How did you get involved with 818 Ministries?
Rebecca Dotson and I are cousins and roommates from college. I remember exactly where we were when she told me all about 818 (one of our favorite breakfast places, First Watch)! It was so amazing to see how the Lord was using one of the hardest things in her life to give her a passion and ministry to help people who were going through the same thing. I remember her saying it’s hard enough for herself and her family who have a relationship with Jesus…can you imagine how hard it must be for people who don’t have any other hope but in this world? Jesus was bringing light out of such a dark time and I love that I’m able to be a little part of that. Rebecca asked if I’d like to be a part of the writing team, and I had no hesitations to join on this journey with her!
Do you have a life verse?
“However I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testing to the gospel of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)
Paul was leaving the Ephesian church because he was “compelled by the Spirit, [to go to] Jerusalem, not knowing what [would] happen to [him] there. I only know that in every city the Holy Sprit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.” I love this because this didn’t stop Paul from going! He was going to walk in the calling God had given him, even if that meant losing his own life. This is what I want my life to look like. I pray that I am bold, confident, not afraid, so in love with Jesus that all other things are counted as a loss compared to finishing the race He has called me to.
What area 5 of your favorite things:
1. NATURE! I love everything about it. The sunset, sunrises, flowers, the fall leaves, clouds. You name it, it’s probably on my Instagram. I just love how nature is such a reminder of God and His glory.
2. Running! It can be a love/hate relationship BUT, I love the feeling of going on a long run after a stressful day! Time to be in creation and let your mind go!
3. My niece and nephews! I really am obsessed with them. They seriously bring so much joy to my heart.
4. Coffee! Love all the things about it. Slow Saturdays mornings sipping on a hot cup of coffee is SO satisfying.
5. Traveling! I love adventure-ing and experiencing all that different locations have to offer!
What are some of your favorite books?
It is one of my goals this year to read more! So this list may change very quickly! But for now some of my favorite books are:
1. Redeeming Love. I literally could not put this one down. If you haven’t read it, it is based of the book of Hosea. It’s a story of God’s relentless pursuit of our hearts, his grace and forgiveness!
2. The Hunger Games. Again, read all 3 in the span of a week! I remember when the movies came out and I had never heard of them so figured I would see what all the rave was about. It sucked me in. Every page left you needing to know what happened next!
What is your favorite hobby?
I started collecting coffee mugs of everywhere I travel with the name of the place on it my senior year of college! That’s when my coffee obsession really took a toll, I started traveling more and had the idea to open a coffee shop one day (who knows, it could happen!). I love that each one will have it’s one story and just a reminder of the awesome opportunities I had to experience something that I love!
Live with Urgency by Brandi Ladd
The rush of the holiday season is upon us. Everyone is busy busy trying to plan parties, buy gifts, and get ready for family to come into town. It can be very easy to get wrapped up in the urgency of needing to plan and we forget about the urgency of the gift that Christmas is all about - the gift of Jesus and the life we have through Him. So as we’ve been approaching this New Year, the Lord has continually been putting the word URGENCY in my mind.
As I was trying to think when I became so aware of this word, I realized it was around a time where I was thinking about the freedom I have to talk about Jesus whenever and wherever I want.
Do I live my life like I have the most precious gift you will ever receive?
Do I miss out on opportunities because I’m too focused on whatever “urgent” task is at hand?
Do I miss out because I’m too busy looking at my phone or rushing to get to the next thing?
There are opportunities every day to be a light to those who are living in darkness.
Not only are we a light in attitude and action, we are the aroma of Christ. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:14) How amazing is that? Everywhere we go we can leave the fragrance of Christ!
We are imperfect people, we will mess up, say the wrong thing, act in anger or frustration but we serve a God of grace because of the blood of Jesus. God will be glorified through our humility and repentance.
Each day we live draws us a day closer to being with God forever in heaven.
This is such an exciting and comforting truth. However, this also makes me so aware of all the lost souls in this world. All those living in darkness who don’t know this truth will not be comforted. Without Jesus, they will be in the darkness forever. This truth that we know, this gift we have received, must be shared. We need to be living our lives with a sense of urgency to share the message of the Gospel.
Are you hurting and broken within
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well
Jesus is calling
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there's no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
These are the lyrics to the song “O come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship. This song reminded me of the beautiful story of the Samaritan woman at the water well. Jesus meets her here and He invites us to the same truth we see revealed in this story.
The Samaritan women didn’t have a lot going for her. She was a woman, a prostitute, and a Samaritan. The combination of these 3 things made her a very unlikely person that anyone would pay any attention to. She drew her water after everyone was gone just so people wouldn’t see her. But then a Jewish man (Jesus) approached her and she was surprised.
Why would this man be asking ME to give him water? Does he not know who I am or what I’ve done?
She recognizes there is something different about Him. He doesn’t see what the other people see, but He knows what I’ve done. Jesus came to this city, for this woman. Most Jews of this day would travel around Samaria even though it was the longer route just to avoid defilement. But it says that Jesus HAD to travel through Samaria. There was work to be done in this city and He wasn’t afraid of what people might think if He goes.
How often are we like the people who want to avoid going through Samaria? It is so easy to look at people and judge them based on what they’ve done in the past, what they are currently doing, or simply by the things we’ve heard –gossip - which God says, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body,” (James 3:6). What if we started going to the hard places because we HAVE to? What if we started stepping out of our comfort zones into different cultures and environments because God has work to be done in and through us in those places? What if we stopped identifying people as whatever they have done or are presently doing and instead remember the great and wonderful truth from Genesis 1:27 that we are ALL made in the image of God? “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This is what Jesus did, and we are to follow His example. He went to a place that most people avoided, He looked at the Samaritan woman with eyes of forgiveness, love and grace offering her so much more than just a drink of water. He knew her sin and her past, she was caught right in the middle of it! But Jesus offered her life and freedom from it because her identity is in Him not her sin.
I wonder what could happen if we started looking at people as image bearers of God! It says that the Samaritan woman went back to her town and started telling everyone about the person she met! It says, “Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified…we no longer believe because of what you said, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39, 42). Many believed and experienced the love of Jesus because He went to her and loved her in midst of her sin.
This is a beautiful picture of the gospel. We are not identified by our past sins, past mistakes, or even the struggles of today.
Just like Jesus looked at the Samaritan woman as a child of God, He looks at us the same today and forever.
Let us ask God to change the way we view people, to see people through the lens of the Gospel and as we do this He will use us to bring more people to experience the fullness of truth, life, and joy that we only get through Jesus.