we speak out. We slander politicians, make fun of them and create a division with everyone who doesn’t agree with our viewpoints. We don’t simply discuss politics, we argue about them.

In light of our current political state, I’m seeing far more slanderous posts and articles than usual; and I’m beginning to wonder if we’re causing more harm than good by speaking out. Continue Reading

10 Bible Verses for When You Get Offended | alyssajhoward.com

10 Bible Verses for When You Get Offended

How often do you get offended? Offense is an emotional response – one that initially we can’t help but feel. Someone said or did something to hurt us or perhaps they forgot to do something or neglected us in some way. It is only natural to feel hurt by that – right? Continue Reading

You Have The One Thing the World Needs Most

What the world needs most right now is not more preachers, churches, or Christians preaching judgment and hell. No. What the world really needs is the light. We need Christians who are not afraid to shine brightly in the darkest of places. Christians who aren’t ashamed to be different – to stand out. Continue Reading

How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult (and why you should) | alyssajhoward.com

How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult (and why you should)

Family relationships are important to God. This is made clear all throughout His Word. I’ve always believed that our earthly relationships were put into place to demonstrate our spiritual relationships. For example, God is referred to as our Father. His role in our lives is very similar to that of parents and their children. He provides for us, protects us, guides us, nurtures us, etc. And as His children, we are called to obey Him for the same reason a child obeys their earthly father – He loves us enough to say ‘no’ when we need to hear it. Continue Reading

6 Ways We Sabotage our Role as Ambassadors for Jesus | alyssajhoward.com

6 Ways We Sabotage our Role as Ambassadors for Jesus

Most of us associate the word “apostle” with the New Testament disciples, but the term actually originated before Christianity. It stems from the Greek word apostolos meaning “one who is sent away” or “messenger.” You see, the Romans had a much higher goal in mind than simply to conquer the world. They desired to make the whole known world Roman, and one of their many methods of bringing Roman culture to the world included sending out an apostolos.” Similar to our modern-day ambassadors (who are sent with a purpose), they were well-equipped and given authority by the government to demonstrate what it truly meant to be Roman.

Needless to say, it was a term that Jesus used to describe His disciples for a reason. Continue Reading

4 Reasons to Never Get Offended (even when someone offends you) | alyssajhoward.com

4 Reasons to Never Get Offended (even when someone offends you)

When was the last time you were offended by something or someone? Most of us don’t see a whole lot of harm in being offended. After all, it’s a natural reaction. Someone says something that is cruel or just doesn’t sit right with you. Or maybe someone you thought was a friend completely ignores you. We’ve all been offended, and I’m sure we’ve all done our fair share of offending.

But is getting offended the right way to handle things? Sure, it’s a natural reaction, but should it be our reaction as children of God? Continue Reading

How to Build the Kingdom in Your Everyday Life | alyssajhoward.com

How to Build the Kingdom in Your Everyday Life

I wrote a blog post last week about what it means to build each other up in the body of Christ. This concept of building has been on my heart since writing that post. Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus gave the disciples a grand mission. They were called to build the Kingdom…

 

One of my favorite things to do as a kid was play with Legos. And now with two preschoolers, I’m privileged to relive my childhood once more. I’m amazed at how far Legos have come since I was young. You can literally build just about anything! Every time my daughters begin a new Lego project, I ask them one question, “What are you building?”

Sometimes they know exactly what they’re working on. They have a distinct image in their minds of what they desire the end result to be. Other times, they are simply building to build. Either way, they build piece by piece, brick upon brick. And they hope that whatever they are building will be awesome (and that their sister doesn’t come and knock it down!) Continue Reading