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.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

FAITHdare #1

3, 2, 1...

Remember how Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat and onto the water?

"Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!'"(Mt. 14:29-30).

God has called me out of my proverbial boats of comfort and complacency so many times. I'd like to say I step out every single time. I'd like to say that, when I do step out of those boats, I do so with unwavering faith. I'd like to say that, more often than not, I am allowing God to take me to new depths of resolute faith in Him. I would not be speaking truth.

Here's my reality:
God calls me to something that is seemingly (and very possibly) beyond me.
I think about it.
And most often, I lay my head back down on the scruffy little cot in the bottom of my "comfort boat," ignoring the call.
Sometimes, I do step out of the boat...with a lot of whining and "this is to hard!"s.
Then I look around and buy into the distractions of the world.

And I sink.

What's your reality?
Every week, we will be examining the reality of our lives, then comparing that reality against the call of Christ. I am challenging and encouraging you to step out of YOUR "comfort boats" and onto the water below...being careful to avoid the countless distractions of the wind and the waves around you, all vying for your attention, time, and money.

During the month of March, we are going to be taking on challenges related to our PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS with God. Without the foundation of RELATIONSHIP with Him, the rest of this year will be a constant struggle of legalism, futality, and defeat. And so we begin with, what I believe to be, the most important aspect of relationship-building: TIME.

the preliminaries:
1. For those of you who have intentionally chosen to go the NARROW way, I am thankful for your faith, and equally challenged by it. I am eager to see what God is going to do in the lives of those who say YES to this journey...and I hope you are believing with expectation as well.
2. My desire is that this would be a journey we take please feel the freedom to comment on my entries, to contact other FAITHdare team members individually, and to invite others in along the way. It is never too late to take a step toward faith--nor is it ever too late to join FAITHdare (if you are new to the team, please leave a comment on the first entry so we can keep track of who has entered the dare)!
3. I have been praying for all of you, the FAITHdare team members, by name. Please join me in lifting this project before the One who can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine...asking HIM to be the center of our every motivation.
4. My prayer is that you would take each challenge I present to you and bring it before the Lord,
allowing HIM to define the areas of your heart that need to be transformed and guide the changes in your every day life that need to take place. Please remember that the point of FAITHdare is to encourage you to take a step FORWARD--forward into deeper trust, faith, and obedience.  This community, I pray, will not be a place of comparison or judgement, but of encouragement as we all strive to deepen our own personal commitments to a life of faith in the God who calls us to CARRY OUR CROSSES and FOLLOW HIM.


Time. We all have it. We all lose it too quickly. We all wish, at one point or another, that we could get it back.
And we hear, more often than we would like to, that we are running out of it.

What's the big deal?

On average, Americans spend:

~2.3 hours on housework per day.
~5.4 hours per day participating in leisure activities
~1.6 hours a day playing sports or exercising
~151 HOURS a month watching television (more than 37 hours PER WEEK)
~more than 3,500 hours combined, per year, watching television, surfing the internet, reading newspapers, and listening to personal music devices

Hard to believe? Check it out for yourself (HERE and HERE).  

"...For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night...So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled" (I Thes. 5:2, 6).

"Teach us to number our days..." (Psalm 90:12).

How much of MY time, of YOUR time, is spent following the greatest GOD and love OTHERS? God calls us to number our days. To not be SLEEPING, whether you take that literally or figuratively.
I must admit that I "sleep" a lot.  And I rarely choose to give God the first fruits of my time, the very best I have to offer.  

Is reading a quick devotional every morning while you sit on the toilet giving God the first fruits of your time?  Can I call the two minutes I spend in the shower praying the best sacrifice I can give to the One who paid my ransom?

One of my personal weaknesses, among many, is American Idol. I like that show a lot.  But can I really watch a two hour show highlighting the materialism god our country worships, spend twenty minutes with God before the day ends, and honestly say I gave God the best of my day?  

Friends, Jesus didn't say, "Hey, go watch your show and then come follow me when it's convenient for you.  The lost will always be waiting."  He demands our UNDIVIDED attention.  He demands our all, and that does not exclude our time.  Where you spend your time is where your heart your heart really with Jesus, or is it with other events, people, and things?  Even service can become a distraction.  We have to begin with time spent in relationship with Him...we have to be fed before we can feed others, or we will become weary and dry.

Many of us "tithe" our money, offering up to God the first and best percentage of what we earn. For many of us, our time is an even more precious and valuable resource than our money. Maybe it's time we start "tithing" our time.  

So here's the FAITHdare, and it has two parts:
Take a good hard look at your reality of TIME. Are you numbering your days, or sleeping?
Commit to give God the first fruit of your time this week, DARING to "tithe" 10% of your day (2 hours and 24 minutes) to building relationship with Jesus, even if it means getting up earlier than usual, or cutting out American Idol (this one's for me = ] ), or decreasing the amount of time you spend reading the newspaper.  If you have no idea what to do with that time, start by opening the Word of God.  Can you imagine the transformation in the church if every follower of Christ spent 2 1/2 hours a day reading the Bible?  I am going to spend part of my "tithe" time this week listening to and meditating over David Platt's RADICAL series (check it out HERE), a series that will most likely color a lot of what FAITHdare is about.

"You were not created to be normal.  God's desire for you is not compliance and conformity.  You have been baptized by Spirit and fire.  Asleep within you is a barbarian, a savage to all who love the prim and proper. You must go to the primal place and enter the presence of the Most High God, for there you will be changed by His presence.  Let Him unleash the untamed faith within you" (The Barbarian Way, Erwin McManus).

Let us not be caught sleeping in the middle of the battlefield...Prepare your heart by putting your TIME where your MOUTH is.

Prayerfully consider what God is calling YOU to this week, and share with all of us by leaving a comment. And don't forget to grab a partner in this journey if you haven't already done so, and commit to PRAY FOR EACH OTHER (or WITH each other). Check back here at the end of the week to catch a glimpse of my perspective on this dare.

"Every day, the choices you make say what you are and who your heart beats for...The world is watching you! It's your life...watcha gonna do?"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Countdown Challenge

The countdown begins: 7 days until FAITHdare time!

A few years ago, I ran (ahem, WALKran) a mini-marathon. Of course the commencement of the race sticks out in my mind-- all the cheering and adrenaline enough to carry me on a cloud of anticipation for the first couple of miles. Starting the race was easy, even effortless. It wasn't until mile 9 that I started wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. By 11 I was contemplating a sneaky early departure. If it weren't for the companionship and encouragement of a dear friend plodding along with me, I can say with confidence I most likely would have bailed long before the finish line. And oh what a shame that would have been. While the beginning of the race was exciting and fun, the finish line was glorious. And without a partner, I never would have gotten there.

As I begin to prepare my heart for this year-long journey, I acknowledge that it won't be easy. It won't be popular. But God did not call us to easy or popular. Even so, going the narrow way can be very dark and lonely.

So here is my first challenge to myself and all of you, my friends embarking on this journey with me (consider it a predare-dare, to be completed this week): Find someone (or many someones) you can run with. Link arms with someone who is willing to go the Narrow way, to take a step toward resolute trust, reckless faith, and radical obedience. Ask him or her to commit to doing the FAITHdare with you. You will never regret having a partner to run with, especially when the mountains seem bigger than your faith.

After you've found yourself a partner, commit to praying for each other EVERY DAY this year. Yes, I said EVERY DAY. And maybe, just could consider praying together. After all...where two or more are gathered, the King of all creation is also there! My dream? That Faithdare GROUPS would begin to form across the world, bodies of believers praying and believing and being challenged TOGETHER! Let's not limit God...

In the 7 days before FAITHdare begins, I will be praying, by name, for every person I know of so far who has joined this journey. This is the verse I want us to be praying for each other:
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline" (2 Tim. 1:7). I am praying God gives YOU a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of SELF-DISCIPLINE.

***For any of our welcomed newcomers, don't forget to leave a comment on the very first entry so we can keep a "role call" of everyone who has joined the FAITHdare team. And welcome aboard!***

Meet me back here on Monday, March 1st for the first dare!

Let is be said of us...
that our hearts belonged to Jesus
that we lived to reach the dying
that we spoke the words of life
TODAY is a choice...Everyday does not have to be ordinary.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Most days are the same for me: 

Get up.  
Open my closet and choose something to wear from my wardrobe of more than 40 shirts, 15 pairs of pants, and countless accessories.  
Eat half a bowl of cereal and pour the rest down the garbage disposal.  
Drive to school.  
Worry about grades and what people think of me.  
Drive home.  
Watch a movie I rented for nearly $5.  
Eat a dinner of approximately 1,000 calories (more than what some people around the world consume in a week).  
Study stuff about medicine the way the US does it (what is it? A trillion dollar industry?).  
Go to sleep in my queen-sized bed.  

Every day is comfortable.  Every day is ordinary.

Then I read this: "'...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).  And I wonder, what cross am I carrying?  

Do I literally need to give up everything I own, leave my family, and move halfway around the world to serve God?

Maybe.  I don't know.  What I do know is this: It's not costing me much to follow Jesus.  Didn't He say it would cost everything?  Something is not computing.
Maybe it's time to recalculate.
Maybe it's time to dare to go the NARROW WAY (Mt. 7:13).

365 days of seeking out resolute trust, reckless faith, and radical obedience.
52 simple challenges with life-shattering consequences.
12 areas of my life (and yours if you choose to join me) exposed and revolutionized:
1. My (YOUR) personal relationship with Jesus
2. My (YOUR) 21st century idols and addictions
3.  My (YOUR) attitude toward unbelievers
4. My (YOUR) pride
6. My (YOUR) possessions
7.  My (YOUR) time
8. My (YOUR) talents
9. My (YOUR) vanity
10. My (YOUR) ignorance
11. MY (YOUR) attitude toward the oppressed
12. My (YOUR) prayer life

Everyday does not have to be ordinary.  
Will you accept the challenge?
I dare you to count the cost.

The first dare will be posted on March 1st at

{One dare a week}
{New area of life every month}

Leave a comment to COMMIT to take the challenge and join the FAITHdare team.  
Goal: 100 members taking the challenge
God's goal: a heck of a lot more than that