The Blog

One Word Blog Series: Well
Jun 06, 2018

For several years Life Church has challenged its staff, elders, covenant members and regular attenders to prayerfully consider a single word on which to focus for the year.  This closely follows the process presented in Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen's book, "My One Word" (http://myoneword.org/).  Peppered throughout the year, we plan to present some of these words here, on the blog.  

Every year when I begin thinking about my One Word for the year, I try to be sensitive to words I encounter frequently in songs, conversations, in books and Scripture, and other seemingly random places. God reveals Himself to us in these different ways, if we will listen. As 2018 began, a word that was on my heart repeatedly was WELL. I could feel God pushing me to choose this word for myself, but I was disappointed with what felt like such a lack-luster word. I wanted my word to be more glamorous or eloquent, but instead He gave me what seemed ordinary...

WELL.

Being a language arts teacher for years, I love the study and meanings of words. Through a simple dictionary search, I found exactly what God had for me through two definitions:

1 - Well: (noun) an issue of water from the earth;  a pool fed by a spring; a source from which something may be drawn as needed.

God spoke pretty directly to me with this meaning, saying “Britt, come straight to me. I am “THE well,” the source of your answers, encouragement, and purpose.” In my time with God, I often look more often for a devotional, Bible study, or podcast - and not often enough do I go straight to His Word. In 2018, I wanted to spend more time with Jesus in His Word. Instead of seeing what an author has to say about Scripture, I want to see what Jesus wrote just for me and to me.

2 - Well: (adverb) with skill or aptitude; with careful or close attention; to a high degree.

God revealed something to me about myself in this definition that I don’t like. You see, I’m a people-pleaser at heart; I say “yes” as often as possible and despise saying “no” because I feel like I’ve let someone down. But the problem with saying yes to everything is you begin to simply exist and not thrive. My days had become filled with surface-value checklists, versus the deep, meaningful relationships God has called me to.

Esther 4:14B “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Just like God chose Esther to lead, serve, do something difficult for His kingdom, God intentionally places us in our roles, connects us with our people, and creates us with individual purpose. He needs us to say yes to His work. He needs us to accomplish His work well.

This year, I wanted to say yes to the places where God has called me - and I wanted to do it well. God created me to be a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, and servant, and He charges me to do His work wholeheartedly. He also put me in this city, on my street, with my people because He created me for a very specific purpose in this time and place.

Here I am, almost halfway through the year, and I’m still fighting to be, work, pray, live, minister and love well. My word is saved on my phone, printed in my home, and a friend keeps sending me screenshots when she encounters it. I pray I can look back on 2018 and believe that I gave my whole self to those people and places where God called me.

So friends, where are you only half-heartedly serving, loving, or being? I would encourage you to start at “The Well.” Go right to His word and see what He’s written for you. Then I’d charge you to look around and see where God has placed you with influence. Where can you work harder and love better? Dive in and give all of yourself for Him...and do it WELL!

The Blog

One Word Blog Series: Steadfast
Feb 08, 2018

For several years Life Church has challenged its staff, elders, covenant members and regular attenders to prayerfully consider a single word on which to focus for the year.  This closely follows the process presented in Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen's book, "My One Word" (http://myoneword.org/).  Peppered throughout the year, we plan to present some of these words here, on the blog.  

It’s February.

For some people, this means you are over a month into the “new you,” when you are working to change a habit, routine or otherwise better yourself and it is going well. Clothes are looser, those salads taste better than you thought, getting up early to study the Bible has become something you look forward to rather than dread, or any of the other ways this newness is becoming a good thing.

For others, this means you are ready to give up and the change is just too hard. Perhaps you were too ambitious or too goal-oriented, and you feel defeated. The new you is just a 2018 version of the old you, only now maybe a little less optimistic.

Regardless of which end of this spectrum you may find yourself, I believe my One Word for 2018 can be of some help and encouragement – STEADFAST!

You see, 2018 is likely and, hopefully, going to be a year of truly life-changing things for my family. In January, we became licensed by the State to foster-to-adopt, and we are waiting patiently for the call that the child God has for us is ready to meet us. How cool is that! Beyond that, we are working toward building a house, my company is building a new location, we are on a new budget, and the work at Life Church is never busier or better. And these are just the things I think will happen this year; who knows what other things God has in store or how He will move and change these things.

Yet, with all of these good things comes a dangerous pitfall – my nature.

If I know anything about myself, it is that left unchecked, I will return again and again to relying wholly on myself and leaving God entirely out of the equation. My One Word reminds me that I am called to be diligent in my faith and steadfast in my whole reliance on Him. In essence, all of my duty in steadfastness is to rely entirely on His steadfastness, which never changes.

Thankfully, as our Life Group embarked on a new study last week of The Book of James, this reminder was impossible to ignore.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” James 1:2-4 (ESV).

So, as I fight this year to stand steadfast in my pursuit of Him and His ways, may I encourage you to do the same. Regardless of how your resolutions may be going and how good those things may be, let James’ words soak in and be reminded that the outcome of steadfastness may not be a smaller waistline, but being made perfect and complete in the eyes of Christ.

Michael serves as an Elder at Life Church.  He loves spending time with his life group, especially around a campfire.  Email him at 

The Blog

One Word Blog Series: Gratitude
Jan 12, 2018

For several years Life Church has challenged its staff, elders, covenant members and regular attenders to prayerfully consider a single word on which to focus for the year.  This closely follows the process presented in Mike Ashcraft & Rachel Olsen's book, "My One Word" (http://myoneword.org/).  Peppered throughout the year, we plan to present some of these words here, on the blog.  

Gratitude

A few years ago on a trip to South Africa, I was introduced to the thankful game. The way it works is every time you travel somewhere, every person in the car says three things for which they are thankful. If you have ever played the thankful game, you know that after about the third round, everyone runs out of the typical, easy answers. Then everyone has to really seek out the good, especially when there are so many things around you that break your heart.

In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom recounts her experience in a Nazi concentration camp, where she and her sister (Betsie) made a conscious effort to give thanks. Despite the horrific conditions, she and Betsie held daily Bible studies in their barracks with the other prisoners. They thanked God they were together, they thanked God they had a Bible, and Betsie even thanked God for the fleas. “’Give thanks in all circumstances,’" she quoted. It doesn't say, "in pleasant circumstances."  Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.’” It turns out the fleas were what had kept the Nazis soldiers out of their barracks, which allowed them to hold the Bible studies without being punished.

One thing Corrie and her sister understood is that if God commands us to do something, it’s for our own good.  Even science supports this Biblical command. Google the health benefits of gratitude. Recent studies have found that people who were more grateful had better heart health, stronger immune systems, increased well-being, a more cheerful mood, more energy, and slept better.  I love it when science confirms what is already in scripture - over and over in God’s Word we are told to give thanks.  Just a few examples include:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34.

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

In the Book of Luke, he tells the story of the 10 lepers in Chapter 17. After Jesus heals all 10 lepers, only one comes back to thank and praise Him. Only one. After being healed from leprosy. And while all of them were cleansed, only the one thankful former leper was made well (Luke 17:11-19). How much more could a heart of gratitude make us well in 2018?

Gratitude is my word for 2018. Maybe you’d like to join me on this journey of becoming a more grateful person. I’m learning that, like with anything, the more you give thanks, the more second nature it will become. Maybe you start the thankful game every time you get in the car. Or maybe you make a gratitude journal or download a gratitude app, and each day you write down three things for which you are thankful. Even on the bad days where it seems like nothing is going right, there is always something to be thankful for (pretty sunset, a good hair day, or a cozy scarf). There are also the basic things like clean drinking water, fresh air, and the freedom that we so often take for granted. Whatever it looks like for you, even when you don’t feel like it, it is often in the act of giving thanks that we start to feel thankful.

May we look for the beauty around us, give thanks, and ultimately remember we have a good, good Heavenly Father who is the Giver of all good things.

Katie Efird serves as the Director of Children's Ministry at Life Church, and loves being a wife and mom.  Email Katie at 

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What is EKO Students? EKO (echo) Student Ministries (Middle/High School) exists to raise up students to be the EKO (echo) of Christ in the World.  We accomplish this...

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