Live for Heaven

Everyone wants to be remembered fondly. Have you ever thought about what kind of legacy you're leaving behind? The truth is, your legacy is up to you. Many things in life were just handed to you and you can't change them. Where you were born wasn't up to you. It's a part of your story that is already written. But you story isn't over, and the pen is in your hand. However, our story shouldn't just be pointing people towards us. It should be pointing people towards God, the true Author of Life.

What Makes A Saint

Let's be honest, 'All Saints Day' does not refer to me. I have more in common with popcorn appreciation day. Or Taylor Swift fan club Mondays.

This feast commemorates all the saints in heaven and I feel like I'm so far away from being a saint. I want to be a saint though! I try really hard to not sin. In fact, I know the Ten Commandments about as well as I know the lyrics to 'As Long As You Love Me.' So . . . very well.

Is Your Faith Dead or Alive?

Every Sunday morning my routine is the same: wake up, brush my teeth, fix my hair, put on a pretty dress, and head to 8:30AM Mass. But sometimes, when 9:30 rolls around, I realize I've completely missed it all. I missed the Creed, the readings, and even Jesus, Himself, coming down from Heaven onto the altar!

Now, I don't mean that I sometimes press the snooze button so many times that I end up missing Mass. I mean I physically show up, but too often I am still spiritually sleeping throughout the entire Mass.

Is Your Faith Dead or Alive?

Every Sunday morning my routine is the same: wake up, brush my teeth, fix my hair, put on a pretty dress, and head to 8:30AM Mass. But sometimes, when 9:30 rolls around, I realize I've completely missed it all. I missed the Creed, the readings, and even Jesus, Himself, coming down from Heaven onto the altar!

Now, I don't mean that I sometimes press the snooze button so many times that I end up missing Mass. I mean I physically show up, but too often I am still spiritually sleeping throughout the entire Mass.

The Answer to Pain

And we know that we're not alone in our questions; suffering is a reality in everyones lives. Especially for us Christians, who believe in a personal God that knows and cares about every detail of our lives, suffering seems to make no sense.

The Answer to Pain

And we know that we're not alone in our questions; suffering is a reality in everyones lives. Especially for us Christians, who believe in a personal God that knows and cares about every detail of our lives, suffering seems to make no sense.

Don’t Look Back

So here is my advice to you . . . be radical! Don't go back to your old ways. It's a sad trend that we go on these awesome retreats, have this amazing experience of God's power, fall deeply in love with Him, but then leave it all behind when we toss our flip flops to the back of the closet.

What if after St. Paul had his conversion experience with God, he went back to his old ways of killing Christians? That would be weird (and tragic). Then why do we think that we can return to our old ways? You don't have to sell yourself short. Be different.

The Commonalities of Pancakes and Sin

I'm not sure if you know this about me but something rather drastic happened in my life a couple months ago – I found out I had an intolerance for gluten. If you follow me on the Twittersphere (LT_Christina) you've probably seen me talk about this. Scratch that, you've probably seen me complain and bemoan my gluten-less state while everyone else is so happily eating muffins and bagels and brownies.

Live Simply So Others May Simply Live

This summer at all of the Life Teen Summer Camps, the hosts have been walking through the Beatitudes.ÌâåÊThe first Life Teen week, I was able to sit in on all of the sessions and was deeply challenged by the truths that the host was sharing as he talked about poverty, justice and what we are really called to as Christians. (Thanks Gomer!)ÌâåÊThe Spirit began stirring in me and in Erik, and we decided that we needed to really examine our lives, our lifestyle, and our understanding of our call as Christians to live in solidarity with the poor.ÌâåÊ

Greatness Comes at a Price

The fact is that every time I see a hero in a movie do something awesome, I want to do the same. However, thinking I’ll hit like Rocky or climb walls like Spiderman is not realistic and will likely get me in over my head. The heroes we look up to train very hard to be ready for the big moment. Firefighters train for a long time before getting on the truck and going to put out fires. The 2008 Olympics wasn’t Michael Phelps’ first time in a pool.

Pray Like a Kid

At some point when I grew up, I stopped praying like a kid. Maybe I was embarrassed to ask God for what I really wanted, or maybe I just wasn't so sure He was able or willing to take care of me. I think one of the reasons that Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children (Matthew 19:14) is because children still believe in a God who cares about every little detail of their lives. They are still courageous enough to ask for miracles when everyone else tells them to not get their hopes up.

Blessed the Beggar: Who Are the “Poor in Spirit”?

Ìâ‰âÂÌâÅÒBlessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' (Matthew 5:3)

This is one of those Scripture passages that many people 'know' (meaning, they've heard it before) but countless people fail to understand. My own parochial school teacher taught us that it simply meant God loves poor people 'more.'

Ummm, to put it as charitably and bluntly as possible . . . no, that's not what it means . . .

Bold Manhood

As a result, 'loving your neighbor' has become more of a general accepting of someone for everything they choose to be and do. This idea is summed up as the great 'virtue' of tolerance. On the surface, it seems like a great and honorable ideal. Everyone can do what they want without being judged and nobody hurts anyone else’s feelings.

Yet we find something radically different in the biblical vision of love. In the gospel of John, Jesus says 'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends' (John 15:13).

The Secret to Sainthood

Do you ever feel like there's some big secret to becoming a saint and you can't figure out what it is? What did they do to become so awesome? Was there a book they read? A certain prayer they prayed? Does a diet of bread and fish help?

That's what I was wondering. (Not so much the bread and fish part.) God has been teaching me that you become a saint by . . .

What Are Your #FirstWorldProblems?

We observed workers moving rocks barefoot because they only had one pair of shoes and needed them to last. Families who lived in a landfill without electricity or running water, hoping to make a dollar a day sorting trash. As the mission director, Julia, told us, 'I know that you think that you have problems in the U.S., but compared to what we have here, you live in heaven.' While we had grown up hearing about those in need, our first hand encounter was sobering.

Fame, Fortune, and Faith

Do you ever look around at all the actresses, singers, athletes and reality stars and wonder why you can't be famous like them? Maybe you pray at night that you'll get 'discovered' on YouTube. Or maybe you want to get famous spreading God's word. That can't be bad, can it? After all, can't you do more for him as a celebrity than as an average person?

YOLO: You Only Live Once

If you're on the interweb, you've seen #YOLO unfold in a series of tweets or status updates of shenanigans involving late nights, red bull, and impulsive hair dye. I don’t find the choices in these updates all that inspiring.

I love a good prank (as long as I'm the one pulling it), and, over the course of my 9-year career as youth minister I pulled a few on the teens. My favorite of all-time took place when our retreat kicked off on a Friday night that also happened to be April Fool's Day: