Deeper: Do Everything for Him

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:17

We have this idea that doing something for God means doing something big.

Moving to another country. Giving up your dream job. Spending all your free time volunteering for a church. Working at an inner city school. Inviting troubled teens into your home. Traveling to India to work with AIDS suffers.  Walking door to door, dorm room to dorm room, neighborhood to neighborhood telling strangers that they need God.

Those are the serious disciples. Those are the people who truly love Him. Those are the radical, the passionate, the completely sold out followers who challenge our faith and shape the image of what it looks like to truly live for Christ. They push us, make us feel inadequate and set the bar of how we should be living.

Working for God, doing ministry, living your life to glorify Him requires some grand act of devotion.

Or so we think.

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Ignite Sandburg has First Group Gathering

Monday, September 26 was a day of history for Ignite Student Ministries. The recently launched Ignite group at Carl Sandburg College held its first official group gathering.

A total of eleven students gathered in the Founder’s Lounge conference room for pizza, snacks, soda and fellowship. Along with them was Ignite Sandburg Coach Jordan Knight and Group Advisor Darlene White.

The students got to know each other, enjoyed a FREE lunch and Student Leader Travis Randolph led the group in its first discussion on Christian action. They talked about how to seek God, how to be His light on campus, and came up with ideas on how to impact Sandburg for Christ. It was a great first group gathering!

Next week the group will take time to plan what they will do for their table at Sandburg’s October Bash, and will decide when and where they will meet on a regular basis.

We are excited to see this group gathering together, and know they will make an incredible difference at Carl Sandburg College for Christ.

Travis Randolph leads discussion on Christian Action

Ignite Sandburg members enjoy a free lunch

Ignite Monmouth Leader Preaches

Ignite is in the business of empowering students to be leaders in their schools, workplaces and churches. Everything we do, from starting community groups on local campuses to organizing mission trips around the world, is designed to help students grow closer to God and make an impact their world.

This past Sunday, September 18, we rejoiced when long time Ignite member and current student leader, Dan Asbell was asked to preach at his home church of 16 years, First Presbyterian Church of Elmwood about Overcoming the Devil’s Persecution.

Dan has been involved in the Ignite Monmouth group since its launch in April 2010, and has been on the leadership team since January of this year. He has faithfully led discussions, helped other students grow in their relationship with Christ and was even a member of the 2011 Ignite Czech mission trip.

But he wasn’t always as bold with his faith.

Dan recounts:

I recently had the opportunity to speak to my hometown church about my recent missions trip to the Czech Republic. Not only did I talk about the trip itself but I also gave the sermon for that Sunday’s worship service. This was a really scary task for me. Even though I’ve been going to this church my entire life, I had never done anything like this before. Usually, I just hide in the background and do whatever that needs to be done there.

After I finished preaching, people were really amazed at the growth they’ve seen in me in the past few years. People would say that I’m not the same boy that would sit quietly in the pews just a few years back. They told me how proud they were of what I’ve done and were very excited about the possibilities I had in my future. I give God all the credit for these things, but I know that they never would have happened without a group like Ignite. God used Ignite and the all the people in the group to help me grow and blossom into the person that I am today.

We proud of all God is doing within Dan’s life and how He has molded Dan into such an amazing leader.

To learn more about how Ignite is transforming the lives of students, visit the Student Stories playlist on our YouTube Channel.

Deeper: Forgetting What is Behind

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:13-14

Paul’s faith never ceases to amaze me.

Not only was he arguably the greatest of the apostles, spent his life as the first missionary to the Gentile world, wrote a good portion of the New Testament, traveled the world, started churches in places where people worshipped statues of false gods, endured hardship, torture, beatings, persecution, shipwreck, imprisonment, and even resistance from other believers, but he also strove to gain everything Christ had for him.

Paul. The man who did more for the faith than any other individual, strove for more.

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Deeper: Moving Past Fear

“Fear wants to stop our stories.”
Anne Jackson, Permission to Speak Freely

Every one of us is writing a story.

We write it with the decisions we make, the thoughts we think and the actions we take. We write it with the friends we keep and the pain we cause. We write it by how we treat our families and friends and neighbors. Our story is written through the organizations we join, the church we attend, the job we work, the lies we tell, the people we hurt, the hope we bring and the passions we pursue.

Everything we do, say and think is just another chapter in the story we tell with our lives.

Some of us tell stories that bring hope and healing those around us. Others tell stories that bring hurt and pain and destruction. Some encourage. Some tear down. Some take huge steps of faith. Others shrink back and just allow life to happen.

Whether you try to or not, your life is telling a story.

It’s what you were created to do.

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Ignite Monmouth Gets in the Word!

Last night, Ignite Monmouth held it’s first official group gathering of the school year, and it was a huge success.

We saw over 25 students, and three staff members, show up for the gathering, get to know each other, worship and pray together, and discuss how to keep your spiritual fire burning during the school year. It was fun, exciting…and very challenging.

Student Leader Ian Smith led the discussion, challenging students that Ignite gatherings and church services are not enough to keep you going through the week. He likened it to eating 15,000 calories all on Sunday, and not eating again until the following week. You may get filled up, feel satisfied (or bloated!), but in the end, that’s not enough to keep you going. We have to be stoking that fire every day.

The group discussed the need to read their Bibles and pray every day, and the benefits that come from such discipline.

The 5×5 Plan
Ian then laid out what his church calls the 5×5 plan: commit to spending 5 minutes reading your Bible and 5 minutes in prayer each day. No matter how busy you are, everyone has at least 10 minutes they can spare each day to spend with God. We’re praying that students pick up that challenge an commit to it throughout the school year.

Time with God is important, and the members of Ignite Monmouth, both new and returning, were challenged to carve out that time each day to stoke their relationship with God and keep the fire for Him burning. It was a great way to start off the school year.

Related Resources:
The following resources will help you get consistent in your Bible reading and prayer time:

  • YouVersion: This web site, complete with mobile apps, provides members with a number of interactive Bible reading plans to help you get into the Word and know where to start.
  • BibleGateway: This web site offers a number of biblical translations, along with online commentaries, dictionaries and devotions.
  • Prayer of Examen: This ancient prayer form will help you learn not only how to make your requests known to God, but also how to express gratitude and listen for His voice.

How do you plan on reading your bible and praying more?

Deeper: Overtaken by Weeds

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so they did not bear grain.”

Mark 4:7

Saturday was the first time in over two months that we’ve had any rain. Couple that with the fact that the last few years, I haven’t had the money to apply fertilizer and weed killer to my lawn, and that my neighbor’s yard is more crab grass than real grass, and I’m sure you can guess what has creeped into my lawn.

And lots of them.

They started taking up residence in my plush, always green, fertilized and sprayed with weed killer/grass grower twice a year lawn a few years back. I had just recently lost my full time job and didn’t have the money to give my lawn the tender loving care it needed to stay at its peak.

So one by one, the weeds in my neighbor’s yard made their way over.

It wasn’t much at first. A small clump of crab grass here, a little clover over there. Even a vine every now and then would try to push its way through. It was barely enough to even worry about. I knew I would have an even better paying full time job soon, and could then afford to blast those nasty weeds back to the pits of hell from whence they came.

The only problem was, the job never came.
Which meant the weed killer and grass grower was never applied.

So the weeds lived on.
They set up residence.
And started multiplying.

The weeds had overtaken my lawn.

I spent a good portion of my morning on Friday, crawling around on my hands and knees in dry, brittle grass, trying to pull out the weeds that were successful in choking out my grass. My mailman laughed, my neighbor said said it was futile, but I was determined to pull every bit of crab grass and every pesky weed out of my lawn.

But after a little over an hour, I hadn’t even made a dent.
The weeds had won.

And as I stood up in defeat, wiping the dirt from my legs and vowing to return next weekend to take out their friends, I was reminded of Christ’s words in Mark:

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.

Weeds (and thorns) have one purpose – to choke out the plants around them. They push through the ground, begin stealing the water and nutrients from the ground, and attempt to wrap their roots around other plants. They seem harmless at first, but given time, they will overtake every bit of grass, flower, or plant in your yard and leave you with nothing but weeds. One weed easily becomes an epidemic.

The same is true of the weeds in our lives.

Allow that weed of anger to grow in your heart, and it will choke out your compassion. Harbor thoughts of bitterness, and they will choke out your joy. Continue to compare yourself to others, and that weed will choke out your self esteem. Allow the weeds of lust, jealousy or pride to remain and they will quickly leave you unhappy, depressed and pulling away from others.

Left unattended, the weeds of sin and doubt will overtake your life, choke out the good fruit and character you spent years trying to build, and leave you angry, full of hatred and pride, and stuck in the sin you never really wanted.

And so, my brothers and sisters, as you come face to face with the weeds in your life, may you remember how detrimental they can be. May you find the courage to face the hard work of pulling them out. And may you find grace and mercy to see the fruit in your life begin to grow.

Pulling out some weeds…

New Ignite Group Launched

Over the past year, our team has been praying for the opportunity to start an Ignite group at another campus in the area. Just a few days ago, that prayer was answered.

On August 31, 2011, we had the privilege of launching a new Ignite group at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, IL. This new group is headed up by Ignite Coach, Jordan Knight, a youth and college pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Jordan had lead a bible study at Sandburg for two years and was ready to see something new and dynamic to reach students.

Ignite was able to have a table at Sandburg’s Fall Festival, handing out free snacks and water, along with information cards on Ignite and free Ignite magnets. We had 24 students sign up to join Ignite Sandburg, not counting the 10-12 students who were already involved for the group launch.

The Ignite Sandburg group was mentioned in an article about the Fall Festival in the Register Mail. You can read that article on the Register Mail web site.

It was great to see students at Sandburg so passionate about reaching their school, and we’re looking forward to seeing all God will do at Carl Sandburg College.