Category Archives: Take the Challenge

For the Joy

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

 

In January we tend to set goals, which I love. I already wrote about the best resolution, but another fantastic goal is to serve God with our time and talents. That’s a no-brainer, right?

It is unless we mess it up.

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The Best Resolution

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

-Luke 6:38

 

Have you ever dropped the ball on a friendship? A friend asks to spend time with you, but you forget to return their email. Their texts go unanswered. Soon they stop reaching out to you, and then it feels almost embarrassing to reach out to them…

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Why “It’s Good for You” Isn’t Enough for Me

Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you,

but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.

Ephesians 6:6

 

Last night, I called up the stairs, “Hey, Spencer…”

He replied, “Yes, Ma’am!”

My kids don’t usually call me “Ma’am.” But Spence could tell by the tone of my voice that I was going to ask him to do something, and he was agreeing in advance. (Mom Moment: Awww, he’s such a great kid… but don’t worry, he’s not always like that.)

In Building Your House, I share quite a bit about how The Uptons view chores, allowances, and rewards. (In a nutshell: we assign chores and give small allowances, but they aren’t directly connected to each other.)  I’ve been very intentional about teaching my kids different ways they can help around the house, using Chore Passports (if you missed that post and the free printable, be sure to check it out). I’ve also thought about how much I require them to give me that help. (Again, in a nutshell: sometimes.)

But writing Building Your House made me think about the “why.” Why do we teach them to do chores? Because it’s somehow “good for them” to take out the trash?

 

Well, doing something because popular culture says it’s “good for us” isn’t good enough for me anymore.

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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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I hate running (my apologies to the Apostle Paul)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?

Run in such a way as to get the prize.

I Corinthians 9:24

 

I can’t tell you much I hate running. Hence the reason this has never been my favorite Christian metaphor.

Back when I was Shannon Kelley the College Student, I had to take a gym class in order to get my math education degree. (Even after all these years, my heart cries, why?) I soon discovered that it was basically a running class led by a Drill Sergeant-type professor. During “class,” he ran and talked with the cool athletes up at the front of the pack, occasionally shouting mean things toward those of us at the back. I loathed every minute.

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Real Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness are here to stay, and that’s a good, good thing.

There are movies about them. There are books about them. Just type “random acts of kindness ideas” into Pinterest and you’ll see what I mean!

What’s interesting to me is that the whole RAK movement as been largely secularly based. So many people out there are looking for ways to show love, receive love, and focus on love in their lives… and that’s great.

 

But what they really need is Jesus.

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How Not to Serve Lemonade (or Jesus)

No one wanted my lemonade.

My husband, Travis, and I were serving at a soup kitchen, and my job was to serve the lemonade. I poured twenty cups, arranged them in a neat four by five rectangle, and waited for the thirsty patrons to arrive. And they came… but they all wanted water. I stood forlornly with my hand gripping the pitcher, a dismal failure as Chief Lemonade Pourer.

This is what Travis jokingly calls the “Serve with Shan” effect. Alas, it seems that whenever I participate in a service project there is no one to serve. Three hours volunteering at a donation center with but one lonely drop-off. Six hours at a food pantry with only three shoppers.

And here’s the one Travis teases me about the most: a nursing home visit during which not a single resident wanted to visit with us, despite how I was waiving around my three month-old baby. Didn’t they want to meet my smiling bundle of cuteness?

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Should Christians Watch R-Rated Movies?

I love movies almost as much as I love books. When my husband and I were dating, our go-to date was a fast-food dinner and a dollar movie. Now that we’re parents, we plan date nights that involve more conversation—but we do watch a lot of movies at home and see every Disney/Pixar movie at the theater with our kids!

 

For Father’s Day, I made over our finished basement into a little movie theater,

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