Romans 8, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 10:39
Welcome back 818 Ministries followers. The blog isn’t going anywhere, but this is an exciting day for us. A lot of prayer, thought and consideration went into the logo you see at the top of this email as well as the three words, A Relentless Millennial, that will soon be the cornerstone of who we write for, color who write about and will shape who we write with.
It all started when I began considering what my word of 2016 would be in October. I started thinking about what my goals were for 2016: running a marathon, continuing to build the infrastructure of 818 Ministries, writing a book proposal to pitch to publishing agents at a conference next July….all while attempting to beat the odds and break the cultural norms of how some define my generation: entitled, lazy and expectant of success without putting in the hard work. Then, the more I thought about it, the more passionate I became about helping those in my generation be successful…for the glory of God. And as I continued to seek the Lord about this passion of mine, one word kept coming to mind. Relentless. What did I do? I looked it up in the dictionary of course, and this is what I found:
1. oppressively constant; incessant.
"the relentless heat of the desert"
persistent, continuing, constant, continual, continuous, nonstop, never-ending, unabating, interminable, incessant, unceasing, endless, unending,unremitting, unrelenting, unrelieved;
God is calling us to more. He is calling us to pursue Him continually, to unceasingly pursue community, and relentlessly chase after His calling on our lives.
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:39)
No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
We are elated to finally put a name, brand and feel to the blog ministry that we’ve spent our first 10 months building. We want to encourage and equip the next generation to serve Jesus fully, use their gifts completely and make an impact for the glory of God in a BIG way. We hope to accomplish that goal this year and we ask that you pray along with us that the Lord uses this blog in ways He has not even revealed to us yet.
As we ring in 2016, we have so many exciting things to share. Today, the last day of 2015, we are donating the final round of hats that we currently have which totals up to 266 hat/letter packets that have been donated since our launch date of February 2nd. That is HUGE and beyond my wildest dream of what we could possibly accomplish in our first year. 2015 was quite a year and my Jesus has taught me so many things about myself as well as ministry. The one that comes to mind, you ask?
I have no business putting a limit on what the Lord can accomplish through a heart that’s willing to surrender.
So, welcome 2016! I can’t wait to see what I will be sharing next December as a result of what the Lord accomplishes this year.
With an expectant and relentless heart,
Expecting Light in the Dark: 1 Thessalonians 5:24
Those who know me well know that I have a love for words. Whether they are spoken, written, or sung, there is just something special to me about the elegance in which words can be strung together. I’m different from many of my friends in this way. Some people need actions. They need to see you do something in order to fully understand and resonate with it. Me? I need you to say it. Not that actions aren’t important. I don’t think anyone could argue that actions don’t carry a huge weight. But for me there is just something intimate about hearing or reading words that are coming straight from someone’s heart; being placed side by side in a way only they could place them.
I say that to say this: having a passion for words makes choosing one to shape your entire year a little difficult.
This year has been a transforming one for me to say the least. I have spent more time on my knees in prayer than ever before—largely because I have been faced with situations like never before. So I decided to take a look back at the past year to help me choose my word for the coming 365 days.
I love to journal (shocking, I know) and I especially love it for times like these, when I can look back at what the Lord has put in my path and how He has used it to mold me and refine my faith. Let me tell you, reading back through my thoughts and prayers that told the story of the past year was not easy. Being reminded of trials, failures, and heartbreak is hard—but seeing The Lord’s hand through it all is so humbling. Thinking back to when I penned those words in my journal, I can remember feeling hopeless at times—like the trial I was facing would never be resolved. And now, looking back, I can see that though I was pleading with God to be present in my circumstances, I had little expectancy that He would show up the way that He did.
When I realized that, I realized that I want to spend the next year of my life being expectant.
I want to wake up every morning and expect God to make Himself so evident in my life that I can’t avoid His work.
I want to pray with the expectation that the situations I’m praying over will be dealt with in a supernatural way.
I want to talk to unbelievers about my faith with a sense of freedom and security because I expect the Lord to nourish the seed I am planting in their hearts.
I want to walk bravely into an unknown future, confident and expecting that His provision and faithfulness in my life will overcome any uncertainties.
These are my prayers for 2016. To live, pray, worship, and walk with expectancy that He will be present in my circumstances, whatever they may be.
What are you expecting Him to do?
1. having expectations; expecting
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:24
Let me just say how excited I am for Christmas! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s hard to believe that it is already corner…time and life is just flying right by!
When Rebecca prompted me to write about my word of the year, I thought to myself “Brandi, you haven’t even come close to thinking about what your word of the year should be.” I kept thinking and thinking about it, then finally it hit me a few nights ago. While I haven’t completely decided on what the exact word is going to be, I do know the Lord is teaching me to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
Wanna hear the story on how I knew in an instant this is what I need to focus on this year? Here’s the scoop: a few days before I was heading home for Thanksgiving I had a doctor’s appointment. I was talking to my roommates about how nervous, anxious, and worried I was about going. I haven’t been to the doctor in years and that's because I’m afraid of the “what if’s”.
What if something is wrong with me? What if I’m really not as healthy as I think?
It’s so silly but it’s a legit fear of mine. As I was talking with my roommates it became so clear to me that one of my biggest struggles throughout my entire life has been worrying. Whether it is worrying about my health, finances, my reputation, or just an everyday decision that has to be made, what does my attitude of worrying say about my faith?
What a convicting thought. Worry in my heart is saying, “I don’t trust you, Lord, that you will provide”, or that I fear man more than God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) When Jesus died on the cross, He took our worry, our guilt and our sin away. We have a hope that is unshakable, a steady rock that cannot be shaken. Why do I stress myself out about everything else in this life?
If the Lord takes care of the birds in the sky and lilies of the field how much more will He take care of His own children?
So how do I transform that power that worry has over me into rest and peace?
Well it starts first with Jesus. I can’t do it on my own. As I pray and ask Him to transform the anxiousness to peace, He will answer. This is a daily choice to ask Him daily to take away the worries of this life and keep my mind focused on Him. It’s actively trusting Him and not just saying that I do. Actions speak louder than words. And on those days when it just seems like too much, it’s asking Him to make my heart believe and trust Him.
I’m excited to see how laying my worries at the foot of the cross will strengthen my faith and bring peace that surpasses all understanding.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7