C H A L L E N G E S

This is my attempt to #1. do life with you & #2. connect Sunday’s sermons to our Monday through Saturday grind. 

I love this picture.  We celebrated Delle’s third birthday in Denver, CO.  It was during this trip that she really comprehended (and fully discovered) “mountains.”  & All she wanted to do was S I T on every. single. one.  Her “child-like” heart reminds me to be brave, to climb (& conquer) my mountains, and to live a little more fearLESSly.  & That’s the idea behind the sermon challenges, to help push, motivate, inspire you to put into practice what will help you go sit on your mountain.


 

+ SERMON: “Dear Grace: Lessons from a Journey of Transformation” (Click HERE to listen).

+ SERMON CHALLENGE: Tell your story once this week.

At the Stirring we discussed Jesus’ encounter with the Blind man his journey of transformation.  So often, I tend to feel as though I can’t tell my story or my journey because I’m either ashamed of admitting I’ve made some mistakes, I don’t have it all together, or honestly that I just haven’t arrived.  But the reality is our journey, our story, it’s a PROCESS not a completion.  

So my challenge this week is to tell your story using the blind man’s statement of faith: “I once was…. but not I …”  & Here’s how it works..

#1. Claim your “I once was” statement,

#2. Post a picture that represents your story or journey along with your statement.  

You can be super fancy and use a hashtag (#TheStirring) and post it on Instagram/Facebook/snapchat… or you can just show someone this week.  Up to you. The idea is that we being owning and embracing OUR journey.  Our journey that’s not perfect, pretty, or even completed yet.

Here’s mine…

i-was-once-was-pic


+SERMON: “A Faith that Work: Pursuing Wisdom” Click HERE to listen.

+SERMON CHALLENGE: Read a Proverbs a day

Tonight at the Stirring at Hope Church Memphis,  I discussed “Pursuing Wisdom.”  My sermon challenge for us this week (to begin living lives of real wisdom) is to read a Proverbs a day & pick 1 verse/saying that resonates with you and focus on that.  Each day we will read the chapter of Proverbs that correlates with the day of the week.  For instance, the first day of this challenge was August 28th.  And so, on the first day of this challenge we will read Proverbs 28 and pick one of the verses from that chapter that connects with us.  Super simple stuff.

+ DAY 1 (Sunday) +

PROVERBS 28

(Verse 26, NIV):  “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”

THOUGHTS

This verse stuck out to me.  It challenged me to to not put confidence, hope, or trust in MY abilities but to instead “walk in wisdom” knowing that it is God working through me that anything good happens.  This is such a good (and needed) reminder the day I am preparing to speak.

 

+ Day 2 (Monday) +

PROVERBS 29

(Verse 25, ERV): “Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe.”

THOUGHTS

I am a fearful person.  Afraid of being in open water, sharks, heights, failure, success… you name it, I’m probably afraid of it.  This verse challenged and convicted me that my FEAR can be a trap.  & To instead TRUST in the Lord.  This trust will keep me safe… not the avoidance of all of my fears.

Also, I decided to read Proverbs in a translation I am less familiar with (the Easy-to-Read translation).  I have read through the book of Proverbs a few times and sometimes reading it in a different translation offers a fresh perspective.  Just a little “trick of the trade” for ya;)

+ Day 3 (Tuesday) +

PROVERBS 30

(Verse 5, ERV): “You can trust this: Every word that God speaks is true. God is a safe place for those who go to him.”

THOUGHTS

This was a needed reminder today that it’s GOD’S Words that are true and can be trusted (not humankind’s).  My focus is to trust in that and not the words and images I am constantly surrounded by.

 

+ Day 4 (Wednesday) +

PROVERBS

(Verses 8-9, ERV): Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Help people who are in trouble.Stand up for what you know is right, and judge all people fairly. Protect the rights of the poor and those who need help.

THOUGHTS

This verse reminds to be diligent about what matters most… speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves, helping people in trouble, & standing up for what’s right.  Honestly, so often my busy day in/day out life drowns out and distracts me from “caring for those in need.” So easily (& often) I go from one task to the next forgetting the heart Jesus had for the poor and those in need.  My prayer today is for God to open up my eyes and heart to see and care for those who need it… even if it means putting off a task.

 

+ Day 5 (Thursday) +

PROVERBS

(Verse 3, ERV): “They will teach you to develop your mind in the right way. You will learn to do what is right and to be honest and fair.”

THOUGHTS

Today was a tough day.  & this verse focused me on “developing my mind” and remembering to do what is right and honest and fair.

 

+ Day 6 (Friday) +

PROVERBS 2

(Verse 6, ERV), “The Lord is the source of wisdom; knowledge & understanding come from His mouth.”

THOUGHTS

This has been a week filled with decisions, planning, and lots of  “plan b’s.”  This verse reminded me that GOD is the source of ALL wisdom and discernment.  And so today, I seek that wisdom and knowledge as I plan (or adjust my plan) throughout the day.

 

+ Day 7 (Saturday) +

PROVERBS

(Verse 5-6, ERV): “Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what he wants, and he will help you go the right way.”

THOUGHTS

This is one of my favorite (& constantly NEEDED) verses.  It always reminds me to trust in God completely and to NOT depend on my own knowledge/understanding.  This has always been a challenge for me- TRUST.  & so this verse always sets me straight in seasons where I have NO CLUE what God is doing.

 

+ Day 8 (Sunday) +

PROVERBS

(Verse 23, ERV): “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.”

THOUGHTS

This was the perfect, last chapter in Proverbs for our sermon challenge.  The entire chapter was packed with some really great verses but I chose this one to be my daily reminder to protect my thoughts- for the “control my life.”  That’s a toughy for me- so often I let my thought life run in all different directions.  But this verse reminded me it protect it, fight for it, and be diligent about not letting my thought life dictate my daily life.

 

All in all, this sermon challenge was T O U G H. It was tough making sure I was setting aside time to read, pray, and then write about it. However, through this challenge God reminded me to be faithful, diligent, and remember to dwell on His words… not the world’s/mine.

 

 


+SERMON: “A Faith that Works: Pursuing Patience” (Click HERE to listen).

+SERMON CHALLENGE: Ask/thank daily prayers

Tonight, at the Stirring at Hope Church Memphis, I challenged us to begin living prayerful centered lives- DAILY. And so my challenge was to, every day, say a 2-part prayer.  1- of thanksgiving and 1- of asking. Super simple stuff.

The idea is that we begin making P R A Y E R a part of our daily lives. And a part of our lives that is not solely centered around ASKING God but also THANKING God for the blessings we are surrounded by (daily).  So, I am in this challenge with you.  Here’s what I’ve got this week…

+ DAY 1 (Sunday) +

THANK: thankful for some good 1-on-1 time with Delle.

ASK: For clarity, confidence, and calmness as I speak this evening. That my words would be God’s words.

Super simple stuff. I set my alarm for a time I knew I wouldn’t be distracted and put aside a few minutes to PRAY.  So far, so good.

+ Day 2 (Monday) +

THANK: today I am especially thankful for PEOPLE.  I was just thinking through some of the amazing people God has placed in my life and how I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Love them!

ASK: praying for this week and all of the decisions, work, and planning ahead.  Asking God for guidance and wisdom as I prepare for what’s coming up.

Today as my alarm went off I was 1. less startled than yesterday (I was actually expecting it this time!) and 2. found myself excited to take a few minutes to specifically Thank/Ask. During my quiet time I noticed a subtle change from my prayers shifting their focus from “asking” to “thanking.”   This subtle change has given me a more grateful centered mindset (& I like/needed that).

 

+ Day 3 (Tuesday) +

THANK: Thankful for new opportunities each day.  I love starting each day knowing that God has many plans, that far out weight mine.  & that makes me excited for each day’s opportunities.

ASK: For strength and energy for a FULL day.  Excited about all the day will bring but definitely need an extra dose of energy.

Today I started my morning with thanking/asking.  It was a good way for me to start my morning and gain perspective for all the day will hold.  Excited to see how a perspective of gratitude will impact what the day brings. Here we go…

+ Day 4 (Wednesday) +

THANK: Hagen smiles. Those are the best.  That girl has cheeks for days and loves the mess out of people.  This morning she woke up a little earlier than normal, which meant extra time with her… and I was okay with that.  So today, I am especially thankful for her smile and joyful spirit and how it inspires me to see (and be) the joy in each day.

ASK:  Focus. This is something I need daily.  But today, I am thinking through my long of “to do’s” and ask to remain focused on what matters and needs to be done– first.

I was hoping for time this morning to thank/ask but with Hagen’s earlier than normal morning, it didn’t quite happen.  Ironically, that time with Hagen (which wasn’t planned on) ended up being what I became most thankful for. This reminds that sometimes the unexpected ends up being exactly what we need… even if it’s not in our “plans.” 

+ Day 5 (Thursday) +

THANK: for the tough times.  Yes, I know that sounds odd but it’s true.  Today I had a great morning with the girls but honestly, it was tough.  Sweet Hagen got her 1 year shots (a month late) & was a little off.  And, Delle (lucky for me) decided she would be sympathy cranky for Hagen.  I had all of these plans and expectations for a great day off before leaving town tomorrow… and very quickly things went into “survival mode.”  BUT, these moments (oddly enough) make me appreciate the good even more and realize how thankful I am to be their mom and that they want/need ME.

ASK: for continued patience and love.  As much as the hard times make me appreciate the good and remember how fortunate I am be Delle & Hagen’s mom… they still wear me out. Today is (barely) half over and I know I will need an extra dose of patience & love to be the mom they deserve.

Today was a “plan B kind of day.”  I had plans of thanking/asking this morning but quickly things got rearranged.  On top of that, both the girls were off and decided that today was the day they would fight me on EVERYTHING.  But despite the chaos, I find myself needing to stop and thank/ask for a refocus.  Literally, as soon as I put both girls down for their nap I collapsed onto the couch and contemplated if I needed a nap or prayer time more.  Fortunately you all have been keeping me accountable (thanks!) and prayer time won out.  I needed this time today to readjust my mindset.  I guess you could say I’m thankful for my thankful time;)

+ Day 6 (Friday) +

THANK: Thanking God for the past year.  As I am preparing to leave town for the Women’s ministry leadership retreat, I remember where I was last year and all that was taking place.  It was a time filled with excitement (Hagen has just been born), challenges (I was preparing for my ordination exams), and loss (my grandmother has just passed away).

ASK: For a time of preparation, renewal, focus, and restoration as I prepare for all God has planned this next year.

It’s always tough preparing to leave town.  But as I am preparing, I spent some time to thank/ask before leaving.  It was the time I needed to focus on what God would do and say this weekend.  Excited to see what God does!

+ Day 7 (Saturday) +

THANK: Thankful for time away with some incredible leaders.  It was exactly what I needed to prepare for the future and focus on God’s plans.

ASK: For help letting go of my plans and grabbing hold of God’s plan.

I am writing this post in Moscow, TN on the annual Women’s Ministry Leadership retreat. This time has always had a special place in my heart and God has used it tremendously to prepare and focus me on what’s next in the future.  It was a sweet time today when i spent a moment thanking/asking while in a place that has impacted me so.

+ Day 8 (Sunday) +

THANK: thankful for family.  I was blessed with some good time with my sister yesterday and today with Tommy and the girls.  This time reminded me how much I love my people.  Thankful for them!

ASK: for strength and focus for this upcoming week.  I thrive on routines and this week will be a little off my routine.  So I am asking for the time/strength/focus I need to adjust and remain flexible with my plans.

>>> REFLECTIONS from the challenge. <<<

It’s both sad and crazy that TODAY is the LAST day in our weekly thank/ask prayer challenge.  This week has been extremely challenging and shaping for me.  This challenge kept me focused in my prayer life and you all have keep me accountable to remain diligent each day.

I was challenged to begin making “THANKING” a regular, more common part of my prayer life.  It’s sad admitting this, but so often my prayers look more like a long “To-Do” list of things I need from God rather than a conversation filled with gratitude and love.  This week has reminded me to spend time remembering WHO God is and thanking him for the blessings I am daily surrounded by.

Committing a week to be diligent in thanking/asking has revealed to me how a prayer life of gratitude shapes a life lived in gratitude.

Throughout the week I saw how thankfulness in my prayer life shaped my mindset and lifestyle into one filled with gratitude and praise.  All-in-all, this was a challenging, challenge and I am thankful (like what I did there;) for the time/diligence/patience with the process.  It is something I definitely plan to continue practicing.

Hope this challenge has done the same for you!