Tag Archives: God

Single: the Rules, the Wait, & Reckless Love

Today, I write this article as an eligible Christian bachelorette dating  joyfully and faithfully – but that wasn’t always the case.  In 2014, I dated, believing that I was ready for marriage and thinking that it was the men who I dated who were the ones responsible for the failed relationships.  I came to realize, however, that I was the common denominator and responsible party when they went on to get married and engaged…lol. Life-Coaching And so, 2015 was all about working on myself in the context of relationships: learning how to be open-minded, empathetic, patient, gentle, slow-to-anger – ideally never-to-anger, and learning, simply, that the world does not revolve around Jeanette and everyone has a valid point-of-view that deserves consideration.  I learned how to be a better counterpart in all of my relationships and I grew by light years.  I owe this progress to my life coach, Patty – I call her my Patty in my pocket – she gave me new eyes and a new life. The Rules The_rulesAnd with those new eyes, I re-entered the dating pool.   I now knew how to be a good girlfriend – a gracious girlfriend.  I was excited.  And I achieved some success, but I still felt somewhat out of control – some guys worked out and some didn’t and I didn’t know why one way or the other.  I needed a game plan – and I was introduced to and read: the Rules.  Or rather, I inhaled the Rules.  I read every edition available, typically over 1-2 days each. I had hour-long discussions about it w/ my girlfriend who introduced them to me and we agreed to be “Rules friends,” reaching out to each other for “Rules support.” I marveled at how differently and wrongly I had been dating.  My entire approach to dating changed.  Time-wasters weeded themselves out as only those who were available, interested, and ready rose to the top.  And for the first time, I was enjoying dating.  I was having a blast, meeting great men, and enjoying fun dates.  Then, I finally met a guy who really rose to the top, making it to date 13.  He was treating me right, taking me out, respecting me, adoring me, and just being a wonderful man that I loved spending my time with.  But…he didn’t love the Lord.  He may have identified with Christianity, but he didn’t live for God – not the way I knew I wanted my future husband to.  What had happened? Reckless Love Reckless-Promo-Slide-01-1032x590In the midst of this dilemma, a friend of mine introduced me to a sermon series called Reckless Love that answered that question for me: I was idolizing marriage.  I was making finding the one more important than being content in God.  As a result, I was casting too wide of a net.  I was casting a net that would capture men who were ready, available, and interested, yes, but not necessarily men of God.  I was making having a relationship more important than having a Godly relationship! My friend divulged to me the difficulties of an unequally yoked relationship and I suddenly saw yield signs that forced me to slow down and pay attention.  After watching the Reckless Love sermon series, I re-prioritized my source of love to be God’s love over a man’s love.  Additionally, I gained a peace with and even an excitement over my singleness.  I saw the opportunity  in my single hood.  I put on the peace of God and the faith that He would bring my man to me in His best timing.  I decided to serve God in my single hood and trust Him with my future mate. And once again, I re-entered the dating scene with new eyes:  I dramatically changed my dating profile to reflect how important God was in my life and my future mate.  Personally, I vetted men with the criteria that they be, yes, ready, available, and interested, but alsomen of God.  As a result, my dating pool shrank dramatically in quantity and rose in quality. The Wait 51h0nPrNVzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_During this time, I picked up Devon Franklin and Megan Good’s book: the Wait.  In them, I saw a couple who was hot and Hollywood and Christian and had found one another and written a book about waiting on sex and waiting in God and I wanted to hear what they had to say.  Reading that book affirmed everything that I had learned from Reckless Love – that our single hood is a wonderful time and we should maximize it to become incredible men and women of God and incredible partners for our future spouses.  The Wait affirmed believing in God’s provision of a mate and honoring God with our single, dating, engaged, and married lives.  Devon and Megan affirmed waiting until after marriage for sex and living together.  They affirmed the importance of a short engagement, getting to marriage, employing pre-marriage counseling, and a host of principles that I believe in.  And most importantly, they affirmed the beauty, joy, and fullness of doing it God’s way, as they believe that they are living God’s Plan A lives for them today as a result of their obedience and faith. With all of these tools, I am more open, more ready, more patient, more joyful, and more sure of what I’m looking for and able to offer than ever.  I marvel at what a journey it has been.  I’ve become an entirely different woman in this game of love and it’s been an evolution like none other.  I’m so grateful for all of these tools – they have all played a part in teaching me and I use parts of all of them as I navigate this adventure we call love. IdRatherChooseGodsBest If you’re struggling, scratching your head, or have even given up in love or life, the best advice that I can give is: keep the faith and don’t give up.  It’s in trying different tools, books, talks that we all aggregate what becomes our approach.  I do recommend all of the above that I mentioned, but it may not be the perfect fit or the full fit for you.  Regardless, keep trying, keep seeking, keep praying…keep the faith…and you’ll find your way! GodsBest

The Planting of the Lord: Are you Getting Enough Son?

No, I did not misspell Son 😉 As offspring of the Lord, we can never stop growing and I’m [hopefully] about to blow you away with this analogy [between us and plants] that our pastor Jim Laffoon blew me away with several Sundays ago.  I took and will relay my notes verbatim, so some of this will read as if Jim is speaking directly to you. YOUR ROOT “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.  Blessed is the one whose confidence is in Him.”  Jeremiah 17:5,7 In order to grow from seedlings to oak trees, our root must be not just in the people of God but in God Himself.  Many of you have a withering because you are looking to the people to give you what God should be giving you. Then there are things that people can do that God can’t…you need both. What I got from this is that many Christians become very dependent on the church for their spiritual walk, but that begins with your relationship with God and the church remains vital to provide community and apparently, the things that even God needs His people to provide for one another! ARE YOU GETTING SONLIGHT? Just like plants need sunlight we need sonlight – the darker your workplace is the more light you need.  Malachi 4:2 SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) applies to spirituality.  Sometimes, you have to just sit in the light.  You can train your soul to experience His presence everywhere. I absolutely adore this analogy.  I imagine that in prayer, we are essentially basking in the Sunlight (sidenote: my auto-correct won’t leave that word alone lol).  Literally with faces upturned and hands open, receiving this essential nourishment to our spirit.  I feel like I can actually feel His Sonlight and I love to bask in it! ARE YOU DRINKING? Jesus is the Living Water. Drinking from the Living Water.  I don’t have any notes for this, but the Living Water ties in very well with the plant analogy and I appreciate this perfect parallel.  To me, this emphasizes the need to bask in the Sonlight and spend time wth Jesus. The SATURATION Rain, river, reservoir – Living Water needs to be drunken once a week. ARE YOU FEEDING? Sustenance: Speaking the Word, listening to the Word – we are in God’s body.  We can feed on God through each other.  “The cool thing about Christian friends, you share gifts with one another.”  -Jim Laffoon Plants need food and we need food and Jesus said, “take my body and partake of it”  The Word of God is also referred to as food.  Give us this day our daily bread, with bread being the Word of God.  And so this emphasizes the importance, to me, of staying in God’s Word. And so, in conclusion, we can think of ourselves as plants.  And as plants of the Lord, we must be rooted in God and His People, we must be receiving Sonlight, we must be drinking Living Water weekly, and we must be feeding on the Word.  Amazing!  God’s messages are everywhere, if we will just have eyes to see His stories, lessons, and miracles!  Thank you Jim, for your incredible gift of speaking God’s Word, through your messages and prophecies.  You are one incredible contribution to our community, this world, and the Kingdom. Let’s go, my fellow seedlings, let’s gooo and Grooow!

WHEN GOD LETS YOU “SKIP THE LINE”

I’ve heard many variations of the assurance uttered: “All in God’s timing.  God’s timing is perfect.  When God annoints it, it will make up for lost time.  God’s favor is a multiplier.”  Various phrases designed to offer the same assurance: that it’s ok if you’re still waiting on something.  Have peace and know that He will work it all out. I never quite understood, however, how exactly that was going to play out in real life – until just recently.  And here’s how it works.  You don’t worry about the timing.  You stay faithful and diligent.  You keep working on your craft and you keep walking with God.  These two principles practiced concurrently ensure that you are happy and at peace no matter where and no matter what.  Years may pass in between dreams that may seem like “lost time” in the natural way of thinking.  However, in the supernatural, God moves mountains for you, essentially “making up” for the lost time – lettin’ you “skip da line!”  At least that’s exactly how it happened for me, clear as day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Several years, ago, I got the comedy itch.  I knew I was funny and I knew I loved standup comedy – so why not do it?!  I took a standup class, performed at a few open mics, performed as part of a paid show, earned  street cred in the comedy circle, and altogether had a great run as a standup comic under my belt! This time also taught me, however, that making it in this world was brutal: hours spent on the open mic circuit night after night, exploiting friends and mailing lists to bring enough guests to “earn” your time on stage, and of course, the tens of hours of constant generating, writing, & perfecting jokes 24/7.  I knew that I was done.  I had scratched the itch and was not about to begin a comedy career.  Sure, I could do it…I just didn’t want to put in all that time.  And so I happily returned to acting and spin instructing, now legitimately adding “comedienne” to my resume! Fast forward 3 years and I’m at church one Sunday hearing that our church is sponsoring a Christian Comedy Show!  I immediately meet the producer and chat with her, leaving her with our shared comedy background because I did it for two months several years ago!  I emailed her the link to said performance, bought tickets to the show, and set out to support the cause!  The day of the show, she calls me and asks that I perform.  I was completely caught off guard – I don’t know if I’ve ever been more surprised, actually – and stammered that I was in absolutely no position to perform.  She proceeded to insist, saying that it was “ordained by God” and lo and behold, I performed that night and HERE is what God did for me!
  • I had an incredible performance, surprising my church (pastors included), when I appeared on stage.
  • A producer of another comedy show scouted me at that show.
  • The headliner’s manager sought me out after the show as well.
  • I was invited to join the the Christmas show lineup for Artistic New Directions, winning over the whole room.
  • I performed and hosted with the same Christian Comedy Show two months later (both times at Comic Strip Live).
  • I performed in the 6th annual Gospel Comedy Show at Long Island University’s Kumble Theatre the day after Christmas, with my sister, niece, & brother-in-law in the audience.
Here is the miracle:  I received 10 minutes of stage time at 3 paid shows at reputable venues without ever having to pound the comedy circuit!  The average comedian starting out gets 5 minutes at an open mic where he has to wait for his turn to perform and then only performs for a lackluster audience comprised of other comedians waiting for their turn.  This average comedian eventually, by working this circuit long enough, gains enough traction, reputation, and networking to begin performing at bringer shows: paid shows with real audiences that you are required to bring a certain number of people to.  Think of those people who “bark” at you on the street: “free comedy!” “do you want to laugh tonight?” – those are bringers.  Then, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally just perform.  Again, more traction and time later, this comedian can finally get paid to perform.  In this industry, like any other, dues must be paid and you should enjoy your craft enough to tough it out for what can be years or decades of working the circuit. Well, if you can tell, I skipped over all the dues-paying as God connected me with the perfect people at the perfect time so that I could simply work on my craft and then showcase my craft – how efficient of God, huh?!  I think I dig God’s style! When it dawned on me, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and encouraged beyond measure.  In that moment, I understood that God saved me time!  I am the same comedian that I would have been had I put in all those years, except that I didn’tInstead, I spent that time working on my acting, my modeling, my hosting, my nonprofit, my spin instructing, and all of the other things I was busy doing.  And most importantly, I spent that time growing in God, walking with God, and becoming more steadfast, more righteous, and more of the woman of God that I am now. And the ultimate take-away here, the biggest encouragement – is that this is how God works.  Trust the process – just like any other process – and see it work for you.  I pray to never again be plagued by anxiety, comparison, and worry.
I pray to rest in peace and assurance that my job is to simply work hard and walk hard [with the Lord] and my path can never be wrong.
My path will be intact, my steps will be ordered, and I will always be OK! I want this to encourage you to do the same.  God’s promise in the Bible is that He has good and prosperous plans for you! (Jeremiah 29:11).  Living like this means that you live without worry or anxiety, just like all of God’s other creatures, knowing that worry will not add a single hour to your life. (Matthew 6:25-34).  Living like this means that your priority is putting God first, knowing that this most critical step paves the way for all other things to take care of themselves…ie: all other things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).  You will get your dream(s)…and instead of battling for them, they will be gifted to you!  You will get the dream career, the dream man, the dream apartment, the dream french bulldog, the dream body.  You should insert your own dreams here 😉 Here’s the funny way in which it works sometimes: by walking with God, you have insurance that things will work out, that He will work things out for our good  (Romans 8:28).  God will either realize this through granting us our very wish as we envision it or by adjusting our vision so that our wish is closer to where we already are.  The beauty of this?  Contentment, either way.  It’s the only way to live in true contentment and thus, the only way to live for me. Follow God’s lead and believe that there is no better way!

God is still providing us with Daily Manna

Hi guys! This podcast from Michael Hyatt, which I was listening while running on Tuesday, took on new meaning while I was speaking with a friend last night at dinner. In the podcast, Michelle is being interviewed by Michael (which is a role reversal!) about her life’s huge curveballs in the form of cancer and adopting three children! The huge takeaway from this for me, which only took on meaning for me two days later, was that God provides enough manna for the day…and that’s all we need. While Michelle was struggling with her cancer diagnosis, she realized that God got her through it day by day for four years and will continue to do so.  Naturally, she wanted more than just one day’s worth of provision. She wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel already. She wanted complete healing already. She wanted victory over it already. But just like in the Bible, when the Israelites greedily attempted to collect more than what God intended for them to collect for the day (just a day’s worth of sustenance), the rest of it would rot. They needed to trust that God would sustain them the following day all over again. And He did. I realized yesterday that I am in a rush for certain things in my life. But God is growing and preparing me. My foundation is being solidified so that when I expand, I won’t collapse. My friend asked me, “Do you want to grow too fast and then collapse or not be able to handle the growth?” He gave me the example of the Freedom Towers’ construction and how long the laying of the foundation took compared to the building of the rest of the towers. I realized that a slow steady construction is preferable because the subsequent growth will be lasting and sustainable. And so, I will stop looking for the final result to happen today. I will trust that whatever God provides for me today is what I’m supposed to consume and that bit by bit, day by day, promise by promise, I will get to the Promised Land! Can you be grateful to God for giving you manna to conduct your business today, execute your exercise and diet today, pay for things today, extend grace, patience, and joy today? Can you be at peace with one day’s worth of provision rather than attempting to collect for the future? It’s terrifyingly freeing! Amen! PS: Listen and subscribe to the podcast if you want!

God – the Magnificent Orchestrator

I’ve heard and retold many a story of how “God’s timing is perfect.”  Of these, there are countless.  From how my pastor’s wife waited until forty for marriage to how she miscarried several times to how now, she is the mother of two adopted newborn twin girls with the man of her dreams is one very real example.  There is an often-cited anecdote that people use to demonstrate how God may often be “saving you” from something when seemingly causing a delay in your life.  ie: that traffic jam that you’re in could be saving you from that accident up ahead.  The final idea is-which is something that I’ve really clung to recently-is the idea that you don’t “define God based on  your circumstances; you define your circumstances based on God.”  One you’ve decided that “God is good all the time; all the time, God is good,” your circumstances are simply an exercise in faith. This is all easy to say, but I know it’s hard and I’ve been through the bleak moments when I’ve wondered myself.  But the breakthroughs will come and when they do, you go ahead and record them and blog about them and keep them around because breakthroughs are testimonies.  And now I’mma share mine! I just got out of a very bleak time where I felt, in the most scientific of terms, in a schlump.  On the heels of heartbreak, my feelings began to snowball to include loneliness, depression, and an overall absence of joy, energy, and purpose.  It was bad, ya’ll.  I would put on a happy face and happy energy for just long enough to get through teaching a class or completing an audition – and then I would default to sad clown face.  Through this time, I prayed, I read, and I learned a lot.  But I was still there, in the winter, emotionally.  I started to question my career, city of living – everything went under the microscope for examination during this time of unhappiness as I tried to “get to the root.” Some important pieces of background information:
  • I’ve always been a commercial actor with no intention of pursuing tv or film acting.
  • I’ve always taught fitness classes as a “side hustle” to my commercial acting.
  • After my heartbreak, I was shaken enough to receive a friend’s referral  to her therapist and have been working with her  since.
From the book "time in a bottle" - this passage is on "perfecting the past"
From the book “time in a bottle” – this passage is on “perfecting the past”
Here is the turnaround in my story – where the winter gives way to spring – where the score crescendos – where all the pieces of God’s magnificent plan seamlessly and perfectly align for the good of you – get ready! I text my therapist in the midst of my emptiness – desperate to shake this state.  She gets on the phone with me for 30 minutes, during which I’m crying silent throughout.  At the end of that call, I feel empowered to call my Dad and make plans for Christmas and as I look at all the other areas of my life I was questioning, I suddenly feel contentment in them again.  My energy and motivation to be a contribution to this world return and I get busy doing things for others again. During this time, I was also being asked to act in a dramatic scene and despite the fact that this was not my “acting lane” as a commercial actress, I said “yes.”  As I was studying movie clips to pull from, I felt compelled to write my own scene, inspired by my heartbreak.  And right then and there, I penned my first scene as a writer!  And it was good, ya’ll!  Suddenly, the idea of being an actress – a legit actress – in tv and film – became desirable to me. I wrote the scene in under an hour and later on that day, had a conversation with an old college friend that solidified for me this decision to become a full-time actress.  By the end of that day, I was busting at the seams with excitement over my promising acting career!  The desire, placed within me for the first time, was suddenly so magnetic and so attractive, that it felt like I was going from 0 – 60mph!  Over the next two days I decided who my muse was going to be, made a vision board for my acting career, applied to an acting school, studied a monologue for that audition, started studying movies, and fully saw myself and my life through this lens of acting. And I used to say that I didn’t want to act, just do commercials and host.  And I used to specifically correct people when they called me an actress, clarifying that I was only a commercial actress.  And I had never taken one acting class. Also, at this time, it seemed like my fitness instructing career was crumbling.  My class attendance was dwindling and my gyms were actually taking me OFF the schedule.  I knew that it wasn’t me because I would get great feedback that let me know that the style that used to pack my class was the same style that suddenly was bringing in less then ten people at times.  I fought the temptation of offense and forced myself to stay still to see what God had in store in this circumstance.  And now, I see – He was freeing me to act!  Without the hours spent preparing, traveling, and teaching a class, I really would gain so much more time to pour into acting! Here’s what I believe:  God wasn’t going to let me be an actress and make it big and have the fame and fortune and platform that a successful actor has until I fixed some things.  There were some things that were in dire need of address in my way of being in relationships.  I needed to be humbled and broken – there was no way around it.  It took two consecutive heartbreaks in the same year to shake me to the point of looking outside of myself for help.  And then it was like the scales were removed from my eyes and I started to choose another way to think and behave that God finally saw as good and appropriate and fitting.  And once that started happening, God wasted no time in planting the desire and the resources around me to allow me to pursue this career at warp speed.  I believe that these years of commercial acting have prepared me with knowledge and resources to make up for this later start in my acting career.  And I believe that He loves me, has never stopped loving me, and has been guiding me all this time, even during the winters when I was too numb to feel His presence. God is good and I’m going to be a movie star! And if you don’t believe me, hear it from Oprah – her message: “there are no mistakes,” and I add to that an “Amen, because God’s plan is perfect.  He will work it out for you.”

JEBR: “Love Without Limits” by Nick Vujicic

Nick Vujicic (pronounced ‘voy-chick’) is a remarkable human being.  To put it to you bluntly, he was born without limbs – no arms, no legs – just a torso, handsome face, and a little foot that he affectionately refers to as his “chicken wing.”  You might expect him to have taken the self-pity road in life because, well, he has every reason to be bitter, feel sorry, shortchanged in life, and down about himself.  Instead, however, Nick travels the world, inspiring, encouraging, and spreading God’s message to multitudes, all with a sense of humor, winning smile, and his special hug.
Nick Vujicic on tour
Nick Vujicic on tour
It might also be tempting to assume that Nick would be the poster child for a man of God destined to be single, being that he is a missionary and is, well – without limbs.  Once again, Nick defies the odds by not only getting married, but getting married and having a child with a beautiful full-bodied woman who admires him and sees his lack of limbs as only noticeable the way someone’s height or weight might be.
Nick and Kanae Vujicic
Nick and Kanae Vujicic
They write a book together telling both of their stories of their struggles through Christian single-hood, seeking to align God’s will with their hearts’ desires.  They then unfold their story, from their first meeting to their dating, marriage, and life as a family of three.  You can hear the joy and love in their individual voices as they share the telling of their story and their full satisfaction with God’s leading them to one another.  They are honest with their insecurities, blunders, and challenges as well.  Ultimately, they wrote this book as an encouragement to singles out there to “hold out for love” and after reading through all 242 pages of encouragement in one evening, their mission had been accomplished on me.
Nick, Kanae, & Kiyoshi
Nick, Kanae, & Kiyoshi
I’ll include the primary messages that Nick wants to share with everyone, whether they continue to read the book or not – because it will give you the best test of whether or not you want to read on and because even if you don’t, these messages are enough to lift your heart in these matters of the heart.
  • Never give up on love if love is what you want, because God planted that desire in your heart for a purpose
  • You are worthy of love because you are the creation of a loving Father
  • There is someone who could love you and share your life
  • A successful marriage requires reciprocal and unselfish love as well as shared, deep, and lasting commitment
  • Parenthood will test your marriage.  It will also strengthen your bonds of love, but only if you develop deep empathy and unwavering support for each other by putting your  family’s welfare above self interest.
  • The “work” of being married is mostly about giving up our naturally self-centered ways and learning day by day to put God first, our spouses and family second, and ourselves third.
  • Your marriage, your family, and your home should always be a safe, loving, caring, and comforting place – a refuge from the world and all of its challenges.
Nick Vujicic Quote
Nick Vujicic Quote
As a single Christian woman who desires to be married one day, the first three messages are the most relevant and I will store these in my heart and mind as weapons against discouragement and lies.  This is not necessarily the relationship book that I would say to “go out and get immediately!” but it is available for free from the NYPL and therefore probably most libraries.  It’s a light, easy read, and I simply am so in awe of this man, Nick Vujicic, and wanted to see what he had to offer.  It’s not available for purchase on Thriftbooks (my other go-to) his other books are and it is available on good ‘ol Amazon.  I’ve been reading up on Christian relationship books a lot lately…haha…guess why?!  So look out for more reviews soon.  Til then, stay in love with God and love!

Let me tell you the “Sierra Trading Post” Story.

This is one that keynote speeches are made from ya’ll, so kick back and prepare to be inspired!  So, it’s all self-explanatory in the screen shot here, but I’ll just get you up to speed before you dive in.  I went to the Himalayas in August to trek and volunteer at a school.  I needed a TON of gear…everything from UV-protecting, sweat-wicking, insect-repelling shirts to energy bars.  I came back with some items to return, both in-store and online.  One of the sites that I purchased from was Sierra Trading Post.  I did not know it at the time, but during my trip, learned that Sierra Trading Post is actually a Christian company!  A Christian outdoor/camping gear online retailer?!  How does that work, exactly?  I was intrigued, impressed, and interested.  This little nugget of information made its was back to me while I was chatting w/ customer support about their returns process, which, true to form, is extremely gracious!  So, please read below to see how God turned a typical customer support call into a REAL conversation…I think you’ll find it amusing!
My chat window w/ Sierra Trading Post Customer Support
                                                  So, I wasn’t able to capture the next few lines of conversation, during which I explain the method behind my madness, that I have a similar mission here in NY w/ Actors InC.  The rep then offered to “forward my comments onto his supervisor for further review” (doncha just love their professionalism!) and I played along, exclaiming, “Sure, connect me with the owner!” Well, be careful what you wish for!  Yesterday (about a week later,) I received an e-mail from the founder/owner of Sierra Trading Post.  Here are some excerpts from Mr. Keith Richardson! “Dear Jeanette:  Thank you for the nice compliments you shared with Sierra Trading Post.   It means a lot to me when a customer takes the time to let us know that they appreciate our company.  I really appreciate it when a fellow believer writes to me.  If you haven’t done so, I invite you to check out the Founder’s story.   It gives the rationale behind my business philosophy…Best regards, Keith Richardson, President, Sierra Trading Post” I was stunned.  A simple customer service chat had led to this.  I think that this story speaks for itself because I can’t even begin to break it down.  Be bold.  Take chances.  Speak your mind and do so respectfully.  Be proud of your faith and let it speckle your conversations as you so feel called to.  Think big because God is supernatural, meaning he goes beyond what our natural minds might conceive.  ie: I may be thinking “this is a fun customer service chat conversation.”  God may be thinking, “I’m going to have Jeanette and Keith meet each other.”  This is the type of story that you cannot deny God is a part of. And, so, as Francis Chan talks about in his book, Forgotten God, take chances!  Chan says, “I love to put myself in situations in which I know that without God, I’ll be screwed.”  He acknowledges that such may be strong language for a pastor, but that best expresses how he feels!  And do you know why he loves this?  Because he wants to be able to say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God was a part of that situation.  He wants his life to be a time line chock full of accounts in which God swooped in and worked miracles, moved mountains, and created breakthroughs. A life full of amazing stories that can only be justified by the hand of God?  I want that too.  Don’t you?!  Go get it!   

the Nepal Diaries: Day 1 (of 30)

JULY 22, 2011 [transcribed from my travel journal] My journey to Kathmandu: Newark  > fly 8 hours to Zurich > layover for 4 hours > fly 7 hours to New Delhi > layover for 8 hours > fly 1 hour to Kathmandu! I’m going to be laying over for almost as long as I will be flying for!  What a crap deal!  But what can I do?  I pushed purchasing the tickets until I had raised the money and even then, my busy schedule forced me to have Danielle purchase my tickets for me! But onward.  Today was such a crazy day, even leading up til takeoff.  I can’t believe I didn’t even get a chance to breathe until I sat down.  I know that I couldn’t have done it without Mom…she totally pulled through for me.  She didn’t get critical of me, but just jumped in and started helping.  I watched Limitless, Lincoln Lawyer, Just Go With It, and Hall Pass…all pretty good!  I’ve really enjoyed my flight.  Zurich airport was pretty scenic and so is Delhi; very clean and modern!  I think I slept for 2 hours in Zurich, a few hours on the flight to Zurich, and most of the flight to Delhi.  I probably got a full night’s sleep and it’s been about 22 hours by now since I first took off.  Th e Swiss Air food was impressive.  “Snack” was pizza and ice cream and chocolate!  And dinner was Indian rice and veggies and potatoes; not shabby at all and piping hot! So, Tish said that I’m going to touch these people and I’m going to grow so much.  Josh said I’m in for the adventure of my life.  Kal said I’m making a difference in this world.  Pastor George has been praying for me.  Pastor Adam says this is going to be a great trip for me.  Auntie Sandy came out of the blue and supported me, as did Mari and so many others.  I’m riding on the wings of all my supporters right now.  It’s by God’s grace that I’m even here right now, not having forgotten any crucial items, not having over packed, having slept, eaten, and traveled well.  Thank you.  Almost there!  

Winning in Life

Some gems from Pastor Adam Burt this A.M.  Thank you for speaking these “words of life!” NEVER RETIRE: You never retire in God’s Kingdom.  You just get a new job…your mission remains the same.  The statistics on the number of people who actually use their retirement plan is small because they’re pushin’ up daisies too soon after to do so.  It’s because we’re intrinsically wired to do things…too long without doing something and you’re disengaging from life.  In the same way, when we retire, we are still doing God’s work THE PURPLE AVENGER: At a laser tag game, Pastor Adam was on a team with a 14-year old kid who jumped up on a stage, strapped on a purple headband, and started taking control of the team.  He told everyone what they were going to be doing, whether they were his age or 36 and as comical as it was, it worked, and by the end of the night, everyone was frantically asking, “What do I do, Avenger?!”  In the same way, Paul, while in prison, was still leading the apostles who were outside of the prison walls.  He sent apostles to Ephesus and other cities, told them to take his Bible, and was just still in God’s game.  Paul never retired. MIXED MARTIAL ARTS: While watching a certain MMA fight, Adam witnessed the pursuer became the pursued and the final win was sealed when one competitor ran up on the side of the cage and with a powerful kick, knocked his opponent out.  In the same way, we are told in I Peter that we are being hunted by Satan,  who is stalking us like a lion, hiding in the grass.  But we can overcome! THE NAVY SEALS: Pastor Adam goes to San Francisco to minister to the Navy Seals and realized that he would never want to do some of the things they do in training.  In one part of their training, they swim underwater until they pass out and then their dive partner will give them oxygen and when they come to consciousness, they’re on the boat.  In the same way, we have to do life with people like this.  We need “Lukes” who will be there when the times get tough. FACING YOUR FEARS: Once upon a time, a pre-pastor Adam asked Pastor Ron Lewis to be his mentor.  Adam expected that he was going to be following Ron around and soaking up great life lessons.  But Ron instead, forced Adam to do all this work he didn’t want to do.  Stricken with a fear for public speaking, Ron forced Adam to share his testimony before large groups of people!  And the one time Adam thought he was “off the hook,” Ron asked him to pray The Prayer for some new believers.  Adam said it was a sad display of the Sinner’s Prayer, but he’s so glad that he went through all of that.  And he’s an amazing speaker today! SPEAK LIFE & DESTINY: Someone (DL?) once told Pastor Adam that he was going to be an influencer and inspiration to masses.  As a young person, hearing this was life-changing and life-giving.  But it’s not just kids that need this.  Adults are hungry for words of life.  So speak life and destiny into people! WANTING HATERS: If you stand for God, you will have haters.  The Bible is offensive.  If you want everyone to love you, then just be the most agreeable person you can be.  But if you want to stand up for something, you will inevitably offend people.  And that’s a blessing…the concern exists when someone is too well-liked.  Adam had to choose to offend a very key player in his hockey career when he was told to put the Bible down to prevent offending someone.  As Adam looked around at some guys “reading” “picture magazines,” he realized that he would have to choose what he wanted to stand for.  Luckily Adam did not get traded for his conviction, and God traded that man instead! My recap does Pastor Adam’s messages no justice, as his strength is in his enthusiasm and talent of story-telling.  Please check this sermon out when it comes out on podcast or just come to an MSNY service to get a front row seat!