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The Start of A New Year

Everyone loves a new beginning. Just like the phrase, “out with the old, in with the new”, it’s a chance to put past things behind us and start fresh.

The New Year always brings a string of resolutions

and reflections, and I’ve usually been the type of person to make a whole list of personal ideals for the upcoming year. If you saw my blog post last year at this time, you’ll see what I mean. ;)

This year, however, I didn’t make a 10 ft scroll of promises, but I focused in on something that I found even more beneficial. With my notebook and pen in hand, I wrote out 3 bad things that happened to me in 2010, and 3 good things. I then listed some things that I was looking forward to potentially happening this year, and a few key things that I’d love for the Lord to strengthen me in.

What was fascinating to me was with these things clearly laid out before me I was able to see a direct correlation between the struggles of my year in 2010, and the blessings. Each one of my three negatives were then followed by either a fulfillment of the need or loss, or an answer that I had been searching for… and those were the three highlights of my year. I didn’t notice this direct connection until after it was written and staring me in the face. The “aha” moment was astounding, and left me dumbfounded at the Lord’s in-genus provision!

This beautiful discovery of God’s hand in my 2010, gave me a platform to see the new 2011 from. It’s like peeking back in a book at the chapter you left off in and refreshing yourself on what it said. Suddenly it gives context to the next chapter that you’re about to embark on. When you know where you came from, you can know where to begin.

As I sat and stared at the new number, 2-0-1-1, I felt the need to dedicate myself and the year to the Lord. I gave Him my dreams for the year and the things that I’m most excited and hopeful about – giving Him permission to do as He sees fit and knowing full well that may not look like what I had envisioned. I dedicated my heart, my time and my relationships. This new year is more about dedication for me than it is about my resolutions. I found so much peace and excitement in putting this year in God’s hands rather than clinging to the list in my own.

Action Challenge: I challenge you, if you haven’t already, to seriously dedicate this 2011 year of your life to Him. Share with Him your dreams, your hopes, your needs, and lay them at His feet where they belong. If there are things in your life that you know you need to turn from, make this the year that you start anew. When we submit ourself to the author of our lives, we will never be disappointed by the story He writes.

The Christmas Challenge

It’s time for a challenge. The Christmas Challenge!

This is a season of giving gifts… because we were given the GREATEST gift, Jesus Christ. But along with that gift, we were each given personal, unique gifts to use in serving others. These gifts come in the form of things like compassion, encouragement, generosity, teaching, leadership, hospitality, behind-the-scenes serving… and sooo many others. A gift can be as broad as “being wise” and as specific as “being a good cook”. The Bible says… we each have them! A special set of gifts of our very own.

So this Christmas, my challenge to you is to use your gift. Any gift. Do something that you normally wouldn’t – that puts you in a place where you are serving another person’s need this season.

For some people, Christmas can be the hardest time of year. Many can’t afford to buy their children Christmas presents. Some don’t even have a home to decorate or put a tree in. Others are away from family, or have a broken home.

How can you use your gifts to help? Is there one person or family that you know who has a need this Christmas? Is there a homeless shelter that is looking for volunteers? Is there a place you could set up a free hot cider stand and ask to pray for each person you give the cider to? Is there a gift on your Christmas list that you know someone else could use more than you? Is there a song you could sing or a word you could speak to someone who may need it more than you know?

This is the Christmas Challenge… and I’m doing it too. I have a few things in mind that I’m going to do this month, and will share with you what they are and how they go. Pray about it, and see what the Lord would have you do. I’m praying that each of you will take this challenge – I’m looking forward to hearing from those who do. Let’s encourage each other with our stories!

Each one of us has a gift. What will you give?

 

“Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28

The Start of A Movement

If you know me, you most likely know that I’m passionate about busting things like apathy and encouraging people to not waste their lives. Some would say I’m the Anti-Apathy/ Don’t-Waste-Your-Life-Girl. And, yeah… they’d be right!

But the heart of the message is a lot deeper than those cute catch phrases. If we’re going to not waste our lives, what are we going to do with our lives? If we’re going to be against apathy, then what are we going to be for?

I believe teens and young adults have been stripped of their value by society and left floundering for their purpose. There’s an aimlessness that’s rising out of the “lost cause” mindset that we’ve been fed. It walks among us, it wrestles within us. It keeps us sitting down when we should be standing up.

It’s time for things to change.

God has called me to start a movement called, “Wake Up, Generation”, whose goal is to awaken young people to break the chains of apathy, reclaim their value and live out the incredible, God-given mission for their lives. I am currently working on a book that lays out the heart of this movement and what it truly looks like to use our lives. I would love prayers as publishing opportunities are in the works.

In the mean time, if this is a rising movement… there needs to be action. I am going to be throwing out some “action challenges” in these next few months – some big, some small. As we take these challenges I expect a greater adventure to unfold than we ever dared to foresee.

“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made… Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. (10) You are my witnesses, declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen.” Isaiah 43:7-8,10

It’s an honor to be on this journey with you as we serve a God who has mind-blowing plans for you and me.


The Thousand Roads

Right now, many of us are at a crossroad. We could stay straight, turn left or right, go to the side or up or down. Some of you may be about to graduate from High School. Others might have lost their job. Perhaps some are leading an unhealthy lifestyle… and know it needs to change. 

Wherever you are at your crossroad, there’s a lot of paths that you could take from here. So how do you begin to choose which way you go?

The other day, I sat down with a pen and paper and literally began to write down every direction that I could imagine myself going in right now. When I had scribbled out all the options I could think of, I have to admit, I was pretty overwhelmed.

When I sat there with a thousand different roads seemingly before me, my thoughts initially felt as jumbled as my crowded piece of paper. I can see why some people just choose to escape and “check out” when it comes to major life decisions rather than really digging in to think things through. Could that be what some of us have done?

I see it all the time. Instead of really buckling down and facing some of the choices that are set before us, we choose escape. We welcome the fact that the world doesn’t encourage making hard decisions and really getting serious about things. We think, “If I can coast my way through, that’s good enough for me…”

But is it? At some point, we all choose a direction. Whether consciously or not.

On the piece of paper with my many scribbled out “path options”, were two in particular that stuck out to me the most – all the other choices seemed to pale in comparison. If anything, they seemed to point to those two main things that I apparently really care about doing. (might I just add that those 2 things were the biggest, craziest things on my list??)

Suddenly, what had seemed like a mass confusion of overwhelming choices became narrowed down to a handful. When I really stopped for a second to think about these big, hard, life things… I realized that maybe there weren’t a thousand paths after all. Maybe I was actually made for one.

Maybe the purpose that was inside me was reaching for the things on that list that had the most to do with my passion… perhaps a passion that I hadn’t even fully discovered yet. But regardless, I seemed to know which 2 things on the list to pick… though they were the craziest, most improbable ones.

>> ACTION CHALLENGE << If you feel you are at a crossroad in your life with many paths set before you, take a minute to write down all the paths you’d consider taking right now. ie: Career, School, Relationships, Living locations. Include the “crazy dream” paths, as well as the seemingly logical/practical paths. After you have it written down, read it over and see what sticks out to you. What could you take or leave? What do you keep coming back to? Circle the things that seem to jump out to your heart the most. Those are the things that are most likely not options to ignore. This means you are meant to do them… they are part of your path.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

*If you do this action challenge, I’d love to hear what you found if you care to share!