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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

In the Woods with God

If you follow me on twitter, you know how much I love to spend a beautiful day in the woods. While I was hiking today I thought, "I wish others could experience what I experience here. Life just seems to make much more sense here."

I'm not sure what it is about the woods that calms my spirit and fills me with peace more than any other space. Perhaps it is because there are few words needed so I'm quiet for once. Now, my mind is still racing a thousands miles per hour, but my mouth is shut. Even though it is common for me to talk to myself and think out loud, in the woods, words seem inadequate and unnecessary. And that's probably the reason why my spirit is so calm here. I can't interrupt God when I'm silent. I can spend hours just walking through the trees or sitting on the forest bed. God's presence is tangible there.

We all need a sacred space like this, a place where we can tune our hearts and ears into God's voice. Where is that space for you? The woods? A quiet river? A coffee shop? A favorite corner in your house? Find it and make it a point to go there regularly. You won't regret it!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Student Leader Retreat Stories - David Joe Hatter

David Joe and Bev Hatter served as our amazing hosts for our Student Leader Retreat. Here are some of David Joe's thoughts from the weekend.

The ancients said there were only four elements--Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  The Greek physicians said there were four "humors," or basic personality types--Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic.  The four student leaders we had the privilege to host--Dylan, Josh, Lindsay, and Naomi--are in many ways as varied as you can imagine.  Some are task-oriented, some are touch-oriented.  Some are more extroverted, some are more introverted.  Some are product-oriented, some are process-oriented.  Some are oriented toward the group, some are oriented toward the individuals.  That's a good thing.  The campuses on which and from which they serve, the situations they will face, the environments in which they live, the individuals & groups with which they will work, and the tasks they will perform will be as varied as one can imagine.  God has shaped each of them individually--as well as the campus ministry team as a whole--to do His tasks in an ever-changing place.  Therefore, God will, in His own time & way, continue to shape and reshape them for the tasks at hand and the tasks ahead.  The church--that is, the body of disciples--is not a reservoir, but rather a river; and a river is constantly being reshaped and redirected.

Student ministry--and student leadership--is not just ministry to students; it is also ministry by & through students.  And, campus ministry is not just ministry on campus; it is also ministry off campus to the wider community.  It is exciting to watch student leaders get excited about the possibilities of partnerships with other community-service groups.

One more thing:  From where I'm sitting, the ISB staff (Lowell & Katie, Sarah, Tom & Jill) have had a very long summer and a very long two years or so.  They are starting the school year exhausted.  Pray for them.  Do whatever you can for them.  Maybe God wants you to be the answer to their prayers. 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Student Leader Retreat Stories - Jon Hatter

Jon Hatter is a graduate student at the University of Notre Dame. We invited him to join us for our Student Leaders Retreat. Here are his reflections from the weekend.

This weekend I had the opportunity to join a group of people from Impact Campus Ministries of South Bend on their student leader retreat. It was a great time and I began several relationships that I am excited to continue as our time in South Bend carries on. More than that, I got the chance to spend some time thinking about the meaning of Discipleship. And, since I have some time this evening to do it, I thought I would share some of the thoughts I had with you.

It is often the case that we opt for the simplest possible definition of “disciple,” – a follower of Christ. Now, there’s nothing wrong with simplicity and I think that this definition has its merits, but as I was reading some of the scriptures that we looked at this weekend, I was struck by something. There are plenty of people in the New Testament who literally, physically follow Christ who are not disciples. They are just “the crowd,” the folks who swarm around Jesus because what’s he’s doing is new, exciting, and novel. They’re the rich young ruler’s of the Bible, who approach Jesus because of what he can do for them, and run away when he asks them to do something for him.

This realization begs the questions, “Then what is a disciple? What more is required?” The story of the rich young ruler actually answers part of that, and I may come back to that, but I’d rather start with the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John. This story, told in Matthew 4 and Mark 1 (also in Luke 5 in a slightly different way) tells us that these fisherman “forsake” their nets and their boats (and even their own father, in the case of James and John) and follow Christ. It is this “forsaking” that sets them apart from the rich young ruler and, on that same note, from the others who simply “follow” Jesus to see what he’ll do next. It is this sacrificial commitment that marks the true disciples of Christ in the gospel accounts.

So, being a disciple is not simply about following Jesus. It is about following Jesus ALONE, that is to say, following Jesus to the exclusion of all others. You cannot pursue Jesus and pursue your career. You cannot pursue Jesus and pursue your own happiness. You cannot, as Jesus tells us elsewhere, serve two masters. To simply know of Jesus, to know the scriptures, to know the correct God-Bible-Jesus answers to the questions of life, is not sufficient. True discipleship is marked by a love of God that encompasses the whole of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Coming back to the rich young ruler. It seems that he was a disciple in the way we like to think about discipleship in Church today. It appears that he knew the commandments of God. He was confident enough that he had kept these commandments. He even acknowledges Jesus as the “Good Teacher.” In a modern congregation, he might be a Sunday School teacher or a deacon. He might be an usher, a custodial volunteer, or even a Pastor. He seems to know the Bible answers (at least the palatable ones), but, as Jesus says, he lacks one thing – sacrifice.

There comes a time, it seems, in the life of every disciple when he or she has to make a choice between what American’s like to call “the Pursuit of Happiness” (probably better called “the Pursuit of Self”) and the pursuit of Christ. Those who chose self are missing the point. Those who chose Christ, with all the blessings and troubles that decision brings with it, are disciples.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Student Leader Retreat Stories - Josh Oliver

Josh Oliver a student leader at Southwestern Michigan College shares about his experience on our Student Leaders Retreat. 

As I reflect on the time we spent together I have made these observations. Not only about myself but the group as a whole.

We all have our own unique shape. That shape defines who we are as a person. That shape also plays a huge role when it comes to being a member of a team.

I learned that society can't define your shape for you. You have to be the one that does that. We have to be the person God made us to be and we can't let others tell us any different. We have to be able to stand up and step out in faith to show the world who we are and whose we are. We are children of God. I also learned that I have more to offer than I originally thought.

Don't be afraid to share your shape with others. Your shape is always changing with each new day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Student Leader Retreat Stories - Lindsay Sherburn

Lindsay Sherburn a student leader at Bethel College shares about her experience on our Student Leaders Retreat.

I've always been someone who's fairly self-aware. Because of my introverted nature, I take more time to consider my surroundings and observe the world around me. I've always been able to identify my own strengths and weaknesses and the way my personality functions. None of this really seemed to matter too much until our weekend in Kentucky. 

We were asked to focus on our shapes - the way we are wired - in order to figure out how we can use our individuality to serve God. While thinking about this, God has really been pushing me to embrace that individuality, those traits that make me Lindsay Sherburn and no one else. This idea was not new for me but I think I needed some reminding. He created me, an original masterpiece, for a special purpose. The only response I can possibly have is to fulfill it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Student Leader Retreat Stories - Dylan Lemert

Dylan Lemert a student leader at Indiana University-South Bend shares about his experience on our Student Leaders Retreat.

I'll admit, all I really wanted from this retreat at first was to get away from home for a few days and hang out with some great people. Maybe also have God show up in bits and pieces along the way, so I could come home having felt "in greater touch with my spiritual side". But God was with us from day one, the Invisible Passenger sitting beside us as we traveled in that old red church van. I could see His face in the stars at night as we praised Him with our meager voices. Instead of a relaxing weekend, I encountered a weekend full of the breaking, chiseling, molding, and repairing of my ego and character. God's hands must've been tired when He was finished because it's hard work trying to change a soul as stubborn as mine. 

I thank God for the staff, interns, and fellow student leaders who were as patient with me as God was. As tired physically as I was by trip's end, I came home refreshed and eager. My prayer is that this Impact student leaders retreat may simply act as a catalyst for much, much greater things to come. Our campuses will see God and I think the time for that is very soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Student Leader Retreat 2011

How does time seem to pass so quickly? We are already several weeks into the school year and it seems like it was just a few weeks ago I was packing up the car to head to camp. One of the ways our Impact South Bend team kicked off the school year was to take our student leaders on a retreat in Kentucky. One of our goals for the weekend was to help our student leaders discover more about how God has uniquely wired them and how that influences the way they can do ministry on their campus. 
We asked our student leaders, our host, and other guests to record some of their experiences and thoughts from the weekend. Over the course of the next several days, I want to share their stories with you. I’m sure you will be encouraged and challenged as you read their words.
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lessons from Juggling

Over the course of this year, I’ve been praying that the Lord would refine me. While talking with God this past spring, this image of a person juggling beanbags came to mind. There is a split second when all the beanbags are suspended in the air and the juggler stands with his hand open, ready and waiting. In that very brief moment, the juggler has to completely rely on the laws of physics to carry out the task. At the same time, the juggler must do his part to make sure his hands are in the right position to catch the beanbag and toss it in the right direction at the correct height.

That split second of time is where I want to live my life 24-7. I want to do my part, to be responsible with the ministry I’ve been given, to be obedient to do what God has called me to do and to strive to do it with excellence. And while doing that, I don’t want to hold onto anything but to have it surrendered to God, completely relying on Him and trusting Him in the process. For a control freak like me, this can be a huge challenge but God has given me plenty of opportunities to put this into practice.

Most of you know me well enough to know that I don’t handle the unexpected or new things very well at all. As I look back on the first half of the year, 2011 has been one new experience or unexpected change after another: new apartment, new adventures, new relationships, new experiences, new responsibilities, and the list keeps going.  Some of you are laughing because you know I’m getting anxious just typing that list. However, in the midst of it all, God has proven his faithfulness and is teaching me to trust in several new ways.

Philippians 4, specifically verses 6-7, has been a key passage on this journey of God refining me.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Don’t worry. Trust me. Rest in my peace. These are the things I hear God telling me over and over again each day. It has been an exciting journey and I know there are many great adventures yet to come!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Time is Valuable

Over the last several weeks the hours in the day seemed to be passing too quickly.  Time spent with others seemed to be rushed in order to make it to the next appointment or meeting. I don't like that feeling. I hate to feel like I have to watch the clock when I'm with other people. I knew it was time to slow down.

When a friend heard I had cleared my schedule for two days to take a break, they decided to give me the perfect gift...their time.  I'm an extrovert and sitting on my couch staring at the wall is by no means relaxing to me. So this friend planned an entire afternoon to hang out and do things I love to do. Nothing fancy or elaborate just time together.

To me time is one of the most valuable things I have. When I give someone even a few minutes of my time, it means something significant to me. To me it is a way to show that I care about and value you. So for someone to give me an entire afternoon, that speaks volumes to me.

It is obvious to me I needed to be reminded to be cautious of how I spend my time. I know I tend to squeeze as much life as possible out of every minute. But this week I was reminded of just how valuable time is and that sometimes the best thing you can do with it is just be.

I discovered I posted about this same topic just over a year ago. Interesting.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Spring Retreat Reflections

A couple weeks ago 13 Impact students and Lowell piled in a van and I piled into my car full of luggage and we drove to Kings Mountain, KY for our annual Spring Retreat. We had an incredible time enjoying the beauty of God's creation and learning about what it looks like to remove our masks and live our lives completely surrendered to God.

I've waited so long to post about the retreat because I've been trying to process the experience myself. To sum up the entire experience I think it is best to say we all found ourselves being very honest about how God created us and how we view ourselves. I really enjoyed watching students start to embrace different personality traits that they may have originally thought were negative qualities. I'm even more excited to see students discover how God uses the unique ways he has created them to reach out to others.

There are so many other wonderful stories about what happened at that weekend. Watching students worship in a different church setting then they are use to and completely loving it. Exploring creeks, waterfalls and woods, climbing rocks and seeing students conquer fears in the process. Taking steps towards Christ with students. And one of my personal favorites sitting with a student as he decides to accept Christ and surrender his entire life our God.

It was a great trip and a beautiful encounter with our Creator!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bethel Updates

It has been several weeks since I shared about Bethel's chapel service that lasted several hours and I thought I would share with you what is happening on campus now.

In my opinion one of the greatest things that has happened because of this experience is the number of discipleship groups that have formed. My understanding is most of these groups are being lead by faculty and staff members. I've had conversations with several students who are involved in these groups and loving the growth that is coming from it. Last week I spoke with a student that is participating in a group that starts at 7 AM. Ask any college student and they will tell you that is really early. While this student constantly tells me she hates the early hour she also explains how much she has appreciated the authenticity of the group experience.

Another common conversation I've had with students reality of the spiritual warfare that happens around them that they were unaware of previously. A student shared with me this week that they had no clue how much opposition they would face when they decided to start pursuing Christ in every area of their lives. This has lead to some incredible conversations among students and it has been fun to watch them pull together to support each other.

Continue to pray for Bethel. The semester is winding down, which means crazy schedules and a temptation to push aside the commitments and steps that were set up several weeks ago.

Impact South Bend Update

Check out Impact Campus Ministries, South Bend latest newsletter HERE!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Owning our Faith - TJ's Story

I wanted to share one last story with you from one of the Impact students from Indiana University, South Bend (IUSB). As students from Bethel have shared their stories, our students from other campuses have expressed their desire for God to transform their campuses as well. Tj Dalenberg is a freshman at IUSB and these are some thoughts he wanted to share with you.

This thing (revival?) that's been happening on Bethel's campus is awesome. My girlfriend attends Bethel and it's amazing to hear the accounts. It is inspiring. It makes me feel like it is going to spread easily to IUSB, where I attend.

It's empowering to think that God has been preparing all of us for this moment and we finally realized it. He knows what He's doing. :) I am encouraged, inspired, and ready to take this thing on and bring it to IUSB's campus! It can start with one person, that's the great thing about it. If just one person stands up and grabs this bull by its horns, we can change the area, country, and world! It's just awesome how God works.

This change that has been happening on Bethel's campus has impacted me in a few ways. I've been learning to let God have what is already His, for instance the people in my life. I hold them so closely and dearly, but forget to remember that they aren't mine. As (the professor that spoke Wednesday February 23rd) said, 'the people on this earth are ours to enjoy only for a time. Then hopefully we will be reunited in heaven!'

Also, there is one more thing I have been realizing. See, I grew up in a Christian home, I went to church every Sunday since I can remember, and went to a Christian High school for 10 years. So, at times I felt like concepts and ideas were being forced upon me. I had never really made my faith MY own. Ive been realizing that I need to do that more.

Also, the concept of God's unconditional love has recently HIT me. It's something that has been so common to me that I have never sat down and thought about it. I was listening to the JJ Heller song, "What love really means" and it struck me. God loves me for ME. not for what i have done in the past, or what I will do in the future. He loves me for what I am, imperfect.

Anyways, this change on Bethel has just been a whirlwind of change in my life. I am excited, inspired, and encouraged.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lukewarm Christianity - Tyler's Story

Last week I had the privilege to sit and chat with Tyler, a freshman at Bethel. Tyler came to campus knowing that God had provided this opportunity for him to get a great education and play soccer. Adjusting to life as a Bethel student has been a little more challenging than Tyler realized it would be. At times he has felt trapped and if following Christ had to look a very specific way.

Like many students, Tyler went to chapel last thinking it was just another chapel service. As the speaker because to share Tyler was immediately drawn to the speakers authenticity. Tyler could relate to several aspects of the speakers journey and greatly appreciated the transparency the speaker was showing the student body.

Tyler shared with me that one of the greatest things he took away from that chapel was the importance of getting out of the way and allowing space for the Spirit to move. For him personally he was reminded of the importance of daily living sold out for Christ. God had reminded that Tyler that He is not pleased with a lukewarm commitment. God has begun to reveal to Tyler the areas of his life where he has been lukewarm and what God could do if Tyler lived his life on fire for Christ.

They are great questions for all of us to think about. What have I not surrendered to God? How do I need to get out of God's way? How might God want to move through me?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Unity - Nikki's Story

Nikki Barr is a freshman education major at Bethel College. This is a reflection paper she wrote for a class assignment after last Wednesday chapel service.

This past Wednesday was an experience that I have thought I had experienced before but then discovered that what happened on our campus was far deeper than a night at summer camp. When I was a sophomore in high school I went to a Bible camp in Michiana and every night at we would have worship that lasted for thirty to forty minutes. During these times I would see people raising their hands and closing their eyes but I didn’t understand why they felt drawn to making those kinds of movements. As the week continued, started to talk about what night “the night” was going to be; the night that everyone would break into tears. Well “the night” ended up being Thursday when people literally just broke down…visually. Everyone I saw had a tear stained face and was on their knees with their hands raised or in a corner praying with friends or mentors. My peers were verbally crying out to God in repentance, thanksgiving, and regret; I too was a part of this; it was the first time I saw Jesus as more than just a man as a key character in a book and that was the night I dedicated my life to live for Jesus Christ.

Now comparing that night at summer camp with chapel on Wednesday I would say the summer camp “revival” was one that brought me and my peers from a previous life and choices, but I see Bethel’s “revival” as one that is leading us to a new standard.  What happen on Wednesday is so much more than what could have happened at a summer camp. We drew together as a community and because we live together, study together, eat together, and worship God together we have the privilege to grow together in our relationships with our Lord Jesus Christ. During a summer camp we are with our peers for a week and then it’s back to life and learning how to live in a new way on our own. We live at summer camp and we do have to say goodbye for months at a time, this gives us the opportunity to really learn what it is to confess and be open with each other. On Wednesday, people got up on stage in chapel and confessed, thanked, and prayed and we now have the opportunity and the obligation to be accountability partners for each other campus wide. Because of what happened we need to draw together in such community that this campus has never seen before; it is up to us to transform Bethel and our community and each other for this is what being a part of the body of Christ is about: striping ourselves of pride and pursuing God with reckless abandonment. Now is the time God has chosen to open people’s eyes to him we must not let this impact simply die down or fizzle out, now is the time to feed the fire and have it grow to the point of rapturing any of whom walks onto Bethel’s campus!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hearing From God - Lindsay's Story

Lindsay Sherburn is a sophomore liberal studies major at Bethel. This is her story of how God spoke to her at chapel last week. 

Looking back on what happened last week, I am still so amazed at the way God worked that day. I very clearly recall sitting in chapel as if it were any other day; I was a bit tired, chatted some with my friend next to me and merely thought the speaker was another guy with a really cool story. It all felt so ordinary. And I think that's why it was so beautiful. Sometimes - for me, a lot of the time - I put God in a box. I think I know how He is going to work and when. Last week, He reminded me that He is God. He is the Author of Surprises. As I finally, even reluctantly, made my way to the altar, I had no intention of really hearing His voice or feeling His presence so clearly. But God, of course, had other plans.

That day, God woke me up. I had been 'asleep' for a few weeks, waiting for Him to respond. In reality, He was waiting for me. He showed me the walls I had been putting between us. I have been dealing with seasonal depression and was using that as an excuse to not have to work at our relationship. I had also been putting my concern about my relationships as a priority in my life and not giving Him control. Well, He finally realized that the best option to get me to listen was to hit me over the head. And that's what He did. Since that day, He has been showing me His love in so many ways. Or rather, I am finally seeing Him move. It has been great watching those around me see and witness Him as well. As we all continue to process what happened and to make changes in our lives, I pray that first and foremost, We see Him. Every moment of every day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Responding to God - Rachel's Story

Rachel Wilkins is a senior music education major at Bethel. She also serves as at student leader with Impact Campus Ministries. These are her thoughts on the last week on Bethel's campus.

Well its been a week since the Holy Spirit moved in a huge way on Bethel's campus. It has been interesting to take a step back and observe the others around me to see what God is doing with their hearts. So many people came forward last Wednesday and shared pieces of their lives that truly inspired those around them. From this there have people realizing the sin in their own life and wanting to give it to God and just be free of the bondage. However it is at this point that Satan tries to find a little hole and dig down deep in our hearts and find any foothold possible. This is where the true challenge come.

God swept over us in a massive wave of love and now it is our responsibility to allow Him to do His work. We have to truly rely on God and His power to get us through the attacks of Satan. I sincerely believe that Satan is shaking in his boots because this generation is ready to make a difference and with God strong in our hearts some crazy stuff is about to happen. Please pray that we hold on strong and allow God to take charge and that we are willing to be vessels of all He has planned to do!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Experiencing God - Becki's Story

Becki Visker is a senior music major at Bethel College. This is her story about how God spoke to her during last Wednesday's chapel service.

During the revival I experienced the different voices of God and the different ways He moves. Through some alone time God revealed to me that I am going to India, and He gave me a lot of peace of future decisions that needed to be made.

He also moved with a lot of the women on campus. A lot of girls got up in front of their fellow students and confessed to struggling with sexual desires and masturbation. So out of that myself, and some other girls are getting a discipleship group going on lust free living.

God also just broke me towards the end. The whole time I had been so on task and almost quenching what God wanted to say to me. So I went down to the alter, and I just felt God's love pour over me. So here we are, 6 days later.

There has not been a day where this campus hasn't been covered in prayer, and the student body has been stepping up to keep this revival going and actually doing something with what God blessed us with. I'm so pumped to be a part of this, and that God has been working in our campus.

God's Moving at Bethel! - Update

Bethel has posted an update on the Bethel Magazine website. It includes a video message from senior vice president, Dr. Dennis Engbrecht. Check it out here.

Dr. Engbrecht talks about the trail of prayers that lead up to Wednesday's chapel. Yesterday I shared about some of my experiences of praying for Bethel. I know earlier this school year Master's Men, a group of men from local churches, had gathered on campus to pray. I've heard stories from other alumni who were prompted to pray through out the week for Bethel.

We can't underestimate the power of prayer.

Monday, February 21, 2011

God's Moving at Bethel!

One of my first impressions of Bethel College was the incredible sense of God's presence. I remember an admissions counselor sharing the story of a revival that happened in the early 90s and how that had a lasting impact on the campus. As a student, it seemed the longer I was at Bethel the more we felt the need for God to bring revival again. So we prayed.

In July of 2009, I was invited to join a group of people who were gathering with Impact Campus Ministries on all of the local campuses in the South Bend area to pray and seek what God may be doing on these campuses. While we were at Bethel, something about campus seemed different. I couldn't quite put my finger on it but there was a sense of unrest that began to settle in me. That prayer journey lead me to join Impact's staff and last spring we gathered again on all of the campuses to pray and seek God. During our time at Bethel we were joined by faculty, staff and students and the first thing they asked us to pray for was revival.

I write all of that to share that many people have been praying for many years that God would pour out his Spirit and that the Bethel community would be revived. God is answering that prayer in a powerful way. Last Wednesday the normal 50 minute chapel service turned into over 7 1/2 hours of confession, testimonies, healing, reconciliation and the Spirit consuming students, faculty and staff. That has been followed by student-led prayer and worship gatherings all across campus. You can read a statement from senior vice-president, Dr. Dennis Engbrecht here.

The following night we met with our Impact Bethel group and heard their stories. Students shared about being freed from sins, experiencing joy in new ways, calls to ministry being confirmed, renewed commitments to following Christ and the list goes on and on.  We ended our night thanking God and praying that we would continue to respond to what God is doing.

For me personally it was a very moving experience to sit and listen to the stories knowing that God was answering a prayer I (and several others) had been praying for years. It was a reminder of how perfect His timing and plan is. It was awesome to see our students take huge steps and continue to define the next steps they need to take. God is constantly shaping our story and it is one that needs to be shared. 

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing some of those stories. Please be praying for Bethel's campus as they continue to respond to the Spirit. Our Impact staff would also appreciate your prayers as we continue to mentor and disciple students.

Also I encourage you to check out the posts and links Benson Hines has shared on his blog and Bethel's Facebook page for updates of what is happening on campus.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Embracing the Adventure

I’ve always enjoyed a good adventure. The type of adventure when you grab your camera, some water and head to a county or state park to explore the woods. I rarely stay on the trails but I always know where the trail is. Or if I’m feeling really adventurous I’ll try something new at a restaurant I’ve been to a hundred times. I’m a huge risk taker, aren’t I?!

As much as I like to play things safe, it seems life has been one crazy situation after another. Some would call them struggles, obstacles, trials or just plain insanity. I chose to call them adventures…grand adventures. I’ve begun to learn the value of embracing the adventure instead of despising the pain. James sums it up so well.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. James 1:2-4
When I decide to welcome the challenges as "opportunities for joy," I discover I learn a whole lot more than when I try to fight against the difficulties. This doesn’t necessarily make the learning process easier, but it reminds me the growing pains are worth it.

I still have much to so learn, which means the adventures are far from over. I’m okay with that. These adventures are part of my story. They draw me closer to Abba. I could probably write a separate post on that and what I’ve learned, but knowing me, I wouldn’t count on it!

Find a way to embrace the adventure friends. I don’t think you’ll regret it.