31 Days of Intentionality

Colors {Day 18- Intentionality}

It was a pretty normal morning.  Got ready for work, headed out the door, and began my *long* commute (insert sarcastic voice here).  I haven’t ever counted the steps, but it seems as if it perhaps takes longer to walk from the main office to my own office once in the building than it does to get from my front door to the front door of the church (Well, at least by the time I say hi to all my teammates and a few cute preschoolers along the way!)  Most days I’m either engrossed in conversation with one of my neighbors as we walk together or just focused on whatever is waiting for me when I sit down at my desk.

But this morning, as I made my commute, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before… there is A LOT to see in that 2 minute walk.  Especially during this fall season, the colors just in that short distance were innumerable.  There were bushes, still vibrant green at the bottom but as your gaze shifted upward, morphed into a beautiful maroon.  Trees across the road had more shades of orange and yellow than I knew existed.  The bright green grass fit perfectly with the bright blue sky.

And too think, I almost missed it… because I wasn’t going far. I walk this everyday. It’s no big deal. Or is it?

God is all around us.  Open your eyes.

Where might you get glimpses of God in something you pass every day if you’re just intentional to notice?

31 Days of Intentionality

Wow God {Day 17 – Intentionality}

I had the honor and privilege of sitting in a room tonight with brothers and sisters in Christ from across the globe.  As I sat there and listened to the stories of Christians from China, it was obvious that these beautiful Christians live very intentional, on-purpose lives.

I sat in awe and excitement to hear about their plans to expand their mission efforts into other countries and how the only way to really do it is to mobilize thousands of “foot-soldiers”… “a simple task really.”  (Say, what?)

Or there’s the story of a woman who had a three-year prison sentence for handing out free calendars that had a Bible verses on them.  Then, when they tried to let her out early so that she would stop converting everyone in the prison, she said, no… that her prison sentence was 3 years and she would stay there 3 years.  And she did.

To sit across the table from people who consistently risks their lives to put the Living Word of God into the hands of brothers and sisters…

All I can say is WOW.  Their life focus is clear… their hearts are set on Christ alone and His mission.

I couldn’t help but be brought to tears as I heard of THOUSANDS being brought to Christ in a single day. But those tears of joy were also mixed with a few tears of pain.  It’s sad for me to think how distant that concept seems in our own country.  Seriously, these brothers and sisters spoke many times throughout the night in terms of THOUSANDS, not a few here and there, not even in hundreds, but thousands and millions. Thousands of Bibles, thousands of baptisms, thousands of lives transformed… in a single day.

When was the last time I woke up one morning, and thought “Hmm, I bet God is going to bring thousands of people around me today into a relationship with him.”  I don’t know if I ever have.   Can you even DREAM of waking up and expecting that thousands of people would come to Christ that day. It may be hard to imagine, but it’s something I want to imagine. It’s a dream I want to have.

The coolest thing about all of this is, like many things in life, God doesn’t give the whole big picture from the beginning.  Instead, it happens through step by step, obedience and intentionality in each moment’s calling from God.  These brothers and sisters in Christ we met tonight ARE intentional to listen to His voice and to take the courage He gives them to be bold in their faith in the little things… and the enormous things.

Absolutely incredible!

31 Days of Intentionality

An Intentional God {Day 15 – Intentionality}

I’m not sure what it is the last couple of days, but the thoughts that have come my way on intentionality, have been short, sweet, and to the point.  Here’s what’s been going through my mind today:

Nothing surprises God. He is intentional in everything He does.

As someone who is often easily distracted it amazes me that God is on purpose, on mission, completely focused…  constantly. He’s never in a hurry. He’s never overwhelmed by the urgent.  He’s never surprised by something that comes up.  It’s truly amazing!  What a great God we serve!

31 Days of Intentionality

Abiding Branches {Day 14 – Intentionality}

John 15 has been following me around lately… and I couldn’t be more grateful. It’s been the focus of two Bible Study’s recently, a friend reminded me of it the other day, and then Pastor preached on it this morning.  What I love is that I can also see so many connections to this focus here on the blog of intentionality.  My favorite connection comes in the word “remain” or “abide” found multiple times throughout the chapter.

Normally when you are intentional about something, you are actively DOING something, but here, the intentionality comes in the NOT doing… in ceasing the striving… in simply just being.

However, especially in our “go-go-go”, “hurry, hurry”, “do-this, do that” culture, actively not doing can be so much harder that doing.  Yet, the peace in intentionally letting go and remembering that we can do absolutely nothing without God, is so freeing and brings great joy.  We are created to bear fruit in our lives… and it has nothing to do with what we as the branch do besides simply remain connected to the Vine and seek His face in all things.

Praying that we’d all be better branches this week, simply abiding in His love and letting everything we do come out of that.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. … You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.”

31 Days of Intentionality, God-Sighting Saturday

“What else?” – God-Sighting Saturday {Day 13 – Intentionality}

It all happened so quick that one Thursday morning.  Right between breakfast and getting ready to head off to work.  It could have easily slipped away, and yet it didn’t.  It happened…. and it was beautiful.

I thought back to all those conversations in college with a mentor and friend who was intentional about the way conversations would end.  “What else?” he’d always ask… just to see if there was anything else you wanted or needed to share.  Again and again he’d ask until the awkward “I don’t know… nothing else I guess” would surface.  He never leaves a conversation until he knows you are done… you’ve shared what you need to share.

And on that Thursday morning, something prompted me to ask God the same question… to linger a little longer and make sure He was finished.  As I closed my Bible and got up to go on with my day after my devotions, I found myself sitting back down for a second and simply asking, “Anything else, God?”

And His reply blew me away and brought me to tears:

“Actually, yes. Thanks for asking.
I just wanted to remind you that I love you. Have a great day, my daughter!”

And to think I almost missed it.

31 Days of Intentionality

An Experiment in Intentionality {Day 12}

**Note: Opps… this didn’t get posted yesterday. I guess that means today is a 2-for-1 special. Here’s the post that was supposed to go up yesterday:

So today was what I’d like to call an “experiment” in intentionality.  The ironic thing is that this wasn’t actually planned going into the day, but sort of developed after it happened “on accident” a couple times. Oh, so you want to know the experiment?!?

After every task I completed at work, I took a few minutes to just pause, think of the blessings that had occurred in the last hour or so since my last “Blessing Break” (as they got to be named as the day went on), and then ask God for wisdom for the next task before me.  While praying and gratitude are often woven into my days, it was especially fun, to pause purposefully, not just “when I thought of it.”

Conclusion: The experiment  was a great success.   My stress level was down because it forced me to focus on one thing at a time.  I got a TON of work done, and done well…. and I found great joy in everything all day because I could see God in everything and was able to thank Him for His presence in each moment.  Lastly, in the moments where I got off track in my day and things took longer than expected, these pauses allowed me to see God in the interruptions as well as seek him for direction of how to adjust the rest of my day.

Can’t wait to repeat this experiment again and again!