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Launching a Dream God’s Way

Do you have a great idea that the world is going to love? Have you always wanted to be your own boss? Entrepreneurship may just be the path for you!  Read on for a few things I’ve learned from launching my own business.

#1 – Find Your Launchpad

Your passions are the perfect launchpad for starting a business. Ask yourself two questions: What do I LOVE to do? How could I make money at it?

When I was 17, I loved health and nutrition.  I walked around health food stores looking at all the products and planned my weekly meals using lots of new recipes. The idea came to my mom first.  She said “Isabel, you could make money doing this!!” Fast-forward a year later, I was working full time planning menus, grocery shopping, and cooking for my very own clients!

Don’t feel passionate about anything right now? Use a problem as your launchpad. Billions of successful products and businesses exist today as a result of yesterday’s problems and inconveniences. I always use kitchen tools as an example. Do you find slicing a banana by hand annoying? Go grab the Chef Matic Banana Slicer!  Never have a free hand when headed to the kitchen trash can? Luckily someone invented the hands-free step-on trashcan a while back. Keep a notebook of all the little inconveniences or problems you experience every day, and try to come up with at least 25 good solutions for each of them. Chances are, you may end up with a really successful business idea!

#2 – Team Up with God

We all know when we surrender our thoughts and ideas to God, they flourish.  And when we try to do things in our own strength, things are often sour from the start. Talk to God about your dreams and desires.  Ask Him what he thinks about your business ideas.  If you don’t have any ideas, ask Him to give you one.  He will help you find your launchpad! God put desires in all of our hearts so they may bear fruit. If your dream is to start a business, chances are, God gave you that dream and he’s going to help you achieve it! Submit your desires to Him and let Him lead you.

Starting a business isn’t easy and can be discouraging. In the very beginning of my business, I hardly made any money.  It was almost impossible to imagine that my business would actually be successful someday. When I prayed and asked God if I should keep pursing it, He gave me a vision of a sign that read “Success.” Any time I would get discouraged and pray, I would see that same vision! Now two years later, I have eight employees and we made six figures of income last year! God is always faithful!  He knows the plans He has for you, so trust Him even when you can’t see the big picture!

#3 – Get the Ball Rolling

The first step to people buying your product or paying for your service is visibility.  People have to know your business exists. Social Media is an awesome tool you can use to create awareness and excitement to grow a following. A website is an essential place for people to learn more about what you offer. The most successful form of advertising is word of mouth, so make sure your family, friends, and your friend’s friends know about what you’re doing!

It’s also important to surround yourself with people who support, encourage, and believe in you and your business. This stage can be scary, I know it was for me! Sometimes it’s hard to feel like your business is valid when you don’t have any paying customers yet, but keep pressing on. The success God has for you may look different than you imagined!

 

Bio: Isabel Young is 21 years old and lives in Westerville with her husband Michael. She owns Food by Bel, a healthy, prepared meal delivery and personal chef service company that services the greater Columbus area. She enjoys traveling, hiking, making spreadsheets, and is a mom to over twenty house plants!

Give Thanks

Every year as brightly hued leaves begin to fall, the wind chills to cooler temperatures and pumpkin spice lattes make their rounds, I am reminded that a great season is here. The season of Thanksgiving reminds us to thank the Lord for our blessings. Although the entire day is centered on celebrating God’s gifts in our lives, is it possible that we succumb to the world’s ideals and unintentionally replace our thankfulness with greed?

It is no secret that our world is dominated by greed. Time and time again we see that no matter how much we have, we will never be satisfied until we have a little more. However, this lie holds no weight against the truths of God’s Word. We learn from the Bible that the things of this world will fade away. One day when we face all of eternity, none of the things of the world will matter. On the contrary, eternal lives will matter.

Instead of wanting more this holiday season, let’s take the focus off ourselves, give thanks for the gifts we have, and use them for God’s glory. Let this holiday season be one of giving. Give up your selfish desires and worries and put someone else’s first. Whether you are given the opportunity to help prepare the meal or pray with a family member, make this season about others. Be thankful for what you have been given, but don’t let the gratitude stop at words, allow your grateful heart to influence your actions as well. The Lord promises to answers your prayers, if you pray for opportunities to express your thankfulness (whether through words or actions) He will provide a way. This holiday season allow the Holy Spirit to soften your heart to the world’s hurts and take action through the giving of thanks.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

(1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV).

Sophia Kalinke is a homeschooled junior who is actively involved in church and youth group. She loves dancing, reading, writing, drawing, theatre, hanging out with family and friends, and ministering to God’s world. Writing is one of her favorite creative outlets and she seeks to encourage others through her shared Instagram account: @beautifullybelovedministries.     

Fall Cut Crease

Need a fun fall look for the holidays??  Or want to make a statement for a party or event?

Check out this amazing make-up tutorial from Pure Design’s Kenzie Norris!

Follow her blog at:  https://kenzienorris.co

The Source

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to our teen youth group at church.  This blog comes from a portion of what I taught on:

As Christians, our lives should be attractive to those around us.  People should look and see a difference in how we live, act and in what we say.  What they see in us is the evidence of God at work (or not at work) in our lives.

Often, we talk about wanting to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the works of the kingdom.  We want to be empowered to heal the sick, preach the gospel, bring deliverance and freedom to others, but we totally forget to engage with Holy Spirit to work on the inner man inside us.

The greatest gauge of whether we are engaged with the work of Holy Spirit in our own personal lives is – do we have the evidence of His fruit in our lives?

Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

The fruit, not the fruits…  all of it, not some.

If we are connected to Jesus as the source and empowered by His Holy Spirit in our lives, not only will we be able to do the works of the Kingdom, but we will have evidence in our lives – in the spiritual fruit we produce.

We will have love for others.

We will have JOY.

We will have an inexplainable inner peace that goes beyond things happening around us.

We will have patience for those we live and work with, go to school with, interact with in the store or on the highway.

We will be kind, not just when we feel like it, but all the time.

We will choose to do what is good.

We will be faithful and loyal to friends, spouses, neighbors and those around us.

We will be gentle.

We will have self-control and live balanced lives directed by the voice of Holy Spirit.

ALL of these are the fruit of the spirit.

It isn’t 9 different fruits to pick and choose from. The fruit of the Spirit is all of these encompassed in one.  Often I pick and choose and as long as I am doing well in most of these areas, I rationalize that my children make me impatient, rather than facing the fact that I have sin issue that needs to be dealt with.

 

So what happens when anxiety creeps in?

We allow the outside circumstances of life to dictate our inner peace.

 

What happens when we become depressed?

We allow the lies of the enemy to overshadow the truth and reality of our status as a son or daughter of the King.

 

What happens when we are unkind?

We allow our flesh and selfishness to overtake the reality of putting others before ourselves and live humbly like Christ.

 

What happens when we are out of control?

We allow the circumstances of life and our human desires to dictate our choices and often we choose to disobey how Holy Spirit instructs you to live.

 

The choices often dictate us and how we feel and how we live – the varsity coach that compliments us and pleads to have us on the team, the rehearsal schedules that keep us out every night of the week on top of our work, school and family responsibilities.

How often do we ask Holy Spirit if we should do something before we say yes?

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are valid reasons for us to feel depressed, anxious, sad and upset.  We are human and situations often affect how we feel. I’m not saying we should not have feelings or just sweep them under the carpet and shout, “God is in control”.  However, when this becomes the ongoing status of our lives – depression, anxiety or fear, we are not aligning our soul to the work of Holy Spirit and allowing him to dictate the choices we make.

We have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us and if we choose to activate His power, He can help us overcome anxiety or depression. His power can enable us to live a self-controlled life and make wise choices.

Today I want to encourage us to partner with the work of Holy Spirit in our lives, to align our hearts, minds and souls to his gentle whispers.  He will lead and guide us, often we aren’t listening.  We must learn to plug into the source, not only to do the works of the kingdom, but to live as a believer with spiritual fruit that others can be attracted to.

If we would only walk in love, joy and peace – how attractive is peace right now to the world? How priceless is peace in today’s society?

How attractive is kindness and gentleness?

The world will be drawn to us by the spiritual fruit we produce and the evidence of Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

 

Pam Lozano is the Founder and President of Pure Design Ministries and Magazine, a Youth Pastor and worship leader. She is a conscientious leader who believes in investing in and mentoring the next generation to raise them up to be who God has designed them to be.

 

Stressed Out: Part 2

If you read Nia’s article last week, here is her advice on how to cope with stress. Enjoy and know that you are not alone!

Prayer– God promises to give us peace beyond our understanding, but in order for Him to do His part we have to do ours. That means pray! Have you ever noticed in the Bible before Jesus healed someone he always asked ‘what is it that you want?’ We need tell God what we want.

Meditate on Scripture– I have become more dependent on scripture while in this stressful situation. It’s no coincidence that all of my verses since the beginning of October have been about stress. Here are some of the scriptures I like to meditate on:

Blessed is the man who keeps going when times are hard. After he has come through them, he will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love him James 1:12 (NIRV)

Peace I leave you, my peace I give you I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Admit You have a problem – Admitting I need help has never been easy for me, because it felt too much like a “me problem” to concern other people. I also feel weak owning up to my problem because everyone else seemed to have it all together. Remember, the sooner you own up to your problems, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain. Just because other people look like they have at all together doesn’t mean they really do.

Listen to music – I like to listen to songs about overcoming a battle. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christian or secular as long as I can relate to it because keeps me going. I also like to listen to songs that talk about comfort during a rough period because they speak to me.

Take care of yourself – The apostle Paul says that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, which you’ve received from God. Therefore, we must take care of our bodies as well as our spiritual growth. Exercise, drink a lot of water and try to eat healthy.

Know your limits – Know what you can and cannot take, it’s okay to say no.

Set up priorities – When I have so many things to do, I prioritize what is most important to get done first. Then I am more prepared and don’t waste time on things that aren’t as important or run out of time for things that need to be done right away.

Don’t be afraid to take breaks – Recently, I’ve been dealing with sore throats. All of the talking and singing for rehearsals for the play and my arts school presentations have taken a toll on my voice. My mom encouraged me to stay home and rest. I didn’t like her advice but knew she was right and I needed to rest. I would not get better or do a good job if I could not talk. It reminded me of the previous point “take care of yourself”. I’ve always felt guilty whenever I take breaks but when we have a busy schedule, we have to take breaks so we can recharge.

In conclusion, even though there are times I feel this season will never end. I always hear my mom’s voice reminding me that God is on my side and with His peace, strength and wisdom, I will do well and will make it through. And, so can you!

 

Nia (pronounced “Nye-ah”) is an aspiring actress and author. She is a student at Westerville central High School and Fort Hayes Perfoming Arts School . During her free time,  she loves reading, writing, and listening to music, and is passionate about bringing the Kingdom of God through the stories she writes and the characters she portrays on stage.

 

Stressed Out? – Me Too!

I am currently going through one of the most stressful seasons in my life. During the summer, I auditioned for a part in the musical “Into The Woods”, and was cast as Cinderella’s Stepmother. I was so excited about it, but there was one problem, I had a schedule conflict. My practices for cross country were 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. everyday. Luckily, I wasn’t alone, other cast members also had after school activities. The directors said it would be totally fine. “Into The Woods” was scheduled to open the weekends of September 9th & 10th and 16th &17th, then I could just focus on cross country.  Then late summer, my church decided to do an outreach production the last two weekends of October. I auditioned for a role as a teen addict and got the part.  My schedule should’ve worked, because by the end of October, the school play and cross country would both be over.

On top of all of this, I was chosen to attend a performing arts school thirty minutes from where I live.  My school schedule would have me traveling to the performing art school for the morning then returning to my regular high school for afternoon classes. It was a great idea on paper, but the reality is more challenging than I expected.

My daily schedule is not easy. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. to attend my performing arts school, then get on the bus to return to my regular high school, after school, I go to cross country practice, get home to take a shower, eat dinner, and return back to school for four hours of rehearsal.

I told myself that I would be okay because we were so close, but two weeks before opening night, our director called a meeting. Since many students had to miss rehearsals because of illness or other schedule conflicts and because the orchestra had double booked themselves, the show was postponed for late October.

The dates were finally set. We would perform “Into The Woods” during the last week of October. I was happy that rehearsal schedules were lightened, but it also meant that all of my activities would end around the same time and that this stressful situation would be prolonged. Now that we are in October, I have been through so many ups and downs. I’ve dealt with sore throats and needing vocal rest, to extended testing periods (which I could’ve used that time to work on homework), to running difficult cross country courses.

I’ve had anxious moments and days, wondering how I would ever if I’m ever make it, and feeling like I should just give up even though I’m so close. But, through this tough season, God has taught me a few things that I would love to share with you.

Come back next week for tips on how to cope with stress…

Nia (pronounced “Nye-ah”) is an aspiring actress and author. She is a student at Westerville central High School and Fort Hayes Perfoming Arts School . During her free time,  she loves reading, writing, and listening to music, and is passionate about bringing the Kingdom of God through the stories she writes and the characters she portrays on stage.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Change is inevitable. There is absolutely no way to avoid it. God incorporates big and little changes in His plan for our life as stepping stones, in order to become who, He wants us to be. Sometimes these steps can be slippery or rough. Not all of them are smooth and stable enough to hold you as you jump from one to the other, but all are necessary for getting to where God has intended you to go.

A completely new atmosphere can be scary. Scratch that, traumatizing, because you know nothing about where you’re at. Maybe the words sound funny, the food tastes weird, or the people look different. You feel out of place, like you don’t belong there. You tell yourself that you can’t be used for God’s purpose because you don’t quite fit in or know the walk or talk of where you are now. You make a million excuses which only result in curling up on your bed and watching Netflix while others actually do something with their lives. You escape from the world you’re in because, “in fact”, you tell yourself, “you don’t belong here”.

It is human nature to hate being wrong. But girl, if you think that you don’t deserve to be in this world, you are wrong. Dead wrong. God provides you with boldness, bravery and courage like no other. He is the way to make change happen. Even if you can’t always be in control of it, you can trust in Him. After all, if He had the power to speak and set the universe into motion, he has the power to give you confidence and a mission for your life.

There’s a lyric by Hillsong that asks the Lord to lead us into uncharted territory. There is no way of knowing all of the details of the journey and sometimes that is the way God intended it to be. When you ask the Holy Spirit to lead you where your trust is without borders, you hand the wheel over to Him completely. He will take control and bring you through even if His path is different than yours. He may call you to be a teacher in Ohio, an accountant in New York, or a missionary in Uganda. But it will all turn out to be the best thing to ever happen because you will be glorifying Him by obeying Him. The good news is He can use you no matter what – whether you have experience or not.  You can be used by God, as long as you are ready for action. Go be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ because there is plenty for all of us to do.

John 13:7 “Jesus replied, ‘you don’t understand what I am doing but someday you will.”

Jordyn attends High Point University. She loves spending time with friends, photo shoots, and shopping.

Where is My True Identity Found?

Whether or not we like to admit it, everyone is guilty of allowing the complacency of life’s mountaintops to override our will to be changed by life’s valleys.  We get so comfortable with our circumstances that we are left feeling abandoned when the Lord throws a challenge our way.  If you find yourself confused and questioning God’s ultimate plan every time He gives you battles, you may not be finding your identity in Christ.

As a teen, I constantly face the daily battle of where I base my identity.  When my freshman year rolled around, my struggle with identity began to escalate.  Suddenly, the pressures and mood swings of adolescence really started to affect me, and instead of trusting that God was the source of my identity, I would look to my grades to make me feel better.  Throughout that first year of high school I felt like had to get a perfect grade on every single paper, test, and quiz I handed in, because it made me feel worthy.  Since then, though, I have learned that God is only place I can look to find my identity.  He is source of who I truly am. 

A woman supported by and rooted in Christ, will not fail. Psalm 46:5 says, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.”  When the entirety of our life springs from the one and only King, we will find purpose, joy, fulfillment, and true identity.  The more firmly planted we are in the soil of God’s truth the harder it is for Satan to uproot our faith. 

Another component of finding your identity in Christ, is to treasure Him above all else.  Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  In a day and age where a multitude of distractions exist in an attempt to steal your focus on Christ, we must be armed with a heart that is guarded from evil.  God alone can guard our heart and we make it possible for Him to do so when we rely on Him as our source of strength.    

Placing our trust in Him and treasuring Him above anything else, we will be able find our identity in Him no matter what struggles we may encounter.  What a blessing it is to be able to fully trust in Jesus to sustain our paths every single time we face a challenge, because, without Him, we fail every day.

Find your identity in your Maker, as He will supply you with the courage to take on difficulties.  Not only that, but He is the only way you can overcome trials.  As the absolute Overcomer, our God is able to give you the provisions to overcome trials or find joy in the midst of them.  Although His plan may not always be what we want or expect, if He is the source of our identity, and if we find our true worth in Him, no hardship or temptation will be able to keep us from living our lives for Him.  

Sophia Kalinke is a homeschooled junior who is actively involved in church and youth group. She loves dancing, reading, writing, drawing, theatre, hanging out with family and friends, and ministering to God’s world. Writing is one of her favorite creative outlets and she seeks to encourage others through her shared Instagram account: @beautifullybelovedministries.     

Electronic Unplug

I remember a few years ago when there was an intense storm outside and it caused a power outage. Our TV and computer turned off and cell phones eventually ran out of battery. My family and I were “forced” out of our own little world of technological devices and “had” to spend time together. My parents convinced us to play old fashioned board and card games. At first we dreaded the idea, but after playing for a while, we started to enjoy them. We were so busy playing games and bonding that we didn’t go back to watching TV or playing on our phones when the lights came back on.

That night taught me something very important; technology in itself isn’t a bad thing, but many of us (including myself) have been guilty of spending way too much time on our devices. Technology can get in the way of our relationships with people: friends, family and even our relationship with God. We need to unplug our devices and start spending time in the real world.

I am not saying it’s easy.  Just the other day, I meant to take a minute and check my email and I found myself sucked into website after website.  I wasn’t doing anything bad, but at same time, I could have been on a walk with my mom, talking with my dad, or having fun with my brother and sister.  Even more importantly, I could have taken some time with the Lord and read my Bible.  But, instead, I was looking up memes on Pinterest. It’s amazing how much time had gone by and I didn’t even realize it.  From that point on I had to start making a conscience decision to make myself “unplug”.

Here are a few simple choices I’ve made to make sure I am not tied to technology or social media. First, I know longer bring my phone to meals when I sit with family and friends to eat.  I keep my phone in my purse when I’m having quality time with people. If I don’t see it I’m not tempted to check it every five minutes; that way I can engage in the conversation instead of seeing who’s posting on Instagram.  Another thing I try to do every day is have devotions before I pick up my phone to start scrolling.  These are small things, but these habits help me keep my relationship with God, family, and friends a priority.  After all, they are more important than the people I only know online.

I know unplugging is hard; however, there are so many reasons to put your phone down or log off your computer.  I encourage you to take the challenge and unplug for one month and see what amazing things you can accomplish, the people you can get to know, and how your relationship with Jesus will get so much stronger.

Nia (pronounced “Nye-ah”) is an aspiring actress and author. She is a student at Westerville central High School and Fort Hayes Perfoming Arts School . During her free time,  she loves reading, writing, and listening to music, and is passionate about bringing the Kingdom of God through the stories she writes and the characters she portrays on stage.