black history, theology, Kids' books

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Telijah's guest blog: Back to the Bahamas

Help me go back to the Bahamas this summer with Young Life Expeditions! 

Dear friends and family, 

Last year I had the opportunity to go to Young Life camp in Eleuthera, Bahamas with my family. I got to hang out with Bahamian teenagers, help illustrate the gospel, and visit some beautiful beaches while I was there. 

It was the first time I had ever been out of the country, and I am so thankful for the people who donated money so our family could go. My parents were the camp speakers last year, so my siblings and I got to tag along as a vacation, and I didn't really have to help out as much as people who go to run the camp. 

This year, I am actually going back to serve with Young Life as work crew. My parents will be the camp speakers again this year, but as work crew, I will be staying apart from them, and I will be doing things that they are not expected to do. Instead of just going and hanging out with the kids, I will also be helping serve meals, cleaning up, and helping to run the camp. While I will still have the chance to relax and hang out with some amazing teenagers, I will be expected to do more work so that camp runs smoothly. 

In order for me to go, I need to raise $1,700 by June 15th. This means I need people who are willing to sponsor me. Will you consider helping me as I set out to help Bahamian teenagers have the best week of their lives?  

You can donate online here

Friday, May 22, 2015

5 Things I Learned Running a 5K

It started as a simple conversation at lunch. 

When my cousin Kendrick told me that a portion of the proceeds from the Larner 5k would benefit Brayden Kier (you can read Brayden's story and support him here), I told him my cousin I would to the 5k with him. 

With my pledge to participate secured, my cousin took the challenge up a notch. 

"Let's not just do it. Let's run the 5k!"

"Huh? Me? Run?" 

I couldn't remember the last time I had ran a mile, let alone three. However, I agreed to run with my cousin. That began a four-month journey for me getting off my couch and getting ready for a 5k race. 

Here are five things I learned in the four months where I went from couch to 5k. 

1. I. Hate. Running.  

2.  Distance running is a great metaphor for life. A 5k is just over a three miles. My first day in training, I could barely do a half-mile. And as bad as I felt, I felt even worse the next morning. Midway through the training, I started suffering from "Runner's Heel." 

I see so many parallels to life in this. There are things I want to do that seem too hard to start, or once I have started them the obstacles in front of me seemed too challenging to overcome. Whether it's running a 5k or life circumstances, you have to keep pressing on, even if it's with a limp!

3. You need people in your life that challenge you to do better. I would probably still be on my couch if it wasn't for my cousin Kendrick. His simple challenge, "Let's run the 5K!" was all of the motivation I needed to get off the couch. 

Every time I'm around Kendrick, my dreams get re-fueled. It makes me want to be around him more, and it makes me want to be that person who challenges and encourages the people around me to reach new heights. 

4.  I need goals. I probably won't keep running (refer to point No. 1), but I will no longer go to the Y, lift a few weights, and leave. Before the 5k, any old routine I did at the Y was good enough. 

I rarely challenged myself on go up in weight, get in better shape or improve. It wasn't quite wasting time, but it was close. It felt so much better to push myself to higher heights that I could never go back to underachieving. 

5. Things that you sacrifice for are more rewarding. I'm more of a (semi-retired) basketball player than a runner. Running didn't come naturally, and my miles were basically 10-minute splits. In other words, not fast. I may have gotten lapped by a speedwalker or two. 

However, I went from not being able to stand up after a half mile to running a 5k easily in a matter of months. It was worth every hour I invested in training to feel that type of reward. 

I write these blogs to encourage discussion. What is one goal you have for yourself? How will you achieve it? Who in your life most encourages you and challenges you to grow? 

Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her blog here), a father to five kids and a freelance writer for Young Life Relationships,, and other publications. His first book, You're Grounded, was published by Moody Publications last year. You can order the book here