Everyday Jesus

Everyday Jesus: Across ALL Generations

Welcome to another installment of our “Everyday Jesus” series… How are you liking? If you are digging it, let us hear it!!  I am privileged to host my friend Meghan today as she share’s her heart (and ministry) for Christ’s love across all generations. Read. Enjoy. Comment. Be blessed! 🙂 

Thankful for Jesus in the Everyday,
SGK

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And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” – Mark 9: 34-36

We simply cannot be Christ followers without the death of our old selves and a rebirth into His new life. If we don’t shed the old life like a snake coming out of it’s skin, we will be burdened with too much baggage to follow Him freely. So why do so many of us try to do things our own way? Why do we procrastinate truly giving our whole life to Him? Are we afraid to pick up our cross or are we just too numbed by our immersion in the world? I mean, do we even believe – really believe– that what Jesus says is true?

I am involved in a growing ministry at my church, which is appropriately named “Young Adults”. Our mission: to develop adults who will forsake the world to follow Jesus. Here. Now. Today. Because true life does not come from graduation, work, family, or a mortgage.

Maybe you’ve heard of this growing area of ministry in the Church? Just in case you’re not clear on what defines a “Young Adult”, we are students, workers, and young marrieds in the church who are in between the high school and grown-up gap. I like to refer to us as the “lost generation” because our age group hasn’t always been specifically addressed by the Church. However, there has been an influx of young adult ministry growth as churches realize how crucial it is to be vitally connected to the Body during the time in life when our most important decisions are being made (i.e. – Deciding our major, diving into the workforce, considering who to marry, and solidifying morals and values).

Our group of believers gathers on Friday nights to get in the presence of our Savior. We do this through a shared meal, fellowship, worship, prayer, & Biblical and Spiritual discussion. Our time of exalting Christ and coming together in authentic, uplifting community is essential to who we are becoming in Christ. With competing messages bombarding us daily, we will build our foundation on what we are immersed in. Community brings us strength. Together, we move toward the prize of knowing Him in unity, accountability, and support.

We must decide today if we will choose the world or Jesus Christ. There’s no use in trying to live in a muddled, half-hearted combination of the two. We are strong as a group, and are able to move towards that goal of knowing Him more fully as we come together sharpening one another as iron sharpens iron. My hope is that we will influence each other to fall more and more in love with Jesus Christ so that we are able to freely choose Him in all circumstances.

So will you (yes, you) choose Jesus today? Will you cling to what you have and what you know or will you forsake everything to follow Him?

My prayer is that young adults would awaken and choose true life! Let us not be a generation who gives our life away to “things” rather than the one true King. Let us lay down every single one of our idols and give Him the reigns of our whole life! Oh, I pray that we will not be a generation who waits for “real life” to begin or who live in complacency. I pray that Jesus would meet us here & now!

Join with me in encouraging the Young Adults in your church and in your community to stand up and own their faith with passionate belief!

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Meghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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Everyday Jesus: Adopted by Christ

Sometimes, God introduces us to a person and/or story that just touches our heart and inspires us to the very core. Today, I am blessed to introduce you to my neighbor (literally– she lives next door!) who loves Jesus and is on quite a faith-journey. Meet Mindy. She and her husband Roger are building a family– which requires them to seek out Jesus Everyday. Show these faithful Christ followers some love as they encourage your heart and press forward in their calling. 

Loving my neighbor,
SGK

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Growing up, I, like other little girls, dreamed of our meeting my prince, getting married and having a family. Never did I imagine hitting a bump in the road, called infertility.

When Roger and I tied the knot we knew we’d love to have a family and decided to not use birth control and it would happen in God’s time.  Our first anniversary came and went and still not pregnant, no worries. We both agreed God had something else in store for us.  After being diagnosed with uterine fibroids and undergoing surgery to remove them we thought we were on our way to building a family. We sought out treatment at a fertility specialist and were told IVF was our only option for having a little one of our own flesh. But, Roger and I weren’t sure about IVF, we had always said that if it had come to that, we would adopt. But God had another plan.

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Source: Juliane Bjerregaard via Flickr

As we prayed about what we should do, we both felt God leading us towards IVF. Nothing was guaranteed to us as we went through the process. It was a 50/50 chance of working. We transferred 4 embryos, due to the low quality. Our doctor informed us that not only did we have male factor issues; we were also looking at the quality of my eggs being not so great. But we hoped and prayed every night. God had guided us to this spot and he would show us our future.

However, 2 weeks later we found out that our cycle had failed. I went into a tailspin of depression. I was angry and upset that this could happen. I couldn’t understand how God could provide a child to those who abuse and hurt children, but we couldn’t have just one.  It took me hitting rock bottom to find what was important in my life again. I hit my knees in prayer and talked to God as much as I could.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I went to this verse and had to remember that HE was in control not me, the doctors or anyone else. Only HE knew what plans he had laid out for Roger and I as a family.  I found peace and understood then that he had given us the path of infertility and the pain of a failed IVF cycle to prepare us for what amazing things he had in store for us.

We knew then that it was his plans for us all along to adopt, but that the little bumps in the road was to teach us to depend on him more.  I started researching adoption agencies and was astonished by the costs associated with adoption, but knew that he would provide for us.  It was super important for us to have a Christian Agency to work with and we found that with Bethany Christian Services.  We arrived in Fort Benning, GA in February 2013 and hit the ground running with all of our paperwork. We are working with an amazing social worker as part of their Domestic Infant Adoption program in hopes of having an open adoption. We are excited, anxious and nervous all at the same time. But, know that God is working on our perfect child for us right now.

When asked, “How are you so at peace?” I share how God brought me to my knees and renewed my faith in him. Without him, this journey wouldn’t be possible. After all, we are all his adopted children!

 “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”– John 1:12

Reflection: How or when do you rely most on God? Does it give you hope that no matter what you are facing in life, you are adopted by Christ? Share your thoughts below! 

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Mindy and RogerMindy and Roger have been together 6 years. They met while Roger was deployed to Iraq and have been together since. She’s a stay at home Army wife who runs the household while also volunteering and going to school full-time. Mindy is a furbaby mommy to 2 wonderful dogs, Max, a fox terrier and Maxine, a toy fox terrier. She enjoys traveling, photography, helping others, and being outdoors. Mindy is excited to be a mommy to a child one day through adoption.  Until then, she continues to be a guiding light to others dealing with infertility and teach them the plans our amazing God has in store. They would love for you to follow their story via Facebook at “Roger & Mindy Are Adopting”. Please keep them in prayer.

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Everyday Jesus: Under His Umbrella

Remember my good friend Meghan? Well, she’s back with us again today to share another incredible story of how she encountered Jesus in everyday life. This recount is just as powerful as her last testimony– so I pray that it not only inspires your heart but also motivates you to move in the name of Christ! 

Covered by Christ, 
SGK 

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God has recently impressed on my heart how He is my covering. I’m counted as blessed because I get to take shelter in him. He’s showing me how He longs for me to come under His protection and allow Him to shield me from damaging elements in this world. If I seek shelter in Him, He will guide me to do things that I once feared. Under this protection, He’s also teaching me to step out of my comfort zone.

This is a story about when those two things combine.

umbrella

I recently encountered a woman who was not protected from the elements. She was standing at a bus stop on a busy road, in the pouring rain, with no umbrella, and I could see that her fancy hair-do was slowly melting.

(I’m sorry to say it, but) My first reaction was just the thought, “Man, that really stinks! I bet she put a lot of effort into her hair and make-up this morning and now they’re both getting ruined!” Can you tell I was having a grumpy day?

And my second thought was (slightly better), “Oh, maybe I should pray for her. That would nice.”

I was actually going to drive off just feeling pity for her when God nudged me to look down and notice the (hardly used) umbrella on the floor by my passenger seat.

That’s when God spoke and reminded me, “Dear {Meghan}, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that {you} really have it? For instance, you come upon a {woman on the side of the road} and say, “Good morning, friend! {I’ll pray for you! Hope your hair doesn’t go flat!} Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and {drive} off without providing so much as a coat or a {umbrella} – where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense” (James 2:14-17).

Oh goodness, I was a bit intimidated when I realized that God wanted me to actually pull over and offer it to her! It’s not that I treasured the umbrella or anything, but I was intimidated to actually have contact with her and act on my faith. What if she rejected me? What if she thought I was some creep-o?

But could I let myself be guilty of trying to talk the talk without walking the walk? What good would my prayers for her be if she was still getting rained on?!

I knew that I had to listen to the nudge and pull over. So I did just that. I pulled over to the side of the road, rolled down my window, and called out to her. It was really inarticulate, but I was able to get her attention and she actually walked over to my car.

So I timidly said, “It’s raining! You look like you could use an umbrella, and I’ve got one that I never use. So… would you like it?”

She looked shocked and at first denied it. But I insisted, and she said, “ Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! For real? I can’t believe it! Thank you!” She was truly flabbergasted, and the light of joy on her face shone through the rainy day haze around us.

All because I gave her a measly umbrella.

But really, I think she was touched because I saw her. I saw her need, and I listened to God long enough to do something about it. I was able to show her that in this crazy busy world, there is someone who cares about her, and yes, even about her hair-do. I made sure to let her know that the “someone” was God.

So what can you do today? How can you put the love into action? Do not be content to sit back and let your faith grow lazy. Will you settle today for merely talking the talk, or are you willing to go out on a limb and walk the walk as well? Trust me, God has powerful things in store if you will trust Him and put your faith into action.

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meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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Everyday Jesus: Even from the Other Side

Today I am so incredibly blessed to introduce you to a Soli Deo Gloria Sister, Jenn. She actually hosts the Soli Deo Gloria (To the Glory of God Alone) sisterhood link-up each week– and lemme tell you what, it’s a powerful experience. Be sure to share the love with her both here at 7 Days Time and over at her place as she shares a little piece of her heart and what it means to experience Jesus… Everyday! 

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I was incredibly afraid of taking them to another funeral.  I was afraid to watch them bury yet another great-grandparent.  I was afraid that they would fail to see the hope and the life and concentrate solely on the deadness, on the vacant body, on the loss.

But Mama Gal, or Mrs. Mavis to some, she didn’t plan to go out without reminding everyone for whom she lived.  And how can you instruct people to talk about your faith without imparting the hope that comes with the name of Jesus Christ?

The preacher extolled Mama Gal’s bible reading.  He held up clippings and pictures that she kept in her large-print bible.  He read some of her notations and shared some underlined verses.

And the mind of my eight year-old daughter absorbed all the hope she could as her eyes filled with tears.

It was a whirlwind trip to Shreveport, Louisiana, and soon as she got to her room, Abby took out her glittery Bible and opened the front cover.

Jennferginsidecover

You see, the preacher said Mavis spent a lot of time reading Romans and so Abby decided she would too.  And so she wrote herself a reminder.

You see, the preacher said Mavis wondered if the current generation really could have faith amidst all the pain and suffering of this world.  And so, Abby would wonder this, too.

You see, the preacher said Mavis believed the Bible spoke the truth and that she couldn’t wait to glory with her Lord up in Heaven.  And so, Abby decided she would believe this, too.

You see, the preacher said everyone who Mavis held dear was recorded somewhere in her Good Book.  And so, Abby recorded her names, too.

Even from the other side, Mavis taught her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren something the day she was laid to rest:

Read the Word.  Believe it.

It will be a glorious day to be with the Lord.

It’s okay to wonder, especially about the hard questions.

Hold your family dear.  Pray for them often.

Making Jesus part of our everyday life isn’t just about us.  It’s about all those watching us.  We have the opportunity to show how an authentic, challenging, loving, hard, glorious relationship with Christ is the best thing ever.  Even if we are already in the grave.  Jesus uses our lives no matter if we are here on earth or up in Heaven.

Let’s make each life, each day, count. Who knows?  Perhaps something you write in your Bible today will transform the life of your eight year-old great-granddaughter.

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JennFergpicJen Ferguson is passionate about Jesus and walking in community with sisters in Christ to better know Him and make Him known to the world.  While there are many facets to her life, she actively tries to live without labels so to live in the fullness of who God created her to be.  She will encourage other women to do the same as she speaks and writes for His glory.  She lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband, two little girls, and her running partner, Hank the Cow Dog.  She blogs at Finding Heaven and you can find her on Facebook at the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

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Everyday Jesus: A Comfort Zone Emergency…

I love hanging out/talking to/learning from authentic folks who have eyes (and a heart!) for Christ. My dear friend Meghan is one of those awesome folks– and she sure has a great and powerful story to share with you via today’s edition of Everyday Jesus. Hope you are ready for this, because it sure moved me in more ways than one! 

Moved by His Majestic Love, 
SGK

PS: Be sure to share the love with Meghan by leaving your feedback and comments below.

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Have you noticed that God is never really too concerned with leaving us where we feel comfortable? Nope. He’s just not concerned about that at all.

Throughout the Bible, God is shown stretching His people, calling them out of their places of comfort, calling them to be bold and to walk out into the unknown for His purposes. Our God called Abraham away from his home, asked Moses (a man with a speech impediment) to be a very vocal leader, and had the Israelites wander in the desert for 40 years. He called shepherds to be kings, called men to walk on water, and still calls his followers to trust in Him daily.

I don’t know about you, but I really like to be comfortable. Especially when it comes to sharing my faith. Maybe there’s something in the water, but I’ve noticed that even the boldest Christians will often grow timid when it comes to sharing their faith with strangers.

And God is not satisfied with that. He recently helped me to tackle my fear of getting out of my comfort zone in a place where I least expected Him to show up.

emergency entrance

My husband and I were leaning against the wall in the emergency entrance of a local hospital one late and rainy Georgia night, waiting to pick up two friends who were rushed to the ER after their car accident. Honestly, by that point in the evening, I felt pretty burnt out and tired. I found that the only way to keep my mind from going to negative places (I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was actually trying to not linger on thinking about how few people in the ER had insurance and how much that would cost the government…I know, not nice…) was to zone out completely and turn numb to the many people in pain before me.

All of a sudden, my husband asked me if I was praying for Jesus to come into that place. Um… no, far from it!

I was sadly in a place where I didn’t even feel capable (or worthy) of approaching the throne of grace and getting into a spirit of prayer. But his sweet words convicted me, and, at a loss for words, started to pray, “Jesus…Jesus…Jesus” – there truly is power in His name.

Suddenly, I felt convicted to put my prayer into action. This is NOT the kind of thing that I would normally do. Like I said, I’m often quite timid about approaching strangers and sharing my faith, but God called me to be bold for Him, and then He even revealed exactly who He wanted me to pray with. Not for, but with.

I think that I actually started shaking as I realized that I had to go and actually talk with someone!

I noticed a girl who was writhing in pain in the entrance to the ER. Her mother had come inside to beg the receptionist to let her daughter be seen urgently because she was in much pain, but there was nothing that the receptionist could do. I saw both daughters of Christ, one in excruciating pain, the other burdened with anxiety, fear, and frustration.

Oh God, how many times have I been burdened by the enemy? And how many times have you sent people alongside me to lift me up? In this moment, I realized the human neediness for God’s gracious provision. How could I turn down my role in this?

So I made a choice and let God lead me out of the glass sliding doors towards the two. I simply asked the mother if I could pray with them, and to my surprise she reacted with excitement! I asked the girl her name, but she couldn’t look up into my face. As I sat down next to her and wrapped my arms around her, placing my hand where she was feeling pain her mother and I launched into prayer for her, asking God for His healing presence.

I don’t know that God’s intention was to totally heal the girl physically as much as it was to bring His light and warmth into that place where so many were numb from pain or apathy. After we finished, the girl was able to look up, and she was no longer moaning or writhing in pain. I was able to see her face and affirm her beauty to her. Her mother was so full of thanks and joy after our short time together, and I truly believe that God was able to change the trajectory of her night.

But lo and behold, God changed me in that instance, too. He changed my heart and my thoughts and my will. He allowed me to be sensitive to His voice, to follow His commands, and to be a part of what He’s doing in my city, even if it was on a small-scale. God cares not about the quantity of what we do, but with what quality our heart goes forth where He calls.

Praise and glory to our good Father who is able to heal the sick, cover over a multitude of sins, and redirect an independent soul like me towards His Kingdom’s purposes!

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meghan headshotMeghan Stewart is the Young Adults Director at Christ Community Church in Columbus, Ga. She is a wife, sister, daughter, friend, and devoted follower of Christ. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys health-wise cooking and baking, running, reading, and spending precious time with her husband, Mason, and cat, Jake. She is basking in the joy of her salvation and loving every day that God blesses her with!

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Everyday Jesus: The “Bread” of Life

Welcome to another glorious guest post in our Everyday Jesus series! This week, my friend Christy shares a very cool and powerful God-encounter with us about how a simple stop at a restaurant was part of a much bigger encounter with Christ. Here’s to Him being our Bread of Life! Show dear Christy some love both here and over at her place 🙂 

Rejoicing Daily, 
SGK 

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As a churchgoer, I was always taught to “pray without ceasing,” but I can’t say that I honestly understood that phrase until a few years ago. More or less, I began to understand that if I was in constant communication with God, and I listened for His answers to prayer, instead of just giving Him my list of needs, The Spirit would guide me throughout my day and, in a sense, He would speak to me.

Now, listening to The Spirit is still a relatively new concept to me; so when He told me to go to Panera one fateful day last August, I was a little skeptical. Thankfully, I obeyed.

Mind you, there is really nothing that I love on Panera’s menu (and I almost always prefer Starbucks to the big P when it comes to coffee and workspace) but on this particular day, there was something inside of me that just knew I had to grab my keys and speed on over for a cup o’ chai… STAT!

bread

Fast-forward ten minutes to me in Panera, watery chai in hand, plopping down into one of the worn, leather chairs by the door. I tried to do some work, but quickly realized there were no outlets and my computer battery was dead. Frustrated, I slinked down in my chair, and glanced around. People watching would have to do, for a bit.

Looking ahead, my eyes fell on the twenty-something girl with ringlet curls excitedly talking at the table across from me. She sat with a friend, and I could tell by their conversation (which I eavesdropped on for quite a while) that they loved The Lord.

Being new to town, I found myself in a bit of a dilemma. I needed friends, and these two seemed like prime candidates; however, if I admitted that I’d been eavesdropping on their conversation, I wasn’t so sure that they’d want to hang out with me… if you know what I mean. Then I remembered! “Wait! The Spirit! He told me to come here. That’s what this is about! I think Jesus might be arranging me some friendships in this city!”

Leaping out of my chair, I made my awkward approach… “Hey! I know this is weird, but I’m Christy.  I’ve been listening to your conversation and I think we need to be friends…” and the rest was history.

Today, I’m writing only one room away from my curly-haired, Jesus freak of a roommate, Sarah (whom I met at Panera!) It blows my mind to think about how many of my current friendships can be traced back to this one, Spirit-prompted trip to a bakery. What if I’d quenched The Spirit and gone to Starbucks instead? Well, I probably would have completed my work, but I shutter to think about the people I now know (and love) that would have been absent from my life if I’d made a different decision.

I could have missed out on a church family, a roommate, a boyfriend, and a whole lot of spiritual growth! My life wouldn’t be the same today had I done what made SENSE, and ignored a seemingly random desire to go to a restaurant that I historically disliked. God works in mysterious ways, and it does my heart good to see how His fingerprints were all over my cup of chai that day.

Of course, the point of my story is not that I did something right, or that I deserved the precious gift that Jesus gave to me in the form of a roommate. It is exactly the opposite. I deserve only death, yet Jesus chose to give me abundant life in Him, which includes good, sweet gifts on earth.

And on the days when I feel like God isn’t near, when I wonder if I’ll ever have a God sighting again, I am thankful to have tangible evidence that He speaks (to me) and He gives (to me) and He loves (even me).

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

I am of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:31)

I am holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)

His Grace is sufficient for me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)

The Spirit of God, that raised Jesus from the dead, lives inside of me. (Romans 8:11)

I know all of this to be true. Especially when I look at Sarah, whom Jesus introduced me to at Panera.

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christy headshotChristy is a kindergarten teacher at Campus Clubs in Macon, GA. She hopes to begin the graduate program for education at Georgia College and State University this summer. In the meantime, she is enjoying her new friends in Macon, and learning to joyfully see Jesus in all of life’s little things. You can keep up with Christy via her personal blog Life as A Bike. 

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Everyday Jesus: The Smiling Square Faces

Are you ready for yet another incredible installment of our “Everyday Jesus” guest blogging series? I sure hope so… because this one, written by my sweet friend Amy, is a doozy. Her perspective will surely make your scratch your head (in a good way!) and her personality will make you want to reach through the screen and drag her to Starbucks for a face-to-face chat about… well, anything! This gal is an incredibly talented writer and such a passion for Jesus that it’s contagious.

So yes, meet Amy. And be sure to show her the love both here and over at her place!

Always impressed by Him,
SGK

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It’s easy to lose track of Jesus online. Bloggers blast out words at all times of day and night. Pieces of truth they are learning, and that truth is usually accompanied by a beautiful picture with a moving piece of scripture inscribed in cool font.Tweets and likes and +1’s, cloud my thinking, and it doesn’t make sense that Jesus can be the topic of almost every post I read and yet, somehow go missing.When I start feeling like this, I know it’s time to unplug, and I do so happily.Who will notice I am missing?Surely, the smiling, square faces from Arizona, Arkansas, and across the ocean are busy, and if I close shop for a time, it would go undetected. *Insert speculation about the quality of my online relationships.Amyonlinegirls

And so I pull the plug. No blogging for a week or maybe even two.

I decide Jesus is present in the quiet mornings of my home, and I need time to think about the realness of my smiling square “friends”.

And then I receive a text inquiring about my new job. From an online friend.
And an email asking if I need anything. From an online friend.
And a call filled with giggles. From an online friend.
And my iPad rings. Oh, it’s an online friend.

Jesus sneaks up.

He tells me my online friends may not be sitting in front of me, but He instructs me to embrace the love they share anyway.

Then, Jesus surprises me.

Although He doesn’t tell me, I get the distinct impression Jesus doesn’t feel all of the online chatter is shameless self-promotion, nope. Instead, I think He’s thrilled to be the focus of conversation and happy people are connecting in His name.

Your turn: Tell me about the people you have met online. Do you ever wonder about the authenticity of your online relationships? Have you seen real friendships bloom out of a shared passion for spreading ideas about Jesus online?

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amyblog picAmy L. Sullivan pounds out words early in the morning and late at night. She doesn’t have any “online friends”. Nope, just regular ‘ol friends she happens to meet online. Want to be one of her regular ‘ol friends? Connect with her via her blog, her Facebook Page or on Twitter. 
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Everyday Jesus: Run For God… Mama-Style

Remember a few weeks ago my friend Charity sharing about leading a “Run for God” journey at our church? Yeah… well here is the INCREDIBLE conclusion with a great “Mother’s Day” twist. Seriously, you don’t wanna miss it. It is sure to inspire you to lace up your tennis shoes and hit the pavement… to run your Race for Him– as we find Jesus in the Everyday. 

Running to Him,
SGK 

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On our very first run, it rained. In the first guest post, I talked about the rain and all the reasons we avoid it. I also mentioned that without rain, there is no growth.

Well… God sent that rain for a reason. His amazing, loving hands have “watered” us in ways I could have never imagined. His eternal gardening has caused some amazing growth with beautiful fruit and flowers.

I have grown. God used Run for God to challenge me in my leadership. I have been so humbled by the opportunity to be his vessel for this class. Run for God opened my heart to a career of helping others achieve their physical goals while allowing me to share my testimony of God’s amazing grace. As I pursue this passion, God continues to open door after door. His plan is so perfect. I am very thankful for the growth in my life. All the glory to God!

God also allowed me to watch others bloom. We began the class with about 65. A few left and a few new people joined. When we ran our goal race on April 27, 58 people completed the race. Here’s our group picture before the race.

 Group R4G

There are many stories that I could share of growth during Run for God, but I’m going to share the one that is nearest to me and closest to my heart – my Mom’s journey.

 Charity mom 1

First off, my mom is a champion! She has been through so many challenges, but her heart and life have always been in God’s hands.  I have watched her turn to God for strength in all she does. She’s been a single Mom since I was 2 and has sacrificed so much in her life, so we could have more.

My mom has supported me in all I do especially in running. She’s been my photographer for all of my runs. I love having her as the cheerleader.

She has also battled with weight issues and health issues for much of her adult life. So when she called me in January to tell me she wanted to join Run for God, all I could do was cry. I knew, right then, if the only person that signed up for Run for God was my mom, I would have been happy!

Her journey hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been tough. Here’s an email I received from her near the end of the journey about a week before our goal race:

Charity,

I thought about my race and wondered if I could do the race coming up.  Tuesday around 4 o’clock, I slow run/walk and it was so unbearable that I only walked 1.39 mi for 33.47.  Needless to say I was very disappointed because I know I need to be ready to walk 3.1 for the race.  So last night, I begin to mediate on what I could do different and decided to change my strategy. You know if you always do the same thing, the same way , you will always get the same results.  My decision was to get up Thursday and run around 8 to see if this was better.  I really wanted confidence that I could do this and with God’s help I can do ALL things.  So this is to tell you my teacher, my coach, my mentor, my friend but most of all my daughter Thank You for encouraging and believing in me.  Today, I finished 3.01 miles in 1.08.02.  I thank God and give Him all glory.  I love you!

Mom

See what a beautiful flower God has pruned, watered and bloomed. She finished the goal race in just under 1 hour and 5 minutes. Here’s her picture as she neared the finish line. All the Glory to God!

Charity mom ****

charity runningCharity is a child of God. Simple as that. She love’s God and is thankful to have such an awesome church family, and thankful daily for the work God is doing in her life. Everyday. She is married to an incredible man, Adam-  there are so many great things to say about him that she’ll save that for another time, date, and location. But just know he is awesome. Finally, she has two cute, furry, cuddly cavalier King Charles spaniels, Zoe and Charlie. You can connect with Charity via her Running 2 His Arms Blog.

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Everyday Jesus: When Life is Anything but Everyday-ish

You know those folks whose laughter and smile are simply contagious? Today’s guest blogger, Laurie is just one of those gals. I “met” her online via our mutual friend Kelli, then actually experienced her awesome energy and Jesus-filled heart last summer at SheSpeaks. Laurie is authentic and enthusiastic, as well as an incredible writer. (In fact, she’s such an incredible writer that she will be getting TWO books published soon!) Show her some love both here and over at her place by leaving comments below! (Plus, be sure to connect with her site or click HERE so you can be first in line to get hooked up with her book(s) when they hit shelves! Oh. And rumor has it there’s a free e-book in the midst of all these shenanigans, too.)

Are you ready to be wowed? Get ready. It’s go time with our latest installment of Everyday Jesus!

Wowed daily by Him,
SGK

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When Sharita asked me to share an “everyday Jesus” moment for this post, my first thought was, “Sounds great!”

Off I went through life over the next few weeks, eyes open for those everyday gifts and moments of goodness. Problem was, I couldn’t find any everydays… and without those, how would I do this assignment?

You see, life right now is chaos. I’m mom to two former foster kids, one of whom had a breakdown 18 months ago, ended up in a psych hospital (twice), then was admitted to residential treatment. It’s been 15-hours a week of joint therapy and driving to visitations, with added doctor conference calls as a bonus. And then there were my other three daughters—a tween with eyes perpetually set to “roll,” a 7-year-old who loves figuring out how things work (cue: me, locked in a bathroom last week when she took off the doorknob), and a preschooler who, I think, only comes up for air 3-4 times a day in between stories and questions.

There just aren’t any everydays. Crazydays, yes. But not everydays.

Fortunately, my crazy doesn’t scare Jesus one bit. He reminded me of this a few Sundays ago while my kids were dancing in the back of the church. I know, this sounds ultra spiritual, but bear with me a moment. You see, I’m one of the teachers at our church. As such, people see me up front a lot, and as much as I try not to let this change how I behave during worship, it just does. Instead of simply singing the words to the songs, it’s more like this in my head:

“Let the glory of the Lord, rise among us . . .”

Oh, no, the kids are dancing too close to the stage.

“Anna? Come back closer to mommy so I don’t look like a mom who can’t control her kids people can focus on worship.”

She moves closer, all the while rapturously smiling, singing and twirling for Jesus.

Dance

Photo courtesy of Ninniane via Flickr

I’m annoyed, I want to focus on worshipping God, not keeping my kids from embarrassing me distracting people, so I pull her close and whisper in her ear,

“Honey, mommy’s trying to worship God right now. I need you to sit still and let me worship.”

As the words hung in the air between us, my heart sank, and I saw it:

Loving her is worshipping Jesus.

Scooping her up and dancing together, singing for the Lord would have been worshipping Jesus.

Being a mother to her, fully present in that moment of joy …worships Jesus.

The shame stung. So did the tears. I wanted to curl up and pull the polished concrete floor over me.

But He pressed in close, “It’s okay. I know what you were trying to do. I want to show you a better way to be close to me. One that includes her, and flows through who you are as a mom.”

His tender acceptance, this gentle wooing into worship authentic and wild and… undignified like David’s, maybe?* This sweetness of Jesus pulling an ashamed mother’s heart close enough it pressed shame out. It all took my breath away that morning.

That morning, He gave me a peek into His throne room. It was precious, and almost too much for my heart to hold.

But that’s the best kind of moment with Him, isn’t it? The ones that aren’t afraid of our crazydays, pierce straight through the broken and false, and love us into His arms again. The ones where we suddenly realize He’s been standing there with us in the frustration or the stress or the trying-too-hard.

It’s those moments, that I realize every single moment is an “everyday Jesus” moment. (Even if I can’t find an everyday on my calendar to save my life).

* 2 Samuel 6:22

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Laurie Headshot

Laurie Wallin is a speaker, author, and Certified Life Coach who helps people find joy in the midst of life’s losses and challenges. As mom to two former foster children deemed “failure to thrive” and “unadoptable,” she’s had to find her new normal and fight for joy. She writes weekly for her own blog , monthly at Not Alone (for parents of special needs kids), and shares daily tips at her Facebook page . She also loves being part of Facebook’s Moms Together team, where she gets to rile things up and rekindle joy about every aspect of motherhood. Laurie lives in Southern California with her hubby, their four girls, and her 80-lb Lab that thinks she’s a lap dog.

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Everyday Jesus: Where’s Waldo… I mean Jesus?

Welcome to another edition of Everyday Jesus! Today I am so stinkin’ excited to introduce you to one of my coolest and most supportive “dude readers.” Only the best part is he’s not just a reader– he too is a writer! I work alongside Brent at Christ Community Church and he inspires readers with his passion for Christ and leadership perspective. Get ready to discover Jesus in everyday life with his guest post today here at 7 Days Time! 
Looking for Christ in the Everyday, 
SGK 
PS: Don’t forget to show Brent the Jesus love both here and on his website by leaving a comment! 
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The ‘Where’s Waldo’ books and puzzles have been around for years….since 1987 to be exact.  Some are more challenging than others.  You’ve seen these, right?  Waldo and other characters are always dressed in bright red and white stripes, which would suggest that they would be rather easy to pick out in a crowd.  As it turns out, however, it’s not really that simple.
 
Inline image 1

This makes me think of taking my kids to Chuck E. Cheese when they were little.  Have you ever tossed your 3-year-old into one of those huge tubs of multi-colored plastic balls?  You would think your kid would stick out like a sore thumb.  Not the case!  At least with my kids, they would inevitably wiggle to the bottom allowing the balls to conceal their location.  I don’t think there was a time when I didn’t have to climb in there myself and fish them out.

So, where is Jesus???

For those of us who have accepted His gracious gift of salvation by our faith, He tells us this:

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.   Matthew 28:20b  (NLT)

He is with us….with you and I…always!  That’s awesome news.  But isn’t Jesus a bit like Waldo in our daily crazy-paced life?  We should be able to see Him in everything we do and everywhere we go.  I mean, He is with us.  Didn’t we just read that?  The issue here is that often we allow Him to become lost in the crowd.

The crowd of…

…waking up late

…getting sick

…becoming angry at the barista who got our coffee wrong

…monthly bills adding up to more than our income

…our ‘to-do’ list always being longer than our ‘done’ list

…ETC!

So, here’s what we do.  Recognize our particular ‘crowd.’  Realize that Jesus really is nearby.  And ReFocus our attention on the things of Jesus as we go about our day.  When we do this our crowd eventually becomes filled with Jesus moments.  We start to see Him in the frustrations of life….not just the pleasant stuff.

Where did you see Jesus today?  Leave a comment below and share your experience so we can encourage each other.

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Brent in colormedium

Brent is a follower of Jesus, husband to an amazing woman and   father of four remarkable kids. He has  been active in ministry since 1991, which includes:  Children’s & Family Life Ministry in Washington State, student ministry in Michigan and he currently serves as GROW Minister at Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA  while also partnering with his wife children’s ministries. You can connect with Brent via his blog or on Twitter. 

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

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