Random Thoughts


Another year has come and gone. And similar to years past, a few days of vacation helped to finish up the year and hopefully provide a “reset” before jumping into another annual adventure. It seems as though the list of to-do’s keeps growing instead of shrinking though. Whether it’s email inbox “housecleaning” or organizing the dreaded Tupperware cabinet, the demands of home and ministry seem to be more overwhelming to me this year than ever before.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, I’m certainly NOT going to give in! I may have some moments where I need to escape reality (nothing like a hot bath and a glass of white wine), but then it’s back at it. But it takes a lot more than determination to really make progress. So here’s a list of things I want to remember as 2016 kicks off:

  • Relationships first. Jesus and then others. People before projects.
  • Start with a solid plan. Prioritize. Tackle one thing at a time.
  • Enjoy the journey. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Finally, worship God in all things – tough or not.

Okay, self, let’s go. It’s 2016!

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Yesterday was my hubby’s birthday. His day. His choice of how he wanted to spend it. He decided he wanted to go on a long motorcycle ride together. It was a beautiful Colorado day so it sounded good to me.

It’s amazing how much thinking you can get in on the back of a motorcycle all day. There were no distractions, just the gentle breeze of the warm air as I leaned back and held on. No music was piped into my helmet and there was no way for me to constantly check my cell phone. At first I just took a deep breath and allowed myself to take in the beauty that surrounded me in the canyon as we headed to the hills. But then I found myself recounting the last few months. The ministry and life ups and downs reminded me of the constant curves we were encountering on the road.

May began with a trip to California to join dozens of other friends and co-laborers for the Youth Ministry Executive Council. The event didn’t disappoint. It was filled with great connections and fellowship. It inspired and refreshed me. Then, two days later I found out that a friend that I just shared a meal with there, Rebecca Long, had died in a tragic accident. She was 32 years old. What in the world? I still think about Rebecca a lot, praying for her family almost daily. I can’t even fathom their pain.

Next stop in May was a trip to Daytona Beach, FL to train trainers for the Assemblies of God. After years of talking about partnership and building a strong relational foundation, the dream of training trainers with D2S content to energize and equip exponentially was finally here. It went even better than expected and paved the way for a much needed week of vacation with my hubby. Still reflecting on Rebecca’s death, Rick and I headed out to sea.

June and July brought even more partnership “high’s” as we collaborated with Sonlife on their Muve events in Chicago and Portland and announced a full training partnership that includes multiple levels of cooperation in order to accelerate the vision for 30,000 Gospel Advancing Ministries by 2025. But right on the heels of that, I received news that my aunt has stage 4 bone cancer. Another hairpin curve. Does she know Jesus as her personal Savior? Will God provide a way for her to hear His redeeming message of hope through His Son? Am I to be the messenger that she needs? I find myself praying through these questions, waiting for His Spirit to lead me to answers.

Our own Lead THE Cause University went into its third year this summer with a brand new program, the addition of Core Trainers, and a soft launch to the youth leaders in attendance of the values of Gospel Advancing Ministries. It went great! There were a lot of moving parts, but I can honestly say all of the hard work paid off! Yet, there was one looming black cloud that kept that experience from being picture perfect. One of our hand-picked, solid, in-the-trenches-getting-it-done youth leaders fell morally. When the news came it hit me like a sucker punch to the stomach. The wind still escapes me as I think about it and it eventually leads to a knot in my gut that makes me want to wrench, but then I remember that God is in control of ALL things and He doesn’t need my help.

I just returned from Columbus last week. It was a real blessing to see the folks we trained in May (affectionately known as “YAM’s” – Youth Alive Missionaries), training students to share their faith. Even more fun was experiencing the hunger for evangelism that is was so apparent in the 9,000+ students and youth leaders there. Many of the AG practices are well outside my comfort zone, but I still felt like I was truly among family. Then this morning, right before we left for our ride, I received a disappointing email. Another curve. I’d been working pretty hard on something that didn’t work out. At first it throws me off. But as I climb on the back of the bike and take a deep breath, I realize that this too, is just another curve.

It was a great day and I enjoyed the birthday ride with my hubby. I am so thankful for our strong marriage. Today, my son turns 30 years old! Yes, I have a lot to be thankful for even in the midst of the twists and turns!

Maybe you saw the movie. Or maybe you have seen the latest trend about this on Facebook. Whatever the case, this is more than just a cool phrase. It’s a way to express Christ’s love and be blessed at the same time. Yes, paying it forward isn’t just about the person you are blessing at the moment, it’s also about YOU. Let me explain…

Let’s face it, life is busy. It’s a day in and day out journey without a whole lot of “stop and smell the roses” moments. And even if you are lucky enough to get some margin for a pause, how quickly does the brain snap back to your to-do list?

Me? I feel like I could get an award for this lifestyle choice at times. I’m an activator, a doer, a “suck-it-up-and-get-it-done” type gal. Sometimes I even feel guilty if I’m not multi-tasking. I know, sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? I know I need to change. At the depths of my heart I realize that I need to pay attention to what is going on around me and not be so consumed with my own agenda. So when I see examples of others “paying it forward” it jolts me out of my obsession for activity and checkmarks and reminds me that there are people out there waiting for some love.

In early January I had a one day trip scheduled to Springfield, MO for some very important meetings. You remember the crazy weather across the country at that time that was causing all sorts of havoc for air travel. Well, this “quick” trip quickly spiraled out of control and I found myself alone in the small, isolated Springfield airport after Midnight. The hotel shuttle wasn’t running because of the sub-zero temperatures and the only taxi company had just a few cars running. They were grumpy and backlogged and could only promise another 45 minute wait. That’s when I met David. He was on the same flight as me and needed a taxi too. We commiserated and ended up walking the airport (short walk) looking for options together. Nothing. So, we decided to wait. As we were talking an older looking gentleman approached us and asked if we were waiting on a taxi. It seemed like this guy just came out of nowhere. He told us he had a cab coming in just a few minutes and offered to share it with both of us. As we stood and waited together I found out that he was a doctor for at-risk babies. We had an interesting few minutes all sharing about what we did for a living before the taxi showed up. Dr. Jeffrey quickly explained to the taxi driver that I needed to be dropped off first because “I had important work to do.” Apparently he had resonated with my explanation of the ministry I was involved and wanted to take care of me. Wow! When we pulled up to my hotel, Dr. Jeffrey immediately told me to not worry about the fare and to just pray for him and David. What a blessing! Of course I would be honored to pray for both of them. We exchanged cards and I was on my way. In my room that night (morning) I thanked God for these men. It’s been about six weeks since I met them and I am still praying for them consistently.

A major example of living a “pay it forward” life is my husband. He’s the strong, silent type but don’t let that fool you. Underneath that tough guy exterior is a man who is well aware of the hurting around him and he quietly will be looking for ways to bless and serve. Any recognition for these small gestures and he quickly fades into the background. You get the impression that he just wants a subtle acknowledgement and then hopes that others will do the same. For instance, just the other day he noticed a senior eating breakfast all alone at our favorite restaurant. He called our waiter over and told him to get us his bill but not to let him know who was taking care of it. I’ve seen him do this many times, so I wasn’t surprised at all. It’s one of the things I admire about him and, like I said, it provokes me to think about paying more attention to things outside my own “world.” Normally this is handled quietly and there isn’t much hoopla. But not this time. The wait staff, most of which we know by name, were so impressed they kept coming by and commenting about it to Rick. This made him incredibly uncomfortable but it made me think about how this one small act was also affecting all of them. Not only was this man blessed, but the dozen or so staff there that day were blessed and so was I.

If you think about it, do something for someone around you who needs a hand. And if you can, do it when no one is watching.

It’s that time of year. The Colorado weather is constantly changing and it’s impossible to keep the outside of the car clean. So I stocked up on that helpful blue liquid that squirts on to the windshield from some secret place under the hood just to be sure that I can push a button and magically be able to see where I’m going. Yep, seeing where I’m going is pretty stinking important.

But sometimes the magic blue liquid just isn’t enough. The two semi-circle openings clear the way for me to see okay, but there comes a point when I just need to completely clean the entire surface in order to get a clearer picture of where I am headed. That’s how life can be at times too. Especially over the holiday season. I have been rushing from one thing to the next, clearing the way for me to just see through.

But now it’s time to clean off the entire pane of glass and gain some perspective. It’s 2014 and I believe that God has some great adventures in store for me. I just need to stop for a minute and clean the windshield.

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?

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