Current day heroes

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Current day heroes

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I’ve been pondering my current day heroes in the faith. Who are yours?In the spirit of Hebrews 11, where it says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (vs. 1) and then the passage goes on to list all those who have gone before who have lived by faith, I’ve been thinking about current day heroes. Those who are dancing for God now, even though their circumstances tell them to give-up. Those that bring the umbrella to the prayer meeting for rain. Those that speak and share as if those in their audience are just checking out the faith, even though those folks are yet to come to their gathering. Living by faith, that what they do not yet see, but what they hope for in Christ, will in fact come to be. Who your heroes are says a lot about the aspirations and direction of your heart.

Here are some of my current day hero’s:

Church planters, who despite I’m sure lots of pressure, are resisting becoming like others churches, so that they may reach new pockets of our society. Thank you for teaching me determination.

Refugees, who give up so much for the hope of a fresh start and come to a foreign land with courage. I think of Syrian refugees coming to Canada today. Thank you for teaching me courage.

Theologians of today that call me again and again towards more faithful, less fragmented living for Jesus in our world. I particularly think of our Canadian theologians who I’m sure get little recognition and would often be consider irrelevant by society. Despite this they faithfully call us to be the body of Christ in the world, inviting us to continually shift our lives and thinking to be in-line with God and His Kingdom. Thank you for teaching me dedication, a long obedience in the same direction.

Women who lead faithfully in ministry, living out of God’s call on their lives even when they are misunderstood. The women that continue to hold firm to the Gospel and God’s calling on their lives. Thank you for teaching me loving resilience.

Those who have intentionally chosen to root themselves in a neighbourhood so Jesus may be become known to those around them. They immerse themselves in a community to be God’s presence there. I think of those who have uprooted their lives to intentional live in forgotten neighbourhoods and those in the new monastic movement. Thank you for teaching me true love.

Our brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with LGBT attraction and have chosen to journey towards living faithfully for Jesus, even choosing to live a celibate lifestyle. They have given up more than most of us for the sake of costly obedience to Christ. This takes faith especially when many of our churches have not been the most welcoming. Thank you for teaching me costly obedience.

Parents that faithfully walk with their children of all ages, inviting them to live for Jesus in all areas of their lives, even (especially) when it looks different than the rest of society. Parents that continue to stand by their children even when they make choices that break their hearts. Thank you for teaching me grace.

Youth who are living faithfully and leading their friends to Jesus. I think of those that have started groups and practices in their school that display Jesus to their fellow students in word and deed. They have faith that God is at work among their friends, school and community. Thank you for teaching me joy and relevance in joining God’s work.

My mentors that speak God’s truth into my life even when it’s hard and it cause upheaval in my soul. Thank you for your tough love.

Volunteer youth and children leaders, doing so much with so little for the sake of this generation encountering God and being transformed by God. They have unwavering faith that God is speaking to, loving and transforming this generation. Thank you for teaching me passion.

Leaders and churches (tiny, small, medium and large) that have made the tough choices to say it is not about our holy huddle, but it is about those that have yet to experience God’s grace and Kingdom in their lives. They have taken hits as they’ve called their Christian community to turn outward again. They are my heroes for calling the body of Christ back to our mission. Thank you for teaching me sacrifice.

Who are your heroes in the faith? As I look over my list it gives me great hope! We have many among us who are living by faith. We have many who are living with a radical openness to God’s possibilities in their life. These heroes challenge me to more faithful living. These heroes call me to live by faith.

Here’s the especially important part: Who are the heroes in your life and ministry today? Tell them! Write them a note to cheer them on and thank them. Spur them on even more! I’m off to write a note…

Add your comments below, let’s celebrate together, who are your current day heroes in the faith?

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

-Renée @r_embree

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Praying for your neighbourhood

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Praying for your neighbourhood

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As I'm personally seeking to join God in being good news to my neighbourhood, one of the things I'm seeking to be more intentional about is praying specifically for my neighbourhood.This summer I've added a few things to keep prayer for my neighbourhood more at the forefront of my rhythms. Feel free to try any of these out yourself or add your own ideas below.

1. Landmark prayer prompter - I’ve picked a landmark (a stop-sign) in my neighbourhood to be a prompter, every time I pass it I pray "God, show me where you are at work here." It is a sign that I pass often whether I'm in my car or on foot. As I’ve started praying this simple prayer it has been exciting to see the connections that have been made, the new chats I've had and the things I'm noticing around my neighbourhood.

2. Prayer walk, run, bike or drive – no this is not my secret way of getting you to exercise more that’s just a bonus. On my morning runs I pray for the things I notice as I go. My current route takes me by two schools. Some mornings as I pass I just pray “I pray for the school” and that’s all I got. Other mornings I pray for the principal, the teachers, the students, the students I know go there by name, the future of the school… I try to keep my eyes open to things around me as I prayer walk or run. If I go by a pile of diaper boxes on someone’s curb it gives me an idea what to pray. Prayer walking is great to do alone or with others.

3. Mowing - Mowing my lawn has become a great time of praying for and meeting my neighbours.

4. Prayer Wipe Board - I’ve started a prayer wipe board in my house for my neighbours. As I learn my neighbours’ names I write them on this board so I won’t forget them. I add things I can be praying for them as I learn more about their realities. When I go by the board, I pray for a name or two on the board. However, just a hint, if you neighbours come over hide the board or you might become known as the spy on your street or in your apartment.

5. Neighbourhood map - I have a google map of my neighbourhood that I used to pray for the neighbourhood street by street. You could use a paper map too. I’m try to prayer walk or run each street this summer.

These are just some of the things I’m personally doing to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to joining God in His work in my neighbourhood.

-Renée @r_embree

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Stupid or faithful

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Stupid or faithful

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Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes, actually often, I have found it difficult to tell the difference between a stupid decision and a faithful one in leadership. Stupid or faithful to engage the boss in a needed discussion? Stupid or faithful to try something brand new? Stupid or faithful to explore a new possibility? Stupid or faithful to stick it out where you are? Stupid or faithful to stretch the budget? Stupid or faithful to try that crazy new idea at youth group? Stupid or faithful to pursue more education in this season? Stupid or faithful to build? Stupid or faithful to change your organizational structure? Stupid or faithful to confront someone? Stupid or faithful to move? Stupid or faithful to pursue a new relationship? Stupid or faithful to take on one more thing?

Honestly, it can seem like a fine line sometimes. It seems to be it is not until afterwards, sometimes a long time afterwards, I can see whether it was really following God’s leading and being faithful or it was just stupid. Certainly there are plenty examples in the Bible where people felt this fine line: Noah building the ark, Abraham and Sarah having a baby in their very old age, Moses going to talk to Pharaoh, Peter walking on water, David confronting a giant, Jesus allowing Himself to be nailed to a cross…

I’m not talking about the obviously stupid decisions. You know the ones I mean. Just be honest, some things are just stupid.

Here’s how I’m starting to discern the difference ahead of time if a decision is stupid or faithful:

1. If only I think it’s a good idea, it is not a good idea. God has placed us in a body of believers, if it’s really a good idea God will affirm it to others who are following Him as well. I purposefully bounce ideas off people I trust love God and love His mission in the world. This is where mentors are so valuable! This is where having a team around you that you trust is so valuable.

2. Peace about it when I compare it to Scripture and pray about it. Does it line-up with what I know and see of God’s character, heart and ways? As I lay it before God in prayer, what am I hearing? As I lay it before God in prayer would I have regret or relief if I pursued it?

3. Potential to lead people closer to God. Does it have the potential to lead others (and myself) closer to God?

4. What’s my motive? Am I running from or to something? Do I really want what God wants in this or something else? Is my motive for God’s best?

5. Who gets the glory in this? If I pursue this whose glory is it for God’s, someone else’s, mine? Here I’ve got to be really honest about whether this is truly for God’s glory.

Am I the only one? Have others noticed this fine line? What helps you discern the difference? While I’m on the topic, I think we need more people that are willing to risk appearing stupid for the sake of being faithful to God and His Kingdom. That is not the same thing as being stupid. It’s being faithful, even if it looks stupid. It is following God’s voice and being faithful to His leading, even when it might look like stupidity to the world. Just be sure it’s actually being faithful and not just being stupid.

-Renée @r_embree

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