Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Life and Tim McGraw

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.'" (John 11:25) 
Jesus is I AM LIFE.

This past weekend, we celebrated Easter - a holiday of life as a result of the death of an all-powerful God. It amazes me that Jesus was born for the end purpose of dying on a cross to save the lives of all mankind. Would you do that? It's easy to visualize ourselves as the hero of our own story. Of course we would go to the rescue of a loved one, we would brave a bullet or a bad guy, we would fight for their right to live, and for those we really love, we would die in their place. But do we really understand the motivation behind Jesus' gruesome death on a cross?

Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the FULL." (John 10:10) His blood ransomed the lives of all mankind so we are not merely living but living to the fullest potential possible when we follow Him.

Abundant life. Utilizing every moment. We exist for a purpose - to glorify God and make Him known. How are you demonstrating this philosophy to those around you? We celebrated the death of Jesus on Easter, but ultimately, we celebrated the life that we can have in Him if we choose to obey. 

Freedom. Fullness. Life Abundant. Purpose. I desperately desire to live a life that is worthy, filled with meaning and drive, enjoying every moment, touching lives wherever I go, taking time to stop and smell the flowers, growing, changing, being the best version of myself that I can possibly be. With Jesus we thrive rather than simply exist, have direction rather than aimlessly wander. That is LIFE to the FULL!

Enjoy others thoughts on living well:

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." Robert Byrne

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Martin Luther King

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."  Erma Bombeck

"Our talents are the gift that God gives to us... What we make of our talents is our gift back to God." Leo Buscaglia

One of my favorite country artists is Tim McGraw. Though not always biblical, many of his songs capture inspiring philosophies. Enjoy his song called "Live Like You Were Dying."

It's never too late to follow the one and only Son of God who died for you. It's never too late to start living life to the fullest!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Colorado Update

Hey friends and lurkers,

I'm back in Texas and wanted to give you an update since so many of you have asked how my residency went and prayed for me while I was gone.

The time was sweet and amazing,challenging and confirming. I know I am where the Lord has called me to be and that knowledge is wonderful and scary all at the same time.

My mentors for the week were DiAnn Mills, Jerry B. Jenkins, Doc Hensley, and Janice Mitchell. Every day we listened to a devotional and then split into groups to meet with each of these teachers. Our chapters were critiqued by our classmates and mentors. The goal by December is to have the tools necessary to finish and publish a first novel.

I received encouragement and challenge from all the mentors. I was coached in speaking so that I can be involved in interviews and talk shows when/if the book is published. McNair Wilson and Julie Neils were my coaches in this area. I sat for a mock interview about my book, Shaken, and am really excited about where the Lord is leading.

Here is the premise behind my novel, Shaken. 

When your world is shaken, you seek a stronger foundation.
Never one to welcome change, Kaylan Richards is forced to choose between her dream education  and a calling to work in Haiti. She chooses to go to Haiti and immediately battles culture shock, language barriers, and an angry voodoo doctor determined to harm her physically and hinder her  ministry. Then the earthquake hits, devastating Haiti and killing her best friend, and Kaylan is left returning to the states questioning a God who claims to be good. Can the love of the man she left at home help her heal and show her the God who never abandoned her, or will the earthquake shake even the most rooted faith?

I hope you will stay tuned as I complete the book. I am half way there and it is due in a little over a month! Pray for motivation and a focused heart and mind. My band director in high school used to tell me, "Give it all ya got, but don't give it more than you have." It seems like a pretty good philosophy.

I also hiked the Incline with my friend, Amy while I was in Colorado. I think they should call it "Devil's Staircase." It was a good life analogy of the struggle to get to the top, the exertion and pain and determination, and then the sweet success when you finally arrive. On the way down, the journey up seems worth the pain (except I don't EVER want to hike that thing again). That is much how my writing has seemed over the last few weeks. Thank you to those who have prayed and continue to love and support me as I push on toward fulfilling the dreams God has called me to. He is a God of big dreams and I can't wait to see what He does with mine.

In the One who is Mighty to Save,

Copyright of Kariss Lynch

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Low Man on the Totem Pole

I am officially in Colorado with a beautiful view of a snow covered Pike's Peak. Memories and writing mentors are my constant companions. In my 22 years, I have tasted a lot of success and  a lot of failure. But as I have prayed and struggled to identify success this week, I have come back to one statement made thousands of years ago by the greatest man to ever walk the earth:

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." Mark 10:43-44

When I stand before Jesus one day, He won't ask me what my college GPA was or how I tasted success in my writing career. He won't applaud me for winning a state competition my senior year of high school or stand in awe of my traveling adventures. He will ask me, "How did you serve with the gifts I gave you?"

Man, that's humbling. Jesus defines success as servant hood.  That puts a new spin on failure, doesn't it?
Success isn't a focus on the end all, be all. The journey is the destination that will define your success.

You want to be great? You want to find success and happiness? Jesus says success is an eternal mindset. Success requires sacrifice. In that, there is greatness.

In Native American cultures, totem poles were used to tell tribal legends, show family history, or represent the culture. We often refer to those figures on the bottom as less important because of our phrase "low man on the totem pole." Different cultures arranged figures different ways, but I would argue that to be the low man on the totem pole is a title the Lord holds in high regard. The low man is the odd man out, the one everyone overlooks, and undervalues. He is thought of as weak, unimportant, and ordinary. 


If you think about it, the low man on the totem pole supports the rest of his members. He is strong yet unnoticed, base but vital, exalting and supporting the others yet unappreciated and criticized. He is the servant. He is the least of his members, but the Lord calls the least, the greatest. 

The measure of success is becoming that low man on the totem pole, succeeding at edifying and serving others, even if no one else notices. It isn't success as the world defines it, but success as the God of the Universe defines it.

Are you succeeding at what counts?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Epic Fail

"Stand" by Rascal Flatts
Failure is not an option if your perspective is an eternal one.

Writer's block has been a killer the past two weeks for this budding author. I am a perfectionist and, ironically, failure is part of my daily life. Such a bitter pill to swallow. This week as I prepare for my residency in Colorado Springs with the Christian Writer's Guild, I want to focus on success and failure. 
Failure is not the end game. It is the means by which we are forced to push ourselves, dream big, and reach success. I am encouraged that the great people in history failed multiple times before they succeeded. Failure only defined them if they chose to stop in the midst of it. 

So this week, I use the words of others who have walked the path of FAILURE before and lived to tell the tale. They conquered this demon and tasted their own version of success. Their eyes were on the finish line, not on the current trap. As I focus on their words, I encourage you...KEEP ON KEEPING ON.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Colin Powell

“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet.” Mahatma Ghandi

"The say President Wilson has blundered. Perhaps he has, but I notice he usually blunders forward." Thomas Edison

"There is no failure. Only feedback." Robert Allen

"Because a fellow has failed once or twice or a dozen times, you don't want to set him down as a failure till he's dead or loses his courage." George Horace Lorimer

Bottom line - failure is an opportunity to stand back up after you fall. It is a test of your courage, perseverance, and joy. It is a tool used to build your character to handle both success and failure. Embrace it, use it, learn from it, and MOVE ON. The Lord promises a future and a hope for you and it NEVER ends with failure.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Hello Spring!

The wildflowers of Texas are in full bloom and beautiful along the highways. Green is sprouting everywhere and the weather is warm and welcoming. It is a season of new life and new beginnings. Hello, Spring!

With this time of year, I am reminded that not only is nature undergoing transformation, but I am, as well. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17) Tenth Avenue North sings, "You are more than the choices that you make, you are more than the sum of your past mistakes, you are more than the problems you create. You've been remade." If you know Christ, you are being made into something new and beautiful.

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, the four siblings shake off their fur coats when Aslan arrives to melt the long winter. When Jesus came, winter was over. When we acknowledge He is the Son of God who sacrificed Himself for us, we can shake off our winter coats. Shame, guilt, regret, doubt, and anger all melt away in light of the empty grave.

A friend of mine said that she feels intense shame knowing that Jesus knows her imperfect thoughts and actions performed in secret. My response is that I feel freedom that someone knows all my imperfections and rough edges and loves me in spite of myself. Jesus desires to mold us into His image. It is a lifelong process but He is transforming me for His glory. There is no shame or regret in bearing my imperfections to the One who has promised to change me. It is time to throw of the coat of shame and regret from a long winter.

Celebrate this spring! There is freedom and new life in Jesus Christ! He is the great I AM of making things NEW.

Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Song property of Tenth Avenue North