I love all that is new – beginnings, first editions, babies, seasonal changes – almost as much as I like all that is old – vintage, classic, routine and familiar. I guess I think of a challenge as a marriage of opposites: ‘Fresh Avant-Garde’ meets ‘Timeless Old-World.’
Every year I like to tackle a different challenge. In the past, some were quite random, while others were the logical next step – like putting my youngest through her final year of school. Some constituted a single event, yet left me overwhelmed and fragile. Others were major, all-consuming projects, like climbing Kilimanjaro in 2012. While it made deep inroads into my soul, it also left me light and whole.
How to make sense of all this? It seems that much of the joy of any project is locked up in the company we keep – fellow pilgrims who laugh, help, warn, mentor, confront, encourage, and comfort us along the way!
Sometimes they are childhood friends with kindred spirits; other times, they are strangers whose fleeting touches remind us of visiting angels.
Then there is the secret of breaking up any project into bite-size pieces. Small steps, tiny stitches, daily stops! And before you know it, you have climbed your mountain, crossed your bridge, fulfilled your promise.
The final secret to a successful challenge is obedience to God’s gentle, quiet whisper. When He nudges, calls and commissions us, then we know He will also faithfully guide us across the finish line. With these three in alignment, I can almost guarantee success!
Which brings me to this year’s Grace Challenge!
A Challenge To Spend Disciplined Time in the Word
Our Christian lives are not exempt from the latest trends, whims, and crazes – a preoccupation with short-lived ‘Christian’ compulsions and passions that lure every generation to major on the minors. In the midst of overload (work, emotional, media, pace), discontent, stress, margin-less living, time-devouring technology, and burnout, I want to call Christians back to the ageless habits of the early Church and our desert fathers.
While shackled to Chronos or clock time, freedom in Christ awaits us in Kairos or significant time. Rich in relationship, Kairos represents meaningful, vertical moments – where Jesus lives. It is quality time in His presence. It is quiet time in His Word.
I raised 16 children over several years: some biological, some adopted, some in foster care, some disabled, some from other cultures, but all my own! In these years of overload, I prayed all the time, but needless to say – always on the run! I read, even studied the word, but haphazardly so. At first, I felt guilty and unspiritual, but I eventually realized that God is not impressed with pious rituals. Neither is He moved by elaborate prayers – for He gently leads those with young!
What I lacked in those years of overload and isolation, because we lived in a remote part of Zambia, was grace structures and accountability. Listen, I thrive on variety. I am all for spontaneous living. I embrace serendipity! But on this matter, I am yet to be moved. The daily, inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study are all ways God designed to keep our relationship with Christ intimate and organic, guaranteeing a bumper harvest in this world and the one to come – for we are planted, not packaged, remember!
But where and how do we start on this path of disciplined grace, as Richard Foster calls it? Let’s get practical – CLICK BELOW!
A Challenge to Pray Wider, Deeper, and Bolder.
I am super excited to launch 366 prayers: A Challenge to Pray Wider, Deeper, and Bolder. The idea behind this collection of Bible verses and prayers (or prayer prompts for those of us who tend to get wordy) is to help us pray consistently as well as encourage us to start praying beyond ourselves, our own families, communities, and cities. Even beyond our pain, failures, and seemingly unanswered prayers.
If you want to receive these daily prayers, download the WhatsApp app, and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will add you to our community of prayers.
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