Posts Tagged With: generosity

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!

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Get Rich Quick…

Maybe it’s just me… but sometimes I still find myself being a little surprised/shocked at how many folks want to “make it big” and “get rich quick.”

Money

Every day, we encounter some kind of “great plan” giving us the chance to make some alleged fast cash. Now,  I’m sure some of those business schemes ideas are legit, but really, most just make me roll my eyes.

This blog post is not a slam against monetary success. We’ve talked about it before– Jesus never said money in itself was the root of evil. The LOVE of money is. Ultimately, our reaction to it determines the result.

It can bless. Or it can destroy. We get to choose.

Fortunately/unfortunately, a large majority of us will never be featured on the news for winning the MegaMillions. There’s been a couple of times this year where the lottery jackpot reached some ridiculous levels. Perhaps you remember (or bought a ticket?) All I know is that Facebook was blowing up with offers to “Like this ticket and we will split the pot with you” and my friends’ statuses jokingly (?) dreamed about what they would do with 550 million bucks.

As I drove home a couple of weeks ago, right before one of the big lotto drawings, I saw one of the billboards on the interstate updating the world on the current lottery dollar amounts. I let my mind wander for a moment– what would happen if I had that kind of cash?

Within seconds, my stomach flopped. I had no desire for the drama or challenge that come with dealing with that amount of cash. I’ve read too many stories of families crashing and burning after “making bank.”

Don’t get me wrong– there are some folks that do a great job of keeping a focus on Jesus while working their bucks for the good of the kingdom. But personally– I don’t know if I want that responsibility. Yikes.

Here’s the point… We don’t have to win the lotto to get rich quick.

We can find all the riches we need in Christ Jesus.

Seriously. The end. Bye-bye.

Just kidding.

But seriously. Christ IS all we need. With Jesus, it doesn’t matter if we have 20 cents in our pocket or 20 million in the bank. HE is all we need.

It’s Christmas and lately I’ve heard many folks stressing out about how they are going to make ends meet this month to make sure their kids/friends/families have the newest, neatest gadgets and toys.

That stresses ME out just thinking about it. SIGH. There’s nothing wrong with desiring to give to others– in fact, the Bible encourages it. But there’s a thin line between generosity with a heart of love and reckless consumerism just because we have a piece of magic plastic in our pocket with “Visa” written on it.

So I know it sounds cheesy, but this year, let’s ALL make an effort to keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the reason for the season. He’s already paid our debt. We don’t have to wait until payday to access Him. Unlike coupons, His value never expires.

With Him… We can get “rich”… every time.

High Rollin’ with the Most Holy,
SGK

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

Categories: money | Tags: , , , , , | 9 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

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

From Never to Forever (Preaching Recap)

Have I mentioned lately that GOD ROCKS?!?!?

I have? Oh. Well, just in case you forgot—GOD ROCKS!

Last Sunday, I had the incredible opportunity to preach… yes, for the first time ever. For two services. The attendees at Kincaid UMC and Welda UMC were wonderful! And I am happy to report that God showed up and showed out in some pretty remarkable ways.

As we rejoice in God’s goodness and power today, I wanted to share with you a synopsis of the message that God laid on my heart. The following is an abbreviated version of my notes since it was a 25-minute sermon and that is a bit much for a single blog post. (Forgive the choppiness… That is why they are notes. Although I did try to make them legible for purposes of this post.)

Thanks to all of you who were praying for this experience… God really rocked our socks off and painted a very vivid picture of how to go from Never… to Forever!!

To the Glory of God alone,

SGK

PS: Let me know what you think… leave a comment below! 🙂

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When I was growing up, I had it all figured out. I had a long list of things I was going to do, and a long list of things I was NEVER going to do. For example:

I would NEVER agree to the words in Ephesians of submitting to a man. Now? I am married to a wonderful soldier and couldn’t be happier.

I would NEVER Miss “home.” Now? I think of Kansas everyday from Fort Benning, GA.

I would NEVER work for free. Now? I have answered the call to ministry and work for “Jesus dollars” as ministry apprentice at CCC in Columbus, GA.

I would NEVER be comfortable talking about Jesus. Now? It’s Sunday morning, and I am blessed to share with you my heart for Jesus.

I have been called to tell others about Christ, living in the light of eternity. God took my long list of NEVER… and changed it focusing on His FOREVER.

Think to yourself… About your “nevers.” Has God changed it in ways you could never imagine?  Or did He try to change it and you resisted?  Are you currently living your life to influence other people’s forever in the name of Christ?

Living our lives with the “Forever” of others in mind must be intentional. It’s not easy. But we can let God do the work. There are three big parts of going from Never to Forever—we have to Know it, Show it and Grow it!

Know it!

Did you know… As few as 5 to 10 percent of people in the average church have shared their faith in the last year? That means that 90 percent of people have chosen the sin of silence.

But it’s not too late—we worship a very loving and forgiving God, so if you are perhaps one of the 90 percent who squirms at the thought of mentioning Jesus over lunch with a friend or is embarrassed about sharing your faith, take heart—It’s never to late for God to use us!

ALL of us have been called to share the gospel… Look at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

It’s called the Great “Commission” not “The Great suggestion.” Jesus isn’t telling us to share the Good News if we feel like it or if it is convenient. Commission is an authoritative order.

William Faye, author and evangelist says it well: “People do not put their faith in Christ because we force them to believe. They put their faith in Christ because God uses us to point out the truth.”

Show it!

Step 1: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength—without this, we got nothing!

Love neighbor as yourself… As in, everyone is your neighbor.

God will give you the words to say and heart of love to do it—if you are open and receptive to what He is asking you to do

Discuss: Factor of 7 Experience

“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

When your flesh or the enemy tries to talk you into chickening out… Remember that WE have already been given the greatest gift. Think back to the Scripture—“give away your life and find life given back.” God’s son Jesus LITERALLY gave away His life, arms stretched on the cross… Shouldn’t we pass the love from that gift onto others, giving them to chance to change their life of minimal hope and thoughts of “never” to “Because of God… I have Forever!”

Grow it!

God has done incredible work in my life, and He can do the same for you as well… All we have to do is love Him and listen

Share: Christ in Cow pasture

God took my “Never” feeling comfortable talking about Jesus and used it to change my Dad’s forever

Let’s take moment to sit in silence and listen to the Holy Spirit… Allow Him to bring to your mind anyone that you know needs to hear to the love of Christ. How will you specifically love on someone in the name of Christ this coming week to be a seed planter? Take a few moments to consider this…

Sharing the Gospel is not a contest to get the most “soul wins” or mark one up on the Jesus scoreboard. It’s not something to check off for a list in heaven. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, you are already guaranteed a ticket to heaven. If you haven’t, today is a great place to start.  Ask Him to take you from never to forever.

If you have already received Christ, we have a promise of heaven. And when we reach that gate, wouldn’t it be awesome to God to scoop us up and say “Well done my good and faithful servant?!”

It doesn’t matter your occupation or the time of year… It is always planting season when we are considering the idea of Christ’s love, the gospel. It’s time to get out there and get our hands dirty… When the Holy Spirit gets involved, we have a privilege to sow the seeds and the possibility of taking a person’s never to God’s forever.

Categories: preaching | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 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

Categories: Factor of 7 | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

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

Sabbatical brought to you by: Generosity and Grace

Many of us have dreams of where we would like to visit or vacation. Perhaps the beach. Maybe the mountains. Or it could be somewhere ritzy.

For me… I just wanted… AWAY.

God called me to come away with Him this weekend. I had some incredible time alone, by myself, just Jesus and I in Pine Mountain, Georgia. He recharged my heart, mind and soul for doing His work. I could talk about the words He spoke to me for about a month’s worth of blog posts. But I will spare you all of the major details… For now. 😉 (Don’t worry– Thanks to this weekend, I’ve got plenty of new Jesus revelations to share AMERICA! )

But for this current moment, know that my sabbatical weekend was filled with generosity and grace.

At the risk of sounding like an award acceptance speech, this weekend wouldn’t have been possible without the following folks’ generosity:

  • Thank you to my dear friend Lauren for covering my duties at church on Sunday
  • Thank you to my  friend/boss/mentor Kelli for praying for me and encouraging me to be obedient to “Come away”
  • Thank you to my darling husband who provided the finances and encouragement to have my own “retreat” while he attended our church’s mens retreat.
  • Thank you to Debby and the Homestead Log Cabins family for being so generous and making this weekend financially feasible.

How I got hooked up with Homestead Log Cabins is a long (awesome) Jesus generosity story, but I will give you the semi-abbreviated version: As of last Thursday afternoon, I still hadn’t found anywhere to “go away” for the weekend. I knew I needed to be in nature since it is where I am closest to God, but I also knew He wanted me to rest. (Which is why sleeping in a tent wasn’t legit. It’s a TON of work to do by yourself. And a lot of planning.) I was getting desperate because no where I called had availability or was even remotely affordable for a woman (that would be me) working for Jesus dollars.

God laid Homestead Log Cabins on my heart earlier in the week as I had called them a few weeks ago when my cousin was down… but I knew it still cost dinero. But I was getting desperate. I pleaded with God during CRAVE on Thursday that if He really wanted me to come away for the weekend, He was going to have to make a way.

So at the nudging of God, I called Homestead Log Cabins. I talked to Debby and pretty much word vomited what I needed for the weekend. It wasn’t a vacation. It wasn’t a romantic getaway (although it was awesome to be with the Ultimate Lover of my Soul.) I simply needed a roof. And a bed. Out of town. AWAY.

After some quick negotiation with the manager, she gave me an incredibly generous deal for the weekend. I almost cried.

It was a sweet little three bedroom chalet on the lake. She said that she firmly believe that all of their reservations “Come through God.”

Isn't Jesus gorgeous??

Oh. Did I mention this adorable weekend home was owned by a preacher? Talk about divine intervention.

So long story still long, my weekend with Jesus was incredible. I left my laptop and iPad at home… and just sat at His feet. Thank you to Homestead Log Cabins for their incredible generosity (don’t be shy about booking them for your next Georgia getaway!) And thank you Jesus for a weekend full of grace.

Refreshed and Ready,
SGK

“My lover spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:10

PS: Don’t forget! “A Latte Love” contest to win a Starbucks gift card is still going on until the article runs in the Bayonet this week. Be sure to share this post with your friends and leave a comment here!

Categories: adventure, attitude, clarity, faith, God, hope, Love, relax, rest, retreat | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Latte Love (Factor of 7)

Yesterday at 5:45am, my phone alarm went off. But unlike other days as of late, I had NO problem bounding out of bed.

It was time for third month of Factor of 7. I was so excited about it, I woke up three times throughout the night to make sure I hadn’t overslept for our Jesus adventure.

As I write this, I can’t tell if my excited jitters are from the skinny caramel macchiato I had or the remnants of our Starbucks Factor of 7. (Talk about some legit Jesus Caffeine!)

So yes, yesterday my beloved and I found ourselves at McGraw housing complex Starbuck’s here on a Fort Benning. At 7:00am. Ready to bless some folks with free coffee. $107 of free coffee, to be exact.

And as it has proven the last two months… It. Was. Awesome. Jesus was there– and blessed us immensely.

My beloved approached the cash register and ordered our personal drinks. (Perk of Factor of 7 experience: We get an excuse to treat ourselves to coffee/yogurt etc.) He asked the cashier/barista to break a $20 bill. (We needed a couple smaller bills to get our exact cash amount.) Needless to say, the cashier/barista looked a smidgen annoyed at our request.

But in less than thirty seconds, that all changed.

Brandon handed me the $5 bill I needed, then I stepped up to the register and told Shauna that we were going to pay for the next $107 worth of coffee that came through the line.

Her expression was PRICELESS. Her jaw dropped, eyes got big and she gasped…. “WHHAAAA… ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!”

The entire atmosphere of that little coffee shop changed quicker than you could say “double shot espresso.” For the next 45 minutes or so, Brandon and I stood at the pick-up counter, notebook and business cards in hand, watching peoples’ reactions and asking how we could pray for them.

That's us on the right. Sharing some Latte Love

In total, we were able to buy coffee/breakfast for 22 people. One of our bless-ees is having a baby in June. Another is deploying to Germany. Several families were preparing to watch their son/brother graduate from Basic Training today and tomorrow. (Fun conversations ensued when I told them that the handsome man behind me was a drill sergeant. Fortunately they weren’t in his battalion, so my beloved wasn’t one of the drills who probably made their son cry 😉 )

When I asked one lady how we could pray for her, she leaned in close to me, eyes misty and whispered gently, “I am a cancer survivor.” I very loudly (and enthusiastically) blurted out “WELL, PRAISE THE LORD!!” I’m sure the other customers were intrigued.

It was a fantastic way to spend part of our morning. Oh… And did we mention that a reporter from The Bayonet (the local Fort Benning newspaper) was there? She is going to run a story on our ministry in next week’s paper. (Thanks for that one, Jesus!)

Today we encourage you to share the love of Christ around you. Get creative. Pop over to the Factor of 7 page for ideas. You never know who you will bless… and how YOU will be blessed in return.

Oh, one more thing… To celebrate this successful event, we are doing a GIVEAWAY!!!  We are sharing a little more Latte Love with a chance for you to win a Starbuck’s gift card!

The contest starts today and will continue until the story runs next week in The Bayonet. (Approximately one week.) To enter, share this post (and/or future/past posts) with folks you know via Facebook, email, Twitter, etc. And then leave a comment here to give your reaction and how you shared.

The more you share/comment, the more times you can enter to win some of your own Latte Love!

We are so thankful that we have been called to serve in this way… More than 22 different kinds of drinks were purchased on Wednesday at McGraw Starbucks from frappuccinos to white chocolate mochas… But every single one of them was made with little Jesus Latte Love!

Caffeinated with Christ,
SGK

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
–John 13:34

Categories: army, blessing, Drill Sergeant, evangelism, excited, Factor of 7, generosity, giveaway, God, husband, Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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