One way you know where YOU can be the transformation the world needs

This post is from Jennifer Grant’s article written on Fulfill Magazine’s site.  (see link below)

Jennifer Grant writes: 

In his book Beyond Words, Frederick Buechner wrote “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where…you should go next.”

Take heart that this new part of life is about more than you.

Connie Writes:

“Pay attention to what brings tears in your eyes”…. I love that.  It reveals so much about something greater inside of us;

inner passion

injustice that angers you

empathy in your heart towards others going through the same thing

compassion

 

Yes, pay attention to what grips your heart, pain you’ve experienced, grief you have carried…. because it opens your eyes to those the same.  Our culture-rebel from yesterday’s blog, Karin, would have never started her Chapacisers group if not being left to feel like a loser, alone in the dark.  It fueled a flame that has been a wave of impact in her community.

 

Your pain and burdens are a gift to you to be able to truly see.  Without them, we would remain blind to needs around us.

 

Inside of you is the capacity for transformation.  Your tears direct you where that transformation is to be directed.

 

What brings tears to your eyes?  What moves your heart?  Feel free to comment your answer!

 

Jennifer’s full article can be found at:  

http://fullfillmagazine.blogspot.com/2011/10/pay-attention-to-what-makes-you-cry.html#

As well as you can learn all about the amazing things that have moved Jennifer’s  heart on her website; http://jennifergrant.com

Her latest book, “Love You More” moved me more than words can express.

 

 

 

You’ll be amazed at what this woman simply did to impact her community…

The Chapacisers will shape you up…. and shape a little culture while they’re at it!

I am so excited to introduce you to Karin Henderson. She’s vibrant, energetic, bubbly,  and she’s not just a culture rebel… she’s a culture-maker.   And she’s just a normal person like you and I doing some great things.

Karin had a goal to run a half marathon and noticed that there was always people running in her Calgary community of Chapparal.  She decided to start seeing if people in her community wanted to start running and training together.   What has resulted is something bigger than she expected, and is impacting her entire community.

No one left behind

The birth of the Chapacisers happened through a bad experience Karin had a with a running group who left her behind in the dark, alone at night in an area she wasn’t comfortable in.   She determined she wouldn’t let this happen to others.  She got some ladies in her community together to train for a half marathon.  The rule was; no one gets left behind.  When it came time for the half marathon, due to an injury, Karin struggled through the race only to finish last at 3 hours and 10 minutes.  Guess who was there at the finish line despite the freezing cold winter day?  Her running buddies cheering her on!  No one left behind.  Karin had created herself some culture!  Soon, her running group had gone from 5 to 30.

Creating a community 

The group was gaining interest and momentum.  They had a naming contest and “Chapacisers” became official.   They began getting community sponsors and increasing the various programs they would provide for the community in regards to health and fitness.  They now not only have running groups but walking groups, bootcamps, and ladies nights out.  Just recently, they had 50 women head out as a team to run the RMS women’s run in Canmore.  Not to mention just this past October, another 50 women running in the CIBC Run for the Cure and winning the Top Women’s Fundraising Team Award!

 

They not only exercise, but they sponsor families and organize food hampers at Christmas.  Karin’s idea has turned into a place for women of all ages to find friendships in a lonely world, achieve health-based goals, AND be able to find the joy of giving to the community.  That’s some powerful stuff.

 

Mommy!  There are your friends!

The cool thing about Chapacisers is that its not an exclusive group of yummy mommies concerned with gravitating towards those who are the same.   Their group is made up of women from all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.  There are working moms, retired moms and moms to be.  There are sisters, cousins, mothers and daughters.  They laugh, share ideas and get fit together!   The coolest thing I heard Karin say is that their children will see people out being active and say; “Mommy! There are your friends!”.   How amazing is it that a community is getting to know one another  rather than retreating from the car to the front door.

 

Their group is now over 100 members!  100 people who have been brought out of isolation to experience the beauty of community…. something our culture longs for, but runs from.

 

Weight has been lost and confidence has been gained. People’s lives have been impacted. The ladies in the community have met new friends, come out of their shells and some have found a new outlook on life!

 

Does it take a bit of work? Yes

Does it take a time commitment? Yes

 

But Karin and the Chapacisers are making a huge impact on their community and creating a wonderful place for their kids to grow up.  They’re taking back the role of supermodel for others and their children by modeling health, acceptance and the power of living in community.

 

The Culture Rebel Challenge: 

When I asked Karin, “Why did you start this group?”, she replied “It wasn’t so much about ‘why’, but ‘why not’!”

How about you?  Are you living in isolation?  Afraid of the world around you?  Lonely?  Not liking the community you live in?  Have you ever thought that you, too, could spark hope in the community you live in?  We always assume those who do these things are heroic and different, but I can guarantee you, Karin is just like you and I.  The difference is, she stepped out.

Will you?  What are some interests  you have that could bring people together around you?  It’s really that simple.

Why not?….

blogs, books, and platforms….. and the criticism I’ve taken this week

Funny that when you step out to do something  you’re passionate about, you  are instantly questioned.  I mean, I knew it was coming.  It took me half a  year to tell the general public that I’m writing a book for fear of being misunderstood.  What does everyone want to know?  “Are you trying to build a platform for yourself?”  “Do you think you’re a rockstar?”

Very simply… no.

All I could think was, “this is only the first week of the launch of the new blog?  Is this going to be my life for the next number of years?  What happens when the actual book comes out?  No wonder women struggle stepping out.   This has fired me up inside about another rebellion….

a rebellion to the idea of the platform.

What a stupid concept (no offense).  I really think the idea of a platform is an old concept that needs throwing out.   Why?  Because it gives the impression that one person gets to invest in their God-given skills while the rest are only worthy of watching.   The result is a bunch of star-struck, awe-filled people in their own prisons, longing to do something of significance but blind to the radical concept that they, too, are more than capable.   A platform has room for one person, maybe a couple, but certainly not the whole crowd.  It can easily create the “us four no more” mentality.

Now don’t hear what I’m not saying, I’m not saying that having a platform is wrong.  We all have an audience that needs our life-message.  No audience, no impact.   What I do have a problem with is our concept of the platform; that what we’re doing doesn’t matter unless it goes national, better yet, international.  Unless our book gets on the “best seller” list.  Unless our blog has a certain number of readers.  Unless we have this many facebook friends or twitter followers…. unless (fill in the blank)

Stuff and nonsense.

What I suggest in contrast is a flatform.  A place where, yes, you can be heard and use the unique voice God has given you, but also where others are empowered to do the same.   As a leader, sometimes I lead, but I also follow.   I know when my voice is needed, and when another’s is the one contributing.   A flatform is made up of those who know that their message is needed, AND they are also willing to cheer for others as well.  They’re not consumed with their own empire alone, but also with what others are doing that enhance God’s dream for His earth.

A flatform leaves no room for nay-sayers, jealousy, strife, envy and questioning.  I can’t tell you how many snide remarks I’ve had about my adventure to write a book.   What I FEEL like saying is: “If its in your heart then WHY NOT YOU TOO?!”   Geesh.  You matter too, now can we move on?

A flatform will put your motive to the test; are you ok to never experience the glamor of “international exposure?”  Are you ok to bring the best of your voice to even the hundreds?  The dozens?  The one?….   Can you still believe no matter the number that what you have to offer is significant?

It doesn’t mean you don’t try to stand out.  For heaven’s sake somebody please stand out!  Do what you can to throw your message out to the masses to find out who needs to hear your voice.  Don’t be ashamed of letting people know through social media channels such as blogging, facebook, twitter.  It doesn’t mean you’re high on yourself, it means you’re creating space to serve.

The idea of a flatform provides all with an opportunity to serve.  Isn’t that what we all long for?  It’s you inviting people into a “deeper story” as blogger, Jeff Goins wrote just the other day.  To be productive for the greater good?  Can you and I allow others around us to do that?

The stage has been flattened.  That’s my rebellion.  I’m not out for rockstar status, I’m out to make a way for voices to be heard…. for rebels to rise.  I challenge YOU to be one of them and leave the platform in the dust.

what you do during the toughest times of your life….

You stand there.  Don’t let anything move you.  When wind of doubt threatens to throw you off your place, you plant your feet firmer. When obstacles hurl themselves towards you, duck but don’t back down.  Stand there.   When you are about to be pushed over by the weight of hardship, lean in and push against it.

 

Its harder to stand than to move.   Try standing in one spot and not move for fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, an hour…. it’s hard.  Likewise, it’s hard to stand and  face your doubt square in the face.  To be honest with your inner emotion, to have the courage to hand it over into the hands of a loving God…. to believe.  To still believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that what He says He is, He IS.   It goes against the very fabric of our culture to stand and still believe when the message everywhere is to run to things that will help make it all better; shopping, another coffee, a promotion, a night on the town, the image a group of friends can bring, a new shade of lipstick…. but all it does is keep us in its grip, only to repeat the cycle again, and leaving us empty.

 

Can you still believe He is love, He is good, kind despite what’s been happened to you?  Can you have enough faith to believe in God’s complete ability to restore your life?  Even further, can you have enough faith to believe that in the meantime brokenness can bring life to you greater than you’ve known; fellowship with Jesus and His sufferings.

 

Suffering?  There’s a word that our culture avoids at all costs…. because it goes right against the god of self.

 

Do you blame yourself?  Do you think its because you somehow haven’t met God’s ideals?  Do you feel you fell short and he’s punishing you?   I went through a season like that.  I lost a job I loved, my father passed away suddenly from cancer, three months later, I lost my grandma who I was very close with unexpectedly to heart failure.  All I was left with was doubt.  The next few years I lost more; my grandpa, my hip hop business I started from the ground up, almost all of my friends, and the hardest hit of all; moving to a new city, bringing me to the loneliest place I’ve ever been.  I thought God had left me.  I was numb.  I wanted to live for Him, but felt I was no longer invited.  All I could say to God for two years was; “I’m so sorry…”   I could only pray He would hear me.  Too bad I didn’t stick around long enough to hear his response.

 

What do you do when your life isn’t turning out the way you thought?  Where’s God??  Maybe there’s more to suffering and this life than we think?   Looking back, I can see the depth brokenness and hardship created in my life.   That depth wasn’t there before.  Mountain tops give great views, but it’s the climb that builds the muscles.    You can’t always have the spiritual-high.  At some point, tension needs to make you stronger.  So, back to the question: will you stand and stay standing?

 

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way”.  (James 1:2-4 The Message)

 

It takes guts to stand through the challenges without falling for the culture’s typical remedies.  And just because the verse says the end result is being mature and well-developed doesn’t mean you can’t be honest about the journey.  Once I finally realized God didn’t hate me, I was truthful with Him about my emotions; my grief, my disappointment, my pain, my anger…. and He was able to handle it.

 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. (Philippians 3:10)

 

When we “participate in His sufferings”, we know Him more.  Is that the cry of your heart; to know Him?  Are you willing to allow suffering to bring you closer to Him, rather than cause your heart to run from Him?   Are you willing to see suffering as an advocate rather than something to detest?  That’s probably one of our biggest challenges as culture rebels; to have the guts to participate with Christ IN suffering…. and to do it willingly.  Who DOES that??

 

It will take more courage than you know you have… but you DO  have it.   Don’t quit.   Dare to stand firm and let nothing move you.

 

And when you have done everything to stand…. stand some more.  That is the marking of a rebel…

 

(this blog is from a devotional being made ready for History Maker students in British Columbia)

The number one thing you need to know about poverty in North America…. and how it can be solved.

I had a meeting with Jeff Dyer, the Chief Operating Officer at the Mustard Seed, a ministry to the homeless in Calgary.  The Mustard Seed provides basic services, housing, and employment to the homeless,  quickly transitioning them from shelter to a place they can call home.

 

I was there because I’m ignorant about homelessness.   I’m tired of my comfortable bubble and wanted to at least seek to understand something, anything, about homelessness.  What he downloaded left me moved beyond words.    Here are Jeff’s words in the best way I can represent them.   Are we willing to hear?

 

If homelessness was a movie, loneliness would be the villain, and the hero would be community.  The power of community can solve homelessness and poverty.  Read that again.  And again.  And one more time until it sinks in; that means you and I have what it takes to end poverty.  All it takes is generosity, understanding, and an awareness that they are more like us than we think!

 

The problem isn’t homelessness; the problem is isolation and loneliness.  When Jeff said this to me, I was puzzled.  I was expecting an answer such as “addictions”, “lack of self-respect”, “laziness”, not loneliness.   If the problem of homelessness is rooted in isolation, then I have more in common as a mom of young kids who’s home a lot, with the one who finds themselves without shelter.

 

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to go from living in a temporary shelter  in community with 300 or so other people to living in an apartment all by yourself.  You can’t afford cable,  just four walls to look at with your addictions eating at every ounce of your self control.  You don’t know how to cook or where to find the nearest grocery store.  You wouldn’t even know what to do in a grocery store, as your normal grocery shop was usually done at the local garbage dump…..   it wouldn’t be long before living on the street in community looks better than the living hell of loneliness faced day in and day out.   Mom’s, we understand this, don’t we?

 

But what if community was found outside the streets and in the land of suburbia?  What if that person had invitations over for dinner from your normal, typical family who treated them like a person made to be valued;  who didn’t view them as a family charity-project, but as a friend?   What if they were shown the ropes of living on their own; like how Superstore is probably their best bet for cheaper groceries, and some helpful time-saving cooking tips?….. this happens in community.   This is something my family CAN participate in.

 

It will take us coming out of our ignorance of where these people are really coming from.  It will take a rebellion towards the mindset that says “You stay over there”.  It’s rebelling against all the myths about homelessness we’ve bought into.

 

Jeff said that each year the Mustard Seed has around 10,000 volunteers engaged in their ministry to some degree.  He’s grateful, yet has a greater dream of seeing that same number using their energies to help create a place for the one homeless to be welcomed back into society…. an invitation to be in community.

 

Ending homelessness is DOABLE!  If every faith community in Calgary adopted ONE homeless family, that would end it.  Serious?  That’s all it would take?  But you know what that means don’t you?  Church goers would have to be willing to make room for people they consider “odd”.  Even further, they would need to be willing to engage and welcome them into their lives.

 

According to Jeff, getting a homeless person a place to live “isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of the end” (taken from Winston Churchill)

 

Can we create space in our lives for the forgotten? The vulnerable and broken?  Can they be invited back into life?  The church was once the astonishing ones, the culture revolutionaries first on the social crisis scene.  Can we be a rebellious church that says NO THANKS to the lures of building kingdoms to brag about at conferences and YES to ministry Jesus, Himself was engaged fully in?  It’s not an evangelism program, it’s a compassionate response.  Will we be the first community to say; “you’re ok”?

 

What’s the difference between someone homeless and us?  A greater credit limit?  Segregation?  Circumstance?  The family we’re born into?…. nothing?   Are any of these an excuse to allow the poor to sink poorer while the rich get richer?  In an unstable economy, is it really far off to think that we could be in their shoes?    Jesus message was living AMONG the poor.  We need a society of rebels that wake up and pay attention.

 

The 20th century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing – John Berger

 

Are you a culture rebel?  Are you up to seek to understand how to be an answer to poverty and homelessness? Will  you go that far?

Find out what the first Culture-rebel challenge is… and if you can handle it

I will be telling the stories of people who are living like culture rebels from time to time on the blog.  Stories inspire and so I couldn’t think of a better start to our “meet culture rebels” section than to introduce you to a whole group of culture-rebels I’m proud to know; the Redbud Writers Guild.

 

They are a “new breed” of women. Women who are no longer bound by jealousy and competition. Women who are able to cheer for and promote one another without agenda. Women who know that their voice matters, and the ladies around them have voices that matter as well. Women who are coming out of isolation and fear and creating culture…. culture that is welcoming, inclusive, giving and empowering. This “new breed” is quite the rebel to what’s been the norm among women, yet alone authors! That’s why I love the buds: their a tad bit rebellious to the old woman of being guarded and aloof. They’ve created a whole new game that will give momentum.  A radical new expression making way for God’s girls.

 (this isn’t all of them, there’s many more!)

 

It goes beyond survival and expands to enrich the lives of others. “If there comes a time when the women of the world come together purely for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” (Matthew Arnold, nineteenth century poet and philosopher)

 

Besides, “well behaved women rarely make history” (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich)

 

Imagine women all over began to put aside competition and status and started to unselfishly cheer for one another?  What would that do inside of you?

 

THIS is the Rebel Challenge for the week: can you put aside your first reaction of jealousy or comparison and cheer for even those who threaten you most?  Who is one person this week you can swallow your pride and cheer for them… despite what YOU think.  Takes guts, it involves taking the harder path.  Are you up for it?  I believe inside of you lies a dangerous rebel who can change the very atmosphere you carry around you.

 

I’d love to hear your stories of working this challenge for 1 week!  feel free to tell them in the comments or send me a message at culturerebelonline@gmail.com

 

It’s time to stand up and be a rebel.

Where does the rebellion start? (and announcing the winner of the book!)

Thank you for all your comments on the blog yesterday and for stopping by, even if you didn’t read the blog.  I wanted to announce the winner of our draw by highlighting her comment.  (I didn’t base the winner on the content of the comment, but drew names from one of my cereal bowls….classy, eh?)

 

The winner of the book made this comment: “A Culture Rebel doesn’t just rebel against culture, they offer an alternative.” I love that! So many times Christians want to rebel against the status quo but don’t really think about what a biblical alternative would or could be.”

 

That’s a very interesting observation.  Are we just rebelling for rebellion’s sake?  Because being a bit of a rebel is the newest fad?   Just to say we did?  What’s the point of rebelling against the status quo?  What are we really wishing to achieve?  Its an enormous amount of effort, is it worth it?

 

To be all talk and no action (the alternative) will get old fast, and the hype will die quick.   Being the rebel is actually the easy part.   It’s what to do in response that’s the part that takes something deep inside the heart to spring up.   You see, we can have the best intentions, but as I discovered not too long ago, whatever is in my heart is what’s going to end up showing up… no matter how great my ideals are.   Bad heart, bad results.   The alternative I show with my life has to flow from a heart that has been through the ringer…. and still beats soft.   Still is willing to love when hate is permissive.  Still willing to cheer when others are hating.  Still willing to forgive when “karma” is wished for.  Still willing to listen to the One with greater wisdom…. and obey.

Transparency in a world of facade.

Honesty (when it hurts) in a world that encourages to do whatever it takes to get by.

Contentment in a world that encourages gratification NOW through means of credit.

 

The condition of the heart is where the alternative is born.  Imagine for a moment what a heart softened and formed by the Father could do in this world?

What alternatives would that bring?  Share your thoughts!

 

(oh, and by the way, the winner of our book draw was Debbie Thunberg!)

What on earth is a Culture Rebel??

Well, here we are! The first day of an exciting new journey!  Thanks for being a part of this special launch day of the Culture Rebel blog!  I hope you’ll stick around for the whole journey!   There’s a lot of ground to cover and some amazing people to meet.

 

“Culture Rebel”….Interesting term isn’t it?  I’d love to hear what your first impression of the term was as a comment! (remember, everyone who comments on the blog today will be entered to win the amazing book; Grumble Hallelujah by Caryn Dahlstrand Rivadeneria) here’s the link to her book on amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Grumble-Hallelujah-Learning-Love-Your/dp/1414338015/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318858391&sr=1-1

 

For me, I first discovered this term when reading the book; “The Missional Mom” by Helen Lee.  In this book is a chapter called; “The Missional Mom is a Culture-Rebel”.  Her book really impacted my life so I found myself reflecting on the depth of her words for months after reading.  I completely forgot about this term “Culture-Rebel” until after somewhere in my sub-conscious I pulled the term out, fell in love with it and determined to have it be the name of my book series.  When I remember where the inspiration had come from I was thankful she gave me a big “go for it”!

 

Everywhere we turn, messages are being preached to us through TV, billboards, magazines, newspapers, music, movies, school classrooms, offices, radio, print advertising, etc.  We can’t escape the messages constantly entering through our senses of hearing and seeing.  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself “why?”  Why do we think that way?  Why do we believe that?  Is it really true?   Is this really the way things “just are”?  Or are our value systems a result of these constant messages penetrating our brain-waves?   Is it all really “good” for us?  Is it all “bad”?

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t afraid of the question, “why?”

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t a puppet.  They don’t just fall for the norm.

 

A Culture Rebel doesn’t do status quo

 

A Culture Rebel gets out of the North American “bubble” and has a world-view that has brought some reality back home.

 

A Culture Rebel isn’t afraid to step out and be different.

 

A Culture Rebel doesn’t just rebel against culture, they offer an alternative.

 

A Culture Rebel brings transformation to society.

 

A Culture Rebel is a rebel WITH a cause

 

A Culture Rebel is living on the right edge (I’ll explain that later)

 

A Culture Rebel is a Culture MAKER.

 

 

Without overwhelming you with the pages I have in my mind, lets leave it at that today.  Do you stop to really think about what you’re hearing? Seeing? …. And doing as a result?   It’s time to start questioning; “why”.  There is the beginning of a Culture Rebel.

 

How about you?  What do you believe is the making of a Culture Rebel?

 

It’s finally here! Here it is revealed!

The word is out; I’m writing a book, a series of books actually, called “Culture Rebel”.   I’m thrilled and scared beyond belief at the same time.   The  idea behind Culture Rebel is deeply embedded within me through situations I’ve experienced over the past ten years.

I found myself in a dark place after experiencing a series of losses; loss of ministry position, loss of my father to cancer and then my grandmother three months later.  Loss of a business I had birthed from the ground up.  Loss of friendships I thought were loyal.   Moving from a city I loved to a city I could only tolerate.  Loss of all that was comfortable and known to me.   Some of these I lost because life just brings loss; case closed.   But much of what I lost was because I was stubborn and determined to succeed, to live on the edge, to dream and to live for my own ambition.  I became known for being a rebel; but I was a rebel without His cause in my heart.  I was building my kingdom.

Through the brokenness of my kingdom crashing down on me, I had no where else to look other than up at the One who I felt had abandoned me.  To the One I thought was so disappointed in me that He left me out to dry; to get what I deserved.   I had to face Him strait in the eye and ask for Him to take whatever was left of my pathetic life and somehow forgive it.    He did more than that; He restored it.   It took a long while for me to feel I was back on my feet, but after praying every day for one year for God to return my passion for Him back to my  heart, He did; and it came back with a force willing to embrace His kingdom and forever surrender mine.

You see, deep with in me (and I believe all mankind), is a desire for significance.   I wanted an edge to live on.  The edge of ambition, approval addiction, and success only left me in the dust.   The edge of becoming my own woman; building my business and dancing my nights away in the club only emptied my soul.   I was on the wrong edge.  I was a rebel without a cause.

If I’m going to be a rebel then I’m going to be a Culture Rebel: being rebellious to the negative messages culture preaches from all its mediums.  To stand-off to the status quo; busting out of mediocrity, and doing a full-on sprint to the edge of a new ideal: His ideal.  His dream for His kingdom to come on earth.

Are you ready to join me?  On this blog, I will be telling more of my story and the stories of other Culture Rebels out there.  If you’re one of them, send your story to me!  culturerebelonline@gmail.com

Subscribe, tell your friends…. its gonna be one heck of a ride.

 

1 36 37 38 Scroll to top