The Gift: A Story for Advent – Part Two

The Gift - A Story for Advent

During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you.  A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago.  She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you.  I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.

However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations.  For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other.  It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny.  It is a story of truth. Continue reading

The Gift: A Story for Advent – Part One

The Gift - A Story for Advent

During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you.  A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago.  She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you.  I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.

However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations.  For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other.  It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny.  It is a story of truth. Continue reading

Deliberate Confidence {31 Days #30}

Faith Quote

As our 31 Day series draws to a close I was reflecting on this past month and all that God has done, all we have experienced and all we have learned.

I found this quote from Oswald Chambers before we even started the series and I knew the time would come when I should use it!

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” Continue reading

Let Go Let God {31 Days #22}

Let Go Let God

Yesterday was a crazy day!

It was non-stop, fast paced, running out of time, and overwhelming!

When I look at the rest of the week it is the same.

Don’t you just love days like that?? 

I get stressed and overwhelmed and I feel like I want to stop the world and get off for a couple of days so I can recover.

The craziness is mainly because we have really stepped up our planning for our Africa mission trip and we had a day long meeting discussing all the details, plans and needs……my head hurts, yet my excitement is peaked!

On top of everything I had this blog post to write – one of the joys of committing to write on the same topic for 31 Days is that you cannot give yourself a day off 😦

I didn’t know what to write about, I hadn’t even had a second to think about it and I had 30 minutes to do it in!! Then Captain America suggested I wrote about submitting everything to God, as that really has been the theme of the last couple of days for us.

Continue reading

Africa Mission Fundraiser {31 Days #21}

Teespring Africa Campaign

On Thursday we announced that we are partnering with Teespring to create a crowdfunding t-shirt campaign to raise funds for our mission trip to Africa in December.

Teespring Africa

We are delighted to announce that our campaign is now LIVE, LAUNCHED AND READY TO GO!

So I know we have been talking about this mission trip for a while now but have told you very little about it!

Our planned Mission Trip is to Uganda, South Sudan & Zambia this December!

Continue reading

Seemingly Insignificant {31 Days #16}

Seemingly Insignificant

This past weekend I got to go back to my former church, The Rock Of Roseville for a visit.

It was so great to be back there seeing old friends.  As part of the service they showed a video that actually was about tithing but I couldn’t get away from the importance and significance of the content and theme.

I wanted to share the video with you:

I was struck by these words, 

“Jesus takes what is seemingly insignificant and transforms it and makes it into something great.”

Our current season of obedience in Walking Out A Leap Of Faith has its moments when it feels insignificant, Captain America and I can feel insignificant, but we know that God will take our obedience and make it into something great!

When we feel insignificant, God can do His greatest work with and through us. 

What is God transforming in you??

What is the season of obedience God is calling you into?

Thanks to the amazingly gifted Pastor Brandon Naramore and Tass Souza for their great word, production, editing and giving me permission to share the video! 

 

For the rest of the articles on our 31 Day Series – Walking Out A Leap Of Faith, click HERE

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Established Steps {31 Days #15} + Printable

Steps Established

Taking a leap of faith is one thing – Walking Out A Leap Of Faith requires constant action.  

It is active, living, consistent.

Each day Captain America and I are having to take steps.  Somedays its baby steps, somedays it’s a giant stride.

Every step has to be on the same narrow path, directed by the Lord.  We have to listen for God’s leading through the Holy Spirit, and carefully follow the direction.  Sometimes it’s easy to hear and follow and sometimes it is difficult, sometimes we are distracted, sometimes we want to go our own way.

Some of the ‘steps’ we are hearing the Lord lead us in seem ridiculous to be honest! They seem fleshly, stupid, illogical and impractical.  The more we test them, by waiting on God, asking Him for confirmation and seeking out wise counsel, the more God confirms that He is in fact leading us that way – so all we can do is follow.

I stumbled across this verse in Psalms and found great reassurance knowing that God has established our steps – BEFORE we even ask, and BEFORE we step out!

God has established your steps – just keep your eyes on Him and He will lead you!

He has plans for you beyond our wildest imagination,

He is able and He is in control!

Be encouraged today. Continue reading

Keep Calm {31 Days #14}

keep-calm-and-take-a-leap-of-faith

I love these signs – they crack me up! I know they have been around for years now – and they are somewhat overdone – but I couldn’t resist this one when I found it!

Neither Captain America or I have reached ‘panic’ stage about our leap of faith at this point, he probably never will but let’s face it, out of the two of us I am the one prone to panic and worry, right?? So this is kind of tongue in cheek, but it did get me thinking……in order to keep calm I have to be at peace.  I cannot be anxious, impatient, frustrated, worried, distressed or stressed and keep calm! A state of calm is only created by peace, deep, real, inner peace and I know that I ONLY have access to that peace through Jesus Christ.  I know this because Philippians tells me.

Through Jesus Christ I have access to the “peace that surpasses all understanding”.  

Today I am holding onto that promise.

Philippians 4: 6-9

“Be anxious for nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.  The things which you have learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the peace of God will be with you.”

What areas of your life do you need to know “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding”?

Take a hold of that peace today!

For the rest of the articles on our 31 Day Series – Walking Out A Leap Of Faith, click HERE

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21 Graces {31 Days #12}

21 Graces

For our regular readers, by now I’m sure you are very familiar with our 21 Graces weekly article. For the month of October we have moved 21 Graces to a Saturday as part of or 31 Days series.

For the rest of the articles on our 31 Day Series – Walking Out A Leap Of Faith, click HERE

If you are new to the blog, or if you are joining us for 31 Days Series: Walking Out A Leap Of Faith – you can find out more about 21 Graces here: 21 Graces – Introduction

Here is this week’s 21 Graces:

Week Twenty – 10/12/2013

1) Packing up a house worth of furniture that was donated to Pillars Of Hope – such a generous family!

2) Safely navigating the UHaul up and down the very windy road to the house

3) Having lots of help to unload the truck at the storage unit….we were very tired at that point!

4) Negotiating to buy the one of the beautiful chairs that was donated – Captain America and I both fell in love with it!

5) A wonderful Love Feast Lunch after church today

6) Sunday afternoon naps

7) Making Pull Apart Pumpkin Bread for the first time – delicious

8) Best day ever on the blog….again!! Thanks Pinterest!

9) My migraine easing after people prayed for me

10) Having leftovers for dinner

11) Skype date with parents – even if they initially forgot about me….how rude 😉

12) Finding inspiration for blog posts

13) Seeing God’s direction and leadership in my life

14) Having my hair done and gaining a new look for fall

15) Working on the church website

16) …..and fundraising projects for our Africa Mission trip

17) A successful 1st time attempt at warm spinach salad for dinner

18) Making it to the gym 3 days this week….and feeling the benefits!

19) A great lunch connecting with friends

20) Deep conversations about marriage

21) Dinner with best friends and catching up-well overdue and wonderful!!

My Sheep Hear My Voice {31 Days}

My Sheep Hear My Voice

Captain America is joining us again today and sharing another installment of his journey so far……..

I realize that last week I shared some of the things that the Lord spoke to me that finally helped me make sense out His calling on my life.  Those were just a very few of the many ways that the Lord has gotten my attention over the course of my life, and in retrospect, there have been many other times where the Lord was being very clear with me about various things, but either I didn’t get it at the time or I didn’t want to obey.

One the things that Jesus said is: “My sheep hear My voice”.  A lot of people have heard this saying of Jesus, but many wonder if that is still valid for today since Jesus is now in Heaven, while many others understand correctly that Jesus’ voice can be heard wherever and whenever Jesus wants His voice to be heard, since, well, He is God!  While most Christians do believe that the voice of Jesus Christ should be something that we hear, as His sheep, many people don’t know if they hear Him or not and wonder what that means for them.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.” John 10: 27-30

My Sheep Hear My Voice

Well, for me, one of the ways that I began to realize that Jesus was real and that He speaks to us today was, well, when He came and spoke directly to me.  Now, few will have that extreme of an encounter with the Lord, but few are probably as stubborn as I can be.  You see, even though I was raised Catholic, I became a staunch atheist by the time I was 13.  I did not believe that there was anything supernatural, that all religions were man-made superstitions and that if man-kind would get over all of the silly, irrational superstitions that we could solve all of the world’s problems.  I became so firm and out-spoken in that way of thinking that I joke I was an evangelical atheist, trying to convince others to drop their faith, whatever it was, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc.  Well, God had other plans for me and one day when I went home to an empty house that was not normally empty, I had one of those silly, irrational, superstitious experiences myself!

The Jesus that I didn’t believe in appeared to me and spoke, saying; “Todd, go to church”!

My otherwise rational mind was not wanting to accept this and I tried to explain away what had occurred for about 6 weeks until I finally had to accept that I had experience something supernatural!

I wish I could claim that it all got easy from there, and I became a compliant follower of Christ, but that is not what happened!  Remember … I AM STUBBORN!  I like doing things my way.  I would say that from that day forward, from the age of 17, I have never stopped believing, but becoming a follower of Christ was an entirely different process, that you got to read about a bit last week.  It took me about 15 years from the time I became a believer to start to become a follower and even now, sometimes I look back and will remember times when the Lord was clearly speaking to me or revealing His will to me, but I didn’t clue-in!

All of that to say, that if you don’t know if you hear the voice of Christ or not, I want to encourage you to pray and ask and seek Him out, because He wants you to hear Him and to understand Him and to follow Him.

My Sheep Hear My Voice

I warn you, it will probably be a far more exciting journey than you might plan on!  The Lord has brought me to places that I never wanted to go, like Africa, Eastern Europe, full-time ministry; but He has also given me life, and life abundantly!  I would never trade those experience with the Lord that I have had for anything, and I can’t wait to go to Africa again in a couple of months to visit my church family there and make new God-connections.

For the rest of the articles on our 31 Day Series – Walking Out A Leap Of Faith, click HERE

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