Investing in the Now

When we lived in Switzerland, I used to go down to the local bookstore and spend a few hours a day reading the small amount of books they had in English on creativity, leadership, and Christianity. And I did this because I had brought 8-10 books over to Switzerland and finished those within a few weeks. Whatever I was reading, I would take copious notes, fill the pages with phrases, ideas, and quotes, until the entire notebook was full.

I wasn’t working at a church. I didn’t have a leadership position (well, I was the head coach of a baseball team, the Therwil Flyers, but I wasn’t thinking of it as a leadership role). And I wasn’t necessarily doing anything creative.

But I had a vision. And that vision was to work in a church and build God’s kingdom.

I still have those notebooks, having filled more than a few with handwritten notes from books I had read. Even though I occasionally (but rarely) look back on those notes (I think at last count I had 13 full notebooks of notes from books), that’s not what God was doing in my life. I wasn’t filling up pages of notebooks so I could reference them later.

I was filling up my soul and investing in the now so that God could use that investment later.

People often wait for circumstances to change before they begin working and investing. Admittedly, I have at times struggled with waiting for circumstances to change before I really go for it.

But somewhere, someone along the way encouraged me to consider investing in the now regardless of circumstances. With that truth, I spent much of my early 20s investing, reading, growing, and filling up my mind, heart, and soul with the words of people wiser, smarter, and Godlier than myself. What if I hadn’t prepared? What if I hadn’t invested? Would I be doing what I do now? Would I be ready to serve God in this role in this moment?

I don’t think so.

If I can encourage anyone, especially those in their early 20s or those who are wondering if their circumstances will ever change, focus on what you can do to invest in the now. God will use that in more ways then you will probably ever realize, especially when your circumstances do change for the better.

Anticipation

We’re nearing the fall kick-off of Student Ministries, and there is a high buzz of anticipation, within the students and volunteers, but also within my own soul.

I’m not sure where I picked up this practice or even when I started doing it, but I’ve started turning that anticipation into pre-praising God for all the great things he is going to do.

In other words, my prayers turn into prayers of gratitude for things that haven’t happened yet, but things¬†I believe God will make happen soon.

As I’ve done this, I’ve noticed my anticipation turn away from anxiety and turn into a more complete faith.

I’m pre-praising God for the ways he is going to bring thousands of students into loving church and teaching them to invite their friends. I’m pre-praising God for the ways an adult will love and know a student, and for the ways these students will grow in their faith by serving. I’m pre-praising God for the hundreds of students who are going to make a first-time commitment to follow him. And I’m pre-praising God for the ways he’s going to continue a movement of students who prepare to be lifelong followers of Jesus!

The anticipation is high, and I believe with every fiber of my being that God not only equals my anticipation, but that he wants to show us even greater things than our minds can imagine!