Friday, October 12, 2012

"The Just Church"

This is exactly the kind of book I've been looking for! While most books on justice present the issue in varying depths and ways, then call for action, they usually lack any practical steps to move from knowledge to application. This book is not like that. Jim Martin, Vice President of Church Mobilization at International Justice Mission, basically assumes you have a foundation of what injustice/justice are, gives a brief refresher course on the issues, and dives in to show you what to do with all that information.

One thing I was not expecting, and really enjoyed, was that this "how-to" didn't even start until more than 100 pages into the book. Instead, Martin starts the book by preparing and encouraging those who desire to engage in the work of justice. He prepares you for the difficulties that are certain to arise when working against such evil forces. Once he ensures that individuals are on solid footing, only then does he move on to teach how to engage a body of believers in the monumental task of restoring justice.

While he cannot give specific action steps, since every church will need to respond in a unique way, with their unique blend of talents and resources, Martin does a beautiful job of outlining the process of making justice a key value and action in your church. This book is truly an amazing handbook for justice ministries, the first of it's kind, to my knowledge! It's written in an easy-to-understand, quick-paced way that gets you excited and seeing the possibilities. I am leaving this book with a renewed passion for justice, and a compass (as Martin calls it) to lead others towards a better world.

A must read for any church leader, but especially those with a passion for justice. Buy it here.

5/5 Stars

(I recieved this book free from IJM in exchange for an honest review)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Brooke Bunnie Hops In and Out

So, my friends and I decided to buy wigs. 
And wear them around. 
Because we're awesome like that.
So I'd like you to meet Brooke Bunnie! 
My new, wig-wearing alter-ego! 

On this day, we went to the mall and a corn maze. And I have a confession. I love my wig! like, really really REALLY love it! Here's more Brooke at the corn maze: 
But seriously. How rockin' do I look in this hair?! 

Okay, maybe you're wondering about the name? We Googled various combinations of "alter ego nick names" and found some awesome, surprisingly well-fitting names! I became Brooke Bunnie, my friends are now Scarlett Winter and Delicious Daytona. (Unless they give me specific permission, I'm not putting their pictures on the blog, because that's not nice, putting other people's pictures on the internet without their permission! )

Except this one of Delicious Daytona, cuz it's awesome. And unless you're friends with us, you don't know who this is! muahahaha :)
But really, doesn't Delicious Daytona as a name just somehow fit that blue??

Well, that's all for this post. Just wanted to share last weekend's fun before I head out to the Dominican Republic tomorrow! I'm so excited and will be back next week to share about the trip! Keep us in your prayers, please! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thank You Compassioneers!

Well, it's over. And we did it!

Compassion's Blogging Month is over and we beat our goal! The goal was to get 3,108 children sponsored online during September. But we went over that and sponsored 3,159 children! Think about that: 3,159 kids have hope for the future because people like me and you stepped up to make education, health, and hope a reality for them! So from me, and them:
Thank You Sponsors! from Compassion International on Vimeo.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

If you didn't sponsor a child, you can still save a life! Head over to Compassion's page and check it out! You can also sign up to be a Compassion Blogger here, it's not just a September special event! Together we can change the world for these precious future leaders!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Humility vs. Fear

Today I've come to realize that any time I'm asked to take on a new leadership role, I react the same way (even if its something I'm expecting!)

I start by getting nervous. I want to ask the person, "Are you sure? You really want me?" I think there's no way I'm ready for that role. I think of all the people who would be better qualified than I am. I wonder when they'll realize they made a mistake. I wonder how big I'll screw up, and when. Meanwhile, however, I'm outwardly calm. I observe and learn what they teach me, and do my best in the role, giving it my all. 

Now, some might say it's humility. You know humility, that word you learn in Sunday school? Usually you learn it with verses like, "Pride goes before a fall" or "In humility consider others better than yourself"? It's a good lesson, but I think we get it confused. Because when I'm thinking all those things listed above, it's definitely NOT humility that's showing in my heart. It's fear. 

Fear that I'm not good enough. Fear that I'll mess it up, make a mistake. Fear that I don't really belong in that role that I'm dreaming of and will have to give it up. Fear that everyone will find me lacking. 

Fear comes from looking in. Humility comes from looking up. 

When you think of those figures who were truly humble (Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mother Teresa,  Amy Carmichael, to name a few), they may have had similar thoughts, but they turned them to God. They trusted that they didn't have all the answers or skills, but that He did. Putting their trust in Him, putting His plan above their wants, that's humility. Doing your best, without expecting a reward, to allow someone else to be lifted high. 

So today, with this new role being offered, I'm going to try to face it with humility. I'm turning my fear over to God and letting Him show off. Rather than looking at myself and letting my fear get the best of me, I'm looking to Him and letting Him teach me what I need to learn to be the best version of Ashley I can be. How else can I be prepared for the big work He has for me to do? 

Today's AspiringAshley Aspiration? Humility.

Edit 10/7/12: In today's Sunday School class on Exodus, my Pastor briefly touched on humility, so I wanted to share what I gleaned from him. We were in Exodus chapter 4, where God is calling Moses, but he's resisting. He starts in the beginning of the chapter with a fear vs. humility issue, saying he's not good enough, not skilled enough, etc. God says, and I love the wording of this, "Go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." (Exodus 4:12, emphasis mine). Not just, "I'll be with you", but "I'll be with your mouth"! How cool is that?! God cares about every detail! He'll take care of it!

But then Moses's fear beats out the humility and he doubts God's power. So God agrees to send Aaron with Moses to be the mouthpiece of God's deliverance  Moses settled for the Plan B. Plan A was His perfect will, Moses going before Pharaoh and freeing the Israelites. But because of Moses' doubt and settling for Plan B, now there's trouble. Now it's not the easy way of Plan A. Oh, Lord, may I seek and humble myself to Your Plan A for my life! Moses still did God's will, but he missed out on that first-best plan that would have been so much easier for him!

My Pastor defined humility this way: "Humility is authority under control". In this case, under control of the Holy Spirit. In our lives as Christ-followers, we are to be humble but balanced, so we don't let our humility lead us to doubt God. We need to know that there is no limit to what the God in us can do through us. (Pastor Najem, Oct. 2012)

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