Another Life Adventure: A Week at Live215!

This past week was a new adventure!
I spent all of my waking hours driving to or being in Brandon, at a middle-sized church with 35ish teenagers (and a few college students and parents!)  Every day, I had the privilege of spending time with, getting to know, and leading some of the gals there.  When I wasn’t doing this, I got to sit in on some amazing speakers and work with some dear people to make this week happen.

So what in the world was I doing, and why?  I was helping out at the first Live215 conference/day camp, serving as a small group leader!

Live215 is a worldview conference developed by my friend, Steven Warren, to help equip teens to explore and defend what they believe.  The goal of this conference is to help teens ‘own’ their faith and not just ‘rent’ it from their parents.  This goal was accomplished through multiple in-depth sessions each day on different religions, media, social issues, politics, economics, the Christian walk, etc.  In addition, the group broke off into small groups to dig deeper and challenge each teen to take ownership of the information presented to them.  There was also community building activities and free time, to help the teens interact in a healthy, uplifting way and practice what they learned.

All of this information is just a teensy snapshot of what the conference really is, but to do it justice would take way more words than any of you would want to stick around for!  Trust me, I could ramble extensively about it!

It was an incredible week, during which I saw many of the teens grow spiritually and intellectually, from apathy to passion, and from muddied morals to established beliefs.  I had the blessing of facilitating and watching these changes take place in some wonderful young ladies who I got to spend quality time with each day.  I also had the blessing of working alongside some encouraging, fun, challenging, and loving people, and establish/develop closer relationships with them

That was the best part of the week: watching God work!  God blew me away with many unexpected little miracles this week in these teens’ lives and my own.  I came expecting to lead, challenge, and facilitate growth in these girls.  I not only did this, but was humbled, challenged, and grew in the process.  While I was hoping to help strengthen these gals’ faith, my own was incredibly strengthened and I fell more in love with my Redeemer!

There will be another week long conference this upcoming week, and I ask that ya’ll please be praying for those leading the camp and for the teens attending.  Please pray also for the teens from this past week, that they would carry what they learned into their lives, and continue growing closer to God.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to help with this next week due to work, which was disappointing.  But, I was so grateful to be a part of it this past week.
Now, how that was even able to work was another God thing for sure!  Normally I work around 20ish hours a week from home, so I wasn’t sure how that would coincide with doing the conference.  I decided to ask my employers to send me all of my work early so I could complete it ahead of time.  Well, this past week and the week before were the two lightest weeks of work I’ve ever had!  God blessed my efforts by giving me the gift of sanity!  He kept me from having an insanely crammed week before the conference by giving me a smaller workload!  What a loving, detail-oriented God I serve!

Well, I still rambled extensively after all, and still only scratched the surface!  Thanks for sticking in there, and I sincerely hope that you were encouraged by this testimony of God’s grandeur and goodness!

Below is the youtube link for a slidewshow of the week if you want to check it out!

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Reflections of a Runner: For the Joy Set Before Us…

It seems that almost every time I run, I discover a new parallel between running and life and I no longer wonder why Paul likened christians to runners.  Every time God shows me another facet of the connection between running and my relationship with Him, I get so excited by the creative and incredible God we serve and the many ways He speaks to us.  Although none of these ‘discoveries’ are exactly revolutionary, I find them worth sharing to encourage ya’ll like they encouraged me.  So, as these parallels surface, I’ll do my best to share them with ya’ll.

While running the other evening, I caught myself looking at the ground a lot and feeling mentally weary of my run.  I then remembered a running tip I had heard; this tip advised that looking ahead while running instead of looking at the ground made running easier and more enjoyable by giving the runner a focal point and goal rather than just the narrow monotony of the ground in front of them.  Consequently, I began to look ahead of me and found that this advice was quite true; my run became twice as enjoyable and went by much faster.

As I was pondering why this was, I realized that life is much the same.  If we spend our whole lives never looking past what is directly in front of us, so wrapped up in our current struggles, we will lose our focus.  Although we need to glance down now and then to check our footsteps and keep from tripping, if we never look around us, we’ll never be able to soak in the beauty that God has surrounded us with.  Just like on my run, when we lift our eyes off of ourselves and our present situation, we begin to not only appreciate our surroundings, but are able to look ahead at the reason we are even running.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 2:2

If, as we run the race of life, we fix our eyes on Jesus, not only will our ‘run’ have a goal, but it will be more fulfilling.  Rather than getting bogged down in the details of life, I want to run for the joy set before me, knowing someday I will stand before my Creator and longing to hear Him say ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2