Monthly Archives

July 2016

A ready answer

By | Day 07 | No Comments

“Is this really happening?” Maybe it wasn’t the first question I should have been asking myself, but, there are no words to convey the panic and the excitement I felt the first time someone asked me why I do what I do. We had just started working in downtown Savannah and decided to participate in a work day with the church that owns our facility. About 30 minutes into painting a fence, I met Mac. Mac was cruising down the sidewalk with his walker and stopped in front of us. He found out about the project at church and, since he lived at an assisted living home just up the street, he wanted to help. After talking and painting for a bit, the conversation turned to our program. I explained some of what we did and he became interested in our GED program.  Shortly after that, he became quiet and told me, “You know, I would really love to get my GED. I left school when I was in 5th grade to help support my family and I never finished. The problem is; I don’t know how to read.” Moved by his story, I told him we would find him a coach to help him learn. At that moment, his eyes filled with tears and he asked the question; “Why would you do that?” Getting over my panic, I said the first thing that came to my mind. “Well Mac, God loves me, I love God, God loves people, so I try to love people.” “Wow, you people are great!” Mac said, the tears now visible on his cheeks. The only thing I could say to him was “I don’t know about that. But before Jesus I was a mess. I was angry and afraid. Now, I can’t help but love people the way he asks me to and I’m less afraid. He’s not done with me yet!” My answer was definitely not a complete answer. It wasn’t eloquent or theological, but Mac came back to hear more.

Sitting down with Dad

By | Day 06 | No Comments

I used to think that prayer is not a natural skill I possessed. I would listen to people pray and, even people that didn’t have beautiful language to go with their prayers, they somehow had a better handle on how to talk with God. It wasn’t until I realized that what prayer really is, a conversation with the Creator of the Universe, I call Him dad. That’s when I found both the reverence and the closeness I was missing. I stumbled on an article recently, by David L. Fleming, SJ, about Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order of monks. He says, “Ignatius describes his ministry by the simple Spanish word conversar. Conversar means “to converse,” “to talk with.” Its simplest meaning in English is sincere talk with another person, the kind of comfortable, satisfying conversation whereby we truly get to know someone else.” http://www.loyolapress.com/what-is-ignatian-spirituality-by-david-fleming-sj.htm I want to truly get to know God in such a way that I just talk to Him. Listing 25 people to focus on is a great exercise for me to remember what it is my time with Abba is about. I just have to think, if I conversar (please excuse the terrible Spanish use), with God, and I get comfortable with that, how much better will I be doing the same with the people I am praying for?

Who is your neighbor?

By | Day 05 | One Comment

It’s late July in Savannah, Georgia when I’m writing this. That’s a brief way of saying it’s hot outside – Africa hot. We actually asked one of our students from Sudan and we found that it was actually cooler there than it was here. I am native to the north east of the US and, even though I have lived in Savannah for well over a decade, I have a hard time with the heat. So when the challenge asked me to walk outside I was not overly enthusiastic. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy meeting people and getting to know them, however, walking in 115-degree heat with 90% relative humidity is a sacrifice for me. I set out from our office for a quick walk around our block and not the best attitude. Prayer was not my problem, my heart was. “God, please don’t let me die of the heat.” A funny thing happened; God didn’t wait for me to get my stuff straight. Half way to the coffee shop (What? You want me to walk the whole time?), I ran into Joe and Randy. Joe and Randy are friends and they are homeless. I greeted them and we talked for a bit about how hot it was. I asked them if they had anything to drink and when they said no, I asked them to wait a few minutes and I would bring them some water. We wound up talking for an hour. They told me about their lives and I got to tell them about myself and what I was doing. We wound up praying for each other. It was perfect, and hot.

Pray for the people you know

By | Day 04 | No Comments

As God continues to move among the refugee community we have become a part of, I have noticed many cultural hang-ups that we have in the U.S. One of them that I now notice is how “guys” interact here. A wave of the hand, a quick nod, these are what we can expect with friends. Even our most intimate male relationships are regulated to a meaningful hand shake or an awkward hug lasting only long enough for three quick back slaps. For me, the “bro-hug” has been the pinnacle symbol of a close relationship with guys for as long as I can remember. My new middle eastern friends do not understand this. A shout of joy when I am seen, two hands on my face, a strong lasting embrace, and even a kiss on the cheek have blown away expectations and forced me to leave my discomfort (and shoes) at the door. I also noticed how quickly I revert to my cultural normal when I leave. So when I called a friend and told him I was praying for him today, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To my surprise, it was less weird than I thought it would be. In fact, I would call it welcomed; maybe even needed. We talked a bit, I got to tell him about the challenge and how it was going so far. We talked about what we were struggling with and what we were celebrating. We talked about things that would normally have taken a day out on the boat fishing or at least a fantastic sermon to bring up. We prayed for each other. After I hung up the phone I had to wonder, would this be what it’s like every day? What could happen if I knew my Christian friends this way and we shared our burdens and joys every day?

His word, all of it, is enough

By | Day 03 | One Comment

“You are the light of the world…” There are days I sure don’t feel like that. Yet here is God declaring exactly what I don’t feel over the purpose of my life. Early in my walk with Jesus I read those words with a sense of accomplishment; “now the world gets to see how the Lord works through me.” Perspective is a powerful thing and now, when I’m not feeling so ‘light-of-the world’, I feel the weight I have placed on that statement. I, too often, do not finish the thought and see the real meaning. A lightbulb consists of several parts most of which have no purpose in themselves. Nothing the parts do can fulfill their own purpose. It’s not until power is applied that the purpose of any of them becomes apparent. Even then, the light is turned on to complete the work of another. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Father, give me your power to fulfill your purposes.

Let’s do this, together

By | Day 02 | No Comments

“Who would follow me?” One of the barriers I face, most days, is one of responsibility. What do I need to do today? Who do I need to talk to? How do I make sure everyone is doing what they need to do? Really, for me, it comes down to the insecurity of, “Why would anyone, in their right mind, think what I am doing is a good idea?” Before, faced with that vision of crushing responsibility, I responded by doing nothing. What I came to realize was profound: nobody would think it’s a good idea and that’s a good thing. Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 came into focus. Only the eternal work of my Father matters and I follow Him. Released of the responsibility of having to be anything more than what God made me, I am now free to simply follow Him and show others what I’ve seen. Today I reached out to some friends and told them about this really great thing He is doing. I’m going to give simple obedience a try for 30 days and see where it goes. You want to do this with me? Day 2, Let’s do this – together.

Good thing is, it’s not about me

By | Day 01 | One Comment

“I have no idea what I’m doing.” It’s the one thought that most repeats in my mind since my wife and I said ‘yes’ to reaching the unreached in our city. Refugees from closed, Islamic countries are here in need of, well, pretty much everything, and He has placed us in a position to help. After watching the video for day one, I’m feeling rather “first century”. The check list I see to be like an early disciple is: uneducated, check; no social power, check; no organization, check. Some of our own community has even been hostile to our activities. So, that’s good, I guess. I don’t want to make too light of how God has been drawing like hearted people to join us. Churches, community groups, and some businesses have committed to coming along side with time and material resources. Most importantly, prayer. People from different churches meet twice weekly and consistently pray for us as part of their prayers for our city. The favor that we see in our daily lives among our new friends has been, in no small part, due to prayer. So, day 1, find someone to pray for you… yes, please!

Garrison: “T4T is the Most Powerful Church-Planting Tool in the World”

By | Day 26 | No Comments

David Garrison has said, “T4T is the most powerful church-plnating tool in the world.” He made this observation after seeing the tool at work in his own ministry in India. He has also conducted some 1000+ interviews in over 40 countries all over the world in his church planting research. He literally “wrote the book” on “Church Planting Movements” (that’s the title, by the way) AND his most recent work, “A Wind in the House of Islam,” reinforced the conclusion, even among Muslims.

So what exactly IS T4T? You can learn a lot by visiting the T4TOnline website. But we’ll admit, getting your arms around the whole T4T vision is a bit like figuring out “what is DMM.” The truth is, they’re kind of the same, when you get down to it. Those closest to Ying Kai (the man who has inspired the T4T vision) have observed that his work and his understanding of T4T began in a training session on DMM by Curtis Sergeant.

Watch the complete video archive of the webinar that featured David Garrison talking about T4T. Here’s a copy of the Powerpoint for that webinar and the Notes in PDF form.

Oikos Mapping

By | Day 27 | No Comments

In this brief video by Chuck Wood, we learn about Oikos mapping, especially as it relates to praying for those we haven’t met yet — and for those we HAVE met who are still far from God.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 30

By | Day 30 | One Comment

Well this is it, the last day of the challenge. Although, It’s not really as much of ending as it has been a beginning. I have been so so dearly blessed by the past 30 days. I am excited about the new spiritual disciplines that I’ve learned and want to carry out into my daily life such as the prayer calendar. I am also excited about how easy sharing my story and God’s story has become. I’ve became way more comfortable with being open about my faith and learned about the intentionality of looking for others to disciple.

It’s been so neat to watch multiplication happen before my very eyes. I’ve seen God use this challenge in so many ways that I can’t even count. And I’m going to be honest some days it was a battle. I didn’t always feel like doing the challenge and struggled, but with prayer from my prayer partner and blessings of focus and diligence from my Father I was able to push on with the challenge. The victories and wonderful works that I’ve seen occur from this challenge have completely outweighed and blown away any doubts or setbacks that I had. Never before have I felt so connected with my other brothers in sisters in Christ as I now feel as though I am apart of a prayer network with many all praying for each other.

Tomorrow my mother starts the challenge and I cannot wait to encourage her and watch God move through her!

Here’s to the end of the 30 days but the beginning of a life that seeks to start disciple making movements! It’s been real, Cheers!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 28

By | Day 28 | No Comments

I’m blogging today on behalf of yesterday, I just fell asleep before I had written my blog article for the evening…

Today I really liked learning about raising up other disciples who multiply through MAWL.

M – Model ( They watch you)

A – Assist ( You do things together)

W – Watch ( You watch them )

L – Launch ( They begin making their own disciples and groups)
It’s important that as we see people come to Jesus we train them how to be disciples as well. I know for me some of the times that I grew the most was when my youth leaders would turn around and have me share or lead a discussion. At first it was scary, I mean at one point I was afraid to pray out loud in front of other people, but those who were discipling me continued to give me opportunities and challenge me to pray. They would challenge me to answer questions. Then they began to give me leadership opportunities such as giving us students the opportunity to lead a DBS or encouraging us to start bible studies in our schools. It was through challenges like these that I grew and am now able to communicate and help disciple others.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 29

By | Day 29 | One Comment

Eyes to see where the kingdom isn’t. I first learned about unreached people groups a few years ago when I took the Kairos Course through my church. Before then I had no idea that there were so many people groups out there with no chance, no way for them to hear the gospel. It breaks my heart to know everyday people die without ever hearing the name of Jesus. I think it’s important for all believers to learn about the UPG’s and just gain a picture of what the world looks like in terms of lost vs. reached. The good news is we don’t have to sit here helpless. We can help the expansion of the gospel and take part in the Great Commission no matter where we live. We can Pray for unreached people groups. My favorite resources to pray for the unreached are www.joshuaproject.net and the book Operation World. You can also pray for the missionaries you know or that your church supports, for the work they are doing, and for the people groups they will be reaching out to. You can also pray for your friends and family and that they will catch a vision of the world and gain hearts for the unreached as well. We can help educate others about the unreached and ask them to join us in prayer.

We can also support the missionaries that are going to the unreached. We can support them through giving but we can also support them emotionally by doing things like sending them cards or Christmas packages. One of my favorite things to do is make art so I like to paint little pieces of art to send to the missionaries my church supports whenever they are putting together packages. Ask your church about the missionaries you support and how you can encourage them and pray for them specifically.

We can also share the Good News with those around us. Something I’m guilty of is assuming that people already know about Christ but instead we should assume that people don’t. If you share the gospel and they’ve already heard then either A. They are open to the gospel and you can open up spiritual conversations or B. They tell you they’ve already heard and don’t want to hear again and you respectfully know that you tried. But if just assume they know and don’t share then either A. you were right or B. you were wrong and they could die without ever having encountered the gospel. The stakes are too high for us to just assume that people already know.

Also, we can be welcomers wherever we are at. With travel being so easily accessed people are moving and dispersing like crazy. Sometimes the UPG’s come to us. Look for international students to invite into your home for dinner, refugees, new immigrants, or foreign exchange students to connect with. The world becomes so much bigger than our small circles whenever we open up our eyes and doors to those around us.
Today I spent my prayer time praying for some missionaries that my church supports and the people groups that they are working with. These missionaries have an e-mail list that gives me daily prayer requests for them so I went through some of them from the past week and just spent time praying over that community.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 27

By | Day 27 | One Comment

Today’s challenge was to make a list of 5 people who you could call and ask to start a 3/3rds group with. I made my list of a few girls who I want to continue to meet with even after I go off to college so I think starting a 3/3rds group with them would be a good way to hold ourselves accountable to our meetings. I’m going to meet with the girls I have in mind once I get back from vacation in person and talk to them about it. Hopefully we will be able to start a 3/3rds group together!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 26

By | Day 26 | One Comment

I’m blogging on behalf of yesterday… I just ran out of time to write about it while it was still yesterday.

My morning started with me texting my friend Morgan who was on my prayer calendar for today.  I’ve been talking with and praying for Morgan a lot lately, but I texted her to see if there was anything new that she needed prayer for. She replied with, “Wow you’re timing is perfect. There actually is and it just popped up…I’m pretty amazed because I was just talking to my Mom about it then you texted me.” I’ve continually been in awe of how God has been working through the prayer calendar in this challenge. I know it can be one of those things that’s easy to forget, but set a reminder in your phone because I’ve just seen God move through it so much and I’d hate for anyone to miss it!

After texting Morgan, I was sitting reading my challenge for the day when my mom walked out and struck up a conversation about the challenge. I have really been encouraging her to do it because my mom is already a disciplemaker and I think the challenge would really just give her new inspiration that she would LOVE. But, she has been going back and forth wondering if she really has time to do it and if she does do it when she should start and when she starts who is God leading to be her prayer partner? I really think that Satan has been trying to distract her with the logistics because we are always at battle, but through our conversation we were able to overcome these doubts and answer her questions. I talked about how the challenges really are doable, the thing that takes me the longest is blogging about them and she isn’t going to blog. Also I love that you can pour as much or as little time into the challenges as you want so if you have more time one day you can use it but if you’re in a crunch then you can still be intentional and do the challenges in a shorter amount of time. Also, after talking with my mom I was able to help her sort through and think about the woman that she will ask to be her prayer partner. I’m excited that my mom has now decided to start the challenge on Monday once we are back from vacation! 😀 I can’t wait to see her grow her disciple making skills and watch God move through her doing the challenge!

Also today’s challenge was to move from one conversation point to the next with someone. We’ve been on vacation with my grandpa and step grandma all week. My conversation with my step grandma has been pretty casual, but this afternoon as everyone else was out at the pool I offered to make her a cup of tea and we began talking about a relative of ours who is getting ready to begin going through chemo therapy. It honestly happened without me even realizing it but then we began talking about her parents who both passed away due to cancer and some of her other close relatives that are going through Chemo now too. We definitely moved into the meaningful conversation category today and it was a sweet time with her.
For my SOAP time today, I looked up Romans Road and began reading through it to work on improving how I tell God’s Story.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 25

By | Day 25 | No Comments

I really liked the video for today and how Curtis talked about discussing persecution with new believers before they are baptized. Often times I feel like persecution gets swept under the rug and no one really wants to talk about it as a reality. We like to think of persecution as something that may happen if we follow Christ, but we may also be able to avoid if we’re lucky. But if you’re living a life that follows Christ you are among spiritual warfare and it’s not a maybe, you will be persecuted. How we as Christians handle this persecution is a chance for us to display Christ. When someone faces persecutions and trials with grace and joy people begin to notice.

My church did a series over persecution a few months ago and it talked about the various types of persecution from societal marginalization all the way to life threatening persecution. Fortunately here in the U.S. we have freedom to worship Christ and rarely is someone’s life threatened for their beliefs, but we should be passionately lifting up in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ who are putting their lives on the line in high persecution countries. We are called to carry one another’s burdens together. And although as an American my life may not be threatened, I get left out, avoided, not asked for my opinion because people don’t want to know what I think or believe, I’m viewed as weak or closed minded and I have to be okay with that. Persecution hurts, it’s hard. But, I know that Christ is with me and will give me the strength to come out on the other side. I have to choose to trust him and face the persecution with grace and know that my faith in Christ will only grow stronger through the trials. One of the verses that always comes to mind when I think about persecution is…

“Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
James 1:2

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 24

By | Day 24 | No Comments

Today’s challenge was to read over the scriptures that talk about the body of Christ and how we should treat each other and reflect how you can live that out in your own life. It was a neat day for this to be the challenge on today because we are vacationing in Branson, MO where my dear friend and sister in Christ, Bailey, recently moved to attend College of the Ozarks and today I was able to meet up with her! It was just a fun time of fellowship to catch up and see how she was doing. She is super close with her family so her first week of living at college has been kind of hard. I enjoyed just listening to her and loving on her as she talked about her recent transition.

Today my SOAP was over 1 Timothy 5 and also talked about how we should treat people other people. It talks about treating older men as fathers, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters with all purity. Also, it discusses how we should care for others in our households and in the church.

3 Circle Evangelistic Tool

By | Day 28 | No Comments

Sitting here listening to our trainer explain the 3-circle evangelistic tool. Love it. Our trainer, Rob Jankowski, adds a fourth circle, connecting all three “original” circles, showing that the individual is sent back into the world to reproduce. He also does a full section of a circle on baptism. Using DMM approaches, Rob’s church, the New Hope Christian Church just northwest of Indianapolis, IN, has grown from 11 groups to 28 groups in just six months.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 23

By | Day 23 | No Comments

Today’s challenge was to begin developing an hour of prayer. My family is on vacation this week and so this morning I went out on the porch of our condo to spend some time with Jesus through my SOAP study and then reading over, meditating, and thinking about what an hour of prayer would look like integrated into my life.

Honestly, when I first saw the challenge I was like, what!? An hour of just sitting and praying that’s so long! But the more I began to look over the prayer wheel and I began to see how I could fit it into my life it became more and more doable. First of all I really like how the prayer wheel breaks up the hour into so many sections especially with sections of scripture reading and singing praise because I think that will help me hold my attention span much better. I also think that I may divide the hour up throughout my day with doing 30 min in the morning and 30 min in the evening. If you have a really crazy schedule you could even divide up the 5 min sections into different parts of your day. Something that I recently learned about at church camp was prayer postures so I think it would be neat to add these into different parts of the prayer wheel along with prayer journaling.

Today my SOAP study was over 1 Timothy 4. A favorite verse of mine from today was…

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.”

1 Timothy 4:10

I just like how it talks about Jesus coming to be the savior for all peoples. Jesus came to save all and he’s given us the choice to accept him as our savior or not.

Was St. Francis of Assisi a Sissy?

By | Day 17 | No Comments

Now at all! But the quote that is sometimes attributed to him (see the video below) might not have even been said by him at all! Some people think he didn’t say anything AT ALL like that. Besides, maybe if we followed the quote, we wouldn’t be telling quite the whole story anyway. To learn more, watch the video below.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 22

By | Day 22 | 2 Comments

So I’m a day late… yesterday my schedule was kind of spontaneous and crazy complete with packing to leave for a family vacation and spontaneous company (which I love) deciding to come over the day of. I wouldn’t have had  it any other way though, because I got to spend lots of time with friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I was also having trouble with my wifi so when I tried to watch the Day 22 video (and pack at the same time) it didn’t work. I just decided that instead of rushing through the day 22 challenge to check mark it off I would delay my challenge a day and give it better attention today.

After reading over the 3/3rds Group Format and watching the video I really think that often times in the American Church we miss the key component of keeping one another accountable to our actions. Having someone to hold you accountable can be deep and awkward so we decide we will “hold ourselves accountable” and keep our callings inside. I don’t know about you, but I am not very good at holding myself accountable. I am really good at coming up with excuses or reasons of why I don’t have to. I’m really good at coming up with justifications for staying in my comfort zone.

Through the challenge Annie has been my prayer partner, but we’ve really became almost more like accountability partners for one another as we want to continue meeting once a week with one another even after the challenge is over. I would really love to make our relationship even more intentional though as I want her to hold me accountable to the things I feel God calling me to do but I may come up with excuses for. I think it’s important for accountability partners to call excuses out and push for their friends to follow through with their commitments to God, even if it gets awkward. Using the 3/3rds Format I’m hoping to implement some of the things mentioned into our weekly meetings so that we may become better at holding one another accountable.

I also think that the 3/3rds Format has some techniques that would be good to implement into the life group I will be leading in the fall because it will begin to train my life group girls up knowing the importance of accountability and action.

Today I did my SOAP over 1 Timothy 3. My favorite part of my SOAP today was reading about the mystery of godliness because I feel like it simply explains Christ and all he has done in 1 verse…

He was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:16

P.S. A cool thing happened today! I got two texts from different girls that I’ve shared the challenge with asking me how they could be praying for me today. It was just neat to see these other girls doing their challenges because I know that they are both reaching out to their unique circles in places I couldn’t have reached. Each day they are praying for the people on their own prayer calendars so now instead of just me praying for my 30, I’m praying for my 30 while they are each praying for their 30 so now 90 people will have been reached out to and prayed for by the 3 of us. Pretty neat to see multiplication in action!

Expanding My Regulars

By | Day 06 | One Comment

I have to admit, I have writer’s block this week. I just feel…off. Maybe it’s the rainy weather putting me in a funk? Maybe it’s much-needed down time, as my prayer partners have pointed out? Whatever the cause, I refuse to give up and let the enemy win! 🙂

Day 6 Challenge was to list 25 people to pray for that I interact with regularly, and to make note of the ones that do no know Jesus Christ. After I made the list, I realized that especially now that I don’t work a full-time job, I don’t hardly interact with anyone at all on a regular basis, let alone those that don’t have a relationship with Jesus!

Lord, lead us to new opportunities to build relationships with the lost, while protecting us from temptation. Guide and direct our every step, and help us to get out of our little boxes so that we can reach this lost world for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 21

By | Day 21 | No Comments

Today I did my SOAP over 1 Timothy 2. This chapter really kind of sums up the discipleship challenge for me in 1 chapter of the bible because it focuses so heavily on praying in every way for everyone and if there is one thing that the 30 day challenge has done for me it’s been to challenge my prayer life and make it flourish. Never before have I prayed for my friends and family like I have during this challenge. It’s been the neatest thing to see God move after abundant prayer for and with friends and family.

It was also just a really good reminder of what my life as a girl after God’s own heart should look like…

Here are my favorite parts of today’s scripture… (Sorry I know it’s long, but it’s all so good!! (: )

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (MSG)

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.

1 Timothy 2:8-11 (MSG)

I shared these passages with my sisters and my mom today because I just really felt like they spoke beautifully to the role that us as daughters of the king are called to play.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 20

By | Day 20 | No Comments

This morning I did my SOAP study over 1 Timothy 1. My week at camp was spent studying 1 Timothy so I thought it would be a nice recap to go over it all with the SOAP method for the rest of the 30 day challenge. I had a free morning so I was really able to dig deeper into the word than I have been able to lately. It was awesome(: Coming out of my SOAP time I really feel like God might be calling me to talk with my grandmother about salvation before I leave for college. I know that my parents have tried in the past, but I really feel like this is something that I need to do. I can’t just live on knowing that she isn’t a follower of Christ and do nothing about it. I love her to much to not try. Once I share my heart with her I’ll know that I’ve done all I can. So prayers for my grandmother’s heart would be greatly appreciated in the days to come.

I also got to catch up with different people that I’ve been praying for throughout the challenge and see how they are doing. In addition, I nailed down the 2nd and 3rd meetings for my 5 people to share my story with from the Day 18 challenge and figured out my 5th person! She wasn’t originally on my list of 25, but she easily could be and through texting her today I really feel like she is the 5th person God would like me to share my testimony with.

I’ll leave you with the verse that resonated with me the most today from 1 Timothy 1:

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

– 1 Timothy 1:5 –

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 19

By | Day 19 | 3 Comments

It’s kind of interesting that today’s challenge was what it was because Annie and I were just discussing yesterday how to share salvation with others. She had Romans Road written down in her notebook and gave it to me to read through and I had planned to go back and look it up to write it down later and then I pulled up the challenge for today!

I watched Curtis Sergeant’s video from his blog titled “Getting God’s Story Right” and then I practiced drawing the pictures and writing the points in my notebook this morning. I really like the idea of having visuals to move through as you tell people about salvation. I think I might go back through and try and tie some scriptures from Romans Road in with the the visual method.

I really liked getting to do this challenge today because it forced me to think about what I would tell someone about salvation through Jesus. It’s something I have never thought of practicing, but I like the idea of being ready to share it when an opportunity arises.

Today I also got to go hammocking with Morgan, a friend who I recruited to do the challenge on Day 2, and just see how everything was going for her and encourage her. We also just had a lot of discussion about being discipled and discipling others. She was one that I felt lead to share my story with from Day 18 so I shared with her my “mini story” of becoming part of a life group. This was a mini story that  I hadn’t practiced yet, but Morgan was open to listening as I explained the importance of meeting with other believers in discipleship on a weekly basis and how life groups had got me through some tough years of High School. There is something healing about meeting with other believers in a small group setting and I encourage all followers of Christ to get involved with a small group of some kind. My hardest years were the ones when I didn’t have the support and love from my life group to keep going through the week. I’m so blessed to have them now and I really encouraged Morgan to join one too!

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 18

By | Day 18 | 2 Comments

Today I got the privilege to meet with my prayer partner Annie! I love our meetings together(: She has been praying for me all week at camp and was excited to hear all about it once I returned. I was able to tell her all the ways that God had moved over the past week and she shared in my praise and excitement. She has been encouraging me to become a life group leader since we began meeting at the end of May and now that I have decided to do it she has been the most helpful and offered me all kinds of resources and advice. We talked about the challenge and how we have been seeing God move through it. It’s neat to be able to share this time of praise together!

Today was also the day that I scheduled for my prayer walk, so I went outside and began walking and talking to God. I spent most of the time praying for my life group girls, the people who I have encouraged to join the challenge, and for the person on my prayer calendar for today. I also prayed that God would open my eyes to the persons of peace around me and lead me to the 5 people he would like me to share my testimony with.

After praying throughout my day I nailed down 4 of the 5 and began making plans with them, I’m continuing to pray that God would reveal the 5th to me over the next few days.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 17

By | Day 17 | 5 Comments

Well my last few days of camp were beautifully chaotic so I didn’t have time to do the rest of my challenges. I’m picking back up today with day 17. I was, however, given lots of opportunities to have really meaningful conversations. It was wonderful.

God really moved this past week of camp. I fell in love with my life group girls and cannot wait to begin life groups this fall! Our missionary at the camp really took the time to pour into me as she offered one afternoon to go on a walk and talk with me. And I was able to share numerous parts of my story with different students.

I was able to baptize one of my girls who is using her musical talents for Christ in the 7th grade! She also kept asking me questions about this 30 day challenge and my prayer calendar. After getting home she texted me and asked me to be her prayer partner. She said that she had went to the website I gave her and really wanted to do the challenge so that she would be better at sharing her faith as she goes back to school this year. Join me in praying for this young life group girl of mine who had inspired me with her urgency to share the gospel.

I also got to witness two of my girls being baptized at church this morning and two others are being baptized two weeks from now. It’s just been so exciting to see God move in the hearts of these Jr. Highers over the past week. I pray that I can continue to disciple them as their life group leader throughout the coming year and encourage them to be disciples who make disciples.

Watching this video today has really encouraged me to be bold in sharing my faith. The quote that was along the lines of, “How much do you have to hate someone to not tell them about Jesus?” really struck me with its simple honesty. If I believe that Jesus is the savior of this world then I need to be letting people know. Social awkwardness can be put on the side because eternity is what’s on the line. I’m praying that God will send me someone to share the ideas from this video with in the next 72 hours.
Also, This is just a reminder to stay up to date with your prayer calendar. I’ve set an alarm in my phone that reminds me to look at my prayer calendar every morning. Today I loved getting to pray for my best friend. The prayer calendar has continued to be one of my favorite parts of this challenge and I will continue to use this prayer method long after the challenge is over.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 16

By | Day 16 | No Comments

I was able to read the Luke 10 and Matthew 10 scriptures while my campers were doing their own studies at this time. I had never read and seen the parallels in these scriptures before so I found the video really helpful! It was a nice time to just sit and be with God among all the craziness at camp.

I’ve planned my prayer walk for Monday when I get back home. I didn’t have time to dive into the optional homework scriptures but I do want to spend time learning about persons of peace as I pray for God to send one my way.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 15

By | Day 15 | No Comments

Today I was able to explain the idea of discipleship to some students in my camp group. We talked about our call to be disciples and share our faith. We had some really good conversations about baptism and surrendering our lives to Christ. I also explained to my group that there is a difference between making converts and making disciples that multiply. I told them that I want to be a disciple that multiplies so that the message of Jesus will spread way beyond just the people I tell.

Where He Leads Me

By | Day 05 | One Comment

Today’s challenge included prayerwalking. We had originally thought about walking in the neighborhood of one of the parks in our community, but God had other plans, as it started to rain. He had assembled a team: our friend, my husband, my two step-children, and myself. We walked out our door and headed on foot wherever the Lord led us.

We stopped to pray for the future residents of a home that was for sale for a long time, but now it’s “pending.” May the future residents of the home come to a relationship with Christ, if they haven’t done so already. May their children, if they have any, be brought up in the Lord’s ways. May the home be full of Jesus’ love and laughter.

Around the corner we saw an elderly couple cleaning up a yard and asked how we could pray. The gentleman said his mom, that used to live in the home, passed away a year and a half ago. They’ve been blessed with finding a ton of neat memories. His parents were married in March 1941, and his dad was enlisted into the service in February 1942. There are 300-400 letters back and forth between his parents, and you could tell by the letters how much they genuinely missed each other. He went into detail about one of the letters his mom wrote to his dad. It stated that she had three hamburgers in a frying pan. The pan got bumped, the burgers fell to the floor, and the dogs ate them. Those three hamburgers were all of their ration of meat for the week!  What an amazing lesson, especially to our children, about just how blessed we are to be living in the day and age we do, as difficult as they may seem to us some days.

We walked toward a house that legend has it was a witch’s house. It has an upside down cross laid in the bricks. It seems like everyone that moves into the home doesn’t stay long, and the house is for sale again. We observed the very interesting house, and rebuked any demonic strongmen that may be tormenting any who live there.

As we continued to walk, we saw an elderly man sitting on his porch across the road from us. We waved and smiled. As we continued to walk, he looked curious as to what we were doing, so we went to talk to him.  At times like these, I fall in love with my husband all over again! He walked right up and started talking to him. The man invited my husband to sit down and visit for awhile. He proceeded to tell us that he was having a tough time with some things. He had been involved in a car accident, and it messed up his back. We asked if we could pray for his back, and he allowed us to do so. When we went to pray for him, something came to my attention: an occultic secret society symbol on his ring. After we prayed for him, I noticed that he was getting teary-eyed. We believe he was already feeling better. 🙂 I also noticed a big plaque on his house with the same symbol as the ring.  I have to be honest…it made me uncomfortable. My husband asked him if he knew Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and he reminded him that time is short before Jesus’ return. The man said he knew Jesus, but you could tell he had fallen away from that close relationship. A remorseful continence came over him. We were probably visiting with him for an hour. He attempted to keep us there as long as he could. He just had to show us his ’48 Chevy. I wonder if he ever talks to Jesus about his loneliness. How sad it must be to feel so alone. I pray the Lord gives him renewed hope today and draws him closer to Him. We certainly plan to go back to visit with him soon.

As we walked home, I was still feeling a little uneasy about us associating with someone that is part of that secret society, even if he was just a member for the social interaction.

I asked the Lord, “What do You want me to know about this?”

The Lord replied, “I came to seek and save the lost….and the deceived. Joni, you can’t be offended by those that practice the occult. I want a relationship with them, too.”

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 NKJV

Oh, man. Of course, He was right…AGAIN. I keep telling the Lord that where He leads me, I will follow; where He goes, I’ll go. He reminded me that sometimes that means being uncomfortable. Those that need to know His love and goodness are often those that are involved in other religions and practices.

Lord, I truly want to go where You lead me. Please help me to remember that no evil can harm me, so that I can be used by You each and every day, the way You see fit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Discipleship Through the Eyes of Youth: Day 14

By | Day 14 | No Comments

The idea of investing a few and slow and steady discipleship really comforts me because sometimes I get overwhelmed by the amount of people that I feel need to be discipled. But today I learned that by investing in a few and making disciples that multiply the kingdom will grow with speed and it’s really encouraging.

I have fallen in love with this group of 7th grade girls that I sponsored at camp this past week and cannot wait to meet with them once a week starting this fall. My prayer is that I will be able to love them and disciple them well so that the kingdom may grow with rapid multiplication.

Also on Day 14 I was given the opportunity to share my story with all of the campers during a main session. I was really nervous at first, but I knew this was something God was really wanting me to do. I had the opportunity to put obedience into practice and share. I’m so thankful I did because through sharing my story the kids really began to open up and connect with me. It has been such a blessing to share about how God has helped me through my anxiety with my friend on Sunday and then with the campers on Monday. God connects us through our stories and a deep fellowship happens when we allow ourselves to open up and share with one another. It’s been so neat to see this up close.