Goodbyes and Brownies

This is it... my last night in B205.

As I was going through my mental check list of everything that needs to be packed and ready by 730am. I got a text from my neighbor that lives below me. His name is Jay and he asked if I was home and awake. I of course said yes and within minutes I heard a knock at the door. He and his sister brought me a good bye card and a box of brownies.

It could be that I'm overly emotional because of so many changes happening, but I was really touched by the gesture. When I first moved into this apartment complex I baked batches of brownies for every neighbor around me as a "Hi, I live here and I want to get to know you". After knocking on a couple doors the thought occurred to me that these people might think I'm crazy.

In the card he wrote how I was the only person he ever connected with out of our neighbors and that he was sad to see me go. We never had deep conversations, it was mostly a hi's and bye's, the occasional how are things going or a "Hey can you turn the music down?". Ya, I was THAT neighbor. I'm getting old people. I never really realized what an impact was being made by our interactions.

MARK 12:31
31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] No other commandment is greater than these.”

God has called us to love our neighbors as ourselves. In my case He meant literally love my neighbor as myself. But I confess that I didn't always want to, nor did I always do it. I felt an instant conviction upon receiving that gift because I felt like I could have done more to reach out and build a better relationship.

Relationships will always be the root of what brings someone to Christ. Regardless of where you are in your relationships with non believers, don't give up. Keep pursuing, and keep interceding on their behalf. Plant the seed, water the seed, and let God do what He does best.

My point to this is that you never knows who's life you could be effecting. What may seem small to you could mean the world to someone else.


Humble Beginnings

Recently I accepted the position of Saddleback Huntington Beach Student Ministries Director. I cannot begin to tell you how surreal that sentence is.
I come from a church in a small town where you are bound to run into at least ten people you know on a daily basis wherever you go. I had the honor of being the Jr. High Director for my home church for almost two years. I watched our ministry start with a handful of students and grow to 300+ in the course of a year. I’ve seen God do incredible things in our students lives on a daily basis.
Coming from a ministry where everyone “gets it” to a ministry where you have the challenge of starting from scratch really teaches you about humble beginnings. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” - Zechariah 4:10 NLT
I have the privilege of taking these handful of students back to the basics. I get to teach them why it’s important to read their bibles, why they should take notes, why they should serve, and why they should reach out to their friends.
Was it always an exciting feeling to start from scratch? To be honest… No. I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew that God had called me to this and I also knew that He would be there every step of the way. I know ministry can be discouraging when you feel like students aren’t getting it, or when you feel like what you’re saying is going in one ear and out the other. I encourage you to celebrate the win.
What do I mean by that?
Every week I remind my students to bring their bibles and journals. For the first couple months I got nothing. The other day I had a student walk up to me and say “Hey Brenda! Look! I brought my bible and journal!” You better believe I celebrated that all morning! I even gave him a shout out during service for setting the example.
These things may not seem like a big deal, but to a ministry that is going back to the basics to build a solid foundation it is a huge step in the right direction. I celebrate that they stepped out and talked to someone. I celebrate that they invited a friend. I celebrate when they take notes. I celebrate the first time a student raises his or her hand in worship.
What gets rewarded gets repeated.
We may not be celebrating that we had 100′s of students show up on a Sunday morning (yet), but I am celebrating that they are making progress. If you aren’t moving forward then you’re standing still.
My advice to anyone in ministry: Celebrate the WIN. We so often as ministry workers tend to hear and fixate on the negative. I pray that we start recognizing that even if just one student gets something out of your weekly message then you’re doing something right and someone’s life is being changed.


Bare Walls

It's moving week for me here in apartment B205, which means my life has consisted of boxes, tape guns, and newspapers. 

You never realize how much stuff you accumulate until you start taking things out of your closet. How can one person have so much? My triple doored closet quickly turned into my nightmare when I realized how much clothes I had. Out of the 100% that I have, I probably wear about 10% of it. Everyone knows I'm an outfit repeater. No shame.

It all started to sink in yesterday. I sat in my living room looking at my bare walls that no longer contained the photos they once had. Now what lies in the midst of these walls are memories. 

This will forever be the place where I really grew up and grew into my own person. 

As much as I'll miss this place I call home, I am really looking forward to this new season. I've lived in Corona for 25 years. It's been my home town, my growing place, my familiar. But now I know it's time for a new familiar and a new season of discovering a new city.

I have a feeling God is going to blow my mind with what's to come.