Monday, September 7, 2009

Now how did that happen???

Tonight I was catching up on some of the blogs I read and I stumbled across an article that listed the top 100 Christian blogs, and do you know what I found?
Mine was not one there!?!?!?!
How dare they.
Heheheheheheheh!!!
Sorry, thought I would lighten the mood. :)
Anyway, I thought I would pass the link along because there are some great ones on it and you might find a new one to read yourself.
And....I am trying to get back in the habit again. Please be patient faithful readers. Ok, reader.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm Still Alive

Hello Blogging World!
No, I'm not dead.
Yes, I am in Austin, Texas now.
Yes, I know I have been a BAD blogger.
No, I have not given up on this hear little blog.
I will get better.
I will be blogging again. Soon. Sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saving Grace


Yes, I watch Saving Grace.
It is a television show that comes on TNT on Monday nights.
Now, listen to what I am about to say.
I AM NOT saying that it is OK for everyone to watch this show. Yes, it is an adult show. There is a reason it does not come on until 10:00pm. I AM NOT saying that it is the cleanest show on television right now. It is a very adult show and I would not recommend it for a youth to watch.
However, I love it. And here is the reason why.
There is a "character" on the show named Earl. Earl is an angel. At first I thought he was supposed to be God, but in fact he is not. He is a ministering angel sent into these people's lives to guide them and essentially point them back to God.
Earl is the reason I love this show. He is so patient and loving. He is non-judgemental and has a calming presence. He is what I hope every angel to be. I have no theological data to back this up. It's just my theory, so take it with a grain of salt. :)
Last night as I was watching the show I found myself thinking, "I wish I had a Earl angel." How great would it be to have an angel that just loved on you and comforted you and never judged you unfairly.
I started thinking about how great it would be and found myself asking God why we didn't have that now. Why can't angels talk to us and minister to us in this way? I found myself getting a little sad.
Then, tonight at my accountability group I realized, I do have this.
Their called friends.
They are people God uses in our lives to bring us hope and encouragement.
This might sound a little weird, but, who are you encouraging? Ever had a time in your life when you felt like you HAD to call a certain person and you just didn't know why? It's probably because God was wanting to use you in that moment to bring encouragement and hope.
People need hope.
We all need hope.
I am not saying that we are all angels, but maybe today you can obey God and bring someone a little bit of joy knowing that there is someone else out there who cares about them!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Dark Part of The Path


Tuesday nights are my accountability group night. I am fortunate in the fact that my senior pastor's wife is a member of our group and always shares great in-sight into God's Word and shares what is going on in her own life. Tonight she was sharing a few verses that have stuck out to her over this last week and she mentioned Genesis 39:21 that says, "But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him His faithful love." She told us that this verse made her realize that God is always with us during our darkest times.
At first I didn't think much of it, but as I was sitting there it began to sink in, and during my car ride home it began to grab a hold of me.
Let me give you some background.
This last week, Jeff and I had our entire house re-carpeted, which meant that we had to move EVERYTHING out of the house so that the carpet could be laid down properly. This meant that we had to take apart our bed and sleep on our Aero-Bed. We had to clear everything out of our kids rooms, our bathrooms and everything in between. Our house was in shambles, our normal routines were messed up and none of were getting any sleep.
Once everything was put back into place and we were all able to get some rest God began to reveal to me how much I rely on "things" for my happiness. I was really convicted because I saw the kind of person I became when just a few minor conveniences were taken away for just a short amount of time.
Unfortunately, God was not done with me.
This past week Jeff went to Texas to explore the possibility of him finding a job there. I guess, truth be told, I was hoping for a miracle and for Him to open the doors and Jeff to come home with a brand new job and everything be worked out.....the end.
Well, my husband did not come home with a job and I immediately went into panic mode. I really tried not to, but my human nature took over and I gave in. I have gone through the entire range of emotions that we women possess. Fear. Anger. Guilt.
But tonight, God held my hand and helped me to remember that He is still here.
I knew this time of "waiting" was going to come. I knew it. I just didn't think it was going to be this hard.
God had an amazing life planned out for Joseph. A life of dining with royalty and amazing responsibility, but it wasn't all fun and games. Joseph had to endure the "dark part of the path". A place were things don't go the way you planned them to. A place where God may be silent for a season. A place were it is dark and unfamiliar and there seems to be no one around.
Maybe things in your life are not going exactly as you hoped they would. Maybe you are in your dark part of the path as well. We all need to take comfort in the fact that God is still here with us. I know this is a very cliche saying, but " He is more interested in our character than our comfort". God had to mold Joseph in the rough times so that he (Joseph) could come through for Him in the great moments. I mean, who else could have had the strength to forgive his dead-beat brothers than a man who had to forgive the women who put him in jail for something he didn't do. I have always heard it said, "You are in the light who you are in the shadows".
During this time in my life I am learning that my comforts are not what should give me emotional stability. My circumstances should not determine my happiness. God is here in the dark places, ready to change me into the person He needs me to be for the next fifty years.


Friday, March 13, 2009

A little break.....


When Jeff and I were searching for our first home we always heard, "Buying a home is a true test of your marriage". Well...listen up, because I am here to set the records straight. Buying a home won't kill your marriage, but selling one will.
OH MY WORD.
I never, in all of my life, thought it would be this hard for two people to put a house on the market. And really, I guess it hasn't been THAT hard, but it sure has taken a tole on us. I have literally been exhausted every day this week and there is still soooooo much left to be done.
So, with all of that being said, I think I'm going to join my husband and take a blogging break. Just until next month. We have SOOOO much going on this month and I need to be focused. I also need to be in prayer and in God's Word. I need Him to speak to me so that I can share with y'all.
I hope you can understand, and I'll see you on the other side!
Love you!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Please Pray

I do not know this man or this church, and that really doesb't matter. If you are reader of my blog, then I am asking you to please pray for this family. I can not imagine what they are going through right now.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


This is how I feel like my life looks right now.
Sorry for the laps in posts this week, but life is moving pretty fast right now and I am doing good to just stay a float.
Nothing bad or sad, just fast paced.
I have been wanting to share with all of you, and now I feel the freedom to do so.
Jeff and I have been through a journey this last year and a half and it is all coming to a head recently. Here is the short version.
Jeff and I have been praying and seeking God for answers. God has been so good and has given extremely clear direction and we KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that He has spoken. We were both feeling un-settled with life and couldn't put our fingers on it. We are at a great church, filled with great and loving people who support us and challenge us on a regular basis. Our marriage was great, we loved our kids and for the most part were happy.
Jeff and I both have a passion for God’s church, specifically the leaders of His church. We want to see churches grow and prosper and become everything God had planned for them to be. So, through much prayer and exploration, Jeff is looking into a career of church consulting. Looking is a loose term because basically God is opening doors like crazy. I looked at Jeff the other night, and with utter amazement at what God is doing, asked him “Could this really be happening?”
I would love to share every little detail with you all, but it would just take too long. So instead, I’m going to ask for your prayers.
· In the next couple of weeks Jeff is traveling to Texas. These meetings could help us see if moving back to Texas is going to be a real possibility or not. Please pray that God leads in a MIGHTY way and that clear direction is given.
· At the end of April, Jeff is going to a week long training session. Please pray that he gets everything he needs.
· Please pray that our house sells BEFORE we move. This is what is keeping me up at night. We are getting new carpet and are making lots of touch ups. Our house is hopefully going to be on the market in the next couple of weeks.
All of these changes are taking a toll on me emotionally as well (the main reason I have not been blogging). We are giving up our dog Buddy. He has been my “furry” child for the last 11 years. I have taken both of my children off of the list for school next year at their pre-school. Basically, I’m cutting all of the ties and am having a hard time. I’m soooooo grateful to God for what He is doing and I know this is exactly what Jeff and I are supposed to be doing, but it is still hard.
Thank you all for your patience. Life will return to normal soon, and so will my posts!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shower Time - Part III


I have actually made these several years in a row for Christmas gifts, but never thought to make them for a shower until the other day when another blog I follow suggested the idea! What fun!

Just in case I lost ya, the yummy treats above are chocolate covered pretzel sticks. They are super easy (and affordable) little treats to make for any occasion. All you need is a little imagination on how you want them to turn out!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks
1 Bag Large Pretzel Sticks
1 Bag Chocolate Chips

If you have a double boiler this process can go a lot smoother, however I have never had one so I made my own version and it works great! Just take a sauce pan and pour enough water in it to keep a boil for a while. I use a metal mixing bowl and place it over the sauce pan (when the water is boiling). Place the chocolate chips in the metal sauce pan and let them completely melt. Once the chocolate is a smooth consistency, then start dipping the pretzel sticks in half way. I normally line a cookie sheet with wax paper and have it waiting nearby. Once you dip the sticks, place them on the tray. Now is the time to "decorate" them. This is where your creativity can come out! Here are a few suggestions:
  • Baby Shower-Girl: Use white chocolate with pink sprinkles
  • Baby Shower-Boy: Use white chocolate with blue sprinkles
  • Christmas handouts(these make great teachers gifts):Use white or dark chocolate with crushed peppermints, or Christmas colored sprinkles.

There are sooooooo many new items out there for candy/cookie decorations. A personal favorite is the colored sugars. They are very classic and pretty. At Christmas time I buy the cellophane bags from Walmart, put a few chocolate covered pretzels in them and wrap them up in a bow. So cute and very affordable!

Anyway, have fun! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

By the way, I know the topics have been kinda light around here lately. Thanks for hanging in with me. Next week I'm going to be getting back to some more serious items. See ya then!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shower Time - Part II

There are so many things I enjoy about baby showers, but the food is always at the top of the list.
My favorite thing to eat is petit fours (the tiny little cake bites covered in frosting with a cute decoration on top)! YUM-O!
Here is another thing I love to take. It is so easy to make and every time I make it I am always asked for the recipe.
Sweet Meatballs
1 package frozen meatballs (I like to use the mini sized ones)
1 Jar Chili Sauce
1 Can Jellied Cranberry's
In a sauce pan over medium heat, add all of the ingredients. Simmer for 10-15 and enjoy.
YES, it is that easy and they are so good. Be sure to bring toothpicks with you and don't expect to bring any home!
If there is something you are know for making and taking to a baby shower, then please share! I love having new things to add to my recipe book!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shower Time


I am starting to feel like I am coming down with something, so...I'm going to keep this week light. (I am drinking plenty of fluids and taking my vitamins :) )

Anyway, the season is upon us. Shower Season. Baby Showers!!! I LOVE baby showers! Love the food, love the decorations, love the gifts, love the fellowship and my favorite ones are when the baby has already been born because then we all get to hold it and love on it and get our baby fix without having to take it home!! :)
SO...in light of this special time of year I thought I would post three yummy treats I always have for baby showers! Today's is a yummy punch, which I actually made this morning (for a goodbye party).

Frosty Punch

1 2 liter bottle of 7 Up
1 Frozen Pink Lemonade mix (the kind you find in the frozen foods section, where the frozen juice is)
1 Container of Sherbet (I like to color coordinate mine according to the event)

Let everything set out for about 20 minuets. In an average sized punch bowl, add the thawed pink lemonade, then add half of the 7 Up. Take an ice cream scoop and scoop in the sherbet. Then add the rest of the 7 Up.

Here are some tips I have used along the way:
  • If you are going to a girl baby shower then get Raspberry or Strawberry sherbet.
  • If you are going to a boy baby shower then try to find a Kroger in your area because SOMETIMES they will carry a Wild Berry sherbet that is blue. If not, I have tried this: get Pineapple sherbet (because it is usually white) and then take blue food coloring to the 7 Up. It tasted fine, but you will need to pour out the 7 Up in separate bowl, mix in the food color and then add it to the punch.
  • If you need to make a pink colored punch but cannot find pink colored sherbet, what I have done before is bought the cherry flavored 7 Up and then used the Pineapple sherbet.
  • I highly recommend using 7 Up. I have tried it with Sprite, Ginger Ale and even some of the store brand drinks, but none of them ever taste as good as 7 Up. I'm not sure why, put after 12 years of making this punch it is the only brand I will use.

ENJOY!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Little Bit of Random - Part III

Today is the day!
This time 417 days ago I started reading the Bible shown above. I have to admit that I never thought I would finish it. Actually, that is not entirely the truth. I wanted to finish it on time because I am a very competitive person and I did not want to "loose". I know, I know, not the best reason to do this, but once I got started I really enjoyed it. So, today 52 days after the "end date" I finished.
WOO-WHOO!
I hate to admit this, especially as a minister's wife, but I have never read the entire Bible all the way through. In fact, there are several books of the Bible that I have never read even one time.
Going through the process of reading this Bible has changed my life in so many ways. I honestly feel like I know more about God than I ever have. So many things about Him that I "knew" but never really allowed to change my heart.
If you have not read through the entire Bible, I challenge you to. It will change your life, your relationship with God and the way you see people that He created and loves.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Little Bit of Random - Part II


Isn't it amazing what a little coffee can do to your life? I love Starbucks. Always have, always will. A good nights sleep and a good cup of coffee. A great combination to start the day!
In keeping with the "random" theme, I thought I would share a verse that has really taught me a lot this week.
If you have your Bible's today, please turn with me to I Peter 3:8-9. HA! I've always wanted to say that! Seriously, if you don't have it with you then just check out the link.
So, verse 8 is pretty self explanatory. I don't have any issues with it. It makes sense.
It's verse 9 that trips me up. Big time. Why? Well, because I'm human. If you cause me pain, then you should have pain too.
Verse 9 says, "Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing." (Honestly, while I was typing this out I thought about the God's Pottery from Last Comic Standing. In one of the episode's they had to square off against another comedian and take turns insulting each other. God's Pottery chose instead to "hurl" love at their opponent. It was funny). But I digress.
Ok...back to being serious. So, when people insult us, we are supposed to give them a blessing. So, as I always do when I have a question, I pulled out my John MacArthur Commentary and looked up the verse. Here is what is says about the word blessing. "Blessing means to speak well of, or to eulogize." As I read that I was thinking, "Ok, I can do that. Not to hard. I just need to speak well of them." And then came the kicker. Let me finish writing the rest of what it says. "The blessing that a Christian is to give to the reviler includes:
  • 1) finding ways to serve him
  • 2) praying for his salvation or spiritual progress
  • 3) expressing thankfulness for him
  • 4) speaking well of him
  • 5) desiring his well-being"

Whoa.

So needles to say I have A LOT to work on.

Over the last year I have come to learn that holiness simply means set apart. If we are to be holy as God is holy then we are going to have to be set apart from the way the world operates. When we are set apart is when the world has a chance to see something different. This will hopefully bring them closer to God. I'm not saying I have it all together, but maybe we can all think about these simple blessings the next time our feelings are hurt, or we receive hurtful words from a friend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Little Bit of Random

Can I just say how much I envy this woman? Ugh, I need me some SLEEP! My youngest is teething and it is killing me, our oldest, my husband, the dog.....you name it. I know this is just a phase and it will end like all of the others, but man.....I'm tired. In fact, I think my tired humor scared a co-worker today. You see, when you haven't had a full nights rest in over two weeks you mind gets a little funky and you say things that probably should not cross the great divide between your mind and your mouth. Here is what I said to my co-worker. "I now understand why Zombies eat humans. They are so tired, they don't know the difference. They'll just eat whatever is in front of them." And here is the best part. I then put my arm up next to my mouth and pretended to chew on it. I then experienced the longest awkward pause of my life. I know, I know. This is what happens to me when I am sleep deprived.
So, in light of that I decided not to tackle a deep issue tonight here on the old blog and decided instead to share something on the lighter side.
A few months ago I ran across this prayer in the Bible. Philippians 1: 9-11 says (in the New Living version), "I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ-for this will bring much glory and praise to God."
What an awesome prayer! Paul knew what he was doing. Over the last year I have Incorporated the aid of a wonderful commentary, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur. This book has opened the Bible to me like never before. Mainly because I trust this man and his writings. I want to share with you what he says about a few of the key words in these verses.
Verse 10 - "understand". The word approve is used in the New American Standard Version. "Approve in the classical Greek described..the testing of money for authenticity. Believers need the ability to distinguish those things that are truly important so they can establish the right priorities."
Verse 9 - "understanding". The word discernment is used in the New American Standard Version. "The English word aesthetic comes from this Greek word, which speaks of moral perception, insight and the practical application of knowledge. Love is not blind, but perceptive, and it carefully scrutinizes to distinguish between right and wrong."
Here is my version of how this prayer might look like when I pray it for a friend.
"Lord, I pray that "___________" 's love will overflow out of what you give them. I pray that they would continue to seek out that which is important instead of that which is here today and gone tomorrow. I pray that they will be able to know without a shadow of a doubt what it real and what is fake in this world, so that they can run after You with a clean heart and clear conscience. I pray that they will glorify You in all of their pursuits and will continue to grow in the gifts You have given to them."
So, who can you pray this for? We all have someone in our lives that needs all the prayer they can get. Take a minute and pray for the person(s) God prompts you to. When you are done go read this and have a great laugh! (Tiffany, you never disappoint!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Review - Part III

For the last part of this blog I thought I would share some of my favorite quotes from this book and why I like them.
  • "Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be." This one statement is what helped me realize the difference between a vision for something and just a need you think should be met. This is a very important concept for anyone, no matter where you are in life. There are a lot of "good" things we should be doing, but if it is not your passion then you shouldn't guilt yourself into doing it.
  • "A vision rarely requires immediate action. It always requires patience." Well, thank you Mr. Stanley for saying what we have all been thinking! Sometimes what you want to happen is not going to happen overnight. I really believe this is why people get frustrated a lot with certain ministries. They come into a new project ready to see "miracles" and then a year goes by and they are severely defeated because nothing exciting ever happened. Last year I went to a one day women's conference here in Columbia and a lady from Indiana (I think) was taking about the inner city ministry she and her husband were in. They had been there for about three years and were trying everything they could to get people to their church. They were near a very successful church and decided to meet with the senior pastor to pick his brain and see what they could glean from his ministry. They met him in the gym his church had just built. They looked around and were amazed at all of the young volunteers he had to help with the after-school program his church had just started that year. She and her husband began to ask him how he did it and how long did it take him. She said he politely smiled and then pointed to a young women (probably 19 years old) and said, "She was the first member of my church". They both paused and continued listening to him. "You see", he said, "the two of you are not going to walk into your neighborhood and change things overnight. You are going to have to start with the elementary school kids in your area and walk them through middle school and high school. These kind of volunteers do not walk in off the street. They are born out of years and years of laying the foundation." In essence, he was telling her that she and her husband needed to be in it for the long haul if they ever wanted to see real life change.
  • "Why should God bring an opportunity your way if you are not in a position to take advantage of it?" Wow, this is so true. This helped me to realize that planning is so important to seeing my dreams accomplished.
  • "Once God decides something needs to be done, it is never a matter of if. The issue is usually who. Who will step forward, embrace the vision and move ahead by faith." This ignited the fire I needed to finish what God had called me to. When I realized that God was asking me to do this task, then I knew I could not turn away.

Whatever your passion is, I think this book can help. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Book Review - Part II


I thought about trying to write a fancy-schmancy review of this book, but then I realized I should leave that to the experts. :)
Here is what the back of the book says: "Visioneering is the engineering of a vision. It's the process one follows to develop and maintain vision. "Vision," writes Andy Stanley, "is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be."In the bestselling Visioneering, Stanley builds a compelling case for the necessity of a clear, God-ordained vision for each of the roles of your life. Whether you're a parent with a vision for your children or a CEO pursuing a corporate vision, Visioneering is the perfect tool to help you develop and maintain God's unique purpose for your life."
One of the coolest things to me is that in the inside of the book are the reviews by other people and they range from pastors to CEO's. This book really is for everyone who has a vision to see something happen.
One of my favorite chapters in this book is chapter two, Praying and Planning. To me, it is the fire that everyone needs to sit on to get their butt in motion. So many times in life we all have things we would love to do, but it never goes any farther than that. This chapter helped me to see that God really does care about the things I dream of doing, and that HE put those dreams inside of me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Book Review

Why I Love This Book!!!
In 2008 I wrote out a list of books I wanted to read. I think the grand total came to eight and I finished ......... 4! A personal best for me!
The funny thing is that this book, Visioneering by Andy Stanley, was not on my list. I was actually looking up another book and happened to notice this one in the "readers also bought this" section of the web-sight. It caught my eye, so I decided to read some of the reviews. Once I looked at the chapter titles I knew Jeff needed to read this book. (Like any good wife, I knew what was best for my husband.) The funny thing is, I needed this book more than any of the others I read this last year (excluding the Read-Through-In-A-Year Chronological Bible).
Jeff and I decided to take it two chapters at a time. We would read on our own through out the week and then on Sunday night we would meet together to discuss what we liked and what we learned. (And by the way, yes, we each had our own copy of the book because getting two only children to share is NEVER going to happen in this marriage.) :)
I can honestly say that this book has had a profound influence on my life. It has given me hope for the dreams I wish to accomplish in my life and a firm biblical foundation for why my dreams should be pursued.
Sometimes, as Christians, we use the excuse "God must have other plans for me" when things don't go the way we hoped they would. For years I accepted this excuse as truth. I don't anymore, and this book is why.
The rest of this week I will be sharing a very brief review of the entire book and some of my favorite quotes. I hope you'll come back!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Serious - Part III


This is Serious - Part III

Last night my husband rented Madagascar II. We are big fans of these movies and we were not disappointed in this one. It is very cute and so funny. I highly recommend it!

I don't want to give away too much of the movie, but I wanted to talk about one particular part of it. The cute zebra above is named Marty. In the second movie he finds a whole bunch of other zebra's. He is so excited at first, then he realizes that he is no different than any of the rest of them. During the movie his friend Alex (Alex the lion), tries to find Marty in the midst of the other thousands of Marty's. Alex picks him out of all of them and they finish their task of saving the world. At the end of the movie Alex looks Marty in the face and says, "I can look into your eyes and I know it's you.".

This whole idea captured my mind for a few hours after the movie and I wanted to share it with you. Ya see, what we do is serious. The way we present ourselves in the world is serious, because there are people out there just like Marty. People who think they are just a number. People who think they just blend into the crowd. People who probably after years of just feeling like a nobody eventually start to think that God probably sees them that way too. You and I know that that is not the case at all. We know that our God formed them in their mother's womb and has an awesome plan for their life. We are called to be light to these people who are searching for the truth.

Every single Sunday morning people like "Marty" walk into your church and my church. They sit in a seat during the service and think that no one else will notice them, no one else cares especially God. We need to be the hands and feet that point them to the God who loves them unashamedly and who wants to whisper into their hearts, "I can look into your eyes and I know it's you.". Everyone needs to be known. They need to know that they are not just another number, that they are not just another face in the crowd.

I don't know what they look like or what their name is, but God does. Take a few minutes before you leave for your church service and ask God to use you in the life of a "Marty". Maybe you could be the one that points them to a great small group, or a mommies group or whatever. Take a risk and help someone to know that they are not alone in this world!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Is Serious - Part II

This Is Serious - Part II

I doubt there is one person in America who can not identify the guy in the picture posted above, but just in case, it is Michael Phelps. Eight time gold medal winner in the last summer Olympics. Without a doubt, he is an unbelievable talent.

The sad thing is that I have had more discussions about him in the last week than I ever had during the time he won all of his gold medals. (Just in case you've been out of touch for a while, he was caught smoking marijuana.) I've also read a few blogs about it and thought this one did a good job of expressing what I feel about it as well. I highly recommend, if you have the time, to read through all of the comments.

Tonight, during a good conversation with a GREAT friend, Michael Phelps was brought up. During our conversation I was reminded of a chapter I read in the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley. This particular chapter deals with the topic of moral authority. Here is how he defines it: "Moral authority is the credibility you earn by walking your talk. It is the relationship other people see between what you say and what you do, between what you claim to be and what you are." Here is a simple example of this idea. You have a cavity, so you go to the dentist, but when you get there you see that his (or her) teeth are disgusting. They have very yellow teeth that are black with decay. Their teeth are all chipped and some of them are missing because they had to have them pulled out. You get the picture. What kind of a dentist are they if they can not keep their own teeth clean and healthy. You are most likely not going to take their advice on oral hygiene if they won't do it themselves.

The same idea is true for us. We can not speak into the hearts of the people God has placed in our lives if we are not striving for the same things we are teaching them. Whether we like it or not, we are known by our actions. Andy Stanley said it this way, "..you must be careful how you live. Everyday represents another potential opportunity to develop or destroy your moral authority.".

All of us make mistakes. We are human. It's gonna happen. What we should strive for is not perfection, but purpose. Sometimes it is good for the people who follow us to see us make a mistake because it helps them to relate to us. I believe what they are truly looking at is how we handle the mistake AFTER it is made. Do we have repentance over the mistake? Do we set up check-points in our lives to guard ourselves against another mistake?

What we do is serious. It affects the lives of those who follow us. As leaders who are trying to point people to THE ONLY THING that really matters in this life, we should admit when we have made a mistake and then strive to live a life that pleases God.

Monday, February 2, 2009

This Is Serious


This is Serious
For those of you who do not have young children, let me introduce to you Ming Ming. She is the beautiful yellow duck pictured above in her fancy-shmancy green cape! HA!
She is one of the characters in a Nick Jr cartoon called Wonder Pets and just in case you have never seen the show one of her most repeated lines is "This.... is .....serious".
This is the exact same thing I said when I read Leviticus 10:1-10.
The first time I really read this story was just about this time last year. I still remember pausing after I read it, just to catch my breath.
You see, I have two children. Two very sweet, very cute children who are learning everyday what it means to obey their mama and daddy. I can not IMAGINE watching them die right before my very eyes in a blaze of fire. I can not imagine dying in a fire at all. I think that would be the worst way to die.
Unfortunately this is what happens in our churches on a regular basis. Take a minute and think about some of the people who were in your church this time last year but are not there this year. Is it because they got divorced? Are they in jail for a crime they committed (while attending your church)? Did one of their kids get kicked out of school because they tried to set it on fire?
What we do in our churches is not a game, it's serious. We have to be light, not only to the lost world, but to the people we stand beside on Sunday mornings.
Sometimes our "ministry" can feel like such a routine.
Get to church, do our thing, go home.
Get to church, do our thing, go home.
God has placed these people in our lives for a very specific reason. Read verse 10 again, "You must distinguish between what is sacred and what is common, between what is ceremonially unclean and what is clean". I look at Aaron as the founding father for all of us who are in the ministry today and I believe that God considers what we do on Sunday's, Wednesday's and every other day just as important as what He wanted Aaron to do with the Israelites.
Being able to witness real life change is an honor reserved for the truly committed. We have to take what we do seriously. Marriages are at stake, families are at stake and people's eternity are at stake.
It truly is a blessing when someone is allowed to minister. Take this blessing seriously in your own life and strive to live in such a way that people will stop, take notice and want the same God you serve in their life.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

How To Support Your Pastor's Wife

How To Support Your Pastor's Wife
Last night I was catching up on some of the other blogs that I read when I noticed something funny. This particular person happens to be a senior pastor and he wrote about the fact that only one person in his church had invited him to a Super Bowl Party.
One side of me chuckled under my breath and said, "Welcome to the club buddy." The other side of me (the nicer side) said, "I understand."
We have all been there. I started to understand this after Jeff and I had been in the ministry for about three years. We had a youth function at a church member's house and the women who's house we were at came up to me (during the event) and began to tell me how nervous she was with me in her house. She went on and on about how she had cleaned it the best she could and how she had spent hours at the grocery store buying just the right food so as not to offend me. WWHHAATT?
I still remember laying on her floor that night thinking, "What was that all about?" A few weeks later it began to sink in, when I had another women come up to me and tell me how nervous she was having Jeff and I in her small group because she was afraid she wasn't going to be able to answer any of the questions right.
I am sure that at one time or another this has happened to us all. People in our churches forget that we are just as human as them. They begin to erect the pedestal to place us on, only to be let down when they realize just how human we really are. Then, out of hurt or disappointment they proceed to knock us off the pedestal, leaving us in a pile of confusion and heart-ache.
It is at this time when we can really show support to our pastor's wife. Here is how:
  • When someone wants to talk to you about how your pastor's wife has let them down, STOP THEM! Explain to them how much you respect her. Encourage them with the truth that she is just as human as they are. Direct them to have grace towards her, and to forgive her.
  • When you hear other church members say things like, "I really don't want (pastor's wife) coming to this baby shower because I never know what to say to her.", STOP THEM! Gently remind them that she needs friends just like they do. Give them a few topics that they can bring up in front of her, to get to know her better. And, when you go to the shower (or whatever event it is) hang around your pastor's wife and get her talking about some of the crazy things she did in college, or help her bring up some of the funny stories she has about her kids.

We can help to be the mediator between our church members and our pastor's wife. Maybe, by our efforts, our pastor's wife can see the love that our church members have for her!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Intermission

Hello Dear Friends!
I am sorry that it is late and I am just now making my post, but tomorrow is going to be a glorious day and I had a lot to get done before time ran out. There will be much rejoicing in my heart this time tomorrow and I will tell you why.
JEFF AND I ARE GETTING AWAY FOR TWO ENTIRE DAYS WITH NO KIDS!
Yes, you read that right and I am so excited! (can you tell?)
There was a little scare last night that just about threw me over the edge, but God was gracious and provided a solution. So we are back in business!
I was going to post the second part of the Supporting Your Pastor's Wife topic I started on Monday, but then I had another idea.
As I have mentioned before I read a lot of blogs and one that has become a daily read is Perry Noble's. If you do not know of him, he is a very "famous" pastor up here in these parts. :)
Seriously, if you have seen any of the One Pray series then he is the guy that go's on and on about the Cracker Barrel biscuits (so funny). Anyway, he is a great guy and he writes some pretty real stuff. So his post from this morning was no exception. I wanted to share it with you all and give some thoughts on his ideas. I plan on doing my own version of this in a couple of months.
#5 - "I should spend way less time focusing on being “right” and way more time on being faithful. "
Man, this one hit me right between the eyes. Uuuugghhh. Does anyone else struggle with this? Why do I always think it is more important to be right than to be faithful to the people God has called me to serve? If you serve on a church staff, your husband does or you lead a group of people at your church, then this piece of information is for you. A great way to start doing this is to listen to the people you lead. Just shut your mouth and listen to what they have to say.
#6 -"Comparing (Your Church) to other churches will either lead to pride or feeling like a failure…I need to desperately seek Jesus consistently to see who HE has called us to be."
This is so important for those of us who have spouses on a church staff. Sometimes we look at other churches and think, "I wish we were on staff there because they have (this) and (that) and blah, blah, blah. What we don't realize is that we are telling our spouses, "You work at a crappy church." Not such a good thing to say to build moral into someone who is trying everything they can to do a great job at where they are. Try as hard as you can not to compare your church with other churches in the area. Focus on the good things you are doing and all of the lives that are being changed!
#9 - "Those who you think will always be with you won’t always be with you."
This one is the reason I wanted to write this post. I can not stress this idea to you all enough. This idea works both ways.
People who are mean to your husband, cut him down in front of other church members, or cause you and your family emotional pain will not always be with you. I have experienced this so many times in the different churches we have worked at. Have patience and faith in God that He will move them out of your church when the time is right.
People who you think will be your great friends forever, that you will grow old with and see all of the time, they will leave as well. So spend as much time with them as you can. Personally invest in their lives and point them closer to Jesus every chance you get, because there probably is going to come a day when they have to move, or decide to switch churches. It happens too often, so cherish the time you have.
Please pray for Jeff and I that we have a great time away. Please pray that our children will be happy and healthy while we are gone, and very obedient for the people who are taking care of them!

Monday, January 26, 2009

How to Pray for Your Pastor's Wife

How To Pray For Your Pastor's Wife
I happen to read a lot of blogs (probably way to many), and one that I have learned a lot from is this sweet lady. She is very honest about her life, marriage and parenting. A few months ago she wrote this post about how to pray for the staff wives at your church. I e-mailed her and asked if I could use it on my blog and she graciously said yes!
So, during Pastor Appreciation Month, I printed this out and gave it to the ladies in my accountability group. My pastor's wife happens to be in this group so I asked her to tell us what she thought about these and what we could add to it. She loved it and said that they all were true and very helpful things to pray for.
Here are my thoughts on a few of them:
  • To know when to have important discussions. Sometime your pastor's wife is going to have to tell someone something that they don't want to hear. We need to pray that she will have discernment from God about timing, what to say and how to say it.
  • To form trustworthy friendships. She will need this more than we will ever know. We need to be fervently praying for this! And, I hate to tell you this, but........it might not include you. OUCH! I know, that one kinda hurts, but think about it. She needs a safe environment to vent. She may want to vent about something your husband did or didn't do, or maybe even about you. AND THAT'S OK. Sometimes when people vent they realize that they were not really mad about that situation (what they were really mad about was everything else in their life and this situation just tipped them over the edge).
  • To grow personally in her relationship with the Lord. This is so stinking important. How can we expect someone to pour into our lives if they are not being poured into themselves. She needs time with God and His Word. Pray for her to have the ability to carve out the time in her unbelievable schedule. Pray for it to be a refreshing time and that she never feels rushed or guilty about getting to do something she is enjoying. Pray that her husband, kids and other church memebers won't be a distraction to her during this time.

"I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you may grow in your knowledge of God." Ephesians 1:17

Saturday, January 24, 2009

KK's Yummy Special Rice


Happy Saturday to Everyone!
I hope you all are doing well and staying warm
(depending on what part of the world you are in!).
I want to say a big THANK YOU to you all for sticking around this week. I'm sorry that the posts have not been on the days I said they would be. My lap-top is still in the hands of the Geek Squad, so in the mean time I'm confined to my old computer which is very persnickety and won't cooperate all of the time.
I also wanted to tell you all about a lady who needs our prayers. I have never personally met her but I love her blog! I think if I were ever to have an older sister I would want it to be her! Plus she reminds me soooo much of this sweet lady (who really is my sister, she just doesn't know it yet!!!!! :)
Anyway, this is why she needs our prayers.
(Scroll through the rest of the posts she made for this month and you'll get caught up on the progress.)
OK, so who needs a good side dish recipe? Well, have I got one for you!
There is a disclaimer that needs to proceed this recipe : It's not the best thing to serve someone who is on a low sodium diet.
1 cup of rice (like the kind pictured above, just make sure it is not minute rice)
1 can Campbell's French Onion soup
1 can Campbell's Beef Consume soup
1/2 stick of butter (or margarine)
Place everything in a microwave safe dish. Give it a good stir and then microwave for 10 minutes. Take it out and let it sit for a minute, then give it another good stir. Place back in the microwave and cook for another 6-10 minutes (depending on how well stuff cooks in your microwave). Let it cool, and your done!
I have heard of some people who like to bake it in the oven on 300 degrees for 45 minutes. I do not have that kind of time :)
Enjoy, and I'll see on Monday!





Friday, January 23, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted - Part Two

Bloom Where You Are Planted - Part Two
So, you've packed up your house, packed up your family and packed up your life. Loaded everything and everyone into your car(s) and headed west (or east as the case may be)!
Then, you've un-packed your house, un-packed your family and un-packed your life.
Now what?
Well, this is where the true "journey" begins. Making friends.
I'll be honest........I'm not very good at this part. Don't get me wrong, I'm perky (when I need to be) pleasant to be around (most of the time) and generally a fun person to hang out with. I can carry a conversation with almost everyone and can discuss most major topics that are taking place in our world. It's the in-between times that I have a hard time with. Like the introducing myself times and the asking you personal questions times.
So, how have I survived this over the last 11 years? Here's what I have learned along the way.
  • You might have to do some "uncomfortable" things. Like, go to a mommy's group where you don't know anyone, or a Ladies Bible Study when you have never studied this topic before or go over to someones home whom you have never met before. Basically, little Ms. Turtle, you are going to HAVE TO GET OUT OF THAT SHELL. Believe me, NO ONE knows about how easy it is to hide away in your house better than I do. I'm not a people person but unfortunatly this profession does not lend it's self to introverts. What will start happening is thoughts like, "No one likes me", or "No one has reached out to me" will start taking root in your mind and your heart. And you know what, maybe no one has reached out to you, so ....... go reach out to them. Give someone the chance to get to know you, because the truth is they will probably like you!
  • Learn from others. I'll tell you who are the pros at this, military wives. Man, they are freaking GREAT at this. And the one reason I believe they are is because they HAVE to be. They have no other choice. But it does pay off! The one military wife who taught me this is my sweet friend Jessi. The first time she came to our church was because she saw our sign and just knew she needed to come. No one invited her. She came on her own. She is one of the dearest friends I have had since living here in South Carolina (and we really miss her). When she walked through the door she started coming to almost everything we offered. Ladies Bible Studies, Mommy Play Groups, and Women's Retreats. She knew she had to , and now she's doing it again in the big MO. If your not a people person you are going to have to push yourself in this area. Give some new things a try. You never know how many good friends you could meet! I promise.

This is where your "roots" are going to start forming. And keep in mind that it is really hard to "bloom" without roots!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bloom Where You Are Planted



Bloom Where You Are Planted

These two flags represent where I came from and where I am now.

Can I just say that I miss HOME? Uuuuggghhh, something fierce.

There are many striking differences between these two lands:
· THE FOOD – BBQ in SC in pork. BBQ in Texas in beef (as God intended it). This took me a long time to get used to. And it’s a mustard-based sauce. In TX it’s a tomato-based sauce.
· THE DRIVING – Oh my word. Drivers in SC are the slowest going people I have ever met. It’s like they truly are on a joy ride every hour of every day. They will drive right next to you and especially right in your blind spot. In TX people will literally run you over if you do not get out of their way.
· THE NIGHTLIFE – In SC there is no nightlife. Almost every restaurant closes well before 10pm. In TX if you wanted homemade tortillas at 3:00am then you could go to about 20 different places and have as many as you wanted.
· THE GENERAL PACE OF LIFE – I think everything is just a little slower in SC. It didn’t even have its first Starbucks until a year after I moved here. In TX life is so fast paced. Everything is new and constantly changing. There were three Starbucks with in a 5-mile radius of my home when I graduated High School.

There may come a time in your ministry career when you are asked to move. It may be 200 miles, it may be 2000 miles or even half way around the world. I have had to move twice. I left Austin, TX to go to Raleigh, NC, and then left Raleigh to move to Columbia, SC (where we are now).
This concept of “bloom where you are planted” really didn’t take root in my heart until a couple of years ago. When we first moved to Raleigh I was so home sick I didn’t give the city a chance. I pretty much went to work, went to church and stayed at home. I really missed out on a beautiful city. There is a lot to do there.
When we moved to Columbia I slowly started to investigate what was out there.

Here are a few suggestions to help when (and if) you ever have to move away from someplace that you love:
· Ask the locals! Hey if it works for Rachel Ray, then it can work for us. Talk to people at your church and see what they suggest. Talk to your neighbors and co-workers. Talk to people that have lived there their whole life and people who have recently moved there as well.
· Take an adventure! Get in your car and just drive. By a map and search the land. Get out of the house and stretch your legs. You never know what you’ll find.
· Use tools like City Search and Google to help you see things you didn’t know about.

The point is, your there. Grow some roots, learn the culture and have fun while your doing it.



Monday, January 19, 2009

How to deal with hurt from a family member

How to deal with hurt from a family member
We've all heard the saying, "Blood is thicker than water", but sometimes it can be so thick it can choke you.
I have the privilege of having my parents in the same city as me. Actually they are exactly five minutes from our home. They are a great help with the kids and I have to admit it is nice having some of our family close to us. But sometimes...........
So how about you? Have you ever heard one of these statements:
  • Why did your husband move you so far away from me?
  • Are you guys still doing that ministry thing? When are you going to get a real job?
  • Ya know, working at a church is great for when your a youth, but don't you think it's time you got a better job?
  • There is no way I could live off of what your husband makes. That would drive me crazy.

Our families mean well, but sometimes their words can cut like a knife. I have had so many friends in the ministy who have turned down great opportunities because their parents didn't want them to move away. Or, they took the wrong job because they were trying to run away from someone in their family that they did not want to be around.

This time last year I read a verse that knocked me on the floor. (Probably because I was living this post out). Leviticus 19:17 says, "Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives." I don't think it can get any clearer than that. :)

Our family members are not perfect, but I believe we are called to honor them no matter what. I can speak from first hand experience that my family has not lived up to my "expectations" or plain needs but I know that no matter what I have to honor them. And really, it's because I know that the members of my church see the way I respond to them. We have to be the example for them because they are watching our every move. When you are on staff at a church you are in a life-sized fish bowl. People will follow your example. If they hear you speak ill of a family member or make fun of your parents that is what they will do as well.

I can remember every single time my "home" pastor (aka Preacher) made fun of his mother. ZERO TIMES.

And now as an adult I can tell you what an impact that has had on my life.

Whether it is a brother, sister, mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, uncle........whatever, we have to honor them.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Computer Trouble

Hello my dear friends!
I wanted to let everyone know that I did not post on Friday because my brand-new lap top bit the dust! UUUGGGHHHH.
We are having it fixed, but ALL of my pre-written posts were lost. (The most frustrating part is that I had made out a list of topics for the entire year and that was lost as well) Oh well.
I will try to work on re-writting them as soon as I can. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How to deal with hurt from a church member


How to deal with hurt from a church member

One of the best things I did last year was to read through the Bible in a year, chronologically. It has been amazing! So amazing in fact, I’m going to continue to do it every other year.
I’ve truly learned so much about church history. I’ve loved learning about the Levities and the priest’s. I’ve come to consider them my “people”. They are who we started from. They are the first “ministers”, so to speak. I’ve loved reading about them. It’s weird to say this but, they were some messed up people. Seriously. Some of the time they had it together, and most of the time they did not. One of the leaders in the Bible that truly captured my thoughts was Moses. Man, he had it rough. I felt for Moses. He was stuck with these people who moaned and groaned at every turn. “I want to go back to Egypt”, “You don’t lead us the right way”, “We don’t believe you”.

When I came to the end of Moses’ life I felt like I had run a marathon. Some of things he had to endure would have driven me right over the edge. Numbers 16 is a prime example. When I read through this chapter I started to realize the type of leader Moses had become. I mean, take a look at him in Exodus 3 and 4. He protested against God for the calling on his life and then in Numbers 16 he is pleading for the lives of those who wanted him “fired”.
In verse 2 the “members” of Moses’ tribe decided that he just didn’t have the stuff to lead them anymore, that he had become too big for his britches and that they were going to bring him back down to their level. Korah, the leader of the rebellion decided to go straight to the top for his support. He gathered all of the prominent members of their assembly. Here is what he decided to use as his opening argument against Moses:”What right do you have to act as though you are greater than the rest of the Lord’s people?” Here is where I realized the kind of great leader Moses had become, because had I been Moses this is what Korah and all his prominent members would have heard. “Are you talking to me? Is he talking to me? You did not just ask me if I thought I was greater. The right I have is the fact that I carried your sorry little rump all over this desert for the last several years, listening to your whining and crying about we have no food, we have no water, and we should have just stayed in Egypt.” (As you can read, I’m trying to work on my mercy skills)

I believe Moses was transformed as a leader because he learned how important people are to God. He learned that God’s character is shown to the world by the way we represent Him. It does not specifically say this in the Bible. These are just my “in between the lines” thoughts.
We are all going to face opposition from church members. They are going to cast doubt on our husband’s, our lives, our choices and our abilities. I think that is just a part of leadership. So what do you do when the people you are leading turn on you? I think we have to keep a few things in mind.

1) They have doubts just like us. I think it is in everyone’s nature to question the events and people that surround them. Be patient with your people and give God a chance to mature them in their faith of who He has placed in leadership above them.

2) Sheep are stubborn creatures. Did you know that if you leave them out in the rain they will probably drown? It’s true and so sad. That’s why they need a shepherd. I imagine some of them even bite their shepherds hand when he is trying to bring them into a place of safety. People are the same way. They are going to lash out at whoever is the closest to them. Don’t let their words control who you are. Learn to let go.

3) We all have a choice to make. Dr. Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor. He lived by a simple principal, “Your ability to succeed in life often comes down to a single choice: how you react to what has been done to you in the past, or is being done to you in the present”. Make the choice each time you are hurt to forgive. Make the choice to look at them through Christ’s eyes. He would look past the hurtful remark straight to their heart. What is going on in their life right now that would cause them to react like that, and what can I do in this moment to bring them closer to God?

Remember, God has entrusted you with these people. They are your sheep. Tend to them. Bandage your hand when they bite you. Pick yourself back up when they knock you down and lead them to safety.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How To Deal With Hurt From Another Staff Member


How to deal with hurt from another staff member

So, do any of these scenarios sound familiar you?
· Your husband has spent the last month coming up with a creative idea for the church. He gives up time away from you, your kids and his own life. He plans everything out, organizes volunteers and gets everything ready to a T. Then your senior pastor stands up and takes credit for everything and never mentions your husband or any of the hard work he put into the event.
· You finally let your guard down and shared your feelings about one of the ministers at your church. Two weeks later you find out that everything you said in confidence was brought up at a staff meeting because your “friend” decided that you don’t have a team mentality.
· You and your husband decide to move half way across the county because the church of your dreams made you an offer you couldn’t refuse. Three months into it your ready to go back home because no one has reached out to you, you never see your husband anymore and the money you thought would solve all of your problems has only made things worse.

Sound familiar? If not, then give it time and one of these will happen to you or someone you know in the ministry. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”.
Hurt is going to come, whether it is intentional or not. What do we do with this hurt?

I have a few suggestions:
· Bottle it up. Never bring it up again, never let your guard down again and never so much as crack a smile in front of another staff member again.
· Tell yourself, “I’ll just let it go. He/She never really meant to hurt me and I’ll just put a smile on my face, turn up my praise music and sing my blues away!”
OR…

· Deal with it.

Let me ask you a few simple questions. Do you breathe? Do you have skin? When you feel sad do your eyes leak a clear substance? Then guess what? YOU’RE HUMAN! And so am I and when we are hurt, it hurts!!! Don’t run from your pain and think that you are going to be ok as long as you never have to deal with it again. If you’re still at the same church this happened at then you will see this person again. Don’t hide behind your fear of being hurt again. Remember that they are human too and they make mistakes. Maybe there is a deeper reason behind what they did to you, or maybe they are just selfish people who really have not grasped the Truth yet. Talk to God about it, talk to your husband about it and talk to a close friend who maybe lives far away (maybe even your mom). Talk about what happened; get it off your chest. Then do something you know you need to do. Forgive them. Truly, forgive them. Make a choice in your heart that even though they hurt you, you will not retaliate.

I had to learn the hard way that just because someone works at a church, has a seminary degree and leads other people to great heights in their walk with God does not mean that they are perfect all of the time. They are not and if you are expecting them to be then you are in for a rude awakening.

Do what you know you need to. Don’t hide your pain. Deal with it and move on to better things. You’ll be a better person for it. He promises!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Red Velvet Cake Bites

Red Velvet Cake Bites

Here is a wonderful recipe I found from this sweet girl. She has a great blog! I am so addicted to these little treats. I have made them about three times in the last month! Yummy!

1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix
1 Container Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Package Almond Bark-Vanilla

Mix cake according to directions. Bake and let it cool for 2-3 hours.
When cake is cool crumble it into a mixing bowl and mix in the entire container of frosting. Cover it and let it set in your frig overnight.
When mixture is cool then melt the Almond Bark according to the package directions. Take the cake mixture and roll it into little bite sized balls. Dip the bite sized balls into the melted Almond Bark.
Place in an air-tight container and let cool in your frig for another hour.

ENJOY!

These little things are so stinking good and you can modify the recipe to use what ever kind of cake and frosting you like!
I hope you have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who Are You Accountable To - Part III


Who Are You Accountable To – Part Three

Thank you for coming back to part three of this post! I hope that you have been able to think about the importance of this topic and have taken the time to pray about people you can talk to.
For some of you this is a new territory. Maybe you haven’t had the courage in the past to talk to a friend about starting an accountability relationship. If you have not here are a few things I would recommend you look for in the person you want to become accountable with:

· Would you consider this person trustworthy? If you have told them something private in the past and “somehow” other people found out, then I would keep your relationship at a friendship level only.

· Look for someone whom you trust, and are mature in their faith and character, and from whom you can learn so you can develop closeness and share shortcomings! What you do not want is someone to discipline you who is prideful, who only cares about themselves, or who is irritable, presumptive, "too busy," and neglectful of others!

· Look for someone whom you already know or have a connection with such as a common interest or season in life.

So how do you get this started? Well here is how our group started (and also how I started all of the groups I was previously in).

· Always start SLOW
Since you might not know this person(s) you need to take it slow. In my current group we spent the first year just talking about nothing. We met for coffee, had breakfast or would meet for a play date. We took our time really getting to know each other, and let me tell you, it paid off. I am so close to these ladies now and I know it’s because we went slow and didn’t force and deep relationship. We let it unfold naturally.

· Begin with a focused plan
· There are very specific things we go over every week in our group. Quite times, personal growth and our marriages. If you don’t have a starting point then you’re more likely to end nowhere. Start out by making a list of things you want to see improvement on and then help each other form a plan of how you’re going to get it done. Communicate ground rules or a code of conduct, clearly emphasizing confidentiality and equal time.

· Make it a priority
Plan on a day and time that is good for everyone. Don’t let anything else get scheduled in your life during that time. Make it work!

When our group decided to take it to a deeper level I looked over a couple of great websites that really helped us formulate our plan. Here is one that was really good!

Just remember that this is not going to be perfect and run smoothly over night. It takes time to cultivate a trusting and lasting relationship. It’s a great privilege to be able to speak truth into someone’s life and see real change happen. Be patient with yourself and with those in your group, and always keep in mind that ultimately you’re accountable to God.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who Are You Accountable To - Part II

Who Are You Accountable To – Part Two
I’m probably going to raise a few eyebrows with this next sentence.
I learned a very important lesson about accountability from a movie. A movie called Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Have you recovered? Good, then keep reading because this is a good post!)

For those of you who have not seen the above mentioned movie I’ll need to fill you in on a few important details. Harry Potter is a normal teen-aged boy who lost both of his parents at a very young age. He goes to a private “boarding-school” and in this series of the movies he is having problems with his friends. He is alone and trying to figure out what his life is really about. While he is at school Harry is introduced to a girl named Luna Lovegood. She also has lost her mother and is teased by many of the other students. She takes it in stride and has learned to look the other way. In one particular scene of the movie she and Harry are watching these very odd creatures called Thestrals. Harry finds out from Luna that you can only see these creatures if you have seen death. While they are talking Luna confesses to Harry that she and her father believe him that their enemy, “You-Know-Who”, has returned and that he indeed intends on destroying them all with his hatred and fury. During this discussion Luna says something that has stuck in my mind since the first time I heard it. She said, “If I were “You-Know-Who” I’d want you to feel cut off from everyone else because if it’s just you (I have to fight) alone you’re not as much of a threat.”.

If you are reading this and you are a Christ follower then I Peter 5:8 should be a pretty familiar verse to you. It speaks of our enemy and his master plan for those of us who follow Christ. When someone feels alone and detached they are so much easier to sway. I know this to be true in my own life. When I don’t have any real friends I can turn to, I am more vulnerable to turn to someone who may not have my best interests at heart. Someone who may just want to be my “friend” so that they can have the inside scoop on the latest church gossip.

We were never meant to do life on our own. Never! All throughout the Bible you see God bringing someone along side of the men and women He called into service. Moses had Aaron, David had Jonathan, Jesus had Peter and Paul had Timothy. If you start thinking you can do this on your own, then you’re heading down a dangerous road.
When I first moved to Raleigh, NC I knew no one but Jeff. I had no real friends for a long time. We lived forty-five minutes from the town that our church was in and I was the only person my age at my job. This was a very lonely time for me and I struggled with many issues in my walk with God. Over time I made a few close friends and even started an accountability relationship with one of them. However, soon after that we moved to Columbia, SC and I had to start all over again. The same struggles arose and I had to fight them even harder. But a few years ago a sweet friend decided that some of the leadership wives needed to get together and hold each other accountable. Without a doubt this group has been used by God to give me strength and courage in my walk with Him and in my daily life. I know that I have a safe and loving environment where I can go and share my frustrations and fears. I have a group of ladies that will exercise tough love on me when I need it and comfort me when I need it. James 5:16 says (in essence) that there is healing for the Christian who confesses their sins to another. I believe that God knows we cannot carry the weight of our families, our job, our husband’s ministry and our lives alone. I believe our enemy knows that if he can hold our guilt over our heads long enough then we will live lives that reflect defeat and not the life of victory we have in Jesus.
If you are in an accountability relationship then thank God that He has blessed you and keep going! If you do not have this, then I encourage you to take a few minutes after you read this and think about who you could ask to join you in an accountability relationship. Take a few days and pray about this person. Ask God to show you if they are someone you can trust and if they are mature enough to love you and discipline you when you need it.
I hope that you will come back on Friday! I’ll be talking about how to start an accountability relationship and some pointers on how to keep it real and effective.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Who Are You Accountable To?

Who Are You Accountable To – Part One

I am not someone who jumps in feet first. No, no, no. I have to test the waters and then slowly wade into the water. So, as you can imagine, I looked at quite a few blogs before starting this one. In particular I looked at other minister’s wife’s blogs. Some were cute, some not so cute. One late night I found a few blogs that broke my heart. They were all about minister’s wife’s who had called it quits. All of them shared their stories about heart-ache, bitterness, guilt, shame and sadness. Some of them did have happy endings, but some of them didn’t. As I was reading through their stories I started to think, “What happened?” and “Why did this have to happen”.
I believe that one of the reasons why is, they simply had no one to talk to. I don’t care who you are or what type of profession you are in, as a woman you will always need someone to talk to.
Two years ago a sweet friend in our church decided to start an accountability group with myself and a few other ladies in our church. I can honestly say it has changed my life. Every Tuesday night I swing by Starbucks, get my drink of choice and head on over to my Porch Pals meeting. As an associate Pastor’s wife I KNOW that I have a safe place to share my struggles, my fear, my joy and my life.
Why is this important? Well, come back on Wednesday and I’ll share why.
How can you start this? Come back on Friday and I’ll share that too!