FaithSpring Staff Blog


Day 28: Yes to Wearing Green; No to Excluding Others

Posted By at Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday, March 17

Today we say “Yes” to Wearing Green and “No” to Excluding Others.  In this St. Patrick’s Day Challenge, we honor one of the oldest traditions of Wearing Green clothing.  An accompanying tradition of St. Patrick’s Day involves those who don’t wear Green: they’re supposed to get pinched. But today, we’re not going to exclude the non-Green participants by pinching them.  Today we’re going to love them even more.

Where does Wearing Green originate?  It appears to be the Leprechauns’ fault, mythical creatures who protect their treasures by tricking “would-be” thieves.  Apparently, one of their common tricks is to pinch people who get close to their hidden treasure.  However, Leprechauns are color-blind to the color green, thus, by Wearing Green clothing, thieves could become invisible to the mythical creatures and escape the pinches.  We can’t verify if any of this is true, or if Leprechauns really hide their treasures at the base of the rainbow, but I suppose if you get pinched today and nobody is around, you must be close.(Just remember to give a little of your treasure to the church.)

We’re not sure if Jesus ever wore Green, but, if He did, He certainly wasn’t worried about Leprechauns or their treasure.  However, Jesus was a big proponent of fitting the Gospel into popular culture.  Sure, Jesus preached some things that were not well-received by society, but He also made a point to go straight to the needs of all people.  He didn’t Exclude, discriminate, or withhold blessings because of the color of someone’s clothing.  Jesus provided for the needs of everyone from the abundance of love that He had for all people.

“They brought to Jesus a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and Jesus spat and touched the man’s tongue.  Then looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”  And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:32-35, NRSV).

Today, make a point to include someone who might be looking in from the outside.  Then, join in the fun and wear something Green!

Today, say “Yes” to Wearing Green and “No” to Excluding Others!


Day 27: Yes to low calorie/fat food; No to Indulgent Food and Drink

Posted By at Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Today we say “Yes” to a Low Fat/Calorie Diet and “No” to Indulgent Food and Drink.Like other Fridays in the 40-day Challenge, today we are focusing on a dietary challenge.Compared to other Fridays in the Challenge, this one will be easy, but it’s purpose is important:pay close attention to the food and drinks we consume.The Challenge for today is to Avoid Indulgent, High Fat/Calorie Food and Drinks while replacing them with Lower Fat/Calorie Food and Drinks.

Maintaining a healthy diet is probably the best way we can improve our health.Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us need to improve our diets.All of us have our little secret indulgences that, on occasion, are nice treats.However, we may have let it get out of control.Snacks hidden in the desk, restaurant foods on Friday nights and pre-bedtime drinks need to go by the wayside today.Instead of fried catfish, try it grilled or blackened.Rather than fries and chips with our meal, exchange them for fresh fruit and steamed vegetables.Instead of Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices, drink a glass of water.

There’s plenty of ways we can improve our eating habits and today is the day to start treating our bodies the way that God expects.In his letter to the Church in Corinth, St. Paul addresses the need to care for our bodies.St. Paul says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?You are not your own; you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6-19-20, NIV).

Today, say “Yes” to Low Fat and Low Calorie Food and Drinks and “No” to the Bad Stuff!


Day 26: Yes to Intentional Generosity, No to Selfishness!

Posted By at Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Today we say “Yes” to Intentional Generosity and “No” to Selfishness.  Most of us recognize that need is everywhere, but few of us are Intentional about being Generous when the opportunity arises.  This challenge isn’t designed to point out our selfish short-comings (which we probably already know).  Rather, this is designed to help us recognize the places in daily life that provide us with an opportunity for Generosity.

Generosity can be experienced in plenty of ways.  The most obvious way to demonstrate Generosity is through the provision of financial or need-based resources, such as money, food and clothing.  But there’s plenty of other ways that we can be Generous.  We can be Generous with our time when we witness a situation that needs a helping hand.  We can be Generous with our skills when someone else encounters a specific problem, or we can be Generous with patience when situations arise that require our attention.  Generosity can take almost any form!

Intentional Generosity means that we are going to look for ways to be Generous.  How many opportunities will arise in just one day?  Start your day with a prayer and ask for God to open your ears and eyes to the opportunities you will encounter, then focus on Intentional Generosity and watch God do His best work!

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV).

Today, say “Yes” to Intentional Generosity and “No” to Selfishness!



Say Yes to protect Others and No to Bullying

Posted By at Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday, March 14

Today, we say “Yes” and “No” to a couple of things that should be common knowledge. That may be true, but in the real world, common knowledge isn’t always followed up by common action. Many adults tend to think that Bullying only occurs in and around school-aged children. Nope. There’s plenty of Bullying that occurs in the workplace, at social events, within relationships, and in all other social interactions.

All of us need help, Bullies included. But Bullies aren’t always going to seek help, and in fact, Bullies may not even know that they are acting in this manner. Today’s challenge isn’t only to call Bullies out. That’s very important, but it also important that we help turn this common knowledge into common action. We should be caring for each other, protecting one another, and loving one another. If we ourselves are bullies, stop it. If we witness bullying, step up and care for the innocent. If we feel that we are being bullied, talk to a trusted friend or loved one about it and be ready to seek some outside help.

Nobody likes a Bully, especially God. God doesn’t want us to be Bullied around by sin for our entire existence. So God sent Jesus into the world to save us so that we don’t have to be Bullied by sin any longer, as Jesus says in the Gospel of John: “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again” (John 3:17, The Message).

Keep an eye pealed and ear open today. Watch out for those who are suffering at the hands of others. And if we happen to be a guilty party in Bullying, make some mental notes about why we are treating others in this manner and seek some help for ourselves. There’s plenty that all of us can do to improve our relationships with others, but with God’s help, we can do a whole lot more.

Say “Yes” to Protecting Others and “No” to Bullying!



Day 24: Yes to Letters of Encouragement; No to Forgetting

Posted By at Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Today, we are challenged to do something that most of us probably haven’t done in a while:Write a Letter.  Yes, we are referring to a good, ‘ole fashioned, hand-written and US Postage-stamped Letter of Encouragement to someone.  The Letter can be written to a friend, family member, neighbor, or someone you barely know.  Whomever you choose, let them know that you’re thinking of them and offer them a few words of Encouragement.

A little bit of Encouragement can produce big results.  The world around us is not always kind or positive, so we have plenty of places that we can offer Encouragement and kindness.  If we’re wondering how much it might help, just take a moment to consider how much a hand-written letter would mean to you.  It’s a big deal to everyone, especially because we don’t receive many of them anymore.

We don’t have records of Jesus writing Letters of Encouragement, but St. Paul writes plenty of them.  The New Testament is filled with his letters of Encouragement to the churches.  He begins his letter to the Thessalonians, “We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.  Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions you are enduring” (Thessalonians 1:3-4, NRSV).

Write a Letter of Encouragement to someone today and Don’t Forget!


Day 23: Yes to Grace, No to a Temper.

Posted By at Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday, March 12

Today, we begin the weekly challenge of Encouragement by saying “Yes” to Grace and “No” to our Temper. Tough way to start a Monday, huh? Mondays are fertile ground for Tempers, so beginning the week by removing our Temper from our day may be a little tough. But grind it out; you can do it. The other part of today’s challenge, offering Grace in all places, will probably be more difficult.

Grace, in the Spiritual sense, is God’s unmerited offering of Grace to His people. Even when we are at our worst, God still offers Grace. Today we will attempt to flip this around by offering someone else that same kind of Grace. Even if they are at their very worst, try and offer them Grace in place of your normal response.

Why is this important? Two reasons. First, when we focus on offering Grace to other people, it helps provide us with a better understanding of the Grace that God offers us. Second, Jesus gives plenty of examples of offering Grace to those that might be undeserving. One especially cool story involves Jesus teaching in a crowded house, and some guys cut a hole in the roof to lower a crippled man down to Jesus. The religious leadership becomes angry and Jesus addresses them.

“Jesus immediately knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’, or ‘Stand up, pickup your mat, and walk?’So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’” (Mark 2:8-10, NLT).

We may not have the power to heal a crippled person or the authority to forgive sins, but we know where to find the solution to both of these concerns. God did it, Jesus exemplifies it, and we can live it out today.

Say “Yes” to Grace and “No” to Temper!


Weekly Challenge for Week 4, Mar 11-17:Yes to Encouragement; No to Hate and Ignoring

In this fourth weekly challenge, we say “Yes” to Encouragement and “No” to Hate and Ignoring Others.  This week, we will focus on encouraging everyone we encounter, regardless of the situation.  Rather than turning a deaf ear to those in need, Ignoring those who irritate us, or continuing to Hate people around us, we are going to Encourage them at every opportunity.

Have you ever started a day with the intention of encouraging people?  Have you ever acknowledged God’s work in all people, no matter who they are, what they look like, or what weird vibes they give you?  That is your challenge.  This will not be easy because it’s very difficult to complete a day that hasn’t included some kind of bias, judgement, or fear.  But keep in mind, this is more than one day.  This is an entire week dedicated to Encouraging Everyone.

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of encouragement.  He encouraged the young Christian Churches, helping them endure some of the most difficult of circumstances and persecutions.  He recognized how important it was to encourage one another, as he relates to his letter to the Jewish Christians living in Rome: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of Jesus’ return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NLT).

This is the week to become someone who doesn’t Ignore or Hate other people.  This is the week to Encourage Everyone, despite our own troubles, so that other people can see for themselves the Light of Christ that lives within each one us.  Can we do it?  Yes we can!

For the next 7 days, say “Yes” to Encouraging Others and “No” to Hating or Ignoring them!


Day 22: Yes to Call Someone in Need; No to Demandsnon others

Posted By at Saturday, March 10, 2018

Saturday, March 10

Today, we say “Yes” to Call Someone in Need and “No” to making Demands on Others. This won’t be a difficult challenge but it’s an important one. The focus is on Other People. First, let’s not make Demands on Other people. That should be simple enough. But the second part is a bit different. Throughout our daily lives, certain names and faces jump into our minds, and for a moment, we wonder about them. Most of us probably dismiss the thought after a few seconds, but today, let’s pay attention to it. Is God sending us a signal that we should check in with a friend, family member, or an acquaintance? When this happens today, Call (say “No” to texts and emails on this challenge) that person and check in with them.

It’s amazing how God can work through such a simple act as a phone call. But think about it for a moment. How many calls will that special person receive today? They might receive plenty of texts, social media contacts, and emails, but will they actually hear the sound of someone’s voice? When we personally talk with people, it opens new avenues of communication and provides a great opportunity to develop a deeper relationship. Granted, we might not want to develop a stronger relationship with the person on our mind, but this phone call is not about us. It’s about the other person, and until we reach out, we have no idea how that person is doing. Our voice could be the one thing that gets them through a difficult weekend, and because God is always doing amazing things, God will also bless us in the process.

Consider the tremendous growth of the first Church: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spentmuch time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day, the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:44-47, NRSV).

Make a difference in someone’s life today. Call them and check in with them. They might need food, gas money, a prayer, or maybe just a little attention. Or, you might find that they need nothing more than to hear a joyful voice of someone who cares for them.

Today, say “Yes” to Call Someone in Need and “No” to Making Demands on Others!


Day 21: Yes to Fruits and Vegetables, No to Meat and Cheese

Posted By at Friday, March 09, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018

On each Healthy Friday during the Lenten Season, we encounter a dietary challenge. Today, we say “Yes” to eating Fruits and Vegetables and “No” to Meats and Cheese. For we who are carnivores, this one will be difficult. A few weeks ago (see the Challenge from Day 3, February 16), we challenged each other to Give Up Meat to honor God. Today, we’re adding Cheese to the mix, so pasta and salads are going to taste a bit different and plain cheese pizza won’t qualify.

Why so much emphasis on dietary challenges? Fasting begins among the earliest of Jewish and Christianpeople as one of the most beloved and sacred ways we can honor God (more about this in a couple of weeks). This challenge is not a complete fast. Rather, we are challenging ourselves to withhold certain foods, such as Meat (beef, chicken, lamb, pork) and Cheese.

Since the 3rd Century, abstinence from the consumption of meat, cheese, and other foods has been common practice for Christians. The earliest monasteries followed the example of John the Baptist by foraging for their food (primarily nuts and berries). However, they concluded that they were spending too much time searching and gathering for food, thus taking away from their time for prayer and Scripture reading. As a result, the early monasteries planted gardens and orchards, thus making Fruits and Vegetablesa primary source of their dietary needs. Yet, even then,they were prohibited from harvesting foods without the permission of their appointed gardener and the food could not be consumed until the entire community could share the meal together.

Compared to our current eating habits, this is quite extreme. But all of it had purpose: to demonstrate that the needs of the flesh (body) are not superior to the needs of the soul. In today’s challenge, we take a lesson from God’s people of long ago byabstaining from certain foods. Are you up for the challenge? It’s only 24-hours of no Meat and Cheese, supplemented byeating plenty of Fruits and Vegetables. Eat healthy! It’ll do good for your mind, body, and soul!

Today, say “Yes” to Fruits and Vegetables and “No” to Meat and Cheese!


Day 20: “Yes” to Reading the Bible for 15 Minutes; “No” to Excuses.

Posted By at Thursday, March 08, 2018

Thursday, March 8, 2018

In today’s Challenge, we say “Yes” to Reading the Bible for 15 minutes and “No” to Excuses.  In this straightforward challenge, we commit to Reading the Bible for 15 Minutes.

Why do we need this challenge?  Let’s begin with some numbers.  Barna Research Group and The American Bible Society report that 52% of the US population believes that the Bible is a good source of moral teaching.  However, only 22% of the American population Read the Bible daily in 2017.  The more surprising number might be that 35% of the respondents said that they didn’t Read the Bible (at all) last year.

These are tough numbers to swallow for those of us who are Bible-believers, but this also presents a good opportunity.  If half of our population thinks the Bible is a good source of moral instruction and most of those people didn’t Read the Bible last year, then a good portion of non-believers will at least consider Reading the Bible.  They may just need an occasional reminder.

We make sharing the Gospel a much more difficult than it should be.  Sometimes we think that we should ready to debate a non-believer on deep, theological topics. Yet, in reality, at least half of our population will receive the Bible with a positive attitude because it teaches sound moral values.  Daily Bible Reading is powerful.  If we really want to help grow God’s Kingdom through the Gospel, we must become better Bible Readers ourselves.

Today, let’s get it done!  Read the Bible for 15 Minutes and No Excuses!