How is God Speaking to You?

We’re still savoring the last bits of the Christmas season even as the new year has already begun. I may be slow in getting the Christmas stuff rolling after Thanksgiving, but once I’m in Christmas mode, I try to hang on to it for as long as possible. So, we just put away our tree and decorations on this weekend. We’re finishing up the last of the yummy Christmas snacks and treats and enjoying some football!

God communicated in specific ways

While we’re packing up festivities and wiping the slate clean for this new year, one thought has been brewing in my mind. As I contemplated the birth story of Christ this season, a fresh revelation stirred in my heart. As I thought about all the people involved in the birth of Jesus and the parts they contributed to his story, it occurred to me how God communicated to each one in a different and specific way in order to involve them in their part of this plan established before the foundations of the world.

Photo by Vinu00edcius Vieira ft on Pexels.com

Each Player in the Nativity had a Special Part

An angel visited Zachariah during his priestly duties.

An angel visited Mary.

Joseph had dreams to take Mary as his wife and to flee to Egypt.

A chorus of angels sang to the shepherds.

Simeon and Anna studied the Scriptures and experienced God’s presence.

The Magi studied astronomy to follow the star.

God Drew Each Person Individually

Even though the single mission for Christ to be born was the primary goal, God still drew each player into his/her part in such unique ways tailored to each individual person. He knew Mary was going to need a direct visit from a heavenly being, but He also knew Joseph would respond to dreams. While He revealed a choir of heavenly hosts for the shepherds, He enticed the Magi through their study of the stars. Each played their own part in the bigger story, but God drew each of them in divinely unique ways.

God orchestrated the global redemption plan while at the same time communicating in individually and intimately with each person in the plan. I stand amazed!

God is still working like that for you and me today.

He will speak to you and draw you in ways that are unique and special just for you. He will do whatever it takes to draw you to Himself. Of course, He will speak through the obvious methods of Scripture (which He will never contradict) and sermons, but He’ll also speak to you through songs and books. God will draw you through people who share their wisdom, advice, and encouraging words. 

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Just like the Magi who were drawn to worship the Christ child as outsiders and foreigners, God will use the most unlikely things to draw your attention to Him. He’ll do whatever it takes.

He is doing this for you too!

How did God speak to you in 2020? What were the obvious and not so obvious ways He drew you to Himself?

How is God speaking to you in this new year?

I’d love to hear your story!

Join me at the WoW Facebook page or join the WoW Facebook group for more discussions!

Happy New Year!

~Amy

WoW Voices: Give Up the Grudge in 2020 by Reno Anderson

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming Reno Anderson, author and Bible teacher, as she shares her voice on Unity.

Have you ever held a grudge?

Are you holding a grudge against another believer?

One of my sisters-in-law once told me that she did not understand that I couldn’t
hold a grudge, as she was willing to grudge it out to the bitter end when she had a
disagreement with someone. I said that life was too short to hold a grudge and
that I wanted to spend my energy elsewhere. I wanted to always follow the
directive of Jesus to treat others as I would want to be treated.

Now, I have been told that I can be sweet with a little hurricane mixed in. If I
disagree with you, you are going to know it. But we can “discuss” it, get through it
with love, kindness, and forgiveness for each other. Then, after that is done, can
we not just get back to enjoying each other’s company?

Why do we find it so hard to make authentic clean connections with other
believers?

Why do we desire God’s grace for ourselves, but refuse to give a little
grace to others?

Don’t expect Non-Believers to Behave in a Godly Manner

I am writing this during the Christmas season, and my husband and I will not be
getting together with family this Christmas, mainly because family is far away, in a
different province or state, all facing Covid19 restrictions, or frankly, because
some of them are holding a grudge, and will until the bitter end.

In the past, I have often expected non-Christian unbelievers to act and think like a
believer would act and think. God has recently shown me that I can only expect
other believers to think and act in godly ways. I have no right to expect the same
of non-believers, as the Holy Spirit does not live in them, or guide them in their
daily lives. If they want to hold a grudge because they were lied to and believe
that lie over the truth, then I can only pray for them, and forgive them if they hurt
me.

Followers of Jesus Should Act Differently

However, I must make very sure that I, a Jesus follower, a Woman of the Way, am treating others exactly as Jesus would have me treat them. So that means not holding a grudge, especially not against a fellow believer. Not stewing in my anger, my hurt or disappointment. If it is only my feelings that have been hurt, we can get over ourselves, and quickly forgive someone else having a bad day.

Biblical Guidance When You Have a Grievance

Give them the same grace we would want ourselves. (Ephesians 4:26)

Also, not listening to gossip or talking about it over and over with other people, as that never helps the situation. (2 Timothy 2:23-25)

Galatians 3:11-13 says we are all different, but we all have equal worth in God’s eyes. The passage goes on to say,

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and
dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness,
and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a
grievance against someone.”

Sounds to me like we should not hold a grudge.

So, What Does a Grudge Really Mean?

A grudge is really just a refusal to forgive someone who has wronged you.
Forgiveness doesn’t depend on the other person apologizing or saying they are sorry. It means we consciously let go of the feelings we have in the pit of our stomachs whenever that person walks into the room. And we pray for that person
instead. (Mark 11:25)

In situations where the person who hurt you hasn’t apologized or even acknowledged she hurt you, you can choose to show her compassion and kindness. (Colossians 3:12-13)

If you’ve done everything you can to restore that relationship, and yet the other person is unwilling to give up her grudge, remember Jesus tells us plainly that our Father’s forgiveness of us will mirror our forgiveness of others. (Luke 14:2)

If that fellow believer who hurt you continues to engage in hurtful behavior, you
should certainly follow Biblical directions for dealing with sinful behavior within the community of believers.

In serious cases of hurt between believers, Matthew 18:15-17 tells us

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge
may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to
listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church,
let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Don’t Wait. Forgive Now.

That sister in Jesus might be your neighbor in Heaven, so it is a good idea to forgive that person now and continue to act in loving kindness from here on, with a desire to have a harmonious relationship.

In short, life is too precious to spend it gnashing your teeth at someone else’s bad behavior, or if they have “hurt our feelings” especially considering that a grudge often hurts you more than the person you’re holding it against.

Switch your focus to Jesus’ peace, restoration, and forgiveness and you will release yourself from the cage that holding a grudge puts you in. Especially during this season of celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Merry Christmas.

~Reno

Ruth “Reno” Anderson is a Canadian author of Bible studies and women’s adventure novels (partly because she has had a few of her own). Reno, (BTh, MDiv) loves to travel, has visited over 40 countries, and lived in the USA, Canada, and Zambia. She is married to The Faster Pastor, and they live in a small town in western Canada where her husband is Lead Pastor, and Reno teaches Bible studies. She is one of Jesus’ Fierce Everyday Warriors.

She has written a new book entitled “She is Not Different” with co-author, Alexis Brown, about building relationships with people who are different from you. Sounds like they are building Unity in the Body of Christ!

You can check out all of Reno’s cool stuff with these links:

She is Not Different

Caverns of the Heart

F.I.E.R.C.E.

Moxie

Facebook

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Christmas can be a difficult time of year for lots of people. Grieving the loss of loved ones, family conflicts, depression, anxiety, and financial hardships pile up on an already busy, hectic, and stressful time of year. For many, it can seem like everything is ok on outside while it feels very dark and lonely on the inside.

That’s where the final week of Advent can really help us through the Christmas season. Today, we celebrate Joy!

Joy gives us the strength to keep going.

The cares of this world suck the life right out of us. The worries of life weigh us down. But, the joy of the Lord gives us strength!

Psalm 30:11-12 says “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”

We all know that if we are mourning, we’ve got no strength for dancing. I’m just too tired! But God promises to turn our mourning into not just dancing, but joyful dancing. That means, He gives us the strength to dance!

As we look back over the weeks of Advent, we see how the gifts of Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy sustain us through our day to day existence. We look back at Jesus’ first coming and wonder at the marvelous miracle of it all. As a result, we are filled with Hope, Peace, Love and Joy so that we can keep going as we wait for the Second Coming!

Hope keeps us eagerly waiting for eternity. Peace keeps us walking steadily in this unpredictable world. Love is the driving force that fuels our purpose. And, Joy gives us strength to keep going.

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Just as the angel proclaimed to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people”, may you be filled with Joy as we share in celebrating the Good News together today!

~Amy

You can still keep meditating on Advent, even though Christmas is here! If you need a devotional to help, sign up for “A Season of Advent” here! 

Make Room for God’s Ultimate Revelation

Throughout history, countless stories, poems, songs, plays, and books have been created to depict the human experience of love. As the greatest of all feelings and emotions, we have this strong desire to express how deeply and how powerfully we are affected by love.

Of all the characteristics attributed to God: faithful, powerful, glorious, merciful, all knowing, good, beautiful, and on and on, there is no other characteristic more essential to describe God than Love.

close up of heart shape
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

God is love.

He is, at His essence, Love. He doesn’t merely exhibit love to us or show us love or share His love. He is Love.

God’s highest purpose is to show us how much He loves us. He longs to communicate just how deep His love is for us. Throughout Scripture, God describes His Love for us through a variety of ways. He reveals Himself to us through relationships that we can understand from a human point of view and experience:

God’s love is like a Father waiting for His prodigal son Luke 15

God’s love is like a Mother hen gathering chicks- Matt 23

God’s love is like a Husband knowing his wife- Eph 5:32

God’s love is like a Lover in the Song of Solomon

God’s love is like a Rejected Spouse in Hosea

God’s love is like Shepherd finding sheep- Matt 18:12

God’s love is like a best friend- John 15:15

God’s love is like a Kinsmen Redeemer as in the book of Ruth

God’s love is like a Groom waiting for his bride in Matt 9

The possibilities are endless of how God reveals Himself in order for us to understand how much He loves us. There are no lengths He won’t go to communicate His love for us.

God’s ultimate revelation of Love.

The ultimate revelation of God’s love came through the advent of Jesus becoming human, as one of us, to reveal Himself to us. Then, He sacrificed Himself for us so that we could be restored back to a righteous status with God

In John 4:9-10 it says, God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

No song, no story could ever be enough to fully express the height, depth, and width of how much God loves us. The expanse of His Love reaches to the heavens and beyond.

As we light the candle of Love, this third week of Advent reminds us of the overwhelming love God has for each of us and to remember that God’s pure, passionate love was why He sent us a Savior.

GodisLove

As we prepare our hearts for Christmas, we look forward to the time when we are in His Presence for all eternity and Love is made complete! Make room in your heart for God’s ultimate revelation of Love!

~Amy

Still catching up on all the Advent readings? Read them here: Prepare the Way,  HOPE, and PEACE

Want some more Advent devotionals? Sign up for A Season of Advent here!

Be At Peace

Last week, we discussed the gift of Hope as we lit our first Advent candle. This week, we discover the gift of Peace.

In John 14:27, Jesus said to His disciples, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Why would Jesus feel the need to give them Peace?

Because Jesus knew what was coming. He knew what He was about to endure in the coming days – suffering and death. He also knew what His followers would endure in the coming months and years as the Church was being formed. And yet, He didn’t just tell them, “it will going to be ok,” or that there wouldn’t be any trouble. Instead, He said, “In the midst of all that is happening, I give you my peace. No matter what circumstance you may face, my peace is with you.

In the beginning of John 14, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled”. In other words- Don’t worry, I’ve already got all your bases covered. Then, he began to give them these assurances:

I am preparing a place for you, and I will come back for you.

You may not know where I am going, but you know the way to get there . I am the Way to get there. In other words, there is more to life than simply what’s going on right now. What’s going on right now is temporary. There’s so much more! You can’t even begin to imagine how good it is going to be. So, be at Peace.

He also said, I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

As Christianity would develop and form over the next several centuries, there would be false doctrines and teachers who would attempt to warp the very identity of Jesus by saying that He wasn’t really God, or that He wasn’t really human. However, the disciples could remember back to Jesus’ words and be confident that He was both God and man. He was who He said He was. So, be at Peace.

Then, He told them, “You will do greater works.”

In other words, Jesus said, “You’ve seen me do some wonderful things. But after I go away, you are going to do even more amazing things. Just wait till you see what I can accomplish through you.  Your life here has purpose and meaning as you glorify my name and accomplish my will. So, be at Peace.

Then He said “The Spirit of Truth will be in you.”

After I leave You will have an Advocate, a Counselor, who will show you all things and teach you in all things. You won’t be doing this alone. The Comforter will help you. So, be at Peace.

You see, Jesus didn’t try to take away the trouble they would go through. He didn’t tell them it was going to be easy. But, He gave them His peace so they could walk in it, knowing that in the end, all things will be made right. Through these assurances, they were able to walk in His Peace because they could rest in the fact that His peace would carry through them through every circumstance.

PresencePeace

In Isaiah 26:3, We read this promise, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

No matter what circumstance you are going through, no matter what trials you face, no matter what task God has called you to carry out, He is faithful to keep you walking in peace as you stay focused on Him. this kind of peace can only be found through faith in Jesus Christ. Only He can give you this kind of everlasting Peace.

And so, through this Advent celebration, as we are waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, our King, Let us not be worried. Let us not be afraid.

Instead, let us be at Peace. Amen.

~Amy

If you would like an additional Advent devotional to deepen your walk this season, sign up here!

Eagerly Waiting for HOPE

During Advent, we remember the first coming of Christ while we are faithfully waiting for the second coming of Christ. In chapter 2 of the Gospel of Luke, we read about two living examples of faithful waiting  – Simeon and Anna.

 At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him 26 and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, 28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,

29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. 35 As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

36 Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four.[a] She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.38 She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Luke 2:25-38

In Luke 2:25-38, Simeon and Anna were eagerly waiting to see Israel’s Messiah. Their eager waiting was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ.

Simeon was righteous and devout as he lived his life for God. He waited for the promise given by the Holy Spirit that he would one day see the Messiah. His relationship with God, and his faith that God would keep his promise kept his hope alive all those years until finally he saw it with his own eyes.

Anna lost her husband after only 7 years of marriage. She probably could have remarried, but she didn’t. She spent the rest of her life praying and worshipping at the temple. She pursued God with a fierce dedication. As soon as she saw the child, she knew the promised Messiah had come. She told everyone who had been expectantly waiting for the Messiah about the child as she declared this hope. Surely, God had kept his promise.

simeon

Simeon walked so closely with God that he was promised to see the Messiah. Anna walked so closely with God that when she recognized the Messiah, she told everyone about him so they could have hope too. They had waited all their long lives to see God’s promise fulfilled- salvation. In the end, It was their faith in God’s promise that sustained them during those long years of waiting which fueled their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting. And in turn, their faithfulness, worship, prayer, and fasting fueled their faith as they waited.

While we are waiting for Christ to return, the season of Advent reminds us to be hopeful.

Hope comes from something more than just wishing for the best. “If I just keep hoping, everything’s going to work out fine.” No, rather Hope is connected to our faith as we eagerly wait.

We should not ask “what are we hoping for?” but rather “WHO is our hope?” Jesus is our Hope.

J.I. Packer says “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity– hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.”

Just as Jesus fulfilled the promise of His first coming. We can have hope in the promise of His second coming. While we are waiting, we can be like Simeon and Anna living a life dedicated to walking with God in prayer and in worship. This kind of life fuels our faith to keep believing, to keep hope alive, like Simeon and Anna, until we see the Messiah with our own eyes.

What are you waiting for?

Fuel your faith to keep eagerly waiting through you prayer, worship, and faithfulness!

To help you along in your journey, sign up for this Advent Devotional here!

~Amy

WoW Voices: Experiencing Unity in Singleness

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming Felicia Riner, Special Education teacher and Huntington’s Disease advocate, as she shares her voice on Unity.

Unity in the Body of Christ seen from Singleness

There almost seems to be irony in using the words “unity” and “singleness” in the same phrase. Unity means being together or one with someone or something. It is the opposite of being divided. Unity is a word for togetherness or oneness.  Whereas, singleness means sole, solitary, or only one. To be single, may be referred to or interpreted as being alone, isolated, or separated from others.

Can Unity and Singleness Complement Each Other?

We as Christians are called by God’s word to be united, but yet, as singles, we so often feel alone.

Singleness comes in many forms:

(1)Singles who have never married. This would include individuals who are in a committed relationship or those not currently in a relationship.

(2) Singles who are divorced either by their choice or the choice of their former mate. This includes singles who are mourning their singleness as well as those who are embracing singleness.

(3) The overwhelmed/resentful single who is saddened by being alone or emotionally distraught from the ending of their last relationship. Those who are still struggling to see others happy in their relationships. 

(4) The content single who is perfectly satisfied with being single and is flourishing without being in a relationship.

(5) The widow/widower  who is single and struggling with the loss of their loved one and has found themselves alone after years of being in a committed relationship. 

God is Working Out His Purpose In You

Regardless of your reason or season of singleness, God is growing something in and through you during this time in your life.

These seasons can affect us personally, but they can also affect the body of Christ corporately.  God could be doing a major purifying work, or it could be a season of new beginnings, or the enemy could be really attacking people in a certain area. The Lord created different seasons in our lives to shape us, help us deal, and create us into who He intended us to be. 

Singles have a Big part to play in the Body of Christ

We as christians are called to be united with one another.  We are called to unity as the Body of Christ. We all have gifts and talents that can be used for the edification of Christ and His kingdom. We are called to be Christ-like to come together in one accord. Romans 12: 4-5 says,

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Galatians 3:27-28 speaks to our unity in Christ. It states

“For all of  you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

This is not a unity without diversity but the kind of unity Christ prays for is a unity in spite of our great diversity.

God’s Desire for Diversity

According to the bible (Romans, 12, Ephesians 4, and Corinthians 12), individuals are given spiritual gifts in the following areas: Administration/Ruling, Apostleship/Pioneering, Discernment, Encouraging/Exhorting, Evangelism, Faith, Giving, Hospitality, Knowledge, Leadership, Pastor/shepherding, Prophesy/Perceiving, Teaching, Serving/Ministry, Showing Mercy and Wisdom. This God-given array of gifts shows his desire for diversity. It is our baptism in Christ mentioned in Galatians 3:27-28 that unites us not our differences.

Single or Not- Christ is Our Main Focus 

Our relationship with Christ is the most important relationship we can enter into, and it is the one relationship that should be our main focus.

1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

I urge you all to search out your position in the body of Christ.

Where do your gifts and talents edify the kingdom?

Use your time of singleness as an opportunity to learn what pleases the Lord and devote your attention to Him. Striving always for unity as shared in Romans 15:5 – 6,

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

~Felicia

Felicia Fanning Riner, is a single mother of 2 grown sons – Greg Riner and Keith Riner. She has over 20 years of experience working with children and adults with exceptional abilities.  Currently employed as a Special Education Teacher and a certified Work Based Learning-Transition Coordinator for Lincoln County Schools. Felicia currently serves on the Deaf Ministry team at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Hazel Green, AL. She is a member of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America- Tennessee Chapter Board and has chaired the annual Cruisin’ For A Cure For Huntington’s Disease car show in Lincoln County since 2016. In 2019, she organized Singles Out Serving – SOS, a group for single women (single, divorced or widowed) that focuses on fellowship and serving others based on 1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”  

Facebook- @SingleOutServing @CruisinForACureForHuntingtonsDisease

For more info about Huntington’s Disease visit –www.hdsa.org

3 Kingdom Principles to Live by During a Pandemic….or Anytime Really.

How do you respond when tragedy strikes?

How do you live when the routines of life have been turned on its head?

The way we respond during times of hardship really exposes the cracks in our foundation, does it not?

Conditions around us have all been shaken…..home life, worship, education, jobs, shopping, the basics of everyday life….it’s ALL been affected by this world wide shut down. All the world’s sickness and suffering have never been more real to us than now.

With many of our lives on pause, you may be asking “What is God’s will for my life?”

You may be feeling like you are walking in the wilderness.

How are you responding to all this upheaval?

Consider this- The way in which you respond and your resulting behavior are tell tale indicators of what you actually believe. What has come out of you during this time? Fear, panic, worry? Even if these peace stealers slip out in small, little ways, they can have a big impact in our lives.

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What can we do?

Yes, we pray. Yes, we seek God. Yes, we look to Scripture to guide us.

Here’s something else to consider- We also need to put action to our faith in order to live it out in real, productive ways. If we say “Jesus is Lord of my life”, but then our actions prove otherwise (such as trusting in the news or our bank accounts or panic purchasing), then what we say we believe isn’t being manifest in our lives. Our behavior isn’t lining up with our beliefs.

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Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Admittedly, living this way is often harder than it looks. Knowing it and doing it are often two separate things. More times than not, it takes an act of the will to engage our faith and choose to respond in a different way other than a familiar default mode.

What has been your default mode to life changes in the last couple of months?

How have you responded to the strict and sometimes severe circumstances since all this started?

Really…… ask yourself. What worries or fears have crept up around you?

Ok, I’ll ask it another way.

What extreme or excessive behaviors have you found yourself exhibiting?

Whatever your *fill-in-the-blank* behaviors are, ask yourself an honest question- What am I really saying about my life or believing about God when I act this way?

What did you find? Are you even conscious of it? What could you do to live life more in faith than in fear?

Here are some Kingdom principles that have helped me in the last several weeks.

Live with an open hand-

When I clench something in my fist, trying with all my might not to let it go, I don’t want to give it up or lose it. I am not willing to give it away. The problem with that is I also can’t receive anything either. If I live with a clenched fist, I don’t trust the fact that God can fill my hand again if I freely release what’s there. As a result, I am not able to give or receive.

Instead, If I live with an open hand, I can give away or release what I have in order to allow God the opportunity to fill it up again. What I give away becomes a blessing, and what I receive becomes an even bigger blessing!

I found myself clenching the shredded cheese recently.

sliced cheese on brown table top
Photo by NastyaSensei on Pexels.com

My girls eat a lot of cheese by putting way too much of it on their food. I found myself scolding them saying “you can’t use that much, we have to make it last”. What I discovered beneath my scolding was a fear that we won’t have enough, and we might not be able to get more. In the process of clenching the cheese, I was too hard with my girls. Living with an open hand means I won’t fuss or scold so they will use less (but come on, girls, use a little less cheese, ok?). Rather, I will trust that if all the cheese gets used up, God will provide more.

Bless it and give thanks-

Even before the pandemic started, I found myself thinking about all the stuff our kids will need over the next 5 years. We will have 4 kids in high school all at the same time. Three of the 4 are girls….girls are expensive! I found myself worrying about how were we going to pay for it all.

The very next Sunday, my pastor spoke about how Jesus fed the 5,000. Jesus didn’t worry. He took what He had, He blessed it and gave thanks for it. Then, the miracle followed- there was enough to go around plus more than plenty left over. That’s true for us as well. Instead of worrying about what you don’t have, thank God for what you do have. He can multiply it and make it go farther because of your thankful attitude. This was huge for me. So, I’m trying to practice this every time I go shopping or pay bills or whatever. When I’m grateful for what I have, it far outweighs what I think I don’t have.

If the Lord wills it-

Everybody’s plans have fallen through this spring. Everything that was scheduled has been canceled or put on hold. This made me realize how much I take for granted when it comes to the plans I make for my family and me. Here’s the verse the God brought to mind-

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. James 4:13-16

When I allow room in my schedule for the Lord to take the lead, then I trust more in His sovereignty and control. I can more readily live at peace with the plans He has for me. When I don’t let the Lord take the lead, my actions reveal how I really think I’m in charge. This pride and faulty thinking exposes my boasting which James said is just plain evil.

God is showing me that I may have plans, but He’s the One who really directs my path. I may have doubts as to how my life will unfold, but He’s the One who has everything under control. So, as I schedule the plans, I will also say “If the Lord wills”……

All of this boils down to trust.

photo of child reading holy bible
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Do you trust God?

Living out these Kingdom principles stretches and exercises your faith in trusting God. When worry and fear creep up, it exposes the areas where we’re not trusting Him. In what ways, even in the smallest of ways (ehem….uh….cheese:} ), can you practice these Kingdom principles?

Living with an open hand

Blessing and giving thanks for what’s in your hand

Letting God lead by declaring ‘if the Lord wills it’?

Your faith will be stronger for it which will serve you as a passionate, devoted follower of Christ even after this pandemic passes.

I’d love to hear how you practice these Kingdom Principles in your life! Do you have any others?

Leave me a message on the WoW Tn Facebook page!

~Amy

 

Remembering Believers Suffering*REAL*Persecution

When Nothing Good Spills Out

I am so surprised at how easily and over the silliest things I can turn into a grumbling complainer spewing discontent and criticizing everything around me that doesn’t go my way. I feel so “burdened” with having to be at work early or the can opener isn’t working right or the dryer is giving me fits. Heaven forbid…..I get behind a slow driver who can’t drive in the rain! Some days, it seems like the least little thing can bump me and nothing good spills out.

I feel so persecuted (insert whiney tone)…….But then, I am set straight by remembering this special day for Christians all over the world……

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

True Suffering

When I read the stories and watch the videos on the IDOP website, I hear just a drop of the true suffering going on in the world.

Suffering for the name of Christ.

True persecution for bringing Light into darkness and Hope into hopeless situations.

Persecution of Christians all over the world is real and it’s growing.

holding a glowing earth globe in his hands

Shaken Loose

Suddenly, I am shaken loose of my self-induced delusion that I have it so tough. I realize that my present “troubles” are nothing compared to the life-threatening, dyer situations of many around me and especially of those around the world.

God, help me to be thankful in every circumstance. Help me to lift up believers, both near and far. Help me to care for the Body of Christ rather than just looking out for myself. Amen

In light of all the tragedy going on around us, what can we do?

Pray-

Spend some time praying for Christians around the world. Yes, today. And, all month. Check out these resources for IDOP.

Unify-

We can become more unified as the Body of Christ locally and across the globe. If you want some ideas on how you can accomplish this, I’ve got some resources for you! Sign up for “How to be More Interdenominational” and other good stuff here.

Contribute-

Consider how can you donate to an organization that serves persecuted Christians or a missionary serving abroad. Does your church support a missions organization? You may not be called to go, but you can contribute to the mission! Again, check out IDOP has specific ways you can support Christians suffering persecution.

When one part of the Body hurts, we all hurt.

When my mild inconveniences are put in perspective of the real persecution going on the in world, I’m reminded to consider the brothers and sisters suffering for the name of Christ.

Please spend some time today and all month long praying for persecuted Christians around the world!

~Amy

WoW Voices: Unity in a Christ-based Inter-Denominational Ministry by Amanda Curtis

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming missionary, Amanda Curtis, director of the Crossroads Pregnancy Center, as she shares her voice on Unity.

Unity in a Christ-based Inter-Denominational Ministry

I’ve been asked what it’s like to lead Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic, a faith-based ministry that is purposefully and strategically inter-denominational.

How is it possible to do so with one voice? With unity?

Unlikely Heroes Carry Out His Work

All through scripture we find God uses men and women who are sometimes very unlikely characters to carry out His work. A shepherd boy (David) defeats the mighty Goliath, a prostitute (Rahab) shelters spies leading to the fall of Jericho, and a religious terrorist turned missionary (Paul) spreads the Gospel to the Gentiles. The Bible is full of unlikely heroes allowing us to envision how we too may insert ourselves into kingdom-work. If God can use _ (insert unlikely hero here)_ then surely he can use me!

There is a common thread that unites these heroes – each was introduced, albeit in unique ways, to the God of the universe. Then they put their faith into action and became part of a bigger story regardless of their imperfections.

Isn’t that what we should all want? To be used by God for His glory?

This was my mantra in 2017 and Matthew West’s song “Broken Things” became my battle song. Why am I telling you this? So what went down in my life in 2017?

God Asking for More than a Bumper Sticker

I was climbing the corporate ladder at Boeing in the missile defense industry. Then God placed a calling on my heart for women and babies. I had always been pro-woman and pro-life but in 2017 God asked more of me
than just a bumper sticker on my car. I walked away from my career to start Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic. Thanks to my corporate experience, I had learned the value of diversity.

Just as variety is the spice of life, diversity is key to organizational success.

Having been in corporate America for 15 years, I observed first-hand how diversity fosters an environment where people tend to be more creative, diligent, and hard-working. It is invaluable to have folks of different minds, walks of life, and backgrounds to come together for a common purpose. Each person brings something unique and fresh to the table – different perspectives on topics and different approaches for solutions.

Determined to be Diverse

So, when I surrendered to God’s call on my life to start a pregnancy help center, I was resolved to have diversity among the board, staff and volunteers with a focus on casting a wide net to draw in people from varying denominations. Diversity in a Christ-based nonprofit is interesting and critical to achieve.

Uniting under a Common Code

At Crossroads, all board members, staff and volunteers unite under a “Statement of Faith” and “Code of Christian Conduct” in order to carry out the mission of Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic which is:

To empower individuals within our community to make healthy life choices
consistent with the sanctity of human life; provide pregnancy confirmation and support; offer parenting education; and guide those with pregnancy loss to a place of healing.

Under these standards and agreements, we have built an inter-denomination team who has had great success in less than two years of operation. We are the fastest growing pregnancy help center in Tennessee with 99% of our clients choosing life for their babies!

Our focus is laser sharp

We begin by intentionally creating a safe space for women
and men to feel accepted and loved. Because they are. We believe deeply that every person who comes to our center has been “fearfully and wonderfully made” for a purpose on purpose.

Deeper Discussions

It is through the relationships that are formed that we are able to have deep discussions with our clients – discussions about parenting, abortion, and adoption. Even better, we are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus to share the gospel with them.

Setting Aside Differences for One Common Goal

Through corporate evangelism training, we set our denominational differences aside for the sake of one common goal – to point everyone to Christ who comes through our doors. As we grow, my prayer is that God brings in even more diversity.

Unity like a Beautiful Garden

I believe His children are like flowers in a garden. How boring would it be to only see peonies? Or just roses? Or only wisteria? But my, oh my, how I love to see a beautiful English garden spilling over with all of these beautiful flowers! I imagine our Father loves to see His children working together in unity – putting aside doctrinal differences for the ultimate goal of Kingdom work.

God Brings it All Together

It has been my life’s honor and privilege to acknowledge God’s call on my life and watch what He does every day at Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic through our staff and volunteers. When I reflect on how God used my corporate background to develop the framework for an inter-denominational ministry, I can’t help but smile. He has allowed me, a very unlikely person, to be part of something huge right here in my community! We have such a great team all united under Christ.

There are some days that I can’t believe this is what I get to do with my life here on earth!

~Amanda

Amanda Curtis has been the Director of Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic in Fayetteville, Tn since 2017.

Contact her at

amanda@cpregclinic.org

http://www.crossroadspregnancyclinic.org

facebook.com/crossroadspregclinic

If you would like to volunteer or donate to Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic, please contact Amanda to contribute to the vital ministry in our community!!

My Coat of Many Colors

I have a coat of many colors. Not a Joseph kind of coat, but more like a Dolly Parton-patch-work-quilt kind of coat. This coat has been stitched together through many years of experience adding patch by patch of various styles, patterns, and textures.

I didn’t make my coat of many colors……it made me. Through years and years, as each patch has been added, it formed me and shaped me and my life would be impacted by each little part.

My coat – this glorious, rich mish-mash of vibrant colors, is my church history, or rather, my spiritual formation…….my interdenominationalism, if you please.

Throughout my life, I have been a part of several different denominations. I have known the expressive excitement of a charismatic service and the intense spiritual warfare of a Pentecostal service. I have understood grace from the Southern Baptist church.  And I have learned the deep respect for the elements of communion in the Episcopal Church, just to name a few.

There’s been one common thread through this patchwork journey. I didn’t really see it as it was happening. But, I can look back and realize that God has been faithfully knitting my coat of many colors to form me into His image, to teach me and grow me into the person He desires me to be.

Coat of Many Colors
Coat of Many Colors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, sometimes I wish my coat was made of one complete fabric, uniform in texture, style and color. A fashion statement. I wish I could have a long-standing history at one place, one congregation. It would be easier, and so much more comfortable, to slide into a well-worn, familiar coat. Instead, the patches of my coat have been pieced together in an unpredictable way. And, I’ve never gotten used to my heart breaking over one patch ending and the uncertainty of another patch beginning.

Oh, but I wouldn’t trade a thing for the lessons or the journey of how this coat has shaped me…and continues still even now.

And the people…. oh, the people! For each church in which I have worshipped, there have been pastors, mentors, and kindred spirits who have blessed and enriched my life. They are like threads of gold and silver woven into the fabric of my being. So many precious friends have been like beautiful buttons or beads carefully sewn into the patches to adorn my coat to make it not just valuable but priceless. I can’t imagine my life without all these brothers and sisters I have met along the way.

My coat of many colors isn’t finished. I don’t if it ever will be. I don’t know what the final product will look like. But I do know that I can trust the Master Weaver to knit and weave with wisdom and beauty until I am complete. Just like Dolly’s coat was made with maternal love, my coat is made with Eternal Love.

I cherish my coat of many colors my Father made for me.

~Amy

Walking in Your Priestly Ministry Even If It Feels Small

Do you feel your ministry is too small?

No matter how big and influential or how specific and unique your ministry is, it’s all equal in importance from God’s perspective.

There’s this idea that developed during the Reformation called “the priesthood of the believer” which declared that all believers are considered as priests.

In 1 Peter chapter 2 it states:

Verse 5: And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 

Verse 9: But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

The Book of Hebrews goes in a lot of detail explaining why all believers are considered to be priests based on Christ being the High Priest for us all. If you want a good commentary on this concept, you can check out what Dr. Art Lindsley has to say here. Also, look at what Dr Elmer Towns has to say here.

Who has special status?

We might be tempted to think that being a priest brings with it such special status and only special people can obtain that status. This idea was certainly true in the Old Testament where there were lots of rules and regulations about the roles and duties of a priest. Even now, we may elevate the status of a pastor or priest thinking  they have more direct access to God or are especially holy more than mere common folk.

priest holding the bride and groom
Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Pexels.com

True, our pastors and priests should be treated with love and respect. However, in light of every believer possessing a priestly ministry, your ministry is equally important to God as any pastor or priest from Franklin Graham to Pope Francis.

Your Ministry Matters

We might be tempted to think that the ministry we do is so small and insignificant, that it’s not really all that important. But the truth is your ministry is just as important to God, no matter how individual and specific and even unseen, as the pastor of a large church or well known ministry.

In quantity, your ministry may reach a few people or just one special person. Your ministry may or may not be noticed by a lot of people or talked about a whole lot or get lots of social media attention.

In quality, however, your ministry matters as much to God as anyone else who ministers to hundreds or thousands. Why is that?

Why does the ministry to the few make as much Kingdom impact as the ministry to the many?

Now, I haven’t read this in any commentaries, but this is just my good ol’ common sense. Any ministry is of equal importance to God when that ministry brings glory to God. It’s the glorification of God that gives a ministry impact. It’s the glorification of God that determines its effectiveness. When God is glorified, then a ministry has fulfilled its purpose. If you minister to one person and God is glorified, then your priestly ministry is equal, qualitatively, to a person who leads a world wide ministry which also brings glory to God.

Amazing, right?

From that skyscraper point of view, all ministry is equal in God’s eyes!

ministrymatters

Here’s where I want to encourage you:

Every kind act, every children’s Sunday School lesson, every prayer with a friend, every sermon spoken from the pulpit, every book or blog written…all of it is important to God.

God sees every act of ministry on His behalf.

Every single time you act with love and mercy, you are performing your duties as a priest.

Every time you do the thing you are made to do, God is glorified. The purpose of all ministry and the measurement of success of that ministry is God’s Glory!

So, I want to personally invite you to an amazing event that will help have more joy and more impact in your ministry!

Womeninsmallchurches2020

Join me for the Women is Small Churches Conference

Amy

 I’m speaking at the Women in Small Churches Conference hosted by the Creative Little Church happening October 16-17. I’ll be talking about Ministry Planning 101 and Worship: Creative Ideas and Solutions, and you’re invited! Get all the details and grab your free ticket with my affiliate link here!

~Amy

A Modern Psalm

We all need a little pick-me-up, right?

We all need a little something that’s going to charge us up and get us going each day, right?

Sometimes, we need to shake things up a bit in our routines to get us focused back on center. A re-calibration. A reboot.

Join me in a WoW Challenge:

A Month of Psalms!

PsalmChallenge

During the month of October, I challenge you to read 5 Psalms per day and get your heart, mind and spirit focused on our Sovereign God! When you do, it will help you remember that God is in control. He understands how you feel. You’ll be charged up with weapons of praise and thanksgiving!

Here are some ways that you can use the Psalms as you read 5 per day:

Meditate on the Psalms:

Thinking on the ideas, the words, the phrases and letting the images and concepts soak deeply into your mind and spirit. It’s a wonderful way to take your thoughts captive and have the mind of Christ!

Read the Psalms aloud:

If the power of life and death is in the tongue, declare what you are reading in Psalms out loud! God will be honored, and the enemy can’t stand it. Declaring Scripture is an amazing way to use God’s word as your weapon against the enemy!

Express your emotions:

Whether it’s the highest elation or the depths 0f despair, the Psalms contains the rawest of human emotions.

When you feel like you are surrounded by enemies…

When you feel like you can’t go on…

when you feel life can’t any worse…

the Psalms will help you express your honest emotions to God.

You will feel loved and supported when you read over and over “His faithful love endures forever!”

Create your own Psalms:

When you read the entire book of Psalms in a month, you will feel so inspired that you’ll want to create your own expression of how God’s been good to you!

The beauty of being made in God’s image is that we have the ability to be creative just like our Father. So what is it that you are feeling? Write your own Psalm about it!

I’m sure you’ve notice, the book of Psalms contains lots of contributors. They weren’t written by just one person.  So, write your own!

Get Recharged! Get Inspired!

Join me during the month of October reading 5 Psalms per day. Just 5!

Soaking in Scripture every day will help you feel strengthen and focused. On those rough days, you’ll feel like God understands you deepest worries and concerns. The praises will lift you above your circumstances and help you remember that God is sovereign!

Read 5 per day and join me at the WoW Facebook group as we discuss your favorite, most meaningful Psalms!

In the meantime…..here’s my attempt at writing my own Psalm! Share with me your own Psalm as well!

Praise the Lord for a new day full of restored strength and fresh mercy- His Love endures forever!

Give thanks to Him for hugs and kisses and cuddles- His Love endures forever!

For His hand of protection and answered prayer- His Love endures forever!

When family never fails and friends keep you going- His Love endures forever!

He causes spring to bring the flowers, summer to bring the tomatoes, and fall to bring the crisp air- His Love endures forever!

When my soul is dry and my mind is weary- His refreshing Love endures forever!

Even though the appliances die and the truck needs new tires- His providing Love endures forever!

For the longings of my heart that cannot be uttered out loud- His overwhelming Love endures forever!

When I run out of best intentions and they holler “momma!” for the 1000th time- His patient Love endures forever!

His Spirit fills again and His Word speaks again- His incredible Love endures forever!

When I’m soaring high or sinking way down low, His faithful Love endures forever!

No matter how I feel or what may come my way, His complete Love will never let me down and will never, ever end!!!

All glory, honor, and praise be to the King of kings and Lord of lords!

His bountiful, satisfying, perfect Love. Endures. Forever!!!!!!!!

~Amy

WoW Voices: Unity on University Campus by Elizabeth Chaplin

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming missionary, Elizabeth Chaplin, as she shares her voice on Unity.

Seizing the Opportunity to be The Church

Each February, over 22,000 university students flock to the beautiful city of Dunedin, New Zealand to attend the University of Otago. The school year begins with what is called O-Week, which is a week of partying as hard as you possibly can. All week, students are drunk or high, staggering from their flats to the bars and clubs. Broken bottles cover the streets, music blares, and general debauchery ensues. Yes, this is what the party culture looks like in Dunedin for the entire year, but during O-Week, the students party unlike any other week of the year. 

A Living Example of the Gospel

In response, each year, most of the churches of Dunedin gather on the university campus at what is called the Combined Christian Group tent to hand out water and sausages (think hotdogs). From early in the morning until 2 or 3 am, the collective church shows up to meet the university students where they are in order to serve them how they need: with food and water, a place to rest and be safe, and a living example of the Gospel that we also try to verbally share.

Before each O-week, there are inevitable discussions within each church’s leadership teams on the effectiveness of serving alongside vastly different churches, but each year, each church concludes that we are all part of the larger Church and we are more God honoring together. 

Loving People Where They Are

I work in university ministry, so alongside my staff team, I have had the privilege of serving at the CCG tent for 3 years. I love the thought that goes into setting up the tent and creating spaces to cultivate conversations and an enjoyable place to hang out.

I love getting to hang up church posters and set up resources that will present the students that we meet with so many options of getting connected to a church.

I love praying with my team and students that we will be able to make connections with lost students and serve the university in a way that honors God while also meeting its needs.

I love getting to meet new students and welcome them to Dunedin, help them feel comfortable and like they have a place to belong, introduce them to potential new friends, and help them see that the church is there to glorify a worthy God by loving them well.

The Beauty of Diversity

I love getting to chat with my students and staff team about the differences in the way churches operate and point them to the central truths of the Gospel and remind them of the unity that we have in Christ.

Lastly, I love to do all of this alongside other Christians that I do not see every Sunday at church.

I love knowing that so many different worship styles, methods of presenting the Gospel, interests, and burdens from the Lord are represented because together, we can connect with so many more people than we could alone!

How Can Unity Thrive in the Midst of Differences?

Believe me when I say that the CCG tent is a combination of some very different churches with vastly different beliefs. It can make me nervous to think that maybe something that I do not think is Biblical might be shared with a student.

However, I strive to remember the Biblical truth that God is sovereign. He is mighty to save, and He delights in His glory being made known.

So in response to Who God is, I can confidently unify with my brothers and sisters of different denominations on a small scale, not to stifle them or spend my time keeping an eye on them, but to serve the lost students alongside them with the purpose of making known the glory of our God, Who has commanded us to bring about large scale unity in Him by “making disciples of all the nations”.

Continuing the Work In a New Way

I recently moved back to the United States, so I will not be directly participating in the CCG tent in 2021. While I am so, so sad about this, it highlights the beauty of unity in the work of the Lord.

Because the CCG tent consists of many churches working together to glorify God, the ebb and flow of different teams will not affect the overall mission.

I can leave with confidence knowing that in 2021 and all the years after, for as long as the Lord deems good, Christians will show up to love the students of the University of Otago and point them to their Creator Who is the greatest Unifier of all! 

~Elizabeth

Elizabeth in New Zealand!

Elizabeth Chaplin came to Christ while attending university, so she has a passion for glorifying God by sharing the gospel with university students and discipling and equipping those who know Him. She has served with an interdenominational university ministry called Campus Outreach for 6 years, 3 of which were spent in Dunedin, New Zealand. She recently returned to the US and will continue to work in a developmental role with Campus Outreach in order to send staff to a growing number of international locations. Since moving back to the US, Elizabeth needs to increase her financial partnerships, and would love for you to consider partnering with her financially to keep evangelising, discipling, and equipping university students around the world! 

If you or your church want to financially partner with Elizabeth to continue her mission, email her at elizabeth.chaplin@campusoutreach.org

Getting Better at Ministry Planning

Guess what y’all?? I’m going to be sharing about how to plan a whole year of ministry at this online event- check it out here!

Want a sneak peak of my session?

Check out my latest post with the Creative Little Church and learn how to go from ‘flying by the seat of our pants’ to ‘ahead of the game’ in one day for your church or ministry!

Imagine it’s four weeks away from the most important church holiday of the whole year, Easter. The leadership team sits around the table, and someone says “What are we going to do for Easter?”

Great discussion and great ideas abound. Plans are finalized, and a flurry of work happens to get it all done. Easter was great, but it was exhausting.

Then, the team takes a quick breath while rushing to the next activity that has to be scheduled, planned, and executed. Whew!

Sound familiar?

Read more here….

How Football can teach you about Ministry

Show of hands…….Who else loves football season??

I’m not a huge sports fan, but I do love football.  The excitement, the intensity, the cool weather, the band….the win!!! I love it!

I grew up with a dad who particularly loved (and still does) a certain Crimson team with a rich history of tradition and winning. I remember waiting in the kitchen with my pom poms, and when there was a touchdown, I would run into the den to cheer!

I’m married a man who is equally passionate about our beloved team as my daddy. I always said the only thing those 2 had in common were football and me:) So,we pretty much plan our Saturdays around game time.

Football and Ministry have a lot in common

Here lately, I’ve been thinking about the training football players receive and what it takes to make successful teams and win games.  The same ideas could help us in life and in our ministries……

Play a full 60 minutes

Football players are taught to give 100% for the FULL 60 minutes of the game.They don’t give up when there’s still another quarter left or even just a couple of minutes.  I can start to coast after lunch, or on Thursday afternoons, be tempted to call it a week. However, I know that’s not my best. I should give my best for the full day or week or task until it is complete….despite the outcome!

Prepare for the Game

Football teams don’t start preparing for the game on the day of the game. They start way back in the spring exercising and strength conditioning. Likewise, if we are serving, giving, teaching, singing, preaching..anything, don’t wait to the last minute to prepare. There have been so many times I waited til the last minute to get ready. Even though things may have gone ok, I knew in my heart it could have been better if I had prepared more. Even if it’s just praying and getting my heart focused, any preparation for ministry makes the outcome more effective.

Play your position

The quarterback can’t pass the ball and catch the ball and block the other players. He can only play his position. If he tries to play all the positions, he won’t be able to properly play any of them. Also, if he’s too busy watching or comparing what his other teammates are doing, he’s not going to play at his best. Same with us. If I’m comparing my ministry to someone else’s or jealous of someone else’s success, it takes me away from playing effectively in my part of the game.

Stay focused on the goal

Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on why we are doing what we do. We get tired and pour ourselves out until we are empty. If we aren’t seeing a lot of results, we can get wore down and wonder if we’re gaining any ground or earning any points. Sometimes, making it to the final score seems too far away, so we keep our eyes on just making it to the next 10 yards to get the 1st down. Don’t ever forget….we aren’t playing for just a national championship (although that is very nice), we are playing for the eternal prize, the Kingdom Championship…..where every tear will be wiped away and we’ll be face to face with Him!

There’s no “I ” in Team

Everybody loves a football player who humbly acknowledges how the team won the game together- not a single showboat hogging the limelight. Same with us. Whether it’s your team of volunteers or music team at your local church or its the Body of Christ, the Church universal, we are ALL on the same team and should have the same goal in mind. Each and every individual is important to God. He sees you and wants the best for you. But, we’re always better when we support and encourage each other. We set each other up for success!

football.ministry

Play your Best Game Everyday

As I’ve thought about how to act more like a winning team, I also think about where I’m playing my game. I don’t just need to do my best in church ministry or when people are looking. My best game needs to be in all areas of my life….work….home….grocery shopping……with activities I enjoy but even more so with activities that I don’t enjoy. I need to bring my A game during sacred ministry (singing, teaching) as well as ordinary ministry (laundry, dishes). It’s easy to feel like winning when I’m doing stuff I love. Where I really need to crack down and play for 60, prepare, stay focused on the goal, play my position, and stay with the team is when I’m doing the stuff I don’t really like so much. That’s where God gets the most honor and where my acts of service and worship are more authentic and real.

Everybody loves to cheer for a winning team. Your team may or may not make it to a championship game. But, if we claim Jesus as our Head Coach, then we are on the Kingdom Team!!! No matter what position, no matter what mission is your playing field, play like a Champion Christian!!

Roll Tide!!!

~Amy

Being Righteous over Being Right

We are living in volatile times. An understatement for sure.

Everyone has an opinion, a perspective, a point of view. We stake a claim on a particular belief, stab our flag into position, and stand our ground. We’re not budging.

When I read various posts on social media regarding politics, culture or spiritual stuff, and I disagree with them, I get so mad and frustrated. I want to tell them off and put them in their place. I want them to know what’s right and how they are wrong. I know I’m not the only one.

My heart gets to racing, I pound my fist, I shake my finger at the computer screen. I fuss to those around me…”Can you believe what they wrote?” Occasionally, I type a reply. That’ll show’em.

When my attitude gets like this towards people with whom I disagree, it really undermines Unity. I get easily distracted from “Who unites us, NOT What divides us”.

Being right over being righteous will mess me up every time.

Why do I get so mad?? It’s not so much I get mad at them….well, sometimes…maybe a lot of the time. So, digging a little deeper, I discover I’m not really mad at the people per say. Rather, I get mad at the lies and the deception they seem to uphold. I believe there’s a better way. Deep down, I really want righteousness.

At the heart of this, I want the truth to be told. I want “conformity to God’s own being including His standard of rightness and His will” , I want them to know the error of their ways, to do better, to believe better.

I know WHAT I believe and strongly think what I have to say is right…but often HOW I feel and act towards people is very misguided. My desire to put them in their place is wrong. My heart for righteousness and truth and tearing down deception is sincere, but my lack of love is very un-Christ-like.

More Christ, Less Me

Love must be my guiding light while declaring truth. I’ve got to love the people while hating the lies. I’ve got to love who they are while exposing the deception of their beliefs.

It’s very easy to get the 2 mixed up.

 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

I love what Alisa Childers says in her podcast, “We tear down thoughts and ideas but not people.”

Truth and Love go Hand in Hand

We are called to confront the false arguments and faulty thinking while loving the person. We are commissioned to destroy every proud obstacle, while remembering the goal is for people to know God. We speak the truth, but we do it with love.

Being righteous over being right

This is the way of Christ.

The next time I get ready to share an article or peck out a response, I need to stop and ask myself, “Am I responding with truth AND with love?”

What has been your experience with sharing truth in love?

Continue the conversation in the WoW Facebook group here!

~Amy

WoW Voices: Is Unity Possible by Vanessa Holmon

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming Rev. Vanessa Holmon as she shares her voice on Unity.

Unity is a hot topic!

WOW! A discussion about unity is definitely a current hot topic and much needed.

When we look around, we see the chasm of our disconnectedness, both physically and
emotionally, growing greater and greater. How do we stand unified when adversity, circumstances, and situations coalesce to tear us apart?

What does unity in the body of Christ look like?

Does it mean we each have to dress alike, walk alike, speak alike, read the same version of the Bible, listen to the same music and never deviate from those “norms?”

Is that the definition of Christian unity?

Thank God, the answer to the question is a resounding NO!

We are One Body with Many Parts!

Vast Diversity for Singular Glory!

In 1st Corinthians 12, Paul covers this topic. He tells us that, yes, we are one in the body of Christ but the body is made up of many members with diverse gifts. God, in His infinite wisdom, created each of us from our mother’s womb with a unique purpose and destiny. Just as God created each snowflake with its own one-of-a-kind pattern, he also endowed each person with their own unique DNA and fingerprints. He then blessed us with different talents and gifts that are to be used in our service to Him. Not everyone is called to be a soloist in the choir or a preacher in the pulpit; consequently, there is also a need for someone to serve in administration and someone to be the parking lot attendant, or usher.

I like the way Rev. Dimetra Barrios sums it up: “Bringing together our vast diversities for the singular glory of God.”

When the “Sistahs” Work Together

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is found in the Old Testament in Numbers 27. In that chapter, we find the story of Zelophehad’s daughters. Zelophehad had passed away and didn’t have any sons to inherit, only girls who legally could not inherit. So, what’s a girl to do in the face of being left in dire circumstances? Well, you have to take drastic steps to rectify the situation. And so, the daughters of Zelophehad’s united together, probably putting aside sibling rivalry and squabbling, and went into action.

These five sisters (in my mind, I call them “sistahs”) were brave, courageous, and stepped out on faith. Yes, these sisters were united by blood but together they faced a patriarchal society, economic distress, and misogyny. They weren’t even allowed to enter the Tabernacle, they had to stand by the door to make their request to Moses and the priest, Eleazar. They asked to inherit their father’s estate—something unheard of at the time. And God blessed them and told Moses to change the law in Israel and grant these sisters, standing together in unity, their request.

Standing Together in  Unity

Get More done Together

When we stand together in unity with one mind and one heart, miracles can and will happen. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:12 in the New Living Translation, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

So, the question is why is being unified so hard?

Why do we allow our differences to become so magnified that they become obstacles, hurdles, and stumbling blocks on our Christian journey? After all, aren’t our differences good things?

Dr. Jabez Burns states: “Sin in its chief essential element is discord. It divides, separates, confuses, and distresses. How do we stand unified when it seems as if our differences are far greater that our commonality?

 

Unity is found in the Trinity!

Our best example of unity in the Bible is the Holy Trinity (even though the word is not
found in the Bible). We serve a triune God—God, the Father; Jesus, the only begotten son; and the Holy Spirit.

In the very beginning, we see all three present. Genesis 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Then in John 1:1, and 14, “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

Unity IS Possible!

Is unity possible with all of our differences magnified?

Yes, the answer can be found in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We can’t do it on our own, and we have to work on it daily.

As Laura Mayer told us, we have to surrender all to Him. In other words, let go and let God.
We have to remember that although Jesus loved ME enough to die on that old rugged cross over two thousand years ago; He also love OTHERS enough to die for them also. We are all part of the blood-bought family of God.

Prayer for Unity
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank You for Your goodness, mercy, and grace surrounding us daily. We praise you
for who You are and all that You have done in our lives. Lord, help us to see others through
your eyes realizing we all are created in your image. May your sweet Holy Spirit, residing in each of us, enable us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Help us to love each other in spite of our differences. May your love unite us and bind us together.

In the mighty name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

~Vanessa

Do you want to share your WoW Voice on Unity in the Body of Christ?

Email Amy at womenofthewaytn@gmail.com

VanessaHolmon  Rev. Holmon is an ordained itinerant deacon in the AME Church. Currently, she is serving as the proud Pastor of both St. John AME Church in Mulberry, TN and Suggs Chapel AME Church in Dellrose, TN.

She is a graduate of Motlow State Community College and Athens State University.
She was employed for 29 years with the Federal Government, holding a variety of positions before her retirement as a senior program analyst from the Dept of Defense.

In addition, Rev. Holmon serves as secretary of her district’s Women in Ministry;
secretary for the Fayetteville-Pulaski District; in weekly jail ministry at Lincoln County Jail, as a teacher of a weekly community bible study at St. Paul AME Church, and as a
coordinator for women’s conferences. She has spoken at a variety of conferences, churches, and banquets.

In August 2014, Rev. Holmon underwent an unexpected personal health crisis that
changed her life. But throughout the whole process, she has come to realized that “His Grace is Sufficient.”

Join her each Sunday at 11:00 a.m., on her Facebook page for a weekly sermon.
You can contact Rev. Holmon via her Facebook page: Vanessa Holmon

Encouraging Other Churches to Host an Interdenominational Series

We’ve been doing this Women of the Way thing for several years now. The encouragement, that relationships, and the Unity are amazing!

It’s high time we inspire others to host their own events!

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Here’s a simple ‘how-to’ plan that I shared over at the Creative Little Church.

Have you ever considered the wild possibility of what could happen when women from different churches and denominations gather together?…..read more here!

 

WoW Voices: Unity Looks a Lot Like Surrender by Laura Mayer

As Women of the Way, we seek Unity in the Body as we focus on Who unites us rather than What divides us.

We are One Body with many parts. We are One Church with many voices.

Join me in welcoming Laura Mayer as she shares her voice on Unity.

Unity Looks a lot Like Surrender

Prayers of Surrender

“Father, what is Your heart? How do you view what our world is experiencing right now?”
“Lord, send revival. Help your Church to be effective in reaching the lost.”
“God, I know you love all your children. It breaks my heart to see the division and hatred spewing from the offended hearts of Your own.”

The above phrases are all prayers I’ve prayed over the past several months. Our world feels as though it’s spinning out of control and centrifugal force is pulling people apart. It reminds me of the old-fashioned merry-go-rounds on playgrounds. Do you remember how fun it was to try to spin them as fast as you could- maybe enough to throw your friends off? Or how tight you had to hang on the metal bars so your friends didn’t throw you off?

Life is like a Merry-go-round

Merry-go-rounds were one of my favorite things.

I remember when I finally figured out the closer I stayed to center, the less pull I felt and the less effort I had to spend in order to hang on. The opposite was also true. The further from center I went, and the closer to the edges I got, the harder it was to hang on. And sadly, centrifugal force often won.

I feel as though that picture of the merry-go-round is indicative of the Body of Christ right now.

Staying“center” isn’t meant to point to a certain political position or views on mask mandates, no, it refers to keeping Christ the focus and center of everything we do.

This includes our conversations,social media posts, and secret motives of our hearts. This includes our beliefs and bias, assumptions of others and making idols of our own doctrines for doctrines sake.

Keeping our eyes on Jesus

Staying in the center means keeping our eyes on Jesus, and our hearts postured to hear His voice in our hearts because our hearts aren’t cluttered with all
the other messages swirling around.
I’ve spent much time searching my own heart over the past few months, and I find myself continually asking the Lord to search my heart, and uproot any unclean thing in me.

Why?

Because more than anything I want to be productive for the Kingdom of God, and I’m willing to lay down anything that would hinder that.
I believe with all my heart that we are at the threshold of revival like we’ve never seen before. People have cried out, for years, for God to heal our land, and the world is so hungry for what’s real and authentic. But this revival will require the Body of Christ to actually BE the Body of Christ- working together as brothers and sisters and will require us living and loving like Jesus. This revival will require unity.

Revival will require Unity

Unity in the body of Christ?

It’s a topic we’ve heard over and over, and one we nod our heads to and give
an “amen” to when our preacher shares the message. We verbally agree with phrases like “We’re all one Body with many parts,” or “God created all men equal,” or “How beautiful it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”

But we sit in our pews with a sense of division looming in our hearts…we don’t feel
connected. We seem to be prone to first see what’s different about the other person rather than what’s the same.

Does unity require us to all be the same, look the same, sound the same, or align our different denominational beliefs the exact same? Goodness, if that’s the case will we ever achieve the unity the Bible speaks about? After all, it seems impossible to find two members of the exact same congregation who believe the exact same on every subject much less the entire Body of Christ.

No, I believe unity is much deeper than that.

Unity comes, not when we focus on the external, but when we focus on the eternal and unite under the same purpose. I believe that purpose boils down to this-

To share Jesus with the world!

The Apostle Paul stated it in the most profound yet simple way when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:2,
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”

Unity summed up in one statement

His words sum up our mission, as the Body of Christ, completely.

Paul had much he could have said or explained or debated. But all of that took a backseat to the main truth that his mission was to simply preach that Jesus came to save mankind.

What else could compare?

The Lord has really challenged me to lay down anything I previously identified with at the foot of the cross. No other identity matters because no other identity can supply my life, or this world, with what is needed. Being male or female, black or white (or any beautiful shade in between), Republican, Democrat, or Independent, Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, or Pentecostal- none of these things get to be higher in my life than Jesus and my identity in Him.

So you see, true unity looks a lot like surrender.

It’s laying down our own agendas to that of the Gospel.

Unity is a surrender of all the other titles we wear, and laying them at the foot of the Cross, so that together we can preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified to save the world!

~Laura

Do you want to share your WoW Voice on Unity in the Body of Christ?

Email Amy at womenofthewaytn@gmail.com

Laura Promo Photo  Laura is the founder of Laura Mayer Ministries where she ministers through speaking engagements, women’s conferences, written blog articles, social media posts, and most recently through her own weekly podcast.

In additions to leading her own ministry, Laura is the Client Development Director at Crossroads Pregnancy Clinic and is the Co-Founder and Director of Clothe Our Kids.

Laura and her husband Bryan live in Fayetteville, TN where they raise their 3 daughters; Annalea, Sarah, and Claire.

You can connect with Laura here:

The Laura Mayer Podcast- available on all your favorite podcast listening apps

Instagram- laurarmayer
YouTube- Laura Mayer

Think You’re Too Busy for Sabbath Rest? Think Again.

I’m so excited to be contributing to the Creative Little Church. Read About the CLC here!

Here’s my first post on Sabbath Rest.

3 Things I Gained from Stopping for Sabbath Rest

by Amy Satterfield

Around 2013, we left the church we were attending. It was messy and painful. You know what I mean.

In my pain, I saw a book that jumped out at me Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazerro.

Aha! I thought … this is what those people need. I’m going to read it to find out how messed up they are!

Wouldn’t you know it, it wasn’t for them at all. It was for me!

Read more here…….

Seek Christ

So many people are living in difficult and painful situations.
So much unrest and upheaval in such a short period of time.
So many changes and so much weirdness.

There are so many voices and so many opinions out there right now, I don’t want to add to the clutter or the noise.
I”ve been quietly seeking the Lord for what to say. How to encourage.

The answer was there all along in my own WoW tagline….Who Unites Us, Not What Divides Us.
Here’s what that means to me:
Seek Christ. All of us need to seek Christ.
Whenever we get our eyes off of Him, we get off course.

No matter what you have experienced in the last 6 months, seek Christ.
No matter your medical, political, religious, financial, historical, or whatever else persuasion, We. Must. Seek. Christ.

IWillSeekYou

There’s a line in the book of common prayer that says “we have not loved You with our whole hearts.”
When that happens, we always are lead off course.

Seek Christ.
Individually, for ourselves.
Corporately, with each other.
United, for each other.

As Women of the Way, that means I will be committed to encouraging you to become “passionate, devoted followers of Christ” and to build Unity in the Body of Christ as we focus on Who unites us, not What divides us!

When we all seek Christ, He will reveal in each of us how He desires us to become more like Him.
For some, that will mean repentance.
For some, that will mean healing.
For some, that will mean forgiveness

For all, that will mean a greater love and unity as we are becoming the Body of Christ.

However He responds to you, follow Him and obey.

I encourage you to read 1 & 2 Peter. It’s amazing how those letters address issues we are dealing with today. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what’s God saying to you.
Would you like to join me in an online study of 1 & 2 Peter? Join the Women of the Way TN as we start this study next Sunday night!
Reply to this email and tell me how you are seeking God and what He says to you.
Let me know if you want to study together!

~Amy

Who Unites Us, not What Divides Us

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1

Easier said than done, right?

There’s plenty going on in the world right now to keep us from Unity.

Differences and dividing lines seem so much wider than ever before.

It’s always been there, but, we’re feeling it deeper than ever before.

Lines drawn in the sand feel more like fences keeping us apart.

person wearing black digital watch
Photo by Erik Mclean on Pexels.com

How can we be The Body of Christ when so many of His parts remain separate and divided?

How can we dwell in unity?

I don’t propose to know the answer. I know it’s bigger and more complicated than I can understand. Even still….here is my offering.

Sit in it together

One of the meanings of “dwell” in the verse above is to sit in it together.

I think of Job sitting in ashes, broken, empty, covered with sores. His friends come and sit with him for 7 days without saying a word. They just sit. Sitting together, in it.

Isn’t that what we want? Someone to recognize what we’re going through? To stay with us?

We dwell together by sitting in it together. We share our struggles and our experiences not by always fixing it. We may not know how to fix it. There may not be anything we can do to fix it. But, we can sit with each other in it. We can listen. We can pray. We can seek God together. We can say “I hear you” “I see you”. We can give and receive the gift of forgiveness.

We celebrate the ways we are different while we sit together in our differences.

Unity does not come, however, from just sitting together in our differences. Unity arises from something much deeper, much more.

Unity develops when we are held together by One Purpose.

Unity is not conformity

Unity grows from not being the same. If we were all the same, we would be conformed to each other. There would be no need for unity. There’s no way we should be or can be conformed to each other. If we all looked the same or acted the same, so much would be missing. So much would not get done. And it would be so boring!

The only thing we should be conformed to is the image of Christ! It’s amazing how we can be conformed to Jesus while He still allows us to be specially and uniquely designed and equipped to live out our purpose in Him. But, we can’t be conformed to each other.

Then, how does Unity develop?

Unity develops when we work towards the same goal, the same purpose. We are called to live out the same vision, but we all execute it differently. Each part is different. Each part performs a different function and reflects a different aspect of Christ, but it all has the same purpose.

You see it everywhere. In sports. In ecosystsms. In music. In factories. In families. Every aspect of life, each individual part contributes to the purpose of the whole.

All parts of the same body. Different in function. Same in purpose. A Team.

It’s how we belong to each other.

WhoUnitesUs

Who unites us, not What divides us.

It’s not the ways we are different that hold us together, rather, it’s the One who holds the universe together who keeps us in unity.

The One holds us together through His Divine purpose.

His purpose is to be glorified in all the world! His purpose is to bring everyone in all creation to Him. His purpose is for Christ to be magnified in all of us. When we focus on God’s purpose, that’s how we stay in unity.

bodyofChrist
Women of the Way 2013

It pleases Him when we sit together, each different by design, held together by one purpose. He finds it good and pleasing, and He commands blessing to flow in such unity.

How can we sit together and dwell with each other in our differences?

How can we function each in our own uniquely designed way while we continue to keep focused on One purpose?

How is God leading you to dwell in unity?

~Amy

The Gift of Forgiveness

I’ve been given a great gift!

A friend of mine gave me this gift, and I didn’t even know it until recently.

My friend gave me the gift of forgiveness when I had been hurtful to him many years ago. This forgiveness has been so thoroughly given, he didn’t even need to talk about when he first started back to church.

But then, change happens.

While changes are often never easy, they can bring to light things that need to be said. During changes in responsibilities and positions at church, my friend was sad about these changes. This friend said, “It took me a long time to forgive you for what happened years ago, and that’s how I was able to come back to church, and now I don’t want things to change”.

When my friend told me this, I knew exactly what he meant. Tears flowing, I apologized for things I should have said long ago, “I’m sorry for the way I acted and for what I’ve said. You gave me a great gift by forgiving me even when I didn’t know it!”

I was deeply humbled.

happy women hugging
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

I had been given a freedom I didn’t even realize I needed.

Freedom feels like living with a tight knot in your back for so long, you don’t even recognize the tension anymore. Then, when someone massages it away, you realize just how long you’d been unnecessarily living with it. The freedom of the newly relaxed muscle is glorious! You feel so light.

His gift of forgiveness was like that relaxed muscle. It made me feel so good, I wanted to share it with others.

The Holy Spirit had been nudging me to contact some other people to say words that needed to be said. For months, I kept putting it off.

But when my friend extended this gift of forgiveness and the resulting freedom, it gave me something else- the boldness to request this gift from others!

Not worried about what they would think or how uncomfortable I would feel, I contacted them to say the things that needed to be said.

One of those friends said, “I forgave and prayed away a long time ago!”

Another gift! More freedom!

Unpacking this more. there’s the gift of receiving forgiveness, and then there’s the gift of giving forgiveness.

 “Lord, who do I need to forgive?” A few people come to mind.

Receiving forgiveness also helps you to forgive others. When you give forgiveness, the other person doesn’t even have to know. When you do, it helps you to not just let it go, but rather to entrust it to God! You are also giving yourself the gift of freedom when you forgive. 

give.receive.forgiveness

Sometimes, you receive the gift of forgiveness.

Sometimes, you request the gift of forgiveness.

Sometimes, you give the gift of forgiveness.

There is freedom in all of it!

How has this gift worked in your life?

How can you use this gift in our current days?

We have many opportunities around us.

I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment here. Share it on the WoW Facebook page. Or, email me your story! womenofthewaytn@gmail.com

~Amy

 

 

Stop Trying to ‘Let it Go’

I wonder if Moses had a hard time letting it go.

As he stood on Mount Nebo on top of Pisgah Peak (Deuteronomy 34:1), Moses saw the land God promised to the people of Israel. He saw the land, but he could not enter it. After leading the Hebrews of out Egypt in a great and mighty Exodus, and after leading the people through the desert for 40 years, Moses’ season as leader was over.

Moses himself experienced a great journey from baby in a basket to prince of Egypt to shepherd in exile to facilitator of plagues and separator of waters. Moses changed and grew as a leader from skeptical and insecure to experienced judge and mediator between God and the people.

When his season of leadership was ending, God, in His wisdom, allowed Moses to transition his leadership role to his successor, Joshua (Deuteronomy 31). In a ceremony of transfer in power, God instructed Moses to write one last song to share with the people while He commissioned Joshua to lead the people into the promised land.

Still…after all Moses experienced,

after all he had learned and endured,

after all he had witnessed….

I still can’t help but wonder if Moses had a hard time letting it go.

Moses isn’t the only one who’s experience letting go of one season to embrace another.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair
Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

When you’re on the outside looking in, it’s easy enough to say “Let It Go”! (You’re singing the song in your head right now!)

People say all the time “Just let go, and let God”.

But, letting go is not easy. In fact, letting go is really hard.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to “let it go”?

Because from our human point of view, letting go feels really scary.

When we have to change, stop, or release something, letting go can feel unresolved, untethered, floating away, free falling, walking away, leaving it behind or giving up.

‘Letting it go’ feels like we’re saying…

There’s nothing I can do.

It’s out of my hands.

I have no say in the matter.

I am not in control.

flight sky people high
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Instead, God asks us to change our perspective from letting go to entrusting to Him.

When we are entrusting something to God, we are taking an active role in a season of change. It means we are actively placing it in God’s hands. We are giving the situation to Him to take care of on our behalf. We are trusting Him to be in control and to work for us as our Sovereign.

Like when Jesus died on the cross, He said “into Thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus just didn’t ‘let it go’, rather, He entrusted His very spirit into the care of God.

Entrusting feels like….

I am giving God control and trusting in God’s timing.

I will take responsibility by handing it over to Someone who can do something about it.

I will forgive.

I will move on to something greater.

monochrome photo of people holding hands
Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

Entrusting to God says “I give this to You.” “I am cooperating with You in this season of change.” “I don’t like this, but I’m trusting You to handle it.”

Are you facing a season of change?

Are you experiencing a difficult situation?

Stop trying to let it go.

Instead, entrust your situation…..the very thing He’s asking you to give up or change….entrust it to God. Place it in His loving hands.

As Moses took a last look over the valley of the promised land, in his one last act of obedience, he died, just as God said he would. And just like Jesus, he entrusted his very life into the loving hands of God.

And God didn’t disappoint either because the loving Care Taker buried Moses Himself. When Moses entrusted his life to God, He didn’t let Moses down. In fact, He had something much bigger and more eternal than the earthly dust of the promised land than even Moses could ever imagine.

Even in death, Moses’ story was not over, but that’s another lesson for another day.

LetitGo

Open your tightly closed fist. Live with an open hand. Stop trying to “let it go”.

When you do, God can be trusted that when He asks you to change something or move or stop something or try something new, He doesn’t ask you to blindly ‘let it go’.

He asks you to entrust it to Him. 

He is so very faithful.

~Amy

Keeping Your Silver and Gold

As we get back to worship gatherings, family functions, and community events, we’re so excited to get together with our favorite people!

Who’s the first person you’re going to meet up with?

In this time of separation, we’ve really felt how much we need our people!

friends

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.  A circle’s round it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

Life is not about the stuff you accumulate or how much money you make. It’s not about your achievements or the letters behind your name.  It’s not about what you drive or your net worth.

Life is about Silver and Gold. It’s about friends, old and new. Those precious relationships mined out of life’s ins and outs. The people we meet that make our lives richer.

I’ve been keenly aware of the silver and gold in my own life: A day at the pool,  sending that selfie from a dressing room ‘does this dress work?’, catching up on the phone, stopping by the office for a quick hug, planning a meet-up on Facebook, attending a difficult life changing event, inviting some over for a party, staying over for dinner, sharing revelations, and studying Truth. All of it precious. All of them Silver and Gold.

We can’t make it without friends. We need that wide circle of friends to cheer for us and have fun. We need that tight circle of confidants to tell us, “Girl, you’d better put that down!” We need that one kindred spirit to whisper those secrets of the heart. We need to nourish these relationships because we draw so much nourishment from them.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

I love it that I get sharpened by my Silver and Gold. Keeps me humble. Gets me loved. Lets me grow.

So, let’s do something fun!

EncouragementChallenge

Would you join me in the WoW Encouragement Challenge?

Call, text, or video chat someone. Write a note or send a card. Post something on Facebook. Whatever you can think of, and then, share it on the Women of the Way TN page. Show me what you’re doing to encourage someone.

And….don’t just encourage the friends you would normally talk to anyway. No! Find friends, relatives, and co-workers that you don’t see often or rarely talk to them. Get creative! Don’t spend any money (unless you just want to). Just be thoughtful and encouraging!

We’re doing this challenge for the rest of May!

Don’ forget, though, to let new people in your circle. Lots of people don’t have a circle, and we need to let them in ours. Find ways to be someone’s cheerleader.

Cherish your silver and gold. Encourage the people who are your silver and gold.

Join me in the WoW Encouragement Challenge here!

~Amy

 

On the Outside of the Circle

She sat across the table from me. She didn’t say a word.

We were a bunch of women who  attended a workshop together, so the hotel restaurant seated us at one table. Some ladies knew each other and chatted away about this and that. Most of us were strangers. I knew a couple of ladies on my left and spoke to them occasionally, but mostly, I watched the others around me.

I watched to see if any of the other ladies would strike up a conversation with the woman seated across from me.  I thought that maybe I should talk to her. But, I was stubborn. I was grumpy for being at this particular restaurant. I had wanted to go someplace else, but for the sake of the group, I went with what they wanted. I selfishly thought “I always talk first, let somebody else talk, why doesn’t someone talk to me??” (Yes, there was a little pity party going in my head) So, I sat there, ate my chicken, and observed.

She waited for her food, ate her hamburger in silence, and left.

I was saddened that no one around that table said a word to this woman. She wasn’t included in any of their conversations. Then again, I was guilty too. I didn’t say a word to her either:/

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Why is it we stay in our groups and keep to ourselves? Why is it so hard to widen our circles just a bit to include someone sitting just on the outside? Why is it we sit at the table and just talk to the people we know? At work? At a restaurant? At church??

Maybe some of you are better at it than I. Maybe you don’t let these opportunities walk away like I did. Maybe I’m a little sensitive to this subject.

Oh I know…some of us are shyer than others, and some of us are more outgoing. I have to admit that it’s hard for me to open up with a new person until I feel comfortable with her.

But, I’ve been on the other side too. I’ve sat on the outside waiting for someone to talk to me. I’ve been the newcomer awkwardly hoping to get in on the conversation.

It’s not enjoyable. So, maybe that’s why I notice it.

outside

So, I’m trying to be better. I am trying to include the newbie, notice the one off to herself, and reach out to make that connection. I’m not going to let a woman walk away without saying something to her anymore.

I’m trying to be a Cheerleader.

It doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m trying. I’m trying to be better because relationships, friendships and connections are the silver and gold, the real stuff that matters. Eternal.

As life is getting back to normal and the quarantine if over, we’re going to be delighted to meet up with friends and get with our besties and join our favorite small groups.

But, what are we going to do to include those on the outside of the circle?

We need to get to know the ones on the fringes. We need to include the ones who don’t have a place or don’t how to jump in with us!

So, let’s do something  fun!

Would you join me in the WoW Encouragement Challenge?

Call, text, or video chat someone. Write a note or send a card. Post something on Facebook. Whatever you can think of, and then, share it on the Women of the Way TN page. Show me what you’re doing to encourage someone.

And….don’t just encourage the friends you would normally talk to anyway. No! Find friends, relatives, and co-workers that you don’t see often or rarely talk to them. Get creative! Don’t spend any money (unless you just want to). Just be thoughtful and encouraging!

We’re doing this challenge for the rest of May!

EncouragementChallenge

As life is getting back to normal and the quarantine if over, we’re going to be delighted to meet up with friends and get with our besties and join our favorite small groups.

But, what are we going to do to include those on the outside of the circle?

We need to get to know the ones on the fringes. We need to include the ones who don’t have a place or don’t how to jump in with us!

Let’s just don’t get back to normal. Let’s set a new normal where we make sure everyone feels connected and included!

Join  me for the Wow Encouragement Challenge! Share your encouragement on the WoW Facebook page!

~Amy

 

Encouragement- Be a Cheerleader!

Summer break is getting start early! WhooHoo!!

Now, if the weather and COVID-19 will only cooperate, the kids and I can get going on our favorite summer activity….SWIMMING!

We swim for fun every summer, but a few years ago, we tried our first attempt at an organized sport. I unconsciously (or maybe consciously) picked the swim team because I was on the swim team when I was a kid. Coincidently, my kiddos are starting at the same age as I did- the summer after 4th grade.

While they were swimming, I cheered for them to keep going, kick hard, and use their arms.

Almost immediately, I had a flashback to my 10 year old summer…..

Learning to swim wasn’t the easiest thing for me. I was NOT athletic. I was an ‘indoor girl’, you see, so, swimming 50 yards was a big challenge. I had to touch the floor of the pool many times, gasping, struggling to keep going just to make it to the other end. Even in the struggle, she knew I needed this. In my little world in which most things came easy, she knew I needed to learn how to work hard at something.

The thing I remember most clearly in my flashback was my mother cheering for me.

During those meets, in the honorable mention lane, I would hear her yelling and cheering for me all the way down the pool, “You can do it! Keep going!” Every. Single. Week.

I wasn’t winning any races, that’s for sure. It took a few more summers until I could actually swim well enough to earn some real ribbons. But more than anything else, I remember Momma cheering me on to the end of the race.

She’s never stopped either. She’s always been my Cheerleader.

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Women of the Way 2017 Photo credit Nancy Rutledge Photos

Throughout school, she’s cheered for better grades, piano recitals, and choir performances. She cheered for me when I got my first ‘real’ job at the shoe store. She definitely cheered when I graduated high school and college.

Her cheering took a on a different look as a I got older.

She didn’t need to clap and holler to keep me going (at least not out loud). I could always ask her to cook a dish or pick up something at the store on her way to an event. Her quiet presence and support have always spoken volumes. She’s always had my back.

These memories are what come flooding back to me now that I am at the pool cheering for my own kids. I hope I can be the cheerleader to them that she was is to me.

Attachment-1 (6)
Summer swimming 2016 photo credit Nancy Rutledge Photos

Be a Cheerleader!

Now that life is starting to open back up, we are gathering at churches, getting in our small groups, and trying to get back to connecting with each other, we need to remember what really is essential as followers of Christ.

We must continue to stop the spread of discouragement!

We’ve got to be in the business of encouraging people!

Being a cheerleader in someone else’s life is vital to keeping us, our families, and our church family healthy.

What can you do to be an encourager to the people around you?

Simple acts of kindness and thoughtful words of affirmation can do wonders to brighten someone’s day or even to keep them from circling the drain of despair.

Your encouragement is powerful!

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.            1 Thessalonians 5:11

Let’s do something fun!

EncouragementChallenge

Would you join me in the WoW Encouragement Challenge?

Call, text, or video chat someone. Write a note or send a card. Post something on Facebook. Whatever you can think of, and then, share it on the Women of the Way TN page. Show me what you’re doing to encourage someone.

And….don’t just encourage the friends you would normally talk to anyway. No! Find friends, relatives, and co-workers that you don’t see often or rarely talk to them. Get creative! Don’t spend any money (unless you just want to). Just be thoughtful and encouraging!

We’re doing this challenge for the rest of May! Join me here.

Let’s get intentional about being Cheerleaders for others.

Let’s stop the spread of discouragement!

Let’s encourage each other and build each other up!

~Amy

Fighting the Spread of Discouragement

Discouragement spreads like a virus, and we need to flatten the curve!

I don’t know about you….but, it’s easy to get infected!

Being at home has been really good for my family and me. It’s been like a sabbatical- rest, retrospection, and being reset. (I know it hasn’t been for everyone- I wish it could be!)

Even though I am enjoying this extra long staycation, there have been times I’ve felt discouragement creeping in my heart. For many, staying at home may be decreasing the spread of COVID-19, but the increase of mental health issues are on the rise.

The enemy is a specialist in attacking people with discouragement. You don’t have to breathe it or touch it, and still that old Infector can spread his disease to anyone.

All he needs is a touch of discouragement, then doubt, fear, and unbelief will spread like a pandemic!

During these stay-a- home days, the conditions are just right for discouragement to fester. Social distancing and not gathering in groups easily lend itself to this kind of spiritual infection.

adolescent adult beauty blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What are some breeding grounds for discouragement?

First of all, idleness….you know…. not staying busy, doing nothing, being lazy.

Idleness is the breeding ground for infection.

When you aren’t busy or motivated, and you just sit around, your mind is open to lies and deceit. Plus, when you aren’t productive, you don’t feel good about yourself. That’s when the negative talk and thoughts creep in to suck you down into the pit……

I’m no good. I’m lazy. I can’t anything right. That scratchy cough of discouragement is taking over.

How about isolation infecting you with discouragement?

You know how it feels being alone, not just physically alone, but also emotional and spiritual isolation can easily spread infection.

Isolation is an age old trick the Infector uses to bring people down.

Just like an animal who gets pulled away from the protection of the herd, the enemy uses isolation to make people feel lonely and disconnected. Then when you feel all alone, you are susceptible the whisper of lies. The lies catch like a fever, growing until you blazing hot with discouragement!

Have you noticed the common factor of how this virus spreads?

The enemy gets you alone and lazy and then sticks you with lies….They don’t want you…They don’t love you….They don’t care about you…..You are stuck…This will never change! 

The deception will destroy you unless you have a strong immunity!

Being intentional about how your spend your time and how you engage your spirit will help you build a strong defense against discouragement!

Try some of these ideas to keep idleness at bay:

Establish a routine or schedule

As much as we think we’d enjoy the carefree nothingness, it really makes us feel worse than better. So, set yourself a routine and stick to it. For my family, we loosen the routine on the weekends. That way, relaxing becomes a special delight that we look forward to enjoying.

Setting some goals

If I make a deal with myself that I will accomplish certain things by the end of the week, then I feel productive and useful. Setting goals helps me stay on track with my priorities. It’s not going to just happen by accident. You’ve got to be intentional to keep away from idleness. Trust me…the enemy is very intentional at trying to keep you infected with discouragement, so you’ve got to be even more determined to stay immune!

Isolation is a tough one.  When we’re trying to stay 6 feet or more away from co-workers, family, and friends, it’s hard not to have some feelings of isolation. We’ve got to figure out ways to stay connected even when we can’t touch each other.

photo of woman sitting by the table
Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

Use technology

Technology has been a huge gamechanger for staying connected. Whether it’s phone calls, video chats, snail mail, texts, visits across the yard, whatever, you must stay connected by interacting with people!

Serve others

Serving people is a great way to stay connected and keep isolation away! It’s a win-win. Help someone while building relationships and community. All the while, strengthen your immune and theirs!

Finally, do you want a vaccine against the virus of discouragement?

Saturate yourself with Truth!

Watching the news or scrolling through social media are sure-fire ways to get infected.

Reading and meditating on Scripture is the best way build encouragement in yourself and defend against discouragement. When you regularly fill yourself and soak yourself with Truth, you will prevent the disease of discouragement from spreading.

photo of child reading holy bible
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Daily doses of Scripture are a potent multivitamin. More than a UV light inside the body (HA HA), God’s Word is the Light to disinfect darkness from your soul!

Knowing that encouragement is essential to us as followers of Christ, we’ve got to flatten the curve of discouragement in ourselves and in others. Encouragement is God’s remedy.

What do you need to do fill yourself with Truth while guarding against idleness and isolation?

Who can you call, write, video chat, send a card to, or drive by?

Let’s flatten the curve of discouragement as we help each other to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ!

So, let’s do something fun!

EncouragementChallenge

Would you join me in the WoW Encouragement Challenge?

Call, text, or video chat someone. Write a note or send a card. Post something on Facebook. Whatever you can think of, and then, share it on the Women of the Way TN page. Show me what you’re doing to encourage someone.

And….don’t just encourage the friends you would normally talk to anyway. No! Find friends, relatives, and co-workers that you don’t see often or rarely talk to them. Get creative! Don’t spend any money (unless you just want to). Just be thoughtful and encouraging!

We’re doing this challenge for the rest of May! Join me here.

Join me! Let’s stop the spread of discouragement!

~Amy

 

 

Learning Not to Take Life for Granted

It all started happening like a series of dominoes falling one right after another.

School let out which is my job. Sporting events, concerts, movies, and entertainment closed. Then, businesses of all kinds shut down- restaurants, salons, clothing stores. One right after another…the dominoes just kept falling. Right along with it, fell church gatherings and worship services. Then, family gatherings were even affected. Family dinners, birthday parties, seeing loved ones…all falling, like dominoes, one right after the other.

The domino affect started at the most external parts of our lives and spiraled down to the very heart of our existence. We felt it hard.

Learning.Granted

One by one, as each thing was taken from our daily routine and experience, we began to realize just how much we take for granted. We never realized how much all those activities mean to us until we can’t have them.

It’s never been more true.

When tough stuff happens, one of the ways we try to cope with it is to figure out what life lesson there is to be learned in it. Better yet, we try to listen for that still small voice, and how He’s trying to gently (or not so gently) guide us through the tough time.

This pandemic, the resulting shut downs, and the stay at home orders have altered our lives so radically. Of course, there are huge lessons to be learned.

For me, there are many ways the Lord has been speaking like learning to live with open hand and what is essential in church. One way is how much I take life for granted. The old adage “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” has never been more true. And like most things in life, you can hear someone say it, and you nod your and agree. But you don’t really know it for yourself until you’ve experienced it.

Losing the direct connection with people has been a big domino knocked over for me. After a few weeks of not getting to see my work people, I realized how much I enjoy working with them and miss them. It only took 1 week of missing church to realize how much I enjoy gathering and worshipping each week with my congregation.

Not getting to hang out with friends has been a real bummer. My friends really feed my soul when I get to spend time with them.

The greatest loss, however, is the time missing with family and the gatherings around special occasions. Easter, birthdays, etc are just not the same when you can’t get together with your loved ones.

What has been the MOST heartbreaking for so many is the loss of loved ones when they pass away. The grieving process has really been disrupted for so many in the past several weeks.

This is the greatest of all the dominoes falling, and it hurts the most for so many. And it makes us realize just how much we take for granted. We discover the raw truth for ourselves “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”

But then, here’s the gif!. Here’s the silver lining! Here’s the joy!

We will have a second chance at appreciating all we’ve taken for granted!

When this season of separation is over, all the places and all the services, and all the people we’re missing and longing to touch, we will get to experience again!! Hurray!

Well, except for those loved ones who’ve passed away………

Sadly, There’s not anything I can say to ease the loss that so many have felt during these pandemic days when we’ve experienced so many unexpected deaths. The only comfort that begins to help is the promise that Jesus is always with us and the promise of the resurrection is true.

It reminds me of this verse:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

Even in the great loss of loved ones who’ve passed away, we have this promise that the reunion to experience in eternity will be beyond compare! If we can’t wait to see each other at church or at the Mexican restaurant, just think of how wonderful our reunion in eternity will be!!!

Let this be our hope as we learn not take life for granted here and now…….

And as we wait eagerly for heaven!

Romans8_18

So, as life begins to open up again, and we begin to build our dominoes up again. While we’ll look forward to hugging our friends, co-workers, and loved ones, I don’t ever want to forget the lesson learned here. I don’t ever want to take for granted again how much people matter in my life. I don’t ever want to lose sight of the many gifts of the wonderful people I’ve been given!

What have you taken for granted? What do you look forward to most as we start setting the dominoes of our lives back up again? I’d love to hear about it!

While you’re waiting for life to open back up, here’s a free mini course to help you trust God with your plans! Sign up here!

~Amy

 

Discovering What’s Really Essential as Followers of Christ.

There’s been a lot of talk recently on what is essential.

Which workers are essential. Which grocery items are essential. Which events are essential.

Church services have been considered non essential to reduce the number of large groups from gathering. From the outside looking in, there is much debate whether this is the case or not. Personally, I believe church services and meeting together as a community is absolutely essential, but I do recognize that we have to be smart about it in this season with so many at risk for sickness.

However, I’ve been wondering something from another perspective. While we are at home, we have been given the opportunity to examine our spirituality in relation to participating in the worship service. From within the Church, what aspects of our worship services or gatherings are essential?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s the thing- Too many times, we attend church for the wrong reasons. We go out of habit because that’s what we do on Sundays. We go because we like the worship music. We go because we like the preacher. We go because we like seeing our friends in our small group or Sunday school class. We go because it makes us feel good, or it’s the primary means we feel connected to God. These aspects of gathering are good, don’t get me wrong. But, they don’t always lend themselves to a deep, abiding relationship with God that will sustain you in difficult times.

When church services have been shut down, it forces us to miss out on the shallow reasons why we attend. Then, we’re susceptible to all the darkness desiring to devour us because our faith is built on good social gatherings but not essential, life-sustaining spirituality.

greyscale photography of woman wearing long sleeved top
Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

What is NON essential in Church?

Meeting for the wrong reasons. Attending out of obligation. Getting something out of it instead of giving to it. Propping up your relationship with God through other people’s relationship with God. Serving or leading in order to be seen or get recognition. In our feeble attempts to serve God at church, we inadvertently take the focus off glorifying God as we focus on ourselves. Shallow, limited relationships with people. Shallow, superficial intimacy with God. How do I feel in worship? How have I been seen? How can I hang out with others? These external reasons keep our focus off Jesus.

Through this ‘safe at home’ season, God is stripping away these non-essentials so that we realize just how much we falsely prop up our spirituality at church. He is using this time, as a fast of sorts, to remove us from the limelight and to get the focus off ourselves. At home, we should be discovering what really is essential in our relationship with God. As we focus on knowing Jesus, we become the Body He desires us to be.

What is essential in Church?

Here are some elements of our spirituality, I believe, are truly important and need to be strengthened during this season of not gathering.

Faith– How are you trusting in God? Has your faith’s foundation been exposed to reveal cracks in it with fear creeping up around you? What are you doing to build your faith in God? Are you praying? Reading Scripture?

Intimacy with God– How are you spending time with God? Just you and God. No other person or sermon or recorded worship service. How do YOU get alone and quiet with God?

person on a bridge near a lake
Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Encouragement– Either through a sermon, a Bible study, or from connecting with one another, we need encouragement. And, we need to encourage each other. Hopelessness and despair creep in way too easily. We can’t rely on the pastor to encourage everybody through the sermon alone. We can’t rely on the pastor to contact every single congregant to encourage each of them individually. We’ve got to figure out ways to encourage fellow believers! How are you encouraging those around you? Encouragement needs to come from all of us.

Community and relationships– Community often falls short in church gatherings because we usually are drawn towards our friends and the people we like. Or, the interaction we have with people is shallow and limited. Community naturally happens when we are working towards a common goal. Real community happens as we’re ‘doing life together’ as my pastor puts it. When we’re doing life together, we are serving, listening, loving and encouraging people. Yes, it’s hard to ‘do life together’ when we’re isolated. But, we really see how fundamental it is to our souls when it’s not available to us. We’ve got to keep building authentic community now while we’re isolated and be even more intentional about it when we’re finally back together

essentialfollowers

We can’t continue propping up our relationship with God on elements of a worship service or gathering that are self gratifying and self serving. We must strive to seek Jesus and glorify Him as the primary source and purpose of our worship services. Developing what is essential in our personal relationships with God and continuing them at our church services will make gathering more meaningful and powerful.  When we do, those other things we love about meeting will be even more effective. It will make us better Christians and better equipped at representing Christ. It will make each of us stronger individually and stronger as The Body corporately.

I can’t wait to get back to worshipping at church. I miss my people, and I miss the corporate gatherings. Until then, I’m really seeking God on what is essential in my life.

What about you? What have you found to be essential and non-essential during this time of distancing? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment!

~Amy

When you need some power to face Monday morning…..

If you are like me, the journey to Easter has been a strange one. What started out as life as usual for Lent back in February got turned upside down by this weird virus. Life as we know it stopped. Even still, continuing with the practices of contemplation and reflection during Lent, Holy Week with the honor and suffering of our Messiah, Passover, and Good Friday has helped me celebrate Easter even while safe at home. Resurrection Sunday is here even if we didn’t get to celebrate in our usual way!

It’s Monday, and we’re still in the midst of this weird world of virus. If I’m not careful, the glory of Holy Week can quickly fade to complaints and grumbles and ‘here we go again’ into the another week of confinement and social distancing..

But, Jesus didn’t raise from the dead so that we could go back to business as usual on Monday morning living the same, ol’ unchanged life.

The fact is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us.

The Resurrection isn’t just for Easter Sunday. It’s for every day!!

Did you get that?

When I stop and really meditate on this truth, I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I have to say it slowly and let the words sink in…….

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead….lives in us!

That means His Resurrection gives us the power to face Monday morning…again.

That means His Resurrection gives us the power to love the unlovable around us.

His Resurrection gives us the power to share the fruit that is evidence of His Presence in our lives- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.

His Resurrection gives us the power to bring Christ into the situation in which we’ve been called.

His Resurrection gives us power to not live in fear when faced with sickness, financial ruin, or even death!

How are you living out the power of the Resurrection and bringing Christ to the people around you?

In spite of the strange times we’re living in, how can you live out the power of the Resurrection in the midst of this chaos?

For different people that might mean different things. Some of you might be very evangelical by sharing how someone can become a Christian. For some of you, that might mean praying for those that work beside you. For some of you that might mean just a simple hug with some encouragement or serving your family.

HowcanIbringChrist

It may look like phone calls, zoom meetings or even mailing good old fashioned letters.

It’s going to look a little bit different for each of us, but the goal is still the same…

How can I bring Christ to the world today?

Sure, we are going to get tired. We aren’t going to feel like coming off that mountain high of sunrise service and face the world again. But let that same Spirit give you strength to face each day in the power of His Resurrection!!

~Amy

We Belong to Each Other

I’ve written recently on Why We Need to be More Interdenominational.

As we’re basking in the glow of another awesome Women of the Way series, now more than ever, I’m convinced we must be more about building the Kingdom of God than our own denominations. In light of all the social distancing and church service cancellations, we can’t just focus on our local congregation. We must be mindful of those who don’t belong to a church. They aren’t looking for a place to go to church. They are looking for someone to be the church! Being more concerned about building His Kingdom, then, begins with building more unity with local churches around us.

(If you know my story, you know that I am a Heinz 57 mutt of denominations…..so, I am not against denominations). So, I do believe building His Kingdom happens better when we are unified.

Roman 12:3-5 “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Sometimes, we get in our church box where it’s comfortable and familiar, and we might have the tendency to start comparing our brand of church to other churches….that’s like comparing apples to oranges. Instead we need to compare our fellowship by the faith that God has given us. Are we fulfilling the specific mission that God has called us to do?

The reason we shouldn’t compare each other’s churches is because we each have a special function and purpose within the Body of Christ. Each part has its own way of ministering to and reaching all different kinds of people. So, it’s ok for us to have our own functions and missions as long as we remember that these differences are meant to complement each other instead of divide us.

manypartsONEbody

When we realize that we are all parts of One Body, then we’re going to see that “we all belong to each other.

See, Jesus doesn’t see us as separate parts. He sees us as One Body….His Body.

With this uplifting perspective, we don’t have to compare our ministries or fellowships. We can support and cheer for each other and work together because we are all working for the common goal of building His Kingdom!

If fact, Jesus prayed that we’d all be one:

John 17: 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me”

This year, Easter is going to look a lot different than it usually does. Our regular traditions and services will be on hold. Despite that, the Church isn’t a building, and it’s not a collection of worship services. The Church is the living, breathing Body of Christ. We need to show the world that the Church is alive and well so we can point them to Jesus.

As Holy Week begins and Christians all over the world are celebrating the Passion and Resurrection of our Savior, remember:

We belong to each other!

If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are my sister and let’s be about the Father’s business building the Kingdom of God!

~Amy

PS….if you would like a study and some ideas on how you can build Unity in the Body of Christ, sign up for some *free* resources here.

 

 

Why you need to be more Interdenominational……..

Women of the Way 2020 has taken a big U-turn! We had a great first sessions (see some pictures here). Then, we tried to meet for the 2nd week but had to cancel at the last minute. Like everyone else, we’ve had to regroup. So, we ARE meeting for week 3 on Facebook Live on the WoW TN page here.

As we gather in a different form, a look back helps me remember WHY we meet together.

More than 9 years ago, this idea of women from different churches coming together has grown and blossomed into such a beautiful gathering of the Body of Christ!

Each year, I love seeing women connecting, making friends, getting to know each other. We are inspired by the messages from amazing speakers and learn about the organizations that accomplish such great work in our community.

My favorite thing though?…….Oh……my absolute favorite thing about WoW is at the end of each session. We all hold hands with each other, and we say in unison the one prayer that brings us all together.

Our Father, who art in heaven,hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom Come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who’ve trespassed against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen

It’s one of the MOST beautiful things to experience in a church setting.

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Maybe it’s just me…..but it feels like the Father is just smiling down on us. It feels like the unity of his daughters radiates such pleasure from Him!

And that’s why, I believe, you need to be more interdenominational.

Gathering with other believers brings unity, oneness, and love.

It reminds us that we are part of The Body of Christ, not just our own denomination.

It calls us to something bigger than our own little corner of the world making us more aware of how the Spirit is working all around us!

To help you be more interdenominational, I put together this free ebook  Building Unity in the Body of Christ” to describe why I feel unity and oneness in the Church is so important with prayers and Scripture to prepare your heart. Click on the link to download your copy here.

You can also get your own copy of “Building Unity”  on some practical ideas on how to actually experience more unity with other believers.

In this season of social distancing and online church, you’ve got a unique opportunity to put some of these suggestions in the e-book into practice. I encourage you to visit other church services as they post them online! What an easy way to experience other pastors, sermons, liturgies, and worship services! I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.

Yes! Each of our own churches and ministries are so vital and important.  I don’t want to take away from that, but taking some time to be with other believers has the potential to revive us in a unique way to keep pursuing our mission!!!

 

I really hope to see you at WoW 2020 on the Facebook page! God has always been faithful each year, and I anticipate this year to be no exception!!

Download that ebook too! I would love to hear if they were helpful to you!

~Amy

Nameless Women Changed by Christ: Changed from the Inside Out

Continuing our discussion of Jesus reshaping us by dropping those labels we wear, this is what He wants to happen next!

As we allow His love to define us then change our identity from the inside out. Then we become who we are in Christ so we can drop the labels people put on us and we put on ourselves, then We are no longer Nameless. We’re not going to be hindered by those labels, and we can love others who might feel nameless and help them know that they don’t have to wear those labels either. That You and me and all of us are Fully Known and Loved by God just the way you are!

Hey! But God doesn’t want us to stop there. Once you have realized that through Christ you are no longer Nameless and you are fully known and loved by God, he doesn’t want you to remain unchanged. Remember, we are talking about Nameless Women CHANGED by Christ.

How have you been changed by Jesus?

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Every encounter with Jesus has the potential to create change in us.

Think back to the Roman soldier. Luke 7:1-10 His circumstances changed when Jesus healed his slave. His faith in Jesus’ ability was so great, he asked for Jesus to change his situation. But we don’t know his response.

Think back to the the widow. Luke 7:11-17 Her circumstances were changed when He gave her son back to her and she didn’t do anything Jesus was so moved by compassion that He HAD to help. But we don’t know her response…

Simon was charged with loving little because he’d been forgiven little. His actions indicated he had been changed little.

Their circumstances changed, but were their hearts changed?

The sinful woman was the only one we read who’s heart had been changed. 

She was changed when she took the biggest risk of her life to pour love out on Jesus. The depth of her forgiveness was so great that her love was extravagant and Jesus declared that her sins have been forgiven.

She experienced tremendous change from the inside out, but what we don’t know for sure is if her circumstances were changed. 

Do you want Jesus to change your circumstances or Do you want Jesus to change YOU?

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Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Yes…God will change our circumstances like He changed the widow’s and the roman soldier’s. But, sometimes He doesn’t change our circumstances…and we have a hard time understanding this. Here’s the truth: God can change us whether our circumstances are changed or not. More often than not, He works through our circumstances to change us. So, more than seeking to have our situations changed, are we allowing God to change our hearts, to allow HIm to change us from within?

Of course, He wants your circumstances changed and your daily life to be better. But more than that, He wants you to transformed from within. He just doesn’t want your Name or label to be changed, He wants your identity to be changed. He wants you to be refined and purified and transformed into the likeness of Christ!  He wants us all to be transformed into the Body of Christ so we can glorify Him as He makes us All One!

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This is why we gather as Women of the Way to encourage each other. We study the Scriptures to see these women (and men) who serve as our examples. If she can be changed, then I can be changed. Should we stop praying for our circumstances to be changed? NO! Sister, Keep praying for your situation. Cry out to God! In the meantime, however, allow Him to change You from the inside out!!!!

May we, as Women of the Way be Changed by Christ!

It’s not too late! Join us at WoW 2020. Check it out here!

~Amy

Nameless Women Changed by Christ: Labels and Boxes

Have you ever been in a situation where no one knew your name? Or, better yet, have you ever been in a crowd, yet, still felt all alone? You were surrounded by lots of people, but, you still felt all by yourself? Have you ever felt Nameless?

The Bible is full of women (and men) who were Nameless. Their deeds were recorded for us to witness their testimony, but for some reason, their names were left out. In the New Testament, there are stories of women whose names were not recorded, but their lives and circumstances were radically changed by Jesus.

Luke 7 tells of such a powerful story of a woman who held a very particular reputation in the community, yet we don’t know her name. We’ll call her “The Woman who was sinful”.

Jesus was invited to the home of Simon, the Pharisee. While they were dining, a woman came into the room with an expensive box of alabaster filled with expensive perfume. After pouring the perfume on Jesus’ feet, she cried tears to wash them and dried his feet with her hair.

Before we go into anymore of the story, we have to back up just a bit. How did she hear about Jesus? Why did she come to that house that evening?

Earlier in the chapter, there’s another story of another nameless woman changed by Christ. In Luke 7:11-17, Jesus saw the funeral procession of a widow laying her only son to rest. Jesus was moved with such compassion that he raised the son from the dead and gave him back to the widow. The people who witnessed this miraculous act were so amazed they spread the account all over town which then spread all through the region.

No doubt, the woman who was sinful heard about how Jesus brought the young man back to life. When she heard he was going to be at the home of Simon, she devised this outrageous plan. She must have been thinking, “if this Jesus could bring a dead man back to life, surely, He could help me?” She knew the plan was risky. Who knows what they’d do to her. But, she had to try!

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Photo by 3Motional Studio on Pexels.com

Back to the dinner party. After she poured the oil on Jesus feet, Simon, the Pharisee and host of the dinner party, thought to himself, “If Jesus were really a prophet, he would know what kind of woman this is. She’s a sinner.”

Stop right there.

Can you just imagine the tone of his voice as he thought those words? Can you just hear the way the word ‘sinner’ was thick with judgement and hatred?

Even though we don’t have the benefit of knowing this woman’s name, it’s possible that Simon did. They lived in the same community. He knew who she was by reputation, yet he didn’t call her by name. In his thoughts, he called her a sinner. Instead of calling her by her name, he put a label on her based on his opinion of her.

Back up again, if you please, to the beginning of chapter 7. We read about a roman soldier, who was also nameless. Jesus healed his slave because the roman soldier believed Jesus could do the healing simply by speaking the words. But notice how the Jewish leaders in verse 4 were all in favor of this man’s request being fulfilled. Even though typically the Jews hated the Romans for occupying their country, the leaders were more than willing to let Jesus heal the slave because the roman soldier had built a synagogue for them. Their opinion of him was favorable because of the monetary gain they received from him. The label and box they placed him in was, in their minds, a good one.

The Pharisees and Jewish leaders were really good at putting labels on people and placing them into boxes according to their own perceptions and opinions. They even did the same thing to John the Baptist and Jesus in verse 33-35. They called John the Baptist demon possessed, and they called Jesus a glutton and drunkard!

We as humans, when we don’t know what to do with something, we put names and labels on people so we can figure out what kind of box to put them in. When we don’t know what to do with it, it makes us uncomfortable. We try to enforce the rules we think they need to live by. The Pharisees expected Jesus to operate in accordance with these boxes and labels.  When he didn’t operate in the way they think he should, they got very upset. 

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 Jesus took the idea of nameless labels and boxes and flips it upside. Jesus operated on the premise that your name, works or title doesn’t get you close to God. It’s your faith, submission, and surrender. It’s not your name, title, or works that moves Jesus. It’s faith, compassion, and love….In other words, it’s what’s in your heart. Jesus looks at the heart, sees your faith, and desires our actions to follow. 

When we allow Jesus to fill us with His Love, he changes our identity from the inside out! When our identity is changed to be like Jesus, then the labels and boxes don’t stick. When we are known and fully loved by God, it doesn’t matter if we are nameless. It becomes more important that other nameless ones realize they are known and loved by God too!

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As we begin Women of the Way 2020, please join us as we discover more Nameless Women Changed by Christ! Check out the Facebook event here!

~Amy

 

 

Nothing Can Separate (Continued from Remain in My Love)

Last week, we talked about how we Remain in My Love…….

If you’re thinking, “So what if I don’t feel like He loves me?” I’m so glad you asked!

It can be hard to really feel the emotions of love by God towards us. Our emotions are the temperature gauge of the body, soul, and spirit. When our emotions are healthy and in check, they can be a powerful tool in life. I find what Peter Scazzero says about emotions full of wisdom and life application:

“Ignoring our emotions is turning our back on reality. Listening to our emotions ushers us into reality. And reality is where we meet God. . . . Emotions are the language of the soul. They are the cry that gives the heart a voice. . .”
Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ

But on the other hand, emotions can also be fickle and tricksie too!!

So when we mess up, get in a slump, or fall into an emotional pit, we can feel like God doesn’t love us or is nowhere around. When depression or discouragement wash over us, it feels like God doesn’t care, or no one else cares for that matter. When we sin, that separation of fellowship can feel like a Grand Canyon.

When we are in the pit like this, there is no other passage of Scripture that promises God’s overwhelming love can never be taken from us than Romans 8:31-39.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The enemy can’t accuse you or condemn you enough to separate you from God’s love. No circumstance bad enough or drama deep enough can cause God to withdraw His Everlasting Love. No deep, dark issue or secret pain could ever be bad enough for God to say, “She’s not worth it.”

No, in fact, “I am convinced that NOTHING can ever separate us from God’s love.”

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If you are feeling unloved or unlovable this Valentine’s month, then seek His face, find His Presence embracing you, and discover that nothing can separate you from His love!!!

~Amy

Remain in My Love

No matter where you come from or what kind of raisin’ you’ve had or what kind of life you’ve lived. …No matter if you’re in a season of lean or a season of plenty. No matter if you’ve really messed it up big or done everything “right”…No matter your color, size or zip code..

We are ALL looking for the same thing: Love

Even though we are all looking for the same thing, there’s a zillion different ways we go about it. We go “looking for love all the wrong places”……sounds like an old country song, right? It is….I grew up listening to 80’s country. Johnny Lee, 1980. Sure, it’s a great ballad cliche, but it’s true. We search for love in relationships, stuff, careers, etc, etc…….

But there’s only One way to get the love we are all searching for…..Remain in My Love.

Jesus said in John 15:9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.” Our joy is complete, like it says in the next couple of verses, by being filled to overflowing of His Love (verse 11). Abiding in and soaking in His Presence. Having a revelation of how much He really cares for you.

Remaining in His Love is like being grafted into a vine where the source of nourishment never runs out. That’s why He says “I am the vine and you are the branches” in that same chapter. Remaining in His Love is like being a well where the water never runs out or a waterfall that never ends. That’s why He says “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart” Mark 7:38

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For all our searching and feeble attempts at being loved whether it’s through a relationship, food, drugs, possessions, job status, etc…the list goes on, there is nothing that satisfies more than the love of Christ. Nothing can compare to the security and safety of His Love.

So, no matter which side of the tracks you’ve been or where you are going, do you know how much He Loves you? Have you experienced a revelation of God’s Love?

But what if you don’t feel like He loves you??

Next time…….Part 2 Nothing Can Separate

~Amy

Fulfill Your Calling: One God and Father of All

We’ve been talking about whether your ministry can be sacred or secular. We’ve also been talking about how your ministry is equal from God’s perspective to any other ministry.

Now, let’s figure out what is God’s purpose in all this.

From before the beginning of time, it was God’s pleasure to invite you into relationship with him. He was also greatly pleased to give you gifts and equip you to build His Kingdom. But God didn’t do all this just so you could be awesome and do great things.

Hear me out…..Yes, God wants you to be awesome and do great things, but He doesn’t want your sole motivation to be all about what you’ve accomplished.

Used to, I would believe that hosting or leading or headlining a big women’s conference with an awesome venue and lots of people from all over the region meant I had really made it big. I had finally reached ‘real’ ministry status. It was the yardstick by which I was measuring my Kingdom contribution. I was often focused on numbers, influence with people, and their responses. Bigger and better surely meant more powerful and effective results in which God would surely be very pleased and impressed. Sure, my intentions were good. I wanted to be the best Christian I could be, I wanted to serve God but if I were honest, it was, in part, about me feeling good, accepted, and useful….even special.

Through the years, though, God has lovingly shown me that from His point of view all ministry is equal. All pursuits in Kingdom building are equally important to HIm. All Kingdom building is effective no matter the size or reach.

So….what’s the point then?

What’s God ultimate goal?

He wants to make us all One! Ephesians 4:4-6 says,

For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

God had this plan from the beginning. He invites us into relationship and gives us gifts to  build His Kingdom. He pieces The Body perfectly together, and as we each do our own work, we grow. As we become more like Christ, we are healthy and mature. As we become more like Christ, we all become one!

It’s amazing to me how he wants to take a world of people who are broken and messed up to create something beautiful in us so that we can be one with Him for eternity!

The plan is WAY better than my selfish tendency to use my gifts and opportunities to make myself look good or feed my ego or collect accomplishments for myself.

Seeing His Grand Plan makes me realize a few things about my calling:

  1. My calling is not for me. It’s not about me feeling good about myself or for my ego. The end goal is not for me to be fulfilled in my ministry. Yes, God wants me to feel effective and useful, but the end goal is not solely for me turn inward about what an awesome Christian I am.
  2. My calling is for the perfecting of myself. As God allows me to use my gifts for His higher purpose, He is also growing and maturing me. There have been so many times I’ve made mistakes, and He lovingly corrected me. As He’s allowing me to work for Him, He’s also working in me to be like Him.
  3. My calling is for the perfecting of the Body. As I’m doing my part, other people will grow and mature. The other side is true too. As others do their parts, I grow and become better. There have been so many wonderful people in my life that inspire me to be more like Christ. As I see them using their gifts and callings, I am inspired to be better.

When we all do the work He’s equipped us to do and we keep our eyes off ourselves, then we grow and mature to be more and more like Christ. As The Body becomes more like Jesus, we all become one!!! God is glorified and fills the universe with Himself as He is God and Father of All!!

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 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

No wonder Paul breaks out in praise! I get excited too! Look at the amazing things God has done and will continue to do!

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So as God develops His calling in you, be bold to lead a life worthy of this calling….for you have been called by God!

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Want to study this more? Get the devotional study guide here!

Also, if you want me to share this study at your church or women’s gathering, emails me at womenofthewaytn@gmail.com!

~Amy

Fulfill Your Calling: All Ministry is Equal

The human body is amazing! Every part of your body serves an important purpose and  function. No matter if it is seen or unseen, it does the work it was made to do.

Your ministry in the Body of Christ is no different. Whatever you’ve been equipped to do has a purpose and a function. No matter how seemingly insignificant, small or unseen,  you were made to do this work for the Kingdom!

Continuing our study of Ephesians 4 (check out Sacred or Secular if you missed it), Paul describes how God gives out gifts to each member of the Body of Christ

However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ. Ephesians 4:1

Just like the human body, each member has its own purpose and function. God is not going to extend this grand invitation into the Body and then not give you a uniquely formed purpose and role in that Body!

If we’re not careful though, we might be tempted to think that some members or functions are more important than others. Or, some might be more special than others. We might get caught in the trap of thinking, “Oh, that’s the pastor’s job, he’s the one called into church ministry, so I’ll step back and let him do the work.”

True, some people are given specialized ministry and vocations inside the church. Paul even said so in Ephesians 4:11

Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.

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Remember our Reformation friend? Martin Luther said all sincere work either, secular or ecclesiastical, is for God, but they weren’t given those gifts so they could exclusively do all the work of ministry and have all authority of The Church. Keep reading about what Paul said in the next verse-

Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Ephesians 4:12-13

So, the main purpose of the clergy and those pursuing church ministry is to equip the rest of the Body (those given all kinds of other unique gifts) to go out into the world to reach them for Christ! That doesn’t make ordained ministry any more special than any other ministry; it just makes it very specific to meeting the specific needs of the rest of the Body. It makes each part of the Body important as each part fulfills its own purpose and function. All ministry is equal in importance yet very different in function.

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Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Pexels.com

That’s why all ministry is equal from God’s perspective. It doesn’t matter if you lead a large group at church or have a large following on social media. It doesn’t matter if you care for a few special loved ones or serve behind the scenes. From God’s perspective, it’s all equal in importance to Him because He measures your effectiveness by a holy standard.

God’s standard of effectiveness is how much your ministry brings Him Glory.

I have been tempted to believe that ministry is measured by how much people respond, how much they like it, etc. Deep down, if I were honest, if they think what I do is great, then, they’ll think I’m great, and maybe God will think I’m great too. This line of thinking makes me (at least in my own heart and mind) the focus of serving and ministering. It makes the outcome about me and how I feel about myself. Of course, I want people to benefit from how I serve the Church, but ultimately, I can’t allow that to be the standard measure of my worth or effectiveness.

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However, if the standard of measurement for my ministry is how much God is glorified, then the focus for effectiveness is on God and not me. The outcome, more likely, is that people will get connected to God rather than by being impressed with me.

Way better, right?

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4:16

Any ministry is of equal importance to God when that ministry brings glory to God. It’s the glorification of God that gives a ministry impact. It’s the glorification of God that determines its effectiveness. When God is glorified, then a ministry has fulfilled its purpose. If you minister to one person and God is glorified, then your priestly ministry is equal, qualitatively, to a person who leads a world wide ministry which also brings glory to God.

God’s ultimate goal is to be glorified, and he wants us to share in that glory with Him. It’s so beautiful to discover how He invites us to know Him, then equips each of us in a special way to live this calling out for Him.

Next time, we’ll talk about the reason and purpose for it all_ One God and Father of All!

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If you want to keep studying this for yourself, check out this devotional study guide in Ephesians. Sign up here!

How is God helping you to understand your gifts and calling?

~Amy

 

Fulfill Your Calling: Sacred or Secular

Imagine you are in church 500 years ago. The clergy were the only ones who could read and understand the Bible. The clergy were the only ones that received the full communion of bread and wine. The ordained ministers made decisions about people’s spiritual lives as well as lots of other decisions in public life. Being an ordained minister during that time meant the clergy had a very special and specific calling and often took advantage, even abusing the authority and calling of The Church.

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Then, a man came along who could not submit to the authority of the clergy because of how he interpreted the Scriptures in regard to the calling of God. Among many other groundbreaking declarations of faith, Martin Luther said all work, vocations whether sacred or secular, were genuine callings for God.

“The essence of Christian living lies in serving God in one’s calling whether secular or ecclesiastical. All useful callings, he said, are equally sacred in God’s eye.” Bruce L. Shelley Church History in Plain Language, pg 142.

By making such bold statements, Martin Luther was the match that lit the fire of the Reformation and changed history forever.

Martin Luther was the first man to look at Scripture and say that all work is holy (not just the work of clergy) because all people have been called by God.

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We benefit from this declaration today.

Ephesians 4:1 says,

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul encouraged the Christians there to live up to their calling in Christ. The  Greek meaning of the word ‘calling’ in that passage means to call, invite, or summon. So, God’s calling is to invite us into relationship with Him through believing and accepting Jesus as our Savior and becoming part of the Body of Christ.

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9

Even though we’ve come a long way from the transformation of the Reformation, we still get caught in the trap of thinking only special people are called to do God’s work, and the rest of us just kinda follow along.  If you have a “calling” on your life, then you lead some kind of full time ministry which might feel a little more special than just everyday, secular work.

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I have been guilty of that line of thinking. Being in church ministry or having a special calling meant that ‘maybe’ I was just a little more special than everybody else. That maybe, God had just a little extra favor for me. I also sincerely believed serving God in a sacred ministry was proof of how I was a really good Christian and how much I really, really loved God. In His mercy, though, God helped me realize that I didn’t need ministry* like that anymore. Since then, He has helped me to see that all the work I pursue (home, school, daily tasks) are equal in His eyes to benefit the Kingdom.

Understanding Martin Luther’s revelation that everyone has a calling was groundbreaking because everyone has an invitation to receive Christ. God extends this summons to all people to become part of the Body.

In addition, any ministry, mission, vision, work, pursuit…etc….must be founded in relationship with God- not the other way around. Sometimes, we get it backwards. While our statements of belief proclaim relationship must come first, our actions betray us when we serve and work as if we’re trying to be good enough for acceptance.

God is calling you to simply be with Him before you do anything for Him!

Who you are in Christ is NOT the same as What you do for Christ!

Have you responded to God’s invitation to relationship with Him?

Have you fallen into the trap of thinking you don’t have a calling or that your calling isn’t ‘special’ because it’s not in a church setting?

If you participate in regular church ministry, do you find yourself acting as if you must perform well in order maintain an acceptable status before God?

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Here’s a study guide on Ephesians 4 to help you discover more about your calling and how to develop it. I’d love it if this could encourage you in your calling with God! Click here.

We’re going to keep this conversation going. Next time, we’ll talk about how All Ministry is Equal!

~Amy

 

 

Best of 2019: Heroes, Thorns and Unity

Can you believe we’ve come to the end of 2019? Wow!!

Even more so…..can you believe we’ve come to the end of the decade??? Crazy!!!!

Looking back over the year, it’s great to reflect over what we’ve done and where God has brought us. Another way to do that is to look at the posts that have resonated with you through the year.

I’ve never done this before so I thought it would be fun and insightful. Here are the top 4 WoW posts of 2019:

Heroes of the Faith in the 20th Century– This post is the most read one of 2019. Cool, huh? I really enjoyed learning all about these amazing people of our Christian heritage. My faith was strengthen because of their great cloud of witness! Take a minute to read it again, and let these heroes charge up your faith for the new year!

This Lincoln County Woman from History Inspires Us to Be Women of the Way- Here’s the second most read post of 2019. This post really resonated with all of you. It was amazing to learn of such a bold woman who lived right here among us. It was also written as a guest post by an amazing woman who tells her story of how she discovered this Lincoln County woman. Read it again, and let it make you bolder for the new year!

3 Things to Remember When Your Ministry Feels like Thorns– Ministry can be tough, and many of you think so too! Check out the third most read post of 2019. As you look back over your year in ministry, I hope these 3 things can encourage you to keep going!

All of You…..Together– Here’s the 4th most read post of 2019. It makes me happy to see this post near the top of the list. It’s what Women of the Way is all about- Unity. If you don’t get anything else from this page, I hope you know that we are all following Jesus with all our hearts, and we are all in this together! One Body! Read it again, and let it fuel your unity with other believers!

Since we are ending a decade, here’s one more post. While I have not been blogging for a 10 years, it’s close. Learning to navigate this writing space has been a BIG learning curve, and I really appreciate it when you read these posts. Even more so, I’m so glad when you are encouraged in your walk with Jesus because that’s my #1 goal!

So, to top off this decade, here’s my most read post of all time (which also happens to be my favorite post of all time)! Every single one of your are a thread, an embellishment, an addition to My Coat of Many Colors!!

Thank you for sharing this space with me! I pray the new year AND the new decade will bring new adventures as we continue this journey of becoming Passionate, Devoted Followers of Christ!

~Amy

Advent: Love’s Greatest Story

Romantic movies try to create it. Love songs try to sing about it. Fairy tales try to capture it.

A longing lies in each of us for a Great Love Story.

We are drawn to such art, media, and entertainment because they touch in us this deep desire for love. Our hearts, and yes even our spirits, long for romance, adventure, and passion. We experience these thin attempts at love and long for more because they are only a shadow of a deeper desire.

Before time began, God wrote the story we crave. God set forth the plan to pursue and redeem us for Himself. He wrote the story of Jesus Christ as the Savior for us all.

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In this great romance, He didn’t send Jesus to get us cleaned up good enough so he could finally show His love to us. No, this isn’t your familiar love story where the perfect looking hero and heroine meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Instead, while we were yet sinners, broken, ugly, and undeserving of His attention,   He sent Jesus as the Word made flesh because He already loved us. His motivation to send His Son as Savior of the World was because of His passionate love for us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have Everlasting Life. John 3:16

Read it again for the first time.

It doesn’t say that He sent His Son to make the people lovable and then pursue us the object of His Desire. Rather, He loved us first and then set in motion the plot of the Great Love Story. The Hero seeks out the heroine even before she knows He is searching for her!

The fourth week of Advent reminds us of this great love God has for each of us and to be reminded that God’s pure, passionate love was why He sent us a Savior.Adventjoy

It makes perfect sense, then, the weeks of Advent are all part of the Great Love Story- Thanksgiving giving way to Hope, Hope making room for Peace, Peace leading us to Joy, and Joy opening our hearts for Love. In a dramatic, breath-taking conclusion, Christ bursts onto the scene as a baby, Emmanuel- God with us, and Love’s Greatest Story is birthed in our hearts!

It’s not too late to enjoy this Advent devotional to help you celebrate Christmas! Sign up here!

As we light the 4th candle of Advent, I pray this love story is written on your heart in such a way the celebration of Jesus’ birth floods you with Hope, Peace, Joy and most of all, Love!

~Amy

Advent: Unexpected Joy

During this penitential season of Advent, we look inward and examine ourselves to prepare for the coming of Christ. In clearing away the inward clutter, we focus on the essentials of faith…..hope….peace….and so on.

By stripping away the excess, the busyness, and the noise of the season, we might be tempted to think we are missing out on all the excitement. However, when we stop and take time to quiet ourselves, we find something much greater…unexpected joy.

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Watching leaves fall in the woods, delighting in giggly girls upstairs, enjoying the soft glow of lights after everyone’s gone to bed, gazing on the galaxy of stars on a crisp night, feeling the laughter of community in the church play, and dipping treats in chocolate with friends….these have been my joy this season in the midst paperwork, fevers, shopping, and rehearsals.

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As we light the third pink candle of Advent, may we quiet ourselves in prayer, meditation, and solitude turning our hearts to Christ. And, in the midst of the season, we will find Joy because our hearts in tune with His.

What unexpected joy have you found this season?

Here’s an Advent devotional that focuses on gratitude, hope, peace, joy and more. You will feel more focused on the true meaning of the season so you can fully celebrate Christmas! Sign up here!

~Amy

Advent: Repentance leads to Hope

Thanksgiving and gratitude give way to Advent, a time to reflect on the first coming of Christ and to prepare for the second coming of Christ. Since this purple, penitential season is a time to examine one’s self, repentance is the place to start.

I sometimes get caught up in what I need, what I don’t have, or what I want. Being thankful helps me to remember how blessed I am. It refocuses my attention on all that I do have and how I lack for nothing. When I think about all the overwhelming blessings in my life, it puts my sins in their right perspective, and I am convicted of the need for repentance. Before I can prepare my heart for the joys of Christmas celebrations, examining my attitudes, thoughts and actions helps to prepare the way for His Coming into my life.

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What do I find when I examine myself? I haven’t stolen anything lately that I can think of. I haven’t coveted my neighbors goat or broken any of the ‘big ones’. But this examination brings to light attitudes, negatives thoughts, selfishness, an ego always yearning for the spotlight, and pride. These seemingly subtle sins (but actually are the real sins) affect how I treat others and how I think others need to treat me. They blind me to seeing Christ in others, and deafen me to hearing His Voice.

Today, though, we light the first candle and read the Scriptures. We take in the verses of His Glory on our faces….preparing for His Coming….and being given every spiritual blessing until His return…and we say the words of the first week of Advent.

In my examining, I pray “Lord, Will I ever get it right?”

The answer is burning brightly before me……Jesus is Hope.Jesus is Hope

The questions I ask in my repentance are always answered in Hope.

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How does repentance bring you to Hope….the first week of Advent?

~Amy

Thanksgiving: Blessings

The holidays have begun! Whether I’m ready or not to be bombarded with commercials, decorations, music, and sales, it’s here. And, it seems it’s here earlier than ever.

Don’t get me wrong….I love Christmas, and I really am looking forward to the season. Each year the activities and traditions we are building with our family are so wonderful and dear. But, I have a serious pet peeve. I can’t stand the fact that Christmas commercialism is overshadowing and crowd out Thanksgiving! Used to stores didn’t open until Friday morning. Then, it was 5:00am….then.1:00am….the 12:00am. Last year, stores opened on Thanksgiving night. I knew it would happen this year, and it has. Some stores are opening on Thanksgiving day for shopping. Christmas music has already started!!  My heart grieves.

Seems like to me every sacred holiday has been slowly taken over in order to take away from its original purpose. Christmas- Santa Claus; Easter- Easter Bunny; Valentine’s Day- Romance, cards and candy; Halloween- Death and darkness, etc, etc. Thanksgiving has been immune until now because there’s been no way to commercialize it. The companies can’t find a way to change its purpose, so instead, they are simply drowning it out. Create enough deals, get the shopping started early to plump up the end of the year sales and make them forget about the real reason.

I don’t want it to suck me in. I want to resist. I will celebrate Thanksgiving.

It became so clear to me yesterday at church. The timing of these holidays blend so perfectly together….Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas.

Thanksgiving is a time to count blessings, to pause and give thanks, to realize how much we have. This gratitude is the perfect beginning to Advent- a season to reflect on the gift of Jesus. Before we can truly celebrate His Birth, we need a time of reflection and introspection to recenter our lives on Him. And finally, the delight of Christmas overflows into joy!

So, before the season sweeps us away, take time this week to be especially thankful. Count your blessings. Yes, name them one by one. Oh sure, if you gotta go shopping, go! But, don’t let the commercialism crowd out the real reason for the season!

If you want a devotional to keep you stay focused on the season, check out this Season of Advent devotional. It will help you to remember the gratitude of Thanksgiving, prepare your heart through Advent, and celebrate Christmas! Sign up here!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

~Amy

What is God’s Perspective of Your Ministry?

Imagine you are looking down from the top of a very tall skyscraper. The view is amazing! You can see for miles. When you look down, what does it look like way down there on the street?

The cars and people all look the same. They are moving and bustling about, but they all look like the same size.

God'sPerspectiveMinistry

That’s what I imagine my attempts at ministry seem to God.

From my own small perspective, I may be tempted to think that some of my ministry pursuits are really important, really big, and really impressive. Then, others are very small, no big deal in their reach and impact.

Used to, I would believe that hosting or leading or headlining a big women’s conference with an awesome venue and lots of people from all over the region meant I had really made it big. I had finally reached ‘real’ ministry status. It was the yardstick by which I was measuring my Kingdom contribution.

Any attempt at ministry on a smaller scale was good but just not as important or impressive. Those smaller efforts in Kingdom building were stepping stones to bigger and better- a wider reach of influence.

My measuring stick of ministry was focused on numbers, influence among people, and their responses. Bigger and better ministry surely meant more powerful and more effective results in which God would surely be very pleased and impressed.

I may not have said it out loud, but this was my hope!

Through the years, though, God has lovingly shown me that from His point of view all ministry is equal. All pursuits in Kingdom building are equally important to HIm. All Kingdom building is effective no matter the size or reach.

From my “google street level”, a Billy Graham sized event surely is way more important than a conversation with a friend. Maybe an audience with kings and leaders is more effective than attending to a small child with special needs.

man standing beside his wife teaching their child how to ride bicycle
Loving the little ones matters to God!

Often, my human point of view causes me to use inferior qualities (numbers, responses, likes) to measure success because I want to impress people or make a name for myself. However, God sees the heart of the person at each of those encounters, and His measure of success is the changing of each heart.

From God’s “google earth” perspective, all our attempts at ministry and Kingdom building are the same size and of equal importance to Him just like the view from that skyscraper. All ministry matters. From God’s point of view, our efforts to reach the masses matter just as much as our efforts to reach the one. From the least to the greatest, all Kingdom building is important to God because it’s all for His Glory! 

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Any kind of ministry is equal in importance to God even if it’s different in execution. Of course, there are differences in ministry when it comes to preparation, energy output, and performance. Different ministries require different levels of training and skill to accomplish them effectively. But they are all equal in importance to God!

I am so thankful for the Body of Christ in which God equips and outfits each member of His Body to be the ministers of love to this world! We need every single part of His Body to do his or her part!

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “What I do for God doesn’t really matter” or “I can’t wait until I do something really important for God”?

No matter what you do to make the most of this day, and no matter how you will make it through the day, your ministry is of significant importance to God! He’s cheering for you as you build His Kingdom and make a difference for eternity!

Tell me about your ministry! What makes you feel like you are making a real impact on the world around you? Jump over to the WoW Facebook group and tell me what you think!

~Amy

 

How are You going to Make it through the Day?

These 14 hour days are exhausting.

I’m sure you know the drill…..work, meetings, appointments, supper, laundry, and dishes. There are all the things you have to do and all the things you should do. Is there any time for the things you want to do?

How are you going to make it through the day?

I don’t mean if you make it through the day because experience tells me you will get to the end of the day. Eventually, you will clock in your 12, 14, or more hours of the allotted time for the day. We’ve talked about making the most of the day. You will get through most of what you have to get done for that day. For better or worse, you will finally get to the end of the day.

Rather, the question is HOW are you going to make it through the day?

By ‘how’, I mean what attitudes and actions are you going to exhibit while you are getting through your day?

sunset love lake resort
Photo by Download a pic Donate a buck! ^ on Pexels.com

Early one morning while having my devotions. The house was quiet and the sun had not yet risen. The day was stretched out before me with all its tasks and to-do’s. A portion of the Scripture reading was Psalm 113:3:

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord‘s name is to be praised.

Then, a fresh revelation sparked in my spirit like the first ray of sunshine in the morning.  I knew this, but I needed to hear it again. I saw in that verse my day spread out before me. I’m up before the sun, and I have many things to accomplish before the sun goes down. How am I going to conduct myself through this day?

I will praise His Name!

I will have a worshipful attitude while I do all the things He’s given me to do for this day!

I will focus on Jesus’ glory and His goodness. I will meditate on His Love and His Holiness!

Yes! That’s how I will make it through this day!

The alternative is not pretty.

If I complain, grumble, and criticize my way through this day, I’ll be miserable and infect everyone around me in the process. I’m sad to say this happens more than I wish to admit.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

But if I focus on the Lord and on His greatness, I will receive the great benefit of His love, joy and peace carrying me through all my tasks and to-do’s.

You see, if I focus on my circumstances and what I’m doing (because I may or may not like what’s going on that day), those things can fluctuate and change taking my attitude right along with them.

However, God, who is constant no matter my circumstance or attitude for the day, is steady and does not change. He is worthy to be praised no matter what’s on my agenda or how it affects me. In fact, praising Him despite my circumstances is His very wonderful, perfect will for me!

Then, when I lay my head down on the pillow at night, I can be full and overflowing of gratitude because God not only got me through this day, but He helped me staying focused on Him in praise!

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Praise His Name to make it through the day!

How do you keep a praise in your heart and on your lips?

How does praising God keep you going through the day?

Join the WoW Facebook group here and leave a comment so it can encourage others!

~Amy

 

Make the Most of THIS Day

It’s been one of those incredibly busy seasons. For about 9 weeks, we had something to do or somewhere to go almost every night of the week. Long 14 hour days were the norm and the weekends were almost as busy.

Some of it I was very excited about and some of it I pushed through.

One week, I was counting the days until I could get away for a long awaited retreat in Guntersville- 3 glorious days of stuff I love to do! To get to the fun stuff, though, I had to get through the first couple of days of the week.

That particular week, I was asked to help some students with bowling practice for Special Olympics. So, I loaded the bus and headed off to the bowling alley.

I was there in body, but my heart was not in it.

I hate to admit it, but I wanted to hurry up and get the day over with. I helped, I supported, I cheered- I did my job. On the inside though, I was counting the days and minutes until I could pack my bags to head to the retreat.

God very gently convicted me.

What I had been given to do that day was just as important as what I was waiting to do later in the week.

Rushing through and mentally checking out wasn’t going to make it go by any faster.

What’s more important, I wasn’t fulfilling the ministry that He’d given me to do for that day with my whole heart. It wasn’t that I was letting my coworkers or students down, I was doing my job. Rather, I was letting God down because my heart wasn’t in it, and I wasn’t loving my best for the sake of Christ.

That’s when God said “Make the most of THIS day”.

Livewisely.everyopportunity

God has tasked me with lots of different opportunities. Some of them are easy to do and come naturally. Some of them are super exciting. Some of them are tedious and not so fun. But in everything God has called me to do, He’s asking me to give my best to each one whether it’s my favorite or not.

Here are 3 things to remember to help you make the most of this day-

Be Present– Don’t mentally check out. It’s so easy, right? Don’t do it. Be fully there.

Give 100%– Give your best in every situation- not just the opportunities you really enjoy.

Each day has its purpose– Every opportunity is equally important to God. Treat it that way.

Our busy season has slowed way down. After a great break, I’m rested up and ready to jump back into another season full of opportunities. No matter what God gives me to do each day, I’m going to make the most of it!

What about you?

Are you making the most out of each day?

Is your heart fully in it?

I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment in the WoW Facebook group over here where we can talk about it more.

~Amy

Point Them to Jesus

I can be so guilty of this…….

In my passion and zeal to be the hands and feet of Jesus, I can be so motivated to help someone that I give them what I think they need.

sincerely want to  love and serve people, but I attempt to give them my wisdom or share from my experience because….after all….it will help them.

I can be so quick to think of and share biblical teaching and expound on the subtleties of doctrine in order to help them acquire the correct truth to apply in their situation.

Sometimes, though, I believe Jesus is asking me to hit the pause button.

Instead of being quick to jump into ministering, serving, teaching, and leading mode, I may just need to point them to Jesus!

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Here are some reasons why:

I am not Jesus.

Obvious right? Well….if I have been doing this Christian thing for a long time, and I’ve accumulated a lot of spiritual formation and discipline, and I know I’m supposed to share it, then I’m being a good Christian doing what Jesus wants me to do. The problem is that I might start thinking I know what’s best, and I’ve got the answer. Then, my ego gets in the way, and I start feeling pretty good about myself giving them what I think they need and so on.

If I point them to Jesus, I am pointing them to the “author and finisher of our faith”. He knows way better what they need and don’t need. If I feel led by the Holy Spirit to say something, sure, I will certainly say what He’s leading me to say. But, first, I need to point them to Jesus.

They may not be ready to hear.

So, I have this well of knowledge and wisdom. My experience has taught me some lessons, and I’ve got plenty of stuff to say. Great. But, they may not be ready to hear it. If the person I’m trying to help is hurting or confused, or maybe they aren’t at a place spiritually to hear a particular truth, then, what I have to say is not going to be very effective. It may even worsen the situation.

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Photo by Danielle Truckenmiller on Pexels.com

What they may be looking for in their difficult circumstance is simply to be heard or affirmed and to know that someone loves and cares for them. Pointing them to Jesus is the best way for them to feel accepted and loved in the midst of their difficulty. Then, they’ll be more open to hearing what I have to say.

They may want a quick fix.

The opposite may be true as well. Someone going through a difficult time might want me to just give them the answer or the solution so they don’t have to endure a situation with any difficulty. A butterfly breaking out of its chrysalis without the process of working for its release won’t develop strong wings. The difficulty of pushing its way out of the cocoon is what gives its strength. Sometimes God uses difficult circumstances in the same way to help us grow. Instead of giving that person the answer, I should point him to Jesus who will strengthen him during the process.

I may interrupt the deep work.

In my experience and the lessons learned from my journey, I may be quick to share it with someone who could benefit from it. To share my story to someone else brings my journey full circle and my experience becomes useful in the story of someone else! Yes, I totally believe God uses us in this way to help other people.

However, if I am too quick to share my story, I could short circuit the work God is trying to do in them. It’s like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.….she had to experience all those adventures for herself before she realized the truth- There’s No Place Like Home!

If I give them the answer  I discovered because I’ve already learned it, then maybe the lesson won’t grab hold because they haven’t experienced it for themselves. If I point them to Jesus, then I am guiding them to the Source of Life, and their journey will unfold as they know Him.

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Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

Because no matter the circumstance or difficulty someone is going through, the main thing is that they know Jesus. Yes, of course, in a salvation kind of way, but also in an intimate relationship kind, obedience kind of way. Pointing them to Jesus will help them draw close to Him and know Him better. Then, they will be more likely to discern their journey and be ready to hear any wisdom or truth that Jesus wants me to share.

How Do I Point Them to Jesus?

You’ve probably seen the shirt- Ya’ll Need Jesus.

As much as I’d like to holler it, bluntly declaring this across the room is not going to be effective.

Rather, pointing them to Jesus looks a lot more like helping them be seekers and disciples of Jesus on their own.

Jesus Christ Monument
Jesus Christ Monument, Swiebodzin, Poland

-Pray for them to seek Jesus with all their hearts.

-Pray for them to have a hunger and desire for His Presence.

-Pray for them to receive wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit.

-Challenge them to seek truth from Scripture and apply it to their life.

-Ask open ended questions- “What’s God saying to you about this?” “Have you asked Jesus about this?” “What Scriptures are speaking to you right now?”

When an response is needed from us, the Holy Spirit will prompt accordingly.

Pointing them to Jesus helps me remember the work is His and not mine. Pointing them to Jesus helps me remember that we’re all in this journey together, and I need to be pointed to Jesus just as much as anybody else!

Who are you pointing to Jesus?

~Amy