Advent Deeper: Prepare the Way

“It is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” — “a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”
Mark 1:2-4

Sunday marked the start of Advent – those four weeks Christians set aside to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. It is a time of remembering and rejoicing, watching and resting, celebrating and preparing, reflecting upon the promises of God and anticipating the fulfillment of those promises.

Advent is a season of waiting.

It’s a theme we see woven throughout scripture.

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Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving!

ryan kerr story

Give Thanks

“Give thanks in all circumstances…”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

At the end of Paul’s letter to the believers in Thessalonica, we come across this very short, but very powerful, command:

Give thanks in all circumstances.

It’s easy to give thanks to God when things are going well in our lives. When there’s money in the bank account, when the family is healthy, when the job is going well, when all our prayers are being answered and our dream is coming true and we can feel and know God’s presence on a daily basis, it’s almost second nature to give thanks.

But when things are going bad? When there isn’t enough money to pay the bills and the family isn’t healthy and the job is difficult and it seems that God is ignoring you?

It’s not so easy to give thanks then.

But maybe the reason Paul challenges us to give thanks in all circumstances, to thank God no matter what is going on in our lives, is that he knew something deep down that we don’t fully believe.

Paul knew at the very core of his being that God was ultimately in control of every circumstance that happened to him – whether good or bad. When he saw peoples’ hearts changed and begin to follow God, he knew it was a gift from God. When he was able to speak before thousands and start churches and see people healed and set free and reaching their potential in Christ…he saw it all as a gift.

And when found himself locked away in prison for his faith, when he was shipwrecked on his way to do what he believed God wanted him to do, when he was persecuted, laughed at, mocked, tormented, went without food, rejected by those who should have accepted him…he knew that was a gift, too.

Because Paul believed that God worked everything, everything out for the good of those who love Him. He knew that God uses the trials, the hardships, the difficulties and struggles and desert experiences to develop something deep within us. He knew that when trouble comes, we cling to God more. And he trusted that God knew what the struggles would produce in us…and that if God allowed the struggle, the outcome would be better if we didn’t have the struggle at all.

And so, my brothers and sisters, as you sit around the Thanksgiving table this week, may you find yourself truly giving thanks to God. May you not limit your thanks to Him based on the good He has brought into your life. And may you, as you find the courage to thank Him for the trials, begin to see that He truly does work everything together for your ultimate good.

How can you thank God in all circumstances?

Ignite Missions heads back to Czech!

Ignite is gearing up for our annual Ignite: Czech Mission Trip!

Ignite Visionary Leader, Jason Vana, will lead a team of students and young adults on the trip of a lifetime to Cesky Tesin, Czech Republic. Ministry details are still in the initial planning stages, but will include outreaches to youth and young adults, a youth retreat, prayer walking and two free days.

Trip Details:
  • Dates: July 6-20
  • Cost: $3,400*
  • Ministry: Outreach, Youth Retreat, Prayer Walking

See pictures from last year’s trip here.

Application Deadlines:
  • Trip Application: January 18, 2012
  • Risk/Liability Statements: January 30, 2012
  • Passport Application**: February 20, 2012

Download the trip application here.

Financial Deadlines:
  • January 30, 2012: Non-refundable deposit of $200
  • April 16, 2012: First payment of $2,200
  • June 4, 2012: Last payment of $1,000

Download the Fundraising Packet here.

The annual mission trip is part of Ignite’s commitment to see God move within the Czech Republic. This will be our fourth mission trip working in the Silesian region with our partners at Křesťanské Centrum church in Cesky Tesin.

Asterisk Notes:
* Cost is tentative and may change due to flight costs.
** Apply for your passport at any Post Office or Circuit Court Clerk Office. Cost is roughly $120, requires your birth certificate, driver’s license and social security card.
*** Must be 18 years of age or older, provide signed risk statement and release of liability forms, and be approved by the mission team leaders.

For more information or questions, contact Trip Leader Jason Vana.

November Prayer

Prayer is at the foundation of all we do in Ignite. It keeps us in tune with God’s voice, grows our faith and opens doors that only He can open.

Please hold us in your prayers this month for the following:

Ignite Board: We are in the process of growing the Ignite board and need wisdom and discernment in our choices.

Ignite Mission Trips: We are in the planning stages of our annual trip to the Czech Republic and our brand new New Orleans trip. Please pray for wisdom in planning, raising the finances and safe travels for both trips.

Students Ignited: Please pray that we see students at Monmouth College and Carl Sandburg College come to know Christ, get ignited with a passion for God, and reach out to their fellow students.

Divine Connections to start Ignite at: Culver-Stockton College (Canton, MO), Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL), Knox College (Galesburg, IL), Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL) and Silesian University (Opava, Czech Republic).

Finances: Ignite is funded primarily through donations from our partners. Please pray that we see growth in our finances in order to increase our ministry to more schools. You can help by making a tax-deductible donation today!

Staff: We are attempting to fundraise a salary to bring President and Visionary Leader, Jason Vana, on full time to push our ministry forward and step through doors God has opened. Please pray for partners in this endeavor.

We appreciate your prayers and look forward to sharing with you how God answered each one!

Deeper: Prepare for Action

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
1 Peter 1:13

Peter does something interesting in his letter to the Jewish believers under his care.

After a long discourse about salvation and faith, after explaining how the prophets searched intently for the first coming of Christ, after encouraging the believers that we now have this hope and salvation and grace from God, after explaining that one is saved by faith alone, he issues a command.

Prepare your minds.
Be self-controlled.
Set your hope.

These weren’t passive commands. These weren’t just “trust God and he’ll do the work” decrees. He wasn’t telling them to increase their faith, believe more in what Christ has done or to sit in God’s presence and let Him heal them. He wasn’t telling them to be lazy, sit back and let God do the work. He wasn’t painting the picture that following Christ was just about what we believed. He didn’t see faith as a simple prayer buying you a free pass to Heaven.

He believed faith was deeper than that.
Following Christ more dynamic
Salvation more powerful.

He believed our response to Christ’s sacrifice was action.

It’s a theme we see throughout the New Testament.

James tells us that having faith without deeds isn’t a saving faith (James 2:20).
John challenges us that if we don’t take care of our brothers in need, the love of God isn’t in us (1 John 3:17).
Paul said we needed to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12).
Even Jesus said those who don’t take care of others in need are eternally condemned, no matter what they believe (Matthew 25:31-46).

Set our hope.
Change our thinking.
Control our desires and appetites and addictions.
Changing how we think, how we talk and how we act.
It commands us to love those who hate us, bless those who curse us and sacrifice our desires on the altar of selflessness.

It requires us to prepare for action.

Anything less is dead faith.

And so, my brothers and sisters, as you journey through this life of faith, may you be reminded of your part to play. May you never be lazy in your faith. And may you, as you work out your salvation, see Christ’s salvation impact every part of your life.

Where do you need to work our your salvation?

Ignite joins Google+

Here at Ignite, we are always looking for ways to better communicate with our students, supporters and partners. We strive to provide you with the latest updates, resources to help you grow your faith and encouragement that is convenient for you.

With that in mind, Ignite recently launched an organization page on Google+. Much like our Facebook fan page, our Google+ page will feature pictures, links to our Deeper Devotions, quotes and encouraging videos, links to resources we find around the web and more.

Visit our Google+ page and add us to your circles to stay in the loop of all that is happening in Ignite!

You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Connect with Ignite!

“Away in a Manger” Advent Book

Each year, Ignite publishes its Advent devotion book, “Away in a Manger.” This book is meant to help you slow down, reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, and take deliberate steps to infuse your life with hope, love, joy and peace in order to better celebrate and live out the truth of Christmas.

This year’s “Away in a Manger” book is filled with daily devotion readings, scriptures, reflection questions, artwork and poetry broken down into the four themes of Advent: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. It will challenge you, encourage you and help you focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Download a sample of the first week of devotions!

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Purchase your "Away in a Manger" Advent book before Monday, November 14 and
save 20% off the original price![/styled_box]
Print Version: $6.95 $5.00
E-book Version: $3.95 $3.00

*Ignite student members can receive a copy of the printable PDF for free. Contact us for your copy today!

Connect with Ignite!

Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God”
Psalm 46:10

Most of us don’t like being still.

We’re constantly on the go, filling our days with meetings, projects, practice, games, lunch and dinner appointments, writing, reading, watching TV, creeping on our friends’ Facebook walls, Tweeting anything and everything that pops into our head. We serve in our churches, join multiple student organizations, become part of work associations, even find ways to add one month more of work each year than people did 20 years ago. We work more, rest less and find ourselves disconnected from family, friends, ourselves, and God.

Being still isn’t part of our lifestyle.

We would rather be on the go, than stay home alone.
We would rather have music blaring, than sit in silence.
We would rather start a new project, write another blog post, cook another meal, visit another friend, play another video game, watch another movie, or do anything else than face the issues in our own heart.

Stillness isn’t easy. It doesn’t come naturally. We don’t find ourselves praying for more stillness, spending more time alone, and desiring to be quiet.

Stillness goes against everything we are and everything we’re taught.

The Sons of Korah, who penned the verse above, knew this first hand.

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The Lost Generation [Video]

From time to time, we will post videos on the Ignite blog that inspire, encourage, and challenge us in what it means to follow Christ and impact the world.

The poem was written by Jonathan Reed and showcases a powerful truth when read backwards:

What are you doing to reverse the thinking of this generation?