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Some holiday self-reflection

Merry Christmas everyone! May you and your family certainly be blessed on this fine day!

Each Christmas, I like to personally take stock in my thoughts and where they lead me dependent on where I am in my life. Coming off a tremendous Spirit-filled week on mission in Nicaragua, I had a question come to mind:

Do you have Christmas in your heart,
or Christ in your heart?

It’s fair to be curious behind my meaning. Having just returned to the U.S. from the 1000 Tips 164 holiday self reflectionsecond poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the poorest in Central America, I see so many people who seem to be more concerned with what’s under the tree than what was in the manger. This is no indictment of Christmas as a holiday or reasons against families to get together and gorge on food and football, but it is an indictment as to the state of our priorities as Christians. After all, how many Christians will spend one hour at church and several days laying around the house in food comas and their “fat pants?”  While I am being overly dramatic in my portrayal to set up my point, in retrospect am I really that far off?

Back to the question posed above… what is the reason for the season? Or more accurately, who is the reason for the season? Is it a celebration of Jesus, our Lord being born into this world of sin to save us, or Christmas movies, gifts, and Grandma’s special Christmas cake? It can be all, and it is by no means wrong. You can have Grandma’s cake and eat it too! But, shouldn’t it be a birthday cake? Again – the true reason for the season.

I was lucky to do some home visits while in Nicaragua. These homes were not the three bedroom, two bath, two car garage, average middle class home we know in the U.S. As you drive through the country landscape of our own nation, you see dilapidated barns in better condition than many of these homes.

I’ll tell you this: despite the lack of possessions, the people I visited with reminded me of something I know, but we get numb to in the States: they had true happiness in their hearts. This December they did not have Christmas in their hearts; they had Christ in their hearts. I found I was not there to witness, but was there to be witness to a wonderful reminder that there is not anything we need other than Jesus. While reading the Bible early one morning before others in my group awoke, I found myself in the Gospel of Luke. In Chapter 9, Jesus gathered his 12 disciples and sent them out with nothing other than the clothes on their back and the shoes on their feet.

“Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes.”
– Luke 9:3

They led a successful mission in other villages healing the sick and preaching the Good News. All they had was their focus on their faith and the belief they had all they needed through Christ. In my own life, I need to do a little better job remembering this. It’s a lesson learned from the Bible and reinforced in person on my own mission.

I had several additional reminders of this throughout the week. There was a 16-year-old named Jonathan. We were talking, along with my 16-year-old, Madison, while clearing a field on a farm. We were talking about how the age for driving in the U.S. was 16. I mentioned Madison had a car, but did not like driving very much. He was in awe she had a car. He said he had a bike, but it wasn’t even his, it was his cousin’s. It made me think of the dichotomy between our cultures. Another time we were at the dump going house to house to invite the children to an event. At the home we held the event at, the poverty was evident. I don’t need to go into details, but it made me feel guilty for having wood floors to place my feet every time I step out of bed. Shortly after, I had mentioned to Madison I had not done any holiday shopping. She looked at me and said “I really don’t care if I get anything for Christmas or not.”

With all this to say, I really wanted to point out what is in our heart determines how we live our lives and what level of importance is assigned to it. At this time of year, do you have Christmas or Christ at the center of your heart? Have Christmas on your mind and Christ in your heart. 

And with that, have a wonderful Christmas, filled with the joy of family and the love of a Savior born unto us on this day!

Trey Campbell,
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Impact is lost in anonymity

If you are silent in your sphere of influence, you are not destined for greatness, but 1000 Tips 162 anonymityrather, anonymity.

Let’s talk about anonymity for a second. The definition is “lack of outstanding, individual, or unusual features; impersonality.” It means you don’t stand out in a crowd. I’ll take it a step further and say this: it means your efforts are lackluster.

In my upcoming book, 12 Jars: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, one of the themes is leaving a legacy of impact. No one is going to do this if they are anonymous in a crowd.

Some people are okay with this. But let me ask you this question. As uniquely, intelligently, and intricately as God designed us, do you think our purpose includes what I call the three “I”s of Obscurity – inconspicuousness, invisibility, and insignificance?

God gave us our personality and purpose to fulfill His mission. Some of us will have missions that keep us behind the scenes. While we are not served well to bring attention to ourselves, our works that are seen by others identify us as Christ followers.

Breaking the cycle of anonymity is not about being known necessarily. It’s not about being different. It’s about being great. We are made in God’s image. When you rise above mediocrity, you rise above anonymity – in your sphere and in God’s Kingdom.

1000 Tips 142 make you unique

Trey Campbell,
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3 types of leaders that will rock your socks off! Which one are you?

Take a good look at one way I define leaders. After you process the awesomeness of the graphic below (lightning bolts and all), I’ll explain what it all means!

Leadership Allignment graphic

In a nutshell:
I categorize leaders in one of three types – the strengths they lean toward: vision, people,and method.

  • Vision– They are visionaries, see the “big picture,” plan for the future
    • They set lofty goals and work to reach them
    • They ask: What? Why? When?
    • They think intangibly with the end goal in mind
    • They focus on both start and finish
    • They are action prone: shoot first/aim second
    • They follow the mission of the organization they believe will garner results
  • People– They are communicators, value input and often ask for it
    • They delegate and are team-players, which makes them effective
    • They ask: Who? Where? When?
    • They thrive in team environments, assemble teams, love group dynamics
    • Put a high emphasis on ethics/values and service to others
    • They know the pulse of an organization and its team members
    • Mutual respect is important, a two-way street
  • Method – They are the organizers, into the implementation and processes
    • They are into the numbers
    • They ask: How? When? Why?
    • They are detailed oriented, love to plan
    • They are concerned with data and deadlines
    • They are calculated in their decisions, methodical
    • Bottom line is important, but not the be-all-end-all

Those in leadership positions can be a hybrid of these three strengths but typically areLeadership Alignment Arrows more one than the other. Notice the arrows between the three types (to the right). These are key attributes shared between the two leader types.

For example: People and Method leaders place importance on “processes” that make the organization successful. Vision and Method leaders value “information” a little more that People leaders.

NOISE = Communications Barriers (static)
“Noise” are the things that get in the way of effective leadership. It serves as an interrupter of effective communication. It interferes with the Principles, Information, and Processes. Noise, an ever-present distraction, drowns out the delivery of any

transmission between groups or individuals. I’ve included it in the model above because it factors as a barrier of effective communication within the leadership process.

A few examples of noise include:

1. Lack of communication
2. Conflicting messages
3. Confusing messages
4. Too many/not enough involved
5. Different expectations
6. Poor planning
7. Organizational politics
8. No initial defining parameters (goals, ground rules)

While this is not by any means a comprehensive study of leaders and their specific styles of leadership, it’s a glimpse into how leaders lead. Most leaders are simply prone to be dominant in one of the specific strengths I’ve highlighted. Over all my years in business and working with many leaders in all aspects of life, I’ve seen how if you are able to pinpoint a specific leadership style, it makes working and communicating with the individual easier. It’s all about how to get the most out of a relationship with them.

In addition, you can apply the Leadership Alignment to yourself and see how you tend to work with others. You’re welcome!

Trey Campbell,


Your hands never looked so good

Have you ever just looked at your hands? Hold them up in front of you. Admire them. They are surely something to marvel at. Look at how complex they are. Look at how you can independently move each finger. At how the knuckles bend at a whim. At how they were designed for grasping, emphasizing communication, and touching just to name a few of their many uses.

Look at how imperfect they are. Seldom, if never, are fingers perfectly straight. Knuckles1000 Tips 161A imperfection are definitely not the prettiest feature you have. I happen to think the beauty of imperfection is by perfect design.

It’s our finger prints that make us also unique. No one else has the same design given to us by our Creator. No one else can leave the same imprint we can on this world.

At the end, on the tips, we have these hard, protective coverings made of a protein called keratin. What a glorious invention within the miracle that is our bodies! Our fingernails are tools on tools. It’s like having your own personal, attached Swiss Army knife.

Why the big deal about hands? Our work and purpose is enhanced by our hands. One of the things you will change the world with is your two hands. But only if you use them. 

Whatever you find to do with your hands, do it with all your might,
because there is neither work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, the place where you will eventually go.
– Ecclesiastes 9:10

When I look at my hands, I see God-given tools that should be used with all my might. I can worship with them, serve with them, build with them, and love with them. As imperfect as they may be, they are really the perfect way to execute God’s will.

Trey Campbell,
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What’s your next move? Here’s mine.

In life, we always need to have a “next move.” It will either be all part of a plan or something spontaneous. Many times, however, whatever plan we have, it is put to the wayside because, well… sometimes our plan for us is not God’s plan for us.

My next move is something I have prayed about, shared my heart with others, and put forth a great effort. The reality is however, it is not even my move… So what’s Gods next move?

It’s the fulfillment of a long time dream. I signed a publishing contract. A book I wrote is now being printed. A real, in-your-hands book you can highlight, mark-up, circle, underline, and fold the corner of the pages to mark your spot. You can give it to a friend or loved one. You can read it with coffee or take it on a plane. It will be ready for sale in January 2018. There will be more on this to come. But for now, here is the title and typeface as it will appear on the cover:

12Jars logotype

Over the past two years, I’ve worked to put together a written work that tells a story that will motivate, inspire, drive to action, and make you think (or at least evaluate where you are spiritually and where you want to be). All of this was done in an effort to fulfill and extend my mission and purpose for life – to be an ambassador of God. He has placed me in an amazing work environment with some equally amazing people for nearly two decades, an amazing church, and with an amazing family and friends. He has also provided me with opportunity within these groups and the people I meet. How would I be able to look Jesus in the eyes on the Day of Judgement and admit I squandered opportunity? The answer is clear: I can’t. And I won’t.

My hope is this book will be relatable to everyone in some form or fashion. It will build your faith helping you realize your legacy is not necessarily what you leave, but what you build while you are still here that will live on. 

In the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more about the book: the content, what some of the endorsers have said about it, lessons I’ve learned in writing it, and I’ll even share the cover artwork – which I am excited about! But for now, I am honestly just privately in awe and celebrating what God has done to this point. I’m hopeful it will speak to at least one person, and will be grateful for any more. And that will make this whole process worth it. A faithful messenger is a humble, yet important position in the Kingdom – not something I take lightly.

Thank you to all who have read my posts over the years and supported me in my writing and efforts to live a Christ-centered life. I have my flaws, but here’s to all of us growing through life to be the best versions of ourselves!

Love you all!
Trey Campbell,
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Not because I have to… but because I get to

“Not because I have to… but because I get to.”

I get reminded of this or something similar often. Working in communications in a sales-based environment, positive phrases can get thrown around like penalty flags. What I mean by this is they are sometimes used for teaching moments (read between the lines: friendly correction).

This sometimes get old, but it stands as a reminder we should be using positive phrases in our everyday speech and personal self-talk. I’m grateful to work in an environment where positivity is the norm and people care enough to invest in others through gentle reminders.

Most recently, I was reminded of this while at the gym. Working out across from me was a beefy man just short of having roid rage that had a message on his shirt:  NOT BECAUSE I HAVE TO. It was appropriate because he was at the gym not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

Washer victoria-palacios-355597There’s a difference between having to do something and getting to do something. The drudgery of having to be forced to act versus the pleasure of getting to is like night and day. Once this line of thinking and small altering of language becomes habit, the most random chores become a routine of joy.

Try it. The next time you think, “Aw man, I have to do laundry.” Say instead, “I get to do laundry today.” Some people “have to” wash their clothes in a river. You get to use a washer and dryer… which does most of the work for you. It’s all a matter of perspective and practice.

Trey Campbell,
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*Photo by Victoria Palacios via



Schooled by fourth graders

Unless we are still, as in a state of stagnation, we are either in a state of growth and change or a state of withering digression.

Sometimes it takes a fourth grader (or two) to keep at the top of mind what it is you are living for. This was the case for me recently.

The Sundays I’m not traveling for work, I serve at my church with the fourth and fifth graders. We had two first-time visitors who had come with their grandmother who was church-shopping. The boys were cousins only three months apart. Despite their small stature and youth, they were able to reaffirm what I already know, but sometimes need to be reminded of.

To advance the Kingdom, you have to advance the message
1000 Tips 160 advance Kingdon advance msgDo we not owe it to the next generation to build a strong foundation of faith? Are we not told in Proverbs 22:6, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” In Matthew 19:14, Jesus says “Let the children come to me! Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Until the second coming, we need to build others through Christ. Making disciples of nations starts in our own homes, churches, communities, and spreads from there! The message must be advanced to the next generation. We cannot idly stand by and let our children find their faith in the world. 

“Live life like an unending mission trip” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)
I love, love, love this! Live each day to serve the Lord and your fellow man. Go ahead and get overwhelmed with emotions because of the state of those you have the opportunity to impact. And then impact them. And don’t let up. Seek out a new mission each day, complete one you started, or continue one that is ongoing. Make where you are your mission field.*

The exuberance of the little visitors was a breath of fresh air. Not just because they were well behaved, but because they were genuinely interested in learning. They were hungry. And… you could tell someone (maybe their grandmother) has invested spiritually in them. They asked better questions than any youth I’ve worked with in church and had perspectives that rivaled any adults. Afterwards, they ran to their grandmother and told her how great of a time they had and how they wanted to come back. This was after they said this was the best church they had ever been to and how we were the best leaders they had ever had (I could make this stuff up, but I didn’t). It’s funny how kids will give praise while adults will remain silent. The innocence of youth is precious and it’s too bad it dissipates with age.

These little boys served as a reminder why living your faith and sharing God’s love is so important. What I am there to teach is not just a privilege, but a duty. I do it not to boast, but for three simple reasons: obedience, love, and service.

Seek your purpose. Live your mission.

Trey Campbell,
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*”Make wherever you are your mission field” is a chapter in my new book coming out in January 2018, 12 Jars, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life


Missions and meaningful accomplishments

Just like many of you, I have a bucket list. A few things are material acquisitions, but most are less tangible, less touchable goals. I would say rather than acquisitions, they are accomplishments.1000 Tips 159 acquisitions and accomplishments

I personally think the things we should work toward should not be for fluency, but for form. With form comes foundation and frame. It’s like building a house. If we practice having good form, we will build a strong foundation which leads to a strong frame, and so on.

One of my bucket list items will be fulfilled in six weeks. It will be a special time because it will be the first international mission trip I will lead with students from Southwestern Advantage. And not just that, but my oldest daughter, Madison, will also join me. This is truly going to be an epic week for me! Twelve of us, scattered all over the country, will come together to unite for a common purpose for a week in Masatepe, Nicaragua.

“Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon

This is strong language from Charles Spurgeon… but does it not hold true? Jesus told us in the Great Commission to go forth and make disciples of nations. As a Christian, if we are genuinely Christ followers, are we not to spread the Word for sake of growing the Kingdom? Should we not have faith with actions?

My personal mission for this mission trip plays into being not only the person I want to be, but the person God wants me to be. With that said, personal and spiritual growth will not be the only agenda item for the trip. With everything I want the Holy Spirit to show me and the things the Holy Spirit will show me, I fully realize I will not be prepared. I never am. No one really ever is. I must opens my eyes, ears, heart, and mind. But more importantly, I need to close my mouth. This trip parallels life and nothing I do in preparation for any mission trip or in life ever truly prepares me. God likes to keep me on my feet!

Here are some things I keep in mind as the journey approaches:

  • I need to be fully vested in being present with Madison, each of the students, those we serve, and the iTeams team members.
  • I must be intentional in my prayers for each conversation and each interaction I have with all who God puts before me.
  • I must keep in mind I need to invest in people’s potential, not their past.
  • I need to remain open to the things I need to learn about myself.
  • I have lots to learn from others – more than I can teach.
  • Humility remains my greatest asset. It’s the door to greater wisdom, greater understanding, greater faith.

1000 Tips 158 potential not pastI share these things because it occurs to me they need to be every day mini bucket list accomplishments – maybe more like check list accomplishments.

Here are a couple of things God tells us through the Bible as it relates to serving through missions. I’m all in. Where people need help, people need God.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
– 1 Chronicles 16:24

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ”
– Isaiah 6:8-9

Trey Campbell,
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Embrace Your Weaknesses

True strength is the innocence of not knowing the restraints of your weaknesses. Weaknesses are something to be embraced. Otherwise, how would we ever turn them into strengths?

1000 Tips 118 true strength restraint

Paul had it rough. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33, he chronicles his hardships which included numerous arrests and whippings, 39 lashes no less than five times, three beatings with rods and a stoning. If that were not enough, he was shipwrecked three times, had been adrift at sea, faced wild rivers and wilder robbers, and even took on the elements in deserts, on the seas, and in dangerous towns. He was even bitten by a poisonous snake!

Paul had lots he could brag about – specifically his knack for survival. He had a story for every scar. But what he told the Corinthians prior to his third visit was to use their weaknesses. It’s through our weaknesses, we learn to be strong. We learn to endure.

After having a vision from God, Paul said he was given a “thorn in his flesh” to minimize his pride. He asked God three times to take it away. God chose not to.

9Each time he said, “My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.”  So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.  10That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

The pain of the thorn was not as sharp as God’s point. This was a valuable lesson for Paul, and should be to all of us as well. He was able to realize that sometimes, your weaknesses can be your strengths because that’s when God works through you more often than not. Paul even acknowledged he was unskilled as a speaker, though not lacking in knowledge (2 Corinthians 11:6). If Paul was a weak speaker, he developed it to be a strength – especially if his oratory skills were anything like his writing skills.

Look for how God is using you in ways that are simply not obvious. The things we consider weaknesses are often some of our greatest attributes. When we see character flaws in the mirror, God may be using the reflection as a tool to make us stronger. There is always something to be learned through our mistakes and weaknesses. It’s like the skinny girl who says she is fat – her perception of herself is not how others perceive her. Her perception is skewed by her weakness of insecurity and low self-worth.

This may be difficult, but think about it over time. You may want to talk to those who know you well. An outside view often becomes a new view. 

Here’s a to-do list when it comes to embracing weaknesses:

  1. Inventory your weaknesses
  2. Accept your weaknesses
  3. Ask God to work through your weaknesses
  4. Embrace your weaknesses
  5. Actively turn your weaknesses into your greatest strengths

Paul chose to embrace his weaknesses because he knew this is where God would work through him. Are you brave enough to do the same?

Dear Lord, I ask you to help me identify my weaknesses. Work within me to accept those weaknesses not in a way that leads to sin, but in a way that leads to being open to your dynamic power and grace. Paul said “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Make me strong. Make me a messenger of your will and an emissary of your eternal glory. Through you all things are possible, and through you, I will use my weaknesses to strengthen myself and others. Amen.

Personal inventory time: List three things you consider your biggest weaknesses that keep you from full-blown Spirit-filled leadership. 

What weaknesses in others have you seen turned into strengths? Think about how you can do the same in your life.

Trey Campbell,
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*This post is from an unpublished manuscript I have written titled Lead Like the Lamb: Spirit-filled Leadership.”

You are strong in life… but weak in faith: an open letter to anyone who this describes

This is a letter to the person I had a recent conversation with about living your faith. I write this because I love you too much to not write it and share it. I think there are others who need to hear this too. 

Dear __________________,

You are determined, fearless, and confident. You are positive, motivating, and a delight to spend time with. So that is why I say this with love and respect, but also out of necessity: you are strong in life… but weak in faith. The faith you have is strong in conviction, but weak in practice. This in no way changes how I feel about you or the love I send your way, in fact, it only increases it.

Please understand, you are either all in or not in at all. There is no in-between area. A true commitment to Christ comes with carrying out his commands. Being a citizen of his Kingdom is free to all, but we are asked to expand and extend it. If you are a squatter in the Kingdom, squatter’s rights do not apply, as your faith is in short supply.

Jesus shared with his disciples the Great Commission: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:18-20). This charge was very specific. Jesus did not follow it up with “that is, if you are comfortable with all of this.” He did however add, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He will never abandon us, so why would you deny others of knowing his amazing and endless love for them when he has such love for you?

Through tears you told me you were raised a “certain way” and that is how you live your life. You told me you do not openly profess your faith and encourage others through Christ because it makes you uncomfortable, that people can see you are “good” because you are a “good person.” You told me how good people get into heaven and how God is OK with that.

If only it worked that way. But it doesn’t. That is not what I have read in the Bible. Let me be honest and upfront. The thought process behind this is a disservice to anyone who is not saved because it gives them a false understanding of what it means to follow Christ and be saved. You can’t call yourself a Christian and bear no fruit. That seems to be an oxymoron. Among mankind, you are either a good tree or a bad tree. We are told in Matthew 7:17-20: A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” 

Just prior, Matthew 7:15 refers to false prophets who come dressed as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” Is not a false prophet also someone who professes to be something they do not live out? You can believe in Santa Claus too, but that doesn’t make him real. Jesus is real and it’s your faith that makes him alive in you through the Holy Spirit. How little your faith must be if you choose to not share your claimed Savior to others!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in
me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;
apart from me you can do nothing.”
– John 15:5

Jesus said, apart from him, you can do nothing. The fruit you bear is directly proportional to your connection with him (the whole vine and branches thing). He also has a distinct disdain for lukewarm Christians. His words for the Church in Laodicea stung worse than 39 lashes: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15-16). Jesus is saying if you are riding the fence on faith, he will spit you out. Is this how you want to be, lukewarm and complacent so as to have Jesus discard you by the equivalent of throwing up?

What I challenge you with is this: jump out of the boat, into the water, and walk with Jesus. Just like Peter did, but unlike him, don’t be so quick as to lose your faith and sink. To truly be a Christ-follower, we are asked to be active in your faith and love for others. Jesus told the rich man to sell all his belongings and give them to the poor, then come follow him to inherit eternal life (Mark 10:17-31). The man’s face fell as he heard this because he was not willing to act on his faith. He wanted in based on being a good person. Your comfort zone has become your settlement – the place where you have settled your faith. 

In his best-seller Crazy Love, Francis Chan wrote “I fully believe that we are saved by grace, through faith, by the gift of God, and that true faith manifests itself through our actions. As James writes, “Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (2:17). The lives of many people who call themselves “Christians” in America lack manifestations of a vital and active faith.”

Out of the sincerest love, I ask you to no longer lack the vitality, opportunity, and activity your faith requires of you and gives you. You are not alone in this journey. Christ is community, and we are all in this together. Let your faith show through in your words and actions. Stand strong in your faith as you live through Christ who lives in you.

Your brother in Christ,

Trey Campbell,
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