"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I,of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories, in all their particularity,as I have long believed and often said, that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally." -Frederick Buechner

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who me?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,
“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God this is within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fears, our presence
automatically liberates others.

Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s 1994
South African Presidential Inaugural Speech

I think this is an amazing quote. I bring this up because I'm betting that I'm not unique when I say it's my own thoughts that often hold me back. I often question if I'm doing something just because I want to or is it really something God prepared for me to do? Why is it that if something is either enjoyable or really tough we think it can't be for us? I waste a lot of time and energy just sitting around thinking "me?"

Nelson Mandela's comments are based on scripture. Did you note these lines,"We were born to make manifest the glory of God this is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone." What do you think of that?!" God has a plan for ALL of us. I believe it's time for us all to "own up" to that. It's really not complicated. What's on your heart right now? Why aren't you doing it?

P.S. If you'd like to learn more about Nelson Mandela check out the movie "Invictus".

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So the way I see life working is realizing it's all about relationships. Mark (my husband) and I have been blessed beyond belief with meeting amazing people of all ages, education levels, income levels, titles and denominations. We'd like to introduce you to some of those people. Through relationships our lives are made richer because we learn from each other. Today I'd like to introduce you to Arlin Sorensen. Arlin is a farmer and businessman in Southwest Iowa. He understands the importance of relationships and he lives that out through every part of his life. We haven't known Arlin long but we're encouraged and challenged by his passion to meld his life following Christ into every aspect of his life, including his business. The following is an excerpt of his morning devotion e-mail which he sends out to over 500 people every day. The point of sharing this (which we are doing with his permission) is not that we are mentioned - it's that he gets it. Discipleship - we are ALL to be discipled and to disciple. Well just read his words - they express our beliefs at Treasure Chest Ministries perfectly.

Happy hump day. What a busy day yesterday was. Started early and I had a phone or meeting happening from 8 AM until 8:30 PM. It was like a day on the road for me which was wild yet very productive. The meetings and conference calls were extremely productive and it was a great day. The best part was later in the afternoon when some folks gathered in our living room with the western Iowa couple that leads Marriage Matters. You may recall we attempted to have a meeting with them back in January during the ice storms, and we did, but the amount of distractions that day really caused us to struggle to focus and get a plan in place. Yesterday we were able to walk through all the resources they offer, and talk about how we can create a mentoring program that allows couples to come alongside another couple who is struggling to help them learn how to work through issues. It is an exciting program and we will be working to bring it to the area with an early summer kick off. Marriage Matters doesn’t use any fancy methods or some big training program to prepare people. They equip folks with some simple tools and honestly just follow the model Jesus used in scripture – go and make disciples. Too often programs complicate His simple approach to ministry. Discipleship is coming alongside someone who is at least one step behind you in their walk - be it in their relationship with Christ, their marriage, their business or wherever they are – and sharing life together through practical example of how you took the next step when you were in their shoes. Way too many of us don’t think we know enough to help anyone else. Our life is not perfect, our marriage has problems of our own, our business has issues that we have to address every day. OK – welcome to being alive. Don’t want any problems – the only way I know to achieve that is to stop breathing permanently. And that is only an assumption because I haven’t been there yet. And that really is the core of mentoring, or discipling another. We share from our experience rather than letting people just hope and guess they are on the right track. Often sharing the things that we have struggled with, or even failed at, can be the greatest life lessons we have to share. Jesus didn’t pick 12 perfect guys to be his disciples. In fact, they were anything but perfect, and one left Him to betray Him. Jesus took 12 and poured His life into them. And the result? They changed the world…..forever…..that is the power of discipling another. It is the greatest form of legacy you can ever find. And we need to do it at home, in the office, and at church. Programs like Marriage Matters just help equip us to be obedient to God’s commandment to “Go and Make Disciples of ALL Nations” and that starts right at home. (emphasis added)
Arlin Sorensen
CEO/Partner Heartland Technology Solutions
A Day in the Life of Arlin Sorensen Thoughts from the Farm Morning Email

Monday, March 22, 2010

YOU are a Treasure

Well it's time to look at another meaning of the word Treasure. Get ready, this one could radically change the way you think of yourself. Here's the Biblical definition of the word special as used in the Old Testament verse Exodus 19:5 "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine."

Special segullah (seh-goo-lah); property, special treasure. This noun occurs eight times in the OT: in five of those references, it speaks of Israel as God’s special treasure; in two references, it speaks of the prized possessions of kings, or “royal treasures”; the one remaining reference is Malachi 3;17 which speaks of the people God will regard as His “jewels.” Man’s treasure is material objects, but consistently in Scripture, God’s treasure is human beings! Strongs Concordance #5459 (emphasis mine)

That's right. God thinks of YOU, if you are His child, as His special Treasure. A treasure is something sought after, something valuable. That means you are valuable. YOU are valuable. Now how does that make you feel?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome to the Inaugural Post

Wow, it's here. I feel like my whole life has led up to this day. The truth is, it has. But then, your whole life has led up to this day too - but that's a subject for another post. (You can check out Psalm 139:16 if that thought is driving you crazy) Welcome to Treasure to Treasure a blog meant to encourage and challenge us to truly live life the way God intended it, full of value.

First off let's get through the introductions. My name is Jody. I will be the main writer of this blog. Although I will be the main writer not all of the thoughts and comments will come from me. They will be based on the Bible and life lessons of all of us at Treasure Chest Ministries. We have a big vision and mission with the main point being we are all valuable to God and to each other. (Check us out at www.treasurechestministries.org) And if we choose to live life with that in mind it could rock your world. There is a lot of talk of the complexity of life these days and the desire to simplify. We believe life really is pretty simple but we, "the people" make it complicated. We do an awful lot of talking and reading and thinking and sometimes I think that just paralyzes us. I'd like to live day by day learning to actually live the way God intended me to live. That in turn will free up those around me to live the way they were intended to live. I'd like to learn from you too. So follow along and let me know what you think, what you are learning and how it is effecting your life!

So here's the first thought I'd like to share with you. Treasures - why all this talk of treasures? Because the word treasure is a fun word that conjures up visions of old chests brimming over with gold cups and coins, rubies, emeralds and pearls. Fairy tales of discovering treasure and being rich for the rest of our lives. Well the truth is it's not just a fairy tale. There is a treasure which will make our lives rich. "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power if from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NIV Did you catch that? "knowledge of the glory of God" is our treasure. God himself chose to let His light shine through our jars of clay to prove who He is to the world. God is "the Treasure" but He chose us as a way to show Himself in this world. Amazing! Have you ever thought of God as a treasure?

There's more to the definition of the word, treasure. But that's enough for today. I'm so excited you've taken time to check out the inaugural post of Treasure to Treasure. Be sure to come back to go treasure hunting with me. We'll be hunting the way to simply live life day by day the way God created it to be for you and for me! Let me know what you are thinking, learning and questioning. We'll explore together!