The Test.

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As a college student, I am very familiar with what a test is. I am going to break it down in a way that I have never done before. Imagine you are back in school (pick any grade you would like!)… Each day you go to class and you know what is expected of you (i.e. – take notes and pay attention so that you understand what you are learning). Whether it be math, history, science, or even art, there were new things to be learned each day. An average class would look like this:

The teacher would come into the room, silence the class, and begin. He would stand in front of everyone and teach new concepts, theories, equations, and methods. Sometimes (on the lucky days) he would even give an example on how to apply these concepts. Some of these concepts you understand, some of them are not as easy to understand, or they take a little more effort. Right before the bell rings to go to the next class, the teacher would call out some page numbers or hand out a worksheet for homework. The whole class would groan because all of you knew that the homework was going to be based on what you had just learned in class. You get home and mom gives you a glass of milk and a few chocolate chip cookies and you get started on your homework assignment. While you do not have the teacher at your house with you to help you through the assignments, you do have your notes (which you took very well in class). After about three of the problems are completed you get the hang of it and put the notes away. By the end of the assignment, you feel like a pro. Now, you go back to school the next day, hand in your assignment, and the teacher marks it as a completion grade (not if it is right or wrong). This time, before the bell rings, instead of yelling out a homework assignment, the teacher announces there will be a test the next day. At home, you spend hours studying and preparing, making sure that you understand all the material covered in class. You finally feel prepared to take this test head on and conquer it with a passing grade. When you take the test however, you don’t feel as confident as you did when you were studying at home. You knew all the material, but are now having a hard time applying it to the test. You wanted so badly to raise your hand and ask the teacher for help. At one point, you even considered looking at your neighbor’s paper to see what he wrote down. It’s now the following day. When you get your test back, the grade is not as terrible as you thought it might’ve been, but it’s not the grade you wanted either – an 83% or a B-. On the last page of the test, the teacher wrote, “great job, but could use some improvement on some of this”.

Did you ever get a B- on a test? Especially a test you feel so prepared for, but feel like it wasn’t as easy you expected? I have!

Here is my correlation: in life, we are taught certain things, whether it be through Sunday school, Church, Bible studies, a mentor, or just your own personal time with God. God teaches us lessons and opens our eyes to see things we had never known before. For me, throughout the week I am usually more aware of what was talked about at Church on Sunday morning and catch myself “doing my homework” and putting into practice what was preached (sometimes… I don’t always have my notes there to remind me how to do it)!

There are, however, times when we are put to the test. In these times, it feels like we are on trial. We are sitting in a room taking a test and we know the teacher (Jesus) is there, but we can’t just raise our hand and ask Him for the answer – or at least if we do, he most likely won’t give it! Because how many know that during the test the Teacher is always quiet? Sometimes God tests us on whether we will be obedient to continue to practice the things that He has taught us. Sometimes, it’s a pop quiz and He wants to see how much we truly know on the subject. Or maybe the test is in preparation for what He’s called us to do for His kingdom.

Church, tests (even academic tests) were created to build one’s character and integrity. A lot of times when God is testing us, the devil is also right there tempting us. But the question is why? Why does God allow this to happen? Pastor Aaron shares two conclusions that we can apply to our lives on why God might allow these “tests” or seasons of wilderness to happen in our lives.  http://painesvilleag.com/wilderness-a-lenten-series

“Remember, the teacher is always silent during a test.” – God’s Not Dead 2

Jenny Bushnell,
Writer, Blogger, College Student

GPS Failure

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PICTURE THIS: You are on a road trip with your closest people – friends, family, etc. You are following a GPS that will take you to the most perfect vacation spot. As you follow the directions of the GPS you begin to question whether you are on the right road, or even heading in the right direction. As you observe your surroundings you see sand dunes, cacti, and maybe even a large lizard. Surely you must be on the wrong route because your GPS tells you that you are only a few more miles, but you are not planning on vacationing in a desert. All of your friends are sleeping by now because of the boredom of the road trip. Everyone is silent. The GPS is even silent because there are no new directions. There is no sign of life or activity for miles on end.

We have all been in the wilderness. We are cruising along on our journey of life, listening to God as our GPS, when all of a sudden it seems like the life gets sucked right out of us. It seems like even the one we are seeking directions from is silent. Our friends are “sleeping”. All we want to do is get to our final destination, but according to the GPS, God, this is the route we have to take.

What is your destination?

God gives each of us a calling. He places passions and desires in our heart and opens doors for us to pursue those passions. For example, about a year ago, I developed a passion for missions. A month later, the opportunity came for me to go to Southeast Asia on a mission’s trip. Now, my end goal is to go to the nations. So for me? My destination will be the fulfillment of that calling. But it’s definitely not happening immediately. There’s a process… A journey God is taking me on to get there.

As you can quickly see, we cannot choose “HOW” we get to the end result that God often has for us. If you are anything like me, you are a futurist. You’re also a perfectionist. If you can imagine the two of those attributes together, they most definitely are not the best recipe in this scenario. I am constantly finding myself planning. I am planning my day, my meals, my work schedules, my future, and how I will get there. In my head I think: “I am going to be a missionary so here is the path I MUST take in order to get their”. Does that resonate at all with you? Surely I’m not the ONLY person who does this!

God had other plans though. Plans that usually do not line up with what it is I have in mind. It’s when the course of our route gets disrupted that we enter the wilderness. Why? Because in our plan, there is no wilderness. But with God, He’s needing to get our attention again. He wants to speak to us. He wants to develop a more intimate relationship with us. He wants to say “Hi, remember me, your GPS? I am holding your future in my hands, do you trust me?”

Often times we look at the wilderness and dry seasons of our lives in a negative way, but what if we radically changed that mindset? What if we begin to recognize that the desert is truly where we are supposed to be and say: “oaky God, what is it you have for me here?”

God uses desert experiences to draw His people closer to Him. The Israelites were driven into the wilderness and do you remember their response? They began to grumble and complain and told Moses they wanted to go back to Egypt where working as slaves for Pharaoh seemed more appealing! Did you hear what I just said?! Slavery seemed appealing compared to the wilderness! Yikes! Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing as the Israelites? Where your wilderness experience seems so terrible that something, typically viewed as bad, now looks and sounds better than the state you’re currently living in?

I challenge you to change your perspective on the wilderness experience. God has something for you while you are there. Something that you need to experience in order to reach your final destination. It’s a refining fire. It’s a chamber of transformation. The wilderness has great purpose and without it? You can’t reach the promise God has waiting for you.

Pastor Aaron began a new sermon series this week focused on wilderness experiences. I encourage you to listen to the first podcast to hear what we can LEARN while we are in the wilderness. http://painesvilleag.com/wilderness-a-lenten-series  Church, the wilderness does not need to be a time of negativity. Rather, the wilderness can be a time where God shapes us like clay in the potter’s hands… if we’ll let Him.

Jenny Bushnell,
Writer, Blogger, College Student

I Am A Friend of God

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Ever since the fourth grade I have had a best friend. Her name is Allison. Allison has made a huge impact on where I stand with my faith today. She invited me and took me to church for the first time in my life, showed me what it truly means to be Christ’s example, and went on our very first missions trip to Michigan together.

Jenny and Allison

There are countless stories I could tell you of the two of us. Every year during the Maple Festival we would volunteer at a pancake breakfast together. She was with me on my first roller coaster at Cedar Point. We played the clarinet together in band. We have a dozen nicknames for each other. We call each other’s parents “mom” and “dad”. We were on our very first worship team together. She’s been there for me in my biggest sufferings and struggles; as I am for her.

We are now working on year eleven of our amazing, God-given friendship. We graduated high school together two years ago and now attend separate colleges. While it may seem difficult for two people to stay such close friends while being so far apart, our friendship has only gotten stronger through it all.

Allison and I did not get through ten years of friendship by doing nothing. In fact, it was really difficult at times. It seemed at one point in high school our lives were so busy that we didn’t have time for each other, but we always managed to make our friendship a priority;  to do things like serve at the pancake breakfast each year. We went through a lot of difficult times together, but we always forgave each other when we made mistakes and God was faithful to bring us through. Now, we continue to enjoy this friendship eleven years later!

During the month of February, Pastor Aaron has been talking about “Awesome Relationships”. This past week, Pastor preached on the most important relationship of them all: our relationship with Jesus. Now, I didn’t just go on a rant about my best friend for nothing. You see, Jesus desires to have that kind of relationship with us.

Jesus calls us His friend. He is not only our God, but our friend. Picture it: you are part of the inner circle of Jesus! He wants to know your thoughts, your desires, your heartbreaks. He wants to have conversation with you, to go through the hard times in life with you, and to be there for you to lean on. Not only that, He’s ready to share His secrets with you! Can you imagine that?! The God who spoke light into existence wants to reveal the hidden things of God to you!

Sometimes it is hard for us to think of Jesus as a friend. How could the Creator of the world, the One and only Son, Jesus Christ, want to be my friend? I am just a human and Jesus is so immortal. Yet He still desires that type of relationship with us.

Why? Because friends are close to each other. Friends tell each other everything. Friends do things together… like shop, watch movies, and eat. Jesus wants that kind of relationship with us but on such a grandeur scale. He wants to spend time with us and be a part of our lives. Now if that isn’t an awesome relationship, then I don’t know what is.

Similarly, to my friendship with Allison, Jesus wants to impact our lives in ways we never thought possible. If I can be honest with myself (and Allison has forgiven me for this), I used to think of Allison as the “goody-two-shoes” Christian girl. I never thought I would be the “type” of person to believe in God and go to church. It’s funny how God placed Allison in my life to get a hold of my heart and ultimately place a call on my life for missions.

Friends, Jesus cannot have an impact on your life unless you let Him in. Relationships are a two-way street. You cannot just ask Jesus to be your friend and not do your share. I want to invite you to take your relationship with Jesus deeper. Allow Him to be your best friend – the one you tell everything to before anyone else, the one you go to for advice during adversity and good seasons, the one you connect the best with!

In the final message of this series, Pastor Aaron gives us some practical ways to take this next step towards a friendship with God. I would like to encourage you to check out our podcast http://painesvilleag.com/awesome-relationships-2 and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you on how you can grow deeper with Jesus.

Allison is my best friend here on earth, but Jesus now takes precedence over that friendship. Are you willing to do the same in your life? Declare it, “I am a friend of God”.

Jenny Bushnell,
Blogger, Writer, College Student

You’ve Got a Friend

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There have been so many “Friend” references in songs, poetry, and in writing that when I was given the opportunity to blog about friendships, so many references came to mind.  As a matter of fact, there were some that have remained playing over and over in my mind.  I’ve heard the title song to the 1980’s television sitcom “The Golden Girls”, “Thank You for Being my Friend” written by the late Andrew Gold.  Then there is the James Taylor hit, “You’ve Got a Friend” written by Carole King in 1971.  Carole King once stated, “the song was as close to pure inspiration as I’ve ever experienced. The song wrote itself. It was written by something outside myself, through me.”

Then there is the poem “You” written by Peter Finlayson which simply reveals that a friend in need is a friend.  Period.  This goes against the typical cliché we’re all used to hearing.  We need to be the type of friend that we would want reciprocated back to us. There’s also the classic fiction novel, “The Last of the Mohicans” written by James Fenimore Cooper.  A lot has been said about friendships.  I could go on and on…

I believe one of the reasons there are so many references about friendship is because building friendships is one of the greatest tasks in life.  I’ve heard others say that success is measured in the number of friends a person has.  I don’t really know if that is true, but what I do know is, friendships are important, and if you don’t build them early in life you may end up pretty lonely later on.

I have been blessed with a good many friends.  Some of them are very close friends.  Very close friends are few in number.  Not because I choose to label each level of friendship, rather God places certain friends in your life so that, through them, you can be discipled and learn from them.  When I think about this, I’m flabbergasted.  What I’m saying is that before time began, my Heavenly Father purposed these very close friendships to be a part of my life.  He ordained them. And this includes my precious wife who God gave to me as His gift to complete His will for my life.  I am forever grateful for God’s gift to me and our life together.  She has blessed me beyond measure with her love, her wisdom, her prayer covering, and her friendship.

Why do I need awesome friends?

Friends are there for my spiritual growth.  I know that I cannot grow into spiritual maturity by myself.  I must have friends to help accomplish God’s purpose for my life.

They are there for emotional support.  My life is filled with mountains and valleys.  Life in this world is hard and the journey is long.  I need companions.

I need friends for my health.  The Bible talks about this.  Friends give you a place to unload your negative emotions.  James 5:16 says, “Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”

I need friends for my social well-being.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, not merely endured.  Friendships are the bedrock of a satisfying life.  If your relationships stink, life stinks.

And lastly, I need friends to help me reach my goals.  I cannot fulfill the goals of my life without friends.  They are my support team.  As a project manager in my job, it was important to select the best team for the project to help bring about a successful completion of the work.  The Bible says, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.” Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NCV)

The song recorded by James Taylor, “You’ve Got a Friend” says this in the lyrics.  Some have said that when Carole King wrote the lyrics she was speaking outside of any inside personal enlightenment. She wrote from an outside source.

When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, yes I will
You’ve got a friend

Friend, no pun intended, friendships are important and fighting for awesome friendships is worth our effort.  Everything I’ve written can be summed up in one phrase of Jesus: Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love people as much as you love YOU.  Love people the way you want others to love you.  Be a friend that you would like to have.

I would be wrong not to say that my best friend is my Savior, Jesus Christ.  He picked me up, dusted me off, saved me and gave me life.  He died for me so that I would live.  I’m reminded as I write this of the hymn written in 1855 by Joseph Scriven, “What a Friend we have in Jesus”.  Jesus is there for our sins and grief, our trials and temptations, when we are weak and heavy-laden.  He is our refuge and our precious Savior.

To hear a powerful and impactful message from Pastor Aaron Taylor on Fighting For Awesome Friendships, click the link to the podcast below.

http://painesvilleag.com/awesome-relationships-2

To my awesome friends everywhere, I cherish our friendship.  To my very close friends, I cherish the times when we talk and listen and never judge.  We’ve wept and shouted for joy.  Thank you all.  You are very important to me.

George Leonhardt,
Writer/Blogger

One of Life’s Greatest Dynamics!

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As a social work major family is something that I am learning a lot about. Whether it be definitions of the family, functions, roles and responsibilities, or my personal favorite, rituals of the family. Family is one of the major subjects to this field of study. It is so important because most of what social workers do relates to the family in one way or another. It could be working on a case to keep a family together, it could be counseling a family, or it could be tracking what has happened in a family to see if it is relevant to current things happening. The possibilities are endless!

When I think about my family, I can’t help but smile, and maybe even giggle a bit. While my family can be pretty serious, my family values joy and laughter as the main source of interaction. There is never a dull moment when we are all together. Because of that, as I am now in college away from my family, it has been brought to my attention by my friends at school that I am always laughing and cracking jokes. I mean, my mid-week stress breakdown is usually a laugh attack!  But I was not just born this way; as a giggly person (my parents may disagree). I learned to value fun through my family. Family is a place where we learn our values.

My point in talking about families, however, is not to bore you with all of the information I am learning in my social work classes, rather it is to talk about the importance of how families are a blessing from God.

We can see throughout the whole of Scripture that families are everywhere. Starting in Genesis there is Adam and Eve with their family, Abraham and Sarah and their son Isaac. Then there is Jacob’s family… with Joseph being his favorite son and Joseph’s twelve brothers. Skipping ahead we can see in Job that the adversary, Satan, took away Job’s family. Skipping even further ahead to the New Testament, Jesus is born into the family of Mary and Joseph. John the Baptist is born into the family of Elizabeth and Zachariah. Finally, Paul shares in the book of Romans that we are adopted into God’s family and are called His children (Romans 8).

Families are a God-given gift that help shape us throughout our entire lifetime. While all of our definitions of family may be different and look different, it is still an important relationship in life. In fact, they can be Awesome Relationships! Family teaches us how to laugh and have fun. Family allows us to grow through trials and hard times, yet still come out loving one another. Family teaches us how to respond to the things of this world.

My family has helped me grow into the person I am today. They have supported me through the good decisions and the bad, through the tough times and the good times, and have always been there for me. Most of the memories I have as a child come from being with my family. I remember countless family vacations and other fun memories from the different things we did together.

So far, I have only talked about the good things about family – the things that make you feel warm and fuzzy and hopefully grateful. But we have to realize that in our society today, our families are not going to look the same, they are not going to look like the “American Dream” type family, and they are most definitely not going to be perfect. Families endure the hardest things in life together, whether it is getting bad news, losing a loved one, or even financial struggles. Families stick together.

Lastly, family does not have to be limited to those that you live with. It does not have to be those that you are “related” to. If you ask me, a huge family that I have is my Church family. God has graciously given me brothers and sisters in Christ to grow in this Spiritual walk with. Yes, it is important to do that with those that you are related to as well, but this opens the doors to how we are all adopted into the family of our Father in Heaven.

Pastor Aaron preached this past Sunday about how to have an “Awesome Family”. He shares some great points about why family is so critically important and how it is necessary in our lives. I encourage you to take the next hour or so and listen to the Biblical points that Pastor Aaron shares about so that you too, can have an awesome family, not just an average one. http://painesvilleag.com/awesome-relationships-2

Who do you identify as part of your family? Take some time and think about who God has placed in your life to identify as your family and then thank each member for traveling with you through life!

Jenny Bushnell,
College Student, Writer, Blogger

‘Til Death Do Us Part

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I may have shared with you in a previous blog that I am an identical twin.  There were more than a few challenges growing up.  Early in my childhood I only remember that I had a close friend in my brother and he looked just like me.  With the exception of the arguing that sometimes follows any relationship, we were constant companions and I enjoyed that.  And I think my brother enjoyed it as much as I did.

We had the same friends.  We had the same boundaries that mom and dad set.  We were extremely blessed.  This particular relationship as a child determined my happiness.  But we don’t remain as children.  And that caused some challenges.

I guess the biggest challenge came when we were about to enter into Middle School.  The season changed you might say.  My brother was not my closest friend anymore.  He was just my twin brother.  We didn’t share too many things any longer.  We didn’t have the same likes and dislikes.  And our daily boundaries changed as we finished Middle School and entered High School.

I started this blog with a short background of my early years as to lay the groundwork for relationships.  As a child, I didn’t know there would be “other” relationships down the road, nor did I realize there would be change that would affect me for the rest of my life.

In 1977, I married a woman and friend from my high school days.  We were happy and were blessed by two lovely kids together.  But as time went along, the relationship changed.  We both had fulfilled our adult dreams of a house, two children, two good jobs, and two cars.  We were the typical American family.  We became bored with everything we had amassed.  We dearly loved our children, but as man and wife, we lost our love for one another.   Our relationship ended in divorce.  Marriage did not create our problems.  Marriage revealed them.  Marriage simply magnified what was already a problem in me that went masked when I was living as a single adult.

In thinking about how I would put this blog together about awesome relationships, I knew there were three relationships that affected me so much that my life would never be the same. I need to write about each one.

In my divorce I realized relationships determined my happiness as well as my sorrow.  There is nothing that can relieve the sting of a conflicted relationship nor the wounds of a hurtful one.  There were influential forces around me like culture, economic pressures, and even spiritual hosts of wickedness that were attacking me and my wife.  What I didn’t understand was almost nothing in society today supported us building a healthy, godly relationship.

In the second relationship, I learned later after I was divorced for one year that I needed the one and only piece of the puzzle that I didn’t have.  That piece was the Cross of Calvary.  I needed Jesus in my life as my Lord and Savior.  I needed a relationship that would never end.  This relationship would affect my life in the most profound way.  Jesus would forgive me of all of my sins.  He would help me understand the true meaning of love.  And He will usher me into a life that will end in everlasting life with Him.

I did mention that there were three relationships that I would write about.  The third relationship is my relationship with my present wife, Nancy.  God gave me a gift of immense proportions.  A blessing beyond measure.  He gave me a wife to share in a relationship with Him and who has taught me how to grow in Christ every day.  God wanted me to have an AWESOME relationship; both in Spirit with Him and on earth with Nancy.

Marriage has purpose.  That purpose can be found in God’s Word.  God has given us all things, including marriage.  Marriage was to be an antidote to loneliness.  Here is what the Jesus said about this:  “But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation.  ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’  Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Mark 10:6-9 NLT)  Marriage is God’s idea.

Having a permanent relationship with my wife is extremely important to me.  God has given me the ability, through Him, to keep my marriage permanent. It is a relationship that is binding on me.  It takes precedence over any immediate need.  It is a Covenantal Relationship.  That is because, at its core, it is teaching us to love and sacrifice even when we don’t see the benefit.  It is allowing God to shape the character of both Nancy and I through the keeping of our promise to love, honor, and obey until death do us part.

If you want to hear a powerful message on Fighting for an Awesome Marriage, click the link to hear Pastor Aaron Taylor.  http://painesvilleag.com/awesome-relationships-2

Friend, you may not have the same story.  But undoubtedly, you have relationships in your life.  A relationship with God is one that is of the utmost importance.  God gave Himself for us so that we could have a covenant relationship with Him.

Maybe one of those relationships is marriage.  God designed marriage.  Marriage is good despite the ridicule it has received from today’s culture.  Marriage is about connection and friendship and companionship.  Marriage is about covenant and allowing God to shape our character through our mate.  It is about allowing God to shape you and make you Holy as you keep the promise to love one another.  Jesus loving us, the church, and giving of Himself sacrificially is the picture of what the marriage relationship should look like. My prayer for you is that if you are in a marriage, make a commitment to stay in your marriage.  God will provide what you need and lay out your course together.  It really is worth it.

George Leonhardt
Writer/Blogger

“But I Just Don’t Have Time…”

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If any of you are like me, you’ve watched enough Law & Order, or other crime shows, to have this line memorized:

“You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to answer questions. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.”

Once this is said, the criminal then has a choice to make. Does he speak without an attorney? Does he ask for an attorney? What if he starts talking and realizes he really does want to wait for an attorney? Clearly, the criminal made a choice to get in the position of being arrested in the first place.

That’s the thing though, life is filled with SO many choices to make. Some harder than others. Some should be pretty simple but end up being the hardest decisions of the day. Should I wear a t-shirt and flannel with jeans, or should I wear a nice cardigan with a dress? Should I have coffee or tea? Definitely coffee- okay, so do I get the iced caramel macchiato with a non-fat almond milk, an extra pump of caramel, and an added shot of espresso, or the seasonal special?

Lately, my biggest question is: do I eat dinner, work out, and then do my homework? Or skip dinner, read at the gym, and fit in a nap? OR on a really busy week, do I do homework at dinner, skip the gym, and lock myself in my dorm room to do homework?

There. Are. So. Many. Choices.

And then you get past your average, everyday choices, and move to the bigger ones: do I go to this Life Group or that Life Group? Do I buy a new car or not? Do I take the leap from renting to owning a home? Do I take on the responsibility of being PTA President of my kid’s school? Do I get married or stay single? Is this the right person for me to be in a relationship with? Do I volunteer to do more things at Church? The list of choices is endless!

These things can be life-altering. If you’re me, you’re contemplating: do I go to grad school right after I get my bachelors, or do I wait a year?

These are major choices that we have to make. Choices that are everywhere, every moment. We live in America, a free country – a country where you are privileged to make choices within that given freedom.

You see, when we are faced with making a decision, even if we feel like the answer is obvious and clear, or we are just so passionate about it that there is no doubt (in our mind), we have to be careful of the affect those choices will have on us mentally, emotionally, physically, and yes, even spiritually.

As humans, we can easily get burned out. We can easily say yes to a good thing one too many times. It is so easy in the moment to agree to take on “one more” task, another “to-do” for our calendar, and another hour or so here or there.

I struggle with this.

I have a problem with saying “NO”. I have an issue with choosing what is really my top priority. I find myself every few months feeling burned out and re-evaluating my commitments. Wanting to be involved in good things isn’t a bad thing, it’s when I focus too much on the good things and not the God-things that they now become bad things.

Did you know that we have a choice in what we make time for? Pastor Aaron on Sunday morning mentioned the idea of having a 30-hour day. Immediately I thought, Oh just think of all I could get done! And then he proceeded to bring to reality that even within a 30-hour day I would still have this same dilemma. This same problem of just not having enough time because I am faced with so many good choices that I fill my schedule too full no matter how many hours I’ve been given.

Pastor Aaron said this on Sunday morning also: “I actually have time for what I CHOOSE to have time for”.

Mind blown, game changed. When we prioritize what we want to have time for, we can actually find the time to do it. Woah. Drop the mic. Walk away. Jesus paid it all.

Church, what we need to do is prioritize. If what you want is more time with Jesus, then make time for it. If God is telling you to do something and you just keep pushing it aside because you don’t have time for it, get rid of something else and make time!

Church, we are faced with so many choices that we feel forced to make, but we have to remember that we have the power to CHOOSE what goes into our schedule and what makes top priority in our lives. Only we can do that! No one else can do that for us. We have the power to CHOOSE what God has placed before us and CHOOSE what is important to Him.

Pastor Aaron shares with us in the closing of his sermon series “I Choose” that we need to choose what is important over what is urgent. He shares that we need to CHOOSE to put Jesus first and watch Him multiply our time. He shares with us three practical ways to choosing what is important in our lives instead of always reacting to what is urgent. Check out this week’s podcast http://painesvilleag.com/i-choose to hear more about how you can practically CHOOSE to make time for the things you actually want to do and not feel burned out by taking on what you shouldn’t.

Jenny Bushnell,
Writer, Blogger, College Student