Faith


Yes, prayer matters. Will you please take a minute to pray with me for the following:

  • Gods’ favor with several who are considering a significant gift to Dare 2 Share (many large requests have been presented)
  • Wisdom as we seek sponsors/partners for our 2012 conference tour
  • Safety, weather, and ministry effectiveness in Columbus, OH this weekend (expecting 5,000+ at conference)
  • Friends struggling with major health issues (specifically Mom/Jean, Susie, Julie, Susie, Jane, Dave)

Thank you!

So I’ve had a pretty turmultous couple of weeks. As a matter of fact, there were a few times I wanted to just get in the car and “drive.” You know what I mean… fill the tank up, grab a Starbucks, get behind the wheel and just drive until you’re so tired you have to pull over no matter where you end up. But I didn’t. Somehow, God gave me the strength to get through everything I was feeling and facing – and this morning I find myself thankful.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be a young girl, betrothed to the one she loved, then called by God to carry His child, then faced with a 70 mile journey on a donkey during the last month of that important pregnancy! And I think I have issues!

Mary’s faith and character have been a quiet reminder for me as I face the challenges I have in my own world. God seems to give us just enough of what we need when we need it to not just “get through” but to also keep our focus on Him in the process. I heard this from someone once…

God help me to give up worshipping the god of my expectations.

I know that this is a struggle for me. I like to have a plan and I expect to execute that plan. When things don’t quite go the way I envisioned, I can tend to get a bit crabby. And when several things don’t go as planned, I find myself swimming in the sea for the overwhelmed, bobbing up and down, trying to catch a few breaths of air.

I know we don’t have insight into Mary’s entire pregnancy, but it sure seems to me that she responds in a completely different way to all of her circumstances. I would guess that she didn’t expect to have to travel during her last month. I would guess that she wouldn’t have expected to give birth in a dusty, dirty stable. I would guess that she would of expected the birth of God’s Son to be a royal party not a humble occasion in the middle of the night. But she just waited and responded in the moment with faith in God and for His sovereign plan.

I want to be like her. God help me.

Today is the day.

About 10 years ago we put a pen to paper and came up with a goal at Dare 2 Share to

Train 1,000,000 Teenagers To Share Their Faith By June 30, 2010″

At the time the goal seemed right. It was prayed over and planned for. Strategies began to form and programs were developed. The last decade has been a whirlwind of pushing toward that one bullseye. Not only was it posted on every brochure and strategic plan, it was written on my heart.

So, here we are. June 30, 2010. Have we trained 1.000.000 teenagers to share their faith? Not quite. My best guess is that we are about a couple hundred thousand short. This reality started my day with a sober and bittersweet, somewhat nostalgic tone. I caught myself reflecting on the past and remembering the sweat, tears, and blessings. But as the day is coming to a close, I really feel thankful.

  • I am thankful for the opportunity to even have a goal like this laid on my heart. My prayer life is better for it.
  • I am thankful for the hundreds of thousands that were trained and I pray that they have trained hundreds of thousands of others that only God knows about.
  • I am thankful for the new vision goal of mobilizing teenagers to make disciples who make disciples. It is more complete and holistic and reflects the wonderful principle of multiplication.
  • I am thankful for those who have walked beside me through the journey. They have touched many a teenager’s lives and I can only hope I am present to see them get their rewards in heaven!
  • I am thankful that God’s timing is not mine. “Lest any man should boast.” I am not surprised now when He surprises me. What a great God we serve!

I wonder what the next 10 years will hold?

Today is the day.

About 10 years ago we put a pen to paper and came up with a goal at Dare 2 Share to

Train 1,000,000 Teenagers To Share Their Faith By June 30, 2010″

At the time the goal seemed right. It was prayed over and planned for. Strategies began to form and programs were developed. The last decade has been a whirlwind of pushing toward that one bullseye. Not only was it posted on every brochure and strategic plan, it was written on my heart.

So, here we are. June 30, 2010. Have we trained 1.000.000 teenagers to share their faith? Not quite. My best guess is that we are about a couple hundred thousand short. This reality started my day with a sober and bittersweet, somewhat nostalgic tone. I caught myself reflecting on the past and remembering the sweat, tears, and blessings. But as the day is coming to a close, I really feel thankful.

  • I am thankful for the opportunity to even have a goal like this laid on my heart. My prayer life is better for it.
  • I am thankful for the hundreds of thousands that were trained and I pray that they have trained hundreds of thousands of others that only God knows about.
  • I am thankful for the new vision goal of mobilizing teenagers to make disciples who make disciples. It is more complete and holistic and reflects the wonderful principle of multiplication.
  • I am thankful for those who have walked beside me through the journey. They have touched many a teenager’s lives and I can only hope I am present to see them get their rewards in heaven!
  • I am thankful that God’s timing is not mine. “Lest any man should boast.” I am not surprised now when He surprises me. What a great God we serve!

I wonder what the next 10 years will hold?

It started with a scurry of activity and stress. Bundled with the typical seasonal obligations were the remnants of a trying time in ministry early in the month. But ready or not, I headed in. Committed to making this Bresina Christmas Eve more memorable and family-focused than last year’s “quick and dirty dinner out,” I took a full day off in advance to ensure I could host a bash. It was the first day of my 14-day out-of-office stint, and I had a list of to-do’s.

Along with the to-do list was a couple of healthy (albeit difficult) commitment objectives I set for myself for this short-term sabbatical:

  • Focus on relationships (especially the ones that had suffered the most from the intensity of the past few months).
  • Rest.
  • Create some space to get “my head straight”.
  • Don’t work! (D2S stuff that is…)

Christmas Eve was a hit and everyone invited save one came and partook of the annual Bresina stinky (but delicious I am told) Oyster Stew. We didn’t get any extended family talked into joining us for candlelight worship services in Brighton at 11 pm, but I just don’t think our family is up to staying up that late. I will have to work out something different for next year. Christmas came and went and was filled with great food and fellowship and thankful hearts.

Remarkably, I came close to finishing the list and with one major exception, feel pretty good about keeping my commitment objectives. It took me a full week, but I finally began to relax. I spent almost an entire day unplugged and with the Lord. I had some great coffee times complemented by outstanding conversation. I saw three movies and went shopping with 8-year-olds for hermit crabs. The craft room is organized and I can see the top of my desk in our home office. I spent an afternoon painting platters with my closest confidant. I loved on my hubby, my son, my mom and dad, and many others. It was awesome!

But sadly, it’s now over. It’s time to hit 2010 head-on and accomplish His purpose for His glory! My desire this year is to continually be in prayer and to draw closer to my Savior. I want to rest in Him and allow Him to be the true authority in my life. As I head into the new year, these are the things I want to put first:

  • Making my relationship with Jesus my top priority.
  • Taking care of myself (sleep, exercise, eating right).
  • Pray without ceasing.
  • Love — purely, sincerely, honestly.
  • Model what I ask of others.

Here we go!

French philosopher Montaigne has said of the battle at Thermopylae,

There are triumphant defeats that rival victories.”

This may seem like a contridiction or merely a play on words, but have you ever seriously thought about it? Today, studying a chapter from Os Guinness’s book The Call, I was faced with a new thought challenge. How can you have a triumphant defeat?

Mr. Guinness makes a strong case for our attitude and behaviour in the midst of a battle, explaining how a small group of Spartans fought courageously so many years ago, fighting with hands and teeth when their swords were gone. Knowing that we live in a fallen world, and knowing that in the end the victory is His and not ours, I wonder if God is watching and waiting for us to “behave as if He would wish us to behave?”

I have certainly experienced my own version of a battle this past year. And I know that I was not always fighting through it with courage and dedication. What a great reminder today from 2 Timothy 4!

  • Preach the Word – I can’t preach it if I don’t know it. I need to study this letter to me and then unashamedly share it with others.
  • Be Prepared – Along with studying the Word in preparation, my relationship with Him must come first. I do not want to be a fake.
  • Teach and Encourage – Encouragement may come easily for me, but do I act on every nudge from the Spirit? Teaching is not as natural for me since I am relentlessly impatient. But the Lord has surrounded me with amazing students, I need to be obedient and teach when it is called for.
  • Keep a Clear Mind – Yes, in every situation. <pause> Not sure what else to say…
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Suffering – I realize that it is laziness that has motivated me to ask for an end to the suffering that I have experienced personally. I just don’t want to expend the energy needed to fight. I suppose this is where I need to look to my “Spartan” friends for inspiration and face the fight head on. It’s a time to stand!
  • Work at Telling Others the Good News – Even though I work for Dare 2 Share, I still stink at sharing Christ boldly. I love the fact that this is a work in progress. It is progress in this area that I truly desire – may I be a better witness this year than last.
  • Fully Carry Out the Ministry God has Given Me – for whatever reason, I am where I am. I need to fully carry out what He has called me to do right now.

I want to end this post with a great quote from The Call:

A time to stand is a time to behave as our Lord would wish us to behave. A time to behave is a time to believe as He has taught us to believe. A time to believe is a time to move from small, cozy formulations of faith to knowing what it is to be called by Him as the deepest, most stirring, and most consuming passion of our lives.”

If I face any defeat in my future Lord, let me face it with a triumphant resolve for Your glory!

My great friend Marlae challenged me some time ago to commit to a consistent DAWG day. She did this as counsel for my consistent need for spiritual encouragement. You see, Marlae is one of a handful of women that I know that I consider wise beyond their years, especially when it comes to matters of spiritual growth and balance in life.

This “Day Alone With God” has still not become a regular outing for me. Usually it is more like a MAWG day (Morning Alone…) than a DAWG day, but I often recall Marlae’s voice in my head saying, “start with what you can do.” So, today, with the advent of a convenient Christmas office closure and a nagging urge to walk into a new year with a renewed relationship with Who matters most, I’ve been reading and writing, praying and crying at my local thinking spot (where they also serve a great latte!).

It’s more difficult than I thought it would be – trying to focus on just this one thing. I did turn my cell phone off and vowed to only use the computer/internet to write, but I am invariably more distracted than I want to be. It’s not the hubub of the coffee shop at all. It’s the urge to DO. I can focus for about 2 hours and then, sure enough, here comes “the to-do list” again!

I’m hoping this blog post will allow me to reset through expression of the frustration. The morning brought some amazing insights from Job. Here are just a few thoughts and verses that I ended up journaling about:

  • Trials are an opportunity to turn to God for strength.
  • Doubt is one of Satan’s footholds in my life.
  • Job 28:28 – “The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is understanding.”
  • Job 29:16 – “And now my life seeps away. Depression haunts my days. At night my bones are filled with pain, which gnaws at me relentlessly.”
  • Job 42:2 – “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.”

Okay, back to the Book.

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