Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Loving the Least of These

We are so excited to have Amy Savage guest blog today! Her blog is called Loving the Least of These. Taken from Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Her blog is amazing and speaks Awake and Alive's heart so perfectly.
I(Jolene) was reading one of her post the other night and I just had to ask her if I could share it with our Awake and Alive followers. This was her reply "My blog belongs to God so do what you like with any of it. God has and continues to break me. Just praying He shines out of the brokenness. I'm happy to help Awake an Alive however I can." ...Really...?!?! I thought it was such a beautiful response! What a precious woman!
Thank you Amy! We are bless to have your love and support!
So here is Amy's post that just moved me...I think you all might be moved too!

In The Dirt

Want to know what I love about God? He's completely unpredictable. He does things that are completely upside down and unexpected. While the world looked to the sky waiting for the Messiah to come down with great procession and riches, Love came down in poverty - vulnerable, weak and helpless.

Not only was the way He entered the world completely unexpected, but so was the city He chose. Scripture says "Nazareth...can ANYTHING good come from there?" I've often heard people refer to certain cities here in the U.S. as "the armpit of America". That's what Nazareth was...the armpit of the world. So, of COURSE, that's where God chose to send His son. Everything about how the Savior entered our world was revolutionary. It didn't add up. It made no sense.

But you know what's really crazy? He chose to STAY. He spent 30 years in the city of Nazareth. Out of a place where there was nothing redemptive, came redemption Himself. He stuck around the hell hole of Nazareth...He stayed with people in their brokenness, filth and pain. He could have left. He could have. I'd never really thought about that before last night. From day 1 on earth, God chose to BE WITH the marginalized, the least and the poor. And not for just a moment, but for thirty years. This is no fluke. Jesus wanted to relate to us in our brokenness. He didn't go live in a palace...that's not real life. He went to the sick, the cast offs, the poor, the lonely. He sat with them. He played with them as a child. He laughed with them. He cried with them. He LOVED them. He REDEEMED them. He entered their pain. He went to them. He became lowly. The God who placed the stars in the sky came so low. And He stayed low. He stayed in the dirt.

We must find the places of pain and heartbreak and live there because that's where Jesus is. It doesn't mean we live depressed...God came to give us HOPE. He came to call us out of our darkness and to live in the hope He offers. But until we get acquainted with the grit, the grief and the sorrow of our world, just as Jesus did, we will miss Him. WE WILL MISS HIM. And I don't want to miss Him. The thought of missing out on the fullness of who God is because I'm not WILLING to enter into the sadness of this world makes my heart hurt. I want to be found willing. O God, may I be found willing.

We see Jesus being in close proximity with the marginalized. We see Him touching lepers. Before I went to Korah (a leper colony in Ethiopia) the number one question I got asked was how I was going to protect myself and keep from getting leprosy. May God deliver us from our mentality of being concerned for ourselves first. If Jesus touched the lepers, why aren't we? If Jesus sought out the lonely, why aren't we? If Jesus was moved to tears by His compassion for His people, why aren't we? WHY AREN'T WE???

God chooses to reveal Himself through us to others. Immanuel...God WITH us. God IN us. The nearness of God comes through the proximity of His people. So, where are we?? Comfortably closed in our four walls? If God's love is seen as we go, then I'd better find myself going. I'd better be found engaging in people's messy lives. Why wouldn't I if that's where Jesus is??

God came for me. He came so low for me. Will I choose to go low? Who do I think I am that I shouldn't go low too? God stooped so low to pick me up. Do I realize that my soul will be satisfied more richly and fully when I choose the road of the broken? If I am running away from the low places, I am running the wrong direction. God is not found where we think He would be. The incarnation proved that. He is found on the narrow path of the lowly. He is found in their eyes, their tears, their smiles. This is the God I've found...the God of the lowly. And He's more beautiful than I possibly thought.

May we be found willing...

If you liked what you read you can hop on over to her blog CLICK HERE and follow her...
I know I am going to!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What outlandish, scary dream has God put on your heart?

Today I just pulled Danielle's post off of her personal blog. We are both reading

Here is Danielle to tell ya a little bit on how she got turned on to this amazing book.

Many of my Taylor girlfriends on our last trip together were reading the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Since then, I have also started and found it so simple yet so powerful in my own life. Today's spoke so to me that I wanted to share it with those of you who don't have it yourselves:

Be willing to go out on a limb with Me. If that is where I am leading you, it is the safest place to be. Your desire to live a risk-free life is a form of unbelief. Your longing to live close to Me is at odds with your attempts to minimize risk. You are approaching a crossroads in your journey. In order to follow Me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your tendency to play it safe.Let Me lead you step by step through this day. If your primary focus is on Me, you can walk along perilous paths without being afraid. Eventually, you will learn to relax and enjoy the adventure of our journey together. As long as you stay close to Me, My sovereign Presence protects you wherever you go.

. What outlandish, scary dream has God put on your heart?
Seek Him, and then...GO FOR IT!!!

If this book interest you you can Click here.

Enter the promo code awakeandalive

Awake and Alive will get a perecntage of the profits and your purchase will help vulnerable children in the slum of Kechene Ethiopia have a hope for a future through education.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

T-shirt winner!

Are you are winner! Watch to find out!
Email info@awakeandalive.org and let us know what shirt and size you want!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

T-Shirt Give Away!!!

We are GIVING away one of our new t-shirts!
If you win you can have ANY ONE YOU WANT!

There are more shirt options on our side bar.

We are keeping it simple,
We know it is holiday time and EVERYONE is busy!
In give aways past I would give about 10 different ways to get entered.
Not today.

2 mandatory entries:

1.) Follow our blog.
{Leave us a comment that you did}

2.) Share our blog link about the give away on FB.
{Leave us a comment that you did}

The contest will end Monday, December 5th 2011 @ 11:59 pm
We will announce our winner on Tuesday the 6th!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What if?

We love to have our board members write a blog post for us every once in a while. We are so grateful for each of our board members! Today you will get to read a little bit of Alyssa's thoughts on widow and orphan care. Thanks Alyssa!

I think one of the most effective ways to care for widows and orphans is to take better care of the environment. A little over a year ago, I was praying in my back yard when I was convicted of my flippancy toward the environment. I honestly don’t remember which natural disaster had just occurred, but there had been a series of tsunamis and earthquakes in other parts of the world and I was praying for the suffering. While praying, it hit me that most scientists would hold my actions responsible for these very disasters. You see, scientists attribute the frequency of famines and natural disasters in the 21st century to climate change. Most of them believe that these changes are caused by human activity. I know they could be wrong; there are certainly dissenters who say that our behavior isn’t responsible. But what if the majority is right? I wondered. If there’s even a chance that they’re right, and my choices are connected to the disasters, I have absolutely no room for flippancy, because kids in Kechene are suffering.

So in this blog post, I’d like to us consider Jesus’ living Word to us on environmentalism. We’re often tempted to assume that it’s not really a priority to him, because it wasn’t his focus on the earth. But for the next 5 minutes, I’d ask that we reconsider.

There are many things Jesus never speaks to, directly, on which we’re confident we know his opinion. Slavery is one. It most certainly existed during his time, but try to think of a time when Jesus directly addressed it. He frequently spoke of love and we believe he would have certainly opposed it. But he never addressed it. We rightly make determinations all the time about Jesus’ priorities based on what we know of Jesus, not because there’s historical record of him teaching on that particular issue.

What, according to Jesus, was the greatest commandment? And the second? And who is my neighbor? People in lesser developed countries are suffering and dying because of environmental degradation at much higher rates than those in the developed world. When water gets polluted, wealthy Americans get reverse osmosis systems and poor Haitians get cholera. When droughts cause the price of grain to rise, we all suffer. For Americans who typically spend 15% of their income on food, they may loose their homes, and even have to move in with family members. Ethiopians who spend 95% of their income on food starve.

Jesus commissioned us to love. Discernment tells us how how. 1 Chronicles describes the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. What do we understand about our times? How do we follow Jesus’ command to love in 2011? How are our times different from Jesus’ own? Well, the earth wasn’t in danger when Jesus’ feet walked its dusty roads. There were only 170 million people living on earth when he was born. Now there are 7 billion. And those 170 million people didn’t burn fossil fuels, either, which is the main contributor to greenhouse gasses and climate change. We do. It makes complete sense to me that the Earth’s systems have limits. Everything in this world has limits. My budget has limits. My body has limits. We have finite resources. We live in a finite world. The earth is a delicate system that must be kept in balance. An incredibly resilient system, but a system, nonetheless. Jesus lived in this same world, they just weren’t anywhere close to hitting its limits. We are.

How would Jesus respond? What does Jesus’ command to love mean in this context? Theologians talk describe God’s action of self-limiting as kenosis. When Jesus was born in human flesh, Phillippians 2 says that he “emptied himself”. Not only did he empty himself at his birth, but 33 years later he limited himself, again, by not employing his power and limiting his rights as a human being. He chose this course of self-limitation in order that we might have abundant life. Is a student above his teacher? A slave above his master? Can we cling to more rights than our Lord? Yet there are people in the world for whom there is decreasing space because the world has finite resources. Kids in Kechene have decreasing space. They are suffering the greatest impacts, yet contributing least to the problems. North Americans use way more than their fair share. While we were still needy, God sent Jesus to limit himself, that we might have life. Can we do anything else for the vulnerable among us?

If you would agree that Jesus’ love would have us limit some of our own freedom for the sake of our poorer neighbors, you may feel overwhelmed because the need is so great. And so complex. This is true. I am with you. But in this blog all I’m asking is that we allow ourselves to consider a connection between our choices and human suffering, and for those already convinced of a connection, I’m asking that we repent. Perhaps before reading this blog you had never thought about the connection between ecological degradation and poverty. I certainly didn’t until someone made me aware of it. But now we do. And if you’re like me and you need to study more before being convinced, I implore you to do so. Remember what I said earlier- if there’s even a chance that the scientists are right about humans contributing to the climate change responsible for famines and natural disasters, how can we not change course? Choose to follow through and do whatever studying you need to, because you actually care to know more. In this blog, I commend us to care.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You Need Them Even More.

November is Orphan Awareness Month. In particular, this past Sunday was Orphan Sunday. It’s a good way to focus on the issue and provide camaraderie for those who advocate for orphans.

I found the below video from last year’s Orphan Sunday. The last line of the video is so poignant to me. Amazingly, the now former orphans we have brought into our family have changed our lives more than we could ever change there’s. It’s humbling, and true. Check out this video:

-Darin Shrock

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No better time to shop

We are SO EXCITED to finally have T-shirts for sale!
With every t-shirt purchase you will bring
hope, love, and education
a street child in Kechene, Ethiopia!
You can proudly wear your love and support for Awake and Alive and the work we are doing!

The Awake and Alive T-Shirts are what we at Awake and Alive strive to do daily and that is to Awake love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control and to become Alive-act on what we know we are called to do. When you wear this shirt it is a great reminder of that.

The Project Presence T-shirts are in honor of our 1st mission trip that we will be taking in September of 2012. I encourage each of you purchase one of these shirts as the proceeds from these T-Shirts will be enabling us to do many different projects while we are in Kechene.

We will be doing this pre-order style. And we will make sure you get you T-shirts by Christmas!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Easy Fundraising

We are so excited about this new easy way to fundraise for Awake and Alive!
You can be a part of it too!

You can simply donate.
you can be a part of our team you can create your own campaign and get your friends and family excited about doing something to impact the forgotten community in Kechene, Ethiopia!

Our team is a group of people who have a heart for "the least of these." Our hearts are broken for the millions of children who do not have a safe place and we are committed to making a difference in their world.

Click this link if you want to be a part of our team!

In the slum of Kechene, Ethiopia many young children are being left at home while their widowed mother has to make the horrifying decision to leave them every morning to go out and make a living. They are not leaving their children to build riches in this world they have to leave them to provide food and shelter...so their children can live. Unfortunately this leaves kiddos as young as 4 years old home alone for up to 12 hours a day! These children have no one to look after them, they are left on the streets, and they are very vulnerable!

Awake and Alive is starting a school to remove these precious young children from the streets. With your help we will be the peace of mind for these mothers and the hope for a better future for these young children. We can give children a childhood and hope for eternity! We have already raised 7k but WE STILL NEED TO RAISE $37,000!! We believe it can be done! It has to be done because those precious children matter!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Every little bit helps!

We are so excited to have you all meet Jen.

She has been an amazing blessing to Awake and Alive. She has been encouraging to us since the beginning and now she is helping to raise funds to get the school started in Kechene! Click here ---> Check out what Jen is doing and how you can chip in!

Thanks Jen!
Love you, love your heart!
Jolene and Danielle

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We want you!

This is some exciting stuff. Many of you may know Awake and Alive is a baby of an organization. We are nurturing and growing Awake and Alive so that it can influence the lives of many, but as they say...It takes a village! With the start of an organization EVERY PENNY is noticed, appreciated, and a blessing! So...

We want Awake and Alive to be yours too! This is your chance to truly make an impact.
Here is what we are proposing.

1.)Do some fundraising for Awake and Alive. Get creative.
2.)E-mail us how you raised that money, along with pictures of your event or fundraiser, {info@awakeandalive.org}
3.)And we will do a write up on you and how you raised that money!
{In hopes that it inspires others to do that same}

Here are just a few ideas that might get your creative juices pumping:

Create your own Campaign

It is so easy to get people involved in this one and it produces HUGE profits!! Set a goal of how much you want to raise! Tell people why you support starting a school in Ethiopia!Share it with your friends and let the website do the rest and then watch the money come in!!

You can take pictures from our FB page to add to your campaign. You can also add this video. VIDEO
There is a section at the bottom of the page that says "More ways you can help." That is your spot to get involved, click "fundraise" get creative!
(It will say that you are setting up a fundraiser for Epic Church and in the project name put AWAKE AND ALIVE)
Click here to get started, ---- http://www.razoo.com/story/Awakeandalive

Sponsorship on blog
You can monetize your blog for a month and have other bloggers sponsor "ad space" on your blog for that month. You can ask between $5-$25 per month per ad. You can have as many sponsors as will fit on your blog. It can add up quick!

Book Sales

Ask your church to be a part of our www.christianbooksbibles.com fundraiser! More then likely your church spends $1,000 of dollars each year on Christian literature. All your church or book club has to do when ordering books or programs is:

1. Go to the site above

2. Place items in their cart

3. At check out put “Awake&Alive” in the promo code

Awake and Alive will receive a kick back on every dollar made!

PS www.christianbooksbibles.com is one of the cheapest sites out there to purchase literature!

Coffee time

Set up a coffee time with some friends. {If you would go to a coffee shop you would easily spend $5 on a specialty coffee.} Ask for a donations from your girl friends that are coming, letting them know all money raised is going to start a school in Ethiopia and enjoy a few hours with your friends over coffee and supporting Awake and Alive.

Gift wrapping:

The Holidays are busy and people are willing to pay for certain services to save time. One of the most popular Holiday services is gift wrapping. Let people know you are open to this service. You can make flyers and hang them at your church. You can also send the flyers to friends and family explaining a bit about Awake and Alive and how you are helping send kids to school in Ethiopia.

Walk or Run

This one is great! You can have people sponsor you while you do a walk or run for Awake and Alive. Sign up for a Marathon, Mini Marathon, or 5k and tell people you are doing it to send kiddos to school in Africa! They can sponsor you by the mile or a flat rate just for completion! You can do this individually or as a big group and get your friends to get sponsors too!

At Home Party

We get invited to these things all the time! It could be a make up party, purse party, jewelry party, the list could go on and on, and they are fun!! Wouldn’t it be great to have one before Christmas so your friends and family can do some shopping with a purpose with all proceeds going to Awake and Alive?!?!

I could keep going but I am going to stop there so that you all can get creative, excited and pumped about the way that YOU can raise funds! You can make a difference! You can be the change for the hopeless in Kechene! You can be the peace of mind for the mother who has to leave her kiddos on the streets so that she can make money to provide food for her babies! You can give children a childhood! You can provide safety! You can change lives!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What might you "Encounter"?

We are lucky to have our buddy Keith bloggin' tonight! I think you will really enjoy what he has to say!!

“Encounter” was the name of the young person’s ministry group we had joined at our church. The Executive Pastor suggested that if you were over thirty-five years old, you shouldn’t even bother attending this ministry, “you just won’t get it.” This warning confirmed that I would attend. At Encounter we met lifelong friends like Danielle Black and Jolene Schrock.

The group was an eclectic, organic mix; recent high school graduates, college students, young married couples and curious individuals. Encounter was described as a group of young people who were raised in active youth groups and who didn’t understand adult church. I confess most of the time I don’t understand adult church.
The group was active in service to others. I loved this piece of our journey together at Encounter. Being involved with Encounter has helped cement my family’s commitment to servant leadership today. We continue to stay involved at the street level in our current church, Immerge. Additionally in July of 2009 we planned a mission trip to Haiti.
A team of nine was put together to build a house in Haiti. Eric Demeter was the team leader and he took this position seriously. His mission work, prior to Haiti, helped children get needed cleft pallet surgeries. Eric loved spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and thrived on sharing it in far off places. Eric recruited the nine people to go to Haiti and my wife and I were invited.
My first thoughts of the area surrounding the village of Ballala were this must be what Africa is like. I have never been to Africa, but this must be like it, dry, hot, sand, scrub-brush, a few palm trees and huts. Perhaps it was the primitive huts that reminded me most of pictures I had seen of Africa. It is no coincidence that Haiti was settled by slaves from Africa; voodoo’s roots trace back to Africa. And interestingly the United States owes part of our independence to Haiti but, that is a story for another blog.

All our days in Ballala were difficult. Our first day may have been the hardest for me. As soon as we got there we set up camp. Camp consisted of a ten foot by ten foot canopy and some plastic chairs. It provided some shade and a place to hang our backpacks off the dirt. Then our interpreter set up lunch; fresh pineapple, peanut butter or bologna sandwiches and cookies. Bear in mind, we have not done any work, just arrived in the village, and our first duty is to eat. This may not sound bad, but when you have thirty children smiling and staring at you, it stinks. I could not stomach it.

The children by all outward appearances were perfectly happy, naked and dirty, but happy none-the-less. The children rarely begged. This was something we found out the YWAM staff was trying to instill in their community, no begging. I marveled at their curiosity, handsome features, and happiness. I set up a makeshift fort out of old boards and boxes that they played in for days. A stick or a tailless lizard provided imaginative play for them.
On our third day in Ballala, my wife was honored by the offer to hold a six-month old baby. This may not sound like much; however, Haitian women are extremely protective of their babies. The life expectancy of infants under two years is very low in Haiti. The mothers routinely don’t name the children until after their second birthday. This gesture was an enormous show of respect and trust toward my wife. Sharon treated the occasion with the dignity and compassion it deserved. I could not have been more proud of her, that day, and throughout our journey.

As I write this blog for Awake & Alive to post it occurs to me, I am not sure the direction of the commentary. Is this a blog about the Christian commitment to service, about social responsibility and mission? Or is the article a critical look at established, traditional, irrelevant church liturgy? Taking a second look at the writing my conclusion is all the above and it depends.

Here in Haiti I had found contented, well-mannered, beautiful people. People who when provided with an opportunity wanted to work. Haiti is a country similar to the United States yet different in so many ways. They are different from the United States in their attitude toward each other. Children who engage you right where you are, in that moment and are eager to learn. They loved creating new things and showing us their ways. In large part, everyone was reasonably happy and content. How could this be? Why didn’t we share the same attitude in America? In the US we are taught the “poor” are sad and depressed. We think that if only poor people would pull themselves up they would be all right. They must want to be in that situation or worse- somehow they deserve to be in their situation.

As I sat there in the heat, amongst the bushes wondering about this place, a lovely butterfly landed on my knee. Upon close inspection, he revealed bright yellow wings with intricate black spider web designs. Looking closer still, I discovered the tip of his right wing had been horribly mangled, probably by another insect or a nasty cat. My first thought was this is Haiti, beautifully broken.

From Port-au-Prince to the village of Ballala and all points in between, there exists a beautifully broken atmosphere about Haiti. The country struggles to establish its independence once again, and escape its desperate situation. However, Haiti’s problems are multi-systemic; finding a sufficient leader is just the beginning. A devastating earthquake destroyed what was left of their infrastructure. Financial aid struggles to get to the hands of people who can use it. In addition, a cholera outbreak has claimed more than 700 lives and threatens thousands more. Unfortunately, “In Haiti the insults never end,” as quoted in a Byron Pitts interview on “60 Minutes”. I believe Haiti can rebound and become the beautiful Caribbean nation it deserves to be.

Coming back to the United States was surreal, a cultural readjustment. During the debriefing session, the base leader suggested that, “Not everyone will care to hear about our mission.” Tony said, “Don’t be surprised if people have a lack of interest.” I found this to be awfully true; we are calloused to the plight of the poor among us. We have separated ourselves from each other. The rich, poor, white, black, North, South, Republican, Democrat, Catholic, Baptist and Buddhist and now Tea Party-er and Occupy-ers have all closed in. Unfortunately, we are in a time when we need to be turning outward. People say “Thank God that is not me” or “There but for the grace of God go I.” Why not share God’s grace and mercy? Until we realize that we are them, and they are us, we are not going very far. Until we stop viewing those in need as separate from us, as stray dogs or bad vegetables, we are not going very far. More people should stop believing everything they see on Fox News, turn the TV off and stop writing checks to ease their moral conscience (unless you are thinking about writing one to Awake and Alive). We should get off the couch and meet our neighbors, and pick up a shovel beside those in need. Only then would real, long lasting change take place.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Proclamation and Demonstration

Hey there all our dear and fantastic Awake and Alive readers,

We have some GOOD stuff for ya today!

I want ya'll the meet Yemi, or {Yemmers as I like to call him.}

This awesome guy is on the board for Awake and Alive!

He just ran a marathon!!

And apparently he has picked up a modeling career!! JK ;)

Pretty cool guy huh?!?!

We are so thrilled to finally get Yemi on here blogging because this guy has some great stuff to say! So here he is to take the floor! {Or post, or page...or whatever you want to call it.}

In a recent missional conference (SENTralized) that I attended in Kansas City, I was encouraged to hear one of my heroes, teacher, writer, and missiologist, Michael Frost, speak on the kingdom reign of God. Using Isaiah 61:1 (read it, it is powerful) as a platform, Frosty argued that the purpose of the church is to alert the world of the reign of God through announcement and demonstration. This statement strikes multiple chords within me as I have been wrestling over the last three years with these same truths.

Consider the writings by Saint Luke in Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus begins his ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth by reading the words prophet Isaiah prophesied about him: "the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Kudos to Saint Luke

for capturing this powerful moment

in the life of the ministry of Jesus

as Jesus reminds everyone (as the prophet Isaiah stated)

the beautiful reality of the reign of God that was about to take place.

"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (v. 21).

I'd like to point out three major kingdom implications to you and I, from Luke 4:18-19.

(I) Anointing: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me." Similar to Jesus, we have been anointed, given power and the authority to alert the world to the reign of God. Just like Jesus was anointed, we have been anointed in a similar fashion. Consider the following statements from our Lord and teacher: "I have given you authority" (Luke 10:19), "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go make disciples" (Matthew 28:18-19), "as the father has sent me, so I am sending you" (John 20:21), "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21), "I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one one on me. And from our role model Apostle Paul, "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27), "Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20), "we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16), "the spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you" (Romans 8:11). And from Saint Peter "you are... a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). This is the beautiful reality, that you and I have God-given authority and power to alert the world of the reign of God through announcement and demonstration.

(II) Proclamation: we alert the world to the reign of God through proclamation. Frosty calls this announcement but I prefer the word proclamation. Proclamation is the starting point of the biblical idea of the good news. That is, to speak hope and encouragement to the broken and marginalized broken. As well as speak on behalf of the exploited and speak against injustice. Isaiah 52:7 states, "how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "your God reigns!" Yes! Woohoo! How awesome is that! Going back to the original text, Luke 4 Jesus stated, His mission is to:

· preach good news to the poor = hope and encouragement

· Proclaim freedom for the prisoners = speak on behalf of the exploited and speak against injustice.

· Proclaim the year of the Lord's favor = let's party!

(III) Demonstration: demonstration and proclamation go hand-in-hand and both are essential to alert the world to the reign of God. No one exemplifies this practice better than the King himself in flesh. People need to hear the good news as well as experience the good news. This is the gospel. Some believe salvation comes through hearing alone (preach the gospel and make converts) without demonstration and that is all they are responsible for. If this is you, I would love to reveal more to you my rabbi Yeshua and I encourage you to study the life of Christ more deeply. In fact you don’t have to go to far from where Jesus originally declared his intentions in the synagogue (Luke 4:18-19), to find an example of his first demonstration in Luke 4:31. Saint James in James 1:27 supports the mission work and life of Christ, stating that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Compare this truth with God commanded to his people through the prophet Isaiah, “is not this kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Going back to the original text, Luke 4 Jesus stated, His mission is:

· recovery of sight for blind = healing

· to release the oppressed = setting free

I will end with John 10:1-21 where Jesus was proclaim the good news of the kingdom using shepherding metaphors to convey the message. Many of the Jews challenged his word accusing him of being demon-possessed. But it verse 21 that is so perfect when others sated: "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by demon. Can a demon ope the eyes of a blind?" Jesus constant demonstration of the kingdom confirmed his proclamation so much so that the people couldn't accuse him.

The church has taught for the last 200 years for us to focus on proclamation.

Maybe it's time that we concentrate on demonstration

and lets our "good works" match our "good words".

Talk the talk and not just walk the walk as some will.

Gospels depict our Lord, beautifully modeling both. When we preach and proclaim we bring hope and encouragement in as much as when we recover sight and release the oppressed, we bring healing. Proclamation and demonstration must go hand in hand. For too long we have been speaking. Maybe it's time we demonstrate God's presence in the lives of our fellow imago Dei. To loose the chains of injustice etc. Awake and Alive is committed to demonstrate the good news of the Kingdom in the lives of African's locally and globally.

"In the same way let your light shine before people in such a way they see your good works and glorify your father in heaven" - Matthew 5:16

That's some good stuff!! Thank you so much Yemi for taking time to be part of Awake and Alive! If you like what you read from Yemi click the link to follow Yemi's Journey.

Blessings and enjoy your beautiful weekend!

Danielle and Jolene

Friday, September 30, 2011


THANK YOU to all who participated!
We love your continued prayers and support as we are working hard
to raise our families and raise funds for a school
to change lives and impact the community of Kechene, Ethiopia!

For our blessed winner please contact Wear Love VIA FaceBook. Let her know you are Awake and Alive's winner!!
(I will let her know to expect you)
If you did not win this time but LOVE her shirts you can purchase one on her Etsy Store.

Friday, September 23, 2011

So, what's it like?

When we were on Moody Radio Chicago in August, one of the questions we anticipated was, "What's it like to run a nonprofit with 7 children?" We thought it might be fun for you to have a little snapshot into what it looks like for us, a fairly typical experience in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style showing you where our love for children--both in our homes and in Africa--takes us:

Wake up and get precious boy #1 on the school bus by 6:50 am. Have 10 minutes to myself to either crawl back in bed, start cleaning the kitchen after being too tired last night, or spend time reading my rockin' new devotional book by Sarah Young. Other two boys wake up at 7:00 am, get dressed, and start watching "Arthur" on PBS. Check e-mail and facebook. YES! Lots of responses for the new giveaway Awake and Alive is doing! Arthur's done. Love on boys for a few more minutes--shoes on, teeth brushed (sometimes), vitamins taken...there's the bus! Then, I should have 20 minutes of quiet before Selah is awake, though this is not guaranteed. Start a blog entry for Awake and Alive. 7:55 am-Selah's up! Run upstairs for hugs and kisses, and 2 books. What? You want them both read again? Okay...make that 4 books. Pull-up off, potty. Tickling, and more kissing and hugging....and then crying...Downstairs to blog some more. Check on brochure our awesome college intern Keith is working on. Shoot! Website is down. Phone rings. Ignore...then pick up (it's the PTO, after all). Share our new giveaway on my facebook page. Get Selah breakfast. Brochure is looking good! Help pick up toy room. Where was I? More blogging. And now it's 8:41 am. Anyone want to take bets when it will finally be ready to actually put on the website?!?

Similarly, here's a typical morning for Jolene:
Responding to an E-mail from a lover of Awake and Alive. She was interested in our mission trip and I was trying to jot down the details of our trip all the while I was getting breakfast for 3 babies. So I was cooking eggs, pouring glasses of milk, typing response e-mail, cleaning up spilled milk, spooning apple sauce in their little mouths, developing a thought, breaking up a fight, continue typing e-mail, blowing on eggs to cool them down, pouring myself a cup of coffee, typing some more, wiping up milk mustaches, refilling sippy cups, typing, singing and dancing to Veggie Tales "here I am to worship" for the kiddos, proof reading my E-mail, Calling Danielle to let her know we have a few people interested in traveling with us to Kechene, breaking up a fight, laying a little one down for a nap...

Can any moms or dads relate?
This is life for us. Beautiful, tricky, busy, full life with 7 incredible blessings. Sometimes an office and uninterrupted time sounds really appealing.
We'd sure get a lot more done!
But most of the time, we wouldn't change all the interruptions for the world-to hear the laughter along with the cries. Because we know that they're not really interruptions, are they?
Mothering is our highest calling.
We're just so thankful that God has allowed us to do both. I want to leave you with a little bit longer video from Andrew Peterson that a wonderful friend posted on my facebook page at just the right time. I hope it means as much to you as it did to me.
Glory to God who gives us strength. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I want you all to meet Lynn.

Lynn is a Christ follower, she has a family full of missionaries and her husband is a pastors kid.
Lynn told me, "I want to be a cross over company, not just another Christian tee shirt company. Love the cross over because we have the opportunity to tell the story of John 9 and it opens lots of conversation when people say, "spit in the dirt ?""
Lynn has a HUGE heart for Africa and a large amount of the proceeds of Wear Love go to help street boys in Saint Louis (san-loo-EE), Senegal, Africa.
She is flying solo in the Wear Love venture so lets show some love to Lynn.
(clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.)

What have you been wearing these days?
Does what you wear show people
who you are and what you believe in?

We have an opportunity for one of our lucky readers to do just that for free!!
Lynn is lovingly and generously donating one of these shirts to an
Awake and Alive follower!

All of the rest of you not so lucky readers ;)
can go to Lynn's store Click here and buy one for yourself or for your entire family!
(They make great Christmas gifts)

So here is what you have to do to get entered to win one of these great t-shirts:

(each entry should have it's own comment.)

2 Mandatory Entries

1. Be a follower of Awake and Alive’s blog {leave me a comment that you do follow..1 Entry}

2. Like Wear Love on FB and leave Lynn an encouraging message on the page, or let her know you came from Awake and Alive. {leave me a comment that you did …1 Entry}


Follow Awake and Alive on FB here {Again, tell me you follow..1 Entry}

Share this giveaway on your FB and encourage others to check out Awake and Alive {1 Entry}

Take our button off the side and post it on YOUR blog until this give away is over {tell me you did..1 Entry!!!}

The mother of all entries...

do a write up on your blog about Awake and Alive and link up to us in your post. (You can tell your readers how you know us, what inspires you about the work we are doing, something we have written about that made you think differently or your come up with your own idea about Awake and Alive and write about that.) {if you do this tell me that you have and leave a link to your blog....5 entries}

You have a potential for 10 entries!!

We will be drawing the winner for the Wear Love T-shirt on Friday September 30th.
Go. Spread the love! Then Wear Love.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Opposite of Love is Not Hate

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.” – Elie Wiesel

I resisted agreeing with this quote the first time I read it. On some level or another I have been indifferent and it’s hard to admit that I’ve been the opposite of love. My god talked about loving others a majority of the time he is quoted; it’s hard to face that I’ve been guilty of the opposite.

But the more I have opened up to this concept, the more it makes sense. Indifference is the lack of concern for the well-being of another; the refusal to help someone despite knowing that person needs help. It’s the failure to acknowledge life, yet alone hate it.

When I read this quote, I immediately thought of the reports of famine currently taking place in the Horn of Africa, the children in Kechene who are in desperate need of very basic needs and safety, and how I have reacted to the faces I have seen.

It’s not my goal to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do. I don’t like doing things out of guilt either. But I hope this quote will enlighten a part of your life much the way it did mine, and help you take action when you see someone in need.

Did this quote affect you the way it affected me? Do you agree with it?


Monday, September 19, 2011

Prepare for a heart change... at OneTrueMedia.com

We are so excited to announce our 1st mission trip to Ethiopia! We will be visiting the forgotten and "cursed" slum of Kechene. We will be there to kick off the start of the school, that we have been working so hard to raise funds for and we will be building relationships and showing God's love. If your heart pumps faster when you watch this video I would encourage you to be in prayer over the next few months about traveling with us in September.

Friday, September 2, 2011

And the winner is....

And the winner is...

Sarah T.

You can check out Sarah's blog

Since this giveaway was such a huge success..I think we will be doing giveaways more often!!

Thank you all so much for loving what we do and supporting us!

PS Sarah please e-mail us at info@awakeandalive.org and then I can get you in contact with Say What Creations!!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

“Jeopardy! : I’ll Take Faith for $300 Alex.”

I am so excited to introduce you to one of my best friends...
my little sister Justine.
She will make ya think and make ya giggle!

Take the floor Justine...

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

A little boy had gone to school for the very first time. Now this school had many children with a variety of ethnicities and religion. It was not long until this little boy made friends with classmates.

One day he came home from his school and his mother asked curiously, “So have you made any new friends so far?”

“Yes. I met a new friend named Joshua Yoder,” He stated proudly.

“Oh really? And is this a little Amish boy?” his mother pried.

The little boy furrowed his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know,” he innocently said.

My former preacher told this story one Sunday in church and I think it is a very powerful example of how God intends for us to live in our journey with Him. Because of the little boy’s child-likeness and innocence, he did not even notice the differences between him and his new friend. I believe God does not care about our appearance, but rather what is in our hearts.

We often put people in a box full of categories that helps us define them and not always positively. I believe this box is created in many ways throughout our lives and often gets in the way of what is really important: living like Jesus would. Loving people no matter what and having a simple faith with a direct relationship with God the Father.

Many things can hinder our “child-like” faith in our everyday lives. Some people are swayed by other people, but for me there was something that happened for four years of my life that put my faith in jeopardy and sadly sometimes still does.

Before I left for my new and exciting venture to Indiana University, my parents had bigger concerns for me other than gaining the “freshman fifteen.”

“Now Justine, you know how you were raised. You are going to see and hear a lot of things you are not used to. Just stick to your morals,” my Dad wisely advised.

I shrugged off this idea. I knew where I came from and I knew exactly who my savior was. I had been baptized when I was 16 and Christ was fully in my heart. Or so I thought.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college when I realized something horrible had happened.

Many of my classes taught us to question EVERYTHING. Nothing was true until it was PROVEN to be. We were to ALWAYS consider other possibilities. It was easier to prove an idea as FALSE than true. This was burned into my mind as I was often tested on these concepts.

One class I took even went to state that the Bible was very sexist. Thankfully one brave gentleman would courageously raise his hand to protest every time religion was dismissed as a valid idea. I’ll never forget how the professor would try to ignore his hand in the air and finally say a long drawn out, “yeess?” Her response at one point was:

“The Bible you are referring to John,” she said as she raised her eyebrows and her head did a little shimmy, “is not a fact. It is simply someone’s opinion.”

What if I would have gone to a Christian college instead? If only my faith could have been stronger through out my schooling. What if I would have protested these ideas in the classroom?

The what’s and if’s ran through my head as I would catch myself trying to critically think about the Bible. In my heart I knew I still believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ as my savior, but the mentality of needing FACTS always sprang forward as my faith got pushed to the back of my mind for a later time.

I believe in education to it’s fullest, but the way school has taught me to critically think has become my cross to bear. My child-like faith was on the endangered species list for awhile and the poacher’s were waiting like vultures for me to give up the little piece I held on to.

Thankfully moving home, attending church regularly, and meeting my significant other has slowly but surely nursed my faith back, almost to what I desire. I know this situation may not happen to all Christians who attend a public university, but I do say beware and do not let “educational” theories and ideas devour your child-like faith.

I still struggle with this questioning and pray about it quite often. I do believe in the power of prayer so your words of encouragement and prayers would be greatly appreciated.

So from now on it is my goal in the Jeopardy puzzle of my life to say, “You can keep your $300. I’ll take faith, for eternity, Alex!” No doubt about it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Who do you think you are?

We have a few new readers

So I wanted to take us back to square one,

Just for a second…

((It won’t hurt I promise))

We are in the beginning stages of starting a school the slum

Kechene, Ethiopia. We are doing some serious fundraising!!

And we would love for you to become Awake and Alive and partner with us as we are taking on this crazy task!!


There are kiddos out there who are being left at home for hours by themselves.


Their momma’s are widows and have no other option then to work for up to 12-14 hours a day to make a living just so their children will not starve.


They have no government help. Even the people in the capitol view the people of Kechene as cursed because of how poor they are, so they won't even help them!

So why a school!?!

These kids have no where safe to go while their mothers have to work so they are left on the streets and are vulnerable. We are taking them off the streets and into a place where they can be educated…because education is something that can not be taken from them.

How are they vulnerable?!?

They are left with no one to feed them, no one to ((((hug))))them if they fall down and get hurt, no one to protect them if they come into contact with a stranger, they can easily be taken…trafficked…abused.

These kids are real…

I have hugged them, and held their hands…

They have taken part of my heart.

So…Who do we think we are?!?

Well this is Danielle’s Story

And this is my (Jolene)’s story

of how we became Awake and Alive.

We both understand that God is using us. Neither one of us is qualified to be running a charity but that is what makes this so beautiful.

All of the glory goes to God!!