Courage

Bravocado, Jesus! (Factor of 7)

Few things in this life make my heart overflow with joy more than when God turns a trial into a blessing.

That was certainly the case in our latest “Factor of 7” for the month of June.

My beloved and I were in Fort Stewart for his eye surgery. (To read the back story, click here.) We were doing our best to enjoy ourselves—but when you are dealing with army hospitals and/or their plans and/or the fact that we were traveling/fasting/ eating only 7 foods for a month, it can prove to be a bit challenging.

However, I was trying so, so hard to cling to my key verse for the day found in 1 Corinthians 10:10– “And do not grumble, as some of them did…” Honestly, I thought I was doing pretty good… until we made it to suppertime.

We made the mistake of not doing appropriate recon before deciding what to do for supper. I had brought food with us from home to make meals in the hotel room, but sweet Brandon was convinced that we could eat out and be fine.

Big mistake. It was easy for him—I mean, most restaurants in America can do something that involves plain beef and normal potatoes—but my fasting requirements were a little more restrictive.

He picked Chili’s—so off we went. We sat down and I scanned the menu. Oh dear. This was going to be difficult.

I frantically scanned the menu to find something that would accommodate my need for only eggs, chicken, bread, apples, sweet potatoes, spinach or avocado. The only thing I could come up with? A plain grilled chicken sandwich with avocado.

It was the third meal in a row that I had that almost exact food combination. I nearly cried. (But held strong. Barely. Thanks, Jesus.)

We ended up explaining to our waitress Heather why we had “weird food” requests. We told her about the fast and a little bit about Jesus. At the end of our meal, we asked Heather how we could pray for her. She blinked her eyes for a moment and briefly mentioned that she was currently having some financial struggles… Duly noted.

I got up to go to the restroom since I had been chugging water trying to fill up my stomach. Brandon and I had been talking earlier in the day about what we should do for our monthly Factor of 7 act of kindness. Up until that point, we had nothing. But  when I came back from the restroom, my sweet husband asked if she could be our “Factor of 7.” He thought that since she was struggling financially,  he we should leave her at $107 tip.

I was speechless. Not only was I touched at the thought, I was downright impressed at my husband’s ability to piece that all together. (Amazing what the Holy Spirit can do, huh?) Oh, and I have NEVER been more in love with that man than at that very moment. (BE STILL MY HEART!!)

So that’s what we did. We left her a $107 tip with a note that said: “Heather, we hope that this tip is just the beginning of many answered prayers. $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine, and $7 because we all have 7 Days Time each week to share that love. God bless.”  We left her a 7 Days Time Ministry card and departed the restaurant.

My stomach might have still been a little empty as we left that restaurant—but my heart was full.

How has blessing someone else blessed you? We would love your feedback. Please leave your comments below!

So today,  we are thankful for Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives, guiding us and inspiring us to do His will in the most unexpected of places. We praise Him for turning our small trials into His triumphs.

We rejoice in the fact that God can take something small like another avocado chicken sandwich and transform it into a huge blessing.

And for that, we say Bravocado, Jesus.

Blessed by blessing,
SGK

 “Bravo, God, Bravo! Everyone join in the great shout: Encore! In awe before the beauty, in awe before the might.” –Psalm 96:7 (MSG)

Categories: blessings, challenge, Christ, Courage, evangelism, Factor of 7, positive | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Because Jesus Told Me To

People think I am crazy. Hey, sometimes I think I am crazy too. (We have covered this thought in several posts prior to this one.) But sometimes a little crazy is a good thing.

Last week during my quiet time, God led me to the Message version of Philippians 3:13-14. I literally laughed out loud because it reminded me of this ministry.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

That should be my mission statement for 7 Days Time ministry. I am making it up as I go, listening to the Lord, taking it one slightly crazy step at a time.

Yesterday at staff meeting, we watched part of a message from Pastor Steven Furtick. That dude is legit. And motivational. Hence the ra-ra-shish-koom-ba-ness of this post.

It is already finished.

Here’s the overall gist of Pastor Furtick’s message: Stepping out and loving the Lord in your daily life can be a little scary. But remember: You don’t have to have the courage to see it finished. You just need the faith to get it started. God already has it all planned out. The mission was finished when Christ hung on that cross the rose three days later. We are just the blessed tools that God has chosen to use to spread that love throughout the world.

Pastor Furtick reminded us in that video that if people don’t laugh at our vision, then we are not dreaming big enough.

So the good news: I’ve been laughed at. Kind of a lot.

Laughed at and questioned. And when folks question me, this is usually how it goes:

WHY do you have a masters degree if you are just going to work at a church for free? Because Jesus told me to. 

WHY do you go to the trouble of blogging every single day? Because Jesus told me to.

WHY do you take $107 each month and do something kind for people you will probably never see again? Because Jesus told me to.

WHY… WHY….WHY…..?!?!?

Because Jesus told me to.

Is God calling you to something? Remember that it doesn’t have to be significant or “profound.” Even the most insignificant task is incredibly important if it is done to glorify the Most Significant One who ever existed.

Tell your naysayers to stick THAT in their pipe and smoke it.

So WHATEVER God is calling you to… Do it. Don’t hesitate. Don’t question it. Just do it. Keep your eyes on the goal. Live a life of obedience. Work as if it is already completed. Because it is!

And when people ask you WHY you are doing something a little bit crazy? Bat your eyes, crack as sweet smile and say “Because Jesus told me to.”

Nodding and smiling towards the heavens,

SGK

“Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you…” –Romans 16:19

What is God calling you to do? I would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment here. 

Categories: Courage, faith, glory, God, Jesus, obedience | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Dive In & Just Keep Swimming

My heart was pounding. The sun was beating down on the back of my neck. My little feet left wet footprints on the warm concrete. I shivered… from the gentle Kansas breeze or nerves, I couldn’t tell. I approached my target. Breath. Step. Breath. Step. Breath. Step.

The higher I climbed, the harder my heart pounded. I reached the top and peered down to the deep blue water. My Mama was looking up at me, her hands shielding her eyes from the sun, watching my every move. I inched slowly to the end of the board. Then I turned around, heading back towards the ladder.

Suddenly, I spun on my heels, got running start and jumped. It felt like I was flying, suspended in air for a few brief seconds… That is, until I hit the water.

Yes, my first ever trip off the high dive at the swimming pool ended in a belly flop. Uh, ouch? While the landing took my breath away, my third grade limbs managed to function well enough to get me back to safety to the side of the pool. I DID IT.

Not quite the high dive described above... but it captures my expression both then AND now when it comes to taking risks.

Many years later, I discovered that my Mom was prepared for me to chicken out. When I turned back around heading towards the ladder, she thought I had changed my mind. But in all actuality, I had a surge of courage. Get a running start, plug my nose and dive in.

Nearly two decades later, I am still not much of a thrill seeker, especially when it comes to heights. But one thing has changed. When it comes to Jesus activities on the ground, I now have the courage to risk boldly and jump (with or without the running start and/or plugged nose.)

While I would love to say that the risks I take were the same caliber as jumping off the high dive, now they seem to be much more intense. Instead of risks of the physical type, God has called me to risk boldly when it comes to issues of the heart. Personally, my heart seems more fragile than my body sometimes.

And yes… even “heart risks” can end in a belly flop.

I risked boldly when… I answered the call to be an army wife. It’s thrilling, rewarding, and occasionally terrifying. Yeah, sometimes I feel like we are just treading water, waiting for a direction. But I don’t regret diving into marriage with my beloved.

I risked boldly when… God told my husband and I to start a family. Right now, we still feel the sting of that landing as we recover from our miscarriage. However, we are slowly but surely paddling to the ladder of safety and recovery on the side… And we await the call when God tells us to dive in again.

I risked boldly when… I answered the call to ministry. Launching my own personal ministry has literally made me lose sleep on occasion, due to excitement, uncertainty and confusion. Yes, I have swallowed a little water along the way and felt like I was temporarily sinking, wondering WHY I jumped in… But God is right there beside me, His words similar to Dori from Finding Nemo: “Just Keep Swimming.”

Is God calling you to dive into something? Or are you already in the pool, trying to keep your head above water? I would love for you to share your experiences by leaving a comment here.

Regardless of where you are on that risk taking dive, whether you are still on the ground looking up, in the middle of the climb, flying through the air, recovering from a bellyflop landing or paddling towards the side… Know that God is your lifeguard, cheering you on. Don’t be afraid to dive in and just keep swimming.

Doggie Paddling my way to Jesus,
SGK

“Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.” –Luke 19:26

Categories: call, challenge, childhood, Courage, excited, God, perseverance | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Some people might say I am little bit crazy.

Nuts. Loco. Bonkers. Ridic.

And I have to say in some regards, I kind of agree with them. After all…

Senior Prom. Thanks Neal for being a willing freshman to accompany me. And yes, everything you see is duct tape: white dress, purse, fingernails, earrings. Crazy.

  • I did go to my senior prom wearing duct tape in an attempt to win a scholarship.
  • I graduated from Missouri Auction School as an auctioneer… just because. (And yes, I have the diploma to prove it.)
  • I participated in Polar Bear Plunge (aka, jumping in a frozen lake in February.) Three times. On purpose.

And now I am launching a personal ministry. With an animal science bachelor’s degree and masters in Christian Leadership.

Think I’m a little crazy? It’s ok to say yes. I agree.

But I really can’t contend with the calling that God has placed on my life. God is an awesome/scary/huge dude, and the last thing I want to do is to ignore Him.

When I tell people that I have 1) zero kids 2) a masters degree and 3) have chosen to work for free at a church, launching a personal ministry on the side, they look at me like I have two heads. Or just said that I was a fan of <insert their rival college football team here.>

Crazy, right? But’s it’s all because of this crazy little thing called love… that I have for Jesus.

I can’t explain it. I can’t justify it. God has called me to take a leap of faith. Believe me,  I tried to plug my ears and sing “LA, LA, LAAAAAA, this isn’t making any sense, la, lalalaaaaa!” at the top of my lungs. But God is louder. I finally gave in and engaged the answer that my friend Billy taught me many years ago:

Just nod and smile.

So I am nodding and smiling, trying my hardest to be obedient to God as He sends me on what I believe is going to be an awesome (crazy?) path.

That being said, THANK YOU for stopping by my newly redesigned blog. For those of you who were following “More Precious Than Rubies,” THANKS for making the leap. Rest assured that my writing style shall not be changing. Still plenty of pep-talking, semi-sarcastic, truly sincere Jesus love coming your way. For the newcomers: WELCOME! (Oh, and I recommend keeping your arms and heads contained within this blog post. It’s gonna be a crazy ride.)

So if you feel so moved, I encourage you to share this link with your friends. Browse and carouse to learn about the name of this site, an AWESOME new movement I am putting into action and about the author (that would be me.) Pray for this new ministry movement.

Be sure to enter your email address to follow along and/or like the 7 Days Time Facebook page to stay connected. God is moving.  And I personally invite you to come along.

Let’s get a little Crazy for Christ. Time to experience this crazy little thing called love.

Head-over-heels-crazy-in-love-with-Him,

SGK

“If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.” — 2 Corinthians 5:13-14

Categories: Courage, faith, funny, God | 12 Comments

See.. and Be… COURAGEOUS!

I am not now and do not predict that I will ever become a movie critic. But that’s the great part about doing your own blog– you can kind of write about what you want. Definitely exercising that privilege today! 🙂

This last Sunday night, my beloved and I went to see the movie “Courageous.” Here are the reasons that this is “big” news:

1) We almost never go to the movies.

2) When we do go, we usually go in the middle of the afternoon or early evening, not prime time. Apparently, movies are expensive.

3) We actually agreed that we both wanted to see the movie (I was already convinced that I wanted to go, but he agreed after seeing the movie trailer played at church) Oh, and sidenote on this point: We RARELY agree on movies/TVs… So this was a big deal. (Granted, if cinematic adventure selection is the biggest rift in our marriage, I’m ok with that.)

So we went. Due to our slightly modified Sunday schedule, we ended up going late… but our hang out time is running out as he picks up cycle in a couple of weeks, I will rarely see him and I will depart for a visit to KS. So we went anyways– and it was AWESOME.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story line because I would hate to ruin it… and while some pieces of the movie are kinda-sorta predictable (show me a legit movie that isn’t semi-foreshadowing) it provides a lot of great surprises and tugs on the heartstrings. You might cry… I did, two tears, and it took a lot of focus to keep it together and avoid getting hysterical. (Dang Holy Spirit tears!) But feel free to let it all out– the girl sitting in front of me was sobbing pretty hilariously 😉

Oh, and one other thing before I get to the “meat” of this post… “Courageous” really stepped up the quality of acting, script and believability when compared to other Christian films like “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants.” (Both of those films were great too– but the acting was a little eh.)

The bottom line is that it is a “Christian” flick, and has a great message about fathers stepping up and committing to their families, biblically based. (Even though we aren’t parents to anyone but a puppy yet, it was still inspiring for both of us!) The men in the movie stepped forward… courageously… and signed a resolution. It went a little something like this:

******

THE RESOLUTION

I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.

I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home.

I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me.

I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength.

I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly.

I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy.

I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion.

I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family.

I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged.

I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God.

I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will.

I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. – Joshua 24:15

*******

Intense right? I definitely left the theater feeling inspired, empowered and encouraged… Obviously that feeling has stuck with me if I am blogging about it on Wednesday. It’s a fantastic message about the father/son relationship in the eyes of God… but there is a deeper message that ALL of us can take to heart.

Sometimes honoring God and keeping our eyes focused on him isn’t easy. He might call us to do something that requires more courage that we believe we can muster. But that’s what is so wonderful about our God– He gives us the courage to step out and make a commitment in His name.

Has God called you to make a deeper commitment to someone, something or simply HIM lately? He sure has for me. “Hey Sharita– I need you to go ahead and marry this soldier I’ve picked out for you, then quit your job, follow him to a new time zone where it is just you, your husband and ME. Oh, and instead of getting a full time job on post, ask your new church to create a non-paying internship for you so you can enter into ministry.” And instead of just leaving me hanging in my potential panic, He adds this little afterthought:

“Trust me. I love you. You can do it– through me!”

Courage comes in so many different forms. It might be similar to the scenario I presented above. Maybe it is making a new commitment to your family by signing a resolution. Think about the areas in YOUR life that God has called you to be courageous. He has called you to it… but He is faithful and will do it!

Need some inspiration to make it happen?  Go SEE… and BE… COURAGEOUS!

Courageously at work,

SGK

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”– Joshua 1:9

Categories: Courage, fear, God, movie, trust | Leave a comment

A Friendly Feast

I love to cook. Ok, let me rephrase that: I love to feed the masses. Yeah, that is more accurate. I definitely am not the “chef” that uses fancy stuff like real garlic cloves and state-of-the-art equipment. Rather, I love to surprise people with food whether it is bringing a little something extra/unique to a picnic or feeding and entire company of drill sergeants strawberry pretzel salad dessert because they have been working ridiculous hours. It is one of the ways that I love on people.

As I mentioned yesterday in my post, eating is not only a necessary aspect of life, but it can also be a fun (or maybe awkward) social experience, depending on the situation. I have, on more than one occasion jacked up a meal I cooked. Example: 4th grade, zucchini brownies when I thought the recipe said 1 CUP of baking soda instead of 1 Teaspoon… my mom saved the batch before I mixed it up, but then later realized that I had managed to blend up the rubber spatula into the mix and bake it… fortunately I was the only one (to my knowledge) that chomped into a bit of spatula later in my brownies at the 4-H picnic. I have also spilled things at restaurants and once shot a lemon across the room into a lap of a stranger as I was trying to squeeze it into my water. Regardless of these mishaps, my intention has always been good– and God calls us to “feed” others with his spiritual food (no rubber spatulas included please.)

Proverbs 22:9 says “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Yes, being generous is important, but “poor” doesn’t mean only financially– maybe someone is poor in spirit and doesn’t know the gifts that God has freely given. We can become the “chefs” and cook up a recipe that will soothe their soul… literally.

When we are feeding others, we have to keep in mind they may or may not be ready for our type of food that we are eating. Think of the different foods that people of different ages eat. Hence a baby Christian will need different spiritual food in smaller, more delicate doses than a mature Christian. “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” (Hebrews 5:12)


Our ability to feed others isn’t limited to just friends or people we know. We can feed and dine even with people that we don’t know or don’t really even like through utilizing the Love of God. EVERYBODY needs to eat. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them. (Hosea 11:4) Romans 12:20 also says “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do you know the Lord? If so, take the advice of Jesus that he told to Peter in John 21:17: “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” Jesus set the example by feeding the masses with minimal bread and fish. He has already given us all the spiritual food we need to pass it on and feed those around us. 

Let’s round up a “herd” and feed Jesus’ sheep with His Word and sharing the Good News. You don’t have to be a great cook. You don’t need to worry about blending up a spatula or using too much baking soda. You don’t really even need the ability to boil water. You can simply grab a chair and a companion, sit down, chat and join the friendly feast!

Hungry for Him,

SGK

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3

Categories: Christ, Courage, food | Leave a comment

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