Monday, December 12, 2011

Using Your Platform Well

So, I never thought that I would EVER write a blog post about football. And yet here I am! I, along with everyone else in Football Nation America, have been fascinated by Tim Tebow for many reasons. This one man has created quite a stir and ruffled LOTS of feathers. I love it. It's what he's doing both on and off the field that has my faith challenged--he is using his platform well.

Ryan and I watched a documentary on Tebow and his journey to the NFL draft. Talk about hard work and dedication and a willingness to be teachable! He had to reteach himself how to throw a football to better fit the fast-paced nature of the NFL! Here is a man who knew his purpose. He didn't just pray and expect the Lord to just give him an opportunity in the NFL--he worked HARD for it. Sometimes my attitude towards life and my future expects the Lord to just hand me my opportunities. But the Lord has called us to much more. To work for HIS glory and with all of our heart (Colossians 3:23). Working with all of our hearts evokes passion, determination and hard work; that is the kind of effort we should have. Doing it to the glory of the Lord; that is the attitude.

Now, something that is especially apparent is that Tim Tebow has a significant sphere of influence. This is a fact that I'm sure he is beyond well aware of. Look at Twitter, ESPN, the Washington Post, Facebook, any social media network. He's a highlight on ALL of them and the comments are a'flyin. Football or the NFL is what I would argue to be one of the most highly influential and highly respected arenas in America. The Superbowl is the most watched TV program ever with more than 111 million viewers last year. 16.6 million was the average number of people who watched per NFL game last year. This is Tebow's arena, his sphere of influence, and boy is he using it well. Even in the college football arena, Tebow used his platform well. When he wore face paint with John 3:16 more than 92 million people Googled that verse. Seriously people?! 92 million people read that God loves them all because one man was willing to use his platform to glorify the Lord.

All stats aside, Tim Tebow is inspiring us to live for something that he knows is bigger, more important and far beyond the world of football--and that is the message of Jesus. He has been blessed with a massive sphere of influence to verbally communicate that very message to. He is using his platform well.

I think it's easy to feed ourselves the lie that as Christians, we do "enough" by attending our campus ministry/church functions, surrounding ourselves with Christian influences and living our lives as a Christ-like example (Matthew 5:14-16). While all of that is great, I know that we are called to more than that, and that part my friends is the hard part and what Tebow is doing so well. Not only is he being a light by living a life of example, but he is speaking. He is completely outspoken about the love of Christ in every chance he gets in front of the media. And ladies and gentlemen, he's only 24 years old. What does that mean? We are way capable of this!

So I'm guilty; I haven't been doing enough. Although my sphere of influence is much smaller, I haven't been actively taking the initiative with people in my workplace and even people in church. I've been sitting back and letting life slide by wondering when my "opportunities to share my faith" will show up. While many people sit on two sides of the camp--relational evangelism vs. initiative evangelism, we're called to do both. We are called to be fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). But what both involve is using our words and speaking! We have to start speaking and using the platform the Lord has given to us well.

So Timmy, thanks for being a light on a hilltop, for showing us what working for the Lord and not for men means, for being a true example of a disciple, and for using your platform well. I hope you keep winning, beat the Patriots next week, and keep stirring the media pot!

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" - Romans 10:13-15

Here's a great article on Initiative Evangelism from Cru that I highly recommend reading!

And a vid from Tebow's documentary because he's a baller:

Tim Tebow: Everything In Between from FCTN on Vimeo.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Hope is Certain!

People always say that the 1-3 years following college are the seasons in life where frequent changes and adjustments are made. Um yeah, can I attest to that. It's fun (and scary) to think that I literally can't even comprehend where I'll be in the next 3 years--I could even be in a different state! Let alone I'll be married, living with a man, and have a new extremely long signature.

I don't know about you but for me, I think changes and adjustments can be particularly difficult. This is something I've come to learn about my personality, accept, and be more aware of over time. I am naturally resistant to change as I would much rather be comfortable. Ah, that C-word that doesn't push growth. The great thing about change is that it DOES force us to grow, to adapt, to learn in a new situation. Within the last few months, I have felt myself go through so many up and down emotions--I've been happy and content, I've cried, I've felt purposelessness, and I've felt like I belong. The reality is that things are going to keep changing! This makes me crazy! For someone who likes to be planned and calculated this is bad news bears. And yet, that's the kind of life that the Lord has called me to--a life that's always changing and growing and a life that's not controlled by my me.

While life can, and will, pull us in different directions, and even the thought of all of those possibilities can become overwhelming, it continues to becoming more and more clear to me why it's so important to remember the steadfastness of our God.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." - Hebrews 6:19-20

I love that--while my life feels crazy, unmanageable and out of hand, I have a hope that is certain. Even though I have no earthly clue what's ahead for me, Jesus, our forerunner has already gone before me. Beyond that, I can rest in the fact that Jesus has already secured my ultimate future--a future in Heaven with Him. And now, all those silly little plans get put into their proper perspective--it's really not so bad after all!

On a completely different note, here's an update on life in true Type-A format:
  • We picked a date! We'll be getting married July 14, 2012 in Fredericksburg. I'm so excited!
  • I found a dress! And a caterer, and a venue, bridesmaid dresses and all the major stuff. Now it's on the fun part of wedding planning! Jesus help me not think I can DIY everything...
  • My pinterest is stacking up. It's been cool to see our wedding evolve over time into something I NEVER would have thought would be our theme.
  • We love our small group! Ryan and I joined a young marrieds small group and we are loving it. We've loved the community we have and the things we are learning through them.
  • In 37 days I'll be in Jamaica! My family is taking a "last family trip" before I get married and we're going to Jamaica! I can't wait to be warm and go on a vacay.
  • I'm already wishing I was still in college. You college people have no idea how much free time you really have! I miss breaks so bad when I see everyones tweets and facebook statuses.
  • I had my first hospital visit 3 weeks ago. That was an adventure. I went from thinking I was dying to praising Jesus for life! I also kept thinking I was on Grey's Anatomy.
  • I'm thinking I'm definitely going to have to do Black Friday. I've never been before believe it or not. I have so many practical things that I need that go on intense sale during Black Friday, so I'm thinking it might be worth my while! Who wants to come?!
  • We got our engagement pictures done! Our wonderfully talented friend Katelyn James Alsop shot our engagements in Washington DC! Don't laugh at our serious face pictures--we're going to be practicing before the wedding! We just like smiling too much!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Next Up: Marriage

I figure it's time for an update. Since last time, major life changing things have occurred which generally dictate a good reason to blog. First off, it turns out that I will be getting married next July 14! Ryan proposed on July 31 while we were on a sweet, but very hot, picnic in DC complete with the classic YL blanket, Potbelly sandwiches, and a sunset. I loved it. It was just us two. Fighting the heat, the tourist buses, and groups of asians with cameras. He got me my DREAM ring. Let me tell you a quick story about this one!

I was browsing online looking at rings around last year to see if I could even find one that met my taste. Which is very picky I might add.We had talked about getting married, so being the control freak that I am, I wanted to see what kind of stuff was out there juuuust to gently steer his browsing.  I know, all you girls are saying, "Shannon you need to trust him more". And really, that's completely true.  I knew I wanted intricate detail, simple, yet classy. Really vague I know. I had the picture of what it looked like in my head, but finding it in real life was harder than I thought. After browsing for what seemed like forever, I found IT! And of course, showed my now married roommate Rachel. Now Rachel. I love her. But she's pretty bad at hiding the truth. Which is SUCH a good trait I might add. She immediately got wide-eyed and out came the truth: Ryan showed me that ring and told me it was the one he wanted to get you! That is how well Ryan knows me. He knew exactly what I would like before I even laid eyes on it. Talk about a needle in a haystack. And of course the rest is history.

I've entered the crazy world of wedding planning. And seriously it's overwhelming. Like everyone keeps telling me, everything does come together. We booked our photographer and venue in the first week we were engaged. I know, it was a miracle! I'm SO beyond excited to be surrounded by friends and family next year, but most of all to do it all with my best friend.

Ryan, I am so thankful for your patience. We are both proof that God's plans are always better than our own. I am beyond excited for the path that we get to walk together, serving our God together , and the relationships we will form together. But most of all, that we get to do it together. On a different note, our children will be adorable quarter-asians with blue eyes. Don't see that everyday. You're welcome!

Oh gosh I'm such a creeper. I just googled quarter asian babies. Yep, I'll dress my kid in a sweet beanie!
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