Could your dreams use a jumpstart in 2018? Join me in this little pep talk…
Kris… (insert your name)
What are you waiting on? Is your dream worth it?
What excuses keep your hands tied?
Who are you blaming for your lack of progress?
Who are you hoping will show up and give you permission to step up and finish what you started?
You don’t need permission to live your dream; you only need a co-mission! A GREAT one to be exact – Go into all the world and preach the gospel – with your dream.
You are in charge your own dream. You’re the leader. The ball’s in your court. Your potential is waiting to be awakened. Stop waiting for a red carpet entrance.
If you don’t believe in it, no one will.
God spoke it to you. Planted it in you. Matched it to your DNA for such a time as this.
No one else is going to take charge of YOUR calling. (If they do it’s just become their dream.)
Stop waiting for an acceptance letter in the mail, when you’ve already received one in your heart?
Stop waiting for the cheerleaders to arrive and invite you out to the field. The crowd’s ovation cannot validate your inner stirrings.
YOU are the steward – the host – the captain of the dream ship set to sail out of your comfort shores.
You are the master gardener of the seeds the Father has planted in your heart! You water the seeds, pull the weeds, protect them from the storms. Stop waiting on someone else to do the job that’s only ordained for your hands! What’s in your hands? What’s in your heart?
I HEAR THE VOICES OF SELF DOUBT…
What if I fail?
What if it’s not good enough?
What if no one applauds?
What has God given you to share? What has He asked you to do? What strength has the Holy Spirit imparted that’s lying dormant? Don’t copy the Matthew 25 dreamer who buried the talent out of fear when no one showed up to hold their hand and coax them to try.
Today our culture sees dreams as automatic melodramas. Entitlement orders them to be passively watched from the sofa like Netflix. If I dream it, it will come…
For some strange reason our Father enjoys partnership—relationship. He provides the trees, we build the house. Don’t be the person who sits in the middle of the forrest and cries because they have no table. Roll up your sleeves. Sharpen your axe. Watch others. Learn how to use your tools! Take a class. Be in intern.
Get busy! Steward the seemingly small thing in front of you, and watch the sweat of faithfulness multiply the small!
“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.” Luke 16:10 NLT
It may seem small. Small steps are good. Don’t despise or ignore the seemingly small opportunities today. Embryos are beautiful. Packed with all the DNA to mature into a breathing baby, they require care and nutrition. Have you starved your dreams by refusing to feed them because they weren’t seen yet? Those days of embryonic dream growth are special, don’t underestimate their power.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
Stop looking for the easy button. If it was easy, everyone would do it. If it was easy, we would not need HIS STRENGTH. If it was easy, God would not get the glory. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need His breath in your sails. But you have to GET UP and MOVE OUT before He can empower your steps of faith. It may not get easier, but we will get STRONGER!
“My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for[My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 2:9 Amplified
What’s in your heart? Who are you called to care for – inspire – encourage? Every “God dream” is bigger than our own joy – it’s a key to unlock someone else’s.
Like a domino tipping off a beautifully synchronized sequence, your obedience sets destiny in motion.
Every “God dream” reaches someone else, but it must have a carrier. A vessel. A runner.
What can you do today?
What seemingly small action can you take to acknowledge and nurture the dream?
“Every journey has a beginning and an ending. Along the way, we may face hills to climb, rivers to cross, challenges to engage, but many times we encounter unexpected pleasures. It is the unexpected that becomes the most powerful part of the journey. Opening your heart to the adventure of a journey can release unexpected treasures for you to find along the way.” – Mike Stewart, Journey to Christmas
Join us this year as we celebrate Advent together.
You can see daily live devotionals from The Bridge Church Facebook page or posted here. Each day has an inspirational quote, scripture reading and challenge to put our faith in action.
Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “coming.” During this busy holiday season, let us prioritize our time to COME TO HIM daily, as he first came to us! This year let the season be a journey into God’s beautiful presence, instead of a holiday of hassle, hustle and hostility. Take your heart on a journey of awe and wonder for how Jesus CAME into the world, how he continues to COME into our hearts, and how he will COME again!
NOTE: Each Sunday before Christmas we will focus on the Advent themes of Hope (week 1), Peace (week 2), Joy (week 3) and Love (week 4). If you’d like to participate at home, each Sunday light a new candle for that week’s theme, until all four candles are lit. This is a great time to bring your family together and refocus on the true meaning of Christmas.
DEC. 1 – Lamentations 3:26 | Challenge: Express extra patience and graciousness today when you have to wait.
DEC. 2 – Psalm 62:5-8 | Challenge: Every time you are tempted to worry today, say out loud, “Lord, I will trust you.”
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT – HOPE DEC. 3 – Psalm 46:10-11 | Challenge: BE in the moment today. Don’t let distractions keep you from engaging your all in the moment. (Put the phone away and have a conversation with someone.) Make sure nothing distracts you from your Advent time.
DEC. 4 – John 1:1-4 | Challenge: Pray for an opportunity to shine into someone else’s darkness today. Let His love be a light!
DEC. 5 – Matthew 20:28 | Challenge: Find a way to significantly serve someone like Jesus today.
DEC. 6 – Luke 1:26-28 | Challenge: Look up the prayer of St. Patrick, called “Christ Before Me” and pray it out loud.
DEC. 7 – Luke 1: 30-33 | Challenge: Surrender your will to the Lord and give him the right to totally rule your life.
DEC. 8 – Luke 1: 34-38 | Challenge: Pray for miracles for someone that comes across your path today.
DEC. 9 – Luke 1: 39-45 | Challenge: Write out scriptures of God’s promise to you in an area of struggle. Place them where you can see them throughout the day.
SECOND SUNDAY of ADVENT – PEACE
DEC. 10 – Luke 1: 45-55 | Challenge: Find a NEW song of praise today and share it with someone special.
DEC. 11 – Matthew 22:37 | Challenge: Take time at the top of the hour to tell the Lord how you love him.
DEC. 12 – Matthew 22: 39 | Challenge: Do something special today for a neighbor, co-worker or friend to express God’s love to them.
DEC. 13 – Philippians 4:7 | Challenge: Make peace with someone that you’ve had a strained relationship with. Do something to bless them and see the peace that rebounds into your own heart (no matter if they appreciate it or not).
DEC. 14 – Galatians 4:4-7 | Challenge: Refocus your schedule and calendar to reflect what’s important to God and his kingdom as his child.
DEC. 15 – Luke 2:1-5 | Challenge: What fears do you have for your future?Say a prayer of faith to trust it to his good purpose for you.
DEC. 16 – Luke 2:6-7 | Challenge: Show hospitality to a stranger today.
THIRD SUNDAY of ADVENT – JOY
DEC. 17 – Luke 2:8-9 | Challenge: Say a simple prayer of availability and see opportunities God places before you in small ways that may be significant to someone.
DEC. 18 – Luke 2:10-12 | Challenge: Share the “good news” today about Jesus love.
DEC. 19 – Luke 2:13-14 | Challenge: Take inventory of your thoughts today. Are they peaceful or anxious? Banish thoughts that aren’t peaceful or don’t give glory to God. (Philippians 4:8)
DEC. 20 – Luke 2:15-16 | Challenge: Is there something you know you need to obey the Lord in before the year ends? Do it now. Give him your YES.
DEC. 21 – Luke 2:17-18 | Challenge: Speak positive words of love and encouragement. Notice people who need some life-giving words today.
DEC. 22 – Luke 2:19 | Challenge: Store up God’s treasures in your heart today. God for a walk, look around and notice God’s big and small blessings in your life.
DEC. 23 – Luke 2:20 | Challenge: Fill your day with praise today–start to finish! Take 5 minute PRAISE PAUSES through the day and praise him for his goodness!
FOURTH SUNDAY of ADVENT – LOVE
DEC. 24 – Isaiah 11:1-2 | Challenge: Sing “Silent Night” and let God’s spirit rest upon you in a special moment. (Look up all the verses and sing them. You can also read the special story of how it was written here.)
DEC. 25 – John 3:16-17 | Challenge: What is your gift to Jesus? Pray about something special he would really love you to give him for 2018. Write it down and present it to him. (This is a great thing to do with your kids before or after opening presents.)
All these pieces, Broken and scattered, In mercy gathered, Mended and whole (Broken Vessels, Hillsong)
We awoke in the middle of the night startled by a loud crash. My husband and I raced out of our bedroom to find the source of the intruding noise. Suddenly…the realization hit me with the same alarming shock. Could it be my beloved china plates I had just hung in the dining room? I rushed to confirm if the incident was true, and yes; bone china shards pummeled the hardwood floor and scattered into a million broken pieces.
Have you ever stood and surveyed broken pieces of your life? How could this have happened? How could something so treasured and seasoned with hope suddenly slip from our fingers and fly in slow motion into a heap of fractured fragments?
I knew how it happened and I was to blame. It’s one thing when accidents randomly happen with no finger to point, but all evidence convicted me as the culprit.
For years I had admired the china plate walls at La Madeline’s french cafe. Delicate china in all shapes, sizes, colors and patterns were arranged into a beautiful wall of art. I dreamed one day I would have a dining room where I could do the same thing and filed the idea in my card catalog of design options. I collected different pieces anticipating the day, and finally the time came to decorate my dining room wall in our new house. I arranged and rearranged the plates on the floor striving for the correct abstract pattern, until finally I had it right and it was time to recreate it on the wall.
It was all going well, until I realized I didn’t have a plate holder big enough for the large blue and white Mikasa plate. Should I WAIT and patiently save and shop for the right one…OR should I Pinterest a DYI idea to make one myself? I had to finish the wall that night, right? I had waited long enough! I had to see it finished NOW–even at the risk of my delicate plate.
My plate hanging DYI solution (as you can imagine) involved my faithful friend, the hot glue gun, along with gorilla tape and a metal key ring. It really LOOKED like a clever idea on Pinterest! Something in my gut told me to wait. This plate is worth too much to risk it. It looked beautiful for almost a week.
Until it all came crashing down…
I left the wreckage of the china pieces there for a few days until I could summon the grace to deal with it. I knew the big blue plate was the cause, but I was more disappointed about the small Royal Albert Rose Cameo vintage tea saucer that was my favorite.
Honestly, I left the pieces there in floor because it was symbolic of greater brokenness inside me. Summer was not generous to us. It brought many emotional surprises that chipped a few pieces off my heart. Circumstances caught me by surprise and slipped through my fingertips in every effort to save them. Sometimes things get dropped, hearts break and best laid plans are forever altered.
Days passed and I was reminded of my disappointed dishes and I knew I better sweep it up before the sharp-edged slivers injured someone. I’m reminded of a Maya Angelou quote that went something like, “In my pains, I don’t have to be one.” Lord, help me quarantine disappointment and hurt from spreading to others.
My heart jumped as I fully laid my eyes on the pieces. I couldn’t believe what I saw! There in the middle of the brokenness, mercy had gathered my rose saucer. “Lord, I can’t believe you did that!” I cried.
Even in my failure, a pillow of mercy caught my heart.
I’m reminded how King David tried to collect his broken pieces after “Hurricane Bathsheba”. First he tried to hide them, then he tried to blame others, finally the prophet made him look at them for what they were. Broken human attempts to fix it.
No matter what has caused your broken pieces, there is mercy and grace for your tomorrow. God may choose to mend and repair the pieces, or He may ask you to wait and believe for new provision. Either way, as we give the painful pieces to the Father, mercy gathers and graces provides healing for a hopeful tomorrow. Charles Dickens wrote in the classic novel, Great Expectations, “I have been bent and broken, but I HOPE into a better shape.”
Mercy gathers and grace provides healing for a hopeful tomorrow.
Jesus came for broken hearts, will you let him come to yours?
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. Luke 4:18
Lately, I’ve heard a lot of motivational gurus harping their mantra that “you are enough” or “you are good enough”. I’ve been scratching my head thinking, “Really?”
How could any of us be “enough”? Or good enough? Who says what enough is any way? The contrasting standard would determine what “enough” was or how much had been obtained or not. Who gets to determine that standard? Should it vary from age to age? Education? Life Experience? Shouldn’t there be a point where we “know better” and live it? How can humans ever be enough?
Even the best of us get divorced, make mistakes, miscommunicate, misunderstand. I think it’s a condition…of being human. Earthen pots in constant need of a sustaining source.
Enough: occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations (Merriam-Webster’s)
I’m not enough. (Unless you’re thinking about “enough” in usage where a man can’t take anymore of his wife’s nagging and finally screams, “Enough!” I might have been that. Sigh and smile.)
I need more than me.
I need someone to hug me from time to time. I need someone to talk to. I need someone to pray for me and discuss things with me. I need friends. I need community.
I need a savior.
In me I wasn’t enough. I failed. I made mistakes. I didn’t have the correct information to make the best choice and caused land slides (literally, in my back yard-lol).
I am not enough — and it’s okay.
God never intended me to be enough.
The creator actually made us to NEED. I need oxygen, I need food. I need coffee 😃 . We are not created “all sufficient” and all knowing—so trying to live that way is futile…and exhausts all JOY because it’s quarantined from the source of joy!
Jesus came for imperfect people because the Father loved us in our need.
It’s okay to not be enough, because that’s how he created us — to need others, to need beauty, to need kindness, to need a second chance…to need HIM, because He IS enough. He is the only sufficient one and He gracefully extends “His enough” to me.
Freedom comes (along with a big sigh of relief and a ton of pressure off our shoulders) when we stop expecting other people to be “enough” for us, or demand the exhausting “enough” from our ourselves. Our father can route the reservoirs of resource to us when we turn our expectancy towards His grace in our weakness and mistakes.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
His GRACE is ENOUGH!
We often quote Philippians 4:19, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” In the verses right before this Paul is thanking the church in Philippi for sending things to bless him. Here’s how it reads in the Message paraphrase…
“And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.Philippians 4:19 Message (emphasis added)
We see the beauty of how God meets our needs through others or straight to us. It all comes from Him.
Solo is good for cups, but not people.
We are made for partnership. The only thing that wasn’t “good” in the garden, was for man to be alone. We are not enough; we need connection.
Okay, I’m going to yell it…ENOUGH!
It’s time to stop the perfectionist, trying to measure up, exhausting people pleasing (the “people” is usually me) trap. Breathe.
You’re not enough and it’s ok, because The Father is MORE THAN ENOUGH for you! (That’s Huper!)
Receive your confidence back from your mistakes. Your failure is not fatal. There is an eternity to regain, regroup and relive.
I prize and protect my hair appointments to ensure my “roots” are NOT showing. These “holy hair days” have priority in my calendar and are scheduled months in advance. They are sacred.
I have legit blonde moments, but honestly I’m not a natural blonde. (I know you’re shocked and surprised.) I’m not quite sure what color my hair really is now, but every six weeks my roots emerge with a mishmash color of dishwater blonde, dark brown and…um yes, grey. Ew, HURRY and cover it up!
Today I took a walk in Northern Ireland where we’re staying near the village of Cullybackey.
The views of the rushing river are intoxicating.
I felt God’s presence cleansing my soul as I watched the water wash over the rocks.
Life dumps lots of messes. If only there were SOUL MAIDS who rushed in after us and tidied up the disarray of stressful lives.
Maybe this is the call for a Sabbath.
Could it be the reason Jesus snuck away for solace with the Father? To let the water of heaven wash over the residue EARTH leaves behind…on the soul.
“Learn character from trees – values from ROOTS and change from leaves.” – T. Hameed
As I walked down the river path, I noticed some extraordinary roots supporting a huge tree. I laughed at my attempts to cover my roots, but this wooden beauty displayed them majestically.
Roots reach down to find the refreshing.
Nothing lives long without the root. Good or bad.
Root:1.) the part of a plant which attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant 2:) the basic cause, source, or origin of something
Could it actually be our GOAL to let our roots show?
Roots need time and attention…and more time. Roots thrive on faithfulness, with a daily agility that does not ascribe adulation. Fruits get attention. Fruits are displayed in bowls and prepared in puddings. (Okay, I’m in UK – Americans go with me. )
The Holy Spirit’s work in us flowers into great fruit.
Some people say LOVE is the fruit that manifests into the other characteristics. I can see that, but LOVE is the ROOT as well. Ephesians 3:17 expresses that thought as we are “rooted and grounded” in the LOVE of Christ.
As I ponder my heart ROOTS today, I’m thankful for those who showed Christ’s love to me…those who helped plant seeds of God’s word in me, who encouraged me, who believed in me, who corrected me, who grounded me in truth.
Lord, let my ROOTS show, and help me ROOT and establish a new generation in faith.
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17 -19
For the next 100 days I’m overseeing an exciting project at 100daysofpraise.com. The Bridge Church is celebrating 100 years of PRAISING God from it’s location on Fishtrap Road. One hundred years ago that land was gifted to a group of pioneering believers who started a vibrant faith community in Denton, Texas. It’s our turn to carry on that legacy into the NEXT 100 years! Follow the daily blogs and join in with #100daysofpraise!
In biblical times and in developing nations today — life revolves around the water source or THE WELL. I’ve had the joy of watching my friends in Niger dig wells in remote villages and supply this luxurious necessity to the people as they bring them the living water of Jesus. (Read about the Ron & Jerry Childs and Neal & Danette Childs ministry here.) I just returned from Niger where people celebrate clean, drinkable water and do not take it for granted. It is a beautiful thing. Clean wells bring life to the whole community. As polluted water brings stomach sickness, polluted “heart wells” make our life sick.
Our hearts are wells that bring up healing or bitterness.
We’ve reached the SUMMIT – 21 days of thought detox.Can you see a difference in how you’re choosing to think?
Remember the classic children’s story of The Little Engine That Could? It’s hard to nail down the original author of this story, because it’s thought to be a folk tale; but one version appeared in a Sunday School publication in 1906 under the title Thinking One Can.
“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” – Little Engine That Could
My great grandmother read me this story of optimism and would say, “Can’t never could do anything!”
Do you think you CAN? Or count the reasons why you CAN’T?
Scientist are astounded at the mind’s ability to produce it’s internal projections. You can actually “think yourself” sick. In a trial for Parkinson’s disease, participants were informed about the possible side effects with their medical trial. Surprisingly, “65% report adverse conditions as a result” even though they were only given a placebo. This is known as a NOCEBO–a negative placebo effect. (The Contagious Thought That Could Kill You – bbc.com)
Nocebo: A negative placebo effect as, for example, when patients taking medications experience adverse side effects unrelated to the specific pharmacological action of the drug. … Nocebo comes from the Latin noceo, to harm and means “I shall harm” whereas placebo means “I shall please.”
The devil always tries to make his NOCEBO effects (“I shall harm”) appear stronger than God’s TRUTH in our lives!
(Note: I have always found it fascinating how we’re so sick we can’t go to work, but if someone suddenly gave us Disney World tickets we’d miraculously feel better. Of course this isn’t true in all illness, but it is surprising how many times our mindset helps or hinders our healing.)
God Thinks We Can
I love the story of Gideon because I can totally relate. I’ve lived life in the shadows at times. In jr. high my friends were the cute cheerleaders, while I sat on the sidelines. My sister was valedictorian, while I struggled to pass Geometry. My husband preached around the world, while I cared for the kids and cleaned the house. Continue reading…
Like hopping from stone to stone in a raging river of nervous what ifs, our mind chases rabbits.
Worry will lead you to ledges and leave you.
“God is a help in trouble. In worry you are on your own. When you worry, which do you worry about, what might happen or what might not happen? Whichever, turn it around, to relieve anxiety.” (source unknown)
Not ALL mind walks are pointless
Does your mind wander to WORRY or to WORSHIP?
Worry’s finger points toward panic, shouting, “hurry, faster…follow me this way!” After traipsing through paths of uncertainty and clouds of confusion, you look around frantically to realize you’re lost…wandering alone in a brain fog of hopelessness.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie Ten Boom
On the other hand…
Worship directs us toward the Master of the Universe who holds the compass of life. As we surrender our frets and fears to His promise we find ourselves surrounded by his steadfast strength. In worship we realize WE ARE NOT ALONE. As His presence fills the cavities of despair with renewed hope, our brain fog turns into a glory FOG–the FAVOR OF GOD!
“I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings. I will bow down…and give thanks to Your name for Your constant love and truth. You have exalted Your name and Your and your promise above everything else.” Psalm 138:1,2 HCSB
I Know THAT
Ralph Hagemeier is an amazing man of God and life-long missionary to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Over 20 years ago he preached a message that still resonates in my mind. My husband and I rehearse it often.
In his message, Ralph encouraged us that…
We may not KNOW how…How will it all work out and be okay?
We may not KNOW when…Oh, Lord when will you deliver me from this?
We may not KNOW where…Where will the provision come from?
We may not even KNOW why…Why is this happening, Lord? I don’t understand.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And thatmy souls knows very well.”
We can KNOW THAT!
He loves me and made me for a purpose. I am His and THAT I KNOW WELL. It will not change with the hows, whens and whys. His faithfulness remains. When we turn WORRY into WORSHIP, we let this truth remain in us.
When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you…Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God’s prayer. Psalm 42: 6-8 Message (emphasis added)
Where will your MIND WANDER today?
Today whenever you are swayed to wander down the rabbit hole of worry, FLIP it into a prayer of faith, or a song of worship. As you continue to thoughtfully make that decision, you will find your mind walking in the FOG — the FAVOR OF GOD!
Hey friends, get a great song STUCK IN YOUR HEAD that will lead you to worship! Download the pre-release song, “It is Jesus” by my friend Tangie Callahan – iTunes download.
Lord, help me choose to worship you instead of worry. I pray for the Holy Spirit to set an alarm off in me when me mind begins to wander into worry. Thank you for a sound, disciplined mind, Lord, that I can choose to worship you. Help me to “flip worry” and worship you instead of running down an aimlessly trail of what ifs, whys and whens. I trust THAT you love me and are faithful to complete what you’ve started. As I put my hope in you, help me to WALK in the FOG — the favor of God. I receive your favor into every uncertain circumstance in my life. Your Kingdom come and your will be done in Jesus name!
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5 NIV
Big Thought: Turn worry into worship and let your mind wander in the FOG (favor of God)!