Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is that new button!?

Oh fundraising. How I've grown to despise thee.

I believe this has a lot to do with how every other month since kindergarten, schools and athletic teams have been pushing the same fundraisers. Everyone sells cookie dough, or chocolate. I guess you could say, the word fundraising brings a sour taste to my mouth.

However, in the missions field, gathering support (a bit of that being funding) is always necessary. It is necessary that I ask people for their support, not only monetary support, but moral and emotional support as well. Now, I'm going to let you in on something that I don't like to talk about: I can be a rather prideful person. I mean prideful in the sense that I feel like I can do things alone, without anyone's help, and I don't like having to ask for help. Which is probably another reason that fundraising and asking for money is always hard. Because even though I do need it, I don't want you to know that I need it. Which makes it difficult to raise any support.

That is why I am writing this post. To get it out there that I do need help. I need your help if I want to have a successful trip this summer. But! I don't want you to think that I am just asking for your money. If you can donate money towards my mission this summer then please, do. But if you cannot, I am still in need of your support. Like any mission, we need the Lord's guidance, and we need people who believe in our cause. Praying for me and the team that I am on, that is just as important as anything else.

I realize that in order for you to fully understand what exactly you will be supporting, I am going to have to let you in on what I am doing. That is where my new summer blog comes in. There is a link at the top of the page that will take you to where I will primarily be posting about my summer. There is only one post so far, but I am working on another one about this past weekend and our trip to Goldsboro. Not soon after this one goes up there will be a similar post about raising support on it as well.

A button was placed below the "popular posts" on the sidebar on the right where you should be able to send any monetary donations that you wish to an account that I created specifically for this summer. There is also a button at the bottom of this post.

To end off, I just want to say thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I haven't seen a whole lot of comments, but the page views keep going up, so I guess someone is reading. I would love to hear about your lives, or what you think of the things that are going on in mine, so please, feel free to comment.


Donate here for NC SOUL 2013:

Self Discipline

 Let me start off by saying that lately, the most consistent thing that I've been doing is getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Which is not a bad thing. Sleep is something that I have come to realize is extremely important. This realization had taken me about four years. My initial sleep deprivation started at good 'ole NCSSM that fateful August in 2009. The insane amount of academic pressure at that school (and at college afterwards) makes getting the least amount of sleep possible something to be proud of. Which is shouldn't. Admittedly, the faculty does promote good health and not just exercise but also healthy eating and getting enough sleep. But the "I only got four hours of sleep last night", said with that tone that is meant to sound like a complaint but is more like a brag, conversations continue.

AND, sleep is not what I was planning on writing about in this post. Although is does kind of go along with my topic of self-discipline. As some sort of segway, I'll at least say that if you have the discipline to get your stuff done, then getting enough sleep is not going to be a problem.  That being said, my self-discipline has been severely lacking lately, specifically in the spiritual areas of my life. As you may have read in one of my earlier posts, I was planning on reading a chapter of Acts everyday this month. Just one chapter. Everyday. And I am currently about nine chapters behind. While I know that this is just a goal that I set for myself, and that no, the Word isn't going to change. The fact that I am now so far behind is discouraging me from starting up again and trying to finish. The problem isn't even that I don't enjoy reading the Bible, because I do. Reading the book Acts (the bit that I have) has opened my eyes a lot to what the church is supposed to look like, what the original church looked like. Before it came to be about the building and the denomination. When the people were simply following Christ and not bothered about the more petty things of religion.

Self Discipline is a topic that has come up again and again this year at the weekly Bible study that I go to. And every time it does I feel so convicted. But a feeling of conviction is not what is going to make me change. Only I can do that, with the Lord's help. This is really about my focus, what I am focused on. My focus has been changing, and needs to continue to change in order for me to be the person that I want to be. A model that I go to is the "Proverbs 31 Woman". Starting at verse 10, she is described as hardworking, loving, innovative, and she is constantly looking to improve her relationship with her Lord and Savior. That is the kind of person that I want to be.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Following Christ: Before it was Cool

It's so easy to forget that people other than the disciples followed Jesus around too. Like, a LOT of people. We get this image engrained into our minds of him and the apostles, and only the apostles that makes it hard to picture all of the other people who were Christ followers at the time. there were tons of people who heard his teachings and were like, "You know what, I believe this guy." then they just picked up and left. they left their homes, their jobs, a lot of them probably even left their families. All to follow this radical man, who many had deemed a lunatic. Doesn't that change the picture? Try to imagine it this way:
         Everywhere Jesus went a giant crowd followed. When he stopped to rest on the road, tents
         popped up all around. If he stopped in a city, a large party of people stopped too. They filled up
         the inns, they stayed in fellow Christian homes in the city. All of those people had to eat
         something. Where do you think that came from? I don't know.

Can you imagine doing that today?

Even then, the Roman people spread rumors and talked about Christians as a cult, as people who hated humanity. Christ's followers were persecuted, they were used as examples, being thrown in jail*, subjected to torture, and even murdered. On top of that, there were other guys running around claiming that they were the Chosen One, that they were the Messiah, not Jesus. So besides having to live a life of persecution and oppression, how did they know they were following the right guy? What was it that made him so obviously different to these people, that they believed Jesus was the real deal and no one else?

Also, lets keep in mind that the New Covenant had not yet been formed. That Christ hadn't died for the sins of man. These people did not have any proof that the Lord's grace was coming, that He was going to save them from sin. They must have been scared out of their minds at times.  - What faith, that they would follow Jesus anyway.

When I think about what these people had to go through, I am so thankful that we have it so easy today. There is no threat (at least currently in the US) that I will be killed for sticking to my faith. Christians can meet out in the open, we can worship God in front of the whole world. And that, my friends, is an amazing thing.

It makes me sad to see Christ-followers now who don't reach out, who have their church, and their denomination, and they don't care about anything else. WE ARE ONE BODY. It is our job to tell the world about our savior! We don't need to get caught up in petty arguments or create division among our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christians should be out there, searching for the lost, leading them to knowledge and faith in Jesus.

I want to say thank you to the first church, the original church. For taking the steps that they did, for enduring the pain and the suffering that they did, so that we could be where we are today.

All of this came to mind because I'm trying to read through Acts again, to really understand what the first church was like. I want to know what made it so strong, and to apply those things to my own walk with Christ.

If anyone wants to start this study with me, I just finished Chapter 1. I will be reading a chapter a day for the rest of April.  (I prefer the language of the New King James Version, but you can check out others and see if there is a different one you prefer.)

I would definitely be interested in hearing any thought that you have on this subject, or if you want to read through with me we can discuss things as they come up.

*Jail in the Roman empire was not like it is today. If you want to eat, you had to have someone who was willing to make and bring you all of your meals. There were no beds, no opportunities to bathe, no health care. If something happened or you got sick, that was just too bad - deal with it yourself.