Every one of us is on a path, it is called life. Paths are very interesting when you actually think about them. Some paths are mapped out for you already like hiking trails and walking trails. These paths are lined out for you so you do not get lost. Then, there is a path called life. We sometimes have no clue about this path or even where this path will lead us. This has been the story of my life in 2013!
I always remember people saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side” but every time I go to the other side, all I find is seeds. The path you are on now is already planted. See all the work you have been doing on the path is already bringing about grass. Believe me, it would be easier to jump off a path and try another path just to get around roadblocks and hurdles but once you jump a path you have to start planting again. I have met a few people like that. I would call them path seeders. They like to jump from path to path when hard times come.
This has been my story in 2013. Building a foundation for an organization is hard! You have many sleepless nights and you sometimes lay awake just questioning your decision. One of my biggest lessons of building an organization is that you have to be confident in what you are doing. If you aren’t confident in what you are building then no one else will be confident in what you are doing. This was the hardest path I had to travel down in 2013. I would get frustrated a lot because everything wasn’t coming together. I even started to question God about this path he was leading me down. It was rough but when I started to see the path become greener, I began to embrace the path and not try to jump off the path. Now, Transition Furniture is impacting more families than I could have imagined. I now look back and say, thank God I didn’t jump off this path. Thank goodness I didn’t give up! Thank God, God didn’t give up on me. Thank God for bringing people into my life to help me down this path. Just when I was about to give up, God stepped up and brought people into my path. His timing is always perfect on the path. That is how you know you are on the right path.
Start 2014 out embracing the path God has you on. Yes, paths can be hard to travel and get even narrow at times but the narrow paths are learning experiences. Sometimes what God has called you to will cost you traveling alone but you are not alone. Take breaks on the path, be still and listen on the path. Sometimes we just get in a hurry and never embrace the silence of the path. It’s in the silence when God speaks the loudest. That is one of the many lessons I have learned recently on the path called life.
The only thing I do not like about Christmas is that there is a lot of receiving but how many of us actually are giving. I am not talking about giving a present to another family member. I am talking about serving with a nonprofit or church or providing Christmas to a family that might not be able to afford Christmas.
I realized this morning that Christmas is about serving. Jesus came into the world in one of the dirtiest places on earth. My biggest fear is that we have gotten good at being “Christian” but have lost the touch of going into the dirtiest places. We can’t be like Christ if we are not willing to go into the dirty places. This is why it is important to serve.
This morning, Transition Furniture (the nonprofit I run) delivered a washer/dryer to a deserving family that was once homeless. We helped them get furniture but we were never able to find them a washer/dryer until yesterday. We surprised the family this morning at 9am but that wasn’t the beauty of the story.
The volunteer who helped me deliver the washer/dryer made it a family affair. His wife and two kids were there ready to help. They are only four and five years old but they are seeing the importance of serving at a young age. The mom we delivered the washer/dryer to has three kids of her own and was having to go to the Laundromat to get her clothes done. I am not married or have kids but I can only imagine taking five, seven, and twelve year old boys to the Laundromat. The mom was so happy to have her own washer/dryer. She said, ”this will make my life a little easier and save me a lot of time”.
Everyone who was involved today saw how serving can make a difference. It doesn’t matter if you are on the receiving end or giving end. We need each other to make it sometimes.
It’s the simple things in life that we take for granted and we don’t realize the items in our house are the very items that will make someone’s life a little easier. This Christmas season remember your neighbors and try to serve someone around you. Go to where they are; don’t wait for them to come to you. Jesus told us to go, not to wait and see if they come. Go and put Christ in Christmas!
Christmas is upon us again! I am going to tackle some Christmas shopping tonight (pray saints) but this Christmas we see a recurring scene every year. Families go together to pick out a tree and put up their tree together. I love watching families pick out their Christmas trees. They are happy and together as a whole. This is a beautiful picture of Christmas. There is so much meaning when families decorate their trees and spend time around the tree. Let me explain what I mean.
We can get so caught up in the routine of Christmas and end up taking for granted the most powerful moments of Christmas. We get so caught up in the decorating that we miss out on the true meaning of Christmas. The beauty of Christmas trees brings me back to the birth of Jesus. He came into the world through a manger and left the world hanging on a tree but that is the beauty of the story. See, Jesus came into the world surrounded by people who loved him; he also left the world with those closest to him around the cross. The ones who loved him the most were around the tree. This is the story of Christmas!
The greatest memories are made around the tree with your loved ones. Time is the greatest gift that can be given this season. The gifts under the tree will get old but the time around the tree will be with you forever. Don’t get so caught up with what is under the tree this year and remember the loved ones who are around the tree. Love was shown on a tree and now love is around the tree.
The Power of a Facebook Share
I didn’t realize how much power and influence a Facebook status share had. Since starting a social media based nonprofit, I have learned that the statuses that go on Facebook have power and influence. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. People that share our statuses on Transition Furniture do not always have the items we ask for but through every share, they are reaching people that we are not connected with yet.
Here are a few lessons I have learned:
–People want to be a part of a cause
-People want to connect with a need
-It is not about how you word your status but it is about the story you share
-You don’t have to know everything about social media to use it
-More shares leads to more likes, which gains a greater audience for your cause
-We have gotten more furniture/appliances donated through shares than posts on our own Facebook page
These are just a few lessons that I have learned through meeting peoples needs through social media.
Wholeness through Serving
I am reading a book right now called Uprising by Erwin McManus. It is challenging me on a lot of levels and making me think. One of the topics that the author keeps bringing up is wholeness and how serving can bring wholeness. I was thinking about that thought and that is exactly what Jesus did. He served others to empty himself but through his emptying he was made whole.
I do not think many people truly understand the meaning of serving. Serving is about always emptying you and never expecting anything in return. This concept is hard to grasp, because we live in a consumerist country. It is hard to serve others when we expect something in return. It breaks my heart when people only serve to get fullness in return. If we seek fullness in serving, we will continue to be empty in the heart because your heart has the wrong motive to serve. People who serve out of the heart do it out of love. A true sign of love is those who love God first, love people, and are intentional with people. Love is not only shown through words but it is shown truly through actions. We know Jesus truly loved us not only because of his words but the ultimate sign of love was the cross. Jesus found wholeness through the cross.
Each of us has a cross to carry and the road is narrow. No one likes the narrow road because it is the road less traveled. This is the road that will be lonely and be traveled alone many of times but this road is rewarding. The narrow road is not made for the timid hearted but this road is for the courageous people. This road will lead you to death of self. This is the disciple’s road. The road that will challenge you and stretch you, but through the traveling you will find wholeness through your serving. Serving will never be a job to you on this road but it will be a joy to travel. You will not look to the world but you will look to Jesus the one leading you down the road. Following the servant road will lead you to wholeness.
My heart was burdened, after walking out of The Hobbit and finding out about the school shooting. My heart sunk and was broken. I do not understand the pain of losing a child but my heart was broken for so many. My heart was broken for the family of the shooter and the families that lost loved ones. I am praying for the families that lost loved ones. I just have to point out a few other observations. Please do not get me wrong while I am writing this, I am praying for the families that have lost loved ones and I am writing this post out of love. This post may come across as harsh but I am just trying to wake up the body of Christ.
We have had 3 shooting in the last few months and all the shooters have been in their 20s. As I found this out my heart sunk even more into my chest. The people who committed these shootings are around my age. This is a crazy thought! I have to ask the body of Christ, are we awake yet? My generation is the most lost generation walking the face of the earth. We are the most fatherless and unloved generation (all 3 shooters were fatherless/came from divorced homes). Young people are leaving churches at alarming rates and it seems like we do not know what to do. People try to develop plans on how to draw young people back to church and I have a simple answer, LOVE.
We got to LOVE on this fatherless generation. We got to accept them the way they are. We have to quit judging them for what they wear and how they look. Most of them do not know any better. They are longing and looking for LOVE. They want true and real authentic LOVE. We got to redirect our focus to a lost and dying generation looking for LOVE. It has to be intentional love. A lot of my generation is already hurt from people coming in and out of their lives. They are looking for a compassionate love, not an obligated love. We cannot show authentic love when it is obligated but true love is shown out of compassion. How many of us actually show people love out of compassion and not obligation? Compassionate love will change everything we do and will change a generation. This leads me to ask some questions about churches. Now, I have to ask, how much of your church is made up of an unloved generation? How many young leaders is your staff rising up? How many orphans are sitting in your chairs or pews weekly? My generation is suffering and will continue to suffer until; the church wakes up and starts to LOVE on an UNLOVED generation.
Empowering vs. Delegating
Many leaders have fallen into the trap of delegating and not empowering. The reasons why people in position have to delegate is because they are not empowering. If leaders actually empowered, delegating would not be an issue. Empowering is giving away responsibility to someone in their gifting. Delegating is looking through your phone hoping to find someone that will help you. Delegating is not empowering.
If someone delegates it shows a lack of leadership because it shows they have no followers and haven’t empowered anyone. Another sign is that they haven’t shared their vision enough. Leaders who share their vision with people will not usually have a problem finding help with a project. Because once you share your vision you empower those people into the vision to use their gifts to advance the vision. You cannot share your vision and then delegate to people because people then won’t feel part of the vision; they will feel used by the vision.
This is why we cannot become good delegators but we must learn to empower. Delegating is bossing, while empowering is giving away part of the vision and letting them use their gift to advance the vision. People who delegate instead of empowering burn out people.
This is a huge problem in the church. We have a lot of people that are in the wrong gifting and trying to delegate while someone else is waiting for the opportunity to excel in their gifting. This is one reason why my generation feels disconnected from the church. Very few people are empowering young people in their gifting. I have talked to young people my age and asked, why they left church and one reason is because they felt like the church didn’t need them or the gifting they had. We have a whole generation that is lost and sitting on a gift given from God waiting to be used by God. People get nervous when things start to change but we are not trying to change culture but we must look at new ways to adapt to culture. This does not mean we change the gospel, because the gospel is the only thing that will change people. We have to think outside the box to reach one of the most fatherless generations that is leaving today. I have one last question for everyone.
If you are a pastor, church staff worker, or even a leader, are you empowering a young person in there 20s in their gifting? Are you rising up next generation leaders?