Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Faith Zone Challenge Kickoff

I am so excited and so glad you have come back to visit me today and that you are interested in taking the Faith Zone Challenge. Even if you did the challenge last year, dont expect the same results! God speaks to us differently and about different things in each season of our life, so I have no doubts that you will feel His presence and hear His voice as you spend time pondering His will and anxiously listening for His voice and direction over the next five days.

The challenge is not hard and I promise it will not hurt, but it will take some time, and a personal devotion to truly letting God move in your hearts this week.

Ready to get started? Lets go!
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Several years ago, God called me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown zone. God, of course, knew where I was headed, I just had to put my trust in Him and watch His plan unfold. And guess what? His plan was amazing!

As a result of seeing firsthand the miracles that God can do in someones life simply by trusting God and being willing to say yes to His call, I now have a passion for encouraging others to experience that same excitement. I want everyone to experience the joy that can be found from stepping out in obedience, despite sacrifices, fears, shame and doubts.

So..... for the next five days, I want to make you think. I pray that God will speak through me to inspire you to take some time and do things that would normally be out of your comfort zone.

"But why should I?", you may ask. "What's in it for me?"

Let's look at it this way - when you are sitting in your favorite recliner, remote in hand, focused on the TV; all snuggled up and comfy with your pillow and throw blanket, a few magazines on your lap or a good book; a soda in your hand and a popcorn bowl on your knee, and maybe a few kids - is there room for anything else? I doubt it. That recliner is probably getting rather crowded. Comfortable, but very crowded nonetheless.

In the same way, when we get so comfortable with our life the way it is, and with the things that are filling our life, then there is no room for God to introduce anything new. He desperately yearns to give us new things, but there simply is no room for them!

While we think we are safely sitting in our comfort zone, we are actually sinking into a dead zone. A zone where we dont see God working, because we are focused on life itself. A zone where we dont hear God speaking, because our ears are full of earthly noise. A zone where God cannot be felt, because we are too comfortable to make room for Him.

The result: we stay stuck in our recliner, a.k.a LIFE, all alone, uninspired, unchallenged and unfulfilled.

God calls us to be all we can be, and more than we think we can be - through Him. However, our doubts, busyness, insecurities, lack of faith and attempts to fill our hearts with earthly pleasures, often prevent us from fulfilling our true purposes.

This five day challenge is certainly not the answer to all our problems, but my prayer is that it will motivate someone to take that first step of faith towards a stronger relationship with Christ, help them begin to build a habit of listening for God's voice, and maybe even empower someone to jump right into God's will for their life, which they may have been hesitant to do before.

Consider Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

It takes great faith to do amazing things - it takes God sitting in the chair with us. It takes us being willing to make room for Him, maybe even sit in His lap, and ask Him to begin reading us the beautiful story that He has laid out for our lives.

If you believe that He is calling me, and you, to trust Him, leave our comfort zones of our daily lives and enter THE FAITH ZONE, then this challenge is for you.

For everyone who is willing to take a chance, and commit to the challenge, please make a quick comment in the comments section. If you feel led to do so, post your commitment to this challenge on your own blog and challenge your readers to not only hold you accountable, but also get involved themselves! (note: you do not have to have a blog to get involved, you can simply leave a post that you want to participate, or just do it on your own!)

I pray that when the 5 days are up, many of you will leave me a comment about how the challenges worked for you personally and spiritually, or what struggles you encountered, as God changed your heart and mind, and maybe your life, as a result. Oooooh, Im excited!

So... are you ready to take the challenge? ___________________________________________________________
Challenge 1: Spend 30 minutes a day in quiet time with God for the next 5 days.

Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Okay, okay - I know what you are thinking - 30 minutes??!! I barely have time to brush my teeth, get dressed or even breathe! Much less spend 30 minutes alone in quiet time every day, for five days straight?! (I realize for some of you, this may be an every day habit, but please extend grace to the rest of us.)

Your next thought may be this - "how is quiet time stepping outside of my comfort zone?"

Most Christians understand how important daily quiet time with God is, however, I dare say that most of us do not do it on a consistent basis - myself included! Life gets noisy, daily tasks take priority, and quiet times seem impossible. That is exactly why it is a challenge !!

If you are willing, turn down the noise today. Carve out thirty minutes some time today, and try to get up earlier than normal for the next 5 days, find a place of solace, and spend time with your heavenly Daddy. Pick a Bible chapter or use a devotional book. Breathe, slowly, deeply, using your diaphragm, focusing only on Gods word. Your body will react to this relaxation, including muscle tension fading and even blood pressure dropping. Your mind will ease too, leaving you free to hear Gods whispers.

Quiet time is more than just a daily appointment with God. It's more like a visit with your closest friend. Just like a friendship cant flourish if you never spend time together, neither can our relationship with Christ. The more time we let pass by before we call a friend to chat, the deeper the separation and the awkwardness becomes. The same thing can be said for our Friend in heaven. The more dedication and time we devote to our faith walk, the closer we will feel to Jesus. The closer you are, the more likely you are to hear Him speak, see Him move, and feel Him near.

So to kick off the challenge, lets get back to basics. The basics of time with Jesus.

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, please forgive me for not making you a priority in my every day life. Forgive me for getting so busy with life, and so bogged down by earthy noises, that I forget to spend quiet time with you. I earnest ask that you call me into Your Presence, and give me a burning thirst for your Word that can only be quenched during our quiet time. Grant me perseverance over these next five days, despite the hurdles that the enemy tries to throw my way to prevent me from keeping my commitment. Lord, help me make a permanent habit when this challenge is done.

In your name I pray, Jesus, Amen.



PS - if this sounds easy today, dont get too comfortable just yet.....the best (and most challenging) is yet to come! Come back tomorrow for Faith Zone Challenge #2.

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38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy,
I'm up bright and early....LET'S GO!!! The Lord has had me on a faith challenge since June. Been experiencing his wonderful presence. Ladies it is a peaceful place...challenging...and so very much worth doing. (Slide over on the recliner.)... I'm with Tracy...Ladies I encourage you to spend the time with the very best friend,encourager you will ever have.. You will not regret it. Thanks Tracy....for all that you do.
God Bless...

Rhonda

Angie said...

Tracie~You can't imagine the chill bumps I got when I read this.

Two days ago, I shared this topic, with a friend, through an email. Even down to the scripture Hebrews 11:6.

I am so in need of this challenge and so ready.

I am ready for the next five days to hear from God, see His work in my life and feel the change in my heart.

Thank you for sharing this!

20 Times A Lady said...

I'm in!

Mary said...

Tracie,

Thank you for presenting this challenge! I am excited to hear what God has to say to me. Over the last several weeks I have spent more time with God by catching spurts of time with him each day. I am going to make a commitment today to block out the noise of my children and the craziness of life to listen to what he is saying to me.

Have a blessed day!

Mary

The Seeking Mom said...

Tracie, the Lord is truly speaking to me through your blog this morning. For probably two years now, I've known that I need to get up at 5 a.m. to meet with Him. More and more over the summer, the Lord has told me that this is what is best for me, but I just haven't been willing to give up my sleep. I say "arrow" or "breath" prayers during the day, and I listen to Christian radio or programs, but it's not the same as a heart-to-heart talk with God, free from distractions. This challenge is what I need to get a good habit going.

Anonymous said...

I am so ready to get out of my comfort zone and into the faith zone. Thanks Tracy for the challenge.

Captain J said...

I'm in and ready to see what God has in store for me this week!

Jerrie said...

"Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening."

Thanks for the challenge Tracie!

tam said...

Oh boy....with me being a "not-so-morning-person," this is going to be a challenge for sure, but....(drum roll please...) Count me in too! :) Ready or not...here we go! Help us, Father, to get in The Zone with You. Thank You for this challenge. May we all feel Your presence each morning. Encourage our hearts. Cause these lessons to spill over into our families, so they can be partakers of this blessing too! In Your lovely name, I pray...Amen.

Anonymous said...

I'm so ready, just in time!

Melissa Reynolds

Connie said...

Yes! I'm in...and excited and committed to moving out of my comfort zone.
Connie

Anonymous said...

I'm in! I need this!

Anonymous said...

I'm in, too!! The timing is absolutely perfect! Thank you!!

Caroline said...

I'm in too. :) Looking forward to it!

Mari said...

Round Two!! Ready to go Tracie!

Janice said...

Hi Tracy,
I decided to try your faith challenge this morning. I did spend 30 minutes with my Lord this morning and I needed it. I have so much going on in my life right now that I thought I wouldn't have time. Thank you so much for this challenge, because my time was so good.... God is so loving, so tender and so understanding, I love him so..

Janice

Jill said...

Hi Tracie,
I think this is a great follow-up to She Speaks and look forward to hearing what God has to say. Thanks for leading the challenge, I'm praying we'll all be prepared for what lies ahead! Blessings, Jill

Ann said...

As a teacher starting a new school year in a new grade level at a new school, I really need God now more than ever...I'm taking the challenge. I need to make space to hear Him.

Ann in SC

Charlene Kidd said...

Tracie,
I am joining in; we all need a reminder of how important it is to consistently seek God. I am going to highlight it on my blog too.
Charlene

Carolina_Connie said...

I'm joining in too. She Speaks has already nudged me out of my comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie...I am totally in on this challenge. I am excited to see what God is going to do!!

Blessings,
Melissa (New Jersey)

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie!

Thank you for this challenge. The timing couldn't be more perfect! Isn't God great like that! Ready to leave that comfort zone behind...

Blessings!
Dana

Anonymous said...

I'm embarassed to say that unless I'm doing an organized bible study, I rarely take the time to read my bible....I am excited that this challenge may help me to develop into the Christian I'm meant to be!!

Joyce said...

Tracie! I'm in! Just last night I was praying for something to challenge me. Lately my mood has been dull and lifeless. I realize I need something to "shake me up"!

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I'm up for the challenge!

Joyful said...

Joining in again this year!

Thanks Tracie!!!
Blessings,
Joy

Our Family said...

Thanks for sponsoring this challenge. I didn't get up early this morning, but am committing to the next 5 mornings of early rising to hopefully go outside and complete my Bible study! :) Lana

Beth said...

It is much later than I had hoped to begin my "quiet time", but the house is now silent. I'm glad for the sounds my family makes, but appreciate these moments too. I'm praying that God's will is more evident for me and my family during this challenge time. My Bible was open to Ecc 2 - Solomon's disgust with earthly pleasure. Although he had it all according to the world's standards, he found it meaningless. An interesting place to start tonight!

Danielle said...

I am in! Thank you for this, Tracie.

I've posted something God gave me on my blog and I'll leave a link here if you want to take a look.

Invited Guest

Sandy said...

The timing of this couldn't be more difficult...or perfect. I return to work today as a teacher after a summer off. More than that, I am returning full time after being part time for the last 6 years. Yikes! I face a big challenge in time management. God is calling our family out of our comfort zone as my husband begins seminary in a few weeks, so I'm excited about this challenge to hear HIS voice in this time of transition. Thanks Tracy!

Michellee said...

Hi Tracy, I stumpled across your blog from the devotion from proverbs31. Which I love, by the way.. The devotion was God's plan for my life. I'm struggling with that RIGHT now... Have been for two years now. But I struggle to make a decision. I want to be in God's plan not mine, not what the world thinks, but Gods. I'm confused. I know God is not of confusion. I'm taking the challenge and searching for "God's Will for MY life".. So I'll Know that I know without a shadow or doubt..

Eagles Wings said...

I forgot to leave a note yesterday - count me in I'm gonna try...After reading the one about getting up at 5AM the Lord pricked my heart saying I've been trying to get you up then...Okay Okay Okay Lord I give!

Tracey said...

I have been struggling with God stretching me and getting me out of my comfort zone. I definately needed to hear this. I do spend time with Him but not daily and I think that is what I am missing. Thank you.

Julie said...

Hopefully I am not too late to jump in!

Looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me over the next week!

GBBC Women's Ministry said...

Good morning Tracie!! Thank you so much for being obedient and sharing what is on your heart!! I woke up even earlier than I was challenged to. I was to excited to sleep a second longer. I am looking forward to what God has in store for us.

Sweet, sweet blessings,
Erica

LeeAnn said...

Thank you Tracy for this accountability Faith Zone Challenge. I talk with the Lord constently, but do hit and miss my daily time in his word. I know that is where he can equip me and encourage me for what lies ahead each day. I am so excited to be taking up this challenge and expecting great and wonderful things from what my Lord can and will do through using me.

A Heart that is ready,

LeeAnn

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie,
The challenge is a God thing - He always knows how to get our attention. My heart, eyes, ears, mind are open - keep talking Lord!
All because of Him,
Sherry
sherryhallauer@neb.rr.com

Mollie said...

I am a few days behind, but I am starting day 1 today. This morning I hit the snooze button for 30 minutes. I was choosing not to spend time with God from 5:30-6:00am. Tomorrow I will make a better choice. Thanks for the encouragement!

Mollie
http://4thwallministries.blogspot.com/