Life.  Some see it as a randomly assigned smattering of days with no purpose.  Others believe in divine appointments they rarely keep.  For most, ordinary.  But it doesn't have to be.   What if we dared to go the narrow way? Join me in taking THE FAITH DARE.

Caution: Participating in this challenge might force you to give up some of the things (people?) dearest to you. This challenge could change your life.  Join at your own risk.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Powerful video

One of the most powerful videos I've seen in a while...

God, give me your heart for your much so that I am moved to act on your behalf.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

FAITHdare ends...but the journey continues

My dad always told me, "ASH, when you commit to something, you commit to finishing it." I don't like quitting. Sometimes, though, it is better to quit than to keep on going. For reasons I will not share here, and after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that FAITHdare needs to come to a close. I am sad to stop halfway through. I don't want to stop halfway through. I DID commit to finishing FAITHdare when I started it. But it has been made clear to me that it would do more harm than good to continue. Please do not let the end of FAITHdare end your journey into a deeper and more vibrant faith in a God who can move mountains and change wayward hearts. Take the time to explore in your own hearts and in conversation with God the topics we had left to go! Thank you to everyone who has journeyed with me thus far...God has changed me in ways I could not have predicted. I pray He did the same in some of you! I have made connections through FAITHdare that I never would have made had I not entered this journey...and I am so grateful for them! You all are a special group of people...I have been challenged and encouraged by you! Stay faithful on the journey!

You can always find me over at, where I write about anything and everything that is on my heart!

I will close the way we started:
"Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple...In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:27, 33).
Though the cross may seem too heavy at times, remember the hope and reward to which you were called! Onward, onward we travel!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

So, I'm getting kind of tired of hearing my own voice = ] Any last wisdom, thoughts, ideas, etc. about this topic of possessions and the kingdom of God? Any recommended further resources? How has God worked in your heart in this area? Please share! Next week we move on...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

FAITHdare #24: Dream Big

"The more you have, the more you have to lose. The longer you have, the more you become dependent on the available resources. Wealth moves us to depending on resources where once we were depending on resourcefulness. If we are not careful, what we have can establish the limitations of what we can imagine" (from Wide Awake, by E. McManus).

Today in my church, an observation was made: The more we have, the more anxiety we seem to have. Funny, isn't it? As we get more stuff, we suddenly have dilemmas that we don't really need to have...Should I wear this outfit, or THIS outfit? What in the world am I going to make for dinner? Or should we go out to eat instead? Which car do I buy? Do I put my child in baseball, or soccer?

Have you ever wondered how many of our "problems" are of our own creation? What if we only had one outfit? No more dilemma. What if we only had enough food for the next meal? Poof! Tough decisions fly out the window. And on and on... For most of the world, there is no choosing which outfit to wear or which meal to cook. "The more you have, the more you have to lose..." And so we become anxious. How do we keep from losing?

Perhaps what we don't realize is that we are being choked. "...Others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful" (Mark 4:18-19). Is your stuff choking you? Is your stuff hindering your growth as a follower of Christ? Do you find yourself anxious about many things, things that you don't even need?

Do you need to do some weeding?
I want to be able to dream God's big dreams. I want to be free to go wherever He calls me, whenever He calls me. And I realize I need to be careful to avoid accumulation of stuff, because "what we have can establish the limitations of what we can imagine." If I get too comfortable in a nice house, with plush things and all the comforts of the "American dream," dreaming God's dreams becomes increasingly difficult as I begin to rely on resources in place of the Source of Life.

I want to be free to dream big with God, don't you? In order to do so, though, we are going to have to expand our worlds. "When you invite God to give you a dream for your life, you will find God expanding the parameters of your concern" (McManus). When you are feeling anxious about how to keep from losing all the time, it's hard to be concerned about those outside of your world.

This week, I am inviting you to dream big with God.

FAITHdare #24:
What can you and God do together with your possessions? How can you use the resources God has given you to expand His kingdom, to care for those who have less? Dream big with God!

If you're a music person, this song came out this week and totally spoke to my heart. If you have a minute, check it out!
"Father break my heart for what breaks yours. Give me open hands and open doors. Put your light in my eyes and let me see that my own little world is not about me."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Please pray

Sorry I've been neglecting the blog this weekend was an interesting start to the week, and a LONG story that I will have to share later = ]

Until Sunday, I want to send you HERE, and ask you to pray for Namukosa. How easily we forget..."To whom much is given, much is required." Please don't forget.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

FAITHdare #23: [Guest post!] To whom much is given much is required

I am so excited to share another guest post with you all = ] It has been a joy to watch God moving in the life of my friend, Julie. I pray we are all challenged by the way God is moving among us!

FAITHdare #23:
What is God calling you to?

"To whom much is given much is required.

I had heard this so many times in my life and for more than 30 years of it I believed it never
applied to me. I never saw myself as one who was given much. I grew up in a middle class
family and had a dad who did an incredible job of providing for our family, but in my immature
mind I was always busy looking at those who had so much more.

As a young adult, my outlook didn’t change. My job as a reporter left me with a meager salary
while my friends were free to spend as much as they wanted. And the feeling of playing catch-
up to the American Dream only deepened when I married my husband, who was 8 years behind
those his age in earning potential.

The first several years of our marriage was paying off his debt from bachelorhood, struggling
through the stresses of financial insecurity, and seeing the ugliness of sin and selfishness drive
some of our arguments over money. Secretly, I would walk the streets of our little town gawking
over the big, beautiful historic homes and wondering when and if we’d ever be able to move up
from our two-bedroom bungalow.

When was God going to pull through for us? When would Jeff finally get a career he liked
that paid the salary that would give us that house. That mini van. That image. When?

I had accepted Christ in my kindergarten Sunday School class and had watched the Holy Spirit
move in my life and transform me as a child of God. But God would allow me to live with this
obscure view of money and possessions for more than 30 years before His grace would step in
and say it was enough.

It happened two years ago. My husband came home from work and shared how he had
heard a great radio broadcast from Wess Stafford, the president of Compassion International.

“I have always thought it would be great to sponsor a child for each of our children,” he said as I
prepared dinner in the kitchen.

“That’s nice,” I said, but inside I was thinking something else. What?! Sponsor a child?! We
need to get a little further in our little life here before we can give up more than $30 a month.

But at the time, God has been teaching me and Jeff something different: obedience. So, a
couple of months later when we were at a Michael W. Smith concert and he started talking
about Compassion, I looked at Jeff and said, “If God is laying this on your heart, we need to do

We raised our hand and a woman handed us a packet. A boy from Rwanda, Africa, the same
exact age of our oldest son. At that moment, a journey had begun and I didn’t even know it.

I spent the next week, wondering how the heck we were going to pay this monthly fee.

Seriously, how? And then God grabbed me. There I was walking into Target getting ready to
spend $40 on a bag full of non-essentials and God said, “This is how you’re going to pay for it.
The same way you pay for stuff you don’t really need to get by.”

From that moment on, the Holy Spirit moved like wildfire throughout my heart. I got on
Compassion’s website and was extremely moved by these children. I read up on our little guy in
Rwanda and was deeply convicted about the state of our own home and my heart. Here, I was
so proud of how we were going to help this little guy, when actually he was helping me. God
literally took my face and turned it from looking at all that I didn’t have, to what I did.

I became obsessed with what I could give to God. We sponsored another child (this time
the age of our middle child) and I even became an advocate with Compassion. But it wasn’t
enough. I lay in bed one night crying to God. What else can I do? I had been so ignorant for so
long. And then I felt God turning my eyes to my engagement ring. I felt this overwhelming need
to sell it. To show God that only He mattered. Not only had the ring cost a lot, but it now was a
symbol of who Jeff and I used to be. When we bought it, we were part of a mentality that bigger
was better. That wasn’t me any more.

I prayed about it and asked God to soften my husband’s heart. He did and the day after
Christmas, my husband drove from jeweler to jeweler to find the best deal. He sold it and right
after he came back from depositing the check in the bank I donated it to help orphans. It was
the best feeling in the world. And the first, but not last, time I would feel a bit of what I call
eternal joy.

Since that time, I have found that the only joy I experience is when it comes to investing in
God’s kingdom. A year ago this month, God began a new journey in our hearts: this time
adoption. It came out of nowhere, but has taken us to places in our faith that I would have
never gone had I not followed His call. It may be a year before we see that journey come to
completion, but in God’s eyes it’s all wrapped in one. For the place we will go to pick up our
son is the same little country he used to open my heart and eyes in the first place: the beautiful
country of Rwanda.

I now live my days thinking less of my things and more of God’s kingdom. My joy comes not
from something new for my home, but from the new little ribbon we buy Maria, the girl we
sponsor in Tanzania. For after this world burns up, there’s only two things that will go with us to
eternity: God’s word and His people."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

FAITHdare #22: Unburying Ourselves

A year ago yesterday, my dad went to be with Jesus. And yesterday, as I was reflecting on everything my dad taught me, I was reminded of his other-worldly perspective. I'll never forget coming home one day to hear about how my dad's wallet had been stolen out of his car. His response? "Whoever stole it must have needed it more than I did!" Oh the joy he embodied as he lived with so little tying him to this world.

You might be wondering why, after spending a month of FAITHdare focusing on money, we are spending the next month on possessions. Pretty much the same thing, right? Maybe. Sort of. What I want to point us to, though, is the reality that our relationship to our things could be very indicative of our place between this world and the next.

Luke 12:15-31 (NIV)

15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

16And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

18"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '

20"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'

21"This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."

We live such complex lives, filled with busyness and THINGS. We seem to be obsessed with getting MORE, with storing up "goods" in bigger "barns." Are we also storing up eternal treasures?

I find that the more I have, the tighter I cling to it all. Remember this? I have to admit there have been days this summer when I have thought about how nice it would be to "freshen" my wardrobe. But they have been few and far between, and vastly overwhelmed by days where I am consciously and unconsciously grateful for how much simpler my life is without a closet running over with new outfits and accessories.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus commanded his disciples to take nothing with them when he sent them out (Mt. 10:9-10)? Have you ever gone on a vacation without packing ahead of time? Sure, you may not be as "comfortable" without your entire bathroom cabinet with you, but you sure have less to worry about. What if we similarly uncluttered our lives? Would we have more time for things of eternal value?

What if we had only one set of dishes per person in our families? Maybe more time could be spent in family conversation around the table {instead of in the kitchen dealing with load after load of dishes}.

What if we lived with fewer clothes? Maybe we could spend more time serving our neighbor {instead of washing and sorting through loads and loads of laundry}.

What if we had fewer television sets and media games? Maybe we could spend more time instructing our children about the things of God {instead of sitting for hours in front of a screen}.

What if we just plain had LESS STUFF? Maybe we could use more time seeking out the heart of God {instead of dusting, cleaning, tripping over, stressing about, looking for, breaking up fights over, and coveting THINGS that won't last anyway}.

Have you ever thought about your stuff with a different perspective? Ever thought about living with half of what you've got, and what that would do to your eternal perspective? Have you ever taken inventory of all that is standing between you and seeing eternity? Maybe it's time.

FAITHdare #22:

Take a walk through your living place, noticing all of your things. What do you have that you are afraid to get rid of? What do you have that you forgot was even there? What are you "storing up" that could be used instead for kingdom purposes? Take action as you feel led.