Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Candid Conversation from a Desperate Heart

Speak UP Lord!

Please, would you speak AUDIBLE words to my soul? I want to HEAR you. I need to HEAR from you.

These are honest words, spoken from a desperate heart, that I often cry out. I enter into barren seasons where I fear my ability to know He is there. Sara Groves summed up my feelings best when she penned the words to her song Hello Lord:

“I don’t doubt your sovereignty, I doubt my own ability, to hear what you’re saying and to do the right thing, and I desperately want to do the right thing, but right now I don’t hear so well, and I was wondering if you could speak up….”mega-phone-yeah

There are seasons in my life when I need for the Lord to use a megaphone. My own personal fears, heartaches, ponderings, and random thoughts drown out His voice. It is during those seasons that I have a very hard time hearing from the Lord. I have learned, through experience, to fight the urge to shy away from His Word, and to quite frankly, read the Word even when I don’t feel like it.  

Why do we shy away from discussing these seasons? We pretend like these seasons don’t occur for the believer. As if we are all walking around in a state of bliss and holiness. I no longer want to pretend that I am okay when there are days I am functioning on autopilot. I know I’m not alone in this, because when I open scripture, I always find a friend. I find an exhausted friend at the end of his rope.

Sometimes when I am feeling really alone, I will open scripture and visualize myself sitting and having a conversation with whomever I am reading about.  

This is my candid conversation with Elijah (paraphrased from 1 Kings 19):

I was afraid. I ran. I ran as long as I could. You know a good run clears the mind. I was so spent! At the end of my run, I found a broom tree and sat down beneath it and prayed: “Lord!  Take me now!”

I am not proud of this moment, but this is reality. I am not doing you any favors if I try to sugar coat it. I was DONE. I was feeling overworked, overlooked, and unappreciated.  I cried out, “I’m doing everything you want Lord! WHY am I not seeing results?”

Just as you may be now, I was desperate to hear the Lord speak to me. In my desperation, I fell asleep.

What the Lord did next surprised me. He woke me up and He fed me. Literally. He first met my most basic need. After eating, I got some much needed sleep.

Finally feeling strong enough, I traveled to a place where I could seek the Lord and hear from Him. I too cried out for Him to SPEAK UP! I want you to know I never heard him shout. An earthquake came, I was sure I would hear Him speak then. Crickets…

A fire came! Aha! My burning bush moment! I knew God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, so I strained my ear for His word. Nothing.  

Then, a whisper. One so gentle I had to quiet my breath to hear it. It was only when I became very still that I finally heard His gentle whisper.  

dry-season-droughtI have a question for you. If He was to shout at you right now, would you really hear what He needed to say? Of course not. He knows you are in a barren season right now. He hears your cries and He knows he has to get you to a place where you CAN hear from Him. So, when you find yourself in those dry seasons, don’t beat yourself up. Recognize your need to get alone with the King of the Universe. Take it from me: you will not find Him in a grand earthquake experience that rattles your soul. The Lord longs to be much closer to you. He wants to pull your depressed heart in close and whisper in your ear.  

Lessons from my candid conversation

Do you find yourself today in an empty season? I get it! You are not alone. These empty seasons can be terrifying. When you can’t hear the Lord and you are begging for Him to speak UP, recognize it as the moment you need to get really still and listen for His whisper.

He is waiting for you.  

Here are a few take-aways I gained from my candid conversation with Elijah.

  1. The Lord is patient with us. He did not meet Elijah with a “get over it” attitude. He met his need and he encouraged his heart. Read 1 Kings 19:19 and you will find he even supplied Elijah with a much needed friend.
  2. Take care of yourself. If you allow yourself to get run down it can hinder your ability to hear. Before the Lord spoke to Elijah, he fed him. Read 1 Kings 19:7-8.
  3. The Lord does NOT speak the same way every time. He is not going to speak to you the same way He speaks to someone else. Read 1 Kings 19:12-13. I love that he chose a gentle whisper. He very well could have chosen a thunderous voice or a burning fire. I recognize here a loving God who is being very tender with a believer who is in a vulnerable state.

Erica Pearson,


Do I really make a difference?

Chances are you’ve asked yourself this question at some point. It’s human nature to have self-doubt. In fact, it’s second nature for lots of us.

Working with college students and being a dad, I sometimes find myself asking this very question: Does what I do really make a difference? While it’s usually in a time of frustration or extreme sleep deprivation, it’s still a little seed that grows bigger and more bothersome if left unchecked.

We tend to go through seasons of our lives that have little ups and downs where we second guess who we are, our gifts and abilities, and honestly, whether or not anything we do is truly making an impact. Of all the effort and time I put into investing in others, am I being heard? Is it sinking in? Am I just talking to a wall? Or just spitting into the wind? Sometimes it’s just hard to tell.

1000-tips-6-expect-or-earnAnd to be honest, some college students, and on the very rarest of occasions even my kids, make me want to bang my head into a wall. Many young people walk through life expecting rather than earning. You see, you can have a hard work ethic, but still be lost. You can be accomplished, but still need help. You can have vision, but still not see the trees from the forest, or even your hand in front of your face.

In my field, we call the negative things you say to yourself “negative self-talk.” It’s when we let our situation dictate how we feel, our emotions dictate how we react, and where our attitude becomes a lot to be desired.

But then, right when doubt sets in, God always has a way of showing or telling me how what I do matters. It always happens. And when shown or told, I realize how foolish I can be. What I continuously keep in mind is to stay the course. I seek out my mission in order to fulfill it. For me, God has me in a place where I can help others through training, mentoring, counseling, and by example. We all need to look around and make our mission of impact where we find ourselves. After all, your mission is both where God has you and where the Spirit leads you.

You never know how what you say or do can be the catalyst for someone else to be impacted in a BIG way! A recent event sent chills down my spine because of the significance of how a book I recommended changed someone’s life. It just goes to show, making an impact can be in either big or small ways – as simple as recommending a book to spending lots of time, energy, and emotional support with someone dealing with a personal crisis.

Here’s what I know: if we focus too hard, we make a dent, not a difference. When trying to impact someone’s life, we often don’t know what will be the thing to set them on a new trajectory. All we can do is show love. The Holy Spirit will work on the rest.

The ramifications are too great not to make an effort when presented with an opportunity. One impact has a huge multiplication effect. This is how eyes are opened and spirits are awakened.

When you ask yourself if you are making an impact, don’t short change yourself. But also don’t buy into the devil’s trap of contentment or self-doubt. Be there for others and seek your role in God’s Kingdom here on earth. It’s a calling, not a suggestion.

Trey Campbell,
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Intentional Legacies – Part 1 of 3

In this three-part blog series, we will look at living with intentionality. The content is derived from talking points from a “Spiritual Time-Out” for the leaders at Southwestern Advantage.

The legacy we leave behind is determined by those we impact. At present, we are all in the process of building our life’s legacy. This legacy will be our leave-behind when our life concludes. In other words, we should be intentional in how we live, so as to leave a lasting influence to those we love.

Part 1: I will intentionally give what I have

So, besides being the go-to groceries of choice during snow storms – what do eggs, bread, and milk have in common? The commonality is they all have an expiration date. To live a life that will endure past our personal expiration date, these three things will help:

A. Give generously with what you havegen-er-ous
Your “haves” in this case are all the things you can give away. This goes beyond your money. It can include your time, gifts and talents, resources, and love. This is a decision each of us needs to make that turns not into a preference, but rather, a practice.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”
– 2 Corinthians 9:7

A friend of mine, Richard, fixes cars for single moms. Brian is always giving away food or firewood. Another friend mowed the yards of widows for free. You see, being generous with what you have is done out of love and with pure intentions. This is typically done with the expectancy of nothing in return. You give what you have for the sake of loving and serving others. This is living with intentionality. This is living by example for others to see. The example was the one set by Christ.

B. Quality over quantityqual-over-quan
This is best exemplified in a parable about the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44. Jesus watched many rich people put in large amounts of money in the Temple collection box. A
poor widow dropped in only two coins. Jesus told the disciples the how the widow gave way more than the others because she gave all she had, while they only gave a tiny part of their amassed fortunes.

Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put n large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, as poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
– Mark 12:41-44

The quality of what we give is determined by the the intentions of our heart. The widow’s legacy lives on through Jesus’ story to show us how we can be treasured without having the most treasure.

C. Remain vital and green
Psalm 92 says the godly will flourish, and in old age will produce fruit and remain vital and green. Any one who passes their influence and wisdom past their last breath in life to others will no doubt have lived a life of vitality and growth. They will not be a tree that bears no fruit, nor will they be a dried up branch that withers and is thrown into the fire pit.

fruit-bearing-treeIt stands to reason, anyone who remains vital and green in all seasons of life will live with intentionality and generosity with the fruit their life produces. They have a bountiful harvest and are willing to share it with others to increase their yield.

Who are some people you know who have been vital and green and left a lasting legacy?

But the godly will flourish like palm trees and the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.
– Psalm 92:12-14

If you will be intentional about what you have to give, you will actually leave more than you ever thought you could.

Trey Campbell,


Is your bucket list just boxes to be checked off, or a life of meaning?

god-wrote-bucket-list-coverI saw a book at the airport with an interesting title, so I bought it. It was titled What If God Wrote Your Bucket List?, by Jay Payleitner.

The basis of the book is if God wrote your bucket list, it would not include things like swimming with sharks, skydiving, or kayaking the Colorado River (one of mine). But what it WOULD include would be, as Payleitner put it, “fewer things to do and more things to embrace. Things to appreciate. To choose. And sometimes let go.”

I always learn something when it’s either a new idea or an old idea presented in a different way. So far, my biggest take-away came in the first chapter. Payleitner wrote about setting goals. Nothing new here, but again, when presented with a spin, it becomes fresh once more. He wrote, “…your goals for your life are not nearly as important as God’s goals for your life. In other words, please don’t be surprised if all your careful planning and goal setting gets set aside by the master planner himself.” That’s exactly what happens. God’s plan for us is bigger than we are.

This motivated me to put together some bucket list items for my life that are bigger than I am. I still need to refine them somewhat and think about how I will fulfill them… maybe even set in some time frames, but this is a list I will print out and refer to on a weekly basis so I can see my progress and where I need to focus. I’ll likely add to it as well. Lots of self-reflection went into this while on a work trip, alone and out of the country. There’s no better time for concentrated thought and prayer than when temporarily away from life’s many distractions. In a country where all of my first-world problems are minuscule, my mind is very clear. In no particular order, here it is:

Take time to retreat

  • Withdraw to focus on my mission, purpose
  • Surrender my time in order to surrender my life

Leave a lasting legacy for those I love and respect

  • Who will I be remembered as?
  • What will they remember me for? (got this from the book)

Make an impact on others

  • Through the Lord – share what I know, grow God’s Kingdom
  • Increase faith – theirs and mine
  • Be an example – a better example of a leader/human/Christ-follower

Develop a stronger prayer life

  • Communicate better – prayer is 2-way
  • Build a better relationship with the Trinity (all 3 – Father, Son, Spirit)

Quality time with those I love

  • This is some of the most important time spent
  • Put the focus on them

Make where I am my mission field

  • Be continual and faithful
  • Be present and focused
  • Be service-minded

Be unconditionally uncomfortable

  • Take chances through faith – with those I love, acquaintances, and strangers
  • Let the waves of life swell and ride them!
  • Take a stand – being faithful to the Lord is not easy or popular

Study sources of inspiration, motivation, and Spirit-filled wisdom

  • More Bible time
  • Books, videos, and other sources

Put what I learn and live into words

  • Write, blog, share to inspire

Show gratitude. Share Gratitude.

  • Be thankful for those who are blessings in my life – let them know
  • Be grateful to God for entrusting me with the things I am blessed with

And there you have it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I still have a bucket list that includes milestones and fun things bucket-listI want to accomplish. But after writing this list, those things seem trivial. No, a better word is fleeting. Those things come and go but do not necessarily make me the person I want to be – the person I was made to be. This list keeps me honest with God’s goals for my life. I’ve skydived, been to Europe, and rode a bike down a volcano. Though, I would like to milk a cow and have a book published.

What about you? What would your bucket list look like if you penned it with God’s goals for your life in mind?

Trey Campbell,
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