Pray it again... and again.... and....

At times the frustration of praying the same prayer repeatedly grows to the point where I’m ready to stop praying.  Have you ever been there?  Maybe you feel like you live there, seemingly stuck in an endless cycle of praying, asking, seeking, knocking, listening, waiting, wondering, working, etc…  Put that cycle on repeat for several weeks, months or even years and the process can be frustrating to say the least. 

I get it now more than ever before.  At times, our season of transition seems to be going nowhere much faster than somewhere.  Am I stuck in weird, spiritual version of Groundhog Day? 

I stumbled upon some thoughts about prayer and waiting that I had preached at the close of a weekend retreat called Road Trip a little over a year ago.  I hope these thoughts help you in the same way they are once again helping me. 

Why do I pray it again? 

1.     When I pray it again it focuses my attention on the Who more than the what. 

Let’s be honest, most of our praying has much more focus and time spent on what we’re praying for rather than who we are praying to.  Not a good habit to say the least, but we’ve all found ourselves there.

When we pray for the same request over and over we do so not because God has forgotten, thus our need to remind him.

We’re not reminding God of our need as much as He is reminding us of the one who meets the need!

That’s the difference between Jesus being the vine that He refers to Himself as in John 15 vs. us treating Him like a cosmic vending machine where we deposit our prayer tokens in exchange for today’s snack in the form of an answered prayer. 

Consider the consequences if it were true that prayer was more like a vending machine:

-       Prayer would become a weapon we selfishly yield to get our way whenever, wherever and whatever.  We can all agree that’s pretty dangerous. 

-       We would never think about God.  We would only think about what we want from God on any given day.  Knowing God personally would be of less importance than knowing that God answers prayer. 

I’m starting to learn that the purpose of prayer is prayer itself.  It’s being with God.  It’s becoming more like God because I’m with him more. 

That’s what Jesus is saying in John 15 when he encourages us to simply abide in the vine, to remain in Him.  Jesus doesn’t just want to be a source for answers to our prayers, but He most importantly wants to be the source, the vine that produces a continuous flow of life and sustenance to our souls. 

2.     When I pray it again it focuses my request on what is really most important. 

I’ve lost track of how many times in life I was beyond certain that I knew exactly what I wanted or needed.  How many times have we all declared with great confidence that we know for certain how things should work? 

My current season of praying for direction for our future has surprised me more than once on this front.  I have been certain so many times only to become very uncertain just days or even hours later.  That means either I’m indecisive or that God actually uses these seasons in our lives help us filter our deep longings and true callings from our whims and shallow emotions. 

What a gift!  God is helping us to not give up what we want most for our lives, for what we what now. 

John 15 speaks of a pruning process that takes place in all our lives.  Both the dead branch and the fruitful branch get pruned.  Pruning is not limited just to those who are dead and no longer produce fruit.  Even healthy and fruitful branches experience the pain of pruning.  It hurts even though it’s ultimately meant to help. 

Praying over and over is simply one of the pruning processes that God takes us through.  He is pruning our priorities as we pray.  He is cutting us back so that we focus on what’s really important.  The very thing we should have been praying about to begin with. 

No one really enjoys being cut back.  It makes sense that someone not producing fruit at any level would be pruned, but not me God.  I’m not dead.  I’m producing.  Why would you cut me back?  Why would you hurt me?  Why would you make me wait? 

Remember this truth:  If God cut you back, then you’re coming back! 

The dead branches aren’t just cut off, they are also burned and destroyed.  If you’re in a season of pruning it might hurt, but it’s just a sign that God intends to use your life to produce something more substantial in your future than what your present life can sustain.  Thus the pruning, He’s preparing you as you pray. 

Ultimately God wants our lives to produce more fruit than we are currently producing.  That involves God the gardener sharpening the sheers and making some cuts.  In those moments you and I would rather have God the vending machine kicking out all sorts of goodies and treats. 

Remember that the pruning process, although painful, brings about what we ultimately have dreamed our lives would become.  You’ve always longed for your life to make a difference, to have significance and to have a purpose far beyond the simple pleasures of this world.  That will involve some pruning. 

He is enlarging your branches so they can produce and bear more fruit.  He’s making you wait, but he’s working on you in the process.  And He’s only holding back from you just long enough to help you do and become what has always been most important to both you and Him. 

3.     When I pray it again it tests my faith to simply abide and wait.

I think we all wish that answers to prayer requests were a much more timely process.  Let’s put it simply – we want answers NOW!  My life is just too busy to be weighed down by having to wait.  Who likes waiting anyways? 

I’m learning how to wait in a way I’ve never learned before.  I’m sure there will be many lessons still to come from my current season of waiting, but here’s my list for the time being:

-       Waiting reminds me that God is in charge of my life.  That means He gets to determine when it’s time to wait and when it’s time to get to work. 

-       Waiting, more than many other challenge in life, really focuses me to “pray in the spirit on all occasions” as Paul instructs in Ephesians 6:18. 

-       Waiting reminds me that I don’t know what I don’t know.  How much of life would I miss out on if I rushed through it going from one quick answer to another? 

-       Waiting in my current season is ultimately a test of my faithfulness for the future season.  What good is the faith to step out without the faithfulness to stick it out?  Waiting teaches me faithfulness. 

-       Waiting causes me to believe for something bigger and greater than what I had hoped for in the first place.  It makes me dream a little bigger, hope for something higher and hold out something huge. 

-       Waiting teaches me to trust that God is working on my behalf as I wait. 

Romans 8:28 reminds me “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” 

Translation: If it’s not good yet, then God’s not done yet! 
Second translation: God will make it worth the wait! 

 

 

Working while you wait...

In part one we saw Abraham’s life modeling a principle of faith that we choose to ignore at times.  We often must go before God will show.  Obedience happens first, understanding comes later. 

Living with an uncertain certainty means we obey God even when we don’t know where it will lead.  My family is finding itself in a season of uncertain certainty.  I write about that here.

As we read on in the life of Abraham we discover another faith stretching truth. 

Living with a certain uncertainty means working while your waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

"By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise." (Hebrews 11:9).

Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page with what is happening here:

-       Abraham is traveling to a land God has promised.
-       He doesn’t know exactly where this place is and what he will find when he arrives. 
-       He doesn’t own anything there at the moment but the one who owns all things has promised it to him. 
-       When he does arrive, there are no friends awaiting his arrival with welcome signs, ready to unload the moving truck and a hot dinner served for all. 
-       Abraham arrives at this destination in the middle of the desert and finds nothing other than God’s approval that he has arrived. 

One might say that his moment of arrival in the Promised Land actually shows more faith than his decision to leave for the Promised Land in the first place.  At least while he was traveling towards the Promised Land he could have dreamed about what he would find.  A beautiful mansion, rows of palm trees and a beach front property would have set his heart at ease during his uncertain travel plans.  But upon his arrival all illusions have disappeared and he’s left with the stark reality that he’s got some work to do in order to see God’s promised fulfilled in his life and through his life. 

God had promised him the land . . . but he had to scratch out an existence in tents.  He had to work while he waited for the fulfillment of the promise.

Hundreds of years would pass before the promise was completely fulfilled. Abraham actually never saw it happen. Neither did Isaac or Jacob, his son and grandson.  Isn’t that often the case for us in having a life of faith filled destiny?

The promises of God in our life are often fulfilled and received by generations to come. 

Was Abraham in the will of God? Yes.

Was he right to leave Ur? Yes.

Was he doing what God wanted him to do? Yes.

Why, then, was he living in tents? 

Because we have to work while we wait for the promises of God to be fulfilled in our lives.  Because God’s timing doesn’t always or rarely ever lines up with our timing. 

He's not in a hurry (I often wish that He was).  He works across generations to accomplish his purposes and fulfill his promises.  We worry about what will happen in our lifetime. God is thinking about what will be accomplished through our lives for generations to come. Those perspectives could not be more different. 

God’s timing is not our timing.  We work while we wait, not just for the sake of our lives, but we work for promises to be fulfilled for generations to come. 

Let’s broaden and deepen our perspective on the will of God in our lives.  It’s not just about us.  It’s about far more than that.  It’s about generations to come.  It’s about the kingdom of God. 

More on that in our final blog on Living in a Certain Uncertainty.  

You have to GO before He will SHOW.

In the last two weeks I shared a message both with our students and leaders called “Living in a Certain Uncertainty”.  The life of Abraham has encouraged me in the current season of life that my family and I are experiencing.  You can read about that here.  If you find yourself in a similar season of life you’ll be encouraged to look a little closer at the life of Abraham.

The Context of Abraham’s Life:

-       He was living in a place called Ur of the Chaldees - on the banks of the Euphrates River, not far from the mouth of the Persian Gulf.

-       Ur of the Chaldees was considered a world-class city in it’s time.  It’s estimated to have been home to over 250,000 people and was considered the center of mathematics, astronomy, commerce and philosophy for the greater area. 

-       History suggests many people were actually moving towards this city, not away from it as we see Abraham doing. 

-       He and his wife Sarah probably worshiped the moon-god Sin.

-       Based on the historical context of where he lived it’s safe to assume he is a prosperous, middle-aged man.  

It is in the midst of Abraham’s successful and comfortable life that God clearly and unmistakably speaks to Abraham that it is time for him to move.  The heavenly instructions not only change Abraham’s life, but ultimately the world as we know it. 

What is interesting however, is that although Abraham is CERTAIN God has spoken to him to go, he is UNCERTAIN of exactly where he is going. (I know that feeling.)

Using Abraham’s life as a playbook of sorts for how to live in a certain uncertainty let’s break it down into 3 simple to understand steps (albeit challenging to live out):

#1: Living with a certain uncertainty is obeying God's call without knowing where it will lead.

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going" (Hebrews 11:8).

I’m guessing here that Abraham’s friends probably would think he had lost it.  Let’s be honest, his decision to move was crazy to begin with.  He was giving up friendships, his career, his traditions, his home, his position, his influence, even his country.  He was risking his health and ultimately his future to move away from Ur of the Chaldees. 

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S MORE!  (I always love those infomercials)

He was doing all this not knowing where he was going, when he would get there, what it would look like and how he would make a living.  Genesis 12:1 is a vague promise at best, from an unseen God, to lead him to “a land that I will show you”. 

Please don't miss the point. 

If you truly want to do God's will, sometimes you will find yourself exactly where Abraham was - setting out on a new journey that doesn't seem to make sense from the world's point of view. 

It doesn’t make sense to family and friends.  You can’t really explain it, but you know it’s right.  You try to talk about it only to feel a sense of frustration because you just know your words can’t really fully dictate what you’re feeling and what you’ve heard from God. 

The only thing that is certain for you, as it was for Abraham, is that you know God has called you and you must respond with obedience.  The final destination and sometimes even the next step is shrouded in mystery. 

That fact makes his obedience (and yours) all the more impressive.

The NIV version of Hebrews 11:8 says he "obeyed and went." This is actually the greatest miracle of Abraham’s life.  Every blessing that flowed from that point forward came as a direct result of the decision to obey. 

God called; he obeyed.

Sometime we have to go before God will show.  That truth was the secret of his life.  Is it the secret of your life? 

In part two we'll talking about "Working While You Wait". 

 

Living in a Certain Uncertainty

15 years ago GT Church took a chance on a young couple who, at the time, had no youth ministry experience and no large church leadership experience.  Common sense would have said to find someone else, but the hand of God was in that moment for both our lives and GT Church.  15 years later we marvel at the blessings and opportunities we’ve experienced during our tenure here at GT. 

We’ve raised our kids (almost) here, made life-long friends, seen hundreds of teens meet Jesus, traveled around the world, climbed big mountains and seen the church experience significant growth.  Needless to say, we are honored to have been part of the miracle of Jesus’ work here at GT Church.  

It was the anointed leadership of Pastor Bryan that opened the doors of ministry for us here at GT many years ago.  He has and always will be a friend and pastor who we admire and are grateful to for all that his leadership has brought into our lives.  In the same way that hand of God brought us to GT we now sense that the hand of God is leading us towards a new adventure in ministry. 

Earlier this spring Julie & I accomplished a major dream in youth ministry with the launching of the Lead the Generation Youth Leaders Conference.  That day was unbelievably exciting and moving for us in many ways.  We were inspiring other youth leaders.  We were equipping students as leaders.  We were ministering to those who were hurting.  In midst of all that we were being ministered to as well.  Even as I preached the closing message that day on the life of David (the same message I preached on Student Takeover Day this year) I felt a strong sense in my spirit that the message of Lead the Generation was for far more than just that day.  I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time, but I knew there was a stirring happening in my heart.  

On a Thursday night in the Dominican Republic, on our student missions trip, I found myself sitting in the back of a small Dominican church watching our students passionately pray and minister to several dozen in attendance that night.  I wasn’t feeling too well that night.  Too much Dominican Coca-Cola might have been the culprit.  I almost stayed back at camp, but felt a sudden sense that I needed to be there.  As the service was concluding, a young Dominican Pastor laid hands on my shoulders and began praying over me.  As I sat quietly receiving his prayer he took his hands and placed them on my feet.  In that moment I felt a strong sense of God’s presence and I realized that he was prophesying over me.  I clearly heard the phrase,

“These feet are going places, these feet are moving on!”  

That was it, nothing more, no explanation, no interpretation, just one phrase.  I spent most of remainder of the trip pondering what that word meant to our lives with no clear understanding of what God was trying to say.  

When I returned home a conversation with Pastor Bryan was the final step in God speaking clearly to us about the next step in our ministry journey.  It was in that conversation that Pastor Bryan shared that in the same way that God had been speaking to me that God had been speaking to him as well, about needed change in the leadership of GT’s Student Ministry.  God had once again used the anointed leadership of Pastor Bryan to provide clarity and direction for our future.  I sensed a great peace in my heart during that conversation with Pastor Bryan, that although I was surprised by the topic at hand, that God was indeed in this moment.  

This was a huge confirmation to us that God had been speaking and preparing us for a transition. God speaks through spiritual authorities in our lives.  Pastor Bryan has been our spiritual authority for the past 15 years so it only makes sense that God would use his voice to give us clear directive moving forward.  We are grateful that God not only spoke to us to come to GT 15 years ago through Pastor Bryan’s leadership, but is doing that again as we transition.    

So where are we going?  
Short answer: we don’t know yet.  

Hebrews 11:8-10 reflects the faith filled journey of Abraham.  The secret of Abraham’s blessed life is found in his willingness to just be obedient to the command to “go to a land that I will show you”.  

Notice that he had to “go” before God would "show" him the land.  

He was certain that God had spoken, he was certain he was willing to be obedient, he was certain that God would lead him, but he was uncertain as to where that place would be.  

In the same way, we are living in a certain uncertainty.  There are more things we are certain of that not. 

  • We are certain God has spoken. 
  • We are certain God is in this journey. 
  • We are certain God has blessing prepared for us in a new place. 
  • We are certain God has blessing prepared for GT as He anoints new leadership to serve in Student Ministry here at GT.

The only thing we are uncertain of at this time is where we are going and when we will get there. I guess we are in good company then, since Abraham was in the same situation.  

It’s really not a bad place to be.  It’s a place where faith and trust in God are increasing in our daily lives.  We’re learning to live in the tension between what’s certain and what’s uncertain.  

I think one of my favorite preachers, Steven Furtick, once said something like,

“Learn to enjoy the journey, cause the destination is a mirage.”  

We are learning to enjoy the journey.  Not just the journey to the next landing spot on this earth, but the entire faith journey of following Christ.  There really are no final destinations on this side of eternity.  They are all just rest stops or mirages along the way, until we celebrate eternity with our Savior.  

Our eyes are fixed on Jesus.  Our hands are firmly holding on to the plow of our ministry calling. There will be a new field in our future.  The work we’ve done here will continue and grow stronger because it’s not really and never really was our work or what we built.  It’s always been and always will be the work of God.  We were just honored to throw some bricks on the foundation of what He was doing and what He will continue to do.  

We love the people and the work of God happening at GT Church.  We will miss it.  We will cry. We will feel sadness to not see your smiling faces on a weekly basis.  You are an amazing group of people!  

Our last Sunday at GT will be September 25, 2016.  After the morning Real Life services there will be a farewell reception in the Next Gen Center.  We’d love to see you there and give you one last hug.  

Blessings, 

Eran, Julie and the Holt family (except the dogs - we didn’t tell them yet  :) 

Real Life Student Ministry: Small Group Vision, Values and Structure

 Why are students involved in your ministry: 

- Friends
- Ownership (ministry involvement) 

By the time a student could drive or their friends could drive they will vanish from youth ministry unless they have experienced the following 3 realities:

1. Relationships with other students.  
2. Relationships with an adult (pastor, small group leader, spiritual mom or dad, etc...)  

3. Ownership (ministry involvement / student leadership).  

Small Group Philosophy and Values: 

 1.    Our Small Group win statement: To create a loving and accepting family environment that encourages students in their spiritual journey.   

2.    Never underestimate the power of relationships.  It is not about the production, although it must be done with excellence.  It is all about the small group experience.

 -       We’re successful when we connect kids into the small group experience. 

-       It takes a student 2-6 weeks to really get relationally connected in their small group. 

 3.    We believe that life change happens best in the context of small groups. 

 -       A great small group experience is creating something that kids can’t get anywhere else.  Kids are consumers of everything, but they can only get our small group experience from us.  

-       Think of it this way.  You will never have the budget, facility and staff to effectively and consistently compete with what the world has to offer when it comes to music, entertainment, fun experiences, etc…  We really only have 2 things to offer, that if done with excellence, the world can’t compete with: Jesus and relationships.  (we need both!) 

 4. Our responsibility is to build bridges of relationships strong enough to bear the weight of truth.  

-       They’ll never talk about spiritual things until they can talk about anything! 

Small Group Structure

 1.    Small groups are an integrated part of our weekly worship experiences. 

- Primary Model: Small groups meet at the end of the service (15-30 min) to discuss the sermon through a set of questions we provide for the leaders (based on the sermon)
- Secondary Model: Small groups meet before the sermon (10-15 min) to build relationships through ice breakers, games, announcements, etc...

 2.    Students are grouped based on grade and gender from 6-8th grade.  In 9-12th grade groups are based on connection and gender. 

 -       We discovered that if a student has not really connected with their small group or small group leader as a JH student they will eventually leave our youth ministry as a SH student.  SH students need to be able to choose their friends and choose who their leader is.  You can’t force them into a structure or system and expect them to always make great relational connections.  
-       When they hit 9th grade we allow them to experiment with other groups until they find a good fit and then we ask them to commit for the school year to that group.  

3.    When a group begins to average 15 or more on a regular basis we look to add more leaders into that group as opposed to splitting the group. 

-       The reason kids are coming to your small group experience is because they love the leaders and their friends.  Asking them to effectively say goodbye to something they love just to manage group sizes seems counterintuitive to building healthy relationships and momentum with your small groups.  
-       We choose instead to add more Assistant Leaders and allow the group to continue to grow in size, but be able to break into small groups within the larger group for discussions, prayer times, etc… 

 4.    Small groups & Leader follow a graduated system. 

 -       Ask leaders for a 1-year commitment.  
-       Start them as an Assistant Leader to shadow and learn.  
-       Tell them upfront that we are praying they will fall in love with their kids and want to graduate up with them every year until they graduate from HS. 

 5.    The long-term goal for every student is that they have an adult leader in their life that journeyed with them for years through JH/SH school. 

 -       We want students who graduate from our student ministry to spend more time talking about how amazing their small group leader was and the influence that person had on their life then about the pastors, events, retreats, fun, etc…. 

 -       You will see very clearly after about year 4 of this model how effective small groups with the same leader each year will be at retaining students.  For the last 10 years every time we have a small or weak graduating class it ALWAYS goes back to an inconsistent or bad small leader or too many different small group leaders. 

Small Group Strategy

 1.    The small group time consists of the following essentials:

-       Family Environment
-       Relational Connection
-       Spiritual Application

-       Girls – usually have great spiritual application discussions.
-     Guys – at times our male groups struggle in the JH years to have in depth spiritual discussion.  I'm constantly coaching my male leaders that it's ok and at times imperative to invest several years of relational times (having fun, eating food, playing games, etc...) before they will get guys to talk seriously about spiritual things.  

 

 2.    Winning the heart of a student is critical to having maximum influence in their life. 

 -       How do we do it? 

1. Schedule outside opportunities and/or Home Groups (1x per month)
2. Attend student’s events.
3. Partner with parents through relationship. 
4. Provide support & comfort during pivotal life circumstances

 

The Success of Our Ministry Is Dependent on the Quality of Our Leaders

 Recruiting: 

1.    Identify what the ideal small group leader looks like. 

 - Loves students
- Ability to connect
- Loves God
- Has time
- Role model

 2. We encourage existing leaders to recruit their friends.  

- Sharp people hang out with sharp people.  

Training:

1.    The role of the small group leader is to facilitate and guide discussion, not teach the lesson. 

- We don’t want bible teachers
- Goal: get them talking!
- If you're doing all the talking your kids are NOT connecting!  

2.    Coaches will meet with the leaders for evaluation and coaching.

- Coaches are former small group leaders and/or pastors.            

3.    The apprentice model can be a great quality-control mechanism.
- Adult leader + apprentice (adult in training / assistant leader)
- Preparation is always happening for existing and new leaders.  

4. 6-8 trainings per year specifically for small group leaders.  

5. Pre service leaders huddle to get ready for the service.  

Advantages of a grade based / gender based small group:

 1.    Student retention. 

 -       There’s natural accountability that takes place among a group of students that are doing life together in a small group. 

 2.    Friendships that remain from 6th grade through graduation. 

 -       Many students will naturally form friendships with older students that they look up to.  Those same students usually leave when they hit their junior or senior year because they’ve lost their friendship connections.

 3.    Long-term relational strategy with adult small group leaders. 

 4.    Gender groups allow for deeper conversations to take place. 

 -       When genders are mixed both sexes are much more easily distracted. 
-       When genders are mixed it can make topics much more difficult for transparent discussion to take place.  

A Dark Room, A Brighter Faith

I was 18 and found myself in a dark classroom in a remote part of Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.  As if Siberia isn't remote enough to begin with.  We had just finished a school assembly program and one of the teachers grabbed me and insisted that we pray for a young girl in another classroom who needed a miracle.  It seemed as if the teacher had more faith than I did at this moment.  I was simply full of fear and doubt and felt like I was walking into a trap where disappointments would run high if I didn't do something for a 14 year old girl named Olga who I later found out had some form of multiple sclerosis.  

My faith was having a major internal collision with my fear.  What if God didn't answer this prayer?  How would this teacher respond if Olga wasn't healed?  Would they assume that all I had said about Jesus in my assembly program was false?  My logical, over-analytical mind was in full gear and I was quickly searching for a practical solution to escape the situation all together. 

As I walked into the room I saw a young girl crying as she sat in the corner.  It was explained to me that she was often picked on by others, didn't fit in well with the class and that she couldn't run and play like the other girls.  Her back was crooked and arched forward like you see in an elderly person at times.  She couldn't walk and most of the time she couldn't even stand.  As I saw the tears streaming down her face my heart was captured by compassion, but my faith was still arrested by fear.  The teacher who had escorted me into the room very boldly said to me, "You need to pray for her and heal her!"  

Now, I've been asked to pray for people many times, but I've never been told to heal someone.  As you can imagine that didn't really give my faith the pick me up that I needed.  My internal struggle only increased.  I felt trapped.  I had just finished an assembly program where I had boldly declared that Jesus was the only God.  Students in that program told me that a group of Jehovah's Witnesses had been there the week before with a different message.  They asked me to prove why my message was true vs. theirs.  It was a challenging discussion, but I left feeling confident that I has sown good seed into the hearts of those students, but now just minutes later my faith was on the line.  Surely the whole school would find out how Olga's story ended.  Word would spread and decisions of faith and belief would be made based on the outcome of this prayer.  

It was in that moment that it suddenly dawned on me that it wasn't my reputation that was on the line here, but God's.  This was a moment where God would receive all the glory.  It was His reputation on the line and when God's reputation is on the line He never fails.  

With a faith that was slightly stronger than my fear we laid hands on Olga and asked the Almighty God to heal.  In just seconds her face lit up and in the midst of her crying she exclaimed that she felt a warm sensation moving down her back and into her legs and that she felt strong enough to stand.  At this point we were all crying, including the teacher who had escorted us into the room as we watched Olga stand to her feet.  

I can't say that in that moment all my fears had relinquished, but simply that my faith was stronger than my fear and on that day it ultimately won the collision of the two.  

Mark Batterson says in his book, "Draw the Circle" - "When we act in faith, we aren’t risking our reputation; we are risking God’s reputation because He’s the one who made the promise in the first place. But if we aren’t willing to risk our reputation, we’ll never establish God’s reputation."

It simply takes faith that is stronger than fear.  It's always a collision.  Just make sure that your faith wins.  

Oh… Olga's story didn't end there - more on that in a future post.  :)

E-