God Glorifying Goals- Planning for Operation Christmas Child

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Yesterday my church hosted an Operation Christmas Child packing party.  Click here for more information about this from the official website.  Basically, the way you participate in Operation Christmas Child is by packing a shoebox with gifts for either a girl or boy within a certain age bracket.  This gift is then shipped to a child so that they have a gift to open on Christmas day.  My experience with Operation Christmas Child was a little different because my friend Anna and I were in charge of planning an event centered around this called a “packing party” for our church.

It was daunting when my pastor told me that the goal he wanted was for our church was to fill 100 boxes.  At $7 just to ship the box, that’s already $700 not including the cost of toys to fill the inside.  To be honest, I didn’t really think we’d reach our goal but knew my pastor would not change his mind.  So I said nothing and followed my rule for setting goals based on my Psychology of Learning course.  Goals must be:

1.  Difficult but attainable

2.  Have a clear start and end point

3.  Be Measurable

Surely everything I was ever taught told me set our goal at fifty boxes, and this was the goal I set in my head at first.  This past Sunday, Anna and I went around with a sign up sheet and then sat down to see how many boxes people signed up for.  The number came to fifty-four, and just when I thought I was right, something crazy happened.  More people signed up for boxes and somehow, we reached our goal of 100 boxes.

I tried to do something to glorify God without allowing room for God to work.  Sure, I could get 50 people to sign up for boxes, but how would that goal allow God to be gloried?

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I was sitting in Chemistry class this past week when my professor explained that chemical formulas are like recipes.  If you want double, double the formula, if you want triple, triple the formula.  But I urge you to remember our God who breaks down every formula we make.

In this passage we see that Jesus was able to feed FIVE THOUSAND people with five loaves of bread and two fish.  The formula does not add up, but it works.

This week I want to challenge you and ask, do your goals glorify God?

The awkward moment when you realize you had it all wrong

I grew up in a Christian family, in a Christian household being taught how to be a good Christian.  The thing is the majority of my life was spent looking through this pin hole thinking I was seeing everything, but in reality I only saw this tiny distorted section of the whole picture.  I saw my family and their devotion to God.  I saw my church friends give everything and dedicating their lives to God.  I was baptized with people I’ve known my entire life.  And when I accepted God for the first time my closest friends and family were with me the entire time.

I outreached on campus because I was told to do it.  I spoke about God when someone asked me about God.  I was too busy living my life looking through this tiny hole where everyone I loved would be fine.  And those who didn’t accept God were put to the back of my mind.  I stuffed them there not wanting to imagine eternity without them.

Today I visited a Hindu temple for an anthropology project, I wanted to learn about an aspect of my culture I never experienced.  Growing up as  christian as well as Indian the majority of people I met in passing assumed I was Hindu, unaware that I knew little to nothing about Hinduism.  What happened instead was this tiny hole through which I saw everything was broken open and my heart literally ached.  I left the temple and I sobbed.  Because if everything I was ever taught and believed was true then I would not meet everyone from that temple again one day in heaven.  I just wouldn’t.

I wasn’t used to thinking like that.

My entire life my purpose was to be a good student, to be a supportive friend, to be a decent person.  But as I continued to live my life looking through this tiny hole I was blinded to everything outside of my view.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to learn about an organization called, “The Price of Life” through”One cry”, it was there that I learned the first way I was blind.  Today I learned the second way.  First I was blind to the suffering of people who were sold into prostitution.  I was blind to the suffering of people around me in my life imaging pain was entity of my own.  That only I went through hardships.  I was blinded by my selfishness.  Conceding to myself that everyone else had it figured out and that everyone looked at all times as they appeared on the surface.

No one has it figured it.  But everyone is so keen and so used to hiding that a mirage of perfection is easy to portray.

I realized today that I had it all wrong because yesterday I prayed that God would break my heart for those who didn’t know him.  But as he did this very thing I wanted to beg him to stop.  My idea of Christianity was asking things from God hoping he would not hear me.  That was how things worked looking through this tiny hole.  The hole was narrow and binding and… even inaccurate but this hole was comfortable.  Everything I saw through it fit into what I wanted Christianity to really be, not what it actually is.

I’m writing this post right now because I feel like there most be other people out there like me.  People who have been living their entire lives looking through this tiny hole thinking they have it all figured it.  The thing is we don’t have it figured out, not even a little bit.  God doesn’t call us to live our lives blindly.  He is the light that shines in our darkness, he calls us to be free from all bondage.

We are called to love, to serve and to be uncomfortable.  Today was the day I realized what this actually meant for the very first time.

Proverbs 4:23 (Good news translation)

I started using a website to help encourage me to read my bible daily.  It’s usually a tiny passage that takes barely 5 minutes to read an analyze and helps me stay on track day to day.  Baby steps right?

Anyway while reading today’s passage I can across one verse that caught my eye, Proverbs 4:23 which reads

” Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”

I never read this particular verse in the translation and I was surprised by how powerful it was to me, and how true.  What do you think of on a daily basis?  No really what do you think of?  I remember hearing that you become a slave to what you think about the most.

The minute I read this verse I reevaluated everything I was doing.  I did this because our thoughts really do shape our lives and so many times its so easy to let these negative ideas pierce through our conscience and this changes us.  This changes the way we live our everyday lives.

Today I want you to think about something that you have been obsessing over.  Do these things deserve your time and do you want to be the type of person who thinks of those things?  If they don’t deserve your time, its time you change your mentality.  And if they do then you’re one step closer to be the type of person you want to be.

Winning isn’t everything. 43/365

photo from deviantart.com

This post isn’t all too relevant to people who aren’t big on competitions…or who don’t go to my church!  But I decided to post about it anyway because there are so many people who I think might benefit from this.

I used to think that competitions in church were horrible, when I wouldn’t win in topics like memory verse or bible quiz or singing or ANYTHING when I was younger, it was really discouraging.  I felt as though since I didn’t win then I would never win and it made me never want to participate in competition again.

I won’t lie and say I outgrew my childish fears, but on Saturday I honestly just refused to take the bible quiz given to us because I thought I would lose.  And I memorized the bare minimum number of memory verses because I thought I would lose.  I was wrong.

For the topics that I was good in: essay, speech & singing [well…now for singing and still that’s up for debate].  It was really encouraging, it gave me a chance to practice my talents to see what I was good at and feel confident in my abilities.  I remember public speaking for my first REAL time outside of school [besides presentations and etc. ] and I was so nervous that I was honestly HORRIBLE! I just kept thinking about the fact that if that was the first time I ever spoke in public, I probably would have never let myself go through that experience again.  But I was lucky,  I was given the opportunity to try public speaking in my church and build up my talent and then finally compete.

At the end of the day I think competition can be either pointless or extremely beneficial, it all just depends on your outlook.  If you’re the person who did bad in a topic once and then refuses to participate in it again [like me…] then your going to hate competition.  I’m not going to lie to you, your going to gain nothing and in the end waste your time by showing up.  BUT if you’re the type of person who grows from your mistakes, and tries to learn from them, who doesn’t care so much about the prize but how you can grow, then competition is amazing!

I make it a point now to ask people whenever I go on stage, what I can do to make myself better.  Sometimes it can be hard to receive critique, but without it, you leave the same way you came.  I may never memorize a million trillion verses or memorize every fact in the bible for competition  [or for myself], but I can try.  Just as Luke 18: 27 reads “Jesus replied ‘What is impossible with men is possible with God.’ “.

Today I want you change your outlook.

See you tomorrow,

Nina

Keep on waiting 41/365

Ouch.  Apparently my blogger views have FELL dramatically!  The internet REALLY does not wait for a blogger who chooses to be lazy.  I was checking my stats and I think I got 1 view today and around a month ago I was averaging around 70 views per day.  The deactivation of my Facebook will also take away a chance for me to market so I guess I need better tags!

from deviantart.com

I kind of wanted to keep my age a secret to the whole internet world, FOR my safety of course.  But honestly I don’t think I can make my point without naming my age and you can pretty much guess how old I am from my posts.  PLUS the majority of my posts are viewed by people I know any who.

I just entered my S E N I O R   Y E A R of highschool!  I was pretty excited to enter a new chapter in my life but as soon as my day ended I saw something pretty disturbing written on pretty much EVERY status I saw.  Day 1 down __ days left, blehh first day only __ more, and on and on.

I remember waiting to enter 2nd grade and then 3rd and then 4th and then 5th and then 6th and then suddenly being in middle school and then suddenly being in HIGHSCHOOL and then I remember counting down the days until summer.  Wondering how long it would take me to reach the “fun part”, waiting for APS and SATS and every other thing to end.

I then realized that while I was waiting for all of these things to end I had missed out on truly enjoying the good things.  I thought about how during APs I had actually blogged the most with my friend and how during finals I would really confide in friends and laugh about how dumb finals were.

Point blank, if you rush through the bad things, you miss the good things.  This wasn’t a religious post but today, take it slow, think about everything you do and  ENJOY the small things.  I know I will.

This is ninarachel621 and maybe I’ll enjoy the countdown to 365 full posts a little bit more.

Obedience 38/365

OKAY so I lied to some of my Facebookers, I told you my big news was my blog but it wasn’t that!  I’m SORRY but I was trying to keep something quiet and unless I pretended it was something else I was pretty sure  everyone would see right through me!  >.<

It was a YOUTUBE ACCOUNT!  But my mom felt uneasy about my posting videos so I deleted it.  I have to be honest though, I didn’t want to at first and was very set against it.

I made an account for inner beauty and my mom was all for it until I got around 700 views in one day for a video ,I actually made a blog post about originally.  She felt as though the environment was not safe and that I should wait until I am settled more in life and then I can make an account.

I’ll be honest though, I didn’t listen to her at first >.<  I KNOW I KNOW.  BAD Nina.  I really liked Youtube and was getting a lot more views than from wordpress, as of today I had around 3,000 views from my most popular video.  But a part of me just felt SO guilty for disobeying and I had to delete it.  I do plan on making an account again one day, but as my mother said, when I am older.  And when that happens, I’ll let you all know from the minute I start.

My post topic for today is that of obedience.  I know my introduction was a weird leeway but it is definitely relevant.  I REALLY really didn’t want to obey my mother, and why?  Because I didn’t feel like it.

The thing about obedience is that sometimes its hard and sometimes we just don’t want to do it.  Ephesians 6:1 reads “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” THAT is so much easier said than done.

I know that I really didn’t want to obey my mom at first but now I’m glad I did.  I think that once I feel ready I may restart my account and maybe even use it for evangelical purposes.  If I was able to reach 3,000 people through ONE video, think of what I could do if I truly devoted my time.

This is going to be a some what small post but I hope the message rings through for someone out there.  Sometimes obeying God feel inconvenient.  Sometimes we just feel like NOT doing it, but we must understand that he has our very best interests at heart and KNOWS what we need and do not need in our lives.

John 14:23-24

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

See you tomorrow,

Nina

I don’t know what to blog about?!-30/365

Good day my fellow bloggers…or is it wordpress-ers?  [haha FAIL]  I’m having one of those day where I really want to write but can’t think of anything to write about…  IN FACT I just wrote an entire post about haters and realized I didn’t like it and would  rather not edit through the kinks.

One preacher I’ve been in love with for as long as I can remember is Joel Osteen.  Whenever I’m having a bad day or I’m just feeling like my glass is half empty, I watch one of his podcasts and my day feels revitalized.  I want to do that for someone.

Scratch that.

I want to do that for you dear reader, the ones who actually take time to read what I write!  [even if you don’t comment 😀 ]

SO I decided to look over the titles of his messages and see if maybe just one will inspire me to write.

—-

OKAY I’M BACK!  [well I guess you guys didn’t have to KNOW that but I liked to fill you in on my writing process], none of the messages really struck out to me but the title of a book he has did.  It was entitled “Rise and Shine”, what a wonderful topic to write about!

So many times in my life I’ve found myself comparing myself to others or trying to emulate someone’s attitude or be like someone who seemed to have it all together.  It was pretty stupid.  I remember admiring the oddest people, I used to LOVE this girl named Darcy from Degrassi because she seemed so put together.  But if you know the show Degrassi, that didn’t really last all that long.

I used to think the only way I could be happy was if certain thing played out a certain way in  my life.  I was one of those people with a 5 year plan for success.  When things didn’t go the way I wanted them to…I was disappointed.  Sitting in my bedroom blogging this I can honestly say that  I feel happy.  I mean I wished I studied more this summer or used my time more productively but it was actual a facebook status that made me realize that regretting my choices would do nothing, all I have to do is move on.

The status read ”

The summer is gone……You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future”

HOW TRUE IS THAT?  [Sorry I don’t use caps to sound aggressive but to show emotion and excitement]

Today I want you to rise and shine, I want you to forget the haters [that I may later blog about, and just be who you are.  The great thing about God is that he accepts us for who we are.

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”
1 Timothy 6:12

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Proverbs 16:3

See you tomorrow,

Nina

**I hope you have a great day [or night depending on when you read this!]

Addictions-16/365

from deviantart.com, originally a header for my blog

Hey Y’all, [okay this is TOO weird], HELLO EVERYONE!  XD

This post is about addictions, big or small addictions can be debilitating and as a Christian I found it hard to believe that I actually do have addictions that I consider “small” BUT affect my life tremendously.

When you think of addictions what exactly comes to mind?  I don’t know about you but I think of alcoholics, drug addicts, KE$HA [LOL im joking, but why does she need a dollar sign in her name anyway?].  You catch my drift right?  Well I never thought SIMS, or silly band collecting or even using my netbook could be considered a REAL addiction, that was until now.

I hadn’t realized it at the time but at one point I was addicted to playing SIMS games and it wasn’t the prettiest of sights.  I was playing SIMS on my computer for hours at a time and would wake up early every day just to play SIMS.  I stopped doing things I loved, because I loved playing SIMS more.  I was addicted, the short thrill of becoming a millionaire in a game was more appealing than reading or writing or even talking to REAL people!  [I’m not a weirdo or anything, I just REALLY liked that game].  I had played the game to completion dozens of times and was almost living through a virtual character, and what made it even worse was I couldn’t stop myself.

The only reason I stopped was because I got bored after a little while and knew how badly it was affecting me.  I rashly deleted it from my cpu and a few hours later BEGGED my brother to re-add it.  He said no, I was angry then, but I’m thankful now.  I was investing so much of my time and effort into this game that did not produce meaningful results and most of all I was taking time from all aspects of my life for a game.

1 Samuel 12:24
24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

I wasn’t serving my GOD ANYMORE!

Today I want you to look inside yourself and see what your addictions are be it big or small, and compleltly re- dedicate yourself to God.  If there’s one addiction that i would approve of, it would be an addiction to GOD!

See you tomorrow,

Nina Thomas

Love yourself…no not like THAT 12/365

by MurphyL6

I can’t believe it!  I’ve been blogging continuously for 12 DAYS!  I know that sounds like  an odd thing to celebrate, but for me?  Well that is what I would like to call an accomplishment!  YAY!  …no?  Well I have three hundred and some odd days to prove myself!  [I don’t enjoy math…]

I was kind of surprised because according to my blog stats many people are coming across my blog…they just don’t like commenting…but still people are reading!  So hello reader, thank you for taking the time to read!

OKAY so back to my topic!

LOVE YOURSELF!  YAY!  Okay …so you may be thinking, “What is this girl on and can I get some?” but I am not crazy [maybe just a little looney], today I wanted to focus on the importance of loving who you are!  I am so tired of seeing people with low self esteems [myself included], it seems as though people always want what they don’t have!

I have what you would call “frizzy uncontrollable hair”, so when my mom asked me if I wanted to get it Japanese straightened I jumped at the opportunity for flawlessly straight hair.  Right after the treatment I was thrilled, my hair was soft, manageable and amazing.  But 3 days later?  Bleh. I was tired of my straight hair and wanted me old hair back so badly!

Do you know how I felt when I got back my curly hair back?

…I wanted straight hair again!

I’ve seen overweight people wish they were skinny, skinny people wish they were fatter, all my life I’ve seen people unhappy with where they were in their lives, and one day I wondered- why?

I remember I had brought a friend to my house [she was overweight], and she wanted to talk to my mom so I brought her down and we were talking about senior pictures and I was saying how I changed a million times and she continued on to say “…I had a change of clothes but I didn’t think I should change, I don’t know-“she had continued saying it would be weird for her to do it and my mom stopped her mid sentence and told her that she should have taken as many changes as she wanted and that she shouldn’t wait for tommrow to live today.

Because of my friend’s weight she felt uncomfortable changing and thought she could only really feel comfortable once she lost weight but my mom didn’t let her think that way.

Sometimes I look at myself and feel as though the  onlyway for me to be okay is if my hair is straight or if my eyebrows are threaded and the list goes on.  But that is completly wrong!  Be happy with yourself as you are today, right now!  Don’t wait for tommrow because God only knows if there will even be a tommrow!

This post didn’t have anything to do with the bible directly, but the importance of loving yourself!  God made you the way you are for a reason!  Don’t doubt it and don’t waste time comparing yourself to the Joe Schmo next to you because you are unique and incredible in your own way!

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

He knew us even before we were formed in the womb!  How great is our GOD!

See you tommrow,

Nina