#slowitdownSunday / the honor of filling in for my dad on a Sunday morning for the first time ever

the daily Starr slow it down Sunday

My dad has been feeling under the weather all week with bad congestion and cough. I was beyond honored that he asked me to speak to our congregation this morning to fill in his spot at our pulpit! I mean really – he DOES know how crazy I truly am and he STILL asked me to speak??>?!??!

Dad, thank you for this opportunity to share from my heart. I don’t take the responsibility lightly and I also have a greater appreciation for the enormous amount of pressure and thought that goes into preparing to speak each and every week. You do it with grace and humility. I’m so thankful to have you as our Pastor.

Here’s a short overview of my very first “sermon” I brought to our congregation today –

The next 28 days

Do you know what happens in 28 days? We’ll be gathering in our churches bright and early that morning! Yes, only 28 days until the biggest celebration of our Christian Faith. Easter!

The scripture for today’s topic comes from the book of Psalms.

I’m not good with numbers, but God does teach us that in order to get a heart of wisdom, we must indeed number our days.

Today, we’re focusing on the next 28 days. And if you’re really into numbers (like my human calculator of a husband), here is the official breakdown for you.

Don’t worry. I had Brian do those calculations, so they are actually RIGHT! Ha!

So, what will you do with the next 28 days, 672 hours, 40,320 minutes?

Will you spend that time getting ready for Easter celebrations – egg hunts, Sunday dinners with the family, Easter dresses and bonnets, etc?

OR – will you intentionally choose to spend the next 28 days preparing your heart to make this the most amazing Easter you’ve ever experienced?

This is my prayer – that we would all stop and spend the next 28 days differently than ever before.

To do just that, I’ve created a 5 step plan for us! Yay! Take notes!!

And here we go…

Just 3 short chapters in the book of Mark give us an overview of the important events leading up to Easter. Why not make it a point to read those chapters in preparation for the celebration?

You’ll find these events within Mark 14, 15 and 16:

Even if we’ve heard the story over and over, read it many times over the years – it still does a soul good to be reminded of what our Christ went through on our behalf. THIS is the story of our faith. THIS is the story of Easter.

What if we all walked into church in 28 days on Resurrection Sunday depending less on the music and sermon to remind us of the story of Christ?

Okay, so we’ve read the story. Now what? Find one friend to read it with you and then talk about it.

I’ve learned over the years that I’m more likely to do something –

#1 – if I have to teach it or talk about it with someone else

#2 – if someone is holding me accountable and asking me questions

Why not bring a friend along in the next 28 days to read the story in Mark with you and then chat about what you’ve learned? You don’t have to do an in-depth study, no. Just read and talk about it.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t really have a friend or anyone I know that would do this with me!”

Here is what you need to do:

HA!

Don’t hang out with the chickens.

Find the eagle friends. They will help you learn to fly.

That’s good stuff right there.

Friends are meant to help each other. We’re reminded of that in scripture.

I’m beyond grateful for the eagle friends God has placed in my life over the years that have helped shape me and my walk with Christ.

 

I’m learning more and more that we’ll always find a reason of why God can’t use us right now.

Our circumstances, we’re not ready, this hasn’t happened, this needs to change….etc, etc, etc.

But what if God wants to use you right now despite all of your brokenness and imperfections? What if He wants to use you EXACTLY where you are right now? In big and small ways.

Our ladies did a Bible study several years ago by Lysa TerKeurst called What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.

There was a quote from Lysa in that study of a prayer she started saying every day. It stuck with me and most days this prayer comes to my mind right when I wake up or while I’m in the shower starting my day.

It’s that simple. Just say yes to Him.

It doesn’t have to be life changing.

It can be small unexpected ways of serving every day. Here’s a video reminder of what that looks like in everyday life.

I love that scripture shared at the end of the video that reminds us to let our light shine. Here’s what it says in the Message Bible translation:

On to the next step!

Excuses. We all have them. I’m the worst. I’ll find an excuse to put anything off or to procrastinate. It’s part of who I am.

I’m constantly fighting the urge to make excuses in my own life.  This reminder from the book No More Excuses shows exactly why we should get rid of our excuses, show up, have a plan and take action!

Look at that!! I know we’re all gonna show up in the next 28 days, you have a plan (hello, I’m giving it to you), you’re gonna take action with accountability and you’re gonna SUCCEED!!

Yes! Go GOD!!

Now, the last step and my favorite.

One of our local Chick-fil-A owners and operators spoke at a Bible study I attend recently. He shared the corporate purpose and mission behind their business. I was blown away. This video was part of his presentation and I can’t get it off my mind.

Please, please, please – take 2 minutes and watch this.

Are you in tears?? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Are we going to be the people that take the time over the next 28 days to bother to read the stories of those around us?

Every life has a story.

Jesus died for those stories.

It’s our time to be the hands and feet that show His love.

What better time to do that than the next 28 days?

It could change your life.

I hope you’re challenged to step up to the plate with me and make this the best Easter we’ve ever experienced.

Lord, teach us to number our days.

Starr signature

 

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