525,600 Minutes

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1 Chronicles 16:8

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.”

I want to start of this blog post by thanking God! I praise God for everything that has happened in the last 525,600 minutes (1 year) of my life and for the gracious gift of gospel. I lift up praises to God for His gift of salvation through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Even though I was broken and a child of wrath, Jesus came down from heaven and lived a perfect life and died in my place, so that I can have a personal relationship with God. Jesus’s perfect sacrifice brought me from death to life, from separation to reconciliation. (Ephesians 2:1-10)

 Measuring a Year

While I’ve never seen the musical Rent, one of its popular songs comes to mind during this time of the year. During the song, “525,600 Minutes,” the actors question how to measure a year of your life. They suggest measuring a year in a  myriad of ways: daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of coffee, miles, laughter, truths you’ve learned, times you’ve cried, love…

As I reflect on 2016, it is amazing to think about all the adventures I’ve had in only a year’s time. In January of 2016, I prayed for God to give me a Christian community in Raleigh, and a way to glorify and serve Him. God answered that prayer, and so many more.

2016 was a year of writing. I filled four journals with prayers, devotions, and memories, and published 15 blog entries to share what I was learning in my walk with Christ and throughout my summer discipleship program (City Project) with the Summit Church. This weekend I have been looking through last year’s prayers and devotions to reflect on the highlights of the last year.

Looking Back

Here are a few of my highlights from 2016 that I would like to share with my readers:

  • January – I prayed with my sister and asked God to give me Christian community and a way to glorify Him.
  • February 5– I met a girl on a bus who invited me to church, and would later become a very good friend! (Read more here)
  • February 14– My first day at the Summit Church, and the day I applied for City Project. (Read more here) I put my, “Yes,” on the table by giving up my summer for missions.
  • March 28 – I met my goal for support raising. God blessed me with a 20160527_202824.jpggenerous support network who helped me reach my financial requirements and covered me in prayer throughout my time support raising and during the summer. (Read more here)
  • May 24– I moved into my apartment and began my training at City Project. (Read more here)
  • May 29 to June 4– I traveled to NYC and learned how to share the gospel in a global city. I had my first experience
    with broad gospel sowing, made new friends, 20160531_141707(0)and learned to rely on God for energy and strength during times of exhaustion. (Read more here)
  • June 5 to July 2– I lived in Durham, NC where I took theology classes with the pastors at the Summit Church, held an internship with Summit Kids, and learned how to share the gospel at my College. (Read more here, here, here, and here)
  • July 3 to 17– I traveled to Kenya and worked IMG957353with an organization called Freedom Global. I learned to share the gospel in an international context and sparked a deeper passion for international missions. (Read more here)
  • August 24– I started my Junior year at Meredith College.
  • September 24– I celebrated my 21st birthday at Black Mountain Weekend with Summit College (the college 13668967_1388382991178034_2775947522543870525_n
    ministry at the Summit Church).
  • October 21-I GOT MY ONYX!!
    October 24
    – I voted in my first presidential election!
  • December 14– I ended my semester at Meredith and traveled home to spend the holidays with my family.
  • December 29 – I submitted my application for Second City, a summer mission project through the Summit Church. (Read more here)

This year I learned a lot of new things in my walk with Christ, including the power of prayer and the importance of Christian community. Prayer is a vital part of my Christian walk, and this year I devoted time to learning more about prayer by reading books such as, “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer.” I learned that prayer should not just be a means of asking God but a way to praise Him. Through my involvement at the Summit Church, I learned the importance of Christian community. Without a community, a Christian’s spiritual growth is stunted. God designed us to be in community with one another, to lift each other up and encourage one another in the gospel. 

Looking back on the last 525,600 minutes of my life, how do I measure this time? In the prayers prayed? In the cups of coffee shared with friends? In the words written? While these were all good, it is important to measure the success I have had in the last year not by what I have done but by how I spent time with Jesus. I had many ups and downs throughout 2016, but I know that God’s love for me is constant, consistent, unchanging, and is not measured by my circumstances.

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Looking Forward

Now that I have entered 2017, I look forward to the next 525, 600 minutes (well, technically closer to 502,560 minutes at this point). I am excited to grow in my relationship with God, my family, and friends, and continue my education at Meredith College.

Here are some of goals for the new year:

  • REST: Many of you who know me are aware that I am a busy person. I thrive with a color-coded calendar and live by the carefully organized schedule on my phone. While being busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is important to have times of rest. I struggle with taking my sabbaths and resting in God, which is a command. Even God rested after creating the earth (Genesis 2:2-3). This year I want to make rest a priority.
  • FOCUS: I want to minimize distractions, and I want more of God in everything I do. This will be difficult for a people pleaser like me, because I will have to say, “no.” I have already begun the process of pruning activities from my life to leave more room for God and rest. I want to put more emphasis on God in my daily life.
  • INTENTIONALITY: I want to be more intentional in sharing the gospel with my friends and with the students at Meredith College. This semester I want to make time for broad gospel sowing on campus, and I want to be intentional with my relationships. Sharing the gospel should be purposeful and not only through coincidental conversations.

Thank You

I want to thank all my readers for your support in the last year. Your prayers have truly been a blessing in my life. Without my team of supporters, I would not be where I am now. God used all of you to show me the importance of Christian community and the power of gathering together for prayer and fellowship. I have seen God’s love in all of you (1 John 4:12). I pray that God blesses all of you in 2017. Please continue to pray for missions as the deadlines for Second City grow near. Pray that other college students will be willing to dedicate their summer to missions and spiritual growth through programs such as City Project, Second City, or other discipleship and mission programs. 

1 John 4:12

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Much Love,

Alexis Chastain

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