Even Big Dreamers Can’t Dream Big Enough
To say it’s been an amazing year is quite the understatement.
Last weekend we celebrated Christmas with more than 1,300 people at our Rock City Christmas Services. To put that in perspective, last year we celebrated Christmas with about 300 people. That’s more than 400% growth in just 12 months.
In the past few months we’ve seen hundreds of brand new people get on their mark and make a decision to follow Christ.
We’ve given, in just one year, $200,000 Beyond Our Walls to reach the lost and to bring hope and healing to the hurting through both local and global outreach initiatives. If you’d have told me last year at this time this was possible for a brand new church just into it’s first full year of ministry, I may have told you you’re crazy.
But that’s what happened!
It’s been an incredible year!
But all I keep thinking is, if THIS is what God has done in our first year, what in the world does He have planned for the next?
It’s impossible for me to celebrate the past – the goodness of God and His faithfulness of yesterday – without dreaming in great anticipation for what God can and WILL do tomorrow.
Ephesians 3:20 says He can do immeasurably MORE than all we ask or imagine …
I feel like I’ve been dreaming some pretty MASSIVE dreams lately -
I guess even us BIG DREAMERS can’t dream big enough to capture ALL that God is, and ALL that God can and will do.
I’m coming into the new year grateful and humbled by what God’s done – and with great anticipation for what still lies ahead!
What’s God Birthing In You?
I opened my Bible this morning to the book of Matthew and this particular line stood out to me. Joseph is ready to quietly divorce his wife after he finds out that he’s with child. (v.20-21) But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Three thoughts jumped out to me.
1. When the Holy Spirit births something new inside of you, because it’s usually so much bigger than you, don’t be surprised if the people around you have a hard time “believing” your “new thing” is from God. People tend to freak out around God-sized dreams. Like Joseph, many may want to “divorce” you because God-sized dreams are usually uncomfortable and unpredictable.
2. It’s not your job to convince the world of what God has called you to do or to be. Just do and be. And let God take care of the rest. Notice, it wasn’t Mary who convinced Joseph that the baby was God’s. It was an angel, in a dream.
3. The purpose of what God is birthing IN you is always about what God wants to do THROUGH you. Jesus came to forgive his people of their sins. What God is birthing in you is for the glory of HIS name and for the advancement of HIS kingdom – not yours. It helps to keep that in perspective as we pursue those things that we feel God is calling us to. If it’s truly a God-birthed passion, it WILL BE ACCOMPANIED by God-sized results that will impact HIS Kingdom far beyond your wildest dreams!
What’s God birthing in you?
Living Like the Hope of Christ is in Me
This weekend we kicked off a new series at Rock City called Hope Shines Through. Using Luke 1, we’ve highlighted 4 unique and guaranteed promises we have in Christ our Hope. To kick it off, we started with Christ, our Hope of Salvation.
One of the more challenging thoughts from this week’s message was the fact that too often we live our lives as if we’ve forgotten our story.
The reality is, if you’re a Christian like me, in your desperation and hopelessness, Christ saved you. When the cry of your heart was “Hosanna,” which means, “save now,” Christ heard you, and without a bit of hesitation, he picked you up and pulled you out of the hopelessness and misery of your life.
If I TRULY believe that I’m lost and hopeless without Christ, and if I TRULY believe that he saved me, how is it then that I can somehow maneuver through so much of my life as if nothing significant ever REALLY happened to me?
We gave everyone a rock with the word “Hosanna” on it this weekend.
I put my hosanna rock on the top of my desk, right beside my Christmas Tree Candle (cause that’s how I roll).
Here’s my goal: Every time I see that rock, I want to be reminded of my story. I want to be reminded of the Hope that I not only HAVE in Christ, but the Hope I have RECEIVED in Christ – when I didn’t deserve it – when I was hopelessly and desperately lost – when there was nothing I could do to lift myself up and out of the misery and hopelessness of my life – HE CAME TO ME – HE LIFTED ME OUT – HE SAVED ME AND GAVE ME HOPE.
And not only do I want to be reminded of MY story, I want to be reminded of the stories all around me that have yet to be written. I want to be reminded of my family, my friends, my neighbors, the people in this city who are desperately crying out for the Hope of Christ – who are desperate to know the hope and peace, the life and love of God.
Maybe then, I’ll approach each day with open eyes and an open heart to the opportunities God lays before me for me to SHARE the hope of Christ with those who most desperately need Him.
Maybe then, I’ll live each day AS IF the Hope of Christ is in me.
9 Things to Help Your Marriage Now Pt.3
Guest Blogger – Katie Fisher
Here are the final three of the 9 Things That Will Help Your Marriage Now.
You can read the first three HERE!
And the second three HERE!
7. We affirm each other publicly and privately. There’s nothing like hearing my husband was bragging on me to someone else. Husbands and wives want to know that their spouse is proud of them. What they do. What they’ve accomplished. The type of person that they are. Along those lines, Chad and I are both the type of people that desire honest and constructive feedback. There’s not a week that goes by that Chad doesn’t walk up to me after preaching a message to get my feedback. And I give it to him. Honestly and openly. But the tone in that moment must always be affirming. Even while pointing out some things that he could tweak to make it better, he needs my affirmation. He does the same for me.
8. We pray sneaky prayers. (This isn’t as weird as it sounds) I’m not the deepest sleeper. In fact, I normally wake up 2 or 3 times a night. This used to frustrate me to no end but several years ago, God really started to show me how much my husband needed me to pray for him. So, I started using those late night interruptions to do just that. Even if it’s just for several minutes each night. He has no idea I’m doing it, but I just quietly pray for him. Sometimes they are simple prayers, sometimes they are bold and crazy God’s-gonna-do-it prayers. Rather than just laying there frustrated that he is sleeping like a bear in hibernation next to me and I’m wide awake, I make the most of my time and get some work done with God.
9. We just say no. I’ll never forget our first Christmas as a married couple. The thought had never occurred to me that I would no longer be waking up at my parents house on Christmas morning. When I mentioned this to Chad, I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. “Katie, we need to begin our own family traditions.” He was right, our lives had changed. It didn’t mean we didn’t see our families on the holidays, of course we did. But it meant that we had to start disciplining ourselves to ensure our family (and especially once we had kids) had the time and space to connect and be strong. This means that sometimes we have to say no. Even to our families. It means we don’t hop to 7 houses on Christmas Day and drag our kids to 6 Thanksgiving Dinners. It means our kids actually enjoy the holidays and aren’t beyond exhausted by the end of them. I’m thankful to Chad for making this a priority for our family. I never could have imagined the difference it would make and how good it would feel to just say no!
That’s a wrap. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Marriage is much more than these 9 simple things, but perhaps you are at a place in your life, like I often find myself in, where you just need to start somewhere. Take some step forward. Start today. Start something simple toward making your marriage what you want it to be. I’d love to hear how it goes!
9 Things to Help Your Marriage Now Pt.2
Guest Blogger – Katie Fisher
Yesterday I shared with you three simple things that Chad and I have found help prevent us from throwing the remote at one another (come on don’t act like you’ve never done that!). You can see them HERE.
And here’s three more that work for us:
4. We let each other sleep in. I know many women who have the “well…if I have to be up at 5:30am with the kids, my husband’s going to be up with me.” attitude. Why? This has never made sense to me. Perhaps their husbands are pleasant and polite when they get up at 5:30, but mine is not. 9 out of 10 days, I get up early with the kids. And I am ok with this. When I need sleep, he let’s me sleep. I don’t assume he knows when I need sleep. I tell him. “Chad – I need sleep or something really bad is going to happen.” Then he rolls out of bed (albeit grumbly) and entertains the kids. It’s great. There is absolutely no sense in us both being exhausted. So we let each other sleep when we need it.
5. We put our phones away. Once our kids are in bed (and often right when we get home from work), we put our phones away. And by away I mean on silent and out of sight. Our type-A, overachiever, workaholic tendencies go into overdrive when we hear our little phone dinging away with retweets, new emails and texts. We are busy. So that means our time at home has to count.
6. We don’t talk about anything serious after 9:00pm. This includes money, a fight that’s been brewing, major work stuff or major family stuff. We find that if we do, we end up saying things we don’t mean because of our exhaustion. This is hard for me to do because I have “deal with it now” tendencies. But nothing discussed after 9:00pm ever ends well for us. So we try not to do it.
Thanks for all the feedback. Keep it coming! I’d love to hear what works for you! And check back tomorrow for the final three.