Tuesday, January 31, 2012

One Month To Live

"I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending, that haunts our sleep so much as the fear...that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived."
Harold Kushner
I picked up this book by Kerry and Chris Shook a while back, but haven't read it yet. I have a bad habit of doing that. Mostly because I buy so many books at the CBD sales, so they tend to pile up. Anyways. I decided a few days ago to read this in February. Then I remembered that February only has 28 days (well, 29 this year...Happy leap year!).
So, obviously, that means I had to start it tonight!

Through their ministry, the Shook's noticed that so many people make drastic life changes when they find their time on earth is drawing to a close. Their priorities are clearer. Their lives become richer and more meaningful. Their relationships and conversations are more important. So the Shook's started thinking, "Why don't we live that way all the time?" Why do we wait until the end to be the people we want to be, to do the things we want to do?

I like the idea of living purposefully. It's kinda my mantra: "Live on Purpose", "Live Loud". These are quotes I have around on a daily basis and try to live out. But its easy to get distracted. Life gets in the way of living, sometimes. Its a weird paradox, but its true. We get caught up in the doing, the busyness, the stuff. And we forget who we are, what we're made to be. I don't want to get to the end of my life and have nothing to show for it. I want to have the stories, the proof, that I lived my "dash" to the fullest. (The "dash" is the space between the day you're born and the day you die. Think tombstone. There are only two dates on there, but the thing that matters most is how that dash between them was spent. [This idea came from the book, by the way, not my own brain.])

So for the next 29 days, I will be working my way through this book, working to purposefully live my life and make it habit. I might occasionally blog about it, or it might all be personal and live in my journal for a while. But I'm doing it. A Personal Challenge! (Unless one of you wants to pick up a copy and go through it with me!)

"We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit."
Aristotle

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Saw a Girl Get Hit by a Car Today

So after church today, I was driving to the grocery store to meet some friends (we were picking up some things to cook lunch together). I was stopped at a light (4-way intersection), about three cars back. Straight ahead was the store, and directly to my right was a 7-11. So I'm just sitting there waiting for the light to change when I see this girl, maybe mid-teens or so, come running out between cars, two cars ahead of me, carrying a gallon of milk. This girl is running. And I'm thinking, "this girl is kinda stupid to run across a street like this, and not even at the crosswalk!". As I'm thinking this, she's almost across, but a white car is coming around the corner, and can't slam on the brakes fast enough. The girl rolls up on the hood of the car, the gallon of milk falls and breaks all over the street, and she lands on the ground.

I'm sitting in my car with my hands over my mouth, praying, "Oh my God, let her be okay! Oh my God, Oh my God!!!" As I'm thinking this, she stands up and starts running away!! She would've kept going, except the guy got out of the car and went to see how she was. I was in my car, so I couldn't hear what was going on, but it seemed to me that the guy was trying to figure out why she was running across the middle of the street when there was a crosswalk ten feet away (although he didn't seem too angry, more concerned and incredulous). She just seemed like she really wanted to go.

I should mention, he had just about come to a stop when he hit her, so I don't think she was really hurt...maybe a bit bruised, though. I mean, she WAS hit by a car! Anyways, my light turned green, but I obviously wasn't just going to keep going without making sure she was okay, so I rolled down the window and asked her if she was okay. She said "yeah, I'm fine" and seemed more irritated that I was asking than anything else. And she didn't seem hurt or anything, so I kept going and prayed everything would be okay. As a friend said later when I was telling them the story, "she must get hit all the time so it's no big deal!"

When I came out of the store ten minutes later they were gone. So, that's my crazy story for the day. A bit traumatic (apparently more so for me than for the girl). But seriously. Who gets hit by a car and tries to keep running? I mean, besides a criminal of some sort. I'm glad she was okay, because I really didn't wanna deal with some sort of injuries, especially after watching it happen!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Kisses From Katie"

I bought this book, so I'm under no obligation to write a review, but I absolutely love love love this book and wanted to share! And I now love this woman. She's my new role model, right up there with Amy Carmichael (Their books are gonna live together on my shelf). Katie Davis is amazing. So who is Katie and why is she giving out kisses?
Katie Davis was your typical middle-class teenager. She went to high school, had a boyfriend, and did all the normal teen things. But there was one major difference. Katie was madly, deeply, faithfully in love with Jesus Christ. In her senior year, she talked her parents into letting her go on a missions trip to Uganda that ultimately changed her life forever. Katie fell in love with the people of Uganda and decided to spend her first year after high school working there. It took a lot of convincing for her parents to agree to postponing college, but soon Katie was on a plane with a promise to come back and get on track next year.
But no one expected the life God had in store for her.

Over the next year, driven by the need she saw around her, Katie started a child-sponsorship program, enrolling over 100 kids; she adopted 13 girls; provided food, clothing, health care, and tutoring on a daily basis to all the sponsored kids, and so much more. I wanna make sure you didn't miss that. BEFORE SHE WAS 21, SHE ADOPTED 13 CHILDREN.
What did you do before you were 21?

This book made me cry, and laugh, and pray that I would be even half as faithful and trusting as Katie is. At 21, she has a faith and walk with God that will challenge most people's. The book itself is an autobiography of sorts, telling her story from beginning to wherever it is now. She includes excerpts from her journal, allowing added insight into the character of
a life-and-soul-saver.

I think these journal entries were my favorite part. It kept the book real. We (okay, I) have a tendency to almost idolize people who are being used by God to do amazing things (But we would never call it idolizing, of course. That's breaking a commandment! ). These journal entries show the person behind the acts. We see the fear, the doubt, the errors, and the humor. They help us realize, this person is just like me. She's nervous and clueless, too. She's scared and amazed, too. But she still said yes. She answered when God called. She's still human. And a young one at that!

I could go on for a really long time about how much I love this book and this woman. But I won't, because I want you all to go out, buy it, and read it. I think you'll love this woman as much as I do! And until you can get the book,
check out her blog!

Super Duper Recommended 5/5 Stars, for sure!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Start Something That Matters"

Quick note before the review: I've started doing the 50/50 challenge. It's a challenge to read 50 books and watch 50 movies (that you haven't read/seen before) during the year. So far, I'm at 2/1....I just decided to go make a page to keep track of these, so go check that out up top! Anyways, on to the review!

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
So I loved this book! It reads as part biography, part business how-to, and part inspiration. It chronicles the history of TOMS, a for-profit company that gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair it sells. From it's start as a sketch in Blake's journal, to a full-fledged business selling millions of items, follow along as one man dreams of giving children a better future. TOMS blazed a trail for people to help others, yet still pay their own bills. Blake also shares the tips and insights he's gained on this journey to greatness.

I'm not an entrepreneur, but I love that many of the tips he shares can be translated to ministry, or to a non-profit, if and when I start one. This book was easy to read, with tons of stories from Blake and others he's come in contact with. Its a great combination of stories and practicality that will inspire just about anyone. I absolutely recommend this book!

And thanks to TOMS, I get to give away a brand new copy of Start Something That Matters!! My first ever blog giveaway :] hooray! So here's how we're gonna do this. Leave a comment telling me about an organization or person making a difference that inspires you. I'll keep this contest open for one week (It will close on Wednesday, January 25th at 6pm EST). The winner will be chosen at random with one of those number generating thingys. Make sure your email is linked so I can contact you if you win!

Good luck and happy reading!

*I received this book for free as part of TOMS Books for Bloggers Program in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to give a good review. (Actually, their words were: "If you love the book, say so. If you used the book as kindling in your fireplace, that's OK too :)")

**UPDATE!** Whoops! Forgot to close the contest! Well, it was a 50/50 chance shot for the two of you who entered, and thanks to random.org's integer generator, the winner is......Kerri! Congratulations on your new free book :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Teaching Kids to Worship

Just saw this while Googling to find a new ministry work bag:
"Quiet Sacs" used by young children during worship

For many years, we have had "Children's Quiet Sacs" (also known as "Activity Sacks" or by other names) for children to use during worship. Since Summer 2009 new beautiful cloth bags have been used by these children, thanks to the Quilt Ministry.

These activity bags contain crayons, colored pencils, scratch paper, few short story books, activity sheets for the kids to stay busy and "quiet" during worship.
Originally made by Norma Pence about 10 years ago. Pastor Gary liked them and asked her to make some additional ones a few years ago. Norma purchased the fabric to make them, but moved before she could complete the project, so the fabric was given to Quilt Ministry to complete. In early 2009, there were 20 additional sacks completed and the 6th grade Sunday School class decorated them.
Thank you to both groups for these wonderful additions to our worship ministry!
Just curious...what do you think about this? Personally, I don't like it. One of the best things I've read lately is that "they're disciples in training, not disciples in waiting". How can we expect children to grow into people who love, serve, and worship God if we don't actually teach them how to?

At the start of the summer, I started encouraging daring the kids to participate in worship. In our case, to come up front during the praise and worship service. It has been so amazing to worship with my kiddos! I have a core group of 4 older kids who faithfully come worship and who encourage others to do the same.

Now, I know that we can't expect all kids, especially the younger ones, to know how to truly worship. But they can sing and dance, which are both forms of worship! If we don't encourage them to interact with worship, they get the idea that "church is boring, and I won't understand it, so I shouldn't even try. I'll just color." I believe this is one reason we see teens getting bored during service. They were never taught to enjoy and participate in worship. We need to encourage kids to own their faith! Kids need to know that they can worship, too! The same Holy Spirit that was in the disciples, that's in the pastor, that's in mom and dad, is in our kids! It's not a Junior Holy Spirit. Its the same Spirit. So let's help them learn how to listen to Him!

The only thing that will radically change the hearts and lives of our kids is an encounter with the only true God. By encouraging our kids to worship, we are bringing them to a position to encounter God. It's so much easier to meet God while worshiping than while staring into space in a pew (that's true for kids and adults!).

So let's stop teaching kids that worship is something they can't do. Let's help them develop their faith and their relationship with God. Let's see a generation rise up that is passionate about serving the Lord!
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