Not Easy

In Matthew 7:14, Jesus proclaims that the gate leading to heaven is really small. And the road leading to that small gate is extremely narrow.

He goes on to say that few even find it!

How can that be?
We have millions in churches around the world every Sunday!

Could it be that most people who claim to be Christians
really aren’t even on the narrow road?

It’s not easy to be a Christian.
It’s not simply a matter of signing on the dotted line
and reciting words on a screen.

Redemption for sinners cost God His only Son.
It cost Christ His very life.
It will cost us no less.

Real Christianity—genuine faith—transforms the heart.
And when our hearts are changed, our behavior also changes.

Our desires change.
We no longer want the things the world has to offer.
Sin loses its appeal . . .
we hunger for holiness.
We yearn for more of Jesus.
Our hearts cry for intimacy with Him.

Priorities change.
It’s no longer about us.
It becomes all about Him.

EVERYTHING becomes about Him.
Our entertainment.
The way we relax.
How we dress.
How we spend our money.
The way we respond to injustice.

The narrow road isn’t announced
by a large exit sign on the interstate.
It’s found where we least expect it.
Sometimes thorns are seen growing next to it.
Sometimes we hug smelly people,
hold dirty hands
love those who are mean
in order to walk on the narrow road.

That’s hard.
But that’s where Jesus walked.
and I want to be inside His footsteps.








I’m speaking at the East Ohio District Ladies retreat this weekend.

Please pray for us.

He Holds my Hand

The psalmist struggled with seeing evil people prosper.
We’ve wondered about that as well, haven’t we?
Often times we see the wicked do well,
while the godly are left out, overlooked and forgotten.

While it often seems this way right now . . .
We must remember we live in a fallen world.
By striving to keep our focus on the future
and all that God has in store for His children—
we can live in confidence that He truly is in control.

You can see the psalmist wearing his feelings on his
sleeve when you read what he says in Psalms 73:21-23
as he struggles with watching the wicked prosper:

“Then I realized that my heart was bitter,

    and I was all torn up inside.

I was so foolish and ignorant—

    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

Yet I still belong to you;

    you hold my right hand.”

Aren’t you comforted by this last sentence?
No matter what happens around you,
God reaches for your hand!

The psalmist says he’s bitter—all torn up inside.
We can identify, can’t we!
Who among us hasn’t felt like this?

He’s torn up inside because he’s trying to make sense
of what’s not right in the world around him.

But in the midst of his bitterness . . .
he comes back to one FACT:
God holds his right hand.

Even more incomprehensible than the wicked succeeding
is the FACT of God’s love.

He keeps loving us.
Continues to hold us.
Sustains us.
Shows us how to endure.

And through it all . . .
He never stops reaching for our right hand.

the God of all creation . . .
the Great I AM . . .
intertwines His fingers within ours.

And makes us one with Him.

This week . . . no matter what happens around you,
focus on the FACT that God holds your right hand!




My 95-year-old aunt just went to be with Jesus. She had a full life, taught at SNU and MANU, traveled the world and loved living. I’m so glad I’m home for three days. So glad I got to be with her, read the Bible to her, sing to her, kiss her forehead, and tell her she’d be with Jesus soon and our family would join her at some point. God is so faithful. He’s not only our hope . . . He is our living reality!

Jesus Went Away

We’re told in Luke 5:16 that Jesus often withdrew—
got away—

He sought time away to strengthen Himself in prayer.
If Jesus needed to get away . . .
how much more do WE need that?

That’s why I’ve put together the
“Friends & Family Getaway” cruise
through Susie Shellenberger Ministries.

Not only will this be a BLAST—
but it will also be a time of spiritual refreshment,

I’ll be speaking at our sessions—
along with fellow evangelist
Rev. Billy Huddleston.

You can still attend all the shows the ship offers—
but on top of that,
you get our own group’s sessions
with praise and worship
and messages to take you deeper spiritually.

The cruise isn’t until 2018.
So why am I telling you about it now?

Because I reallyreallyreallyreally want you to come.
And I’m hoping with this much advance notice,
you’ll have time to make it happen.

The dates are January 14-20, 2018.
We’ll depart from Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
We’ll stop at four ports in the Bahamas AND
in the Dominican Republic.

The least expensive room for two people is $809 a person.

The cruise line let me give a $100 discount off the total cost
of the cruise for everyone who signed up by Oct. 1.
But that date has passed.

And yes, several have already signed up.
But YOU haven’t.
So the cruise line is graciously allowing me
to extend the $100-off deadline until Oct. 28.

That’s just three weeks away!
You can sign up by calling Carla at Priority  Plus Travel: 251-423-0900

You’ll need to make a $100 deposit—
and she’ll reserve your room—
and you’ll get $100 off each person’s cruise price in your group.

Why do I want you to sign up so early?
Because the cruise line will give up our empty rooms
to the general public.
By signing up this early, you help us keep the rooms.

And the best part?
EVERYTHING is totally refundable until Oct. 1, 2017.

This cruise is going to be an amazing spiritual retreat!
Will you pray about joining me?

If you want me to mail you an informational brochure,
please email me at: and give me
your complete mailing address—it’s a paper brochure that
I send through regular mail.

Anchors Away!


This weekend I’m speaking at a District Ladies retreat in Michigan.
I’d sure appreciate you praying for us.

Jesus Lite, Part 4

It’s pretty simple.
Anyone who wants to come after Jesus into the kingdom of God—
anyone who wants to be a Christian—
has to follow three commands (found in Matthew 16:24-25):

1. Deny himself
2. Take up his cross daily
3. Follow Him

Are these words hard for you to believe?
That you really have to DENY yourself?
That you have to take up your cross daily
(in other words DIE to all that’s you?)

And that you actually have to follow in HIS footsteps?
Not simply in the same area as He is—
but actually FOLLOWING Him—
meaning literally walking in His steps!

It’s much easier to believe a “Jesus Lite” gospel—
one that promises happiness
and bliss
and lots of blessings.

But that’s not the gospel that Jesus came to proclaim.
Many of us have mistakenly bought into “Jesus Lite”—
a diet-form of Christ.

Jesus says that to be true followers of Him, we must DENY ourselves.

The original Greek word for “deny” means
“to refuse to associate with.”

The thought is . . . that if you want to be Christ’s disciple,
and receive forgiveness and eternal life,
you must refuse to associate any longer with the person you are!

You’re sick of your sinful self
and want nothing
to do with you anymore.

That’s the invitation Jesus offers.




I’m speaking in Elk River, WV Sept. 25-28.
Will you please pray for me?

Jesus Lite, Part 3

The true gospel is a call to self-denial.
It’s not a call to self-fulfillment.

This is in opposition to what we often hear—
that Jesus wants you well, rich, free from debt and happy.

But that’s “Jesus Light.”
It’s a watered-down gospel that isn’t found in the Bible—
yet it’s a trending message that’s prevalent in many churches.

Psychologically man-centered evangelicals tell you that
Jesus gives you happiness,
Jesus makes you a better real estate agent
and Jesus helps you make more touchdowns.

Jesus really wants to make you feel better about yourself.
He wants to elevate your self-image.
He wants to put an end to your negative thinking.

Christ DOES definitely want to give us the fruit of the Holy Spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”
(Galatians 5:22-23NIV).

But He never promised popularity, health, wealth and
an everything-rosy life by following Him.

We seek HIM first, and as we grow in a relationship with Christ,
He produces that fruit in our lives.

Jesus told us to deny ourselves:

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross,
and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses
his life for My sake will find it
(Matthew 16:24-25 NKJV).

“To deny oneself” isn’t a “get what you want” deal.
It’s a give up everything lifestyle.

What does it mean to deny myself and to “take up my cross”?

Well, it’s not about exalting me.
It’s about SLAYING me.

It’s the death of self.
You win by losing.
You live by dying.

And THAT is the heart message of the gospel.

Notice this Scripture doesn’t mention anything about
improving your self-esteem,
being rich & successful,
or having your felt needs met—
that’s a sugar-coated gospel.
That’s Jesus Lite.
And that’s unbiblical.

(And I’m assuming you know that I’m not suggesting it’s wrong to be rich or to have a positive self-esteem! Jesus trusts many Christians with wealth, because He knows they’ll use it to glorify Him. And when we’ve truly aligned ourselves with Christ, we DO have a positive self-esteem.)

We need to think about something:
Is the message of Christianity self-fulfillment,
or is it self-denial?
Can’t be both.

Seems that Jesus answers the question in Luke 9:23-26.
I’m not printing that passage here,
because I’d rather you pick up your Bible and read it.

How will you answer the question?
Is the message of Christianity self-fulfillment,
or is it self-denial?




I’m speaking at the MO District Ladies retreat this weekend.

Please pray for us.

Jesus Lite, Part 2

The call of Christ to repent (turn away from sin)
is radical.

Many Christians have asked Jesus for forgiveness
(confession) . . .
but still haven’t repented.
In other words, they’ve never walked away from
some of the sin they’ve sought forgiveness for.

Many hold onto some “favorite sins,”
attend church,
join in the praise and worship . . .

But many are wrong.

Jesus told us to count the cost before we follow Him.
That’s because following Him costs a LOT.
The price is everything.
It’s radical.
It’s tough to swallow.
It’s hard to embrace.
But it’s right.

We can want God’s love, grace, forgiveness, blessing
and an amazing eternity with Him—
but never get it.

Because many of us have been misinformed about
how to get it.

Billy Graham believes that only 50 percent of all people
who attend church will actually go to heaven.

Jesus confirmed this when He told the parable
of the 10 bridesmaids in Matthew 25 and compared it to
who’s getting inside the Kingdom of heaven.
HALF of the bridesmaids made it.

Does that seem hard to believe?

Many of us have given Jesus “Gumby-like” qualities.
We bend Him and shape Him to fit our needs.

We believe that He is all-patient.
All merciful.
And ever-affirming.

We’ve overlooked the fact that He came to proclaim
the Kingdom of heaven—
not to upgrade my self-esteem
make me happy
meet all my needs.

Does this seem harsh?
It’s truth.
You see, the true gospel is a call to self-denial.
It’s not a call to self-fulfillment.

God’s Son is not “Jesus Lite.”
And unless we accept the totality of Christ,
we’re not accepting Him at all.

Yes, He is love.
But He is also holy.
And He cannot tolerate sin in His Kingdom.

So instead of telling ourselves we’re getting into heaven
simply because we prayed a little prayer years ago
during Vacation Bible School—
maybe we need to start looking at our lives.

Have we really given ALL to follow Him?
Are we truly living in radical obedience
to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?


[More next week.]




I’m speaking in Sharpsburg, GA Sept. 11-14.
I’d sure appreciate your prayers!

Jesus Lite

I have fond memories of being able to purchase $3 worth of chocolate-covered peanuts from the candy counter at Sears Department store when I was a little girl.

The candy counter has been gone for a long time,
and the peanuts, popcorn and chocolates have been
replaced with flat-screen TVs, tablets and remotes.

The more I travel and speak (43 weeks/weekends each year),
I’m seeing churches filled with folks who believe they can order a specific amount of Jesus.
A “diet form” of the real thing.
A “Jesus Lite” if you will.

They don’t want all of Jesus—
Just enough to make them feel good on Sunday mornings.
But guess what—
God isn’t giving away only a little bit of Jesus.
God isn’t into “Jesus Lite.”

It’s an all-or-nothing deal.
Jesus Himself told us to count the cost before we say we’re going to follow Him (see Luke 14:25-34).

So how much does it actually cost to follow Him?











(Yes, this big space is intentional. I want to give you time to let the answer soak in.)







It will cost you absolutely













(Again, intentional space. Think about it before you continue reading.)








Absolutely everything means . . .

And everything isn’t $3 worth of Jesus.
Everything will never be “Jesus Lite.”

I’ll share more next week.




[I’m speaking at the Fall revival at Ohio Christian University next week. Please pray for God’s presence to be all over the place.)

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

Maybe you’ve been taught that it’s impolite to ask for more.

But I’ve discovered a place where it’s expected and desired for you to ask for more!


At the feet of Jesus.

He desires us to want more of Him!

So each day I’m asking, “Give me more of You, Jesus!”

And just what does Jesus have?

Well . . . everything!

Peace, kindness, power to overcome, joy, wisdom, authority over satan, gentleness, confidence, discernment . . . the list never ends.


In his book Sparkling Gems, author Rick Renner says this:

“The day you chose to make Jesus your Lord and Savior is the day He delegated to you the power and authority to become a child of God. Think of it—at that moment of decision, all the power, authority, and divine influence that is resident within the mighty name of Jesus Christ came to live on the inside of you!”



How much of Jesus and His gifts are you living with?

Too many Christians are living with about 75 percent of all Jesus has to give. I want more. I want it all.


That’s why I’m at His feet today saying, “Gimme, gimme, gimme!”

Let’s make our prayer, “Empty myself of me, Jesus, and give me ALL of YOU.”


This weekend I’m speaking in Roswell, NM. Please pray for God to be in complete charge of our services.


Thoughts about “Gimme”?

Second Chance

“ ‘Give it one more chance,’ the gardener answered. ‘Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine; if not, I’ll cut it down’ ” (Luke 13:8-9 TLB).


There were no figs on this tree—only leaves.

This parable is about us individually, but it’s also about the church.

Can you hear this conversation between God—the owner of the fig tree—and Jesus, the Gardner?


God: No figs?

Jesus: No, Father. Just leaves.

God: It’s not producing what I intended it to produce.

Jesus: Not yet. But the potential is still there.

God: There’s not even one piece of fruit.

Jesus: No, but I’ll work with it. I’ll nourish it. I’ll pour Myself into the task of preparing it to produce fruit. Let’s give it one more year. If it’s not producing fruit in a year, we’ll cut it down.


There have been times in my life I should have been cut down.

But instead, God has been patient and has consistently exercised the ministry of pruning me. And in that process of pruning, Jesus works within me to produce fruit once again.


Where are you in this process?

Producing fruit?

Being pruned?


We all want to bear fruit for our heavenly Father.

If you’re not producing fruit, ask Christ to help you.

He is faithful to continue to nurture us,

fertilize us

and bring us to full bloom through His Spirit.



Enjoy the Lord

King David had just witnessed the successful delivery of the Ark of the Covenant. (2 Samuel 6:12-15). This was certainly cause for celebration, because earlier in this same chapter, Uzzah had been unsuccessful in his delivery of the Ark.

Have you ever been so full of joy that you couldn’t contain it?
If so, you can identify with David. He was excited that he began to dance with abandon in gratitude of God’s goodness. “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Samuel 6:14-15 NIV).

He was happy!
He was celebrating.
His dancing reflected the praise within his heart.


One commentary defines David’s dancing in this way:
“He danced with all his might—violent efforts of leaping—but it was unquestionably done as an act of religious homage, thankfulness and devotion.”


David’s wife Michael (daughter of the former King Saul) watched her husband dance from the window of their home. She was not only embarrassed; she was also angry with him.


“As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16 NIV).


Did you catch the last part? She despised him.
We need to be careful not to criticize other people’s style of worship.
If worship is genuine, God loves it!


Michal berated David when he returned home, and he turned away from her for good. The last verse of this chapter says, “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” God didn’t bless her. But He did bless David.


When was the last time you truly ENJOYED God . . . and showed it?




I’m speaking in Lubbock, TX this weekend—and as always—I appreciate your prayers!