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Respond - Marvelyn Schell Campaign Blog

Although it was still morning, I could already feel the hot African sun.  Clouds of dust puffed up by passing vehicles was gradually drifting into my house and settling like dirty powder on everything.  I could hear people whistling and shouting for taxis as they made their way into town.  A pretty typical day for those of us living in Kitwe, Zambia.

My husband was at the college teaching, and the girls were in school so I knew I had just a few hours to get all my errands done.  Grabbing the keys, I hurried to the truck and reviewed my list…I was a woman on a mission!

Pay bills. 

Get groceries.

Visit hardware store for garden supplies. 

Pick up worm medicine for dogs at the Veterinary Clinic. 

Pick up worm medicine for family at the Medical Clinic.

You get the idea…

But on this ‘typical’ day God had a job for me that I completely ignored. 

I still regret it to this day.

I was used to seeing beggars and street people around town.  They were part of my typical day and part of the mission package I had agreed to - coming face to face with poverty. 

“Madam, can I wash your car while you shop?”  “Madam, do you have any extra Kwacha?” “Madam, my family needs food.” 

I sped through the roundabout hoping that there wouldn’t be a police check on the other side bur rehearsing my answers should there be one – they always made me nervous.  And as I slowed down to turn the corner, I saw him. He was dressed in rags that had turned reddish-brown by lying in the Zambian dirt.  Hunched over, he was throwing up…the kind that brings nothing but spastically tries anyway.  In those few seconds I saw.  I saw a desperate man, needing help.

But I drove on.

Of course, I justified my actions.

I didn’t have time.  I only get the car once a week.  It wasn’t safe to stop.  How could I really help?

Recently I was reading the story of the Good Samaritan.  Jesus tells this parable in response to an expert in religious law interrogating him on eternal life.  So guess what jumped out off the page at me? 

Luke 10:29   “The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’”

When it comes to responding to Christ we too can try to justify our actions…or inactions for that matter.  But let me humbly give you two pieces of advice from my regretful-pass-by. 

 

1) Pray. Pray that God would give you the courage to obey.  CS Lewis once said, “For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model.  Removing mountains can wait.” 

2) Recognize that obedience will be uncomfortable and inconvenient.  I love how Martin Luther King Jr interprets this parable, “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But...the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

ZOE Network knows it’s hard to respond…I’m proof of that. 

But be certain of this…if you do respond…you will experience life – ZOE [Gk] life!  Luke 10:28

 

Marvelyn Schell

ZOE Network Strategy Coordinator

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Grounded in the Word - Sherry Stahl

“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16 NIV

When I was a kid growing up I loved Crusaders.

For those of you who are too young to remember, this PAOC Children's program was essentially Girl Guides and Boy Scouts with a Christian twist.

We wore the typical uniform with a sash to hold badges on, did all the camping, singing and marching those other groups did, but didn't have to sell any cookies.

Crusaders stood apart in their goal to train up children who were grounded in the Word.

Each week we learned about and memorized scripture. For a competitive girl like me, a badge was all the motivation I needed to get me to memorize scripture. I didn't realize how valuable this training in the Word was until my life got tough.

My first marriage was a very difficult time for me. The tumultuous relationship left my heart and mind struggling to know the truth. My self-worth was diminished and I was hopeless, unless I stood on the Word. In the times when I would stay grounded in the Word I could face my troubles with confidence and rise above the circumstances. Often I would quote scripture to build myself up. I was amazed at how many of those verses I learned when I was a kid in Crusaders. When I didn't stay in the Word daily I became weak, defeated and bitter. Not someone you always wanted to hang around!

5 EASY STEPS TO STAY GROUNDED IN THE WORD:

1. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY

I read my Bible daily. In the hard times I read more, because I need more. I thought every Christian did this, but sadly that's not the case. In Canada, only 11% of churchgoers read their Bible daily.

If you haven't build up the habit of daily devotions check out www.takethe40daychallenge.com. There you can sign-up for free to take a 40-day journey through reading my book and the Bible. You will receive 40 days worth of short emails to help you stay consistent. Christian Bookstores are a great resource to find devotionals or Bible Studies that can help guide you in scripture study. It's good to read from a variety of authors so you have a 'balanced meal' that produces a balanced mind.

2. WRITE IT OUT

I'm known for having scripture written on cue cards taped to my bathroom mirror or kept in my purse. My husband Todd used to write scripture and keep it in his shirt pocket. He also would record scripture on the door from the house into the garage. He painted it with black chalkboard paint and made artistic postings. In our house, we have a frame with chalkboard paint instead of a painting in it where we write scriptures or sayings on it. I let the artist update that one!

3. SPEAK IT OUT

I believe quoting scripture out loud is the most powerful thing you can do. David ran at Goliath with his mouth open declaring the goodness of his God and letting Goliath know how God was going to make David victorious. Life and death is in the power of the tongue. Use this truth to your benefit. I don't know if there's anything that defeats the enemy more than when we speak out scripture? Use scripture in your prayers. It will make them more effective because you're praying in agreement with God and His Word. Just make sure you're not trying to manipulate God or His Word.

4. FILL UP YER WELL

It seems almost too simple to say, so when I think of this point I see a hillbilly standing beside one of those old water pumps, arm moving up and down and I hear him saying, “you gots to fill up yer well.” It's so important to keep the well of your spirit filled up on the water of the Word. We have to store up a supply of fresh water when things are going well so you have something to pump out when times get tough.

5. LET THE STREAMS FLOW

Don't keep it to yourself! When you read something in the Bible that inspires you, challenges you, helps you, corrects you or you just think it's funny...share it with someone. Don't be a Dead Sea. If the water flows in, let it keep on flowing. Let the streams flow so you can refresh someone else!

  • Send it in a card, email or text
  • Call a friend on the phone and tell them about it
  • Blog about it
  • Write a book
  • Sing it in a Song
  • Share about it at church
  • Teach Sunday School
  • Lead a Bible Study or Home Group
  • Share about it with your friends
  • Tell someone your testimony and include scripture when you do
  • Preach

 

Footnotes

1 LifeWay Research

2 Ibid

3 Proverbs 19:21

 

Sherry is a dynamic Author, Speaker and Blogger. Your group would be inspired to have her come and share. Check out Sherry’s Soul H2O blog where you can find ‘Refreshment For Your Soul’ on Mondays with her weekly #SoulH2O devotionals at

http://sherrystahl.com/blog/

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Kirsten Anonby - Listen to God

God is speaking . . . how do we hear Him?  “What’s it like when you try to hear from God?” I’m a campus pastor, and this is one of my favourite questions to ask students. I don’t ask “how is your prayer life?” because it prompts guilty confessions that they should be praying more. That’s not what I want. I want to hear their questions; I want them to describe their struggles, their uncertainty, and their rare clear experiences of hearing Jesus. It’s funny that such a central part of spiritual maturity can be such a mystery. We believe that our God speaks to us today, but I’ve found that, more often than not, people are uncertain about how to hear Him. When we really need to hear Him and come up with nothing it’s easy to wonder—Does He speak? Am I doing it wrong? Or maybe He’s talking, but just not to me? What do I have to do to get God to talk to me?

I’ve had my fair share of temper tantrums when I’ve tried to hear God and epically failed. But I’ve also learned, over the course of my growing and messy life with Jesus, some of the things that get in the way of hearing Him. I know that if I avoid these pitfalls, I’m putting myself in the right posture to hear.

1. Stop Trying so Hard

A number of years ago I met regularly with a spiritual director who told me to stop trying when I went to pray. He said this to me every week: that it was God’s responsibility to speak—not mine. I had a hard time believing this. If God was always speaking and I wasn’t hearing Him, who else was there to blame? I must not be doing it right. But there was no formula, no system. Like the grace we each have been given and have not earned, I was to simply come and let Him be the Giver. I was to come and be—for 20 minutes a day, to be exact. I was to be quiet and let all the crazy thoughts and emotion in my mind settle down. I was to be open to the presence of God. Even though it felt like nothing, he said something would shift in me. And he was right. How, after all, can we hear God’s voice when every other voice is speaking to us at the same time? Jesus is not an over-talker. It’s in the quiet that we hear Him. 

2. Don’t Avoid Solitude & Silence

And there isn’t a lot of quiet these days. Our lives are a constant barrage of voices: our families, work, friends, the hundreds of strangers we pass by each day. And then there are the myriad of other “voices” on our smartphones, computers, tv, etc. Every instant of our lives can, if we choose, be filled with voices and information: and many of us do choose (I must confess, I check Facebook while in the bathroom.) Most of us are so used to this invasion of our lives that we don’t realize how much more chaos and, well, noise we’re living with than people did a hundred, fifty, or even twenty five years ago. We don’t realize that we’ve become strangers to silence.When I actually seek to be silent a new type of noise emerges—an internal noise. From the outside it looks like I’m being still and knowing that He is God–– but on the inside I am overwhelmed with a tangled mass of emotions, running thoughts, and unfinished to do lists. Being still becomes equivalent to opening the door of that storage closet I’ve been flinging things into for much too long. I don’t know how I feel. I am not at peace. But I know peace is on the other side of all that chaos in my head, and it’s only in my times of silence—of solitude—that Jesus is able to bring order out of the chaos. 

3.) Don’t Push Jesus Away When He Shows You Yourself Letting Jesus bring clarity out of the chaos feels vulnerable, and sometimes even scary. It threatens any illusions I’ve hidden behind, because Jesus is speaking—and He’s showing me myself: what’s really going on behind my irritability—what fears are really driving my tendency to overwork—what old wounds prompted me to snap at my friend. Sometimes I throw a whole mess of thoughts and feelings onto a page (or five) of my journal. After it’s all out there in black and white, I write one simple question: “what is true?” Jesus is somehow able to speak the truth to me in a way that I can receive it, regardless of how difficult it is. For me, I’ve found that the first thing Jesus speaks to me about is my own heart—the broken parts, the selfish parts, and the parts that bring Him joy. He wants to show us ourselves so that he can speak life to the deadness in us, speak love to the wounds in us, and bring wholeness and holiness to the brokenness in us. And as He speaks, and mends, and heals, He is preparing our hearts to participate in the work He is doing in the world.

 

Kirsten Anonby

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Making Space - Nelia Evans Campaign Blog

Have you ever felt like that anxious old rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?  He runs around with his ticking golden clock, announcing to everyone in ear shot, “I’m late; I’m late for a very important date.” Unfortunately, I often find myself in this harried state!  Like the White Rabbit, I am frantically on the move, trying to keep my proverbial full plate from toppling over like a bad game of Jenga! 

In the midst of this life with all of its pulls and demands, how does one find, or rather make, the time to spend quality moments with God?  I don’t know about you, but some days, even finding the time to just sit for a moment, is a rarity.  It’s not that I don’t want to spend time in God’s Word, it is just sometimes, my day (along with my best intentions) slip through that spiralling rabbit hole at an alarming rate!  Is there hope for those of us who find ourselves in such a place? 

Making space for God in a fast-paced world:

Stop beating yourself up!  If you are anything like me, guilt rears her ugly head and leaves you paralyzed.  Don’t let the guilt of the past, keep you from pressing on.  If this is ringing true, then perhaps it is time to change your mind set about ‘devotional’ time.  Your Relationship with Jesus is a journey, not a destination.   Enjoy the journey for what it is.  Not for what it was, and not for what it may be in the future.  Learn to create moments in the present.  These intimate moments with Jesus will no doubt guide your future. 

 

If spending time with Jesus becomes laborious and just another item to add to our check-list of to-do’s, then we have missed the mark!  Being mindful and present for 5 minutes is worth far more than 30 minutes of distracted bible reading because the quality of time is more important than the quantity.  Choose to make space that is meaningful.  Be intentional and fully engaged.  Time well spent, will result in a deeper relationship with your Creator.  Start with just a few minutes of deep, meaningful, mindful moments with Jesus.  No matter how busy we may be, we can all find a few minutes each day.  It may be as simple as intentionally praying to Him during your daily commute.  Or, reciting meaningful bible verses over and over as you prepare a meal.   Your faith will increase as you build stamina and increase your mindful and intentional time with Him. 

If it’s important to you, you will make the time.  Ouch!  Although quality is more important than quantity, there still must be time set aside, and that is not an easy feat.  It requires sacrifice and discipline and let’s face it, that takes time and effort.  Just like building muscle, we must keep at it.  Even though it has been a few years since I was an active ‘runner,’ my body still has memory muscle.  I am able to start running, and although I won’t pick up where I left off, my body remembers the feeling of running and is able to re-start.  Our faith muscle is much the same.  If we discipline ourselves to create time and space with Jesus, our heart and mind will follow suit.  No matter how long it has been, it is never too late to quiet that inner white rabbit and his ever-ticking golden clock.

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12 (NIV)

Nelia Evans

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Nourishing Ourselves

I remember the day I weaned my last child.  It was bittersweet.  I had anticipated the day, knowing that developmentally it was a necessary step for Ben and let’s face it, I was looking forward to more freedom…but…I was sad to let go.  It was the end of an era for both of us.

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Young Women on the Rise - Sydney Teichroeb

There are some pretty amazing young women rising in our network and today we feature one of them: Sydney Teichroeb

Sydney is a young woman who pursues Jesus with her whole heart. She is from Abbotsford, British Columbia and is currently working on completing her degree at Summit Pacific College majoring in Counselling Foundations. 

Sydney is the director of a girl’s mentorship program called We Cultivate which is based out of Abbotsford. The program’s purpose is to provide enriching opportunities for girls to reach their full potential and exceed their self-perceived limits. One of the ways Sydney and her team do this is through group and individual mentoring. 

Sydney lives to empower those around her and bring glory to Jesus in everything.

Here is a quick little interview with Sydney...

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Sydney Teichrob. I was born in Kelowna, but grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia. I had a Christian upbringing, went to a Christian School and attended church my whole life. The biggest thing I was involved in was dance! I have a large passion for dance, but I never thought I would be working with teen girls one day. Surprisingly that was not my intention at all!

How did you start "We Cultivate?"

For me it was so much more then just wanting to work with girls and start a "girls group". It grew from my passion to wanting to work with people and see them grow as individuals through a mentorship perspective! I wish that I had time to do both boys and girls, but I felt at that time I only had resources and Time for one gender! That is why we cultivate is now a girls program and I'm so thankful for that.

Did you always want to work with young girls?

I did not always want to work with young girls! I had no idea that God would lead me to do that, and it is amazing how once we are obedient to God he uses us to our full potential.

What would you say to someone starting out a group like Cultivate?

I would say - grab a good team and go for it! We try many different things, styles, games, ways to do things and we are still learning. Even after we try things I am happy that we went through it all as a team.

How do you get past the rough parts?

I am thankful we are doing the work despite when challenges come, you will have golden moments that remind you why you are doing what you do and it makes it all worth it! Having great teammates also makes the difference, knowing that if a bump comes in the road you do not have to walk through it alone is the best feeling. I also know when we do not act like we are perfect we will not have the pressure of feeling down around the rough parts, because we are striving to be as real as possible. And real life is not perfect haha!

What motivates you the most?

What motivates me the most is the exciting possibilities that working with girls gives. Also the scary facts and percentages that girls have to grow up with encourages me to keep going. We do not live in a world yet that caters to a wholesome upbringing for girls. That is what keeps me going - the conversations with young girls I have, the encouragement they need and the mentorship they crave. I love what I do and I think others should do the same!

How can people help out?

They can check out our Facebook, we also run something called Rewarding Wardrobes to help fund our activities with the girls. How it works is I get clothes donated, I wash + organize them into different sizes or styles + I put them online. Then other girls get to buy nice clothes that other girls did not want, + we benefit from it financially. I would say this is a huge breakthrough for us, + I encourage people to keep helping youth out even with no budget. There are always ways around needing a big budget to be successful! So if you would love to donate clothes that would be amazing!

Our future is bright with young women like Sydney!

Check Sydney's team out online:

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/wcultivate

Instagram: @wecultivate

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Launching ZOE Leadership - Woot! Woot!

The day is finally here...

After countless hours of writing, testing, re-writing and testing again (all fueled with copious amounts of coffee of course)...we are launching a dream!

A few years ago, while pastoring at Living Waters Church in Fort Langley, BC, God began to open my (Leanne's) eyes to the need to encourage and develop female leaders in Canada. Working with my friend Julie, we experimented with how best to do this in our local context and we began to see amazing things.  Women were hungry to learn and grow, but often felt "stuck."

Fast forward a few years to the launch of ZOE Projects.  We organized ourselves to:

"Network Canadians to respond to the needs of vulnerable women around the world, working in four key areas: Health, Education, Human/Sex Trafficking and Economic Empowerment…all with a heart for Spiritual Transformation."

Our chosen tagline was "Helping women Thrive."  We knew fairly early on that we wanted to help women thrive in Canada as well.

Why?  Well we believe passionately that every woman has been given a unique "deposit" of gifts that God wants to use for His purposes!  God is as it work in our world and we are invited to participate with Him.  

So we began to develop ZOE Leadership, to help women see their gifts and then encourage them tostrategically develop them further.   Often women fail to acknowledge their gifts because they “just don’t see it.”  We help them see it! 

The dream grew...the team grew!  

We worked closely with PAOC - Eastern Ontario District Women's Network, testing material and doing a couple of conferences.  We tested the material in BC and Alberta.  Free to Lead Conferences in Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Langley soon followed and we knew we had a message that needed to be shared.

So here we are.  Sharing what we have.

Our first course is called “IDENTITY: Discovering your Potential.” 

In this course, we learn that God wants to use us!  And He uses US…we don’t have to be anybody else because leadership looks different on everyone.  How freeing is that?  We just need to acknowledge our gifts andtake responsibility to learn and develop what God has deposited in us.  God is looking for women who are open to saying YES to Him! 

This five week course uses teaching videos and selected resources so that small groups of women can easily facilitate a ZOE Leadership group in their community. 

Interested in finding our more?  Email us here.

We are thinking that this is just the beginning!

Leanne McAlister

Canadian Liaison for ZOE Projects

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Keep Calm & Finish Strong...Women's Conference in Grimsby!

by Marvelyn Schell

I must admit, I’m a FIFA Fan!

And with Canada hosting the Women’s FIFA World Cup 2015 right now, I am cheering on our Canadian team big time! (especially after their heartbreaking loss against the USA in the 2012 London Olympics!)

The Canadian women’s soccer coach, John Herdman, recently had this to say when encouraging us to cheer them on.

“Keep the faith, that’s all I’m going to say. Keep the faith. Don’t ever lose faith with Christine (Canadian Women’s Soccer Team – Captain). She’s a great captain, great leader, getting into great positions. …. So let’s give her a break and let’s just keep supporting the team and keep supporting Christine.”

Reading this comment, I couldn’t help but reflect on the “Keep Calm & Finish Strong” Conference in Grimsby, ON that ZOE Projects was recently a part of. It’s easier to finish strong when you’ve got a cheering section. When you know someone out there has got your back, and is championing you.

Paul writes in Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

The verb form of this word "witness" (martureo) refers to the giving of a (confirming) testimony rather than the mere watching of an event. So, as I understand it these witnesses are the saints (Hebrews 11) who have already run the race but are watching mine and shouting… "Go for it! You can do it. Exercise your faith Marvelyn, you can finish. I did it. And I know it can be done. Run. RUN!"

However, I must admit that when the going gets tough… friends, family, co-workers tend to scatter.

Sometimes, it’s simply because they don’t know what to say or do and so out of fear and apprehension they keep their distance, avoiding the difficult conversations.

Many of the women that ZOE Projects has partnered with are running extremely tough races.

They need motivation to keep going…not give up…stay in the game.

I was overjoyed that Lakemount Worship Centre’s first Women’s Conference (June 5-6) chose to join the ZOE Projects Fan Club!

They didn’t avoid the difficult conversations about oppression and injustice but chose to shout out strong and loud, “WE ARE FOR YOU! WE BELIEVE IN YOU! BECAUSE OF CHRIST YOU CAN LIVE THE ABUNDANT LIFE – ZOE LIFE!”

So, thank you Lakemount ladies…for not only cheering and encouraging our ZOE Project partner in India but for also encouraging women across Canada to get involved ….. And in the modified words of John Herdman,

“Keep the faith, that’s all I’m going to say. Keep the faith. Don’t ever lose faith with our ZOE Project partners around the world. They are great captains, great leaders, getting into great positions. …. So let’s give them a break and let’s just keep supporting them.”

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When Older = Better...Guest Post by Susan Wells

I (Leanne) recently chatted with Sue Wells, who is wife of David, the superintendent of PAOC.  Sue was facing a "big birthday" (Happy Birthday Sue!) and asking herself what will this next phase look like for her.  She told me that many of her peers are declaring "it was their turn"...after serving in the church for decades.  Her peers were disengaging at alarming rates. This is a new and somewhat troubling cultural development. 

I loved Sue's understanding on this...rather than it now being "her time", it was a time to stay engaged, "building new pathways instead of collecting moss".

ZOE Projects needs women of ALL AGES engaged.  God can use you and some of your most productive moments are right around the corner!  Thanks Sue for the encouragement!

Susan Wells

by Sue Wells

My friend’s mother is a little vain, with surgical procedures to prove it.

Flattered when a granddaughter asked to apply makeup on her grandma’s face, she wondered as the youngster proceeded with a “pat, pat pat, pat” across her cheeks and forehead. “Dear, whatever are you doing?” “Filling in the cracks, Grandma!”

Not everything about older is better. April 8th, I turned sixty.

It’s freaky, because I’m reminded of what that meant growing up.

Despite efforts to ensure that it’s different for me, my body mocks that sixty isn’t always “the new forty.”

Life doesn’t look the same for Baby Boomers.

In just one generation, we’ve witnessed some of the greatest cultural changes in history.

Not only do we think and act differently, we have the physical and financial capabilities to indulge in endless leisurely pursuits.

The church hasn’t been immune to these unsettling changes, and we’re talking way more than music. When I was growing up, every generation was present in my life.

Youth meetings were boosted when parents cheered us on.

From teaching Sunday School to praying with me at the altar, seniors seemed to minister til they died.

To be fair, the challenge today is that many traditional areas of volunteering look different or have disappeared. As well, reaching our communities involves less of talents like singing, teaching, or ministries done in the context of a church service.

In the old days, it seemed you did what you were good at forever.

No one reassessed with, “What’s next?”

Is the next generation getting that same mentoring or, rather, is the empty nest is too often translating into the empty pew?

And what kind of legacy are we leaving for our grandchildren?

Christianity for Grandma = The Good Life?

Really??

And we wonder why they’re bored with the church!

In my younger years I was cautioned not to be “worldly.”

I’m waaay too old to be indulging in some of the activities that admonishment suggested!

But, how does that principle apply today?

Check out any ad for “Zoomers,” and the spirit of our age is beckoning with, “It’s… Your… Turn!”

Many Christians are falling for that temptation with a new mantra: “I’ve done my part.”

(I question, “Did God tell you that?”)

Admittedly, I can enjoy shallow!

But are today’s entitlements all that the Lord has in store for me?

Do I have the option to check out because, “It’s someone else’s turn?”

I’m countering with, NO!

To clarify, God’s call is not limited to a church building or its programs.

Luke 1 shares the account of Elizabeth, a senior who had seemingly missed her mission.

By not measuring up, she endured the pain of public ridicule.

Privately, she bore the heartache of unanswered prayer.

Because she’d been ready for a miracle, Elizabeth was prepared for a life change.

Besides raising John, who would prepare the way for Jesus, God had a second call.

“Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.”

No one visits that long!

I’m guessing Mary had to get out of town to escape the ridicule that comes with judgement. (In my day, pregnant girls went to “visit” an aunt.)

Who could’ve been more prepared to mentor Mary than Elizabeth?

A lifetime of setbacks had equipped her to provided affirmation (“I’m calling you blessed”), refuge, and Godly advice about how to handle trials. She may have looked older, but Elizabeth hadn’t grown old.

If you’ve been feeling without purpose:

1) Pray

with someone who’s kept their “first love.”

2) Ask

the Lord, your pastor, a ministry (like Zoe Projects) for any humble way to serve.

3) Share

your heart with friends and together live out the Elizabeth model.

We won’t gather moss, but rather, pave paths.

Whether we minister in the Lord’s house or our living room, publicly or privately, we will live supernaturally natural (not forgetting to indulge in a bit of fun now and then).

And we’ll not be done either until we’re dead!

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4 Reasons You Can't Make a Difference on Your Own

We are often told "go big or go home",  While I like the concept (particularly on my "I am Woman, hear me Roar" days), if I am honest, the thought of trying something BIG freaks me out and often sends me to the couch...

I wonder if we are going about this all wrong, trying as individuals to "make a difference".  Maybe the question isn't "what should I do" but is actually "what should we do"

What would happen if women across Canada began to work strategically together for BIG things? 

Today's post is by Carmen Kampman.  Carmen works in Community Relations at Horizon College in Saskatoon and is passionate about empowering women in Leadership. In April she is leading an Event called Free to Lead Saskatoon.

(Check it out here.)

She is also a great friend of ZOE. 

by Carmen Kampman

Life has many phases, and if you are one of those people that has a great memory and can remember your childhood years, you’ll likely remember well the I’ll-do-it-myself phase. My mom tells me that I was a frequent “me do it!” kinda girl. Not only that, I enjoyed letting everyone else around me know just how much I liked to achieve things on my own. 

But when we grow up we recognize (or at least we should!) that there are a great many things we can’t do on our own. (I confess I’m still a work in progress in this area!) And when it comes to Kingdom work, I’m convinced that it is imperative we understand why we can’t make a significant difference solely on our own. 

Here are a 4 reasons worth thinking about:

  • Women are uniquely shaped by their life experience, carrying with them with them a unique perspective. Collaborating together empowers us to view a situation through multiple lenses helping to ensure a “big picture” view. In other words, we might see or learn something we didn’t see or know before – how exciting!
  • Outcomes matter. So if outcomes matter, collaboration matters. If our primary mission as Christians is the advancement of God’s Kingdom here on earth, then healthy Christian living recognizes that the wisdom of community is deeper and wider than wisdom of self.
  • It’s both empowering and strengthening to converse together. The Didache (a compilation of early Christian teachings) says, “...every day you should seek out the company of the saints so that you can be helped by their conversation." (Didache 4.2)
  • Individually we are limited resources. No one person posses all of God’s gifts or wisdom. A rich tapestry is created when diverse gifts collaborate together.

Learning to collaborate and work well with others has been a big part of my journey these past four years. At times it has been messy – icky messy! And on more than one occasion I have hurt someone and have had to ask for their forgiveness. As a high-functioning, high-energy, results-oriented person I have learned the importance and value of intentionally seeking out others in order to collaborate. As a result, the outcomes on projects or decisions have far exceeded anything that I could have done alone.

So let me conclude with a few questions for us to consider: 

Do I understand that I’m a limited resource? 

What value do I see in collaborative conversation? 

What holds me back from asking others for their input? (Be honest!) 

What “company of saints” should I seek out so that I can be helped by their conversation?

Blessings in your journey,

Carmen Kampman

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