giving

Christ-mas, Christ-More (Just in case you forgot)

We hear it all the time– we need to celebrate the real reason for the season. It’s true, but really, I think we hear it so much that it  doesn’t quite have the meaning that is used to… (Sad, I know… but alas…)

So this year, I want to share with you a little reminder and share with you what we did for our families this year for Christmas. Its edited and updated from a similar post this time last year… Hope it makes you think– and I would love your feedback. Comment below.

Ready? Let’s do this…

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It’s 5:45 am… I throw back the covers and my eyes pop open. It’s go time.

I swing my feet over the side of the bed. Oh, that floor is cold! I creep out of bed, down the hall, and take a deep breath. The moment of truth…

There, in the gentle glow of Christmas lights are piles of presents. Santa showed up and he did not disappoint. I grab the nearest gift with my name on it and violently shake it. Nothing. Dang. It’s probably clothes. Socks. Maybe even underwear. Sigh.

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don't rattle than I ever was...

Apparently Grandma Helen is more thrilled with the boxes that don’t rattle than I ever was…

Admittedly, I have grown up and matured over the lasts couple of decades. I still love receiving the gifts, but now I love the family time even more… Especially since I am married to a soldier and our family is in a different time zone a thousand miles away. Yeah, we no longer take “family time” for granted!

God designed my heart to give. I love giving presents and showering people with love, sometimes in the form of “stuff.” In the past at Christmas, I would go all out thinking, marinating, pondering strategerizing, and planning what I deemed were “perfect gifts.” And would typically make it happen- no matter how it impacted my Visa card.

Two years ago for Christmas, my beloved suggested that we do something different and forego the hoopla of dropping wads of cash and buying presents. He suggested we give something perhaps more thoughtful like donating our money to a good cause.

I flat-out told him NO. Absolutely not. Negative. Nada. So we went with the “traditional” gift giving. It was ok.

Then last year, things changed. Apparently God wanted to do a little bit of work on my heart… We put my hubby’s suggestion into action and gave gifts to our family in the form of a donation to a charity/cause that would mean something special to them with an accompanying letter explaining what we did.

This year, things are even tighter, with me now working full-time for Jesus dollars and a new baby on the way. (Yay-yikes!) So we changed things up again this year… We spent some time praying for our family and listening to God– then gave them a framed message of what God spoke to us during that time.

In one word? Awesome.

Today I want to encourage you that just because Christmas has passed for another year, doesn’t mean our Jesus heart of giving has to stop… God gave His son on the cross and that never runs out or expires. So as we approach 2013, how can you make it a year more about Christ through giving, prayer, love or small acts of kindness? Dear friends,  Christmas is one day… But we can celebrate Christ-more all year long.

Never stop giving,
SGK

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

Categories: giving | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 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

Factor of 7: Joy for Joyce

Some people say that money talks.

I have to say that I sort of agree.

Sometimes our money says “Hold me tighter!” Other times, it says “Me, me, me, it’s all about me.” Sometimes it sounds like the old NSync song… “Bye, bye, bye.”

But last Thursday, our little wad of money said “God is love. Give me away.”

My beloved and I participated in our first official “Factor of 7” love movement. Here’s how things went down.

It is pretty simple, actually. Brandon was preparing to go to Ranger School, so one thing our our list was to do our inaugural Factor of 7 act before his departure. We headed to the bank last Thursday, drove up to the window and withdrew $107 from our checking account.

I put it in an envelope that had the following words written on it:

Right behind the bank was a Winn-Dixie grocery store. I had been praying about this for a few days, and God revealed to me that a grocery store in lower-income section of town was a good place to start.

We parked the car in the grocery store lot, held hands and prayed for what we were about to do. Boldly (ok, slightly nervously), I got out of the car, grabbed the envelope and my husband’s hand… off we went.

We made a quick partial lap around the outer sections of the store… Past the frozen foods and dairy, beyond the seafood, through the bakery and emerged near the produce before we spotted her.

She was wearing blue scrub pants, a dark jacket and a stocking cap, browsing the coffee aisle. Brandon squeezed my hand and said, “How bout her?”

Gulp. Here we go. 

We approached her and explained that we wanted to help her pay for her groceries. I told her that there was $107 enclosed in the envelope. I shared with her that the 7 dollars represented that we all have 7 days time a week to live for Him, and 100 dollars because God loved her 100 times more than she could imagine.  Her eyes got wide and filled with gratitude-ish tears. She kept saying “God bless you, praise Jesus” (or something like that… my mind was a little blurry cause the Holy Spirit was so intense.)  We talked for just a few seconds. She told us her name was Joyce and gave us both big hugs.

We asked how we could pray for her. And we departed.

Easy as that.

Yes, I would like to think that our actions brought some Joy to Joyce. (Hey, if someone walked up to me with an $107, I would probably pee down my leg. Heck, I would be excited about $7. <can you say “pee down your leg?” in a Christian blog?>) So yes, I hope it blessed Joyce. But, as usual, God had more plans. I have thought about that moment every couple of hours since it happened. And it probably blessed us more than her.

I was feeling a little uneasy about my husband leaving, an ache that I knew only God could fill. Guess what? By giving our hearts to Joyce, God filled that gap. I was fulfilled. By Him. We were immediately strengthened for the separation ahead of us. It. Was. Awesome.

I can’t wait til next month when I get to do it again. (Although this time I will be flying solo.) Oh, and please know that I don’t tell this story to get all self-righteous, bragging about how “great”  we are in a legalistic sense. My fleshy side of me would have loved to hold onto that 107 bucks. But God told us otherwise. That said, I invite you to join us. Get creative. There are no rules to this movement. You can use money. You can use your baking skills. You can use your ability to pray. (Check out the Factor of 7 tab for more ideas/guidance.) Heaven is the limit! Bring the joy!

Pay for someone else’s lunch, groceries or gasoline. Ask a stranger how you can pray for them. Look into your life to see how God has blessed you– and pay it forward! We added some Joy to Joyce’s life… But God gave us ten times more joy, strength and hope through our simple attempt of  loving a random “neighbor” and a tiny act of obedience.

Join our Factor of 7 experience. If you do, please share how the story blessed you by commenting below. Believe me… God will not let you down!!

Receiving through giving,

SGK

“You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.” –Philippians 4:19 (MSG) 

Categories: Christ, excited, Factor of 7, faith, fulfillment, generosity, giving | 2 Comments

A Giving Heart: Christ-mas, Christ-More

It’s 5:45 am… I throw back the covers and my eyes pop open. It’s go time.

I swing my feet over the side of the bed. Oh, that floor is cold! I creep out of bed, down the hall, and take a deep breath. The moment of truth…

There, in the gentle glow of Christmas lights are piles of presents. Santa showed up and he did not disappoint. I grab the nearest gift with my name on it and violently shake it. Nothing. Dang. It’s probably clothes. Socks. Maybe even underwear. Sigh.

Yes, I have grown up and matured over the lasts couple of decades. I still love receiving the gifts, but now I love the family time even more… Especially since I am married to a soldier. That’s a whole new level of not taking that time for granted!

God designed my heart to give. I love giving presents and showering people with love, sometimes in the form of “stuff.” Each year at Christmas, I would go all out thinking, marinating, pondering strategerizing, and planning what I deemed were “perfect gifts.”

Last year for Christmas, my beloved suggested that we do something different and forego the hoopla of dropping wads of cash and buying presents. He suggested we give something perhaps more thoughtful like donating our money to a good cause.

I flat out told him NO. Absolutely not. Negative. Nada. So we went with the “traditional” gift giving. It was great.

That was last year. Apparently God wanted to do a little bit of work on my heart… And I suggested we do Christmas differently this year.

So we did. And, it was also great, just like last year, only in a different way.  This week’s posts are all about giving… Not giving stuff, but rather giving a piece of our heart for Jesus. For the next several days, I will share with you the heart gifts that Brandon and I gave to our family.

The gifts weren’t much, but they were ones that will hopefully keep on giving… Just like that gift that God gave us when he sent His son to die on the cross.

Just because Christmas has passed for another year, doesn’t mean our Jesus heart of giving has to stop… Christ-mas is one day… But we can celebrate Christ-more all year long.

Never stop giving,
SGK

“But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7

Categories: Christmas, gifts, giving, joy | 1 Comment

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