Monday, October 27, 2008

Reading the entire Bible

Camy here. Recently, our youth pastor asked the youth group who had read the entire Bible.

No one raised their hand.

Why is it important to have read your entire Bible? Because the God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament.

The SAME.

And if you want to know your God, you should know ALL of your God, not just the “New Testament” events that show your God.

So, I have challenged the high school kids to read their entire Bible by June 1st.

Basically, you flip to the last page of Revelations and see what the page number is. On my Bible, it’s page 1153.

Then you divide the page number by however many days it will take until June 1st, although I would pad it with some extra days. So, from now until May 1st (I’m giving myself an extra 30 days padding) is about 210 days.

1153 pages divided by 210 days is about 6 pages a day (I rounded up). That’s not too bad, right?

The trick is to just read. There will be parts you won’t understand—don’t sweat it. Just read. If God wants you to understand something, He’ll make it known to you by His Holy Spirit.

And as you read, the Holy Spirit will convict you on what God wants you to get out of your reading.

Try it out with your Bible and take the challenge with me. You’ll be glad you did!

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey! Texas girls, do you want to help?

Do you live near North Dallas? Have you ever been part of something big? Take a look at this and see if you can round up someone to go with you and be a part of something important. And if you don't live in Texas, near Dallas, go to the website and see if the Convoy of Hope might be coming to your area.

Volunteers Still Needed
On Friday, Oct. 24 at 7 PM, Convoy of Hope will hold a volunteer rally at the event site between Burnett Jr. High and Rita & Truett Smith Library in Wylie. Also, on Oct. 23 and 24, volunteers are needed for site set-up at the same location. For information or to volunteer, please call (972) 578-9999 or (469) 441-7322.
Convoy of Hope is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to organizations and churches to meet physical and spiritual needs for the purpose of making the community a better place. This is accomplished through outreaches, supply lines, and disaster response domestically and internationally. For more information, please visit online at http://www.convoyofhope.org/.
CONVOY OF TIRELESS GIVING ROLLS INTO WYLIE
40,000 Pounds of Free Groceries Will Be Distributed to Thousands of Collin County Children and Families Dealing with Double-Digit Inflation; Convoy of Hope Galvanizes Support from Hundreds to Make a Community Difference.
Sometimes angels drive eighteen wheelers. On Sat., October 25 at 10 AM, thousands of North Dallas children and families suffering from double-digit inflation will have their prayers answered. When they attend the Collin County Convoy of Hope in Wylie, Texas, each family will receive two free bags of groceries as part of 40,000 lbs of groceries to be given on a first-come, first-served basis as supplies last.

In addition, Convoy of Hope will provide health screenings, games and activities for children, live entertainment, lunch and a job fair. And, did we mention, it’s ALL FREE of charge, and ALL are welcome to attend. No identification is required.

Rain or shine, The Collin County Convoy of Hope outreach will be held in front of Burnett Jr. High and Rita & Truett Smith Library in Wylie. Red, white and blue striped eighteen wheeler trucks parked out front will make the event site easily recognizable.

Based in Springfiled, MO, Convoy of Hope is a non-profit organization founded to reach out to children and families by meeting some of their most basic needs. Since 1994, it has served more than 22.9 million people with more than $100 million in food donations.

video

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh, Jealousy

I lead a group of high school juniors at my church and last night we talked about jealousy. Jealousy is rampant among teenagers If you were to tally all your jealous thoughts in one day, you would probably be surprised. The funny thing is that we tend to dismiss jealousy as something that is just normal. We all get jealous so it must be okay. Surely jealousy isn't as bad as drinking or drugs, right? That's what we tend to think.

Jealousy is dangerous because it can ruin your relationships. It attacks from within and corrupts your heart. Your actions flow from your heart so if you have a corrupt heart then you will have corrupt actions. We tend to get mad at the person we are jealous of. For instance, I may be jealous of the fact that someone else has longer legs or gets more attention or is funnier. My jealousy causes me to get mad at that person but in reality I should take up that issue with God because He is the one that made me 5' nothing.

In the end, we realized that the cure for jealousy is to celebrate the greatness of others. I heard my pastor, Andy Stanley, say one time to "Go out of your way to celebrate publicly whatever threatens you privately." Rather than sitting back and being jealous of the beautiful girl that I work with, I should tell her how beautiful she is. By celebrating the great things of other people, I begin to weed jealousy out of my heart.

Today, think about one person you are jealous of. Then, figure out a way this week to celebrate verbally and see if it does anything to break the power of jealousy in your heart.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Confession

This weekend I attended our church’s yearly women’s retreat. I didn’t want to go at first. For one, we couldn’t afford it and I didn’t want to admit it, knowing that I’d probably be offered a scholarship. My family has been on the receiving end of a lot of generosity lately and I just couldn’t bring myself to ask for more. Of course I didn’t admit this when friends asked if I planned to go. I used the non-stop chaos that my family has experienced lately as an excuse. With some I said that I didn’t feel right about running off for a fun weekend when life seemed so out of control. With others I came up with an elaborate speech about how emotional retreats are—that “I don’t have the energy to cry my way through a weekend right now.” When I found out that some abdominal pain that I’d been having would actually require surgery, I had another convenient reason to say, “I need to skip it this year.”

The closer that we got to the retreat the more unsettled I felt. Suddenly I felt gypped and left out.

What’s the deal? I have good reasons to skip it.

Out of nowhere I got the nagging sense that I would regret staying home. The more I tried to argue with the thought, the more I started to wonder what I might be missing out on. That’s when the truth came out. As true as all the above reasons for staying home were, they weren’t the true honest reason. The truth? I was afraid to go.

Not too long ago I had to come to grips with the fact that I have a lot of insecurities that I’ve always worked hard to cover up but am no longer so good at hiding. For some reason these hang-ups come oozing out when I’m surrounded by other women, particularly women that are slowly getting to know the real me. Retreats are the worst because I have an entire weekend to get things stirred up. This time around I didn’t want to deal with my fearful, needy, easily hurt self. I didn’t want to risk requesting a roommate only to be told that she already had one. With all the stress at home I knew that it was very likely that something would open the floodgates and I’d end up crying in front of everyone (I’d stayed strong through a lot and had been feeling a meltdown coming on for weeks). Then there were the more practical fears: What if none of my friends invited me to join them for an activity during the free time on Saturday? What if I got a roommate that I didn’t click with? On top of that I’d been fighting an inner batter regarding a relationship that I thought I’d messed up. What if I did something to make it worse?

To most of my “what if” questions something inside me replied “What if that doesn’t happen? What if you just have a really good time?”

When it came to the fears about activities and not clicking with roommate I heard a much-deserved “Oh, get a grip! When has that ever happened?”

And as far the relationship issue, I began to wonderful if God might use the weekend to bring some closure.

But in order to find out I need to go.

“Okay God,” I finally said. “Show me what you want and I’ll do it.”

The next day I was asked to sing with the worship team! The friend who was leading didn’t know that I hadn’t signed up. I dropped my pride and asked about scholarships and had a full one within 24 hours. I’d expected a partial at best.

So obviously God wanted me to go. While I was on a “what do you want, God?” roll I decided to let Him choose my roommate instead of requesting anyone specific. I prayed about all my fears of being left out, relationships that I felt uneasy about, and the possibility of falling apart. I asked a couple of friends to pray for me. Instead of going with my heart in knocks I went with a peace that God sent me to the retreat for a reason, that He truly wanted me there.

Did I have moments of insecurity? Yes! But I survived each one, even the moment that left me feeling like a complete dork who should go back to keeping her thoughts and feeling to herself. Actually, that particular experience ended up teaching me something—that I really need to stop being so mean to myself. In the process I found out that wasn’t the only insecure one at the retreat.

Did I cry? Yes! First I got teary during a group sharing time then I fell apart with some friends an hour later. It so clearly needed to happen and I was grateful that it happened with people who loved me. Then I got to comfort someone else the next day.
I had a great time with my roommate, and no, I was not left out in the cold when free time came.

And looking back, God did bring some closure regarding the friendship that I thought I came close to sabotaging.

I can see endless reasons to thank God for not letting me out of the retreat. It reminded me, once again, of the importance of being completely honest with God and with myself when it comes to why I REALLY don’t want to do something.

Are you trying to get out of something? Do you sense God nudging you in the exact direction that you want to run screaming from? Take some time to be honest about why you want out. What are your fears? What are you running from? What might happen if you let Him sign you up? What would be worse; dodging a scaring situation or missing out on an opportunity to see Him do something amazing in you?

I dare you to go for it!

Please share if He brings something really cool out of it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Words


'Say' Music Video from Matthew Singleton on Vimeo.

Being a writer, you'd think I should be able to get my spoken words right. But sometimes I don't. Like yesterday. I was talking to my daughter who'd had a rough day at work. I responded by quoting scripture at her. There's nothing wrong with sharing scripture--in fact, we're supposed to, but at times I'm guilty of blurting out words without really listening to someone's heart.

God, help me say the right thing at the right time.

Amazing video from a great Web site I found. http://withoutwax.tv/ This one SPOKE to me big time.

Love,
Julie

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Letting Go

Now that we all know the contents of Camy's wallet, it made me wonder about all the garbage we carry around with us that maybe we can't see, but is there all the same.

Sometimes I worry.

Okay, make that "I worry".

Alright, fine! I worry a lot.

I try not to. I really do. But I stress about all sorts of things. From stuff I can control (like my schedule or the laundry or the fact that the dust is so thick in my house that my five year old is running around writing her name in it) to stuff I can't control at all (the state of the economy, my career as an author, who's going to get elected in a few weeks.)

But even though I find myself stressing with regularity, I also know what to do when I find myself getting anxious and worried.

Do not be anxious for anything, but with prayer and thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. (paraphrase of Phil 4:6)

Do not be anxious. For anything. That's a pretty tall order. But if we step back and take a breath, then hand over all those cares and worries to God, well, it makes a difference. A big one. We have to just let those worries go and put them in God's safe hands. We can ask God to help us trust Him with all things - the big thing, the little things, and even dusty little fingers.

After all, as the Sunday School song went "He's go the whole world in Hid Hands..."

I feel better already:-)

Sarah Anne Sumpolec



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What’s in your wallet?

Camy here. Just to warn you, this is going to be a totally random post.

I just realized that my purse is a mess. Despite the fact it is tiny and I could fill a duffle bag with stuff I like to carry around with me, I have just tons of junk in it.

Okay, maybe not junk. But JICs—“Just In Case” stuff.

For example:

Floss for when I get spinach in my teeth

A mini flashlight (my husband made me carry this)

Bookmarks so I can push them on unsuspecting people

Sudafed in case I get a massive sinus headache

Advil in case I get a massive sinus headache

Dramamine in case I get massive car sickness or just really bad nausea

Nail clipper

Lavender water, which is antibacterial, for spraying and wiping down public toilet seats (let me tell you, I really used this a lot when I visited a friend in the Midwest because the public bathrooms rarely have toilet seat covers)

Handkerchief because I prefer it to tissues

Lipstick in case I see Orlando Bloom walking down the sidewalk toward me

Listerine breath strips in case I see Orlando Bloom walking down the sidewalk toward me

How about you? What’s in your purse or wallet?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveways!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quote Challenges

I love quotes. Last night at a friend’s graduation I was inspired by a few I’ve heard before, but the context of the ceremony and the students’ speeches revived their challenges for me. Here are some:



“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

—Thomas Edison (who tried 10,000 alloys before discovering the filament that would work for his electric bulb)





"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

—Seneca, Roman Philospher, 1st Century AD





"The greater danger for most of us lies in not setting our aim high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark."

—Michelangelo



All of these quotes challenge me to push forward, dig deeper, and aim higher; to enjoy the process of determined attempts even when I have to start over; to see the hope in changes even when good things seem to have come to an end; to strive for goals that are, no doubt, out of reach even when I could fall short.

Just wondering. In the above quotes, do you happen to see some scriptural parallels in stories or verses you’ve read recently? Up for sharing them here? And please also feel free to share some of your favorite quotes and what they inspire for you.

Jan

New release:

Eyes Online, Eyes On Life—A Journey Out of Online Addictions

(A story of a Colin’s journey of courage and others like him—guys and girls—who've discovered a way out their traps of compulsive Internet use.)

www.jankern.com

Monday, October 06, 2008

The 410 Bridge

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya. During my time there, I was able to work with street kids, visit an amazing woman who ran a local hospital, and train youth workers. I have always had a passion for Africa but being there really sealed my love for those people.

When it comes to our faith, it think it is important to do something, to experience something. I think that action and experience really solidify our faith. On this earth, we are God's representatives to the world. We have the opportunity to help bring justice, to right the wrongs, and be a physical touch of love to those who need it most.

There is an organization called The 410 Bridge whose mission is to provide ways for people to get involved and provide a bridge to a nation in need. On their website they list a few startling facts:

Do you know...
• Every 14 seconds a child is orphaned by AIDS
• 50,000 children will die of AIDS this year
• 1,400 newborn Africans are infected with AIDS everyday
• There are 900,000 orphans in Nairobi, Kenya today, mainly due to AIDS
• More than 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $1 a day
• Every 3 seconds a child dies of nutrition deprivation/starvation
• More than 300 million people in Africa do not have access to clean water
• 1 million children die of malaria each year (see The 410 Bridge website for more info

I basically wanted to do two things with this post. First of all, I wanted to bring an awareness to what is going on around the world, and hopefully encourage you to think about doing something with your faith to help a hurting people. Secondly, I wanted to invite you to attend "A Night For Africa" if you live in or around the Atlanta, GA area. This night is put on by The 410 Bridge. Jeff Foxworthy will be there! Here is a link to see the promo video.

Friday, October 03, 2008

That New Movie

Sunday night my husband Rick and I went to see Fireproof. I knew it was about marriage and firefighters. Rick wanted to go but I don't think he was ready to jump up off the sofa and go right at that moment. But he did.

This blog is for teenage girls but I think this movie might be one you'll want to see.

Cool things this movie shows:

1. The differences between men and women--and how temptations can snag us--and usually not the same temptations for guys as for ladies.

2. How marriage is worth working on. Working hard on.

3. The power of Scripture. A few snippets of the Bible are shared. These were the times I sensed God big time.

4. Friends who help you laugh are so important. I can't imagine the movie without the funny firemen. :-)

5. People who listen, pray, and don't judge are priceless.

6. Hard times in life teach us how to help others.

My husband owns a small business. The next day he gave each of the men who work for him money and challenged them to take their wives out on a date to see Fireproof.

Anybody seen it yet?

Julie