Thursday, October 27, 2011

preach the gospel 316

Hey there friends! As you know, I am not above shamelessly promoting things I am passionate about...which up till now generally have been music related (ahem, cough NEEDTOBREATHE cough cough).  Well, today I would like to introduce you to George Azar, owner and creative mind behind Preach the Gospel 316.  I recently met him through a mutual friend, and there were three things that struck me about him: 1) this guy LOVES Jesus  2) he is probably the happiest person I have ever met  3) give him 2 minutes and he'll be your friend.  Add all these things to a God-given vision and you have a business that is inspired.

Anyway, I have never done an interview on here before, but I am happy to make George hopefully the first of many!  Here we go!

>>Tell us a little bit about yourself.

"Oh man, where do I begin! I am currently a bible college student who serves on staff part time at my church. I also work part-time at Costco as my “tent making” job.

There is nothing I love doing more on my free-time than to hang out with people. I love getting to know people and to see them grow in the Lord. I also LOVE to laugh! I enjoy clean humor and desire to see more solid, funny Christian comedy!"

>>What inspired you to start your own business?
"I always had the desire to start my own business. Since I was a little kid, I knew that hiding behind the grasp of another’s provision wasn’t my cup of tea. I desired at a very young age to start a coffee shop, but once the Lord grabbed a hold of me, He began to refine my desires as He grew me in His word. About 3 years ago, I was given the opportunity to learn about graphic design at a graphics firm. It was then I realized my love was in the arts and desired to start a shirt company. “Oh sure it will be Christian, but I want to design shirts,” was my thought. About a year later, I lost my job and was on a “graphics block.” The Lord literally stopped my creative flow as He channeled my waters elsewhere. It was in this time I came to know the Lord in a deeper way as He cultivated a heart inside of me for the gospel going forth through an internship I did with my church. About a year ago, the Lord gave me my creative streak back as I was asked to design a flier for the high school group. It was shortly after that the Lord placed the shirt business back on my heart as Preach the Gospel 316 was born March 28, 2011."

>>Tell us the heart behind Preach the Gospel 316.

"The sole purpose of Preach the Gospel 316 is to further the good news of Jesus Christ by boldly demonstrating your faith through apparel. My heart for this business is that Jesus Christ solely gets the glory as I am merely the pen in His hands. Preach the Gospel 316 is what I like to call a profit, non-profit business. Let me explain...all funds that come into the business are then turned around to fund other aspects of the business. Whether it be producing more designs or giving to gospel-centered ministries, I do not draw any personal profit from the business (hence the “tent making” job at Costco)."

>>What is your favorite part of running this business/ministry?

"I would have to say the best part of running this business is being able to attend events. I have met some extraordinary people who have such a love and passion for Jesus! Every time I get to go to a show, I become more inspired as I am given the opportunity to meet some amazing people."

>>Which is your favorite shirt and why?

"I would have to say my favorite shirt is “Preach the Gospel.” This shirt is a symbol to me in so many ways. This was the very first design I was able to produce by the Lord’s grace for this business. It also contains my utmost favorite city, San Francisco. My love and passion to see the gospel go forth in “The City” is one I cannot claim as my own, but given to me by the Lord. This shirt symbolizes the simplicity in sharing your faith by using the gifts the Lord has given you and the passion in sharing His good news!"

>>If you could pick one famous person to wear one of your shirts for a day, who would it be?

"I would love to see Lecrae wearing one of my shirts because he shares the same desire I do: to see the gospel of Jesus Christ go forth regardless of social pressures! Lecrae’s music has been a motivation for me to continue to seek the only thing worth seeking: Jesus Christ! If he was to wear one of my shirts, it would only be confirmation of our co-laboring for the gospel’s sake."

>>If time and money were no object, what would you like to do, either with this business or beyond?

"My desire is to become a pastor, but in regards to the business, I would love to see the business grow throughout the nation and world. I would love to see the good news of Jesus Christ boldly demonstrated for all to see as people are presented with the opportunity to meet their maker and lover. I have seen so many shirt companies start off with good motives, yet have sold out to the culture as the message of Jesus is drowned out by artistic expressions. I would love to see this business become larger and bolder for the glory of God!"

>>Who are some people you look up to and why?

"There are two people who come to mind: Pastor Jack Arnold and Pastor Britt Merrick

My Pastor (Jack Arnold) has been the greatest example to me as a pastor who loves his flock and desires to see people raised up. I have personally been a partaker of his pastoring as a year ago he asked me to oversee our outreach ministry. Since that time, he has poured into me as Paul poured into Timothy. Pastor Jack became our senior pastor a year and a half ago when our former senior pastor was called to London to start a fellowship there. In the short amount of time as senior pastor, I have seen Pastor Jack used phenomenally for the kingdom of Christ as he serves as a living example of Christ’s power administered through His elect. His love to see pastors raised up has been inspiring and I am completely and utterly grateful for his reckless abandonment to Jesus Christ!

Pastor Britt Merrick comes to mind as well because he was the pastor I was raised up under as a new believer. The Lord used him to set the foundation in my life and gave me a solid Biblical perspective on topical issues concerning the Christian life. To this day, I can remember the moment I approached Pastor Britt about my desire to attend Bible college and become a pastor. He confirmed my desire and built me up in guiding me in the direction to peruse a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. His unwavering love and encouragement towards me has served as a fundamental foundation in who I am today. I still listen to his podcasts to this day as the Lord ministers exactly what I need to hear through him. Thank you Pastor Britt for your example and surrender to Jesus!"

So there you have it, folks.  I love that there are so many great ways to share the gospel!  Check out his website (see button below), like it on Facebook or follow on Twitter!  More importantly, check out his shirts and buy one, or two or three and use it to start a conversation.  You never know what great life changes could happen as a result!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ain't gonna stop...

On my way home tonight, I was praying for a friend who doesn't know God the way I do, whose life hasn't yet been deeply touched by Him.  I was praying for her to encounter His heart, because I know it would change her life.  I've prayed this for a lot of people over the years, and haven't always seen the results that I hoped for.  As Christians, we are called to share Jesus with others, to serve and to love...even if we don't see the results.  I had NEEDTOBREATHE playing in the car and as I pulled up to my house, these lyrics were speaking to my heart...

"All of this work and I ain't seein' any wages,
I ain't gonna stop until I do"

Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Ministering to people is work, work that Jesus highly valued.  And sometimes when we don't see people respond the way we hoped, we get discouraged.  We forget that it's not up to us to make people respond.  I felt encouraged by those lyrics...that all Jesus wants us to do is go out there and work.  There is a harvest out there, even if we won't see the fruit of it until we are in heaven.  I have been given the greatest gift, that is salvation and forgiveness, and I don't want anyone to miss out on the opportunity to receive it too.  So, like the song says, I ain't gonna stop until I do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Who here has ever doubted God's promises for their lives?  Who here has ever chosen to lean on their emotions or circumstances instead of God's word?  Who here has ever made decisions that would in effect sabotage themselves so that they had something to blame when things failed?  Who here struggles to dream bigger than the things they themselves can accomplish?

Guilty, guilty, guilty, GUILTY.

Who's with me?  Yeah?  So, this Sunday, the words my pastors shared were a breath of fresh air.  The first words that stuck were JUST BELIEVE.  As Christians, we are not called to work out all of the details and make things happen.  We are to just believe that God is faithful to His promises, and the rest will begin to fall into place.  So many times I try to plan things out, and stress as I watch them often unfold differently than "the plan".  If only I'd remember what God says about that, "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9  I need to let the Lord direct me...not the other way.

And then the other word shared was STOP LIMITING GOD.  (guilty?!)  It's amazing when I step back and see how often I try and limit God.  It isn't that God is bound by what we believe...He can do anything.  But when we hold Him at a distance and don't allow Him the room to move in our lives, He is limited.  He's not going to barge in and force us to take the gifts.  That's not how relationships work.  God can place a huge gift in our hands and we can refuse to open it.  We can say that we don't deserve it.  We can think that it won't be a great gift, so we cast it aside.  

One of my favorite quotes illustrates this:  "Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it."
-George MacDonald

Oh, how often do I have to change my thinking to believe that it's okay to want the best AND to receive it?  The last two days have been eye-opening as my thoughts turn to their normal toying with doubt and God has been whispering to me to believe.  To let Him take the lead and to be open to whatever His best for me is.  

I think the thought that needs banishing from my mind is, "That's not going to happen."
Anyone else?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

sweet victory.

So, on my last post, I was coming fast upon running my first 5k ever.  I was really uncertain, but knew deep down that despite my doubts, I needed to try.  (Side note: I've realized that I don't really like to do things if I am not certain I can do them well...)

My friend Katie messaged me and asked if she could join me.  I had never run with a partner before...and even better, she is about 6 10 inches taller than me.  We had NO idea if we would make good partners, but I figured it would be nice given all of my nerves.  If anything, she could encourage me to keep going when I wanted to quit.

Day of the race:

We are READY!

So, I got up at like 6am (P.S. I only get up that early for a small handful of reasons, like Jesus, paid work and vacations...NOT exercise.) and Katie came over to carpool.  We got there with plenty of time to walk around to warm ourselves up.  Then we ran.  Not fast, but we ran.  We ran up the smaller hills, and chatted the whole time.  We cheered people on as they started coming back (putting me slightly to shame!).  The first mile or so seemed easy, and we enjoyed the beautiful day.  We were running along the ocean!  Then came the big hill.  In all my running, I had been used to slight inclines, but not this.  But I was determined to run the WHOLE time.  That and that alone was my goal!  (besides finishing...hah.)

About halfway up that blasted hill, my breathing became quite labored.  But I was still focused.  Others were walking.  Katie, so faithful, gently said, "We're halfway there.  Keep going."  I am pretty sure I said out loud several times, "COME ON, you can do this."  Haha, and we did.  I got to the top and threw my hands up over the small victory of not stopping to walk.  It took almost the whole run down the hill to regain normal breathing again, but we did it.  And in fact, we had sped up, so Katie reminded me to take it easy.  We weren't done yet.

I am pretty sure that trying to drink water was a only made me hiccup and nauseated.  One mile left.  We kept on.  And when we reached the finish line, my roommate and another friend were LOUDLY cheering.  It was so encouraging.  (that and the volunteers along the road...they were perfect for the job.  Their cheers made me smile and want to push through.)

I DID IT.  I didn't stop.  And even though I didn't have the "best" time, I did it.  (42 mins, which I argue would have been faster if it weren't for that hill...!)  I still don't *like* running, but I am going to keep going.  In fact, Katie and I are running partners now.  She's such an inspiration and she doesn't mind running at my pace.  I am bailing on her tonight due to heat exhaustion...slightly kidding...but we are doing it.  Next stop...10k!  (and maybe a few more 5k races in between)

And for those who aren't sure you can...(just like me):
"If you never try, you'll never know what you are capable of."
John Barrow

Monday, October 3, 2011

the recent haps.

Although I have been blogging every day for like the last two weeks, I feel like I haven't really said much.  You know how that goes?  Here's some random facts or some fun fashion, but nothing past the surface...well, anyway, I am back.  I figure the best way to jump back in is with a snapshot post of the recent happenings.

The Serious: 
- I have felt the desire to pray for effectiveness lately.  I have been feeling quite ineffective.  In my job, in my prayer life, in lots of areas.  I still feel a bit overwhelmed with the work load I get to carry...for who-knows-how-long-until-finances-get-better-with-the-state-or-some-other-miracle-occurs.  It's funny though.  God reminded me today that a prayer I prayed yesterday was effective.  Results came today, and I am so grateful.  It felt like a small prayer, but I am nevertheless encouraged.
- I am ONE week away from my first 5k.  Do I feel prepared? NO.  Honestly, I have not kept up on my running quite as diligently as I should have.  I can run 2 miles (which is awesome...not discounting that) BUT to run 3.2 miles...I am really, really unsure about that.  Part of me wants to back out.  But part of me wants to still try.  And if I walk part of it, I walk part of it.  There is always next time.  Sigh.  I just wish I felt ready now.
- I am praying a lot about my husband lately.  That I would know him...soon.  A dear guy friend of mine nearly brought me to tears this weekend when he sincerely shared with me his desire to see me meet my husband, knowing it's a dream of mine.  It was almost a relief to hear someone else say that they are praying along side me...believing for something I often feel alone in fighting for.  It's hard to be the girl sometimes.  We may or may not have a person of interest, but it doesn't really matter.  We still are called to wait and be pursued.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want the guys' role.  I tried that once.  It clearly didn't work out.

The Lighthearted:
-I got to go wakeboarding/tubing for the first time this past weekend! My arms feel like they are going to fall off and I have a large hideous bruise on my leg buuuuuut I had a wonderful time! I also didn't actually wakeboard...more like got pulled up only to face plant a second later...but again, so fun! It was a picturesque day, and I wish I could go more often.
-I definitely earned that dinner with NEEDTOBREATHE :) And with extra points I earned for promoting, I finally earned the sweatshirt I've wanted for two years. (You can't buy it anymore, you have to earn it.)  I have no idea when it will arrive, but I am excited.
-I got a text from a friend today who wanted to tell me I was loved.  Then later, like within the hour, I was at a meeting and we were praying for each other.  The person praying for me prayed that I would feel loved...that it would be over and beyond what is the norm.  From God, from people...  I think God is trying to tell me something.
-I found some fun grey boots!
-In just over a month...I'll be visiting NEW YORK!!!

So, what's new with you?