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  • Writer's pictureBarry Peters

What is Challenging You?

We all have our challenges. What are your challenges in 2018?

We are only 94 days into 2018 and I’ve had more challenges than normal. Now before you think that I’m moaning or complaining, you and I are probably not on the same wavelength when one thinks of challenges.

I am not talking about challenges such as struggles, heartache or pain. Now I realize there may be some of those ahead but in the meantime, I am going to thank God for His faithfulness in my life. So, what kind of challenges am I speaking of? Well, there have been 3 challenges thus far for 2018 in my life.

My first challenge was given to me indirectly through someone I’ve met briefly on a couple of occasions. Jenni Catron ( has been an executive director at 2 mega-churches (Tennessee and California). She has been leading churches for years as well as speaking at conferences across America. I’ve always appreciated her passion for ministry. On December 30, 2017, Jenni posted on her Instagram the following, “Reading goal for 2017 was 52 books. I will finish 40 books… a little shy of my goal but nevertheless I read some great stuff that challenged and stretched me.” After my wife Laura read this post to me, I was challenged myself. I’ve never been a reader and have always read a book here and there. After being challenged from a few of my mentors in 2017 (and an article I read), I decided as a “New Year’s Resolution” to read a book a month. Then Jenni’s post hit me like a ton of bricks. I immediately thought that if Jenni could direct a mega-church, begin a consulting group, writes books, speak at conferences, etc., what was my excuse? So, thanks, Jenni. The challenge is accepted. May God continue to challenge me to grow in my reading. It’s 93 days in and I’ve read 13 books. It’s been life changing.

Jenni continued in her Instagram post…

Here is my strategy for reading:

• I get up early and spend an hour reading every day.

• My reading time is a mix of scripture, Christian living, personal development, and biographies.

• When I fly (which is often) I read leadership and business books and magazines.

• I only read a book after it’s been recommended by 3 different people I respect.

• I strive to have a mix of reading that includes all four dimensions of heart, soul, mind & strength.

• I want a continuous drop of material that inspires me relationally, spiritually, strategically and with vision!

Great words. I trust you will challenge yourself in the area of reading. Another great piece of encouragement is

My second challenge began in February as we began a series on BOLD prayers at our church. We looked at three different men over a three-week period who prayed bold prayers in scripture. I had the privilege to begin the series on the life of Peter as he prayed in Acts 4 for God to give him boldness. I was challenged that we need to embrace our faith in Christ, share our faith story, pray with boldness, and live out our faith journey. Feel free to watch all three weeks of the BOLD series at My prayer life has changed as I now want to follow the life of Peter, Elijah, and Jabez and live/pray with boldness.

My third challenge for 2018 began just 96 hours ago, but it has felt like a month. I read a Facebook post where a friend challenged others to join her on a four-week challenge (ok, a diet of sorts). Now, if you know me even a little, you know that I enjoy the consumption of fine foods (ice cream, cakes, anything chocolate). After stepping on the scale lately, I realized that I needed to embark on a new journey (even if it was just for four weeks). We’ve modified it just a bit by allowing one cheat a week. Want to know what the diet includes or shall I say excludes?

The four-week challenge is:

• No chips or fries

• No soda or juice

• No ice cream

• No fast food

• No fried food

• No white bread

• No cakes and donuts

• No cookies

• No candy

I’m thankful that my wife is joining me on this particular journey. It makes life a little easier. Our son, Davis said he was in as well until day 2 hit and his friends brought over a chocolate bar and Gatorade while playing outside. He threw in the towel and is again enjoying the fine foods of life.

2018 is off to a good start. I pray that I am continually challenging myself. Right now, I am thankful that I am being challenged on 3 things (reading, BOLD praying, diet) that will impact me emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally this year.

Well, we all have our challenges. Well, at least, we should be challenging ourselves. What are your challenges in 2018?

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