Fired-Up

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Aragorn:  “The beacons. The beacons of Minas Tirith have been lit! Gondor calls for aid.”

Theoden: “And Rohan will answer!”

 

So, my mission president summoned all of the veteran missionary leaders to Lyon this week for a special Leadership Council. Every single missionary I go home with has been a Leader at some point in their mission, which doesn’t happen often, apparently. And all of us were gathered at this grand meeting for the sole purpose of figuring out what we could do to fire-up the missionaries.

Finding the Fire
Fire was a big part of the conference. There is a rising number of missionaries who have lost their spark and are struggling.  And with a large batch of new missionaries coming in, well, the president’s charge to us was to inspire others to rise up, and ignite the work again.  We all sat down in council and discussed it.

How do you inspire someone out of a slump?  What does it take to get someone from the doldrums on to high ground? From snuffed-out to burning bright? Continue reading

Change, Oh Goodness!

Connor at the Airport

Connor at the Airport

 

“I need to let him go.”
Marie Lu, Prodigy

“When I leave, I won’t tell you goodbye—but only because I’m taking you with me.”
Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here for You

“Thank God I found the GOOD in goodbye.”
Beyonce Knowles

 

You’d think that sending out your third kid on a mission would make one a seasoned, poised veteran of goodbyes.

Nope.

Bidding farewell to my son, Connor, was a compounded kind of difficult. I was a massive ball of nerves. Partly because he was younger (he was 18. Ashley was 22 when she left on her mission, Lauren 19), and a great deal to do with is he ready?

Oh, don’t get me wrong. He is beyond his years brilliant, responsible, highly social, and has a commanding knowledge of the gospel, but organized…weeell, somehow that gene did not latch on to his DNA.

So I fretted about things that mothers are good at fretting: I worried he would lose his wallet or forget his credit card at a store. I envisioned him leaving behind a suit when moving apartments or misplacing his head if it weren’t screwed on tight.  How do you imbue someone with more awareness?  I’ll tell you, you can’t. You just cross your fingers that when they know mom’s not around, the efficiency kicks in gear.

There were many sleepless nights before Connor left. Surprisingly too many. Why am I such a nervous-wreck boob?  To me, the fear seemed beyond worry-wart mom allowance. So I’d question.  Am I not trusting God? Do I not trust Connor? What’s really going on here?

Then the answer hit me:   Continue reading

Courage = Fighting Fear with Faith

Resurrected Christ by J. Kirk Richards

Resurrected Christ  by J. Kirk Richards

 

 

Couldn’t we all use more courage?

I mean, it seems like fear is slowly becoming an epidemic in the world. Fear of death, fear of failure, fear of God, fear of no God, fear of terrorists, fear of the environment, fear of which presidential candidate will win—the list could go on.

Fear is mammoth, it’s debilitating, and it creates paranoid, cowardly, hopeless, joyless people.

I think that is why Jesus addresses our fears head-on.  The one statement He made more than any other was:
Fear not!
Take Courage!
Be not Afraid!

Check it out: Continue reading

Under Construction

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Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1 Corinthians 3:16

We are his workmanship.
Ephesians 2:10

 

I have officially reached the halfway mark of my mission. Gosh, where has the time gone? Feels like I just got here.

Regardless of how many people have or have not listened to our message, the reality of my service is that a huge transformation is taking place – and that change is within me.

Caution: Under Construction
At some point in service, every missionary hits the hard hat zone. In the last few weeks, I’ve hit mine. This is when you find the Lord beginning demolition so he can rebuild you. Funny, before his ministry, Jesus was a carpenter, and he seems to be continuing his trade (this time on my heart). Continue reading

But If Not

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the Furnace

When thou passest
though the waters,
I will be with thee;
and through the rivers,
they shall not overflow thee:
when thou walkest
through the fire,
thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame
kindle upon thee.

Isaiah 43:2

“It is not strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

Taken Captive
Our story begins in the Kingdom of Judah around 597 BC when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon laid siege (again) on Jerusalem.  But this time, he sacked the temple, rounded up the Jews – Hunger Games style – and brought them back to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-14; Daniel 1:1-6).

Taken CaptiveAmong those taken to Babylon were four teenagers: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Daniel 1:6-7). You already know Daniel (who would later survive the Lion’s den), but his friends you might better recognize by their Babylonian names: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

That’s right, Babylonian names. Attempting to strip all Jews of their identity, Nebuchadnezzar removed them from homeland and changed their Hebrew names to pagan ones (Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar, but the Bible text sticks with his Hebrew name).

Home-Sweet-Babylon-Home
Once situated in their new home, the king selected only the smartest and fittest Israelite young men to train for his court. From thousands of captives, guess who was among the best of the pickins?  Yep, our four friends.  Now enlisted in Babylon boot camp for a three-year training program, our boys brained and brawned their way up, ranking at the top of their class.

But real success came with a little test of integrity: to eat or not to eat of the king’s banquet. Continue reading

The Lord is Pleased

good 'nuff road - sign

“When you find your path,
you must not be afraid.
You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses
to show us the way.”
― Paulo Coelho

“Have no fear of perfection –
you will never reach it.”
― Salvador Dali

I have been keeping up with some of my missionary friends since being home from my mission. One in the field told me they were feeling down because they thought they weren’t doing enough to talk to people and that they were failures because of this. Hearing this, I dusted off my soapbox and gave my two cents on the matter. I thought the advice was equally important for those who aren’t missionaries to hear as well. So here we go –

Continue reading

Peace, Be Still

Master, the Tempest is Raging by Walter Rane

Master, the Tempest is Raging  by Walter Rane

“Fearful heart – Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance…and save you.”
Isaiah 35:4

“He who commands the sea
has command of everything.”
-Cicero

Hello, my name is Julie.  I am a recovering worry-aholic.

I worry about health, finances, the future, and about my kids’ safety.  I worry about computer crashes, brain glitches, and what people think of me.  The older I get, seems each season brings fresh reasons for fear.  Ugh.

Now, the other half of me isn’t quite as unravelled.  On the flip-side I am confident, composed, enthusiastic, and faithful.  This is the side everyone sees. Yet, more often than I’d like to admit, clouds of worry billow in, getting the best of me.  And I am fearful.

Can a person be full of faith and full of fear at the same time?  In my humble opinion – Yes.

The presence of fear does not mean you have no faith.  Fear comes to everyone.  Even Jesus was scared (Mark 14:33-35).  And it feels horrible.  Fear puts gray in your day, sucks the life out of you, and robs you of contentment.

But what if you could change that?  What if faith – not fear – was your knee-jerk reaction to troubles?  How would that be?  Being stress-less.  Imagine – a day, a week, or a month with absolutely NO fear. Continue reading