Age of Wisdom


Our generation has become notorious for being know-it-alls. With technology and information, and travel at our hands like no generation before, what would our elders have to offer us anyways? Unfortunately, we’ve got to face the facts that we all need a little advice sometimes, and realize that getting our information from a quick Google search is probably the epitome of pride.

In the information age, the art of wisdom has faded. Personally, I love listening to stories from my parents and grandparents. I love watching and observing those who are set in my life to be mentors. Because wisdom is not always about speaking, but acting through Godly character.

With so many choices and doors open to us, we lose sight of the value of things. The value of not just ‘doing life’ together as we are, but living together and pushing each other toward God. Of advancing who we are in order to grow instead of sitting back, satisfied with who we are today, taking in our share of grace.

Right now, I have several older people in my life who I absolutely look up to and feel that God has strategically placed in my life (even though they may not know). It is a little ironic that the biggest thing I learn from is watching them make mistakes. Watching them live through their shortcomings to change, to better themselves.

It is ok to mess up, to look stupid, to be awkward. These situations are where we grow from. Who better to watch still growing, still figuring things out, than the generation before us? It can give us a hope that we don’t have to say all the right things, make all the right moves to be successful or to even be happy.

As millennials, we have carved our own path and changed countless rituals of our society that we should not back down from. Though we’ve defined ourselves as know-it-alls, we’ve always defined ourselves as trailblazers who always want new. We are always on the watch for the latest, and consume knowledge like never before. What an excellent use of this thirst for knowledge and itch for new ideas than to watch those older than us. We learn who we want to follow, who we do not want to be, and what needs to change.

Let us not become complacent in furthering ourselves towards the character of God. Let us not become complacent in living as community; sharing ideas and opinions no matter how taboo, caring for each other as family not just as other humans who also happen to be here. Let us not forget the accomplishments of the generation before, and the faults that they learned from. It may be that we are more alike than we image.

Even in this age, there is the old adage that history repeats itself. Generations change, but their outlook on the world is cyclical. In a time where we have lost our farsightedness, our coming experience and challenges will eventually turn us back to each other.

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I Decided to Stop Talking About My Dreams and Did Them

talk less do more dreams

Not to sound too overly Disney here, but I’m just going to say it’s safe to assume that every single one of our readers has amazing dreams. We all have dreams and ideas, big ones, little ones, impossible ones. For every possibility in the world, there is someone out there with ideas on how to do it.

Here’s a revolutionary question: what happens when we talk less about our dreams and do more about them? One of the greatest challenges to creating an action is how we use our words. We can spend hours in brainstorming meetings writing out ideas but where do those ideas go when we close our notebooks?

See, we millennials, or really every young person ever, have a problem with commitment. Our generation is probably the most visible problem with our access to social media #activism. I’ve been to countless young adult meetings where we come up with some great ideas that often lead nowhere because we’re unwilling to sign the dotted line, put some credibility to our words and partner with others.

talk less do more dreams grafted magazine

talk less and do more grafted magazine

Me and that friend, Rickus!

At the beginning of this year, I was leading a small group with a friend of mine. We decided that we were done talking about how to do big things and we were ready to just do it. So we spent the spring semester praying for opportunities to put our words into action and give an example to our group of how, yeah… 20 somethings can ACTUALLY follow through with their dreams and do really cool things.

We decided we wanted to lead a ministry outreach trip. Rickus and I both had no, or at least limited, experience in planning for a trip like this. We didn’t know all the “rules” or steps to take. We just decided to plan for what we knew and go for it. If you wait too long the dream can get stale, so we jumped on it the moment we could. In April we got the idea to go to Alaska, in July we were boarding a plane with four other people.

talk less do more dreams grafted magazine

So what allowed us to take this step? Did we have great fundraisers and campaigns, and social media buzzing? We think we found the secret formula to ministry trips, and I’m going to share it with you.

    We all decided just to buy our tickets with whatever money we had and trust that God would make sure we could pay our bills. Crazy, right? Yeah, very.
    We told people about our mission, sure. We had a few little fundraisers like a garage sale and t-shirts. But we all just pitched in to make sure every person we felt was supposed to be on this team could come. Don’t crush your dreams by putting a limit on how big God is by worrying about finances. If it’s his will, whatever you need will come through.
    Some of my team members are WONDERFUL at networking. Some of the greatest friends we made were because Cindy reached out through social media so people knew who we were before we even got there. If you don’t know how to do something, find the person who does and reach out.
    Details can make a dream fall apart really fast. Sit down and outline what exactly it is you must have to make your plans reality and focus on those things. Look at the big picture, and the little picture will come together.
    I know this sounds counterintuitive but it really is important to know the plan you do have and know it well. If you’re going on a trip, every detail you do know needs to be memorized and engrained in the back of your mind. Phone numbers, addresses, costs. When you need these things, you REALLY need them.
    This is true for any project but it’s especially true for a team on a mission. We made sure that everyone had time for themselves to work on their own things and spend time growing in their own relationship with Jesus. This is important for the pre-trip planning period and during the time itself.
    One of the greatest things we learned from this experience was how much joy Jesus gives us if we just choose to set out fears aside and go all in. I think it’s freeing to know that anything you can think of has been done before because then there’s never the stress of being the next Hudson Taylor or Steve Jobs. Our job as believers is simply to love, and love passionately. With that passion comes a lot of laughter and humility and enthusiasm that only God can provide.
talk less do more dreams grafted magazine

When was a time when you decided just to step out and do something about your dreams? Share with us in the comments!

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Not Manly Enough- From a Christian Women’s Perspective


“But why would he brag about that?” I asked.

My boyfriend had just finished educating me on a man’s tendency to boast on his sexual acts with multiple women in order to prove his manliness.

I must admit that I am often baffled by the ways of men- how they think and what they value. In learning about men’s culture, my most-used response is “Really?!”. My wise and straight-forward boyfriend informed me that many men see the ability to ‘get’ any girl as the ultimate mark of being a man. Therefore, sex, or any physical action, is sometimes used as a measure.

I immediately felt used by men of my (regretful) past. Were they trying to prove something to others by pressuring me? Was I the pawn- all while thinking I was the love-interest? Who knows? I don’t care to know, but what I DO want to know is how using women started to be seen as manly.

I tried googling it. I read a few different articles and I came up with some conclusions.

I think ‘getting’ lots of girls became ‘manly’ for a few reasons. For men- If you are interested in a girl and she likes another man instead, this man becomes someone you envy in a way. If a man is liked by 100 women, he also gains the envy of around 100 men.

Just as the school rich kid is seen as cool for the things he has, the school player is seen as cool for the girls he can ‘get.’ The envy turns him into an role model of sorts. The people around crowd him, because associating with him could mean getting more attention from girls for themselves.

Logically, it makes sense, BUT it has turned our society into an ugly distrustful mess. Because of this praise that many girl’s affection garners, men seem less focused on being attractive to the women they like, and more focused on being attractive to all.

Girls are not innocent in this. Taking direction from our own insecurities and lack of confidence, women have started to pursue men based on the quantity of other women who like them. When 50 girls all like the same boy, a girl will start to see him as more attractive. They become excited to show him off, knowing that other women wanted him too and their judgment will not be questioned. Therefore, men are sadly not delusional to think that getting attention from all will help them in gaining attention from the one they want.

With all things considered, being attractive to most women seems to be the way to be ‘cool’ and the way to get a girlfriend. In addition, it is logical for men to believe that physical acts will prove their desirability, because physical acts often do show desire.


Being a player is cheap and unworthy of your greatness. Also, it is undesirable to women in the long run. Biologically speaking, it benefits women most to know that her husband will stay by her, and will be able to be a one-woman man through parenthood and through tough times of provision. While having a multitude of women’s affections may be a turn-on at first, being a one-woman man has more staying power in attractiveness and trustworthiness.

Men- though getting ‘action’ may label you as cool, you are God’s sons. You do not need to be desirable to all women. The woman you want is attracted to the most authentic you, not the most popular you. While some women may be fooled by popularity, you can be confident in your desirability, even if 100 women are not there to encourage you.

In fact, as a Christian women, I see very different qualities as most manly. I see the ability to be true to your word, to be a man of conviction, and to be dedicated to your beliefs to be most manly. I see confidence as manly, but not confidence in your ability to gain attention. The confidence that is truly mature is confidence in yourself despite no ‘proof’ of your worth.

While getting attention from women, becoming enviable and cool, and being a player may seem to prove your worth as a man, those are fleeting. They will (and should) fade when you enter marriage. Therefore, they are based in people’s perception and are temporary.

The good news is that your worth does not need to be so fickle. As a Christian, you can trust in your unwavering worthiness. Believing you are excellent is an act of faith. We demonstrate faith when we hold firm to God’s words. After all, faith in Him includes faith in His words, and His words tell us that we are wonderfully made.

So, from my perspective, we are all at fault for this societal nonsense. We have all sought worth from fleeting things. There is a system in place where men hook up with women and document the experience in order to prove manliness. But for us, if we want to better care for each other and treat each other with love and respect, we can recognize that we do not need to buy into this idea of manliness.

So, men, despite the temporary (and sadly legitimate) gains of being a player or treating hookups with disregard, I believe those things are not manly enough for you. You are rather destined to defy the cultural standards/systems and be dedicated to acting honorably. And while you miss out on the title of “manly,” at times from your high school buddies, you will, in fact, be demonstrating the full picture of manliness because of your perseverance, confidence, and chivalry.

So, from a Christian woman, thank you. And don’t be fooled. You are manly.


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Kindred Strangers


Imagine an actor winning at the Oscars. They come up on stage to the cheering of the audience, are handed the trophy, and take the mic for an acceptance speech. Everyone waits to hear who the actor will thank for helping them succeed. The actor opens their mouth…and says “I have nobody to thank but myself, I put myself in this spot. Thank you, me!” and walks offstage.

If someone did this, we’d think they were 1. nuts and 2. incredibly selfish. No one gets anywhere in the race of life without a myriad of people, seen or unseen, pulling you along. It’s just a fact.

But the Christian life takes it a step further; sometimes, the people who pull you onward can be people you’ve never met.

We spend a lot of time in Grafted articles challenging and exhorting each other as Christians to do better, to be clearer mirrors of Jesus. This is a healthy and needed thing; the Bible often talks about believers “building one another up.” But those challenges can carry an edge of rebuke or disappointment, because if a challenge is needed in the first place…it kind of implies we’ve messed things up.

So I think it’s worthwhile, every so often, to stop and celebrate the many, many, MANY times that the followers of Jesus get it right.  Especially if you’re feeling cut off from healthy Christian community, or wishing you had a mentor figure, or discouraged that it’s hard to find older Christians you want to emulate.

The good news is, those Christians are out there. There are lives that have been lived surrendered to Jesus and so full of Light that they’re almost too bright to look at. You just might have to look outside your church circles and into history to find them.

And yes, they’re strangers. You’ve never met them or had a conversation face-to-face, and you won’t until you step into eternity. But still, you know them. There’s a kinship, a likeness from soul to soul that can’t be explained or denied. And through that kinship, they shape you. They become friends, big brothers and sisters in the faith, even across time and distance.

How amazing is it that God not only writes a beautiful story of redemption for each of us, but He intertwines our stories with those of others? There’s so much power in how the testimony of someone who lived hundreds of years ago on a different continent can be an integral part of your testimony today.

If you think about it, the church is beautifully weird. A family spanning millennia, distance and every language or cultural barrier? There’s nothing else like it on the planet.

And yet it makes sense, because even though we don’t know each other at all, in the race of following Jesus, the great Story that all life boils down to, we’re intimately alike. We’re like hikers on a mountain path. Everyone on that path is different, but they’re all racing towards the same summit, crossing the same streams and arming themselves with similar boots and backpacks to handle the trail.

Or as John Piper writes, “This is the way all the witnesses of Hebrews 11 are helping us. They have gathered along the sidelines of our race and they hold out their wounds and their joys and give us the best high-fives we ever got: ‘Go for it! You can do it. By faith you can finish. You can lay the weights down and the sins. By faith, by the assurance of better things hoped for, you can do it. I did it. And I know it can be done. Run. Run!’”

We get to share our race with amazing people. Why would we not want to get excited about this? So in that spirit, I’d like to share five of those running partners, the Christians that have impacted me most and why.

C.S. Lewis – Lewis needs no introduction; he’s the most beloved Christian figure of the twentieth century. All the same, I can’t overstate the impact this man has had on my life. Lewis has a gift for speaking to both the heart (like the longing for something we’ve never known) and the mind (the rational case for faith) of Christianity. It’s like someone telling you that you can go somewhere you’ve always dreamed about and then handing you the ticket and map.

Amy Carmichael – British missionary who spent 55 years in India fighting child prostitution and rescued hundreds of orphans. She’s probably best known for her signature response to life’s hardships, both big and small: “See in this, a chance to die.” More than anyone else, she’s taught me what it looks like to live crucified, how “pick up your cross and follow Me” plays out in the minutiae of daily life.

Frederick Buechner — Theologian, minister and a Pulitzer-Prize nominated author, Buechner has a gift for the kind of storytelling that makes you see reality as it really is. Grace is stunningly simple, everyday life is full of richness and meaning we don’t see, and Jesus is most often found in the ordinary.

Augustine of Hippo—North African, one of the greatest theologians in church history, and a man who lived a lifestyle worthy of Las Vegas before coming to faith,  Augustine is one of the most hungry believers I’ve ever encountered. He spent so much of his adulthood desperately trying to find something to fill his emptiness. When that yearning finally led Augustine to God, he could never get enough of Him.

Esther Ahn Kim/Ahn Ai-sook —Author of the memoir If I Perish, Ahn Ai-sook was a young Korean Christian woman living under Japan’s occupation of Korea during WWII. After refusing to worship a Japanese sun idol (in a showdown reminiscent of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego), she spent six years in Japanese war prisons. Under conditions that can only be described as hellish, she transformed one person at a time through simply loving them. Her courage to have absolute surrender to her Lord’s direction and purpose, even in the smallest ways, is something amazing.

So who are your “kindred strangers”, the faithful friends you meet across years and miles that change you forever? Who makes you run the race just a little faster, and why? If you’d like, share in the comments!


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Sometimes God Doesn’t Say Something is Wrong…

janie_925_sometimes-copy This is a bit personal, but I do not care. I am tired of people settling for far less than they are offered. Years ago, I needed someone desperately to tell me that God had more for me, and I want to do that now for others.

         “God doesn’t specifically say ___ is wrong, so is it?”
In American culture, we are focused on the rights and wrongs of life. I didn’t realize this until recently talking with someone from a different culture. I suppose its true. We says things like, ‘Well, its not wrong to watch this show” or “Its ok to go this far with my boyfriend.” If we are Christians, we follow it with, “because the Bible doesn’t say it is wrong.”
         I lived this way all through high school. Deeply dedicated to God’s law, I would abstain from anything ‘wrong’ specified in the Word. I wanted to obey Him. Of course, if I had the slightest doubt God condemned something, I let myself push the limits.
          I could easily justify every action-
 Drinking without getting drunk isn’t frowned upon in the Bible, and the 21+ law in this country is absurd.
Pot is natural, and i could have picked up these leaves on the ground and smoked them.
Watching sex scenes in movies is different than watching porn. What am I going to do…close my eyes?
I’m doing some things, but at least I’m not having sex- so I’ll just do these other things so I don’t have sex.
I’m not gossiping even if I watch a gossip tv show, thats THEIR gossip.
I just want to see if I’m beautiful. Its not really insulting them.
I could’ve spent hours memorizing this, so its not really cheating… its just saving time.
         I was so focused on avoiding the major taboos that I forgot about resting in purity. When I say ‘resting in purity,’ I mean appreciating purity as a gift. I saw purity, instead, as a burden, and I went around all of God’s laws until I eventually couldn’t tell the difference between what I was doing and blatantly ignoring God. So then I started justifying more. “Well, I was already doing ____, so whats the difference if I ____?”
         I was a disciple of God who let myself justify the things that hurt me.
-Never turning from God really- just sinking beneath what He really had in mind.
         And that is what I didn’t understand: that when I wasn’t siding with purity in its complete form, I was settling for less than I was gifted with. God has given me complete purity- THAT is what I was sitting in. But instead of relaxing in that spot, enjoying the beauty and peace of it… I kept testing to see how far I could possibly lean away from purity without falling into disobedience.
         I look back now and I wish someone challenged me to try resting in that purity- away from gossip and sexual acts and substances. I wish that I stopped justifying everything as ‘not wrong’ and instead asked myself “when do I feel like I am acting most like the holy princess God says I am?”
         Because when I ask myself that, I don’t want to lean away. I want to rest in my identity as a princess and resist acting out of character. I do not think that wanting sin or being tempted means you aren’t a disciple. But I do love that we can practice walking in holiness, seeking to know God more and more. The more I understand God’s love for others, the less it makes sense to gossip. The more I understand God’s purpose in marriage, the less I want to give myself to anyone else in any way. The more I relish in goodness and purity, the less I want to reach for anything else.
         So, my friend, please don’t be discouraged if you want other things at the moment, but know you are royalty. Know that God loves you and has so much for you. He doesn’t want for you to have a life that is ‘pure enough’… He wants the most for you possible.
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