Uncategorized

Inspired by Meekness

I want to brag on someone today and it’s not to exalt them but to instruct us. Recently I heard an inspiring talk from my friends Jeremy and Debora Anderson. A little bit of context might help: they are campus ministers at UC Santa Cruz and they oversee all the Chi Alpha campus ministers in Cali, Az, Nevada and Hawaii. They also send teams into Asia Pacific and the Middle East. Many of you will recognize their name from the foreword in my book. Debora had a dream that I wrote a book called Gracious Living. She was so impacted by this dream that she had canvas bags made with Gracious Living printed on them and gave them to me as a gift. Her prophetic dream focused my journey of writing and was the reason I titled my book, Gracious Living.

Hearing Jeremy and Debora speak; shoot, just being around them brought something to life inside my heart and mind. I became more sensitive to what the Holy Spirit was saying. Psalm 19:12 spoke to me: “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” This resonated for me and it led me to James 1:21-25 “therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” When my eyes fell upon the word “meekness” I stopped. Receive with meekness the implanted word. Jeremy and Debora are my living examples of meekness. Right in front of my eyes, they live and love from a pure heart. They don’t spend energy protecting and defending. They just give and trust that God will protect them and fill them. They don’t try to argue anyone into the Kingdom of God; they simply bring an experience with God’s holy presence that is winsome and inspiring. Jeremy and Debora are parenting the next generation of college students to love Jesus and to follow Him. They mentor grads on how to run their business with joy and humble hearts; they instruct young couples to walk out their marriages with service and gratitude. Just being around their precious family brings peace!

I realize you can read this and think well what a nice couple, I’m happy for them but I guess I’m wanting to stir up something more than that. Let me ask the questions I’ve asked myself after time with them: Can people come to us for prayer? Do they? Are we leading people to Christ through our words and lifestyle– or are we simply ‘nice’ folks? Do we carry the power and anointing of a holy life? What I find striking is that the meekest couple I know has the most impact on the Kingdom and on me personally. When I heard them speak, they didn’t talk about sin at all but I was convicted of sin. When I’m around them, I just want to be a better person—more of who God made me to be. 

Matthew 11:12 contains a fascinating verse that sums up what I’m observing in Jeremy and Debora: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize].” Students at UC Santa Cruz are seizing the Kingdom of God, pursuing Christ as a precious prize because Jeremy and Debora are representing Him well. And I want to do the same!

Who’s inspiring you lately? If you are looking for something significant to give toward, please consider investing in Jeremy and Debora’s ministry at UC Santa Cruz and beyond. Learn more about them at www.WCXA.com

Remember to go to www.MargaretAllen.org for free resources and to sign up for the blog. Just scroll to the bottom of Mondays with Margaret to get this blog in your email every Monday. Have a great week everyone!

Uncategorized

Celebrating Black History Month

I get excited about supporting non-profits. Maybe its because I’ve had the blessing to be on both ends of giving and receiving– I raised support for 12 years as a campus minister at Stanford University. And now I’m a supporter of ministry at Stanford, as well as many other campuses. I know how hard it is to ask people for money and to be dependent on their generosity.

One of my passions is encouraging diversity in Christian leadership. Nothing annoys me more than to see a diverse congregation or campus ministry whose leadership is exclusively white. But recruiting people of color to raise support as campus ministers has some challenges. Many of the Black campus ministers I’ve talked to struggled to gather funding from their communities. The sentiment expressed there was something to the effect of “You got a college degree and now you’re asking us for money?!” But God will not call us to a work that He doesn’t also enable us to perform.

Campus ministry is cutting edge work that is well worth our investment. I am especially committed to coming along side of the Black campus ministers who serve with Chi Alpha (the campus ministry that I love and support)  In honor and celebration of Black History Month, would you join me in giving to these campus missionaries who are raising support so that they can minister to college students? Chi Alpha has a Minority Mobilization Fund that benefits all staff who are people of color. Last year, Andy and I gave a cash gift to every African American minister serving with Chi Alpha. (I say this to let you know we are personally invested– I’m embarrassed it took us so long to get here though)  To give to the Minority Mobilization Fund, go to www.chialpha.com and search “Our Three Priorities” for a description and a link to the Minority Mobilization Fund. You can give any amount there.

Let me mention in particular HBCUs. (That stands for Historically Black Colleges & Universities) HBCUs make about 3 percent of our nation’s colleges, but they graduate about 20 percent of all Black undergrads. Over half of HBCU students are first-generation college students and yet HBCUs have better retention stats than most colleges. Chi Alpha is committed to planting ministries at every HBCU. I just met Mary Lyons (www.lifeofapioneer.com) who is pioneering a Chi Alpha ministry at Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta. This young woman is FIRE! Or check out www.reachingPV.org to meet the awesome staff at Prairie View A&M. There are too many fantastic Chi Alpha campus ministries to list here! If you want to know more about what God is doing at a specific college or university, please message me and I’ll connect you as best I can.

Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) Jesus was saying be intentional about where you build your treasure—invest in the things that truly matter. I feel great about investing in the diversity of our campus ministries in this very practical way. I hope you will consider giving toward the Minority Mobilization Fund or adopting a specific campus for your gifting.

I talk about developing a plan for generosity in my book, Gracious Living, creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. You can find Gracious Living anywhere books are sold. Please sign up to get this blog in your Monday morning emails as it is sometimes difficult to find on social media. Just go to www.MargaretAllen.organd scroll to the bottom of Monday’s with Margaret.

Uncategorized

Monthly Mashup

Welcome to my monthly mashup! These are some of the things I’ve enjoyed or pondered this month:

Book I’m reading: When, The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink. This was a book that I read quickly. Then, when I realized how important the information was, I went back and read it slowly while taking notes. The research in this book is shaping when I approach certain tasks in my day. My efficiency, as well as my overall satisfaction with how I organize my time has increased greatly. From chapter one, The Hidden Pattern of Everyday Life: “Across continents and time zones, as predictable as the ocean tides, was the same daily oscillation—a peak, a trough and a rebound. Beneath the surface of our everyday life is a hidden pattern: crucial, unexpected, and revealing.” (p 11)

Music I’m listening to: www.MaverickCityMusic.com Sometimes during the day I want to connect with God but I don’t really want to read scripture. I might have ten minutes in between meetings and that’s when I play a song from Maverick City to help connect my heart to God’s…instantly. Check out Temple on Vol 3 Part 2 or The Story I’ll Tell. From the Maverick City website: “What brings us together, and that sound that is vivaciously smacking you in the face the first time you hit play on a Maverick track, isn’t the sound of a community that centered around their deprivation, it’s the audacious sound of true belonging. The beautiful harmony of long-lost family. Maybe now more than ever not just the Church but the world needs a plurality of strong diverse voices carrying messages that can help reshape the world.” Their music is truly something to be experienced.

Toy I’m enjoying—The Revolution FIT 3-in-1 Balance Training System. It’s a balance board with 3 interchangeable bases-the rocker, the air cushion, and the roller (my fav). From their website: “The FIT balance board is designed to add a whole new dimension to your workout. Harnessing balance as a fitness tool, the FIT will maximize the burn and add excitement to your exercise routine.” With our entire family working from home, it’s a fun little exercise tool we keep out in the living room for those five-minute breaks in between meetings and calls. I noticed a total difference in my balance on the first day snowboarding this season.

What I’m celebrating—We asked our kids to be in charge of a portion of our charitable giving this year. We gave them a designated amount of money and asked that they collaborate on finding non-profits to receive funds and how much. We have four kids, ages 19 to 25, plus a son-in-law. Together they researched groups they had interacted with at some point in their lives. They contacted many non-profits to discover if there were any special projects or needs at the moment. The kids made presentations on their findings, much like a TedX talk to decide how to designate the funds. Through this, we all have become quite excited to share our time, talent, and treasure with some fabulous non-profits doing heroic work. Giving, as a group effort, is actually a lot of fun.

Quote I’m pondering–“What if instead of calling people out, we called them in?” Prof. Loretta J. Ross

As always, please give me feedback on the blog. What do you want more or less of? I would love to hear how God is at work in your life. You can sign up to receive this blog in your email every Monday at www.MargaretAllen.org at the bottom of Mondays With Margaret. If you are reading through my book, Gracious Living, I want to hear what resonates for you! Tag me on insta @margaretallen.gl