Category

Debbie Csutoros

Kingdom Wonder

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

Sunday, March 13th – 6:15 – 7:27 pm, on my porch

Bill is my stepfather. I wanted so much more than what we had, yet he was always there for my mother, by her side for close to 50 years.  He is Daddy Bill to me, and I believe God allowed him to discover wonder in the later years of his life.

A recent sermon by Al Barth at Spanish River Church helped me experience God’s wonder. In Matthew 4:17, Jesus began to introduce the kingdom of God, saying, “the kingdom of heaven is near.” As Pastor Barth explained the limits of the kingdom of this world, he reminded us that God continues to break through this world so we can know him. I loved how he called God the God of the cosmos. He explained that we have two worlds at work: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. It was so clear as he spoke this message.  I saw the wonder of God in those few moments like never before as he simplified these two worlds.  He said, “But God throughout history continues to reach into our reality, into human existence, interfering with us because he loves us.”

Throughout history God has continued to break through the kingdom of this world, like when he spoke to Noah, telling him to build an ark, and when he told Abraham to leave his country. As Pastor Barth gave examples of how God has broken through the cosmos, it was as if I could see a crack in the heavens, with a flash of how God has broken through my own life to direct my path.

The Bible tells story after story of how God was present in many life journeys. The loss and pain of evil perpetrated in the kingdom of this world is not foreign to God. He continues breaking through the cosmos with ears to hear the struggles that come with life.

The ultimate Wonder broke through the cosmos when Jesus Christ entered this broken world as a baby. Now, through him and the Holy Spirit’s power, anyone who will cry out to him can receive the strength to keep going, trusting Jesus, the only one raised from the dead, with astonishing wonder! He has broken through this worldly kingdom with his life to show us the Father’s Kingdom and a love this world can barely grasp. So, cry out, look up, reach out for God and he will show you his wonder. Then live a life that speaks of God’s wonder and share it.

Bill was such a tall strong man, yet death is consuming him as I write this blog. Death will come to me and to those who come after me until the kingdom of this world is finished, and the kingdom of God reigns forever

I received a call at 7:27. Bill passed away at 7:23 as I was writing this story. Thank you, Jesus, for your wonder. I know Bill is with you now and he’s laughing with joy at the wonder of you.

 

Written by Debbie Csutoros,

Co-Founder & Executive Director 

The Wonder of Reflection

By | Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

Reflection can be described as an act; like a mirror that returns an image.  It can also be defined as “fixing thoughts on something with careful consideration.”

For me, intentionality and courage are required to look back and reflect on my thoughts and behaviors. Often, I’d rather run away and not deal with them.  However, I have discovered that making time for purposeful reflection can bring wonder to each day.

The story of Joseph found in Genesis is a wonderful example. Joseph’s journey didn’t start off so great. He was thrown into a pit then sold into slavery by his brothers, who hated him. He was falsely accused of a felony that would’ve brought shame to most. As he remained in prison, he was passed over by those he had blessed. I think Joseph must have practiced the behavior of reflection, because no matter what happened, he stayed focused vertically on God and his promises. It paid off for Joseph and for many who went before him and after him. I believe Joseph must have just been determined to believe God.  He had a dream, and he knew it was given to him by God. And he knew God was with him, no matter what.

David Kolb’s experiential learning theory is a powerful model to help us understand the wonder that reflection can bring from the things we experience in life, whether joyous or painful. Allow me to paraphrase the big thought around this theory. If we don’t take time for reflection, we simply move from one experience to another without learning from those experiences. Here’s a simplistic diagram of his theory.

I believe YadaFactor is a tool that God is using to transform us through these four steps as we take time to reflect on His Word, write something down, then re-read it in our small triad groups. As I reflect on my life while reading scripture, writing enables me to think about life and truth together. Then I can act on this truth by obeying God and my behaviors change. For example, when a lie is exposed, my ability to stand on truth increases, helping me to take a step of action based on that truth.  As I move into more faith to believe God’s truth despite my circumstances, I begin to experience God in new ways every day, and the cycle continues.

By taking time to reflect, you will discover the wonder of God’s love for you and become more of the person He created you to be.

Renewed Hope

By | Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

It was 3:00 am.  I woke up with these words repeating in my head:

“If you’re looking for renewed hope, you will find it. If you’re looking to go deeper to know, you will find that too.”

I was compelled to write it down, so I did, then went back to bed. It was a Sunday, so off to church I went. The sermon focused on the disciples at Pentecost in Acts 1. His three points were about a new power, a new mission, and a new HOPE!! In that moment I remembered my 3:00 am notetaking! The power of the Holy Spirit was being poured out on the disciples to fulfill the commission Jesus had given them. The story of Jesus was to continue, but in a new way. The words “new hope” stood out to me for obvious reasons. The sermon concluded with these two scriptures:

…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, (disappoint us) because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After this, we who are still alive and left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Covid was not going away and people were losing hope. Fear was, and continues to, pour out into this world. Fear is not from God and fosters hopelessness. But with God, we can face the real thing we all fear most: death. The real elephant in the room is death, and death is painfully real, as so many have tragically experienced. It feels as though a new level of fear has been unleashed and many have lost so much. We grieve with you in your loss.  But could our greatest loss be diminishing hope and hopelessness?

God’s inoculation to fear is hope, not wishful thinking. We can know real hope when we seek to know God Himself. He has solved the problem of death by sending Jesus, who died in our place on a cross. God has declared all who trust in him, “not guilty!” God suffered like many of you with own Son’s death. But Jesus did something new; he broke through the grave and rose, alive. He is still alive! This is our hope and Covid cannot mask that. This truth overcomes the fear this pandemic has brought upon our world. I realized as the day progressed that God was speaking the word “hope.” We who know this hope can help people face the elephant in the room. I read somewhere that “hopelessness sets the stage for the moving of God’s hand, and the impossible sets the stage for a miracle.”

This quarter, through YadaFactor newsletters, we will be sharing messages of hope that renews. Let’s share this hope intentionally and sacrificially. People are hurting, and we have the same power, mission and hope that was poured into the world so long ago.

As the day ended, my rendezvous with hope in the middle of the night made a little more sense:

“If you’re looking for renewed hope, you will find it. If you’re looking to go deeper to know, you will find that too.”

Bring Back The Bible

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

Did you know???

In 2019, over one-third of American adults (35%) said that realistically they never use the Bible outside of a large church service or mass. The proportion of Americans who use the Bible daily also fell to fewer than one in ten (9%), the lowest number on record during the ten years of the State of the Bible research study. – 2020 State of the Bible, Research from American Bible Society and Barna Group

As Bible engagement and understanding have diminished in our society, so have many of the biblical values we hold dear.  

It’s critical to our nation’s future to restore an understanding of biblical truths.

YADAFACTOR HAS A PROVEN SOLUTION

Yada is a Hebrew word that means “to know.”  YadaFactor is “to know and be known intimately by God and others.” YadaFactor is transforming believers into a listening culture one day and one person at a time, using the Bible as our only curriculum. Bringing people back to God’s word is our top priority! The YadaFactor discipleship model puts each student at the feet of the Father, learning to integrate the Word of God with daily life.

JOIN US TO BRING BACK THE BIBLE

This summer we invite you to help us “bring back the Bible” by making a financial contribution to support our ministry efforts. Since launching our online course and coaching model in 2018, we’ve had 191 people go through our 7-week course. The testimonials have been powerful!

“I have grown in faith as I search His Word for His personal instruction, correction, encouragement or direction for me. YADA just makes me fall more in love with Jesus as I realize His faithfulness to meet with me every day.”

“This method teaches how the Bible is the Living Word and applies to me every day in all situations. I can take each moment to God. He wants to hear about every detail. I can test all things against what the Bible says to see if it is true or a lie from the enemy.”

“Now that I have experienced God this way, I won’t be satisfied with less. Through YADA, He has been answering my prayer for a deeper relationship with Him.”

AND MANY MORE!

GIVE

Would you prayerfully consider making a financial contribution to YadaFactor this summer? We are offering our course at no charge again this fall (however, our cost is approx. $425 per person). Your gift makes this possible.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

We’d be delighted to answer any questions you have about YadaFactor or discuss ways you can get involved. 

YadaFactor is a 501c3 organization. Your gift is tax deductible.

Give Today

Between Two Trees

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

As we move through the summer, we hope you will make time for rest. Not just the hammock kind of rest, but the REAL rest God provides continually through Jesus. This kind of rest is a rest of the soul. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? This is why YadaFactor continues. YadaFactor encourages three vital behaviors – read, write, and share – to hear God’s voice.  But to hear him we must come and be willing to listen.

In Matthew 11:26, Jesus invites us to this deeper rest:

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This is where we will spend the summer, exploring the possibilities of living at rest, while at work and play.

 

Between Two Trees

by Debbie Csutoros

The rope falls perfectly

Forming a swing for the body.

One leg at a time gently crawls into 

its natural sway. 

The whole body lays back in rest between two trees. 

How would this be if not for love?

Love sacrificed between two trees, that we might rest in Thee.

Are you resting?

Are you swaying in the comfort of His rest?

Choose this day

to rest…between two trees. 

Guidestar Platinum Seal of Approval

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

We are excited to share that YadaFactor recently obtained the Guidestar Platinum Seal of Approval!

GuideStar is the world’s largest source of nonprofit data and this designation demonstrates that YadaFactor is an organization focused on measuring our progress and results in order to provide current and potential funders accurate and detailed information. The designation is only awarded to charities illustrating the highest level of responsible fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

We are proud of achieving the highest rating in GuideStar. This accomplishment demonstrates our commitment to being fully transparent with our mission, metrics and money.  The rating is awarded to those non-profit organizations that can measure program impact while also providing the highest level of transparency and stewardship of donor dollars.

Read the YadaFactor 2020 Annual Report.

Time to PAUSE

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

Today, more than ever, we are faced with valid reasons to fear the future of both ourselves and our children.

Juggling responsibilities, along with increasing demands, leaves us anxious, overwhelmed and totally exhausted.

 

Maybe it’s time to PAUSE.

 

Pray for God’s will to be accomplished in your life.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

Accept the peace of God.

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalms 32:7

 

Understand that God is guiding you – yes, even when you feel it least.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

 

Seek strength from the Lord.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

 

Engage with God and others.

“If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”  Romans 12:8

 

Blog by Rebecca Johnson, YadaFactor Participant

 

Are you a faith blogger, or interested in becoming one? We have volunteer opportunities for female and male “guest” bloggers. Bloggers write short articles sharing insights God reveals from their Yada journal and biblical truths to encourage our growing community in their faith journey. Contact us for more details. 

Real Power in the Pause

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

Hunger to Pause

 

Pause to rest, pause to know, pause to feel, pause to grow. 

  Rest in the pause to know.

Know in the pause to feel.

Feel in the pause to grow.

Grow in the pause with Truth.

 

Truth is the key to rest, to know, to pause, to grow. 

Without the pause hunger remains.

Hunger to rest, hunger to know,

hunger to feel, hunger to grow.

 

 

Real Power in the Pause

 

Attempting to beat the rush I pulled into the Express Car Wash at 7:30 am. As I handed over the keys, I took a deep breath and searched for a spot to sit and pause for a few minutes. I needed my car clean for a funeral later that afternoon. I had two goals: wash the car and get to God’s Word. Joshua 17:7-18 was my next place in the Bible. From this text my journaled observations uncovered something vital.

 

God still has land promised for me. But to take possession of it I must stop and pause regularly to remember who He is, what He has done and that I too am part of His story. Stopping to pause produces divine power to believe God another day and trust Him to overcome my trials, knowing He fights for me. With His courage I can take possession of all He has promised and live in that land.

 

The people in these scriptures were a part of a long line of faithful fathers: Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. Now, Joshua was in charge, addressing the children of Joseph and their complaint. They thought they needed more land than what was being allocated. Joshua acknowledged them with a challenge to go and clear the hill country. Their response was faithless, “We can’t, it’s not enough and the Canaanites have iron chariots!” Immediately God began reminding me who these people were and their story with God. These children called Jacob, grandfather! Their father was Joseph, a leader of faith. He was sold by his brothers into slavery and ended up saving his family and nations from famine.  I thought, “Are you kidding me? They were afraid of iron chariots?” In the 15 minutes of waiting for my car to get cleaned, I was struck so deeply by the magnitude of these few verses and how these people were so afraid that they forget who they were!

 

Joshua had heard faithless words like this before and he knew their implications. He replied to these people in the faith he possessed. He believed for them and said, “You are numerous and very powerful, go clear the land to its furthest limits, it’s all yours.”  Sadly, they failed to do it; they did not take one step forward to receive what God had promised (Judges 1:27). After seeing all God had done in their lifetime, they believed a lie. They focused more on their enemy’s iron chariots than the God they followed. Doubt and fear robbed their future.

 

The next moment God whispered to me, “What about you, do you trust me to fight for you? Will you go take the land?”

I became aware of how easily I do the same thing.

 

Every day I have to fight to pause, remember, and believe God.  What has God already done?  Choose to believe it and trust him for my future. I can so easily forget when I choose not to pause. Like you, I’m busy, I have a job and a family. I have a wedding and a funeral. Like you, I know these are just excuses, but at times I believe they’re so valid and then I wonder why I’m discouraged or afraid or unhappy or I feel I have no purpose – poor me. I’m believing the enemy. I am looking at the iron chariots instead of the One who promised me good land, allotted it, and is just waiting for me to take it. Plus, He promises He will fight my enemies for me. What a deal. But this really is the REAL deal. God was actually blowing my mind at the car wash!

 

As I finish my journal entry it’s the day of my mother-in-law’s funeral. My kids are traveling home and their fights are delayed. There are big storms on the horizon and my car is dirty. I have learned the hard way that I have to battle to pause no matter how busy life gets. I have learned there is real power ignited in me when I prioritize the pause, even if it’s only for a moment. His word is power, fuel to fly in the Spirit that overcomes natural laws of sin and death. I needed to hear from God to remember again who He is, what He has done, and who I am in His story. He has promised land for me and for you. So, I took another deep breath, got up, headed to my car and thought with a giggle, “Wow, how do you do that Lord?”

Recent Testimonials

By | Blogroll, Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

 

We had a wonderful, fruitful semester in The YadaFactor Experience during our Winter 2021 Session. It was such a blessing to serve 24 women and men through the course.

Words used by participants to describe their Yada experience included: growing, calming, deepening, enlightening, stunning, refreshing, loud, exciting, fulfilling, sweet, encouraging, focusing, profound, convicting, conversation, praise, inspired, and anchor. 

Anonymous testimonies from participants this semester: 

  • It has been so good to get into the habit of seeing what God is saying to me through the Bible.
  • I love the structure and aspect of feedback – it takes away a lot of pressure.
  • The feedback from the group/triad helped me hear what I may not have heard. 
  • YADA provides a space of no judgement.
  • With pen in hand and a scripture before me, the Holy Spirit alerts me to what to process that day. I have been finding a lot of encouragement from the Lord in my YADA time in the past 2 months. 
  • I especially like the concept of reading a whole book of the bible as I YADA to more fully see God at work in the scripture rather than a topical scripture approach (in many Bible Studies). Yes, my desire to know God more has increased after YADA. I don’t want to miss what he wants me to hear every day. 
  • The whole experience has been inspirational. I could even hear God’s voice in what other people were sharing, even though it wasn’t about me. 
  • I have learned how to really look closer into my life and where I am as God speaks to me through His Word. 
  • I use the SOAP method in all studies of the Word. When I use my Bible app I am observing God in the scriptures and applying it to my daily life. I am enjoying God in so many ways now more than ever. 
  • The relationship of trust that is formed is precious and real. There is a uniting of purpose with like-minded people. 
  • I am more focused and intentional about spending that time with God. 

YadaFactor is a proven pathway to go deeper with God.  As believers, we have access to an array of Bible studies, workshops, sermons and conferences, but we lack guidance to process this wisdom personally.  Often we miss God’s still small voice.  We have discovered it’s in hearing His voice confidently that we are sustained and transformed.  It’s here God unlocks deep intimacy.

YadaFactor provides the guidance you have been longing for to grow and go deeper with God.

Questions? Contact us! 

The joy set before Him.

By | Debbie Csutoros | No Comments

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

What was the joy set before Christ when he endured the cross? What could bring Him a joy so desirable that he would willingly subject himself to the torture of crucifixion?

It was His unfathomable love.

Jesus loves you and me so deeply that He endured the cross, providing for us an opportunity for the forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with the Father. He endured so that you and I could spend all eternity in His presence.

You are the joy set before Him!

This being true, then how we do live today on the other side of the cross?

Let’s personalize it.

For the joy set before me, I can endure heartache. For the joy set before me, I can endure financial pressure. For the joy set before me, I can endure loneliness. For the joy set before me, I can endure tragedy. For the joy set before me, I can endure _______.

Fill in the blank with whatever you’ve been called to endure today. Because “you” are his joy, set before him, he suffered, died, and rose again. He knew then, and now, you would need his love and resurrection power to endure.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17

We pray you experience His joy this Easter weekend as you look to the other side of the cross.

In His love,

The YadaFactor Team