Factor of 7

Factor of 7: A Hopeful Home

Confession: I always feel… um… awkward… when I pass a homeless person on the street.

I never know what to do. Do I ignore them? Then I feel like a huge jerk. Do I make eye contact and say hello? I still feel like a jerk. Oh wait. Maybe its not awkward. And maybe it’s not just feeling like a jerk.  Maybe it’s conviction. Like, from the Holy Spirit. As in I should do something about it.

But I haven’t really known what to do before. Until last week.

Enter stage left, our latest Factor of 7. (Sidenote: Since it’s been a minute since we’ve done a Factor of 7 here at 7 Days Time, let me explain to our new followers. Brandon and I feel called to do acts of kindness in Jesus’ name by listening to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it deals with money, sometimes not. You can see previous FO7’s here. Anywho, back to our story.)

Here’s what went down. I was taking baby girl to get her six month shots. (UG.) As I was driving through Olympia, I saw a homeless man standing on the corner in the rain holding a cardboard sign. I read it from a distance. It said “Hey, at least I am not a thief, right? Can you spare a dollar?”

My first thought in response to his sign was “Well, even if you were a thief, Jesus would still love you…” 

I was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling that I should do something… I glanced at the clock an noticed I had about three minutes to get to baby girl’s appoint on time. I whispered a quick prayer, “Father, if this is from you, tell me what you want me to do and make it very obvious.” 

I continued onto our appointment, very aware that this God-adventure was not over. Four shots later, we completed Charis’ checkup and I plopped in the driver’s seat to head home. But immediately my heart returned to the homeless gentleman we passed earlier. Suddenly, I remembered looking at my bucket list the day prior. Written in purple scribbly pen, one bullet said: “Give all my cash to a homeless person.”

I knew what I had to do, and I was certain it was from God for several reasons. First, the bucket list epiphany from the day before. Plus, I almost never carry cash, but it was the beginning of the month and I knew our full “entertainment/eating out” money of $75 was tucked snugly in an envelope in my purse.

I continued to pray for God to make it clear what and how to do this. I wasn’t sure where (or IF I was going!) to turn, but at the next stop light, I spotted him… and the left turn lane was wide open.

I pulled into the Jack in the Box parking lot to dig out the cash. As I unzipped my wallet, $50 of my husband’s  month worth of “food money” fell into my lap. My first thought? “Crap. I though he had taken that out this morning!” At the same time, I heard God whisper… “All of it, my child.” 

The stakes had just been raised. $125. Ok, Lord. Here we go…

I rolled down my window and beckoned to the man holding the cardboard sign. I gave him my wad of cash totaling $125. He smiled gently and his eyes filled up with tears. He didn’t stop to count it but slowly just shoved it into his pocket.

Then I asked our God-centered Factor of 7 question. “What’s your name and how can I pray for you?”

His name was James and we had a conversation about various prayer requests, specifically for healing and health of a muscle issue in his leg. As we talked, he just kept saying thank you, over and over.

After a few moments, I told him we would be praying and that God was with him. I turned on my blinker, pulled out of the parking lot and waved goodbye. He waved back, gratitude filling his face.

As I drove home, I was praising the Lord for His voice, faithfulness and generous spirit.

Some skeptics might say that it was a reckless thing to do, giving a stranger, a homeless one at that, all of our family’s cash for the month. No, I can’t guarantee James will spend it responsibly. But what I can guarantee is that Jesus loved the least of these… the tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars, you name it.  So why shouldn’t we do the same? We are called to recklessly love Christ. He loves James just as much as He loves you and me.  Oh, and I absolutely don’t tell this story to brag… I my fleshy self never would have though of this on my own. But I share this account to inspire. It wasn’t me that handed over that wad of bills. It was Christ. In heart and spirit.

How can you be more like Christ today? Think about it… And share your thoughts in the comment section below.

My husband and I continue to pray for our new friend James… That while He might not have a home here on earth at the moment, he might someday have a permanent hopeful heavenly home.

Blessed beyond measure,
SGK

“Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.” ~Isaiah 1:17 MSG

James Homeless

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Factor of 7: Jaw-Dropping Jesus Moment

Ever have a moment that catches you so off guard that your jaw just drops open automatically?

I have. Several times actually. It can be a result of some shocking information (“So-and-so is getting married!” or “Jim Bob down the road wrecked his truck because he hit a cow—but don’t worry, he’s ok.”) Perhaps it’s from someone jumping out from around the corner trying to startle someone. (which the jaw-drop is quickly followed by a thwack from me to the alleged scarer.)  Sometimes I don’t even know my mouth is gaping open with surprise til someone awkwardly tells me to pick my jaw up off the floor and close my mouth. (Such a proud moment. Sigh.)

A few days ago, my beloved husband and I had a pretty intense jaw-dropping moment… brought to us by Jesus Himself. Here’s what went down…

We were traveling for the holidays and on the second leg of our journey from Columbia, Missouri to Worthing, South Dakota, we needed to stop for breakfast. We hadn’t done a “Factor of 7” act of kindness for December yet, but honestly, my preggo brain was not focused on the Holy Spirit at 6:54am whatsoever—all I was thinking about was “Protein, protein, must have protein. Hungry, hungry, hungry.”

We found a sign on the interstate to Subway (it’s hard to eat a healthy breakfast on the road!) so we took the exit. At the top of the off-ramp were two homeless people holding a cardboard sign. Brandon turned to me and asked, “Hey lover… Can we buy breakfast for those two?”

Even on our tight working-for-Jesus-dollars-single-income-we-have-a-baby-coming budget, I of course said yes, moved by my darling’s ability to be attuned to the Holy Spirit when it was the furthest thing from my brain. (Side note: As a Christian, my husband is the most beautiful, handsome and yes, sexiest, when he is listening to Christ. Did ya hear that, Brandon? Write that down…)

We parked at Subway, ordered two sandwiches for us and two more for the couple standing on the ramp. We dropped a 7 Days Time card in the bag, gave the two hot foot long breakfast sandwiches to the couple and let them know we would be praying for them.

So our day continued. Our hearts (and stomachs) full. On the road again.

But the jaw-dropping Jesus moment came later that evening…

Brandon and I arrived in South Dakota, and one of our first stop post-supper was going to the hospital to see Grandpa Willie. We stopped by Grandma’s house to get her car so she could drive herself home since there wouldn’t be room in the truck with all 6 of us piled in and she had hitched a ride to the hospital with a friend earlier in the day as the roads were kind of icky.

My beloved and I were riding in grandma’s car, just the two of us, following Brandon’s parents, brother and his brother’s girlfriend who were riding in the truck in front of us. As we watched the street before us, two pieces of paper blew up off the ground as the truck in front of us drove by. Brandon stopped mid-sentence and said “What was that?? I think it was money.”

Before I could utter a word, my darling made a u-turn, parked in  front of a church sidewalk (no irony there), and jumped out to investigate. I watched this scene from the passenger seat, jaw-dropped… Expecting IF it was any kind of cash, it would be a couple of one-dollar bills.

He comes back glowing and shouting—it was a $10 and a $20.

I gasped as I suddenly remembered what we had paid for breakfast that morning for ourselves and the homeless couple.

Yep. THIRTY BUCKS.

(I will give you a moment to pick your jaw up off the ground.)

I reminded Brandon of this $30 blessing moment from earlier that day—all He could say is “No way… Seriously?!?! SERIOUSLY!?!?”

Yes. Seriously.

Maybe $30 on a small town Iowa street doesn’t seem to be very significant to you… but we were confident that this jaw-dropping moment was surely brought to us by the One, the Only, Jesus Christ Himself.  There were WAYYYY too many variable factors for this to just be a “random coincidence.” (Plus, God is sovereign over all—so as far as we are concerned, there’s no such thing as a coincidence.)

As we recovered from our shock and overflowing heart-joy, we realized He didn’t just “pay us back” the $14 we paid for the stranger’s sandwiches… He also covered OUR breakfast as well.

Wow, Jesus. Wow.

Bottom line: God cares about the big and small. He is always watching and listening. He is the ultimate provider. He will encourage, reward and smile at us when we do something in His name, via His love.

So what’s stopping us from living like this ALL the time? Today is a great time to start. Won’t you join us?

Jaw-dropped by Jesus,

SGK

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” ~Luke 6:38 MSG

PS: What did you think of our latest “Factor of 7” and Jesus jaw-dropping payback? How does Jesus make your jaw drop? Comment below!

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Ideas Wanted: Factor of 7

Readers… we need your help.

Remember the acts of kindness movement we do here at 7 Days Time called Factor of 7? You know, the whole thing about us randomly sharing Jesus’ love in unique and unexpected ways? Well, 2012 has been an awesome year of giving, loving and praying… but 2013 is sneaking up on us! We would love your ideas and input for any creative ideas for 2013 Factor of 7 movements.

Heaven is the limit. (Literally.) Anything goes. Maybe it’s something you’ve heard of, thought about, dreamt of, or experienced yourself.  Get creative. Leave your suggestions by commenting below.

Seriously. We want to pick your brains. Help us come up with more great ways to do some Jesus Sneak Attacks on folks! (In a loving and non-scary way of course.)

$7 because we all have 7 days time to live each week... and $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine! How can we pray for you?

$7 because we all have 7 days time to live each week… and $100 because God loves you more than you can imagine!
How can we pray for you?

Just as a refresher, here is a brief recap of some of the Factor of 7’s we did for 2012…

Joy for Joyce— we took $107 in an envelope and went to a local grocery story. After walking around and praying for a few minutes, we gave our envelope of cash to a woman, telling her we wanted to help pay for her groceries.

Chill with Jesus-– My beloved husband and I went to our local frozen yogurt shop and paid for 35 unsuspecting customer’s fro-yo (approximately $107) asking nothing more than how we could pray for them.

A Latte Love-– Just like our fro-yo experience, we did the same thing at Fort Benning’s Starbucks for 22 customers. Oh, and we made the Fort Benning Bayonet… we were able to reach so many people to tell them about Jesus’ love!

Thirst No More-– We walked 7.17 miles on a local trail handing out 35 water bottles and taking down 22 prayer requests. It was awesome. (This Factor of 7 provided a great/hilarious VLOG opportunity as Real Warriors for Christ!)

Bravocado, Jesus! In this Factor of 7 experience, God took a moment of potential pity and grumpiness, and allowed us to bless our waitress at Chili’s with a pretty hefty tip. Way to show up, Lord!

How Sweet It Is— We mixed things up a bit for this one… we baked lots of tasty goodies, then gave them to our “unsung servants” here at Fort Benning, from the housing office workers, to the garbage truck guys to the gate guards.

Planting a Few Seeds of Faith— This experience allowed us to share even more about our Factor of 7 ministry movement during a teaching workshop at Seeds of Faith Youth Group in Lester, IA… Then we were able to bless and pray for the participants.

We give God ALL of the glory for each of these experiences (as well as the undocumented ones we have done in order to protect people’s privacy.) We are so excited for all God has in store for us in 2013– and can’t wait to hear about the awesome ideas that you share below.

Thanks for your support and prayers this year… YOU have blessed us immensely.

Oh, one last thing– How can we pray for you? 😉

Beyond Blessed,
SGK (and Brandon)

“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” –Luke 6:38 (MSG)

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

One is Enough: A Personal Reminder

You never know… your ONE act of love might be more than ENOUGH to change someone’s life.

Ministry is HARD. Heck, who I am I kidding– LIFE is hard!! And exhausting. And confusing. Yet depending on how we live our lives– it can be incredibly rewarding.

As I was driving to work yesterday, my heart was heavy… My Facebook ministry page was ticking me off, because FB decided to start filtering who sees what posts. Which means sometimes only 10% of followers will see these posts unless I literally PAY to promote it.

But I digress. SIGH.

I was thinking… “Lord, does this really matter? What am I working for? Is it worth it?”

Suddenly, God reminded me of a post I wrote last May with a flash of this statement…

“SHARITA… ONE. IS. ENOUGH.”

So today, I wanted to remind myself (and you, if you happen to be in a similar place!) that when it comes to following Christ and loving others… ONE IS ENOUGH. Here is our lil reminder… Enjoy!

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Husbands can be pretty useful creatures. They are great jar-openers, heavy lifters, huggers, patience-builders, grillers, laugh-inducers, Jesus-leaders, eye-roll-causers… You can probably add a few of your own to this list.

Mine, in particular, is a great perspective-keeper.

My beloved helps me to keep things in perspective. He is a great big-picture thinker. (A skill that I sometimes lack.) My type-A firstborn personality lends to me wanting to do BIG things… but He always keeps me grounded and encourages me to keep a clear focus.

Let me give you an example. Several weeks ago when we were first contacted by the Fort Benning Bayonet to do a story on our Factor of 7 Latte Love,  I was super-duper excited. Wow!! The Fort Benning Bayonet wants to do a story on the 7 Days Time ministry?!!? SUH-WEET!

I obviously told them YES. But before you could say “Make it a Grande,” either my fleshy-firstborn self or The Enemy (or a combo of both) snuck into my head. I blurted out my thought to Brandon. “I don’t want to get too excited. I mean, will it REALLY make a difference?”

That sweet man of mine raised an eyebrow, lovingly put his hand on my arm and said, “Sharita… if only one person reads that article and is moved by it… Then one is enough.”

Touché, husband. Touché.  Talk about keeping perspective.

ONE IS ENOUGH. That is powerful. So we went ahead with the story, pressing forward for Jesus. And in typical God-fashion, the Lord went above and beyond.

I know for a fact that AT LEAST one person was impacted by that article. I won’t get into details, but we received an incredible heart-wrenching prayer-request email from a soldier due to that article. I did some research and as far as I can tell, The Bayonet prints somewhere (ish?) between 22,000 to 26,000 copies on a weekly basis. Granted not all of them are read… but does it really matter?  ONE IS ENOUGH.

7 Days Time Ministry has been up and running for 88 days. That is about 7,603,200 seconds. With each article, prayer, blog post and comment… God is at work. If a single person has been positively impacted by this ministry, then it has been a success. One is enough.

But great news… We worship a God of abundance– and He is blessing this ministry abundantly. PRAISE JESUS!  The Latte Love Factor of 7 post inspired a ministry follower to do the same thing in her home town in Minnesota… She took $107 and bought/coffee lunch for the patrons who came through the line, even when here family finances weren’t exceptionally abundant  at the time. Mandy’s mission of Helping Hands & Burgers for Babies reached her goal of over $2500 to purchase a table for the preemie benefit in Fort Worth. That soldier who emailed us to share his story and now my husband and I continue to pray for him.

One is enough, folks. You CAN make a difference right where you are. Starting NOW. Pray for God to reveal to you how He has called you to share His love. We don’t have to change the world by spending a bajillion dollars or quitting our jobs to enter ministry full time. We just need to be obedient– and Jesus will do the changing.

I don’t know where this ministry is headed tomorrow, next week or 5 years from now. But if this ministry has impacted just a single person, then I shall leave you with the words of my beloved husband: “One is Enough.” YOU can do the same!!

Praising The ONE who IS Enough,
SGK

“My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” –1 John 3:18 (GNT)

PS: How is Christ working in your life? Is He calling you to share His love? We would love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.

PSS: Have you been moved by this ministry? If so, subscribe via email at the top of the right sidebar to receive daily posts to your inbox. To learn more about how to make a difference in small (or big) ways in the name of Jesus, check out the updated Factor of 7 tab at the top of this page. Oh, and don’t be shy about commenting and/or sharing this ministry with your friends via Facebook, Twitter etc. Remember… ONE IS ENOUGH! May God bless you abundantly 🙂

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Addendum for today… Turns out the article in the Bayonet about this ministry DID make a difference… We were able to minister to several folks in ways that we couldn’t have possibly imagined or sought out in our own strength. Wow. Thanks, Jesus. YOU ROCK.

Categories: blessings, challenge, change, Christ, Factor of 7, giving, humility, husband, Lesson, little things, ministry, obedience, servant evangelism, serving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Serving” Up a Hot Vliggity Vlog

I love making up words.

Perhaps you figured that out with the title of this post. Seriously. (Vliggity? I need to cut back on the Jesus caffeine.)

If you are already confused and/or exhausted from your remaining turkey tryptophan coma or Black Friday shopping, my apologies. You are excused to go get a nap then come back. 😉

Ok. Let’s get down to business.

Today’s post is a variation of Five Minute Friday. Since it is a holiday-ish weekend, I thought I would take a slightly different approach. So today is a short little guest VLOG (video blog) day.

Are you excited? I am. (Or maybe that’s the leftover sugar still coursing thorough my veins from yesterday’s dessert.) Whatever.

How much do we love Jesus? THIS MUCH. (We really do need to cut back on the sugar.) WHEEE!

Today’s vlog is a short little snippet about Factor of 7, our random act of kindness ministry here at 7 Days Time.

I was honored to be featured on my dear, sweet, awesome, hilarious friend Amy’s blog this week.

So if you have a hankering for Jesus in the form of serving others, pop over to Amy site and check out this week’s 60 Second Service Vlog to see what we have to say on the subject.

Oh. And don’t be shy. Feel free to leave a comment here or there. We L-O-V-E hearing from our darling readers. (Yes, even more than we love Thanksgiving leftovers!!)

Thanks for your continuous love and support you show to this ministry. I am so THANKFUL for each and every one of you!!!

Giving Thanks for You AND Jesus,

SGK

“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.” ~1 Corinthians 1:4

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Planting a Few Seeds of Faith (Factor of 7)

Attention houseplants and vegetation: Enter at your own risk.

I do NOT have a green thumb. You have been warned.

My inability to grow plants and keep them alive for extended periods of time is not for lack effort. (Ok, maybe a little lack of effort- or lack of remember to water them regularly.) It is mainly a lack of knowledge. Know-how. Skill. I just don’t have “the gift.”

We currently have four plants in our kitchen… Enrique the spider plant has been with me the longest (His 4th “birthday” is coming up in a week or so. At least I think. Ish.) Chloe the peace lily has been around for about 3 years. Eleanor the aloe plant has resided in our kitchen for about a year and a half. We have a recent addition to our plant family still nameless. (Name suggestions anyone?)

Perhaps you are impressed with the longevity of my sweet plant population. Please don’t be. These are the lucky few that were the strongest… many of their counterparts have not met such a lucky fate. And honestly, these plants have had their close calls as well.

Enrique the spider plant… Still going strong (A testimony of God’s miracles. Seriously.)

Fortunately, God has not called me (or my husband for that matter) to be thriving, successful horticulturists, growing acres of healthy, attractive vegetation. (WHEW!)

However… He has called us to plant and grow seeds of a different kind– those seeds that share His never-ending and abundant love.

We do this through a movement within this ministry called “Factor of 7.” (Read all about it here.)  Our “Factor of 7” for August and September was kind of confidential, which is why you haven’t heard much about it as of late. However, God gave us a pretty sweet opportunity to re-engage Factor of 7  at a youth group gathering at Seeds of Faith church in Lester, IA on October 28th.

Here’s what went down…

You remember that I was blessed to preach at two churches that morning, Seeds of Faith being one of them. At the conclusion of the second service, a church member approached me. Sandy told us that the youth group speaker that they had scheduled for the evening had canceled… Would we be willing to help them out??

My mouth dropped open (I know this, because she laughed at my expression.) I had just got done preaching twice. We had a baby shower scheduled for that afternoon. Obviously we had nothing prepared and about 6 hrs to make it happen. I had gotten up at 2:30am CST the day before to get to the airport. Honestly, my flesh was telling me to say, “Thanks but no thanks.”

However, God told me YES. So that’s what I said. YES.

I voluntold my husband we were team teaching that night (why should HE get to miss out on the fun?) and between guests, gifts, cupcakes and snacks, we prayed and planned to share our hearts with the youth of Seeds of Faith.

Long story still long– it was AWESOME. God showed up (as He often tends to do.) Seeds were planted as we shared part of our testimonies,  told  about our ministry and our Factor of 7 movement as well as showed them our “Real Warriors of Christ” vlog. Our main point was from James 2:26: “FAITH WITHOUT ACTION IS DEAD.”

As we ended, we included them in our October Factor of 7. Although it wasn’t much, we were able to scrounge up some small candy bars/Halloween candy. We gave them each a piece and asked for their first name and how we could pray for them.

I have never heard a group of teenagers (and parents) so quiet in my life. God’s power was felt there in that sanctuary. It was incredible.

How have you shared God’s love with someone lately? Are you planting seeds or just waiting for the harvest? How can you get creative in your everyday walk and invite God to work powerfully in your life? (As usual, feel free to comment below.)

You don’t have to be a “professional” when it comes to planting seeds of God’s love. God doesn’t need your ability– just your AVAILABILITY. It only takes a little love and  faith the size of a mustard seed to get started.

The ground is ready– God is waiting for you to make the first move and start planting a few seeds of faith.

Growing in Him,
SGK

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” ~2 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV) 

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Factor of 7: How Sweet It Is

I’ve always heard that the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Honestly, I think that is only half correct for a couple of reasons. First of all, I am woman and I love food– so someone can sure win my heart via something deep-fried and covered in chocolate. (Although I try to avoid that… most of the time. Something about healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight. Sigh.)

The second reason that I believe that old saying is only partially correct is due to the fact that while I don’t know how easy it is to reach someone’s heart with food, I do know that if you show them unexpected kindness (especially in the form of a sweet treat) they sure do open up their heart in a hurry.

Just such was the case last week with our latest Factor of 7. For those of you just joining us here at 7 Days Time, Factor of 7 is a once-a-month act of kindness that my husband and I do in the name of Jesus per the leading of the Holy Spirit. Then we document the outcome and share with you wonderful folks. (For more details and past Factor  of 7 experiences, click here.)

Here’s how things went down: My wonderful mother-in-love Lex and I spent a few hours on Thursday cooking up a storm in our kitchen. (This is an act of love in itself since cookies are not necessarily our speciality. Cupcakes, yes. Cookies, not so much.) We made several dozen cookies, including chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodles, and a couple pans of brownies.

Then we packaged up our goodies for delivery the next morning.

Three words: Om. Nom. Nom. (PS: Thanks for this opportunity, Jesus!)

Friday was go time. We spent the day loving on the people that are typically forgotten or taken for granted in our neighborhood… You know, those service people that we usually only talk to when there’s a problem, but yet without them, we would be in deep trouble.

Our first sweet Jesus bless-ees? Our faithful garbage men. On Friday morning, I was plastered to the window, waiting for the rumble of that big green truck to come down our street. (Can you say: Creeper?) Finally, they rounded the corner and I ran outside barefooted in my workout clothes, plate of cookies and notebook in hand.

Needless to say… They were kind of surprised. I had to yell to be heard over the roar of the rumbly truck. After they picked their jaw off the ground from the plate of cookies being thrust into their cab, they responded to my out of breath request of “How can we pray for you today?” with a laugh and sparkle in their eyes.

Oscar the truck driver said he needed God to bring him a wife. Leo wanted a truck. I laughed and encouraged them that those were both great prayer requests. (God cares about all our hearts desires!)

It. Was. Awesome. (And I’m sure quite a sight for my neighbors.)

The next person to bless was our mail carrier. We recently received a notice that the mail route was changing and time of delivery would differ daily, but would arrive sometime before 5 pm. So to avoid sitting around the house all day, I put a bag of cookies in the mailbox with an ink pen and  sticky note  that asked how we could pray for him. He took the cookies– and wrote us a note back. Too stinkin’ cool.

Other Factor of 7 folks that day included the gals at our housing office who keep families moving in and out of our army neighborhood. One of the girls’ prayer requests involved a custody battle over her step son. (See, I told you people pour out their hearts when you care!) We also stopped by two of our Fort Benning entrance security gates to deliver cookies and take prayer requests. They were surprised. And moved.

It’s simply incredible how a few cookies on a plate from a total stranger can move hearts in such profound ways.

Today, we encourage you to think about the ways that you can share the love of Jesus with others around you… Have you ever done anything like this before? Share your experience and leave a comment below!

How sweet it is to be loved by Jesus… and share that love with others, even if it comes in the form of a plate of sugary snacks– baked with love.

Sweetened by Christ,
SGK

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” ~Psalm 119:103

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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

Real Time Warriors for Christ (Vlog: Factor of 7)

It has finally happened. I have finally gotten the guts to take a leap in to the “Vlogging” world.

For all of you newbies to the techie world (don’t worry, I only learned the term “vlog” about a month ago) “Vlog” is a simply a video plus a blog. Get it? Vlog. (I think Blideo would have been an interesting choice as a close second for techie terminology.)

Anywho… My beloved husband joined me on my inaugural vlog attempt. We were finally forced to get to crack-a-lacking on this mission after a local pastor saw the article in The Bayonet about our Latte Love Factor of 7. Pastor Heather contacted us saying that our ministry was an “answer to her prayers” as she is heading up a kids camp this summer with the theme of “Real Warriors for Christ.” The whole idea stems around defending our faith everyday, right where we are. Which is exactly what Factor of 7 is all about.

She asked if we could record a short video to share at the camp… and Voilà! A vlog was born! (I am all about doing the whole two birds, one stone business.)

So welcome to our first attempt at vlogging. (Oh, and don’t worry… we don’t talk for the entire time. There is a rather humorous interlude smack dab in the middle of this vlog.)

If you cannot view this video in your email, click here.

We would LOVE your feedback! Please leave a comment below! (And don’t be shy about sharing our video message about our mission with folks in your life. Hint, hint, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.)

Fighting on the Frontline,
SGK (and Brandon)

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”–1 John 3:18

Categories: adventure, blessings, Factor of 7, fight, generosity, kingdom, positive, prayer, servant evangelism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Thirst No More (Factor of 7)

Ever been thirsty?

I don’t mean a smidge thirsty like “Yeah, I could use a drink (of water.)” I mean, “Holy cow, I am so thirsty my throat feels like the Sahara desert.”

We’ve probably all been there. At least a little bit. (I experience this phenomenon anytime I do a long run without a Camelbak water pack strapped on myself. Or when I talk too much. Either way.)

When you get that thirsty, soda pop (oh, I mean Coke for my southern readers) won’t suffice. Water. H2o. That’s the remedy.

Jesus is the living water… So my beloved husband and I tried to sprinkle around some Jesus water through our latest “Factor of 7.”

On Sunday after church, Brandon and I set out on a mission for Jesus– not only to give literal water to those who might be thirsty, but  to plant (and water!) a little seed of Jesus love. We were going on a walk of epic proportions.

Unlike our previous Factor of 7 experiences, this one was a little different. Instead of taking $107, God called us to get a little creative. (And get fit, apparently.) Here’s what we did: We bought two cases of water (that’s 48 bottles.) We loaded up Brandon’s army assault pack and set out to walk, hand out FREE bottles of water  and pray… for SEVEN miles.

As usual… God blessed our journey.

This Factor of 7 experience was by far the most challenging to date. Not only was it physically challenging to haul full (and cold) bottles of water around for seven miles walking in the Georgia heat (See: sweet sunburns and sore muscles), but it was also the most spiritually challenging. I was concerned about God’s logistics.

When you are walking on paved trails, you really don’t encounter many other folks on foot in the middle of the day. Bikers are on a mission (and usually already equipped with water) and runners are also in their zone, not wanting to stop or carry a water bottle for any distance. (Hey, I totally feel them– it’s hard enough for ME to keep my feet moving on a run without worrying about where the next trash can is.)

About three miles in, we had only given away 5 bottles of water from our first 24 pack that was in Brandon’s bag. I was starting to panic. “God, did you really tell us to do this? Or am I making this up? I know that One is Enough, but I just need some affirmation that this is from you.” 

Right after I finished my prayer (and as a drop of sweat dripped into my eye) I looked to the left of the trail. We had walked into a lower income section of town and there was a run down hotel… With several people sitting outside in the heat, listening to music on a Sunday afternoon.

I asked Brandon if we should venture off the trail and hand out water… His answer, of course was yes… So we branched off our path… and became ridiculously blessed.

The folks sitting there were so excited to receive what we were offering. We passed out water and took down prayer requests. Just as I thought my heart couldn’t experience any more joy, we turned around. Behind us, a single file line of children had formed… ready to receive their free bottle of water.

We passed out all but three of our remaining bottles in under a minute. Each child was incredibly grateful– some of them so much so, they came back asking for another bottle for a sibling or parent. We told each child that Jesus loves them. Their smiles about melted my heart.

Whew… 7.17 miles is a long way to walk on a Sunday– but so worth it.

Brandon and started the trek back to the car to refill our depleted supplies. After restocking, we finished out our final mile. In total, we walked for 2 hours and 30 minutes for 7.17 miles. We took down 22 different prayer requests and gave out over 34 bottles of water.

Our bodies were sweaty. My hair was fuzzy. Our skin was sunburnt pink. But our hearts were full.

And 34 people were less thirsty (for water AND Jesus) than when we started.

Here’s to being thirsty no more,
SGK

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” –John 4:13-14

PS: Have you ever given anyone a drink of “Jesus water?” How did it go? Leave a comment below to share you experience! 🙂

Categories: accomplishment, adventure, Factor of 7, fitness, generosity, God, Jesus, kingdom, prayer, sacrifice, serving | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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