Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Thank You Note

I received an email this morning that said "write one person who has helped you a thank you note". Seems simple enough at first, but the more I ponder the thought, it becomes more difficult to choose one person. 
Out of all the people who have helped you throughout your lifetime, how do you decide which one to choose? And how do you put a lifetime of gratitude into a short note?
I will gladly follow the words of advice in my early morning email, and write note of gratitude to someone in my life. More importantly, I've been reminded that there are many people who have been instrumental in my life, and I'm sure there will be many more to come. This morning's email has reminded me to take time to thank them, one by one.

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert

Friday, July 19, 2013

Mick Jagger Said "You Can't Always Get What You Want"

Any Rolling Stones fans out there? I find truth in music so often. I think it's God's way of talking to me - even if he uses the voice of Mick Jagger to speak to me. 

We live in a world that celebrates busyness, and accumulation of "stuff". Before you scoff at me, don't get me wrong, I'm busy and I like "stuff", but I've been reminded this week that people and relationships matter more to God. They should matter more to us too.

So when Mick Jagger sang "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need." Maybe, just maybe, he was referring to relationships, and not things. I imagine that's what God had in mind when Mick sat down with Keith Richard to write those lyrics.

John 15:13

New Living Translation (NLT)
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Stitched Together

It's Day 3 of my new adventure. I'm already in awe of the events happening in my life. I have to be honest, I never imagined participating in the #Start Experiment would have such a positive effect on my life.
God has taken something that was planned by Jon Acuff and his staff months ago, and connected it to my life. In turn, as part of my "risk", I've allowed a few people to know what my goal is for this 24-day adventure. I'm amazed at the opportunities that have been placed in my life.
I'm even more amazed at how God stitched all of this together long ago. God put all of these events in motion before Jon thought about the first words in "Start". God had a plan in place for my involvement long before I heard of the #Start Experiment. He laid the foundation for the opportunities that have been given to me this week before I thought about what my risk would be. 
God, who is the ultimate artist, stitched all of this together with a plan and a purpose. The highlight of my adventure is going to be where He takes me now.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

New Living Translation (NLT)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Excuse Me, While I Go On an Adventure

I was recently asked to be part of Jon Acuff's "Start Experiment" aka #StartExp.  A number of Jon's Facebook and Twitter followers and I were chosen to go on an adventure. 
We were all asked to commit to participate in groups of 24 people for 24 days. Within our groups each of us are partnering with another person, assigned to us by Jon's staff, for this time period. 
We have each chosen a goal, a risk, an adventure; something we want to do to improve our lives or the lives of others; something fear prevented us from doing in the past; and we have this 24 day challenge to work toward those goals. We also committed to helping our group partners do the same during this time.
To say that this is exciting is such an understatement! We created communities and began relationships even before we were given our groups and our partners. Was that one of Jon's goals in this experiment? My guess is the answer to that question is not just yes, but heck yea!
We are created for community, and given the opportunity, we will naturally gravitate toward others. God knew we needed companionship when he created humans, and He desires companionship with us.

Genesis 2:18, 21-24

New Living Translation (NLT)
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs[b] and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In the Good Ole Summertime

I can't recall ever having a busier summer. I like being busy and, well, God has a sense of humor some times.
My friend Brooke and I travelled from North Carolina to San Marcos, Nicaragua on June 5th to spend a week with our friends the Martin family. After flying over a tropical storm, we arrived safely in Nicaragua with supplies for the Martins, the local preschool, children at two Compassion International projects, and a quicinera.
Our time in Nicaragua was filled with opportunities to work alongside local the local church and local families; meet new friends and visit with friends we had met before. We were also allowed the opportunity to visit two Compassion projects, where we delivered gifts from families who sponsor children there; and we spent time with the children we sponsor and their families. 
We had an amazing week! If you would like to learn more about the Martin family, their local church and their projects in Nicaragua, go to https://www.facebook.com/ImpactNica?ref=ts&fref=ts or http://condestinoanicaragua.blogspot.com/

Less than three days after we returned to  the States, Brooke and I, along with several other student ministry leaders and 110 students left NC for Daytona Beach, Florida and BigStuf Camp. There was great music at camp, as always, including David Crowder. We heard Jon Acuff and Bob Goff speak about the amazing possibilities before each of us, if we're willing to step out in faith. 
On Thursday, the day before we returned home, 14 people from our group were baptized in the ocean - including two siblings, and a young lady and her dad. There's something special about seeing families baptized together, and it's even more special when you witness baptisms in the enormity of  the ocean.

And now, well, that's where God's sense of humor comes into play. I'm participating in #startexp. I'll explain later...

Isaiah 41:13

New Living Translation (NLT)
 For I hold you by your right hand—
    I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you,
    ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.