To the graduating class of 2017

Pastor Hagin often says, “Ministry is spelled W-O-R-K!”

And he’s right. Our upside down kingdom requires work—most unseen and unknown to others—from its citizens.

Public teaching and preaching is the fun part of ministry. However, there’s a lot that happens from week to week. Walking alongside others through the mountains and valleys of life is an endless, and often thankless, task. My dad is a pastor and it’s often hard for him to describe his work to others.

Graduation is less than two weeks away, which is why my thoughts are drifting more and more towards this idea of life and ministry.

Many think of the two areas as separate—this is my life and this is my ministry—but there really cannot be a line of demarcation.

My friends who are leaving Rhema for the great wide world are faced with this reality. I understand their conundrum because I’m staring down the barrel of the same gun—I just have a little more time to think about it since I don’t graduate until next May.

Thankfully, our instructors have been pointing us in this direction all along. Our launch date into the great race of life, the passing of the baton, is never far from their minds.

These are men and women are Rhema alumni. They’ve been on the mission field, served/are serving in the local church, and brought their families along for the ride. I am thankful for their willingness to teach us not only biblical truths but also practical life applications of the truth.

I have no doubt that my friends are leaving Rhema prepared.

Their hard work started the moment they moved to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, flipping their entire lives upside down to follow God. Most of my friends have worked odd hours at two to three jobs for the opportunity to study God’s Word in order to become fully equipped ministers of the gospel.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

Go into the world and teach people about faith and what it means to follow Jesus. Know that those went before you and those who are coming behind you are cheering you on!

Creating Realistic Goals

I have a bad habit of setting up unrealistic goals for myself. 

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals that stretch you, but be careful to not beat yourself up during the stretching process. 

I am working on a writing project that is definitely stretching me!

The project is helping a phD candidate in an electrical engineering program turn his research into a written dissertation. 

Reading the material and translating the data takes time–which means that setting realistic goals is important. 

I’ve been working on this project less than a week and I’ve already logged in 5 hours. 

Setting realistic goals keeps you and your project collaborators on the same page. 

There’s also no shame in being honest about your limitations and potential time constraints. 

I already know that having this proposal completely finished by Friday (what we agreed upon last Saturday) will not happen. 

I am working diligently to get as much done as possible, but I have also communicated this fact to my employer, the student. 

What I am learning as I begin this journey is that you can never go wrong in planning and goal setting by telling the truth. 

3 Awesome Things

Three awesome things happened today.

1. I picked up a writing project! 

This project entails helping a doctorate student in a chemical engineering program put words to his research.  Don’t be surprised if I end up writing a post or two about what I’m learning. 

2. I watched The Shallows in theaters. 

At first, I wasn’t going to because I was afraid the movie would not be all that great. 

Now, I’m glad that I did! It was epic and suspenseful and awesome. 

The biggest recurring thought as I watched: Wow. Not sure I would be smart enough to outsmart a shark. 

3. I saw the COOLEST truck ever in the Dollar Tree parking lot. 



A Star Wars truck?!?! 

I had a geek out moment…I might have contemplated stealing this truck….

Check out the light saber on the gun rack.


I circled this truck at least 5 times. I’ve never seen anything quite like this and now it has me thinking about making a comic book car. 


Well, I’m headed toward bed. It’s been a great day. 

Gospel Centered Living

I enjoy a lot of things:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Comedy
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Bacon
  • Coffee

I could keep going…

But nothing has my heart like Jesus has my heart. 

He is my Rock, my stability, my joy, and my greatest love. 

Knowing Jesus doesn’t require you to be stripped of your personality, either. Jesus is not the ultimate stick in the mud like many preach about. 

In fact, it’s the exact opposite. When I came to know Jesus everything about me just made sense. 

The things that I’m most passionate about took shape in ways that at one time eluded me. 

And that’s because Jesus became the center of it all. 

His statement to us is simple:  

Can I come along with you? Let’s go on adventures together. 

Gospel centered living isn’t hard when you realize that Jesus, the perfect embodiment of the gospel, lives and breathes within His children. 

He’s with us as we live our everyday lives. 

It’s Jesus’ desire for us to use every means available–our time, resources, and talents–to share the gospel. 

Good thing there’s different personalities in the Church, right? All of us have different interests for a bigger purpose.

Take Jesus with you as you’re pursuing every dream and desire He’s planted in your heart. 

I encourage you to let words of redemption and hope, the same words that changed your life, be prominent in your speech and lifestyle. 

The Blame Game

If a project is your responsibility, wouldn’t the logical conclusion be that if something goes wrong you’re responsible? 

I am a big believer that if the buck stops with you then it’s important to assume complete responsibility for any failures within the project.

Maybe it wasn’t directly your fault, but being a leader requires taking a hit every once in a while. 

This project failed at this point.

I am the leader of this project.

Therefore, I have to step up and say, “This is directly or indirectly my fault.” 

Just say it!

Don’t say, “Well, anything can happen and I did my best and I tried….” 

Be quiet. 

Assume responsibility.

“I assume responsibility for this failure and here is how my team is dealing with it.” 

Playing hot potato with the blame will not move the team forward.

To me, being able to say, “This is my fault” is a good indication that someone is ready to be a leader. 

Leaders don’t only take the credit when things are successful. I call those kind of leaders Glory Hogs.

As a leader, your team is looking at how you handle failure.

If you cannot assume responsibility for mistakes, don’t be surprised when your team hesitates to assume responsibility for their mistakes.

 

 

 

Trouble on Aisle 9

Ever have to make a guess about an item on a shopping list? 

It can be tough….

Sliced olives or whole olives???? The note only says olives!!!!

Shopping for someone else, especially someone you don’t know very well, is tough. I struggle with second guessing and even resort to asking random shoppers for advice.

Excuse me. Can I ask  you a quick question? If you saw olives on the grocery list, (here’s what we’re making)do you think the olives would need to be whole or sliced? 

I’ve been known to call someone 3 times from the grocery store.

This is why I prefer a list that has ALL of the specifics. Buy that kind and this brand and in that color if they have it. The more details I’m given the better. 

If there’s any way I can snap a picture of the item, that’s even better.

Yes, I am the girl in Aisle 9 holding up a picture of the thing you’re looking at on the shelf. Don’t judge me! 

I realize this is a trivial matter. Buying the wrong kind of olives will not result in fatality. The only thing that can go wrong is your recipe is messed up.

But going back to the store….that just stinks, okay? Having to return an item requires a long walk of shame or, even worse, you hear this: 

Well, that’s not what I wanted, but I can just take it back next week. Thanks for trying. 

Thanks for trying sounds like this to me: 

How could you mess this up?!?

This week alone I’ve run to the store 3-5 times to pick up supplies at work.

Now you know the battle I’ve been facing.

Grocery store angst is a real thing.

 

 

 

A standard of grace

The line between business and customer, ministry and church member, can get blurry pretty fast. 

You can NEVER forget that numbers, statistics–the bottom line–represents a person.

Whenever I get frustrated, this is what comes back to me. 

You’re talking about a person, Audra, take a chill pill! 

Whatever problem I face (real or perceived) can be traced back to a real life person. A person with their own personality, flaws, interests, hurts, hopes, and dreams. 

He or she also has a list of problems….

A little grace can go a long, long way. And here’s another thing to consider: 

Most of the problems I face can be traced right back to me. Did I mention that I am not good at giving grace to myself?

About that….

Don’t forget about extending a little grace towards yourself. We all make mistakes. It happens. 

Let me be clear: There’s nothing wrong with having a bottom line, a set standard to aim for.

Just be sure that the standard you set doesn’t become more important than the people you serve and live/work with. 

I’m finding that having grace as my standard is the best way to go. It keeps everything in perspective.