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1I recently was at a bible study where I heard a wonderful message from the following text:

Jeremiah 29:4-7

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:  “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.  Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give you daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters.  Increase in number there; do not decrease.  Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Ever since Adam has been in seminary, I have seen us in a transition period.  It can sometimes seem that this is a means to an end.  Even though Adam and I have only been in this stage of our lives for less than a year, I have viewed this as a stepping stone to the future.  I have been saying “I wish…” or “I can’t wait until…”  This verse is an important reminder to be present HERE in this stage of our life.

I need to invest in my life and the community I am in NOW.  I need to be present here and now and not only think of the future after Emmanuel.  And honestly, we’ll probably be here another three or so years just so Adam can finish his degree.  And wishing my way through those years would be no way to live.

God is telling the people not to be stagnant.  Prosper.  Grow.  Exile is only for a time:  don’t become out of practice.  I think it is important to remember that I need to be an active part of this community here.  I need to do my part to see this community prosper in Christ.

This was just an important reminder to engage in your life and community wherever you may be.  Even if you feel like you are in exile or that this is just temporary, flourish and grow where you are.  Be a part of your community, be hospitable.  Don’t just sit around and wait, ACT.

This is also important to remember with our churches.  If our church is really going to grow and prosper we must pray for the church.  We must also invest in the church and set down roots.  Even if we think we are in the area temporarily we must get involved in God’s community so we can grow and flourish spiritually as well.  We also need to put away the mindset of: “things will be better when…” or “just wait until…”  We must be involved in our church right now.

Just think of the amazing, God-given growth a church would experience if we were intentional and invested in our community.

Well, I’m sad to say that I have still not been able to find my notes on that book that I read to share with you, but I’m planning to do some cleaning and organizing this weekend, so hopefully they will turn up.

I wanted to share this really neat opportunity I have with you and ask you to pray about it with me.

A former professor of mine recently passed on a scholarship opportunity that she thought I would be interested in and recommended I apply, and I was very interested in this opportunity.

There is a group called the Religion Communicators Council (which I never knew about before but wish I had).  They are an interfaith group of professionals in the field of religious communication, which is exactly what I hope to be doing with my life long term.  Every year they hold a national convention, this year it is in Indianapolis.  One of the things that they do for this convention is give away a scholarship to an undergraduate, post-undergraduate, or graduate student who is interested in pursuing a profession in religious communication.  The scholarship includes free registration for the convention, the hotel, travel, and food money, and membership fees in the council for two years.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this scholarship and being able to attend the convention this year.  I am currently working on the essays for my application and I am getting more and more excited every time I work on them or think about it.  I just hope I’m not getting my hopes up for nothing.

This would be an amazing opportunity to learn and dialogue about religious communication.  So what I wanted to ask you, is to simply pray about this opportunity for me.  And know, that if I get to go, I will bring back everything that I learn to share with you.  They are supposed to let the applicants know their decision on February 15.  So here’s hoping.

 

P.S.  I also started another blog.  If you’re interested, check it out here:  http://atwentysomethingme.wordpress.com/

I hope all of you enjoyed your Christmas holiday and time with your family.  I know I did.  What I did not enjoy was getting the flu after all of the holidays.  Even though I did not have the Christmas break I am used to, this being my first Christmas season with a real person job, I did get to do some relaxing and a good bit of reading.  I read a couple books on church marketing and diligently took notes so I could share my thoughts with you, and then in one of my cleaning sprees, misplaced them.  So while I continue to look for them I wanted to ask you, did you read any thought-provoking or just plain enjoyable books over the holidays?