Has life been rough lately? Let me share one of my favorite songs with you. It’s by Ginny Owens a gifted song-writer/musician whose music and faithfulness to God is a huge inspiration.
This song is a beautiful reminder to me that God is in control and He’s always there for me. Not sometimes. ALWAYS.
I hope you are blessed.
You need to read this book! I mean it. It will completely transform your perspective and put a burden in your heart for poor. This book moved my heart. Many times teardrops would land on the pages as I read. Katie is honest and real. She doesn’t pretend to have it all together or pretend to be a super Christian. She simply listens to her Lord. She makes herself available for Him to use in whatever way He chooses. Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:
Sometimes I just wanted to turn off my brain and watch mindless television. I wanted to go on dates with my boyfriend. Sometimes I wanted to hop into my convertible, go to the grocery store, and pick out any kind of food that my heart desired. Most days, I wished I could wake up under my down comforter in a house with my loving family, not all by myself. I wanted to go to the gym; I wanted my hair to look nice; I wanted to be allowed to wear jeans. I just wanted to be a normal teenager living in America, sometimes.
But I wanted other things more. All the time. I wanted to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. I wanted to be loved and cuddled by a hundred children and never go a day without laughing. I wanted to wake up to a rooster’s crow and open my eyes to see lush green trees that seemed to pulse with life against a piercing blue sky and the rusty red soil of Uganda. I wanted to be challenged endlessly; I wanted to be learning and growing every minute. I wanted to be taught by those I teach, and I wanted to share God’s love with people who otherwise might not know it. I wanted to work so hard that I ended every day filthy and too tired to move. I wanted to feel needed, important, and used by the Lord. I wanted to make some kind of difference, no matter how small, and I wanted to follow the calling God had placed on my heart. I wanted to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. At the end of the day, not matter how hard, I wanted to be right here in Uganda.
Opportunities to make someone else’s life better were so much more attractive to me than the thought of the comforts I once knew.
Katie left her home at age eighteen to serve in Uganda. And then God called her stay there…all by herself. She is now twenty-four and has adopted fourteen girls. She gave up her college degree, her boyfriend, her convertible, her comfy suburban life, and her family. She gave it all up to serve the “least of these.”
Reading Katie’s story will change your life.
It will also make you wonder: Could I give up everything comfortable, everything familiar, for Christ? Would I?
I listened to a sermon by Evan Wickham last week that really made me think.
Sometimes life seems to stink. It’s hard to understand why bad people thrive while you suffer. It’s easy to start to ask, “Why am I a Christian? Why do I bother living to a higher standard? Those people are living horrible lifestyles and they’re doing great. Why am I struggling so much? Why isn’t God blessing me?”
We often judge God’s goodness based on the world’s view. The world teaches that rewards should come in the form of power, prestige, health, and money. But God teaches that our reward is MORE OF HIM.
So, pagans get rewarded with stuff and we get rewarded with God and knowing Him more.
And you know what? We should be thrilled with that because we realize that eternity is FOREVER and this earth and all the stuff in it is temporal.
We are blessed with the ability to view the world vertically view while many others can only see it horizontally .
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Any girl in her twenties will easily connect with the topics that Sarah Martin tackles in her book Stress Point: Thriving Through Your 20s in a Decade of Drama. Sarah meets 20-somethings right where they’re at, discussing issues such as career, body image, dating, and finances. In each chapter she brings Scripture to life in a practical and personal way—dissecting Bible verses and contrasting scriptural truth against the pop-culture lies that we so often believe.
I appreciated the many journal opportunities that were sprinkled throughout each chapter. They gave me time to ponder the questions and corresponding Bible verses and apply what I learned to my own life. One of my favorite aspects of the book was Sarah’s honesty and transparency. She shared openly about her personal struggles and how she overcame them through Christ. Her personal stories encouraged me; they demonstrated that no matter how big our stress points may seem, we can have victory over them.
You can use this study on your own—like I did—however, I think this book would work best as a group study. The discussion questions are thought-provoking and excellent conversation starters. And the great thing is the leader does not have to purchase a separate book because the leader’s guide is already included in the appendix.
So consider grabbing a group of girlfriends and digging in!
Chelsea: Let’s see, we came from all over really. South Africa, Maine, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Florida, Haiti… Ellerslie is quite a melting pot of diverse backgrounds. By the end of a semester there, it is interesting to see all the different accents you’ve picked up!As for schooling background, I think for one of the first times in my life, the homeschoolers were in a large majority! There were also people from a public-school background though.
Did you build good friendships there?
Lea: During my time at Ellerslie I build many sweet friendships that I’m pretty sure will be life-long. I still refer to the staff and students there as “my Ellerslie family,” and many of the girls I met there are now my closest friends. Walking through so much spiritual growth and living life together with those in pursuit of Jesus has bonded us in such a way that I can honestly refer to my fellow-students as dear brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a beautiful taste of the Body of Christ.
What was your favorite class at Ellerslie?
Chelsea: During the Basic Semester, you don’t really go through classes, it is more like sermons every day. During the Advanced Semester however, you do participate in more class-like environments. It is difficult to pick just one favorite, but one of my favorites was definitely Set-Apart Girl Leadership, where we learned about doing ministry for young women. It was very practical, but also spiritually deep.
Lea: The classes were all so varied and diverse, it is hard to choose a favorite—we had classes on orphan advocacy, girl’s ministry, missions, how to study the Bible, how to share the Gospel, marriage and family, greatest sermons, etc…. I really enjoyed learning how to stand upon the Word of God and beginning to see how the Truth of the Gospel affects every area of our lives!
Did you have a chance to practically apply what you learned while you were there?
Lea: The beautiful thing about the Gospel and the Truth of the Word of God is that you can never reach the end or the limit of it. So, in some ways, I had a chance to practically apply, and in another sense, I know there is still more.
- We didn’t just learn about prayer, but spent days praying for students who needed a breakthrough.
- We didn’t just hear a message about forgiveness, but were given a chance to confess and repent of things we had done wrong, and were encouraged to make right and forgive any that we had offended back home.
- We were not just given the truth of the Word of God, but told to stand upon it in any situation that we faced.
- We didn’t just hear about abortion or the persecuted church, but had prayer meetings to pray about those issues.
- We didn’t just hear about the power of the Gospel, but saw it transform every life that encountered the power of the cross.
Chelsea: At Ellerslie, we didn’t just learn about prayer, we prayed. I didn’t just learn about crisis’ going on in the world around, I learned to put feet to it and serve – whether it was praying at Planned Parenthood or serving at the local nursing home.
The things that I was taught at Ellerslie are truths that will impact me for the rest of my life. While I was able to begin to apply those truths at Ellerslie, I know that there is a greater depth of application that will take place in the years to come.
How have you changed since completing your time at Ellerslie and returning home?
Lea: I know God has grown me in so many ways, not only during my time at Ellerslie, but also since I have been back.
One of the biggest ways I think I have changed is that I can stand upon the promises of God with confidence and see Jesus do what He says He will do. Instead of wondering if my God will answer my prayers and what He wants to do in an area of my life, I can stand in confidence that my God is faithful Who has promised, and He cannot lie.
Also, He has placed within me a joy and a desire to share His Gospel—it truly is the power of God to salvation for all who believe. He has given me a small glimpse into the greatness of Who He is, and the power of His cross, so that now I know Him as the God who can and will change lives.
Chelsea: In every season of my walk with Jesus, He takes me deeper than the one before. This season at home has been very different than my time at Ellerslie, but my God is still the same! What a precious truth that He does not change!
Since I have been back at home, God has been putting a deeper burden on my heart to take His Gospel to the nations. He has given me so much and there are so many that have not received the riches we have in Christ. Freely I have received, now freely I can give.
- photo copyright J. Maynard
So many of us get caught up in The American Dream that we forget there is more to life than toys, houses, and an early retirement. Graduation is a wonderful time to refocus and be reminded to Make Your Life Count! Be refreshed and encouraged to live your life to the fullest for Christ through this book. (For High School or College Grads)
2. University of Destruction – by David Wheaton
This is a book prepares high school students for the mental war zone they will encounter in college. Wheaton does a great job presenting how to keep your faith in college. (For High School Grads)
3. 10 Best Decisions a Graduate Can Make – by Bill and Pam Farrel – New Release!
Bill and Pam are my mentors and I am so glad they packed their godly graduate insight into a neat little book. What makes this book unique is that it is it helps with the “Now What?” question. You will find tons of practical wisdom from building on your strengths and skills, job prep and discernment, connecting and developing relationships, and networking and social media. A wonderful resource for any graduate! (for High School or College Grads)
It’s often difficult to discern God’s will, especially after graduation and you’re confronted with tons of choices. The key to discerning God’s will is cultivating a deeper relationship with Christ and that is what this book is all about—focusing on Jesus and surrendering your life completely to Him. (For High School or College Grads)
Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Grace Williamson, founder of Generation Impact, in a miraculous way—through my book, Exposed. Although we are states apart and have only chatted over email, we’ve started to build a friendship based on our Savior and His work. So, with that brief introduction, I am pleased to introduce you to Grace.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in the rural Midwest with a loving, Christian family. In 2009 I graduated homeschool high school with a serious passion for writing. This Spring I completed my two-year studies with the Christian Writer’s Guild. I hope to use my writing – and every other aspect of my life – for God’s glory.
When and why did you found Generation Impact?
When I graduated high school, I faced that looming question: What am I going to do with my life? I looked around at all my peers dealing with the same decision. We were all self-proclaimed Christians, but I wondered, “Is our faith affecting our life decisions and impacting the world?” I knew other kids must be grappling with the same question. So I had the idea of starting an online magazine where I could encourage young Christians to use their lives for Christ. I spent months organizing and preparing the site with the help of a few friends who were patient enough – and crazy enough – to help me pursue the idea. Finally in May 2010, a year after I graduated high school, we launched Generation Impact.
What passage of scripture has especially inspired you?
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
In the verses preceding this, Paul talks about the resurrection of Christ and the coming resurrection of all who believe in Him. He asks, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” He explains that, through our Lord Jesus Christ, we have victory over death.
Because Jesus has saved me from my sins, I have eternal life. I am an eternal soul. Since I became Christ’s, the playing field is different. Now everything I do has eternal significance. In Him no labor is vain. I’m called to give myself fully to His work. At the end of my life here, I want to have held nothing back. I want every aspect of my earthly life, every labor I undertake, to be useful in the eternal Kingdom to which I belong. This motivates me every day.
What does Generation Impact provide for its readers?
The goal behind Generation Impact is to share articles and stories that encourage young Christians to live as instruments of righteousness. Each month’s issue features a conversational interview with a Christian who is using his or her talents for the Kingdom of Heaven. We also include movie, music, and book reviews to let people know about new media they may either want to support or be wary of.
My favorite part of Generation Impact, though, is our columns. In one way or another, these articles all share insight into living like Christ in an anti-Christ culture. I love reading these thoughts and heart cries from other young Christians.
Give us an example of some of the people you have interviewed? What was that experience like?
I’ve interviewed a wide variety of people over the past couple years. Generation Impact has featured professional photographers, videographers, filmmakers, magazine editors, and signers. We’ve also interviewed missionaries, authors, actors, and the list goes on.
My favorite interview experience was in the summer of 2010. A friend told me about this man who had spent much of his growing up on the mission field in Africa. I managed to contact him, and we met at a local park for an interview. As it turned out, he was a tall, good-looking kid with an unmistakable passion for the Lord. We’re getting married this June, and I couldn’t be happier!
What is your vision for Generation Impact?
I try to maintain a good balance between making plans and leaving the future in God’s hands. Five years from now, I’d like to see the site still providing solid, Biblical encouragement for young Christians. Of course I would also like to see growth. I’d like to feature more columns from different writers and see our audience increase. I want to see us reaching more and more people. At the same time I want to remember that even if we only touch one person for Christ, all the work we put into the site would still be worth it. Editorial goals aside, my goal as a Christian is to go into all the world, making disciples. The World Wide Web is just another tool for doing that.
What is the biggest lesson God has taught you through founding/developing Generation Impact?
Generation Impact has been a true gift because it has taught me so much: How to get outside my comfort zone, how to work with all kinds of people, how to prioritize and organize, how to trust God to provide everything I need to serve Him each day. The list could go on and on. But a major lesson has come from watching God work despite – and even through – my failures.
We often get so excited about a dream that we’re ready to take on the world. Confident that God is leading us, we move forward despite attacks, slander, and agitation. If the hardship is coming from outside, we’re fearless to face it. But when the hardship comes from within, from our failures, weaknesses, and insecurities, we throw up our hands and say, “I can’t do it.” We’re all ready to face the powers of darkness, but no one is brave enough to look in the mirror and see a human.
Generation Impact has shown me my humanity. Though the site has been successful, I’ve failed in a lot of areas and mishandled a lot of situations simply because I was inexperienced or afraid. But I’ve been able to move forward without any regrets or bitterness because I have learned more from those failures than I ever learned from easy success. I’ve become more aware of my own shortcomings, but it’s a beautiful thing because it has also made me more aware of God’s faithfulness and grace and total sufficiency to fill up where I am empty. He uses our humanity to magnify Himself. Generation Impact hasn’t just taught me how to successfully run a magazine. As strange as it sounds, I have also learned to fail for God’s glory.
How can we support/get involved in Generation Impact?
Read it, let us know what you think, and tell your friends about it. But if you want to actually roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with us, here are a couple things you can do:
We’re always looking for new people to interview and stories to share. So if you know someone who inspires you toward Godliness, let us know at email@example.com!
If you like to write and want to share your work with others, Generation Impact is a good place to start. The world needs to hear the Truth. Send us your article at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our editing team will be thrilled to work with you.
And if you want to go even farther and impact your generation in ways a website never could, live to glorify Christ because that’s why you’re here.
Tolerance. A word of many meanings. Co-authors Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler define it well in their book. They share that tolerance today has a very different meaning than in did years ago. They call today’s tolerance the “new tolerance,” which is also the title of their book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and found it interesting that this book was written over ten years ago, warning of how tolerance would destroy our society, and now we are experiencing much of what they predicted. Here are some of my favorite quotes found in the book:
“But Eve decided that wasn’t good enough for her. Enticed by the serpent, she determined that she wasn’t going to let God tell her what was good and what was bad; she would make that decision herself … As Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias points out, when she and her husband ‘questioned the reality of His voice and supplanted it with their own authority, they made themselves the measure of all things.’ They set themselves up in God’s place and took something that belonged only to God: the power to decide what is good and what is evil.”
“If there is no absolute moral standard, then one cannot say in a final sense that anything is right or wrong. By absolute we mean that which always applies [to all people], that which provides a final or ultimate standard. There must be an absolute if ther eare to be morals, and there must be an absolute if there are to be real values. If there is no absolute beyond man’s ideas, then there is no final appeal to judge between individuals and groups whose moral judgments conflict. We are merely left with conflicting opinions.” -Dr. Francis Shaeffer
Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.
Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder; I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”
Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance is indifferent; love is active. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything. – Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler
I’m currently reading Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot (again!). I’ve read this book several times. I love how it is saturated in Scripture and provoking thoughts and has plenty of examples of how to live set apart for Christ.
Here is one nugget of wisdom she shares in her book:
My little niece Gallaudet Howard taught me something important when she was about three years old. Seeing that she was having difficulty with the sleeves, I asked her if I could help her put her dress on. “Oh, never mind,” she said. “Papa usually lets me struggle.” What kind of father is that? A wise one. Her father, my brother Tom, is also a very sensitive one, aware of the importance of struggle in the process of growth.
I found in my Greek New Testament that 1 Peter 5:10 could be translated, “After you have suffered for a while, he himself will mend that which was broken.” If all struggles and sufferings were eliminated, the spirit would no more reach maturity than would the child. The Heavenly Father wants to see us grow up.
That passage really made me think: Am I maturing through my struggles? Am I allowing God to work in me and mold me more into His image?
“This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13)
No, I’m not talking about Taylor Swift
Far from it.
I just wanted to take a minute to comment on a fearless leader.
Fearless means unafraid, bold, brave, courageous, dauntless … and all of these words describe Pastor Voddie Baucham. He’s long been known for his dedication and obedience to God’s word, even when it means going against the cultural grain. A few days ago, he did something that most pastors would never dream of doing. He wrote a blog post on politics.
I respect him for doing this. I’ve always felt like it was a major no-no for anyone in ministry to talk about politics (could risk your popularity), but never felt like it was right. So, I am glad that Pastor Baucham broke this unspoken Christian ministry taboo and shared his opinion.
I’m glad that he makes it clear that his hope is not in politics or candidates, but in Christ. And I’m glad that he is transparent enough to let us into his reasoning of who he is voting for and why. More Christians should speak up. Not forcibly, but transparently.
We need more fearless Christian leaders. Men not swayed by cultural Christianity or man’s opinion, but only concerned with God’s opinion.
Want to read Pastor Baucham’s blog? Click here.