Faces of Influence: My Mount Rushmore

Ladies! The Come Away retreat is less than 2 weeks away but I have one space open and I would love for you to attend. Click here to find out more or email me at info@leahadams.org. 

 

This post has been bubbling in my head for a while now. As often happens, a book that I have read prompts lots of pondering. In this case, the book is Chip Ingram’s Good to Great: 10 Practices Great Christians Have in Common.

In this book, Ingram outlines ten practices that are present in the life of Christians who are really walking out a Jesus-like life. Now, not all 10 are evident in every great Christian, but more often than not, many of them are. Some of these practices include thinking great thoughts, reading great books, praying great prayers, taking great risks, making great sacrifices, and the one that has prompted today’s post is PURSUE GREAT PEOPLE.

In the chapter entitled “Pursue Great People” Ingram shares an exercise that helped him identify those people who have poured into his life and shaped him spiritually over the years. He called that portion of the exercise looking in the rearview mirror of life. Ingram also used a visual to help the reader with this exercise. In South Dakota (USA) there are four faces carved into the granite of Mount Rushmore. Four men are represented who are part of the history of America: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them contributed to the fabric of America in a unique and special way. In this ‘rearview mirror ‘ exercise, Ingram encouraged the reader to develop their own Mount Rushmore by identifying four or five people whose ‘influence has been positive and indelible.’

He also encouraged the reader to look out the windshield of life and identify three other groups of people: a Paul who has been or is a mentor, a Timothy who would benefit from being mentored, and a Barnabas who consistently encourages your faith walk.

I was completely drawn in to the stories Ingram shared about these important people in his life. I was also spurred to begin thinking about my own life and the people who have molded and shaped me, as well as those who I have the opportunity to pour into.

 

 

Faces of Influence My Mount Rushmore

 

 

Today I would like to share briefly the people on my Mount Rushmore. To be honest, this was a tough exercise because there are many people who have poured so much into my life over the years, but after much thought I was able to narrow it down to the following (in the order in which they came into my life):

 

My Daddy

My Daddy was my first hero and the man who taught me about generosity, perseverance and determination. Having lived almost his entire life with the residual effects of polio, he overcame so much to live a full and productive life. He was an astute businessman and a devoted husband and father. He taught me a strong work ethic ~ give a good day of work for a good day of pay AND if there is a job to be done, do it, even if it doesn’t fit your job description. Daddy was incredibly generous and felt that it was important to help others who were in need.

 

Grandma Eula Colwell

Grandma Eula loved Jesus unlike anyone I had ever met. She talked about Him as if He was right beside her. I didn’t understand that He actually was living in her heart until later in my life. Jesus was very real to her and she walked out a relationship with him that was born of time spent in His Word and prayer. As I child I recall her saying that she was looking forward to going to heaven and seeing Jesus. My twelve-year-old self thought, “Whaaat? That’s crazy to wish for heaven!” Now, my fifty-three-year-old self completely understands her longing for heaven. Grandma Eula had a deep and abiding faith that I wanted for myself.

 

Uncle Jack Parker

Uncle Jack came into my life when I was in middle school. He and his family had always lived in New Jersey, so I did not know them that well. In the mid-late 1970s they moved back South to my hometown and Uncle Jack began teaching in the middle school. He taught, what was then called, the gifted class. I was not exactly sure what my gift was, but I ended up in his class and I am so much the better for it. He formed a debate team, I signed up for it, and there my love of public speaking was birthed. He also encouraged me to write creatively, and that is where my gift of writing first blossomed. All the students loved him because he was such an encourager, pushing and prompting us to think bigger. Today, Uncle Jack is near 90 and still going strong. I am so grateful to him for cultivating my passions for speaking and writing. 

 

My Husband, Greg Adams

Although I had known Greg since I was about 15 years old (he dated my best friend in high school), I really did not know the kind of man he was until we married. He is a man of deep devotion to those he loves and unswerving character. Over the years of our marriage he has pushed me to examine my character and lifestyle choices and to bring them in line with the standards of Christ. Believe me, I needed that early in our marriage. I had really gone off the rails in my 20s in regard to character choices.

Greg’s dedication to his son is something that is rarely seen in today’s society where everyone is all about themselves. Every other weekend for 16 years Greg drove to Birmingham, AL to see Charlie. Depending on where we lived, that was either a 2 hour drive each way or a 4 hour drive each way. Nothing prevented him from going and investing that time in Charlie’s life. For sixteen solid years….every other weekend. Today, Charlie is 25 years old and he and Greg have a close relationship because Greg made the choice to do the right thing in a tough situation.

Greg has taught me the importance of doing the right thing even when it is not convenient or fun.

 

Beth Moore

I have never met Beth Moore, but she has had a profound and lasting influence on my spiritual life. In 2001 God gave me a hunger for ladies’ Bible study. I had not the first idea how to feed that hunger. Thankfully, my friend, Kennetha, suggested we form a ladies’ Bible study group and use material by Beth Moore. I had no idea who Beth Moore was, but I was soon to find out. We started our group in January 2001 and studied Moore’s Jesus The One and Only in-depth study.

Rarely had I seen someone so in love with Jesus and the Scriptures. Beth Moore was a woman whose heart was, and remains, sold out to Jesus. Her mission is biblical literacy and it was contagious to me. I wanted what she had. I wanted that hunger for the Word, that intimacy with Jesus. Our group went on to use most of Moore’s resources and with each study, my faith and desire for Christ grew.

Although I will likely never meet Mrs. Moore, one day in heaven, with tears in my eyes, I will thank her for her faithfulness to write material for women’s Bible study groups.

 

There you have it. My Mount Rushmore. Some of the people in my life who have left an indelible influence on my heart and life.

Who is on your Mount Rushmore? I would love for you to share in the comments or via email at info@leahadams.org.

 

SDG/FCA!!

 

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Sharing Life: 3 Ways to Help Mentor a Teenager

Today it is my privilege to welcome Sarah to my Sharing Life series. We met in an online blogger’s group and I have found her to be engaging and serious about reaching out to teen girls. She is the founder and operator of Transformed4More.com, a ministry for teenaged girls. She has a heart for teenagers and wants them to realize that the false ideas and fantasies the world sells them will never fulfill them. That is something only God can do.

Please connect with Sarah using the links at the end of this post.

 

3 Ways to Mentor a Teen

 

Oh, the teenage years. Whether they were the best days of your life, or you’re glad you only had to do them once, most can agree it proves a stressful time. Parents, teachers, friends, dating, driving, getting your first job, preparing for adult life in such a short span can be overwhelming at times.

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic shift in our culture towards the acceptance of sin in virtually any form. Today, it is more important than ever to be sure you are setting an example for Christ and mentoring any teenager or young person you can.

The thought of mentoring a teenager can seem intimidating to some; however, today’s post is geared to help you overcome your fear and show you how to help mentor any teen you come in consistent contact with. So how do you help?

Don’t let fear stop you

What if they don’t think I’m cool?”

“I haven’t been in high school in 20 years, what do I know about teens today?”

“What would we talk about?”

“What if I mess up?”

Fear commonly gets in the way when we attempt to do God’s work. Don’t listen to the fear; it is not of God. In fact, the Bible says “Fear not” over 300 times!

Many people think teenagers are particularly judgmental.  This may be true in how they relate to their peers, but, honestly, it does not often stretch to adults. Most of the time, they appreciate the chance to talk about themselves and have someone take an interest in them.

Don’t let the fear of “what if” stop you from making Kingdom impact.

 

Be consistent

Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Does this mean you have to mentor a teen forever? No, but since we are to model the life of Christ, this verse reveals the importance of consistency.  This trait proves a key factor in building a mentoring relationship.

If you want to be a true mentor, you need to be consistent with your time. Whether it’s checking up on them Sunday at church, coffee on Thursday nights, or get togethers every other week,  being intentional about your time goes a long way in showing the teen that you genuinely care. They can “smell” fake. I swear.

 

Listen more than you talk

James 1:19 stresses, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”

When mentoring, it can be hard not to want to share your expertise and life experience that you feel would help your teen. However, always do more listening than speaking; sometimes all they need is for you to listen.

After you feel like they’ve “gotten it off their chest,” ask if they would like your advice or if they’d like to know how a similar situation happened to you. Realizing that you truly listened to them will make them more open to your stories and advice.

 

In Closing

 It’s been said, “Whoever wants the next generation will get them.” Satan is fighting hard to add to his numbers. We need take steps to do whatever we can to win this next generation for Christ. Is there any teen in your life you could invest more in to? Are there mentoring opportunities you’ve always wanted to do, but fear is holding you back? Don’t let it!

Never be afraid to do Kingdom work. If God is with you, who can be against you?

Sarah Tranformed 4 More

 

You can connect with Sarah in several ways:

Social Media:

Instagram: Transformed4More

Twitter: @Transformed4Mor

Facebook: Transformed4More

Pinterest: Transformed4Mor

You Tube: Transformed4More Ministries

Website: Transformed4More.com

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Does Your Life Flow Inward or Outward?

I don’t know about you, but for me, it is so easy to fall into the world’s line of thinking.

 

I got mine, you get yours.

 

It’s all about me.

 

What’s in it for me?

 

Problem is, for a Christian, this way of thinking is completely contrary to what Jesus taught. It is also contrary to what I had modeled for me growing up. Although I never fully realized the scope of what my parents did for others until they were gone, I knew they were generous toward those who were in need…both in the body of Christ and outside of it.

 

 

Does Your Life Flow Inward or Outward

 

 

At my Daddy’s funeral, my Mother, Sister, and I greeted hundreds who came to pay their respects. Over and over people told us how my Daddy had helped them.

He paid my house payment when I was about to lose my home.

 

He came to my appliance store, bought a refrigerator, and told me where to deliver it. But he said that I was not to tell the recipients who provided it.

 

When my electricity was about to be cut off, he paid my bill.

 

He bailed me out of jail when I made a poor choice.

Then, when my Mother died, many shared similar stories of her love and generosity.

These testimonies, and so many more, were evidence of Romans 12:13 in the life of my parents.

 

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

I love the reminder offered by John MacArthur in his commentary on the book of Romans.

 

The flow of the supernatural life is outward, not inward.

 

It is true. The life modeled after Jesus is not a life of selfish ambition, but one of self-less sacrifice and offering.

Billy Graham said:

 

The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.

 

As I think about the life that Jesus lived, I see a life of service and hospitality to others:

He healed

He restored life

He taught

He loved

He wept

He ate with the outcast

He never heaped shame on those who sought Him out

He took my place on the cross and paid the fine for my sin

 

So, really, how can I justify being selfish and self-serving? Everything I have…my body, my money, my talents, my time, my home, everything…..is on loan to me from God. None of it is really mine, so if the Jesus-life tells me to be generous in giving and hospitable to others, how can I do otherwise?

The question then becomes whether the flow of my life is outward or inward. It is the question for your life, as well.

Outward or Inward?

 

One of the ways I seek to help women develop that outward flowing life is to encourage them to walk more intimately with Christ. September 15-17, 2017 the Come Away retreat for women will offer ladies an opportunity to lean into Jesus in a beautiful, relaxed setting. In our world of constant stimulation and social media, one must be intentional in their pursuit of Christ. Come Away with Jesus for a weekend! Click HERE to learn more.

 

SDG/FCA!!

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When Life Looks Different Than What You Had Planned

Every week I am privileged to spend an hour or so of private time with my pastor’s sweet wife, Becca. We talk, we share, we cry, we pray, we simply do life together. She is young enough to be my daughter, and I love her as if she were. She is a beautiful, honest, all-out-crazy-for-Jesus young woman. Her heart is very much for seeing those who do not know Jesus come to Him, and she is a blessing to me in a dozen different ways.

Recently we were talking about how God’s plans often end up looking very different from the plans that we make for our life. I shared with her how true that is for me, especially in regard to ministry.

 

When Life Looks Different Than What you Had Planned

 

I told her that when the Lord called me into ministry in 2007, He made it so clear that I was to speak and teach God’s Word. He confirmed it through several avenues, and so I stepped boldly into that calling. To be very transparent, I secretly hoped I would be the next Christian teacher ‘star’….’the next Beth Moore’, as so many told me at my speaking engagements. I know….ten years into this wild ministry ride, I see how ridiculous and prideful that sounds, but I’m just being honest with you.

For about seven years all of my dreams seemed to be on track. I spoke at ladies events all over the southeast. I was blessed to write and publish four books. Ministry life was good and going according to ‘my plans’. I held on tightly to a quote I read on a flip calendar somewhere. It said something like this: It can take ten years to be an ‘overnight sensation’.

As Becca and I talked, I shared with her that when my ministry began to change, at first I was not happy with God about it. I saw other speakers going on to bigger and better things, while God seemed to be drawing down my ministry. Oh, He was not pulling me out of ministry. Rather, He was changing what ministry looked like for me. Instead of the big stage, it was more one-on-one and small group ministry. Instead of preparing messages to be delivered to a few hundred women, I was pulling together ingredients for making biscuits and pound cakes and chicken and dressing. Instead of spending time writing more books, I am spending face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder time loving on, mentoring, and doing life with women. And you know what, now I love it and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

 

God uses broken things

 

 

I had a choice about how I would respond when God changed up ministry. I could have been angry with Him and pouted. (yeah, that would have worked out well!) I could have been jealous over the speaking opportunities and book contracts that other people received. (hmmm, that would have been pretty!) Instead I bent my knee to God’s plan and have found incredible peace and satisfaction in ministry. Don’t misunderstand me, there were fleeting moments of ‘why, God?’ questions and green-with-envy jealousy, but those were only for a moment. I knew that God sees the big picture, and whatever He ordains for me is for my good and for His glory. I realized that to grasp for anything else is relational suicide as far as my relationship with God goes.

Sometime after Becca and I shared that conversation I received a text from her that made my heart so full of love for her and gratitude to God for how He is allowing me to serve His kingdom.

I love you so much, Leah. I’m so, so, so, so thankful God didn’t make you the ‘next Beth Moore” because our time on the porch feels like the closest thing to Heaven on earth to me. I am so glad you’re in my life. Thank you.

I do not always do life and ministry perfectly, but I love that He trusts me with it at all. Me! A woman who has made her share of mistakes and oopsies in life, but who falls so heavily on the grace and mercy of Jesus.

Part of the ‘new’ look for ministry for me is the upcoming Come Away retreat that I am hosting in September. I’d love for you to pray about attending.

 

Come Away Retreat

 

Come Away will be an intimate time of leaning into Jesus through worship, Scripture study, and prayer. We will set aside tweets and posts and hashtags in order to hear from Jesus about how crazy He is over us. The retreat will be held September 15-17, 2017. Pop over HERE to learn more details.

SDG/FCA!!

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How Do You Treat Other Christians?

Have you ever watched a sea gull? When in flight he powerfully lifts himself higher and higher with every flap of his wings until he is higher than any other gull. Then, he gracefully circles down to the earth. The gull seems to be all about performing and excelling.

What happens, though, when Mr. Gull gets into a flock of gulls? It is not a pretty sight. There are territorial fights over food that cause feathers to fly everywhere. The word ‘share’ is not in the gull’s vocabulary. Philip Yancey said that ‘they are so fiercely competitive and jealous that if you tie a red ribbon around the leg of one gull, making him stand out, you sentence him to execution. The others in his flock will furiously attack him with claws and beaks, hammering through feathers and flesh to draw blood. They’ll continue until he lies flattened in a bloody heap.”

 

Romans 12 10 How Do you Treat Other Christians

 

By contrast, consider a flock of geese. You’ve seen them flying in a V-formation, honking all the way to wherever they are going. Scientists know that geese fly faster in that V-formation. The lead goose is the one doing all the work, flying against the wind. It is because of this that there is a regular swapping of positions among the geese in the V which allows the flock to fly long distances without stopping to rest. Everyone shares in the tough job.

The geese with the easiest jobs are those in the back…the last one on each end of the V. It has been observed that the stronger geese allow the weaker and older of the flock to stay in these lighter-work positions. All that honking may even be a way for the geese to encourage one another to keep flying.

If a goose becomes too sick or weak to fly, she is not abandoned. A healthy goose will stay on the ground with the sick or weak one until she is ready to fly again. While gulls are individualistic and territorial, geese are concerned about the flock as a whole, as well as their individual goose-friends.

Into this story we insert today’s verse in our Authentic Christianity study. Check out Romans 12:10.

 

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

 

The kind of love that is being spoken of in this verse is the love of a friend or a family member, rather than romantic love. As Christians we are to be tenderly affectionate toward other Christians. We are to seek the good of our Christian brothers and sisters, rather than maligning them and dishonoring them. The apostle Paul echoed this admonition in Philippians 2:3 when he told the believers in Philippi to consider others better than themselves.

I will just tell you that the last part of Romans 12:10 is hugely convicting to me. HUGELY! I fail miserably at showing honor to other people. Oh sure, I honor my parents and those who are older than me. But, I sometimes get a big old ‘F’ when it comes to honoring those who seem to be making poor life choices or are different than me. This should remind us of Romans 12:3 where we are told to ‘not think more highly of ourselves than we ought’.  If we take this verse seriously, we will show real appreciation, respect, and care for others. We will put their welfare before our own, and we will be Jesus-with-skin-on to them.

So, friend, are you a gull or a goose?

 

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Easter, Accountability and A Gift for YOU!

NOTE: If you are reading this post via email, you will need go to my website in order to see the video and access the GIFT I have for you. Click HERE to go to my website. When you arrive there, please look for the Friday, April 14th post.

Today I wanted to offer a video post because I hope to be able to convey how important I believe this week’s posts have been. Surely, I am not the only one out there who is desperately in need of a word make-over! Surely, I am not the only one in need of grace for her tongue. Surely, I am not the only one who needs accountability in her life?

 

Easter, Accountability and A Gift for You!

 

I hope you will take the time to watch the video. I also hope you will be sensitive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in your own heart. Here are links to my Monday and Wednesday posts that I reference in the video.

I would love to hear from you if you decide to take a journey similar to mine. You can use these principles for more than just changing words. They can be used to break free of all kinds of strongholds…lying, anger, alcoholism, adultery, pornography, overeating and so much more. Scripture memorization, prayer, and accountability. Three tools that have the blessing of God for you, His child.

 

 

May this gift will be a blessing to you, my readers. I hope it will help you in your journey toward words of grace. Please click the blue button below and follow the prompts to download and print your Grace-Full Scripture Cards.