Category Archives: Abundant Living

Becky’s First Book is Now Live on Kickstarter!

Joyfully Ever After is a book and video-based, coming-of-age Bible study for young women.

Recommended for ages 15 through 22, this curriculum is designed to be studied in a small group, or in a mentorship duo with a mother or trusted friend.

Through Biblical teaching and compelling stories, Joyfully Ever After will:

  • Empower young women to embrace their identities as children of God.
  • Catalyze mentorship relationships, which are the foundation of lasting discipleship. (Mentor Guide and Group Discussion Guide included in every copy)
  • Extravagantly commemorate each commitment to godly womanhood with a lavish celebration. (An event planning guide, included in the book, will help you dream up all the details for your Jubilee.)

Let’s encourage our young ladies, “your relationship with Jesus matters—let’s celebrate it!”

Count me in!

By supporting this project on Kickstarter, you are not only helping to publish Joyfully Ever After, you will also be the first to receive a copy of the Bible study!

Backer Rewards are based on donation, including:

  • $10 – e-book
  • $20 – e-book + Teaching Video Codes
  • $25 – Softcover Bible Study (signed by Becky) + Teaching Video Codes
  • $50 – Mother-Daughter Set
  • $150 – Group Set

For champion backers, you will receive a signed copy of the book, online access codes to the videos, and the following extras:

  • $500 – Legacy Reward (acknowledgement in Joyfully Ever After)
  • $1000 – Event Speaker Reward (Becky will wave her speaking fees for your event AND acknowledge you or your church/organization in the book)

Ready to join the Joyfully Ever After journey?

Visit kickstarter.com now to make your pledge!
(You won’t be charged until May 1st, and only if the project goal is met).

The goal of Joyfully Ever After is to celebrate, identify, and discover our relationship with God as His daughters and ambassadors. I loved all of it. It has definitely grown my faith.

—Zoie J., High School Senior

PLEASE SHARE THIS EXCITING NEW BIBLE STUDY FOR YOUNG WOMEN!

Coming soon to e-book and paperback on Amazon.com!

 

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7 Gorgeous Ways to Visualize Your Word of the Year

So you agonized over your personal Word of the Year (WOTY) and finally arrived at the perfect mantra, focus, challenge, etc… but now what? I suggest you find a way to VISUALIZE your Word in a way that tangibly brings it (or it’s meaning) to mind every day.

Here are 7 of my favorite ideas:

1. Accessorize with It

In my last post, we explored ways to perceive our WOTY. For me, my Word “Advocate” acts as a scale to weigh my thoughts, options, and circumstances. Having my word printed on this gorgeous gold bar necklace has forced me to acknowledge it constantly. It is so pretty, its purpose is hard to ignore.

Every time I bend over (which is a lot with little kids running around!) this necklace falls down over my chin. At first it was annoying during every downward dog in yoga class; however, soon I began spending these moments praying for my co-gym mates or my little kiddos. And sometimes the bright gold catches the light perfectly in my bathroom mirror, reminding me to attend to my appearance in a way to advocate for the gospel (think: Image Bearer confident in Christ).

I love wearing my Word so much, I want to share a similar necklace with one of you! Enter here then scroll to the bottom of this post for more details on my Word of the Year Necklace Giveaway (Giveaway Now Closed 1/17/18).

2. Paint a Canvas

Full disclosure: I have broken an unspoken rule of the personal WOTY: I have more than one word!

My sisters and I set up a canvas-painting party with our mom after Christmas. I was bound and determined to somehow paint a representation of “Advocate.” As paint splashed from my brush, unexpected vulnerable fears leaked from my soul. What came out instead of “advocate” was a raw but imperative second word for the coming year: F L O W.

F L O W helps me be bendy, fluid, and moldable. While pushing into the intentionality of gospel advocacy is a powerful display of obedience to God, so is an awareness of the Holy Spirit’s guidance and ease-of-burden in the process. My F L O W canvas reminds me of all these things from its perch above my piano, in the one quiet room of the house where I study God’s Word and practice yoga.

3. Make It Your Jam

In the year of “Live Alive,” I compiled a playlist on Spotify that represented our goal to live boldly, fully, and gratefully throughout 2017. Sounding off with Rend Collective’s Live Alive, my Happy Island playlist is still a family favorite. Inviting our kids to add their “live alive” songs added to the joy and ownership for everyone in our family. You will never hear a more eclectic mix of Bob Marley, Chris Tomlin, Disney soundtracks, and James Brown (I Feel Good, I knew that I would, now!). Check it out here.

4. Label Your Year Book

One of my FAVORITE things I have ever done for our family was build an annual photo album on Shutterfly. This brings me to my second confession: I do not pick my word of the year in January. We usually pick it in the summertime before the school year, when we are tangibly faced with seasonal life changes.

Our family year books represent an entire school year, beginning with the summertime beforehand. I organize the photos throughout the year and order the book on Cyber Monday. Our kids look forward to opening their Christmas Eve box and seeing the former year in photos. This year, I added our “Live Alive” WOTY to the front of the book, along with photographed moments in which we were intentional to do some abundant living.

5. Doodle It on Repeat

Art journaling is a somewhat more official and sophistic form of doodling important things, either in an actual journal, or pretty much anywhere you have space to create. One year, my word of the year was Flourish. I represented this word with leafy doodles and flowering patterns of ink in my journals (I end up with several year). In fact, these reminders to Flourish ended up everywhere: random sticky notes, to-do lists, my daily journal, sermon notes, white boards, grocery lists and even a hand-painted canvas. This growing collage of encouragement throughout my home kept me focused throughout the year.

6. Frame Your Word

For 2 years now, my husband and I have attended a small prayer banquet for our local crisis pregnancy center ministry. At the end of the banquet, the staff gives each attendee a blank sealed envelope with a specific Word inside. These words have been powerful for me. Last year, my Word was World Changer. The accompanying verses gave me courage to pursue some writing and speaking opportunities I was wavering on. Invigorated, I immediately framed both Shane’s word and mine and hung them next to our bathroom mirror.

This year, my word was Enjoy. At first, I balked at this card telling me to enjoy the year ahead. Excuse me, I think this card was for someone else; I am Becky Rosty! Enjoying life is not something I need reminded of. So I avoided putting my new word in the frame for months! This week as I contemplated this blog post, I realized I really do need the reminder to enjoy.

2018 is the now-or-never year to finish up some precious life projects. Pressing in to finish strong is not always fun, or glamorous. If I am going to be the aforementioned world-changer, I am going to need to enjoy things that bore me, things that scare me. Or I will probably just not do them. And some things are too important to let go.

Visit our master bath sometime and find our new encouraging words displayed prominently for my daily humbling. (And yes, that now adds up to 3 motivationally challenging Words of the Year, who cares.)

7. Display a Representative Object

In 2016, my WOTY Flourish also prompted me to give a potted plant center stage in my home. The poor thing needed pruning this year, which is incredibly profound when you think of how that applies to my WOTY. Maybe, in order to keep flourishing in 2018, I need a little pruning too?

Perhaps you have a similar Word this year? Find room in your budget to buy a bouquet of flowers each month to remind you to Bloom. Trying to stay present? Grab an inspiring daily desk calendar to keep your focus on the now. Those with Simplify in mind might display a crisp white bowl on their table; make it the family goal to keep the bowl empty, both literally and figuratively.

Congratulations April Rogers for winning a personalized WOTY necklace from Joy in the Morning Designs!!!

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5 Ways a “Word of the Year” Can Positively Influence Your Life

The New Year is still new, my friends! If you are still contemplating why you should choose a Word of the Year, I have some ideas for you. Here are 5 ways a word can positively influence your life in 2018!

But first, let me introduce my Word for 2018:

Advocate.

This word is probably my favorite Word of the Year (WOTY) so far. For our family, it means we never stop looking for ways to make the good news of Jesus’ love famous to the people around us.

I had this beautiful necklace made to daily remind me of my commitment to gospel-advocacy. I am so moved by this piece of jewelry that I just have to share it with one of you! Joy In the Morning has partnered with me at Campfire Grace for this exciting opportunity.  She has reserved a similar necklace for you to commemorate your own Word of the Year! This stunning accessory is 14kt gold, valued at $56!

To enter, add your name and email to the form below, then scroll through all the beautiful designs over at Joy in the Morning.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED 1/17/18. Congratulations to April Rogers!

And now for 5 Fresh Ideas for Your Word of the Year:

1. A Gentle Rudder:

A few years ago, I traded New Years goals for a Word of the Year. Goals felt harsh and bossy. Failure to finish felt crippling. By picking a WOTY, I traded fear of coming up short for confidence of going in a helpful direction. I think of it more as a rudder to my ship than a destination I must reach. This word steers me gently regardless of circumstances: whether I face choppy waters ahead or a steady breeze to push me along this year.

The year of 2017 was filled with moments that left me overjoyed! It also hollowed out my soul with immense sorrow. And yet, my Word helped me navigate each season. My Word of the year was “Live Alive.” In the bubbling laughter of the twins turning 3, I enjoyed the gift of life we had been given. Through the agonizing heart-break of lossed lives and world chaos, I stopped taking for granted this privilege of life lived fully. Each change of 2017, I asked, how can I fully live alive in the midst of this?

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as Rudders: Strength, Trust, Breathe

2. A Perspective Lens:

How our circumstances affect us is largely how we view them. In 2016, my word was Flourish. When my twins were potty training, I kept my eyes open for how I was still flourishing in the frustration of accidents and laundry and lots of tears.

How could you use a specific Word to filter how you see your year? Pick a word like “Giggle” and you might just laugh off the drama in the office. Adopt “Hallelujah” as your mantra, and notice every event as a reason to give praise to God!

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as Perspectives: Whole, Humble, Victorious

3. A Butler:

I want my goals, my word, my ambitions to work for me, not the other way around. It is too easy for me to become a slave to what I want to fix in my life. Instead, the intentional WOTY will work for me.

As a Butler, my Word will remind me to focus on the best things. It will usher in my favorite thoughts first thing in the morning. It will open the front door of my mind only to desirable guests like encouraging thoughts and creativity. It will promptly shoo away lies and discouragement that ask to take residence in my thinking.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as butlers: Kindness, Intentional, Thrive

4. A Scale for Decisions:

For many of us, 2018 is already intimidating us with the wide open field of opportunities. Soon-to-be-graduates, recent empty-nesters, and everyone in between are facing lots of decisions this year. Why not pick a Word that could filter each option that comes our way?

We get flyers in my mailbox for another kids’ activity. Our Facebook notifications panel is full of invites to support one friend or another in their home-based business party. Our churches are asking for volunteers to lead home based small groups. Our coworkers chatty activity in the break room beckon us to join in gossip. Our mirrors and scales offer the options to self-loathe or keep living fully.

As I already mentioned, my word for 2018 is Advocate. My husband and I prayerfully discovered it together. We can easily filter out (i.e.: say no to) any option that does not help us to advocate for the hope of the gospel among those who live in darkness.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as scales for decisions: Image Bearer, Holy, Purpose

5. An Ebenezer:

The Bible describes an Ebenezer was a monument or visual reminder of God’s faithfulness to His people. Last year, our word “Live Alive” was in many ways an Ebenezer to God’s care for us through some difficult times. God helped us keep living. God helped us keep thriving! And we could count on Him to do so continually.

Why not pick a word that represents God’s relentless love for you? This word will serve as a rudder, a butler, and an Ebenezer all year long.

  • WOTY suggestions that serve as ebenezers: Relentless, Unconditional, Big Love!

 

*Giveaway Rules:

The winner will be chosen on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. We will let you know on all online platforms (email, IG, FB, etc.) who the winner is.

We can only ship to residents of continental USA. If you are outside the continental states and still want to enter, we may ask you to help cover shipping costs.

Happy New Year!!!

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My New Year’s Yoga Flow Playlist

One of the highlights of 2017 was learning to meditate on the loving care God has for me. The unexpected catalysts this contemplative practice was a yoga class.

The only spiritual connections I have made in yoga are with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am VERY intentional about setting my mind on things above as I enter into each pose. Positioning my body in different ways helps me to open my heart and quiet my mind to focus more fully on Gods goodness.

I have an arsenal of Scripture memorized that comes to mind during each pose as well. I am very grateful for this exercise of self-silence and self-control.

Perhaps this kind of Christ-centered pose and meditation practice might encourage you too! The following is from my Campfire Grace Flow Playlist. Take an hour to ring in this first week of the new year with me. (Follow my Spotify Profile for more other CGrace Flow playlists, including a 30 minute flow and an evening flow.)

If Yoga isn’t your thing, spend some time journaling, sitting in the stillness with a candle and your Bible, or even jogging to these worshipful songs that may just help clear your mind for the new year.

This is the Way God Loves You, by Sleeping at Last

Ease in with slow moving instrumentals. Focus on the deep belly breaths.

*Favorite lyric: none. (But I appreciate mediating on the title as I begin to think about Gods goodness and care for me.)

**Pose: cross legged on the mat, deep breaths **

Touch the Sky, Hillsong United

*Favorite lyric: “my heart beating, my soul breathing, I found my life when I laid it down.”

**Pose: cat/cow variations and child’s pose **

Welcome Here, Chris Quilala

Reaching upward/flowing through sun-salutations are the perfect pairing for this song.

*”Breath of heaven, voice of thunder, in your presence I surrender…”

**Sun-salutation variations**

First, Lauren Daigle

*”Before I bring my need I will bring my heart and seek you first.”

**Warrior 3**

Shadow step, Hillsong United

*”You met me at the sinners table, I found you waiting by the well, unexpected.”

**chair pose, warrior 2**

Simple Pursuit, Passion

*”God take us back to an unswerving faith in the power of your name, a heart beating for your kingdom to reign, a church that is known for your presence again.”

**balance pose, tree pose**

Then the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the LORD, for He is coming to judge the earth. 1 Chronicles 16:33

When I am Afraid, Laura Hackett

These lyrics share the cry of Psalm 61:2, and empower me every time I hear it. (Claim it and sing along!)

*”There is no peace of mind outside of truth in Christ!”

**boat pose, floor work for abs/core**

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”‭‭ Ephesians‬ ‭6:12-13‬

Closer to Your Heart, Kari Jobe

*”Holy, I get lost in your love. Holy, Full of awe and wonder. You keep drawing me closer to your heart.”

**Hip openers, figure 4″

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”‭‭ John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭

Lay It All Down, Will Reagan

This song may be my most powerful mantra, and by this point in the yoga flow, my emotions are ready to encounter this kind of surrender.

*”Carried on but your heart was tired, feared the worst and felt the fire. Lay it all down. Lay it all down. Filled with all those anxious thoughts, all your doubts became your god. Lay it all down at the feet of Jesus.”

**Biggest inhalation yet, Side twists with a flow**

In the Name of Love, Kari Jobe

*When there’s madness, when there’s poison in your head, when the sadness leaves you broken in your bed, I will hold you in the depths of your despair and it’s all in the name of love.”

**Plow, Shoulder stand, legs up a wall, happy baby**

Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 33:22

From the Belly of the Deepest Love by Tow’rs

Don’t let the trumpets at the beginning throw you off. When I first heard this song, I listened to it 3 times to fully grasp the beauty of its poetry. I am consistently astounded by the imagery of dogwood flowers representing how Jesus took our blame in his own body as he died.

*“I tried to get to you, but you came to me instead. With the dawn, the grave is gone. Oh how you wish to be with me.”

**any final poses I missed, alternate nostril breath**

House of God Forever, Jon Foreman

This song is my signal to begin a savasana (corpse pose). Rest in the calming guitar strums and occasional harmonica. These lyrics are a lovely recitation of Psalm 23.

*“He makes me rest in fields of green, with quiet streams.”

**Corpse Pose**

Come to Me, Bethel Music

A bit of contemplative instrumental to zone in deeper to the love and care God has for me.

*Sometimes I recall the lyrics to the original worship song as I breathe: “come to me, I’m all you need.”

**Corpse Pose**

Note: I have zero professional training in exercise, mediation, or yoga. This is just a little bit of what I do at home to connect with my creator and Heavenly Father through poses and meditation on His goodness.

Feel free to share it if it encourages you too!

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What to Wear on Your First Day of School

It’s time for a little campfire confession. 


After 6 years out of the classroom, I enrolled in an exercise class at our local community college this semester. Last Monday, I got to experience all the excitement of a “first day of school” again. 

This shouldn’t mean much to a 28 year old momma of toddlers. However, after hanging out all summer with some adventurous middle- and high-school aged girls, I have caught on to the first-day-of-school energy. 

I got up, got dressed, prepped the twins to spend lunch time with their daddy (so much fun), and even got to class EARLY (big difference between 18 year old me and 28 year old me). I was ready to embrace all that God had for my first day of school. 

Unfortunately, all that positive energy shriveled away when I walked into the classroom. Replacing it was a familiar combination of feeling intimidated, self-conscious, and oddly uncomfortable in my own skin.

As many of us would, I found a coping mechanism to deal with my anxiety: comparison. 

I scanned the room for someone who appeared less fit, less stylish, less something than I was hoping to appear. My superficial perspective gave me artificial confidence about my own impressiveness. 

I did not ask this girl about her day. I did not compliment her cute hair or comment on her tenacity in the class. To be honest, her courage to take the course inspired me, but I kept that to myself.  

I missed a beautiful opportunity to get to know a lovely image bearer of the most high God because I was too concerned with my own status. 

The irony is, I had consciously chosen to “dress down” to appear less-than-concerned with my appearance that morning (insert dramatic eye roll here). 

I spent more time in that class in comparison trap than in SYMOTA (set your mind on things above). My concern for self-preservation was out-shining my usual tendency to share God’s love. The biggest stranger I encountered in that room was myself. 

Had I set my mind on the way God sees me, and my classmates for that matter, I would have recalled this verse that I had once memorized:

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 

Friend, I suspect you have had a similar experience. Whether you are a freshman in high school or a fresh new mommy at a park play-date, you have probably faced a similar temptation on your first day. We want to appear confident, cool, collected, but we leverage other people’s flaws to do so. 

Ironically, at the foundation of compassion for others is a settled and confident spirit. I don’t think one can show compassion without confidence. Rather than putting others down to appear that we have it all together, what if we dealt with our insecurities through Jesus Christ’s faithful love for us? This kind of love fills every void and bubbles over into compassion for others. 

What could happen if we found room for kindness in our daily display choices?

What if we primped our hearts with a readiness to be humble and selfless instead of self-conscious?

What if we concerned ourselves with the impact we could make on others instead of whether or not they make us feel good about ourselves? 

What if we dressed to bless, instead of dressing to impress?

Whether you face your first day of class, work, cross fit, or the senior center, I challenge you to learn from my embarrassing first day blunders. Let’s make room for some Christlike compassion in our concern for great first impressions. 

P.S. I am profoundly grateful for 20+ weeks of class to see how Gods grace provides a do-over for compassion. 

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3 Tips For Planning a Christ-Centered Bachelorette Party

bachelorette party

I am getting a new sister-in-law in less than 10 days! I am thrilled to celebrate the wedding of Shane’s brother Brandon to his high-school sweetheart Taylor. But I have a strange confession: I might be even more pumped for her bachelorette party!

A bride may have many types of pre-wedding parties to celebrate the coming marriage. However, a bachelorette party is rather unique:

The way I see it, a bridal shower sets a bride up for success in the kitchen; a bachelorette party sets a bride up for success in the bedroom (or kitchen, depending how adventurous she wants to be).

Warning: adult content ahead (it totally glorifies Jesus, but it’s not for little readers).

The bachelorette party is my favorite party, in part because we get to celebrate God’s awesome gift to a married woman: sex. It can be a commemoration of purity (or renewed purity) and a launching point for a holy anticipation of pleasure. That’s right, I said a holy anticipation of romantic and sexual pleasure. I believe it is holy, or set apart, because sex within marriage is God’s idea, His gift. When celebrated and promoted in the beautiful boundary of marriage, it is holy and honorable and right, and oh so good. It is worship.

A vulnerability with one another on the wedding night represents the intimacy that Jesus Christ longs to bring His own bride into. Naked intimacy requires trust, as does our relationship with Christ. (Read Ephesians 5 for more on this comparison).

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to planning a bachelorette party for your friend or sister that will make God and the bride smile from ear to ear.

Tip 1: Check in your Bashful Badge:

An appropriate amount of modesty should be applied to the topic of sex in many situations… except the bachelorette party! Now is the time to talk about God’s plan for marriage and sexuality as good, exciting, and worth celebrating!

I believe it is, in fact, a Biblical idea. The first few verses in Song of Solomon 1 is a conversation between Solomon’s bride and her friends. They celebrate the woman’s love for Solomon:

“We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.” SoS 1:4

In my opinion, they were throwing bachelorette parties long before the 80’s made them popular (and raunchy, and embarrassing, and uncomfortable [Check out this article for more on the history of Bachelor parties]).

So bake that anatomy-shaped cake if you want. Play silly games and blush and giggle. Ask attendees to bring the bride-to-be some fancy lingerie. Just keep in mind tip #2:

Tip 2: Consult the Bride, not Pop Culture.

I highly advise anyone planning a bachelorette party to figure out what the bride finds to be fun. Pop culture has an idea about bachelorette parties that does not glorify Jesus, much less the coming marriage.

Remember, the friends of Solomon’s bride said we will praise your love MORE than wine. Be careful to keep the bride in focus. Before you roll out the shot glasses and male strippers because “it’s how it’s always been done,” take a party-planning-second to use your own creativity and imagination. Ask:

  • What are some Life-Givers for our friend (the bride)?
  • How can we highlight this night as a celebration of womanhood, fierce feminity, and all things _________________[name of bride]?
  • How can we help the bride feel more excited, comfortable, and supported to start (or re-begin) her God-given sexual journey in marriage?

My friends asked those questions and planned the most spectacular event for my bachelorette party. We called it the Mighty Mountain Women Weekend. It featured cabin-camping, hiking, hot-tubbing, movies, lingerie-gifting and of course S’MORES. There was also a late night activity to help me make something special for my husband-to-be. I felt supported and I had a blast! (Thanks Andy)

Tip 3: Feature a Short Bible Study.

Bibles and bachelorette parties may not seem a likely pair, but I guarantee God has awesome things in mind for the bride’s sexuality and the celebration thereof. Why not invite God’s perspective into the party? Ask an older sister, friend, or mentor-of-honor to give a short but sweet commemoration of God’s good gift.

Look to Song of Solomon, Ephesians 5, even Genesis 1 for ideas on how God sees marriage and sexuality. Take time to pray over the bride-to-be regarding this specific area of her marriage.

smores

I plan to thoroughly enjoy my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. In addition to a thrilling lake day and delectable treats from her chef-cousin, I think the bride is such a worthy reason to celebrate lavishly under the broad smile of our Savior.

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Experiencing the Power of God (A Call to Break the Binge-Watch)

 

binge free challengePower.

I figured out my word for 2016. I thought it was going to be flourish. But as I look back over the last few weeks, I see the word POWER all over the place: my journal, my Spotify playlist, my work-out diary.

This year, I want to tangibly experience Gods power in my life. And I want to see His power impacting the lives around me too:

  • Power over temptations we habitually give in to.
  • Power that ignites faith and rebels against fear.
  • Power to live life to the fullest, instead of just getting by.
  • Power to be bold, speak truth, celebrate hope, and see lives changed because of it.
  • Power over insecurity.
  • Over anxiety.
  • Over depression.
  • And other far-too-common issues that riddle our broken society.
  • Power over self-absorbed tendencies that undermine God’s kingdom-minded priorities.

 

I am convinced that one of the greatest extinguishers of the power of God is binge-watching Netflix.

Or Hulu.

Or Video-games.

Or Facebook, Instagram, IMDB, etc. We know what we binge on. Maybe it’s food, or exercise. Perhaps its sleep.

One way or another, this excess is steadily siphoning out the power of God in and through our lives.

binge free pin

Shane said something the other day that I can’t get out of my mind:
“We spend a lot of time watching movies about people who don’t watch movies.” Hmm…

God has given us brilliant minds, incredible physical capabilities, and the capacity to love and share life with others. His gift of a reconciled relationship with Him begins the flow of His power the heals and energizes, grows and sanctifies, and ultimately provides a whole new life-perspective. Often, when we binge-watch, we put that power on pause. We silence the voice of the Holy Spirit to stay tuned to what happens next to Amy and Rory.

1 Corinthians has 3 things to say about this:

“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be brought under the control of anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. 1 Corinthians 10:23
If it’s not helpful (in my walk with God, for example), or building up others, then should I be dedicating 4+ hours of my day to it? If it is beginning to take control of my thoughts, impulses, concentration, desires, or time, then I must employ wisdom to deny myself the indulgence.
I am not suggesting a legalistic ceasing of all tv-shows and movies. Like Paul said, “everything is permissible for me.” What I am suggesting is that we all take a 2 week binge-break.
Classes are beginning this week for the students at our local college. For the first 2 weeks, I challenge you (and me and everyone else), to say no to any “loner tv.” This means not watching movies or shows (or playing video games) unless it is used as a community or relationship building event. With all that extra time, you could:
  • Pray for the lost in your sphere of influence
  • Listen to a sermon on podcast
  • Jog off the first week of school tension
  • Host a game night in your dorm and build friendships with someone new
  • Call your mom (your welcome, moms)
  • Clean your room
  • Write a book (instead of a Facebook post)
  • Read a book (before you watch the movie on Netflix)
  • Get ahead on your homework.
  • Reinforcer the life-givers in your world (ideas here)
  • Spend time telling God about your day.
  • Make a to-be list, instead of a to-do list.
  • Rest…. for real. Take a nap or a bath.
  • Embrace the quiet. Learn how to just be with yourself and God.
  • Read your Bible.
And when 2 weeks is up, lets all adopt a healthy and balanced approach to the R&R opportunities in front of us. Sorry Amazon Prime, nothing is really binge-worthy.
Document your progress and connect with others with #bingefreechallenge and #campfiregrace.

Campfire Check-In:

What will you do with your binge-free time?
What is your “word” for 2016?

 

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One Good Reason You Should Hurry More (#AdultsNeedChristmas)

hurry more at ChristmasChristmas time is here! Between parties and packing, shopping and wrapping, we have a bunch of rushing to do. Even our carols are characterized by words like “busy” and “bustle” (which means “to move in an energetic or noisy manner,” in case you were wondering).

There was a bustling at the first Christmas too. But this expedited pace wasn’t a rush to the next office party, or a last minute baking frenzy for an unforeseen cookie exchange.

No. This was a sacred rush, a hurrying of heavenly proportions. This was the shepherds race to experience the divine:

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

Luke‬ ‭2:8-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The shepherds dropped everything they were doing and HURRIED OFF to find the Savior.

It wasn’t a Black Friday sale scurry.

It wasn’t a distant-relatives house relay.

It was a rushing to experience Jesus.

Adults need this kind of holy hurry.

This heavenly hastening to align ourselves nearer to the Savior of the world.

hurry to JesusWe need to re-ignite that kind of excitement, urgency to chase down the sacred like the shepherds did.

The shepherds abandoned their expectations to advance toward the eternal. Jesus’ coming was life-changing enough to take some time off.

To drop everything to experience proximity.

To then tell others about it, and spread the good news of great joy for all people.

Lord, the only thing I want to hurry up for this Christmas is you. Give me that sense of unsettled urgency to experience Your presence above all else.

Campfire Check In?

What will you let go of in order to experience proximity to the Savior this season?

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What Adults Need at Christmas: A Heart for the Lost

rediscover a heart for the lostThis morning I sat cuddled on my couch with cocoa and Christmas cookies, reading my Christmas devotional book. I was practicing stillness, making room for Jesus in a full day. I had to turn off White Christmas and ignore the gifts that needed to be wrapped. I had to silence my inner to-do list and just listen.

A dear friend from our church recently blessed me with The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. The pages of this book presented a challenge for me to do something “that would be venturing big for God.” (Day 11)

I began to imagine what would be that difficult thing for me. What I could step outside of my comfort zone to encounter our faithful God in a powerful way? I glanced up from my reading and saw my neighborhood in the crisp light. So many houses, filled with couples and families all preparing for winter’s chill. In my minds eye, though, I saw ablaze all the homes that no preparation for eternity. From my knowledge (and I am not trying to be judgmental here) much of our neighborhood is destined for eternal separation from God.

My heart has ached for this neighborhood before. I know families swallowed by pride and culture and religions that lead to bondage. I take my dog on walks, passing homes filled with the riches of this world; my heart is heavy for they do not know the riches of a relationship with Christ.

Earlier this month, I motioned to simplify the holiday to-do list. After consulting with me, myself, and I, it seemed like a good idea to nix the neighborly gifts this year. After all, we go all out to love on our neighborhood for Halloween, and have prioritized sharing sweet blessings every May Day.

In my simplification, I was serving myself (and arguably my family). However, my consensus eliminated Jesus, once again, from HIS ideas for Christmas time.

I am convinced one way adults can rediscover the wonder of Christmas is by rediscovering Christ’s broken heart for the lost. Globally or locally, there are people in our path who need the Savior. It is why He came, after all:seek the lost

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Sharing simple gifts with my neighbors is one way I can invite them to our church’s Christmas Eve service. It also promotes relationship, displays kindness, and prayerfully provides openness to conversations over the fence when the weather gets nice again. It is during such conversations, I pray, God will steer toward our joy and purpose in Christ.

Like a redeemed Grinch, I think my heart grew three sizes today!

I am not so much burdened as I am hopeful for God’s great grace and mercy to bring light and salvation to the lost this Christmas. 2016 is a year of hope, I believe, and I choose to act upon such belief. My heart is not made weary by war and refugees, electoral candidates and the decline of the church. On the contrary, having a renewed desire to see the lost found in Christ gives me energy and excitement. Because I know the salvation of the world, both spiritually and physically, is not up to me. It is simply my privilege to join my God in the work He is already doing.

I know what my challenge is today (thank you, Ann Voskamp for prompting me thus). I am joining Jesus’ mission by putting neighborly gifts, along with time spent in prayer for each family, back on my Christmas bucket list this year. It is a small service in comparison to the cross, but that act of love has already been finished. I just get to tell the life-saving story.

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:1-11

Join me in finding inspiration and hope in these lyrics: “The giver of life was born in the night, revealing God’s glorious plan to save the world!” (Who Would Have Dreamed by ason Hansen and Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace Music)

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Make Room: #AdultsNeedChristmas

make roomThis week, I was talking with a young woman from our local college. With finals and end-of-semester projects looming overhead, my friend is stressed. Add to that an inconsiderate roommate situation, which left her sleeping in her dorm-room hallway one night.

My heart ached for her. What she needed was solace. Peace. Rest. All the things I have been striving to rediscover this holiday season. So I invited her to stay in our guest room whenever she needed. To which she shrugged a thank-you, and the subject changed.

I walked by the guest room that afternoon and realized why her reaction was so half-hearted and faithless. That room was a PIT!

To keep some sense of order in the rest of the home, that room has become a catch-all for new gifts, wrapping supplies, shipping boxes, old toys for donations, unfinished crafts, laundry, etc.

I am telling you, there was no room. A giant canvas resided on the pillow side of the bed, 5 opened and half-unpacked craft boxes dominated the bottom half. Kids toys (and the containers meant to, ahem, contain them) littered the floor. Cap it all off with the kids bright red pop-up play hut, like a cherry on top of the toy pile.

No. Room.

Convicted, I remembered the story of Jesus birth, accommodated by a barnyard of animals instead of a generous hostess.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Through the years of reading this story, I have assumed that, given the same position, I would have invited Mary in. But now, my own inconsistency was heralding the reality from the pile of junk. Even though my words said, “you are welcome,” my home did not.

What a perfect picture my piled-up guest room displays of my heart-condition at Christmas. The spaces meant for Jesus to take up residence are filled up.

  • I’ve piled up the approval of others in the room meant for satisfaction in Jesus.
  •  I’ve stashed good chunk of my holiday accomplishments in the space meant for worship of the King of kings.
  • I have compromised that corner table in my heart, where Jesus and I share sweet moments of rest and romance. It’s strewn with lists and Christmas cards that need to be addressed.

Again…..

No. Room.

make room pin

I have successfully eliminated room for Jesus in His very own holiday! I have re-created the busy Bethlehem. That night, I stayed up late making our guest-room guest-worthy. As I sorted through the mess, I also sorted through my heart. I keep repeating this line from the song, Be Born In Me, by Francesca Battistelli: 

“The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy…”

Lets us allow Jesus’ words to open our hearts, our arms, our homes, to welcome Christ this season, however he chooses to enter our reality.

Campfire Check-in:

How do you make space for Jesus in this season?

PS: I am not talking about having an immaculately tidy home for Jesus. I’ll talk about Embracing the Mess at Christmas NEXT!

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