START

The best things that have happened to me in the last five years weren’t things I planned.

YES! Planned lives leave no room for adventure and faith. To be honest, the best things will not happen when we try to control the outcome. We miss out on opportunities when we try to plan our journey. The only one that is writing our story is God, and we have to let Him write it without our planner on his throne. His ways are always better than ours and are usually a surprise.

Forget finding a purpose. It’s a never-ending story that will leave you empty. Live with purpose instead.

I loved this perspective in the book. We spend so much time as humans finding a purpose for our lives that we miss the point. The point is never to find our purpose but realize our life is purpose. If you have a heartbeat, then your life has purpose. Don’t find it; live it. 

But money isn’t a calling. It’s a consequence.

Money does make the world go around, but it should not control your life. I remember running my nonprofit and not being paid to do it. I believed in my dream so much that I was willing to work full-time and do the nonprofit in the evening. I wasn’t called to make money, but I am called to serve people. Pursuing money will leave you empty once you realize you have everything but the dream in you. Don’t sacrifice money on the altar of your dream.

You need to spend more time practicing your dream than you do promoting your dream.

Talk about a punch in the face. Too often, we spend more time telling people about our dream than we do living our dream. Do not tell me about it; show me your dream. Practice, research, and excel at your dream. Stop waiting for your promo to make it big, and let your dream be your promo. If I wanted to watch a promo, then I would go to the movies and watch a trailer. Do not put your dream trailer on the big screen until you are living it and continuing to learn through your dream.

I read this book in two days. Jon Acuff is a great author, and he is a little funny. I am thankful for the person who bought this book at full price and gave it to McKay’s. It saved me some money. I will pay full price for Jon Acuff next book. I highly recommend this book if you feel stuck or in need of a boost to get you back on track.

 

 

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Everybody Always

You do business with buyers; you do life with neighbors.

Do you know your neighbors? I just moved out of my childhood home, and I knew most of the neighbors on a surface level. I did not really know them, but we would do the wave and talk to one another when we were outside. I think this is how a lot of Christians know their neighbors. We never take time to invite our neighbors to dinner or get to know them. I know I am guilty of this, and I hope in the future- once I settle in a community to call home- that I am able to put this into practice.

I want people to meet you and me and feel like they’ve just met everyone in heaven.

WOW! This statement is hard to take in because it is hard to love people that have hurt you or taken advantage of you. I think most people expect a lot of Christians to fire back, but we as Christians have to learn to love through trials. I think social media has painted a bad picture of a lot of Christians, and unbelievers will judge a lot of Christians by what they post and how they respond to others. We have to stop beating each other down and learn to not post at all. We show more strength by not posting at all than we do by trying to be right.

God isn’t always leading us to the safest route forward but to the one where we’ll grow the most.

Embrace the journey through the uncomfortable. Loving people can be challenging, but it is people that shape us along the way. Each of us can learn important lessons from people that are different from us. Sure, people will take advantage of our love, but that is okay because we learn to forgive them through God’s love towards us. Love is not safe, and it is painful, but it is worth the journey.

People don’t follow vision; they follow availability.

I think this is a shift that is taking place. People want someone to talk to more than they want vision. I think this shift is happening because of social media. We see so much of others that we, in the end, simply want someone to talk to. Our vision has been blinded by our unavailability.

Loving people the way Jesus did either changes everything in us or it changes nothing.

Jesus loved people expecting nothing in return. Too often we make loving people a job instead of a calling. We cannot look at people as a job, but rather we should look at them through the eyes of Jesus. When we see people the way Jesus did, then we will be moved with compassion, and that changes everything in us. We have to quit using the language of “they are a piece of work” or “they suck the life out of me” because those are the very people Jesus would choose to be with. Love people to the point of being uncomfortable because that is when Jesus will change more in you as a person.

Roots

Roots

Last week, I was taking a walk around the park at lunch time, and I noticed that the concrete was not even. I started to wonder why there were so many bumps and cracks in the concrete, and then I noticed the roots. Next to the trail, there are a lot of trees, and the roots have been getting under the concrete and breaking the concrete. One place along the way you can see the roots where it has completely broken through the concrete. It is sad because most of the trail is flat until you get to the parts with the roots.

This trail reminds me a lot of our lives. We all have roots, but we try to hide them under a flat surface- hoping no one will see the bumps along the trail. This is why roots have to be dug up and cut off at the core. You can’t cut the limbs off the tree and call it dead. You have to get down to the bottom of the problem. I have been reading and writing a lot about brokenness and how brokenness has a story.

The story with the roots on the trail is that even if the trees were cut down the cracks would still be there, but the cracks would tell the story of redemption. It doesn’t mean the trail will be flat again, but at least it won’t be so bumpy. Embrace the roots that have caused damage; realize that roots are part of the journey, and along the journey repairs have to be made. Repairs aren’t meant to perfect us but to remind us of what once was.

So, what root is breaking through the surface in your life but is so hard to cut at the core? Embrace the breaking but don’t let it stop you. Journey through the roots but do not let the roots journey through you. Do not let the roots control the outcome. Remember, brokenness is a sign of strength not weakness.

SEX, JESUS, AND THE CONVERSATIONS THE CHURCH FORGOT

So often, our impurity grows out of our impatience.

Guilty as charged. This is a true statement because sometimes our desires grow so strong that we give into sin. It is hard when all your friends are getting married, and you are just in a corner singing “All By Myself”. It is easy during the impatient season to try to make something happen out of God’s will. This is when we settle for what our culture wants. I have noticed that churches that have small groups and accountability partners do not struggle with this as much. It is still hard, but find a group of people that can keep you accountable through your impatient season.

We have made love a relative term-open to anyone’s definition.

This statement could not be truer in our culture. We say we love so many things that we have lost the definition of love. We do not understand the definition, and that is why we let anyone define love because the word has lost its power in our culture. Our culture has defined love, and the church is losing the war in this topic. We watch love movies and Hallmark hoping that one movie would be my story. Love is not defined by a fiction story; it is defined by the cross. You can’t fall in love until you’ve fallen for the one that has died for you.

 “Invited Jesus into our bedroom”- In a humble and unassuming step, he became the first man in my entire life to realign God and sex into their rightful positions-intertwined with one another and braided together with our love story.

I love this point! If we are honest with ourselves, how many men have done this in their marriage? I am not married, and this point hit me in the heart because I would have never thought about inviting Jesus into the bedroom. Yes, some of you may think that Jesus is already in our hearts, but we need Jesus in the bedroom as much as we need Him in our heart. Sex in our culture is not sacred anymore. It is sad because we as men have let this get away from us. I must apologize to the women for not taking a stronger stand on this topic. We as men have to become better and realize women are a gift to us- not to be taken advantage of. We have to get better at building up worth and dignity in women. This is our job as men of the church. Stop being boys and start being men. Set a new standard.

This book is raw! I read this book from a man’s perspective, and it reminded me that men are imperfect and have a lot of work to do. The church cannot shy away from this conversation. I think the average age now of kids seeing pornography is 10 or 11. We must have these conversations at home and church. Do not let culture talk about this topic before you as parents or church leaders address this issue. Men, we have to get better. We have to set the standard and be the man of the house. I would recommend reading Kingdom Man by Tony Evans for all men. We can go longer wait; it is our time to be counterculture.

The Trap of the Cracked Door

Have you ever walked past a cracked door and wondered what was behind it? I find myself doing this all the time. I will usually end up walking past the same cracked door a few times and wonder, what in the world could be hidden behind the door. It could be completely dark and I would still take a peek because I want to know what is behind the door. Isn’t this the same way we feel about the calling of God upon our life?

I know there has been many times in my life where I have tried to peek and even open a cracked door that was never meant to be touched. The door looked so promising and looked like a perfect door for me and I felt compelled to open it. Sometimes I feel like we can get so caught up in opening a promised door but it wasn’t our promised door to open. If YOU have to open the door then the door was never promised for you. The problem with opening someone else’s door is that we actually take away from their promises and try to do their calling when God never called us to that door. This is why we have to learn the art of patience.

It is hard to be patient and wait. I look over my life and the times that I have tried to open a door that was cracked. I will never forget starting Transition Furniture when there were many door cracking moments. I would always want to move faster and dream bigger and force doors to open into the future. I could never live in the present door that WAS OPENED for me. I learned an important lesson: Moving from cracked door to cracked door only holds you back and never leads you further into the future. If you learn to live in the present door that WAS OPENED FOR YOU, then the other doors will open and you will not have to worry about a cracked door.

Be careful of cracked doors. The cracked doors look promising but they are only traps to hold you back from the future. Learn to live in the present and stay faithful to the opened door in front of you.

Lessons I’ve Learned from Launching a Nonprofit

The past two years have been a roller coaster for me when launching a nonprofit my senior year of college. I’ve learned a lot about the nonprofit world in a short period of time. I wanted to share a few take away points. These are points I would give to anyone before they launch their own nonprofit.

  • Check with your established nonprofits in the community and see if your idea is already put into place. It is better to use your gifts and talents with an already established nonprofit.
  • Develop partnerships with other local nonprofits. Starting a nonprofit is a lot of work but getting support from established nonprofits makes the process a little easier. This shows that you are there to help the community and are willing to work together.
  • Develop a board that is not all your best friends. Have a board that comes from a variety of backgrounds and careers. For example on our board, we have a lawyer, sociologist, pastor, digital media manager, IT specialist, three business owners, and a handy man. They are friends of mine but I do not hang out with them everyday.
  • Develop a system before fully launching. In the beginning, we were helping anyone that called with a need. We launched with no system in place and got overwhelmed really quick with people in need. You can’t help everyone but you can help someone. I learned to narrow the focus so we could serve people more effectively. For example, our nonprofit is called Transition Furniture, we restore hope in hopeless situations by giving furniture/appliances to families/individuals that have had a house fire, moving from homelessness to housing, domestic violence, natural disaster, and grandparents getting custody of grandchildren.
  • Get involved in the need before launching an organization. I was the volunteer coordinator over the summer in April 2011 when tornadoes ripped through our town and in March 2012, my role switched to unmet needs when we had a smaller scale tornado come through our town. I had families calling me saying they lost all their furniture and if we could help them. This was the first time I was involved in a need that was bigger than a one-time event. I realized that none of our agencies helped with this need and the idea of Transition Furniture started.
  • Push through! Starting a nonprofit will be hard! You’ll run into a lot of brick walls but every brick wall built can be knocked down. It’s up to you to determine if the brick wall will be a roadblock or a hurdle you learn from.

Please feel free to contact me about any questions concerning launching a nonprofit. I would love to hear your idea! I’m new to this whole nonprofit world but it’s always fun to connect with other nonprofit leaders and founders.