Monthly Archives: March 2017

Magical Kingdom Musings

“See if you can find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magic Kingdom.”

This was a text I sent to a friend who was going to Disney World with her family. She’s a prayer warrior and shines God’s light where ever she goes. I figured it would be fun to task her with this thought while she was there.

Disney 2012 (2)

In thinking about the two times I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom, I was contemplating in my head the similarities and differences between what Walt Disney’s interpretation of “where dreams come true” and another Kingdom altogether – that of God’s.

As best I can put together, Disneyland was known by the nickname Magic Kingdom prior to Walt Disney World being built in Florida, in which the Magic Kingdom theme park was built. Disneyland’s official tagline is “The Happiest Place on Earth.” But the tagline for Magic Kingdom is “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” The slogan of Disney Parks is the one mentioned above, “Where Dreams Come True.” I know, it’s confusing – but therein lies the magic!

I’m not looking for this post to create discord nor do I want to argue the merits of the Disney effect. Just to be clear, I have nothing against Disney World and the Magical Kingdom other than the long lines and high prices. For those who like theme parks and traveling to a fantasy world to escape the realities of the real world, it makes for some great memories and family time.

When you have such a place where people flock to make those memories and seek a temporary bit of happiness, I wonder if they find what they are looking for? Is it just that? Temporary? You see, any time we have a chance to get away, what ever we’re getting away from is still there when we get back. It’s still there when we return to reality.

When you return from a trip to Disney, or any other travel, you physically unpack your luggage. It all goes in the wash. The flight of fancy is over. The castles in the air come crashing down. While your luggage is emptied, your baggage is still there until it too is unpacked and cleaned out. The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is eternal.

An escape to a magical place that makes you feel happy is a good way to spend a week. But what about the other 51 weeks in the year? The question here becomes, how can you make where you are the “happiest place on earth?”

I believe it’s in our packing. Not cramming our shorts, swimsuits, flipflops, and sunscreenpacked suitcase in a 2 x 3 box on rollers. It’s packing (preparing) for the other Kingdom – the one not with a mouse and castle, but a Lamb and throne. Our packing list is fairly light. It includes a simple prayer asking Jesus to come into your life. There’s nothing magical about that. Jesus, through His death on the cross, paid the price for us to enter the Kingdom. He paid the high ticket price so we would not have to. We all got Fastpasses! If we ask for it. That’s all. No more, no less.

Anything else you choose to pack is superfluous. But what ever you have room for, cram it in: acts of kindness, words of encouragement, purposeful prayer, enough faith to move mountains, cheerful giving, exceptional grace, thoughts of purity, loving your enemies, practicing the Golden Rule, saying please and thank you, and whatever else you come to do to live the life God created you for. We’re all brothers and sisters on this “family vacation” we cal life.

Can you find any glimpses of God’s Kingdom in the Magical Kingdom? Absolutely! We were all made in God’s image. God wants us to be happy. If having a tea party with the princesses makes you happy, that’s fantastic! Just don’t make idols out of the those things. Realize it’s not the temporary getaway that has a lasting happiness. It’s the other Kingdom that will give us ever lasting joy.

*Photo of my family at Disney in 2012
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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Temporary custody

Erica pregnant with Callie Rose“Don’t ever forget that the child is not yours.”

Not mine? I knew that being pregnant would bring an onslaught of unwanted advice, but this advice seemed right out of left field. I was pregnant with my first child and relishing every detail of her growth and development. I marveled at the wonder of creation taking place inside of me. ME. So, what did this person mean? Not mine? Had this advice come from a perfect stranger I could have easily dismissed it as crazy talk, however I knew the person speaking to me and I respected him. I asked him to please explain.

He began to unpack the wonders of Psalms 139, the true meaning of how we are all God’s from the very beginning. Our children are simply on loan to us for a very short time. The very best thing we can do is lead them right back to Him.

Erica and CallieMy first child is now 10-years-old and I am preparing to send her to middle school. I’m in prayer over how to get her to the other side of these perilous school years unscathed. I desperately want a “to do” list or a “how to” list that will assure her safe passage. A recent study of Judges brought me face-to-face with a father who also wanted a plan for his child.

In Judges 13, the Angel of God revealed to Manoah’s wife that she will have a son. She immediately goes to her husband who wants to hear this news for himself. He prays, “please Lord, let the man of God you sent come again to us and teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born!” (vs 8)  The Angel comes back and Manoah asks, “When Your words come true, what will the boy’s responsibilities and mission be?” (vs 12)

I love the Angel’s response. It makes me giggle! I love when scripture makes me giggle.  Simply put the Angel said, “I’ve already told your wife!” The Angel had already told her exactly what to do, but his directions only took them as far as his birth. Manoah wanted more.

I can so relate to Manoah. He wanted a check list. He wanted a plan. He wanted to know exact details. The Angel’s command was a simple one. The boy was to be set apart and given to God from birth. (vs 5)

This wasn’t enough for Manoah. I get the sense Manoah wanted to take matters into his own hands. He wanted to groom his son with earthly hands rather than submit him to unseen Holy Hands. His son’s name was Samson and the next time we see Samson, he is acting like a spoiled brat. When I read his first words in the scriptures, I immediately thought of Veruca Salt screaming, “But I want it NOW!”

This is where I want to push pause on scripture. Where did Samson’s parents go so wrong? We don’t get the back story, but we do get the story of a man whom the Spirit of God had to wrestle with rather than simply lead.

God used him, but it was a bit like taming a wild lion, and that lion died blind and disgraced.

I read his story now as a parent and I quiver. I want so much more for my children!

“How do I get her through middle school?” I cry.

“I’ve already told you.” He replies. “She is mine. Simply give her back to Me. Talk about Me. Lead her to Me.”

You don’t have to know the details… you know the Author.

“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates so that as long as the heavens are above earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.”
             – Deut. 11:18-21

They are loaned to us for such a short time. The most important thing we can ever do as parents is realize we are not the most important part of their lives… HE IS. It’s not what we can do with them, it’s what He can do with them.

“How often we want instruction for tomorrow instead of obedience for today.”
                                                                                                       -Whitney Capps

Erica Pearson, ericalovesbooks@gmail.com
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Is your personal line of credit extended through humility or recognition?

 
About a year ago, I was politely corrected through accountability when a friend reminded Trey Campbell logome of something I had lost focus of. When starting to think about re-branding this blog and marketing myself, I acquired domain names with my name in them and even designed a logo with my initials (see right). I was cautioned about using my name and developing the brand of “me.” My frsandsiend knows my heart. She knew my intention was to further God’s domain name… not mine. I was on the road, though not at any destination yet, of selfishly promoting myself rather than the content and value of my message. Credit for anything I do goes to the one who gave me the content in the first place. I am but a speck of sand on the beach of life. 

Have you ever thought about doing something for the sake of doing it, regardless if anyone knew about it or not? Whether you would get recognition or credit for it or not?

Anything we do, we certainly can’t take credit for God’s work and we shouldn’t seek out credit for our work. We have to give credit where credit is due. It starts with God and ends with God. God allows us to work the garden, but ultimately, it’s His garden. He’s the master gardener.

7It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering.  What’s important is God makes the seed grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

You may plant and water the seed, but where did that seed come from?  At Southwestern Advantage, we have a philosophy we believe in that says:

We give with little regard for what we may get back.

A similar quote, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you are not concerned with who gets the credit,” has been attributed to everyone from Harry S. Truman to John Wooden, and even Ronald Reagan. In the end, it doesn’t matter who said it, as much as the meaning behind it – Humilityquotewhen you work hard to get results rather than doing it to be recognized, you get more accomplished. If getting credit is your motive for getting results, then your motives are not entirely pure. And that’s not how God wants us to be. He wants us to be pure in motive, pure in intention. If you don’t get the credit you think you deserve, well, that’s part of remaining humble and godly. When it comes to God’s realm, credit becomes a moot point. There are so many people in this world doing great things no one will ever know about. But God knows.

4Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. – Matthew 6:4

When we approach how we live and lead with a humble spirit, not worried about credit, the ultimate reward will fall into place when the time has come.

Through God, all things are possible. God gave us our earthly talents and spiritual gifts for a reason – to make things happen. Whatever happens is His doing, not ours. We are the tools He uses to plant His seed to grow His fruit. 

Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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The “Uns” of God’s calling for you

call-from-godWhen God calls on you to live the purpose for which you were created, will you answer? If you are a faithful Christian, you want to answer yes… but do you have faith bigger than a mustard seed?  You see, I ask this because we are often afraid of the unknown. It’s always a safe bet God’s calling for your life will involve one or more of these “uns.” Let me speak truth for a moment, as we all experience this at one time or another.

Uncomfortable – If God’s own son and all of his disciples and the apostles of the early church lived a life of discomfort to share the Gospel and build His Kingdom, then yes, we will likely be asked to get out of our comfort zone. We are promised rewards in Heaven, but not on earth.

Untimely – It’s typical our expectation of time and God’s are not on the same frequency, or time-space continuum for that matter. His doesn’t ask us for our preferences or for a desired timeline for when he should speak to us through the Holy Spirit and intercede in our lives. What’s funny is, though we may not always realize it, His timing is not only perfect… it’s everything.

Unfamiliar – Sometimes following God’s path for us has us taking a detour in the life we have led to that point. He ushers in change like the ebb and flow of the tide. We can surf the wave or be overwhelmed by it. The good news is God is our personal lifeguard – just like when Jesus extended his hand when Paul was walking on water with him and lost his faith. We can take His hand and get back in the boat and reset our course.

Unfair – I think back to the heroes of the Bible and those who followed who suffered and even died for their faith. Was it fair they had a fate of being persecuted, stoned, or even crucified? Even today there are martyrs such as those in the Middle East who have been beheaded or burned alive by ISIS because of their beliefs. Our calling can put us in some situations that seem unfair. Life isn’t fair. And neither is following our God in a broken world.

Keep in mind it’s completely normal to have a few or more of the above “uns” when we find our true calling and purpose. In fact, there are many in the Bible who had a bad case of the “uns.” Paul was blinded temporarily to get his attention, Jacob wrestled with God and hurt his hip, Job lost everything he had including his health, and Mary was a teen mom.

To combat the “uns” in order to be obedient, we have to give in to another set of “uns.”

Uncompromising – To be uncompromising is to show an unwillingness to make concessions or give in to others, and more specifically, to give in to the world. To use some more “uns,” it’s to be unshakable, unrelenting, and unbending. Don’t compromise with the enemy by letting your guard down. Don’t compromise your values, morals, and principles by giving in to a sinful lifestyle. Be bold in how you live and how you love.

chainUnchained – To follow our calling, we have to have no chains holding us back. These can be chains of sin, chains of complacency, or chains of excuses. Each link represents something holding us back. The longer the chains, the harder to break free. For Paul it was literal chains when he was in prison. He didn’t let that stop him from preaching and encouraging through his writing and letters that became most of the New Testament. and we shouldn’t either.

Unintentional – It’s a good thing to be intentional, but we should be unintentional when it comes to allowing the Spirit to works through us. A wildfire grows by spreading as the wind would take it. It doesn’t use Google Maps to find the shortest route to torch its path. Be like that wildfire. Allow the Spirit to direct your steps. Be unintentional by allowing him to be intentional. Let the Spirit be the wind to your fire!

And there you have it! We tend to make God’s calling for us much more mysterious and complicated than it needs to be.

follow-god-signHis will for us is to follow Him. To follow Him, we need to be involved in His direction. To do this, we need to be fully committed. To be committed, we need to get a feel for what our role will be for what He is using us for in service to His Kingdom. Remember it’s a marathon, not a trip from the couch to the kitchen.

With love,
Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com
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