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Friday, August 24, 2012

Jumping on Board "The Hero Revolution"

This morning I had to work the 3-7am shift. And after today I don't think I'll ever sign up for that shift again. BUT, I did get to catch up on some pod-casts I've been wanting to listen to. One of the pod-casts I listened to was Carl Gulley's message "Hero Revolution" recorded on May 13th of this year. You can find this sermon here. I'm a little late jumping on the revolution train, but it was still powerful 3 months later! If you haven't listened to it yet, do it!

As I sat at the Corbin desk at 4am this morning I was so stirred by the spirit of God. I love that when we honor people it draws His presence. Through tears I listened to the end of that message and started thinking of people in my life that have inspired me. People who are every-day heroes, doing the small things consistently. People that have chosen to put others before themselves and change the world through love and obedience to Jesus.

The first several people that popped into my head were the women who have invested in my life. I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to take the new few blog entries to honor those who have discipled, sharpened, challenged and changed my life. I am forever thankful for their influence in my life and each one has marked me in a different way. Today I want to start with Jennifer Shively, my mentor and leader in high school who to this day is one of my dearest friends.

Jen has modeled how to submit to her husband and honor him through every circumstance. Not only that, but I've also gotten to see her honor her parents, friends and co-leaders. Watching her honor rather than criticize has changed my life. What a privilege it has been to see the fruit of honoring others in her life! She chooses to go low in order to lift others up. She makes a way for others rather than trying to make a name for herself. By choosing to put others above herself she empowers and supports those around her. I want to be like that!

Additionally, the way Jen loves her kids and lays her life down for people astounds me. She contends for her children's destinies and callings daily through prayer and life-on-life investment. On a practical level, this means she stops taking phone calls at 3pm when her kids get home so she can be fully present and enjoy time with them. But she doesn't stop with her family. She truly loves the person in front of her like Jesus does! She gives generously and loves extravagantly. Rather than dismissing another person's need, she helps meet them, even when it means calling on the community to help. This woman knows how to love. And I am forever challenged by this!

Jen, you are my hero. I love you and value you and am so thankful for your investment in my life. You deserve to be honored.

Jen and I my senior year of high school (2009). 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Simple Kingdom

I believe that Jesus oftentimes calls us to spend time or be intentional with people that are different than us so that we can begin to see people as He sees them. Over the past 5 weeks I was privileged to work at Kids Across America, a Christian sports camp for urban kids. I am so thankful for such a hard but valuable experience. A theme in my life has been transferring to new places and finding contentment even out of my element. But praise God in every new place He's the same... and so are His people. We each have a natural inclination towards people that are like us. However, Jesus spent his time with people that were very different than Him most of the time. The Kingdom isn't about building a community of people just like us, but building a community of diverse people with diverse gifts so that others may be reached for the gospel! And one of my favorite things about the Kingdom of God is that it's reproducible! The same values can exist and flourish in different cultures and places.

Jesus boils down all the commandments to two in Mark 12:30-31. He says "And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these" (amp). There is no condition to Jesus' command to love others. The Kingdom is simple: love Jesus and love the person in front of you.

And when our agenda is those two things, life is simple. When we love Jesus we do what He says. John 14:15 says "If you love me, you will keep my commands." And when we love people we lay our life down for them. In John 21:16 Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. Peter responds yes and Jesus says "then tend my sheep". Thus my goal this year is to love Jesus and others well, believing that the city of Lawrence will be changed through the living out of the greatest two commandments. It really is a simple Kingdom.