When You Feel Spiritually Dry & Need A Mid-Year Boost

The truth of Ann Voskamp’s words ring in my mind when she says “A year can evaporate before you know it.” Every year around this time Ann will talk about June as the second January – as an opportunity to do a reset halfway through the year. I love this perspective because sometimes when I feel too far behind to catch up, it’s easier to just quit.

When my bookmark is in Genesis & my reading plan shows I’m supposed to be halfway through.
When my brand new sneakers intended for trips to the gym are embarrassingly still new.
When my ignored friendships that were to be revived by coffee dates remain largely untouched.

I’ll readily admit it. Sometimes I need a reset halfway through.

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Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker – A Book Review

fivestars

Sandy and Kate were my 2nd grade best friends. It was my first year in public school and they accepted homeschooled seven-year-old me in their friend group (despite my embarrassing habit of crying every morning because I was afraid to leave my mom). We hung out at recess, sat beside each other at lunch and hung out at each other’s houses on the weekends.

We were the three Musketeers until the day of our “big” fight. Recess turned us from friends to foes as multiple messengers ran back and forth exchanging messages regarding who was no longer friends with who. Our friendship was officially declared over. This ending segued lots of tears and a trip straight to the school counselor’s office.

The school counselor, however, worked her magic and we were all friends and back in class within a few minutes. If only friendships stayed that easy…

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Spiritually Preparing Seniors for College – 3 Conversations to Have (Part 2)

“I’m not going to fall away. That’s the last thing I’d do. Faith is central to me.” The camera filmed as he stated exactly what so many students think after graduating high school. Then he continued “…that bubble burst within months.”

The typical eight-hour school schedule, face-to-face conversations with parents and familiar community will largely vanish in just a few short months. High school seniors are about to write their own story. From the party scene to classes to relationships, the power to decide will be in their hands. They now sit in the driver’s seat.

They are finishing a known chapter and simultaneously preparing for an unknown one. Often more open to advice in this uncomfortable transition, there are three last conversations I try to have…

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How to Spiritually Prepare Seniors for College – Church Field Trips (Part 1)

“Wait…where are you going??” Her eyes widened and her tone colored with concern. I had been explaining instructions for the day to my senior girls in the parking lot of a new church. Somewhere along the way they realized I was using the pronoun “you” instead of “we.” Something different was happening.

I would not be walking into church with them.
I would not be easing the transition to this new place.
I would not be finding the room where they needed to go.
I would not be introducing us to the new people we met.

I would be close by, but this time they were on their own. At 9:20am I smiled, nodded and told them they should probably start heading inside. The spiritual exercise had begun.

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Teaching Students How to Pray

Prayer can be beautiful and raw yet also daunting. It reminds me of my vulnerability. It shatters my illusion of control. It runs completely against my instincts.

Instead of hurry, I am told to wait.

Instead of work, I am told to rest.

Instead of worry, I am told to believe.

The vulnerability of prayer, however, ushers me into an intimacy with God that can be found no other way. It is a key spiritual discipline that leads to spiritual maturity.

3 Resources to Help You Teach Students How to Pray

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Choosing the “Bright Sadness” of Lent

When Pursuit Has Left You Weary & Looking for More

Ding – the familiar sound sends my fingers scurrying to the computer tab that simply says Facebook (1). It’s become an automatic response – rushing to see what social media has to say about me.

It can be an insidious pursuit for approval or comfort that slips in a thousand different ways. Whether it’s watching the number of likes on an Instagram photo, an impulse shopping trip or sneaking the fourth triple chocolate brownie – the pursuit appears full of promise. Yet I find myself empty, weary and worn.

Ironically, lent appears devoid and empty – a place of lack, discomfort and denial. No instant gratification, no easy answers nor applause from others. It is a place that demands transparency and reveals motives – a place only the Lord can fully enter. So the question becomes – is this place of lack where my soul could truly thrive?

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How to Count When the Scale Screams Defeat

“You’re not thin, but you’re definitely not fat.” They were eight simple words out of the mouth of my high school crush. In the context of the conversation, he wasn’t being a jerk. He was complaining about his weight and I asked him what he thought of me. In retrospect – for a young high school guy – he actually navigated his response quite well.

Yet in my freshman girl’s heart, his words translated to “You’re not good enough” and I instantly concluded “If I lose weight, he might love me.”

It was an insidious belief. A number on a scale became the deciding factor of whether I was beautiful. It was a lie – a lie that suffocated and wrapped tightly around my heart.

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Week 5: Finishing Well

With a full school year ahead, it seems odd talking about finishing well in September – yet even as a twentysomething I have seen how quickly time passes. The end arrives and we exclaim how vividly we could remember day one!

Since we all know how elusive time can be, it’s important to intentionally prepare for the finish line. There is a beauty that comes with celebrating the end of a season. It’s always bittersweet – the collide of thankfulness, sadness, good memories and unknowns. As a leader, what do you say? What is important to cover in your final meeting?

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Week 3: Planning the First Few Weeks

You’re excited!! You have put together your discipleship group and are prepping for your first few meetings. You know what you want to cover, but how do you make sure your time makes an impact and isn’t one of the many pointless meetings you have attended? Or how do you start accomplishing the goals you have for them or helping them grow closer with each other? Read below for three keys to success your first few weeks!

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