Let's join in the larger movement of what God is doing around the world. The Awakening 30-day Challenge will stretch and expand your spiritual vision by encouraging you to take practical daily steps to join in God's larger story.
DAY 1 - PRAY FOR GOD TO OPEN YOUR EYES
John Piper has said, "God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of 3 of them." But what if your eyes could be opened to see more of what God is doing? I recently wrote about this need on Ann Voskamp's blog. What if reading Awakening served as a launch pad to see more? As you get started with the 30-day challenge and reading through Awakening, nothing could be more important than taking a moment at the beginning to pray and ask God to open your eyes to see all He is doing around the world, and even in your life. In fact, I encourage you to pray throughout as you read. Also, know that I am praying for you as you read.
DAY 2 - STOP BELITTLING THE CHURCH
Alex Thomson's story of sailing around the world is quite amazing. Has there ever been a moment where you were overwhelmed by the magnitude and beauty of God? Maybe while on a walk in nature, or glancing up to the starry night sky? Or while enjoying the companionship of a loved one? I shared with my friends at CATALYST some ways this mind-boggling work of God should affect us. Today, consider is there a certain way that you've been speaking of the work of God or about His Church that has been belittling or generalizing how amazing He is? What if you committed to stop that, or even repent of ways you've done that?
DAY 3 - research A STORY OF GOD AT WORK
Coming across Alex Thomson's story was amazing and awe-inspiring for me. Throughout the book, I share many stories about God at work, and people of faith all over the world. What is one of the most incredible stories you've heard personally about Christianity or God's work around the world? What if you studied or looked into that a bit more? Ask God to open your heart to what He is doing through that story, and allow him to expand your heart at the sight of His amazing power.
DAY 4 - SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE
Have you ever thought there was nothing happening in the Church, only to be surprised and amazed again when you hear of how God is at work somewhere else? Isn't it true that God is always doing more than we can ever grasp? So why do we always try to grasp it? Commit today to shift your perspective on the Church and God's movement to always be that He is doing more than you can imagine or comprehend. Live from this place of understanding.
DAY 5 - CONSIDER THE APOSTLES
I've realized in studying Church history that the Apostles and most generations of believers have faced far starker circumstances in reaching their world for Christ than we have. Think back to the times you've studies the Word of God. What is one story you remember of the first followers of Jesus and how hard they had it? Isn't it amazing to read about the joy God gave them even in the midst of persecution and suffering. Let's remember them and their endurance in the midst of the challenges we face today.
DAY 6 - WHERE DO YOU HAVE TUNNEL VISION
What type of church did you grow up in? And how do you think that church affected the way you view the activity of God around the world? Did they do a good or bad job at speaking positively of all God was doing? What is one area where you think they limited a good perspective of what you are reading in Awakening? How do you think that one area has caused tunnel vision in your faith journey? How could you lay aside that perspective and begin to see with new, correct vision?
DAY 7 - CHANGE WHAT YOU THINK IS POSSIBLE
Have you ever heard of an entire nation being saturated with the gospel in a single day? Of course, years of preparation led up to the gathering I mention in chapter 2. Would you have even believed this was possible? What other areas of your faith have you limited God by believing it was impossible? Maybe you believed God could do whatever He wanted, but found it difficult to believe He cared enough to work in a given circumstance of your life. Maybe you've stopped praying for that circumstance. Our level of faith is often seen through our patience and persistence in prayer. I recently wrote about spiritual breakthroughs and the importance of patience, persistence and faith as we pray for God to move. What if you started praying again for that circumstance, and changed what you believed is possible - and started believing again.
DAY 8 - WRITE REMINDERS ON YOUR GATES
It's way too easy to forget all the amazing works and promises of God. Embarrassingly easy, in fact. Deuteronomy shows a long tradition of God's people writing reminders around their home. I'd encourage you to create some sort of Scripture or story reminder of how good God has been, and place it in a prominent place in your home. Maybe it would be printing something from your computers. My friends have created beautiful reminders you can print and use for this (scroll down to bottom of the page and click to show larger). Another organization I love that creates hand engraved wood carvings and typography of Scriptures and Christian quotes is handlettering.co. Put something around your own home today.
DAY 9 - USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO SEE MORE
It is incredible to think that for all the effort Church leaders went through in generations past to gather people and preach the gospel, now some are able to share the Good News with hundreds of thousands with a single tweet. Social media has it's limitation, and also many unique opportunities we have never enjoyed before until our generation. Following godly men and women can deeply encourage our faith and keep us reminded and stirred up for the good things God has for us. I've created a helpful list of leaders I'd encourage you to follow on the Think Eternity twitter account here. If you are not on twitter, you could look up some of these same people and like their pages on facebook or another social media platform of your choice.
DAY 10 - START A BIBLE READING PLAN
The Bible makes it clear constantly that God is at work and is doing great things. Too often we just fail to see it, and the Bible has lots of examples of that as well. One of the greatest ways we can grow in faith is through hearing and responding to the Word. It may seem like a daunting task to some to read such a large book as the Bible, but surprisingly it can be read through each year with about 10 minutes a day for the average reader. I'm not sure where you are at with your Bible reading, but we can't say God is silent or inactive while our Bible's are closed and gathering dust. RA Torrey, a close associate of DL Moody said, "People who pray for God's power but neglect the Bible abound in the Church, but the power that belongs to God is stored up in the great reservoir of His own Word, the Bible." Start a Bible plan today, and stick with it, and build your life around it!
DAY 11 - LIST GOD'S GRACE IN A DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCE
We will never stop worshiping in heaven because we will finally see God's glory fully and clearly. Our task here on this earth should be to spend our days looking to see His glory as much as we possibly can. Negative and difficult situations in our lives can often seem insurmountable and ever-painful. But heaven will reveal God's grace in all of it. One of the most beautiful books I've read on this, is 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I'd encourage you to pick it up. Start with a list of at least 20 little graces you see in the midst of a painful circumstance of your life. How has God been merciful to you even in the midst of the pain of this world.
DAY 12 - MAKE JESUS YOUR FOCUS
All awakenings are meant to point to one thing. All of Scripture points to one person. Jesus. How can you point more of your life and faith to Jesus? He is the way God has made for us to come close and draw near and be changed. Consider how much of your faith has been focused on rules, or do's and don'ts rather than on the Person of Jesus. Determine not to miss His work in your life, and all around you. Determine to make Jesus the focus of your life and story.
DAY 13 - HAVE A PRAYER TIME
All great journeys start with a single step. I'm not sure how much of your life would be defined by prayer, like Daniel, but the only way to get there is to start today. Take at least 20 minutes, or even an hour or more, and close yourself off in a private room. Turn on worship music and begin to worship and seek God by yourself. Take time to repent. Take time to forgive in your heart those who've hurt you. Take time to pray for loved ones in your life. Take time to meditate on a Scripture that speaks to where you are at right now, and pray it out loud to God. You'll find as you do this that God's presence will be strong with you, and you will leave this time with more peace and joy and purpose in your heart. This is the greatest opportunity and possibility in the Christian journey, when we pursue God and create space to seek Him. Whenever you feel your spiritual tank needing to be filled up, set aside more time to do this. I'd recommend at least weekly, outside of church services, getting alone with God for times like this.
DAY 14 - MAKE A PRAYER LIST
Praying for specific requests on a regular basis can be really powerful. Take a scrap of paper and write down some needs you want to be praying for over and over again until you see God move in the situation. Write down the names of some of the people you want to pray for God's blessing on. Add some names of some people you want to see find hope in Christ. Put this list in your Bible, and take time to pray through this list each week. Make notes when you see God move on your behalf in response to these persistent prayers.
DAY 15 - PRACTICE THE PRESENCE OF GOD FOR A DAY
Brother Lawrence was able to sense God's presence going with him even as He washed dishes. He was in tune to God's activity, and God's grace in a keen way. Remind yourself throughout the day today of God's grace, presence and nearness. Find yourself praying under your breath, worshiping and calling on God to fill your life with His presence. The answer to so many of our prayers is more of God's presence and Spirit. Pray for God to raise your awareness and known His nearness. I've created a spotify playlist of some of my favorite worship songs. Playing this in the background throughout your day will help you practice God's presence in an increasing way. You can listen to it here.
DAY 16 - DO SOMETHING TO HELP THE POOR
Hearing about the great needs around the world is not enough, we must do something. Those hurting, poor, broken do not need our pity, they need us to do what we can. Mother Theresa has said, "If you cannot feed one hundred people, just start by feeding one." Maybe this means you fill a bag with groceries and drop it off for someone begging on a street corner near you. Or you could sign up to sponsor a child in some of the neediest places of the world, through feedONE or Compassion. Whatever you do, don't just sit there, do something.
DAY 17 - NEXT TIME THERE IS A NATURAL DISASTER..
Next time there is a disaster anywhere in the world, I challenge you to get involved, donate and do something. We need God to stir our hearts to be generous and responsive to the brokenness of the world around us. Sometimes our generosity will be planned out, and but we need sensitive hearts to also be spontaneously generous as our hearts are burdened with the great need around the world. So...next time there is a disaster, do something in response to help through Convoy of Hope or Samaritan's Purse.
DAY 18 - GET TO KNOW SOMEONE IN NEED
People who are in need don't just need our resources, they also need our love and care. And we need them as well. God has chosen to show the riches of His grace in a greater way to those who are poor in this world. Find someone in need in your area, and take them out for a meal, and get to know them. Don't do all the talking. Ask them about their story, their family, their life and their challenges, and commit to them as a friend and prayer partner for God's gracious provision and care in their life.
DAY 19 - FIND OUT HOW MANY BELIEVERS ARE IN YOUR TOWN
It is always great to hear about powerful outreaches happening in different parts of the world, but when is the last time someone made an effort to reach people in your city? You don't need to go door-to-door or street witnessing necessarily. There are various ways you could touch hearts with the love of Christ. Do some research, and find out how many are without Christ in your city. How many churches are in your city, and what is their attendance. Now, prayerfully consider what you could do to help draw more people to the hope that's only found in Jesus.
DAY 20 - CONSIDER STARTING A GOSPEL MOVEMENT
Gospel movements are not just proclaiming the gospel, but also partnering with local schools or other organizations to serve felt needs in your community. For instance, what if several churches in your city partnered together once a year to cancel Sunday services and serve the community by cleaning up the school yard's or cleaning public park areas. How can you help reveal the saltiness and beauty of the gospel by doing something you've never done before to point to the love of Jesus?
DAY 21 - PRAY FOR ONE PERSON TO KNOW CHRIST
If every Christian in the world prayed for just three people to come to Christ, the entire world would be changed for the better. You don't have to do everything, you just have to do something. On your prayer list that you made on day 14, commit to praying for at least one person who doesn't know the hope of Jesus yet. If you don't know anyone like this yet, start to intentionally look around you in your everyday life and find someone who you can be praying for, for this purpose. Look for opportunities to show grace, love, and kindness and eventually share the hope Christ has brought to your own life. It might start awkwardly, but end up in the most incredible moment ever if they too want to know the hope of Jesus in their own life. Keep praying for people who don't know Christ on a regular basis.
DAY 22 - LOOK FOR SOMEONE TO DISCIPLE
God has called us to help others to know Him and His Word better, and this is called "discipleship." It means to be a learner and follower of Jesus. With the outflow of what God is doing in your own walk with the Lord, look for someone to invite to grow with you in faith. Ask them if they'd want to study the Bible with you, or go through a Christian spiritual growth book together. Commit to pray for each other, and encourage each other in going to church, loving your family well, and sharing the gospel with those outside the Church.
DAY 23 - HOW CAN YOUR JOB GLORIFY GOD?
Consider how you can glorify God at your workplace? God might have you there for "such a time as this," to honor him in ways you do not expect. Martin Luther said, "A Christian shoemaker doesn't need to add a Christian symbol to his shoes, but rather to make great shoes and sell them for a great price." You don't need to be push-y with your faith in your workplace, but how can you work harder, more efficiently, and more graciously towards co-workers in a way that will make your faith in God look attractive to those who do not yet know Jesus?
DAY 24 - GOD IS ALREADY THERE. MAKE HIM VISIBLE.
Pollsmoor prison is an incredible story of God at work in the midst of surprising places. In your workplace, in your neighborhood, even in your church - God is already there, and our job is to help make His work visible. We do this by serving and loving others with the extravagant love He has poured into our own hearts. Commit to making God visible to those around you.
DAY 25 - CHANGE YOUR TONE
Have you been known more for what you are against? Or for what you are for? Are you known for being harsh, condemning, judgmental, angry, grumpy or even hateful? Repent and ask God to make you a person of compassion, love, peace, graciousness, honor and respect instead. The next time you want to speak ill of a politician, or a neighbor, grab your tongue and repent of this. The next time you want to post an article or image on facebook that rants about the horrible state of our world, delete it and repent instead. Ask God to turn your heart of stone into a heart of flesh that breaks for the world around you, instead of scathes them every chance you get.
DAY 26 - TALK MORE ABOUT THE GREATNESS OF GOD
Make an effort to post more online about the greatness of God. Talk about how overwhelmingly good the gospel is. Lift up the positive aspects about faith and Jesus, and let that be the over-arching theme of what you talk about and post about.
DAY 27 - PICK ONE STORY FROM THE BOOK
What one story from the book so far has impacted you the most? Like the story of breaking the 4-minute mile barrier, how can this story inspire you to see your own personal spiritual victory? If God has done it once, God can do it again. If God has used someone else, God can use you. Start to pray and work toward seeing God bring about this spiritual goal in your community.
DAY 28 - WHERE DO YOU NEED TO OBEY
AW Tozer said, "Let a man set his heart only on doing the will of God, and he is instantly free." Awakenings are a result from a return to the basic teachings of the Bible. What is one area you need to obey, that you've wrestled and struggled with? It could even be a struggle to be kind and loving, or maybe you've wrestled with trying to share your faith or make disciples? Submit that area of your life to the Lord, and ask for God to help you wholeheartedly surrender your life, so He can use it for His glorious purposes.
DAY 29 - HONOR SOMEBODY ELSE
Intentionally honor somebody else. Maybe a parent or a spouse. Maybe a church leader in your area. Talk well of them, and thank them for their incredible example and faith-filled life. God is honored when we honor others. Try to be more active in honoring others on a regular basis.
DAY 30 - SHARE WHAT GOD IS SHOWING YOU
I cannot tell you how incredible of an honor it is to be in your life through Awakening and this 30-day challenge. And congratulations on finishing both the booth and 30-days of challenges in growing closer to Jesus! A job well done. Take today to share with a friend or loved one what God has been showing you through the book and the 30-day challenge. Try to, more often, share with others when God shows you something.