Month: March 2017

All in, all the time, in all areas

For months I’ve been listening to this song, Scandal of Grace.  The phrase “to give all I have just to know you” has continued to challenge me.  What does it mean to give ALL?

Tim and I recently went to Turkey to visit our dear friends who are doing some amazing ministry there.  In Turkey when you commit to following Christ, you risk losing everything: your job, your family, and your life as you know it because it’s a predominately Muslim culture.  It’s a serious commitment, and yet God asks all of us for the same thing – to be ALL in.  Yet, we don’t have to sacrifice “all” in the same way, at least not in the tangible way so many do in Turkey.

Not too long after returning from Turkey, I had a conversation with a guy who was talking about his marriage.  He said, “I’ll do anything.”  I asked him the question, “would you really be willing to do anything?”  Before the words got out of my mouth the question shot back at me.   I thought about when I’ve made that same statement, often times in moments of desperation.  But is that true when it comes to following Christ?  Are all those songs I sing, those words to “I Surrender All” really true?  Would I be willing to do anything?  Am I willing to do ANYTHING?  As I thought about the song “Scandal of Grace” I questioned would I “give all I have to know you?” I then thought about my interaction with Christians in Turkey, this conversation and all of it combined has continued to challenge me.

As I think about these concepts this is where I tend to fall short: small distractions.  I’m not worried tragedy will come and shake my faith or keep me from being all in, maybe because I experienced one and realized the only thing I could do in that circumstance was cling to Christ.  If I’m honest, I’ve been more concerned about small distractions. For a couple years now I have researched sermons, asked other believers, and continued to try and figure out how not to get distracted.  To live in a way that is intentional and focused on bringing God glory in ALL areas at ALL times, and ultimately, giving “ALL I have to know Him.”

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This is a picture of me preaching at the pulpit at the Church of Laodicea in Turkey…  I didn’t have many listening 😉  Revelation describes this church as lukewarm.  It seemed like the right picture for this blog as I am fighting so hard against becoming “lukewarm” or distracted.

Be obedient to the next step

Over a year ago I was having dinner with my dear friend Kara Ulmer, who is an impressive leader of World Relief here in Akron.  On the drive home from that dinner I had an idea based on something that happened at dinner, and when I pulled in the drive I sent a text to Kara that said, “I think we should host a conference called ‘badass women of Akron unite'”.  (Sorry mom for the swear word).  The idea behind the conference is to gather some of the most BA women I know for Jesus here in Akron.  The reason I wanted to gather them is because they are often put on a pedestal in some capacity because of the ministry they do or the life they live, but if  you were to ask each of those women how impressive they are, they would all say that they are not.  This isn’t just humility coming to the forefront, but each of them would say they weren’t impressive, rather obedient.  Ultimately they are obedient to the next step.  Often God calls us to simply be obedient to the next step, and as we continue to be obedient to each step along the way, we end up in some amazing places… this is how I ended up being the Founder and Director of First Glance.

Here’s my confession; I wasn’t obedient.  I sensed I was to do this conference and gather these women, but I thought “who am I?”  So I put it off.  I thought the idea would go away.  Grief was ruling my life.  I run First Glance.  I don’t need something else. I had lots of reasons to not do it.

The idea didn’t go away.  It continued to come up.  So I went away for a few days with another one of my favorite humans, Hannah Nitz, who happens to host conferences for a living.  And as I was away praying and thinking through weather or not to do this conference, I woke up in the middle of the night and very clearly sensed God say, “the premise of this conference is to be obedient to the next step, and you aren’t listening to that message.” Well that was convicting.

So I moved forward, still reluctantly.  I was curious of who might come and wondering what amazing women for Jesus would join the leadership team besides Kara.

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But as I was obedient to the next step, and after talking to other women about the leadership team, they ALL signed on.  At our first meeting, these women all expressed how God has been giving them a similar vision for what the women in this city could do.  Suddenly I realized it wasn’t MY vision.  It was God’s vision.  He simply was going to let me be the organizer of it.  What a privilege!

As the past couple weeks have moved forward I continue to see God in ALL of it – from the leadership team, to the womens’ interest in it, to all the details.  It’s simply amazing and quite humbling!!

This is the save the date video for Akron Women on Purpose (which is the official name).
akrononpurpose.com

 

Save the Date- May 6, 2017 from Hannah Nitz on Vimeo.