Hidden Riches in Your Suffering

Is God leading you to do something completely new and you feel like you’re failing? Or if you’re like me, you feel like all the suffering you are experiencing isn’t worth it?

Many Christians think if God has called them to do something it must be easy and smooth. And the moment it gets hard or they meet resistance, they think it’s a sign to quit. But that is a ploy by Satan. I believe when God calls you to something greater, it is NOT going to be easy and smooth. It’s going to be just the opposite. In fact, you can go ahead and expect to experience some suffering. Your suffering will come in the form of stress, unhappiness, opposition, setbacks, failures, crises in faith, and/or lost hope. And all of those sufferings may bring you to a crossroads.

Do you quit? Or… Do you press on?

YOU.PRESS.ON! But how?

Expect treasures in your darkness.

The prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 45:3 (AKJV)

And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel.

When you are in the dark places of suffering as you pursue your vision, there are treasures and hidden riches. But oftentimes, the only way to get those treasures involves you braving the darkness of suffering.

You see, my faith in Christ gives me the courage to make it through anything NO MATTER WHAT. I help shine the light on the treasures in the darkness of my clients. The hidden treasures of my personal sufferings and darkness enable me to help my clients’ persevere and endure through the darkness and uncertainty they WILL experience as they work toward their vision. Because if you don’t understand God’s promises and have faith in those promises, then you will believe the illusion of Satan and quit as soon as you have a setback or a failure. You won’t find treasures found in the darkness.

My first year at college is the perfect example of this! It was the first time I had ever experienced true suffering. I was so completely homesick. Homesick as in I cried every day for the first semester. My roommate can attest to that. I didn’t know a soul and I felt so alone and isolated. Many people around me thought the solution was easy- transfer to a school closer to home. But I didn’t want to give up, and I didn’t. I trusted that I was brought down to Texas for a purpose.

As I look back, I can see so many hidden riches in my suffering. The first treasure was that during this time, my faith became my OWN. No longer was I Christian because I was raised a Christian. It was during that fall semester of 1995 when that personal relationship with Jesus began to grow.

During that time I was hungry for Jesus. I threw myself in His Word like never before. One verse that I clung to like a tick to a deer was this:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.- In Romans 5:3-5 (ESV).

In all honesty, there was no rejoicing in my suffering. But the promise in that verse is what kept me going. My suffering was somehow for my benefit and I wouldn’t be put to shame, and that God’s love was pouring into my heart.

So not only did God see me through my homesickness and I ended up living in Texas for 20 years, but I ended up being blessed with friends whom to this day I still refer to as my “Chosen Family.”

Had I given up and moved home, I probably wouldn’t have come to know Jesus personally. Had I given up, I wouldn’t have had the courage and faith to live abroad for a semester, to quit my job teaching and to start CCWA. All of these are treasures and hidden riches that came from my darkness.

I know it’s hard to do cartwheels and high kicks when you suffer depression, your dreams are falling apart, or hit roadblocks in your vision. Often times I tell Jesus, “I’m sorry, Jesus, I can’t rejoice right now, but I trust you to see me through this suffering and that somehow this is preparing me for something amazing.”

I ask that you just acknowledge and trust that your suffering has purpose and will somehow, in some way, be to your benefit! Can you find the treasures in your darkness?

 


CCWA is committed to helping Christian visionaries who are ready to move forward in the direction God has called them. Our services not only help people spiritually move through sufferings and setbacks, but we also work one-on-one with people to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to implement their ideas. We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

 

Are you unsatisfied with the timeline of your vision?

sign in hanoi, vietnam of concordia university

This is me standing in front of the sign to the new facility in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Almost eight years ago my sister, Amy, and brother-in-law, Steve, announced that Steve would be taking a position offered by the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod to head the project of starting an international school in Hanoi, Vietnam. Through education and community, they would be bringing residents to know Christ.

Fast forward to 2016. Last month I spent some time in hot and humid Hanoi where I was able to see the newly constructed campus of Concordia International School Hanoi. As a visitor I was given a gift bag which included a small book entitled, “The Early Years: The History of Concordia Hanoi.”

In this little book is a timeline showing the beginning of Concordia all the way to 2016- the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new campus.

I noticed how God had been working on this vision long before 2009. It started back in 1993 with a feasibility study visit to Vietnam. Twenty-three years ago!!

As I was looking through the other events I could see all the groundwork, and all the pieces God needed in place prior to bringing the idea of an International Lutheran school to fruition. Before Steve was selected to be the Head of School, there were 16 years of relationships, friendships and connections between the Vietnamese government and Lutheran World Missions and support from other LCMS international schools that had to be in place.

It was an example of God’s creative and sovereign hand working to bring a vision to a reality. It’s also an example of how the vision He gives us is ultimately on His timetable.

The first request for a Hanoi school was back in 1999. Seventeen years later their campus was built! I guarantee all the people who shared the vision of Concordia would have preferred it took a lot less time. But God knew the future, and He knew the perfect time for contracts to be signed, for approvals to be received, and requests to be accepted.

This made me reflect on the timeline of my vision, and I’m curious about the timeline to your vision. Now your vision may not be as large and global as starting an international school (or maybe it is), but I want you to take 15 minutes and make a timeline of your vision.

Your timeline is a visual tool for you to see how God is answering your prayers on His timetable.

Yes, I seriously want you to do this! (CCWA would LOVE for you share this with us! Post this on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/WeAreCCWA)

On your timeline, make sure you include these details for you to step back and see just how God is working in your life.

1. What is your start date? When did the idea for your vision start to take seed in your mind?

2. When have you taken steps of faith as you’ve pursued your vision? Mark those dates.

3. Include the dates of the big triumphs you’ve experienced or pivotal moments that directed the course you are on.

4. Add the dates and events of your failures or mistakes you’ve made along the way. (yep, include them because in those setbacks God ultimately uses them for good)

5. Include the moments when God connected you with people, resources or opportunities that have helped you get to where you are today.

Perhaps as you do this exercise you realize you haven’t moved past opposition or setbacks to your vision? CCWA can help! This is our purpose and calling- to help YOU break through your failures and setbacks and show you how to use your faith to accomplish what God is calling you to do and to become! If you need help moving forward, click here to schedule a free Vision Clarity Call with me!

Now, as you look at your vision timeline know this:

Your timeline is still growing. It’s going to evolve, grow and expand!

Just like I know the last event on the Concordia Hanoi timeline isn’t the opening of the new facility, so too will your vision timeline continue to extend! It will be full of new moments where God in His grace and mercy answers your prayers in ways you thought impossible!

And if you think you’ve run out of time in terms of your vision, you haven’t! Your powerful Father transcends time and knows what’s coming.

So now the question is… Are you willing for your timeline to cover a longer span of time than you planned and hoped it would be? What can you be doing in those empty spaces on your timeline- you know, those moments (days, months or years) when you are waiting for God?

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

 


CCWA is committed to helping Christian visionaries who need support turning their inspired ideas into action. Our services not only help people regain spiritual circulation, but we also work one-on-one with people to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to implement their ideas. We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

 

Are You Spiritually Congested?

It’s that time of year- Cold season! There’s nothing as annoying as having congested sinuses. What’s the point of eating a chocolate chip cookie if you can’t taste it? Am I alone on this?

Head colds, constipation, cold fingers and cold toes. All of those annoying situations are a result of congestion. But the worst type of congestion for any visionary is spiritual congestion. How do you know if you are spiritually congested?

Are there some areas in your vision where you feel stuck and totally lost and confused?

Have mind weeds dominated your thoughts so much you can’t hear God’s voice of truth?

Are you so stressed that you are seeking the wrong things to either numb your angst or soothe you like food, alcohol, drugs, or losing yourself for hours in television?

 If you answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, then you need some spiritual circulation! Circulation is the opposite of congestion. When things are physically circulating, there is ease to our lives. Blood circulation ensures we are alive. Traffic circulating makes a pleasant ride home. Circulation is vital to our health.

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You may be a goal-setter. You may have excellent networking skills. You may have the brains, the talent, the experience, and/or the resources to go after what you are feeling called to do.

But that’s not enough.

In order to live your vision; in order for you to step into what God has called you to do, you need spiritual circulation.

Let’s get some FLOW back in your life and your vision, shall we?

3 ways to get back your spiritual circulation:

    1. Confess. Look, you’ve got to clear the air with God if you want any chance of circulation. So the first thing I want you to do is confess your sins to God. Have you been putting other idols (money, your time, alcohol, facebook..etc) before God? Have you drifted away from His presence? Has your pride interfered with God’s work? Confession is not only acknowledgement of your sin, but it’s the acknowledgement for the need of our Savior.

Guess what will happen the moment you confess? Look what St. Paul says in Acts 3:19 (MSG): It’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessings to refresh you.

God forgives you, and forgiveness is like Draino for your soul!

      2. Stop trying to figure everything out on your own! Maybe there is something in your vision where you are experiencing obstacles, and you can’t see any possible solution except to quit. Don’t! This is a faith-defining moment for you. I don’t care how skilled or talented or motivated you are. Without faith you will stay in a place of frustrating congestion. Look what it says in Hebrews 11:6 (MSG):

It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

 You may believe in God, but have you been seeking Him to help you and guide you through your hard times? Do you scoff at the idea that all you have to do is ask for help?

The author of Hebrews makes it very clear: Not only do you need to believe in the existence of God, but you MUST believe that He cares enough, that He LOVES you enough, to respond to you when you seek Him! So what are you waiting for….. SEEK him!

 3. The final step to achieve spiritual circulation is to Listen.

If you were sick and you went to your doctor and told her what your symptoms were and how bad you’re hurting, would you leave the exam room before she told you what you needed to do? No!

A common mistake many Christians make is they pray to God and ask Him for help, but they never make time to actually listen to what He is saying. Listening to the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit is a super skill that a Christian visionary must constantly employ. Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG) says this:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart. Don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go. He’s the one who will keep you on the right track.

How do you listen to for God’s voice? He speaks to you through scripture, in weekly worship, and in quiet meditation. He speaks to you through music, through the words of your Christian friendships.

So there you have it, friends. If you make it a daily habit of confession, prayer, and listening for the Holy Spirit, you will clear out your soul and once again have spiritual circulation. I end this blog with the words of Paul in Romans 12:11 (MSG):

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Don’t burn out and stay fueled and aflame by daily…hourly. .minute-by-minute staying in the presence of God.

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CCWA is committed to helping Christian visionaries who need support turning their inspired ideas into action. Our services not only help people regain spiritual circulation, but we also work one-on-one with people to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to implement their ideas. We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

 

Are You Ready To Quit?

Are You Ready to Quit?

Here is Bertie and I on top of Peak 8 in Breckenridge, CO. Two and half hours, many tears, and many deep breaths later we made it!

A couple weeks ago while in Colorado, my sister Amy, my 14 year-old niece Elizabeth (who I call Bertie), and I went hiking. This hike wasn’t an ordinary hike in the mountains. We hiked Peak 8- elevation 12,987 feet. Now our hike started at 9,979 feet and it was 1.89 miles to the tippy-top- which was our goal. Just to give you perspective, this 1.89 mile hike included a change of elevation of 3,007 feet.

Although this hike was tough, it was definitely achievable for me. Now my niece didn’t realize the challenge she was about to face when she agreed to hike with us.

Bertie’s journey climbing Peak 8 paralleled the journey I am having as I work toward my vision, and paralleled my relationship with God.

After the first ten minutes it seemed like we were hiking at a 90 degree angle. I thought to myself, “What are we getting ourselves into?” Bertie was hanging in there. This reminded me of myself when I quit teaching to move home to Maryland to start CCWA. I knew it was going to be an intimidating feat to accomplish, but I was confident in what God called me to do.

After hiking the first strenuous mile we stopped for a break, and Amy whispered to me that Bertie wanted to stop because her legs were hurting. Amy and I gave her a pep talk, encouraged her, and had her turn around and see how far she had climbed. She begrudgingly continued on with us.

Again, I thought about my first year and how hard it was creating and writing my programs, learning about entrepreneurship, sales, marketing, and feeling like I made no progress. And just as Amy and I rallied around Bertie, so did my peers, parents, and the love of God rally around me to keep climbing. I had to (and still do) turn around to see how far God has taken me along my journey and what He has accomplished through me.

So we continued to climb Peak 8, and the last .89 miles were the steepest part of the hike. It still was another hour until we finally reached the top, but 20 minutes into the last leg we took an extended break. During this break Bertie had reached her breaking point. She had full on tears, she was crying and blubbering, “I don’t want to go on. You and Aunt Katie aren’t listening to me! I told you I hurt and I just want to stay here!”

It was a battle of the wills- was Amy going to encourage her on or give in and let Bertie quit? At this point I had to speak up, because the parallel to what Bertie was feeling was exactly how I feel when I am at a point in my vision when I want to quit. I gave my best impromptu motivational speech, “Bertie we are NOT going to let you stop when you are so close to the top! I refuse to let you quit. Your mom and I know you are so much stronger than you realize! You are almost there! You CAN do this! We can go as slow as you want, but you CAN do this! Think about how proud you will be of yourself once you reach the top?”

Did it work? Oh heck no! So then I resorted to guilt, tough love and using her full name. I said, “Elizabeth! I want you to think of everything your mom does for you and gives you! All she is asking is that you go to the top with her. Now, you can cry and curse us all the way to the top, but you are going to keep going until we reach that top!”

Did that work? Yep! She started stomping up the mountain while sobbing, “I already feel like crap and you and mom are making me feel even worse!”

“Good! Whatever it takes to get you moving!” I retorted. Guess what? She made it to the top and her whole demeanor changed. She was smiling, laughing and taking pictures from the top.

Again, I thought about how many times I reacted like Bertie when faced with a challenge in my work. Those moments at night when I’m pretty sure it looked like a full-on tantrum from God’s perspective. I cried to God, asking Him to get me out of the tough place I was in. I wanted to quit and go back down my “personal mountain.” The mind weeds whispered to me, “You can’t handle the challenge of being an entrepreneur! Go back to the flat plains of teaching. It’s safer there.” In those moments, God gave me the shoulder shake I needed. Those shoulder shakes came through my mom and through the Holy Spirit. I heard God’s Spirit whisper, “I haven’t brought you this far for you to quit. Look at how I have provided for your every need. I am still with you, leading you up the mountain. So dry those tears and get up and get moving!”

This verse from St. Paul is my go-to verse when I am ready to throw in the towel: “Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”- Galatians 6:9 (MSG)

So how was the climb down? Was it easier for Bertie? Well….. that’s a whole other blog!


Are you stuck in the plains, only dreaming about climbing your mountain? Or are you halfway up your mountain and you are struggling to keep moving?

CCWA is committed to helping the Christian visionaries who need support getting started on their vision or who are struggling along their journey. Our services not only provide spiritual support and encouragement as clients pursue their vision, but we also work one-on-one with our “big-thinkers” to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to keep moving where God is calling them to go. Are you in need of both spiritual and practical help with your dreams and ideas for your future? We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

Where are you in your vision? Are you stuck in the plains, dreaming about climbing your mountain?

Crisis Brings Salvation

picture with the word CrisisPicture it. Wisconsin- October 2014. I was at the Lutheran Association of Larger Churches annual conference where I was going to be talking to the pastors about CCWA and what God had accomplished through our first year of business. Two days later I was a guest speaker on a Google Hangout for Christian mompreneurs. In addition to all of that, I was in the middle of launching our Live Your Vision boot camp online. This was something we were doing for the first time. To say I was under a lot of pressure and stress is an understatement.

But wait! There’s more. In the middle of all that, I experienced a huge crisis. Now crisis is defined as, “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger.” What was the cause of my intense difficulty? The man I was convinced was my future husband broke up with me. He wasn’t my soul mate; he was an incredibly convincing counterfeit. This crisis of a heartbreak was unlike any I had experienced in my 38 years, and it was happening at such a critical point in my vision.

All thoughts of work, planning, and preparation for my vision were replaced with feelings of rejection, abandonment, a loss of hope, and some anger at God asking, “Why even let him come into my life?” I felt a sense of failure and Satan found the opening he needed to add fertilizer to my rampantly growing mind weeds. That sense of rejection started to leak into thoughts about my work.

You see, I still launched our Live Your Vision bootcamp, I still gave my presentation, and I still appeared on the Google Hangout interview. But were those events wildly successful as I had hoped and prayed? Not even close. So now I was not only feeling like a failure in terms of my personal life, I was now feeling like a failure with CCWA. I was in a personal and professional crisis. All I wanted to do was shut down CCWA, move far away to Montana and get a job as a waitress at some truck stop restaurant. How’s that for dramatic and desperate!?

So where was the salvation, you ask? At the time, I couldn’t see the salvation. It didn’t come in the form I thought it would be. But now I can see how God’s salvation emerged through my crisis.

First, God brought me salvation through the friends He ushered into my life to help me through that difficult period. All of my friendships were taken to a whole deeper level. But what was so powerful was that these friends reflected the love and compassion of Jesus. They comforted me by reminding me of God’s promises and by praying with me and for me.

Second, salvation was found in His word. In the midst of my crisis one of my friends invited me to attend a weekly bible study. Now this friend had invited me before, but I always politely said no. But when she asked again, without hesitation, I said yes. And coincidentally (of course, we all know there are no coincidences with God), the bible study was about the life of Moses. So learning about a leader chosen by God and the failures and successes that go with leadership could not have been more timely in my current professional situation. Through this in-depth study of God’s character and His relationship with His people, my relationship with God was taken to a whole other level.

Finally, salvation came in the strength of the Holy Spirit, which enabled me to KEEP PRESSING ON. Was I putting in my normal amount of working hours? Not even close. Some days all I had was the energy to reply to emails….and be okay with that. Other days all I could muster was a prayer and fifteen minutes of devotion.

I learned I was in a time of grieving as a result of my crises, and that God was completely aware of the situation. A verse I would constantly read that comforted me was Psalm 34:17-18 (MSG):

Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there. If you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Here’s the deal, visionaries. Big thinkers like you require big action, big decisions, and big risks. At some point you will be faced with a crisis or crises as you pursue your vision. When it comes, don’t assume it’s the end of your dream. You may have to slow down in your work, or take some time off to recover and regroup… and that’s okay!

But as a child of God, if or when you are in a crisis, I want you to start immediately looking for the salvation that only God can give. It may be in ways you least expect, He will speak to you through His people, His word, through books or music. The salvation will always follow a crisis! Not only do I know firsthand, but I end this blog with this promise:

God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times. In lean times he keeps body and soul together. – Psalm 33: 18-19 (MSG)

As you pursue your vision, ALWAYS be looking for His love and respect Him and His commands- then He will be right there to bring you salvation when your crisis comes.


CCWA is committed to helping the Christian visionaries who need support turning their inspired ideas into action. Our services not only provide spiritual support and encouragement as clients experience crises, but we also work one-on-one with our “big-thinkers” to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to implement their ideas. Are you in need of both spiritual and practical help with your dreams and ideas for your future? We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

How the Stages of your Vision are like Holy Week

holy-weekWhether you have an inspired idea, a big dream, or a clear vision that you are ready to act on with a leap of faith, let me give it to you straight. First of all, your hopes and dreams come from God. Psalm 62:5, says, God, the one and only- I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not?

Secondly, going after your vision is like you are constantly circling through the stages of Holy Week. You may be in one of the stages for months or years. While other times you may be in one of the stages for days. I personally experience this, and I also see this in the lives of my clients.

What do I mean by this?

The Palm Sunday stage of your vision- The Excitement

This is the beginning of your vision. This is when you decide to take the plunge, make the change, step out in faith and tell people what you intend to do. Just like the people waving palm branches and rejoicing when Jesus entered Jerusalem, your friends and family are excited for you and celebrate your plans. You’re inspired, full of hope, and you start working toward your vision.

Are you in this stage? Enjoy it now because things are about to get tough.

The Maundy Thursday stage of your vision- The Rejection.

“I have something hard, but important to say to you…”- Mark 14: 17 (MSG)

“You’re all going to feel that your world is falling apart and that it’s my fault.”- Mark 14:27 (MSG)

On this night Jesus experienced rejection from one of his closest friends, Peter. But things got worse. Another one of his disciples, Judas, betrayed Jesus to the High priests. Two huge blows!

There are going to be times (more often than not) where you will experience rejection as you pursue your vision. Whether your ideas are rejected by family, friends, customers, or people in your industry, expect it to come. There is no getting around it. Rejection can happen occasionally or frequently and seems to show up very early on as you pursue your vision.

For some of you, you may feel like your world is falling apart. You may be tempted to blame God, but don’t. Follow Jesus’ example. In Mark 14:32 (MSG) it says that Jesus, “plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony,” and then later in verse 35, he fell to the ground and prayed asking God, if it’s his will, to get Jesus out of having to die.

This is a tough stage! This is where Satan creeps in and fills you with doubt and you start to question if you have what it takes to live your dreams. Are you in this stage?

The Good Friday stage of your vision- The death of your dreams.

Good Friday is the day that Jesus died on the cross. On this day, the same people who welcomed him to Jerusalem and singing his praises were now demanding he be crucified. It is a day full of anguish, pain, and torture, but it HAD to happen in order for you and me to be saved from death.

When failures, rejection, and/or obstacles happen on the road to your vision, it may feel like “Good Friday.” You’ve been praying to God for help, for relief, for answers but nothing happens. Things aren’t working like you thought they would and everyone around you may be telling you it’s time to quit or give up. You gave it the old college try. These people think they have your best interests at heart and are trying to spare you pain.

The emotional, mental, and spiritual pain of uncertainty, doubts, and fear makes this stage of your vision a very dark time for you. It may feel like your hopes and dreams are dying. Just like Jesus felt forsaken by God, you may find yourself crying out, “Where are you, God? Have you forgotten me?”

In this stage of your vision, when it seems like you’ve been laboring for months or years and you haven’t accomplished your goals or living your vision, you may find yourself ready to bury your dreams and start thinking about a plan B.

Are you in this stage? Hang in there!

The Easter Sunday stage of your vision- The Miracle.

In this stage of your vision, God reveals His glory and power! Just when you think it’s over, God resurrects your vision by providing a miracle; a breakthrough in your vision; an answer to a prayer; a solution. It will be so unexpected! It will probably be even better than you had imagined! You experience what Mary and Mary Magdalene experienced in learning that Jesus was risen:

Matthew 28: 8-10, “The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples.”

This is the perfect opportunity to tell others about God’s faithfulness to you and how He is working in your life and bringing your vision to life. Lose no time in praising and thanking God and sharing the workings of His hand in your life!

The “Easter Sunday” stage strengthens you to keep your eye on the prize. God’s timing on answering your prayer, of giving you the miracle is what keeps you moving toward your vision. Your hope, strength and faith are renewed and restored and keeps you back on track. So if you find yourself feeling rejected, ready to bury your dreams, hang on to this truth: The miracle will ALWAYS come!

Stay with God! Take heart! Don’t quit. I’ll say it again. Stay with God.
– Psalm 27:14 (MSG)


CCWA is committed to helping the Christian visionaries who need support turning their inspired ideas into action. Our services not only provide spiritual support and encouragement during the “Holy Week” stages of their vision, but we also work one-on-one with our “big-thinkers” to give them practical support, tools, and strategies to implement their ideas. Are you in need spiritual and practical help with your dreams and ideas for your future? We invite you to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session to help you get clear on your vision and your biggest obstacle that is holding you back from living your vision. Click here to schedule your free session today!

The impossible IS possible, just ask Mary!

PossibleDo you have an outrageous desire to do something that if you actually said it aloud your friends and family would either a) look at you crazy or b) think your idea is impossible to accomplish?

Or maybe you are feeling the Holy Spirit calling you toward a whole new direction in your life, and you have the mind weed of, “Who am I to think I can do this? Certainly there is someone more qualified or capable than me?”

Well, imagine that right now I am grabbing your hands and looking you in the eyes as I say this: God has chosen YOU! He knows every one of your strengths and yep, he even knows your weaknesses. But guess what? He knows you can handle whatever it is He is calling you to do.

Still have your doubts? Stay with me.

I know it’s not Christmas, but it was Mother’s Day last Sunday so let’s look at the Virgin Mary and her story.

When God chose the Mother of our Lord, did He go to the palaces and great cities to find someone in high society with refined breeding? No.

God chose Mary to bear His Son who would save the world from sin and death. So who was Mary?

  • A young teenage girl. (Was practically a child herself still).
  • A virgin. (Had no prior experience as a mother).
  • A humble hand-maiden. (Not white collar, but blue collar)
  • Was from Nazareth (An unglamorous, hick town. Even Jesus’ disciple, Nathanael, when he first was told about Jesus from Nazareth, he said, “Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?).
  • Was engaged to Joseph (She already had plans for her life).

From a worldly perspective, can you see how all these facts would be perfect excuses for Mary to bow out of this Holy calling? I bet her peers were thinking that certainly God could have found a better candidate to be the mother of Jesus.

I ask you, are you talking yourself out of the pull of the Holy Spirit in your life? Are you looking for excuses such as:

  • You’re too young or You’re too old
  • You have no experience
  • You aren’t made for greatness.
  • People from your town just don’t do the extraordinary
  • This deviates from the plans you had for your life

Just like God knew that Mary could handle the responsibility and the purpose He called her to, God knows that YOU can handle what He is leading you to do.

Now, you may be uncertain of HOW God is going to make your dreams or your calling happen when all you can see are limitations.

Even Mary wondered how she was going to give birth to a son. In Luke 1: 34, it says,

“Mary said to the Angel, ‘But how? I’ve never slept with a man.'”

What was the angel Gabriel’s response to her “How” question? First, he told her the power of the Holy Spirit would come upon her. (It will be God’s miracle-nothing she had to do).

But I love how Gabriel goes one step further and says in verse 36,

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”

He reminded Mary of another miracle God had performed. All I can imagine is Gabriel saying that with one hand on his hip and finishing his reminder by snapping his fingers above his head for emphasis!

That’s all Mary needed to hear because the next thing she said was:

“Yes! I see it now; I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve…”

Now, just because a member of the Heavenly Host hasn’t appeared to you, doesn’t mean that God isn’t calling you. His Holy Spirit is within you, guiding you!  It’s okay to ask God “how,” but just know you probably aren’t going to get a detailed plan. It is going to be a glorious, miraculous unfolding in your life in God’s time.

And if you still have doubts about God’s ability to do the impossible, go to your earthly angels (your Christian friends), and I bet they can remind you of all the ways God has worked miracles in your life. Then just like Mary, you can say, “Yes! I see it now! Lord, I’m ready to serve!”

Is the Lord calling you in the most unexpected way? Do you feel guided to make a big change in your life. We would love to hear about what God is stirring in your heart and mind. Schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Session at http://www.weareccwa.com/contact. We just might be the earthly angel you need to help you say “YES” to God instead of excusing yourself out of experiencing the biggest miracle of your life.


Would you like to use this article for your newsletter, website or blog? We would be honored! All we ask is you include this short blurb (below) with it:

This article was written by Katie Black of Contemporary Christian Worldwide Academy (CCWA). Katie is passionate about helping Christians who are ready to challenge their status quo, teach them how to use their faith to create a personal life vision, develop the critical faith- mindset needed to pursue that vision AND craft their “make my dreams happen” roadmap. Her Live Your Vision™ system integrates biblical principles into an organized and structured process, complete with tools and strategies to help Christians stop settling in life and experience the abundant life God intends for them. To download your Free Vision Creation Kit, go to: www.WeAreCCWA.com.

 

Is Spiritual Pollution Affecting Your Vision?

Here I am with my friend from the bench, a Southwest Employee and a brother in Christ.

“Here I am with my friend from the bench, a Southwest Employee and a brother in Christ.”

What compliments do you receive from strangers? A compliment I frequently receive usually has to do with my short haircut, but recently I received the best compliment I’ve had in a long time.

This past August I had just landed from a vacation in Mexico, and I was outside the airport waiting on a bench for my dad to pick me up. An older gentleman who was a Southwest airlines employee exited the sliding doors and came over and said, “Is anyone sitting here?” as he pointed to the empty space next to me.

Now, the Katie of 10 years ago would have inwardly rolled her eyes, because she would’ve wanted to be left alone. The old Katie probably would’ve mumbled an annoyed, “No,” and pulled out a magazine so she wouldn’t have to make small talk.

Even though I was tired from the day of travel and already feeling bluesy because the vacation was over, I chose a different reaction. I smiled and said, “No, have a seat!” Which he jokingly said, “I’m supposed to keep an eye on you!” And I said, “You must be in cahoots with my dad!”

Now I tend to go into “Barbra Walters” mode when I meet a new person, so I learned a lot about this man and his life in the brief time we shared the bench. He told me about his marriage and how Christ has been the foundation of their family which has carried them through difficult times. Of course, I shared too how Christ has strengthened me through my struggles. Also during our conversation, this godly man recommended a book that has been useful for my personal vision.

After chatting about ten minutes, my dad pulled up and as I was getting ready to leave he said, “It was nice to meet you, Katie. You have a great energy about you.” And I said, “YOU have a great energy! I enjoyed talking with you!”

Now that compliment totally made my day- more so than any compliment about my short hair. But you see, what transpired on that bench was an exchange of God’s energy and His love that is within His people.

It’s like what Paul says in Philippians 2:15 (MSG)

Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh of air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.

We both saw a glimpse of the living God in our interaction with each other.

So what does this have to do with YOUR vision?

When you choose to “be a breath of fresh air” you are “providing people with a glimpse of God.” It opens you up for God to connect you to someone or something that will somehow help you with your purpose and vision!

So often we allow the world to corrupt our spirit. When someone pollutes us with sin, we let it fester within, we allow it to corrode our spirit,  and then we end up spreading our spiritual pollution to others. The consequences of this spiritual pollution is what keeps us stuck and stagnant in our life and can bring any progress toward our vision to a screeching halt. Most importantly, it interferes with our relationship with God, with others, and with ourselves.

But if we purify our hearts and mind with forgiveness and love for those who sin against us – the same forgiveness and love Jesus gives us, that’s when obstacles and resistance of our vision miraculously melt away.

This week, I challenge you to be the breathe of fresh air to the people God puts in your path. Let your God-energy radiate out and watch for the blessings and miracles that are promised to come. Give a glimpse of God in your interactions with people and you will get a long look at blessings.


Don’t have a vision? We can help! Be sure to subscribe to our website and we will send you our FREE Vision Creation Kit: SO Long, Status Quo: 3 simple steps to create a NEW vision for the life of your dreams.

You can also email us at katie@weareccwa.com or go to weareccwa.com/contact to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Call.

Would you like to use this article for your newsletter, website or blog? We would be honored! All we ask is you include this short blurb (below) with it:

This article was written by Katie Black of Contemporary Christian Worldwide Academy (CCWA). Katie is passionate about helping Christians who are ready to challenge their status quo, teach them how to use their faith to create a personal life vision, develop the critical faith- mindset needed to pursue that vision AND craft their “make my dreams happen” roadmap. Her Live Your Vision™ system integrates biblical principles into an organized and structured process, complete with tools and strategies to help Christians stop settling in life and experience the abundant life God intends for them. To download your Free Vision Creation Kit, go to: www.WeAreCCWA.com.

 

Is God expanding your vision?

Xinh Chao from Vietnam! Many of you who follow CCWA on Facebook know that I am in Hanoi, Vietnam for a month spending the holidays with my sister and her family.

One thing CCWA teaches is that as we move toward our vision, God expands our vision.

This husband and wife were people God divinely fixed me up with- I had the privilege to minister to the them in regards to their vision.

This husband and wife were people God divinely fixed me up with- I had the privilege to minister to the them in regards to their vision.

Well that happened to us at CCWA. Earlier this year we changed the “W” in our company name from “Women’s” to “Worldwide.” So when my sister invited me to come over to Hanoi, Vietnam for the month, I was immediately prompted by the Holy Spirit with a desire to hold a Vision Creation Workshop in Hanoi.

Now, as God expands YOUR vision you can expect to be pushed out of your comfort zone and come face to face with new mind weeds from yourself and from others. Case in point- holding a workshop in Vietnam.

Here were some of my mind weeds:

– What if no one shows up?

– What if I talk too fast?

– What if there is a language barrier?

– What if I can’t help them?

It took so much focus and intention on the fact that if God put this on my heart to do this workshop in a foreign country, then He is going to provide the people who need my message and His Holy Spirit is going to open the communication between me and the people.

I will be totally honest, there were several moments that I just wanted to cancel the workshop! But with the support of my friends and family, I followed through and yes, people came!

I had people from the Philippines, Korea, China, Vietnam, Ireland, and Canada and the U.S in the audience. I probably spoke a little fast at times, but the Holy Spirit was present with all of us and they understood my message.

In typical God fashion, when we face the unknown, trust the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we get to experience blessings God has waiting for us when we step out in faith. My blessings? From that workshop I got the opportunity to work privately with seven people from 6 different countries. To hear about their personal life vision and hear the wonders God is working in their lives was so fabulous. Even though they looked different than me, had a different accent than me, and dressed different from me- I immediately felt the bond of Christ with these international visionaries. It truly was an awesome experience.

So it’s a New Year. Is God putting something on your heart that is greater than you think is possible? Is He expanding a part of your vision that both excites and frightens you? Maybe you haven’t even said it out loud to yourself or to anyone, but you’re ready to take God’s prompting seriously. If that’s you, I would love to talk with you about it. You can schedule a Vision Clarity Session with me by clicking here.

As you start this New Year with an expanded vision, let this be your mantra from Psalm 27:1 (MSG)

With God on my side I’m fearless, afraid of no one and nothing.


Don’t have a vision? We can help! Be sure to subscribe to our website and we will send you our FREE Vision Creation Kit: SO Long, Status Quo: 3 simple steps to create a NEW vision for the life of your dreams.

You can also email us at katie@weareccwa.com or go to weareccwa.com/contact to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Call.

Would you like to use this article for your newsletter, website or blog? We would be honored! All we ask is you include this short blurb (below) with it:

This article was written by Katie Black of Contemporary Christian Worldwide Academy (CCWA). Katie is passionate about helping Christians who are ready to challenge their status quo, teach them how to use their faith to create a personal life vision, develop the critical faith- mindset needed to pursue that vision AND craft their “make my dreams happen” roadmap. Her Live Your Vision™ system integrates biblical principles into an organized and structured process, complete with tools and strategies to help Christians stop settling in life and experience the abundant life God intends for them. To download your Free Vision Creation Kit, go to: www.WeAreCCWA.com.

 

Are you being tested or tempted?

As you courageously step out in faith and walk along the unknown path to your dreams and vision, you will be experiencing spiritual training like never before.

When you encounter problems as you progress toward your vision, you may Don't Quit Before the Blessingwonder if God is testing you or is Satan tempting you?

Well, whether it is a test or a temptation, it is a way to figure out the authenticity of your vision.

Look what St. Paul says to the church of Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 2: 3-4 (MSG):

God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this message. Be assured that when we speak to you we’re not after crowd approval– only God approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas.

Even St. Paul was put through a “battery of tests.” But those tests were God’s way of training and preparing Paul for what He intended Paul to do.

As you take your vision to God, you will discover if He approves of your vision. The battery of tests you face will reveal how authentic your vision is, how committed you are in bringing your vision to life and the faith you have in God to make it all possible.

God wants to make sure you are fully qualified to do what He has called you to do, and what your motive and agenda is in regards to your vision.

Every stumbling block, failure, or obstacle I’ve encountered since leaving public education to start CCWA has been a situation that ultimately moved me closer to my vision. One of the first churches where I spoke was an epic fail. About a dozen women showed up and about one hour into my presentation I wanted to grab my purse and walk out. The audience had this blank expression. They weren’t feeling me and I wasn’t getting any response/reaction from them. At one point I walked into the coatroom during a break and had to pray for the strength to just finish.

I couldn’t get on that plane fast enough to go home. When I got home, I had two choices to make. One, I could give in to the temptation to believe Satan’s lies and decide that what I considered a failure was proof that “I’m not meant to do this.” Or two, take a look at my workshop and see how I can improve it. I went with the second choice, and I can look back now and see how God used that situation to move me into a different direction. That “test” was how God sharpened my abilities, made me more qualified with my calling, and strengthened my commitment and faith to Him.

So as you encounter opposition, trials, or failures, don’t give in to the temptation by Satan to believe the “it’s not meant to be” mind weed and give up on your vision. Instead, know that your trials and stumbling blocks are training, preparing, and qualifying you for God’s work in His kingdom.


Don’t have a vision? We can help! Be sure to subscribe to our website and we will send you our FREE Vision Creation Kit: SO Long, Status Quo: 3 simple steps to create a NEW vision for the life of your dreams.

You can also email us at katie@weareccwa.com or go to weareccwa.com/contact to schedule a complimentary Vision Clarity Call.

Would you like to use this article for your newsletter, website or blog? We would be honored! All we ask is you include this short blurb (below) with it:

This article was written by Katie Black of Contemporary Christian Worldwide Academy (CCWA). Katie is passionate about helping Christians who are ready to challenge their status quo, teach them how to use their faith to create a personal life vision, develop the critical faith- mindset needed to pursue that vision AND craft their “make my dreams happen” roadmap. Her Live Your Vision™ system integrates biblical principles into an organized and structured process, complete with tools and strategies to help Christians stop settling in life and experience the abundant life God intends for them. To download your Free Vision Creation Kit, go to: www.WeAreCCWA.com.