#EndItMovement and What Comes Next

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27 million.

That’s how many men, women and children are in slavery. Right now.

Can you picture what 27 million of anything looks like?

Only 2.1 million people fit tightly squeezed on the National Mall in DC. So fill that up with people 13 times, and you have 27 million.

Only 8 million or so people live in the entire state of Virginia. So three times the entire population, and you have 27 million.

The Georgia Dome (and the place where the #enditmovement launched at Passion) only holds 71,000. Fill the dome up 380 times, and you have 27 million.

Can you wrap your head around those numbers? Can you fathom that slavery exists today, in 2014, to that magnitude? If you can, or even if you can’t, can you stomach that? Can you be okay with that?

I can’t. I want it ended. I want my generation to be the one that ends slavery.

Today, February 27, red Xs are on the hands of thousands of people around the world. It’s a sign that we are in it to end it. But it isn’t enough.

#enditmovement is trending on Twitter in the United States. But that isn’t enough.

Freedom fighters and IJM and other justice initiatives are standing up and raising awareness and dedicating their work to breaking chains and bringing freedom, but it isn’t enough.

A Twitter trend and a red X on your hand and a hashtag alone won’t save 27 million people from bondage.

But Jesus can. And Jesus will. And He needs us, all of us. Our hands, our hearts, our resources, our passions, our creativity, our prayer.

Together, with the Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the Universe, with all believers and brothers and sisters and humans on this earth, we can end it.

It’s more than a trendy cause. It’s more than that #enditmovement hashtag. We can’t sit back after sending out a tweet and just hope it ends itself. We need to join in. We need to fight the good fight.

I believe God’s heart is for justice. I believe His heart is for mercy. I believe He wants to hold his beloved children close, free from bondage and free from chains and free from slavery. And I believe we, as His people, are His hands and His feet and the ones on this earth to bring His kingdom to every end of it. May today be a day of awareness, but may it be more than that. May this be a launchpad for a generation of freedom fighters committed to doing whatever it takes to end it. May this be the start of the end. May this be a day where we unite and open eyes and hearts around the world, and may it be a day of momentum pushing us forward to end slavery once and for all.

I’m in it to end it. Are you? learn more here

I’m not a soggy veggie wrap, but thanks, Buzzfeed

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Social media has become flooded lately with results of personality quizzes and Buzzfeed quizzes and the like. They’re everywhere. Nobody is immune to them! My parents and even my older relatives have shared results on their newsfeeds.

We have become obsessed.

I’m one of them, don’t get me wrong. I was curious as to what type of dinosaur I would be (the results: triceratops, “one of the last standing dinosaurs in history, probably because you don’t take crap from anybody”) and what kind of sandwich I would be (a soggy veggie wrap– “your life is a weird tortilla filled with unripe tomato chunks and really terrible hummus”…what does that even mean?), among others.

Why, though? Why do we care so much about what those quizzes will say? Do we really think ten questions about silly little details and preferences will lead to a result that is true and accurate? Apparently we think they’re worth taking, and it’s such a strange phenomenon.

Here’s the truth of the matter: a Buzzfeed quiz won’t tell you who you really are.

Plain and simple. Would you even want it to, really?

I’m not satisfied thinking of myself as a triceratops. I’m not going to move to Washington state because Buzzfeed tells me that’s where I belong. I’m not going to get a typography tattoo because that’s the best kind of tattoo for me. My dad’s results said he should get sleeves, which I encouraged purely because that’s hilarious and not at all like him in real life.

That’s the point really, these quizzes aren’t real life. They aren’t speaking truth (at least not meaningful and worthwhile truth). They aren’t really getting to the core of who we are.

I think we like that ten questions or less leads us to a comical, quirky nugget of a definition that we can hold on to. It gives us something to label ourselves with, even if in just a fleeting way of sharing it on Facebook. Really, truly trying to discover ourselves and our truest identities would take more than ten questions. It would take hard questions. Gut wrenching, palms sweating, stay up all night wrestling kinds of questions.

 

Discovering who we really are would take more than just a quick quiz, it would take earnest, challenging, time-consuming soul-searching.

 

Are you ready for that? (Insert Buzzfeed quiz here to find out if you are.)

Got any hilarious or bizarre quiz results to share? Give me the best you’ve heard in the comments below!

How a pearl and perfume have challenged me

Since 2014 started, I’ve been reading through a new One Year Bible. Every day, it goes chronologically through a passage from the Old Testament, a passage from the New Testament, a passage from Psalms, and one from Proverbs. It has been rocking my world. Seeing the whole narrative of the Bible woven together throughout different books and passages that usually aren’t read in sequence like that has been opening my eyes to the most beautiful, powerful truths of Scripture.

pearl and perfume

So– A pearl. Perfume. Beautiful things, and things I never thought would challenge me in my life today.

In Matthew 13, Jesus tells a few parables about the worth of heaven and the kingdom of God. Here’s a few verses to give you context.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field. Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!”

In Matthew 25, another story is told.

While he (Jesus) was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money could have been given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me?”

So it’s been a few months now since graduation, and let me just let you know, I haven’t accumulated any great amount of wealth in that time. I’m really making not a lot of money at all. But my life has become so deeply rich, because I’m spending my days living out my passions and my calling. After graduating and entering the real world, so much of life becomes about who you are and what you have to offer the world and what you’re going to do about it.

In both of these passages, the man and the woman found and had something of incredible worth. In these stories, they gave up everything they had and owned for the sake of the Kingdom and the Lord. The man sold everything he owned to have that pearl of great value. The woman poured out this incredible jar of expensive perfume onto the head of Jesus just to show her adoration and her worship of him as he was preparing to die and be buried.

As a post-grad twentysomething, the only real thing of worth I possessed was my talents and abilities. And after reading these two stories, I’m reminded and challenged to be more like those two people. I want to be ready and willing to sacrifice everything I own and everything I have and everything I am to gain the Kingdom of Heaven like the man did for the pearl of great value and worth.

I want to pour out everything beautiful that I have just to show my love for my Savior. 

That woman knew that the Lord was about to do an incredible thing, and she beautifully and wholly and even literally poured out all she had just to give him her very best. What an act of love and worship and selflessness. She could have sold that perfume for great riches like the disciples said. The man searching in that field had possessions and things that belonged to him that I’m sure he liked having, but he sold them all just to get that pearl.

For both of them, there was something worth giving everything up for. There was the Kingdom of Heaven. There was Jesus.

I want to be more like them. I want to pour out my talents, my passions, my possessions, my time, my energy, my love, all that I have and am for the glory of the Lord and the Kingdom here on earth and in heaven. I want to give everything up for Him in response to how He gave all He was for me first.

Buy Art and Rewrite a Story

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You, yes you, can help save an orphan’s life. And, to make it even cooler (as if there could even be anything cooler than rewriting the story of an orphan), you can get awesome art as well.

How? Here’s how.

We over at Rethink are proud to announce a new initiative called Art For Orphans, which we officially launched TODAY!

We are selling digital and physical art from artists all over the country (who graciously donated their work) with 1 goal in mind—rewrite an orphan’s story. All proceeds (yes, literally all of them) will be going to aid orphans in Zambia through our friend Katy and her organization, Family Legacy.

Our hope is to raise more than $10,000 over the next few months to help orphans a world away. You can help us get there. You can find out more about Family Legacy by watching this video.

I encourage you to consider buying art from our site afo.rethinkcreative.org. One, because it’s awesome artwork, and two, because these orphans are beautiful and incredible, and you can rewrite their story to be one full of hope and life and love, and that’s priceless.

If you don’t want to buy art (that’s okay, not everyone is an art-obsessed person like me), or maybe you do, and you want to do even more than that, here is what we would love.

Help us spread the word.

We are tweeting out all this week about Art For Orphans using #afo.

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—anywhere you connect with others help us get the word out!

If you are looking for something to say, here are a few ideas:

  • Tweet this or post it to your Facebook or text it to everyone you know: Check out a new initiative from @Rethinkcreate to save orphans by selling art afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo
  • Or maybe you would rather say this: Hey friends! @Rethinkcreate is inviting everyone to make their lives more beautiful AND save orphans. afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo
  • Or even this! Want to change the world today? @Rethinkcreate is giving you the opportunity afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo 
  • One more! Buy art and rewrite an orphans story @Rethinkcreate afo.rethinkcreative.org #afo

I (and all of us at Rethink) are so deeply thankful for your support, and are so excited about this opportunity we have to change the world, one orphan’s story at a time. Please be praying for this initiative and the lives we can reach and for the Kingdom to come in a mighty, beautiful way through this.

There’s good…but then there’s GREAT.

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#nofilter (but really)

I’m pretty convinced that sunsets are how God tells me he loves me. Every time I see that big ball of light start to sink out of sight and the colors start to splash across the sky, I’m reminded of how my God is a glorious Creator who wants to romance me with what He can do.

I was driving to the mall after work the other night, and I just had a feeling it was going to be one of those evenings where the sky was going to look fantastic. I was honestly getting frustrated that the way I was driving didn’t let me look at the setting sun, but thankfully I arrived and was able to park before it really started to set. Of course, I got out of my car, whipped out my phone, and started taking pictures of the fiery sky. Natural response, right? I mean, it was beautiful, how could I not!

Most of the sky was a rich, inky blue that was beautiful on its own, but then the clouds around the sun lit up with shocking shades of pink and purple, with streaks of yellow and orange weaving around the cottony clouds. I snapped several pictures, but had to run my errands, so I tore myself away and went inside.

I wasn’t really embarrassed at all that people in the parking lot had seen me standing there taking pictures of the sky above the outline of the mall. That sky was gorgeous, and I wanted to soak it all in. The words “the Lord saw what He had made, and it was good” kept echoing in my head. Yeah, Abba, that was good, I thought as I waited in line at the customer service desk.

But then, just a few short minutes later, I came back outside. And that fiery, gorgeous sunset was even better.

All the colors had intensified, the boldness of them all more vivid and shocking then even just a few hundred seconds prior. I know it sounds weird, but I just stood there and laughed. I didn’t even try to take another picture of it. I knew my phone couldn’t capture all that my eyes were taking in. Not even an Instagram filter could make that sky look as remarkable as it did in that moment.

As I drove home after the colors had all faded and the sky turned dark, I kept thinking that we so often settle for good. We have things that are pretty, that make us happy, that are worth capturing and remembering, and we think that’s the end. We snap the pictures and settle and continue onward, not even knowing that right around the corner is something that is more incredible than we realized was possible.

I really thought that sunset was unbelievable. I thought it was incredible. I thought it was good. But I didn’t know that right around the corner in just a few short minutes, it would become immeasurably more beautiful. It would become GREAT.

I settled. I snapped a picture because I thought it was done. How often do I do that in my life? Not literally take pictures because I think things are good (even though I do that too), but how often do I just accept what’s in front of me instead of praying and believing there will be more?

I’ve heard people say before that good is the enemy of great. To an extent, I would agree.

When we settle for less than all that our lives or our circumstances or our relationships could be, we are cheating ourselves out of the fullness and richness of what God intends for us.

My challenge to you (and myself) is this: Believe that there is greatness ahead. Believe that there is more than just good. Hold on, be patient, wait. Pray boldly and pray big, believing that God can do more than just good. Because He can, and He will. He will do immeasurably more. And it’s going to be great.

How have you seen God do great things in your life when you could have settled for just good? How has God wowed you with more than you could have dreamed of? Leave a comment and share your stories!