I don’t need to write anything here just check out the video for yourself.
I don’t need to write anything here just check out the video for yourself.
I tend to have all kinds of thoughts. Thoughts about today, tomorrow, the end of the week, next month, next year, and so on. I think of great plans and how things will most likely turn out. I sometimes even tell God that I know He’s going to do what I ask.
Wow! Just writing that out proves that I’m pretty self-focused and think I have it all together. I’m so far from that though. I like to “think” I have it all together and that I’m in control. I love to control in my thought life.
But the reality is that God is in control. His sovereign hand is leading and guiding me regardless of my thoughts. And it’s when I realize that I’m not in control after all, I begin to surrender and life is actually more free.
Since college, I’ve always loved the verse: “In his heart, a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” I need this verse to be imprinted on my heart because I often forget that the steps are His.
How has God shown you over the years that He is the one leading and guiding you- not your own fancy thoughts?
Upon making the great move to Dallas a few years ago, experiencing the culture here is like nowhere else I’ve lived. What you wear, how you look, what you do, and what you drive is valued above who you are. In our downtown apartment community alone, I can count at least 30 Lexus’s, mercedes, bmw’s, hummers, and jaguars (all owned by twenty and thirty somethings). So yes, the kind of car you have is important.
It seems like in other places, you just don’t see this. At least that’s what our friends say when they come to visit. But why is it that we love to place our identity in what we do or in things?
Perhaps it’s a security for us. It’s easier to find identity and meaning in those things rather than in Someone we can’t see. But what if we stripped all those things away, what would we have? What if people saw us for who we really are? Not what we do or what we drive?
I think we’d all be in for a real shock- to realize that we’re all pretty much the same even if the outside appears pretty: we’re all Messy people on the inside in need of a holy and perfect God.
Though far from perfect, that’s what I’m striving for when it comes to my real identity.
Today I had the opportunity to meet with Susan Ligon- she works alongside Max Lucado not as his literary agent but in the area of marketing and consulting the Max Lucado brand. She’s been involved in publishing for more than 10 years and helps make many of the decisions in what Max will or will not commit to in his publishing and writing career. Before our meeting, she got a text message from him as he’s in Ethiopia with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and a few others big names with World Vision. Max went there to experience what’s happening there with World Vision and for research on his upcoming book. Really exciting stuff.
Anyhow, the purpose of Susan and I meeting was to ask advice on a few things regarding publishing and writing and my ideas for an upcoming book for young women. She was extremely encouraging and really passed some wisdom on to me. She suggested that I start little by little with the book proposal, while also realizing I’m a new mom and need to focus on my marriage. It would be difficult to work on a proposal every night without something suffering. I figured if I worked little by little on it for the next 6-8 months that would be realistic. She encouraged me to then start sending it to agents and they will help in the process of getting it to publishers.
Publishing is such a crazy world right now. Sales aren’t where they need to be and it’s pretty difficult to get a manuscript in to the hands of a publisher who will give it time. Publishers invest a lot of money in you as the author and in your book so they are taking a great risk. I had read this before, but it was good to hear it from Susan who’s fully immersed in that world.
She was also encouraging when it comes to who I’m writing for. She said to write as if I’m writing directly to my girlfriends (since that’s the primary audience for my potential book). And to let who I am just pour out on the pages.
While I know publishing my own book in the next few years may or may not happen, she was encouraging that other opportunities may come up in the mean time and she mentioned a potential one I could potentially be a part of so we’ll see what happens. My honest heart’s desire is to be faithful where I’m at and to use my gifts however God wants.
Towards the end of our time she said something that has stuck with me all day. She said in our culture we’re told we can have whatever we want, when we want it and it’s true. But it doesn’t mean we need to have it right away. We may need to wait for it and have it later. In a better season.
Nonetheless, I was really honored to have met with her and hear more about her work with Max and to hear from someone I truly respect.
My first Mother’s Day was really special. My pastor Todd spoke on the role of women in the church (God’s created order for man to be above women- not in equality but in our roles) and how that applies to being a Mama on Mother’s Day. This couldn’t have been a more timely message as God has been teaching me a ton on this very topic and I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago for Ungrind.
The message focused around 1 Timothy 2: 11-15: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
I had never heard these verses explained the way Todd did. He said how this verse isn’t saying we shouldn’t “speak”- rather we should let men lead. This is the created order. It doesn’t mean we can’t lead other women or teach other women, but when it comes to teaching or being over men, the way God designed it is for men to have the authority- the assignment. To have it any other way is to jack with God’s word.
I am definitely okay with this. I would much rather let all the responsibilities be on a man’s shoulders and not my own. I’m much more comfortable following the way God has set it up. When it comes to marriage… God’s created order is for wives to submit to their husbands (Eph 5). This isn’t an oppressive, duty-filled submission but rather a natural response from the love our husbands display. But, it’s difficult to do and it has been since the fall. Because our husbands fail at times and we do too.
BUT, when we follow God’s created order, it’s beautiful. There is peace. We allow men to be men and the ship is sailing in the right direction.
This speaks volumes to me in being a new Mother. I never understood the verse that says, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” In the role that God has given me to help shape and invest in the lives of my children, if I continue living as a godly wife and mother in faith, love, holiness, and propriety, there is an opportunity for me to be preserved today. So basically I have the opportunity to make or break my role as a woman, wife, and mother by choosing to walk in the Spirit or not.
I’ve been encouraged to allow God to use me to help shape and mold my son John into the man God wants him to be and to most of all, allow my husband to lead and thrive in the role God has established for him. This encourages me as a new Mama in that the investment I’m making in my son and Lord willing, future children is a great and significant one because of the God-given role I’ve been given.
Recently, my friend Cheli challenged me with something simple and profound. She said what if I lived my whole life with a passion for my marriage? Just how different would my marriage look?
I haven’t run into too many people who say they want to have a lifelong passion for their marriage. I often hear of a passion for a career, a life-long goal, sport, hobby, or whatever but not necessarily for their marriage. If we were passionate about working hard at our marriage, I bet people would stay together. Any time we have a passion for something, we tend to invest tons of time into that one thing. We can’t go a day with out it. And our life just isn’t complete without.
I’m determined to begin viewing my marriage with more passion. It’s not that I haven’t before but I want to have the mindset that my marriage is the most important thing than anything else right after my relationship with Christ. In the end, I think my son’s life will be most impacted by the kind of relationship I have with my husband, even more than the relationship I have with him. Did I love and respect my husband well? Did I show my son truly how to love another person with passion?
I sure hope so.
What does it look like for you to have a passion for your marriage? If you’re single, what does it look like to start becoming passionate about having the kind of marriage you dream of and working hard towards that?
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Even in our Christian culture, we have a tendency to not see God for who he is- natural, organic, essential and pure. We forget his beauty and the adjectives described in His word that make Him who He is. In The Organic God Kit, Margaret Feinberg invites you to know this “Organic God” for all that he is.
The name in itself, “Organic God” is an interesting one, but don’t look too hard for the meaning. It simply means knowing God for who he truly is—without all the additives or pollutants that often distort his awesomeness.
God’s Big-Hearted Love is an adjective Margaret taught on in Session 2 that stood out the most to me. God, as our heavenly father, is deeply in love with us. However, many of us carry experiences with our earthly fathers that have polluted our view of God. The real-life story produced in this section was powerful as a mid-aged woman describes her relationship with her earthly father and the impact it has had on her relationship with God.
The way to truly know God and what makes His heart beat is to know Him in the Scriptures. All of us have had a bruised heart some time or another, as Margaret describes, but we all have the opportunity to heal from that and run towards a relationship with Christ.
This DVD Bible study is filmed right on location near the glaciers, streams, forests, and mountains in Alaska. I have to admit that my heart was longing to be where Margaret was teaching from- it was longing to get out of the bustling city and into raw, organic nature! And it was incredibly refreshing to hear her teach in that setting.
The Leader’s Guide and corresponding workbooks complete the DVD study. It is in the written material, where you and your group will go more in depth and will be able to dive deeper into the topics Margaret addresses. The video will be the perfect catalyst for the content, allowing for life-changing discussion among your group.
Discover for yourself what the Organic God is all about.
Mother’s Day is in one week. Here are some out-of-the-box gift ideas to show your Mom just how much you love her:
• Prepare her favorite dinner. Arrange the table extra special with rose petals and a few wrapped gifts.
• Take her on a scavenger hunt to a few of her favorite places- give her clues to the next place inside a gift box.
• Buy all the necessities for a pedicure/foot wash and spoil her with a spa night at home (or schedule a professional spa out)
• If you have kids, make a homemade card with them. (Write a poem or the “Top 10 reasons why I love you”). Buy poster-board for $.79 and fold in half to make a big impression as a card.
• Write a favorite “memories of mom” book or create a video. (for print books: blurb.com, lulu.com, snapfish.com)
• Print out a few digital photos and create a scrapbook, put them in a frame, or photo calendar
• Monogram her initials onto something: jewelry, purse, stationary, etc.
• Buy a gift-certificate to her favorite clothing store
• Visit a museum or concert together
• (Spouse) Clean the house while she is out or hire a maid to do it all.
• (Spouse) Give her a coupon to keep the kids one evening.
• (Spouse) Make your wife sleep in one morning and get the kids ready- take them to school.
• Give her a magazine subscription
• Give her an I-tunes Gift card
• Put together an emergency box (fill with things like lotion, relaxing CD’s, movie tickets, chocolate, etc.)
• Buy favorite specialty items: favorite candle, perfume, boutique cosmetics, shampoos, magazine, special chocolate, etc.
• Frame a family portrait (blow it up to an 8×10)
• Frame a really nice picture of Mom
• Buy Customized Stamps (use stamps.com) to create a special stamp (a photo of you together, children, wedding, baby, etc.)
• Plan a surprise picnic to local park with good scenery
We often live in light of the statement, “I will be happy when…” Being immersed in Western culture, we can’t deny the heavy influence of consumerism on our lives. In The Trouble with Paris DVD study, Mark Sayers communicates relevant truth to teens, young adults, and adults across the board in way I’ve never seen before.
Filled with trendy and engaging motion graphics and video, Mark hits on three main points when it comes to reality: Hyper reality, Reality, and God’s Reality. Most of us live in hyper reality or have been influenced by it in some way. This is the life we dream of where it’s all about “me”. There’s no work—only pleasure, fun, vacation… and no pain. This is a world the media has created (in ads, shows, movies) and because it invades so much of our lives, we often don’t want what’s real anymore. We’d rather buy that product that will add meaning to our lives. But the fact remains that it’s still a plastic promise.
The truth is that reality is far from hyper reality. Life just isn’t neatly wrapped up like it is at the end of a show or movie. Conflict often lingers way after the credits roll and injustice, war, poverty, and death still exist whether we deny it or not. Awkward silence still pervades, forcing us to face the emptiness and loneliness we sense in our hearts.
God’s reality, however, is better. He has given us glimpses of heaven on this side of earth: genuine friendships, a wonderful vacation experience, marriage, laughter, the beauty in nature and much more. We must then place meaning under His reality. So to do that we need to have a biblical view of God’s reality and how we fit into His story.
Mark Sayers portrays God’s reality with creative, cartoon illustrations in how God came to redeem all of creation. I’ve never seen the biblical account quite like this before! (you’ll just have to see it)
You’ll do your youth, young adult, and even adult ministry a disfavor by not showing the truths in this DVD and then teaching from it. I am recommending this product to people who have been shaped by consumerism and the media (and that’s every American!)
Review any product you’d like on SmallGroupExchange.com and get The Trouble with Paris for FREE!