Crows exult in the last fragile wisps of summer as a school bus rumbles by. Farmers’ markets and county fairs burst into full bloom, leaves just beginning to ponder the virtues of the color yellow. Oh, I hope your heart is turning toward the sun these days. Soak in as much beauty as you can to carry you through til spring. Autumn beckons you to share in its wonderment at the Creator of all good things—will you say yes?
Some September gifts to point you toward
Blog Post on Calling: Your Very Best Idea Ever by Lisa TerKeurst
Have you been in a season of waiting, of preparation, even if it’s for something you only catch inklings of? If your soul has been aching with just the hints of a big dream, this read is for you. As I’ve wrestled with my own big hopes recently, Lisa’s post has contained the perfect encouragement for me. It’s a beautiful reminder of what God is up to.
Devotional Book: Holley Gerth’s Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream
To go along with the previously-mentioned blog post, here is a resource that will pour intentional grace over that stirring in your heart for forty days straight. Some topics Holley covers: fear, insecurity, idolatry, priorities, time management, comparison, and how to get started. Whether you’re a baby believer or have loved Jesus for decades, this little book just might be the sweet nudge you need to put what the Lord has planted in you—that God-sized dream the world is waiting for—to work.
Scripture Practice: The Community Bible Reading Journal
With all the back-to-school deals going on, how could you not begin to drool over new pencils and notebooks and boxes of crayons? This journal will satisfy that schoolkid need to crack open a fresh page and exercise your mental muscles. Each day includes space to write an opening prayer, four prompt questions to help you work through a passage in as much depth as you’re comfy with, and tons of space to journal. It’s best done with a group of friends, so gather your people and start the school year off digging into the Word together! The journal’s mission is to “connect you with God and one another.” What a great way to welcome a new season, right?
Non-Profit: Exile International
Based on Isaiah 61:1 (“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”), this amazing group of people serve as the hands and feet of Jesus to war-torn communities. Get this—according to the website, “In Central and East Africa, armed forces and rebels have abducted more than 100,000 children, some as young as seven years old.” CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE? Our God roars against this brokenness. By joining with Exile International, we can help bring help and healing to the little ones whose tender humanity has been ripped from them. This approach is robust and includes discipleship, art therapy, medical care, education, and counseling.
Self-Awareness Tool: The Clifton Strengthsfinder
Being hyper-cognizant of our weaknesses is easy. What’s not as easy is having a good handle on the unique way God wired us in our strengths. Don Clifton conducted significant research with Gallup and narrowed down the main kinds of positive gearing to a set of 34 possible strengths. Now you can hop online, take a test, and have a great picture of what the Lord has naturally enabled you to do for His kingdom. The website offers two evaluations: your top five strengths or all 34 strengths in order from greatest to least. (My top five were Learner, Achiever, Intellection, Input, and Discipline.) Descriptions and ideas on how to focus your highest areas are included. If you prefer a free version, try high5test.com. You were created for a purpose. God only knows what might happen if you were to unleash your strengths into the brokenness around you. Let’s find out, shall we?