Posts Tagged With: guest blogging

Everyday Jesus: Across ALL Generations

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

Thankful for Jesus in the Everyday,
SGK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

meghan headshot

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

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everyday Jesus: Adopted by Christ

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

Loving my neighbor,
SGK

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

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

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Source: Juliane Bjerregaard via Flickr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everyday Jesus: He is in the Water

Greetings once again, dearest readers, and welcome to another exciting and heart-motivating edition of “Everyday Jesus.” I am so blessed to introduce you to Amy, a fellow writer and sister in Christ. We are not only friends in the digital world, but real-life friends as well, since we traveled to SheSpeaks conference in North Carolina last year. (And created lots of inside jokes in the process.) I pray that you show Amy the love today both here at 7 Days Time and also over at her place via comments and encouragement. 

Are you ready? It’s time to jump in… 

SGK 

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Have you ever had a message or a theme seem to just jump on board your life for a period of time?  That happened to me recently as I prepared for my annual day apart with God.  The theme was water.

I prayed that God would give me a picture to begin this day.  He did.

In my picture I was standing on the edge of a high cliff with moving water below.  A ball of “stuff” was advancing toward me and I had to decide if I was going to try to keep the stuff from rolling off the edge or if I was going to heed God’s conversation bubble directive to “JUMP”.  Looking at the water, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were already in it and were waiting for me to just do that thing.

Photo from rgbstock.com

Photo from rgbstock.com

So, I jumped into the time with God and into cleansing water of confession, praying, listening, and Word soaking for the day.

I was bathed as the plunge freed me from all the surface trappings that call to me for rescue but are actually siren songs of distraction from focusing on Him.

At the conclusion, I had let go of some things I had been trying to finagle. I assumed He was through with getting my attention about some things but Sunday’s sermon on Jesus’ baptism kept the theme afloat.

My pastor incorporated a visual aide that day as he held a large sheet of butcher paper filled with loving words God says about and to His children.

Then he stated things we hear others say to us that erase His words.  He proceeded to crumple up the paper.  It was a moment earlier when I had allowed a man-word to wash away a God-word.  Why, even my own thoughts drown me!

Plop.  A tear fell to the opened pages of Luke 3 in my lap:

“As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’” (Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV).

I let His Word and the pastor’s message wash over me.  God is pleased with His own.

What began as letting go for a day apart with God flowed into a culminating spring of tears letting go of hurts.

What about you?  Are you overwhelmed by the deluge of real life stuff?  Is your sweet little spirit crushed by the weight of unkindness toward you, intentional or not?  I so understand that.  So does Jesus.

Jesus is in the water that calls us to jump out from the stuff that wants to swallow us in our various seasons and circumstances.

Jesus is in the water that refreshes us as we pray with our mouths and hear with our ears as He speaks to us when we take the time to just be still and listen.

Jesus is in the water of his word that washes us and regenerates us to life as we erase words that don’t hold any water compared to God’s cisterns that hold living water of His truth.

Jesus is in the water of identity where we are cleansed from our sins.  Stains of past mistakes are washed cleaner than any of the latest stain lifters could possibly manage.

Encouragement for today:

Sweet reader, won’t you just jump in?  The water where Jesus floats is just fine.

Opportunity for response:

What keeps you from jumping?

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Amy Ward Headshot

Amy Dickson Ward lives in Columbus, GA with her husband of 26 years, Rob. They have two adult sons and a daughter-in-love. Amy is real about life’s ups and downs, including her battle with breast cancer in 2010.  Amy enjoys blogging at www.amydward.com when she’s not busy leading Bible study, knitting, and using her degree in Home Ec (yep, that’s right) and minor in journalism at home.  She has been published in Espresso.

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Everyday Jesus: Run for God~ Praising Him in the Rain

I am not gonna lie. I absolutely love how God orchestrates and carries out His plan in order to make connections with people. In fact, this is exactly how today’s guest blogger, Charity, and I became such great pals. Charity is a sincere, determined and passionate lover of Christ. We both go to Christ Community Church and *somehow* (ahem, Jesus) kept ending up in the same groups, classes, and events over the last year and a half or so. Now, we are friends “in real life…” and I couldn’t be more excited to share this inspirational story about how Jesus is showing up in Charity’s life daily through her love of fitness, faith and encouraging others. 

So strap on your running shoes and let’s get to stepping!
SGK 

PS: Please note that I am super, duper, incredibly jealous that I can’t take this class alongside Charity and the others… But something about being ridic preggo/birthing a brand new baby/doctors order to chill out/blahblahblah keeps me from participating at the present moment… SIGH. 😉 

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I love Jesus. I love to run. I do not, however, love the rain. But somehow– those three things came together for our first Run for God class at CCC…

Run for God is a 10-12 week training plan aimed at running a 5k while maintaining a Christian focus. The primary goal is to prepare people to be better witnesses for Christ – Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually.

Run for God hands feet

When I first thought about what stories I would share about this class, I wanted to share some of the reasons individuals chose to come to the class… or stories about connections made and friendships started… or individual responses to the run… All those sweet things happened and more. God is already doing an awesome work through this class, but today – we’re praising God in the Rain!

Running in the rain was not anywhere on the top 10 list of things I had planned for the first class…in fact it was probably on the bottom of my list… but God has bigger plans.

Rain – It’s inconvenient. We avoid it. We have umbrellas and rain gear to keep it off of us. We plan gatherings with back up plans to avoid the rain. People in Georgia cannot drive in it. Most people don’t get excited about the rain. Guess what – Rain is out of our control.

But without rain, there is no growth. Rain is one of the primary sources of generating life!  What if the rain was just God cleansing us for this journey.

So call us crazy, but 65 brothers and sisters in Christ decided to run in the rain – all for the glory of God!

Let’s face it. A little rain never hurt anyone. In fact, it’s exhilarating. Remember back to your childhood when you would intentionally jump in mud puddles and play in the rain. It was fun! What are we so afraid of? People thinking we’re crazy? Getting wet? Or “getting sick?”

Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass; it’s about learning to dance (or in this case run) in the rain!

Even though everyone was wet, the smiles were abounding by the time our class concluded. Spirits were high! Encouraging words filled the area. As we arrived back from our run, even the other life school classes noticed how excited everyone was from running…in the rain.

It doesn’t matter what life circumstance(s) you are facing today, Praise God in it! Maybe the storm is just God cleansing you for something bigger… better… and FULL of HIM.

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charity running

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

Categories: Everyday Jesus | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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