"According to Madam Pomfrey, thoughts could leave deeper scaring than than almost anything else..."

- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix


Asking for More

"I think the fear of God failing us leads us to 'cover for God.' This means we ask for less, expect less, and are satisfied with less because we are afraid to ask for or expect more." - Francis Chan

I decided to read the book Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I am always a small bit hesitant to read Francis Chan because he writes particularly to an audience who needs to be challenged out of their upper/middle class luxury faith bubble, one I've already been broken out of (mostly) from InterVarsity. In a nutshell he writes a lot of stuff I already know.

But this book held a lot of surprises. Including the quote above. I've been thinking about it for a while, especially since the InterVarsity Fellowship at CSUN decided to create the goals of tripling our fellowship by the end of the year. When I told people about this I got mixed feedback. Many suggested I was reaching too high, shouldn't I set a lower goal, what if it didn't happen, we can't be thinking about just numbers, this isn't Cal Poly anymore... etc. etc. 

Our original goals were make small steps - going from a 50 person average fellowship to 75. That gives God very, very little room to work. In fact I bet anyone I can get 25 more people to come to our fellowship on our own without much help from the Holy Spirit. I don't really need to pray a lot, and I don't need to expect a lot from God. And that was the problem with our goal. It didn't have any expectation God would come through, so I decided to settle for less.

And now I'm challenged to expect more. It's tough because ringing my mind are the questions: What if God doesn't come through with this? What if we never get to 150 people in our fellowship? It is ultimately scary to ask for more. It is terrifying because I have no control now if this works or not. I can be faithful, step up and pray. Invite people. Help make our large group more welcoming. Train our leaders. But at the end of the day that won't give us 100 more committed members. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

I'm getting tired of "covering for God." He is a pretty bad ass dude so why did I ever think I needed to cover for him the first place. I'm a pretty weak person as it is and I feel like my life has been a lot of settling for less because I'm too scared to ask God for more. My prayer is as we step up in faith for the big dreams and big goals, the Holy Spirit will meet them. We will be transformed because we pray a lot and learn to listen to the Holy Spirit. And if our numbers aren't what we expected at the end of the year, we will praise the Lord for the people he brought into our lives and the transformation in our own selves through this experience. 

And Jesus please remind me of this when I groan and complain this is too hard, I'm not seeing enough growth, and I'm when I'm generally just being a pain in the ass and willing to settle for less. 


25 in 25: Draft 2

So when I turn 25 in - what is it - 3 months or so, I will have one year to do 25 different challenges. Here is the sort of final list.
  1. Read 30 new books (I did 25 this year, or well I'm working on it, so I'm upping the goal
  2. Visit 25 new places (Need new ideas for road trips)
  3. Meet 25 new people that are not work related (I need to know their name, where they are from and where they are going. Bonus if I get a picture with them. Double bonus if I stay in contact with them) 
  4. Lose 25 lbs (or more, but we'll start with that)
  5. Get rid of 25 things that I don't need (yeah like the 25 lbs... ok 25 other things)
  6. Actually try 25 things on pintrest (seriously, I still haven't done one yet?) 
  7. Write 25 handwritten letters (not cursive though - still printed
  8. Learn to cook 25 new dishes 
  9. Give 25 gifts that are each under $1 
  10. Physically record 25 family stories (we will see if I can get some truthful ones out of may family)
  11. Give up 4 bad habits  
  12. Blog once a week (and not like a sentence, a good decent blog post here)
  13. Learn to drive a stick shift (So I can participate in a future Fast and the Furious movie)
  14. Get coffee/tea/ice cream with 25 old friends 
  15. Make 5 things from scratch (clothing, furniture, a cake, etc.)  
  16. Create a piece of art to frame (not writing or photography
  17. Learn a new skill (maybe more than one)
  18. Begin to learn another language 
  19. Write something to be published
  20. Spend 25 hours volunteering (InterVarsity does not count)
  21. Write a song (like Shannon is a Hip Trendy Ninja... ok maybe a serious song?)
  22. Watch 10 classic movies I can't believe I haven't seen yet
  23. Go out dancing at least once (I may need company on that one
  24. Memorize 25 passages of scripture (how long? well more than "Jesus wept")
  25. Go hiking once a month (or at least really long walking
Thoughts? I'm still thinking through them but by the time December rolls around, I will have a pretty good list created.


Who Are You

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."

- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire