Declare Conference Recap

This post is for everyone who is interested or involved in online ministry.

The Lord moved mightily in our midst at the Declare Conference on Oct 2-4, 2017! I am finally able to share some highlights with you after coming home to sick kiddos, fighting off sickness myself and a very hectic schedule!

The Declare Conference equips women in their calling as digital evangelists and Christian communicators, if you missed my post on the Declare Conference, you could check it out here, Going to Declare Conference 2017.

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Authors, bloggers, speakers, agents, and acquisition editors from across the globe descended on the DFW area for three days with the common purpose of Making Jesus known.

The Declare team was fabulous! A shout out to Michelle, Anne, Rachael, Jen, Eryn, and Kristin. Y’all are the bomb and definitely know how to host a fantastic conference! The conference was bathed in prayer, and you could feel the presence of the Lord in our midst!

Special thanks to Courtney of CocoPaige Photography who took all of the amazing photos at the conference that are featured in this blog post.

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[ctt template=”2″ link=”3xhUq” via=”yes” ]This year’s theme was Sweet as Honey, and it was indeed a very sweet time![/ctt]

One of the sweetest parts of Declare was connecting with old friends, meeting face to face with digital evangelists that I have been friends with online, and making new friendships!  Amy Elaine Martinez, and I have been online friends for a while, we virtually bonded over the marriage of our sons to their sweet brides and all that entailed. It was so great to meet face to face, and share our hearts with one another. Amy just finished writing, “Becoming a Victory Girl” I am a part of her launch team and will tell you more about it during the official book launch in January.

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So fun to reconnect with incredible women like Blythe Daniel far left on the picture below and Debi Chapman, who were both on the Q & A from Declare Alumni. I have known Debi for many years through our school and debate homeschool days, and to now be connected now as a digital evangelist and co-laborer of the gospel is absolutely precious. Debi is the lovely lady holding the microphone. Debi is the host of the Refresh Gathering. I attended the inaugural event and wrote about my experience here. Refresh Gathering It was a breath of fresh air for my weary soul, and I am so excited that details about Refresh Gathering 2018 are available, so be sure to visit Debi’s website DebiChapman.com to see all of the wonderful things she has going on.

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The Conference kicked off with a sweet time of praise and worship. It was a little taste of heaven as women from all denominations, races, and ages sang praises to the Lord. Pictured below on the right, is my sweet new friend Heather Bock, who radiated Jesus!

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The Declare Conference speakers were all phenomenal! Sara Haggerty kicked off the conference with a talk entitled Performing for an Audience of one. And all I can say is wow! Sara is the author of Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to Noticed.

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Sara’s message pierced my heart as she spoke of our lives having two storylines one internal storyline and one external line, and how what happens in the hidden moments is what comes out, and it is in our weakness that God can do something with us. But the thing that she said that most impacted me was that we are to be messengers, not an echo. As we spend time in the secret place with the most high God that is where he takes our desperation, and our weakness and turns it into our message. Sara said, “Our best stories will come out of the unseen, out of our broken.”

Kat Lee was amazing and inspired us with a practical Map for Online Success, and gave us something tangible to walk away with but the highlight of her talk ended by showing us the No Man’s Land clip from the Wonder Woman movie. Which was a perfect illustration of our shield of faith and the fiery darts of the enemy. If you haven’t seen the movie, then you have to check out the clip below.

Next, Melanie Dale hit a home run with talk, “Oh Honey: Communicating Things that Stick But Don’t Leave a Mess.”  Then Crystal Stine taught us “How to be Social without Selling our Soul.”  Followed by a “Mastermind Time” where we formed groups based on our common area of interest to partner and encourage one another. I loved meeting other ladies that were interested in book publishing, and look forward to collaborating with them!

I spent time with the agents Jesse Kirkland, Stephanie Alton, and Blythe Daniel. These ladies area wellspring of information about the publishing industry. An impromptu surprise meeting in the hallway with Vickie Crumpton of Rivell proved to be very informative as was my appointment with Kara Leonino from Tyndale House.

Unfortunately, I took advantage of sleeping in and missed Shazzy Fitness, who was there to provide early morning workouts! Maybe next year?!?

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Emily Thomas of momstrugglingwell.com was our emcee and knocked it out the park with her session on podcasting!

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Food trucks and coffee trucks were a fun way to meet our nourishment needs!

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I took two full pages of notes when Jamie Bates spoke to us about, “When God Changes Your Direction.” This talk focused on the evolution of our callings, and how we see our calling as a destination, but God is focused on the journey, our direction and our surrender to his will. One the most profound things she said was something to the effect of, “The enemy wants you embittered and isolated, ” and as women in ministry we have a target on our backs.

As an online evangelist, this is why gathering together face to face in community is so important!

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Day 2 ended with dessert and dancing! Wynter Pitts kicked us off on Wednesday morning with a sweet devotion followed by more great speakers, sponsors, and vendors. One of the sponsors that really impacted me was Save the Storks!

Save the Storks partners with local pregnancy centers to offer services for expectant mothers to support women in crisis during their pregnancy and after their baby is born. One of the coolest things they do is a Mobile Medical Unit that has a mobile ultrasound unit to provide ultrasounds for abortion-vulnerable mothers. The statics are amazing on the number of women that choose life after coming to one of these mobile units.

Save the Storks was founded in 2011 by Joe and Ann Baker with the goal of launching mobile medical units across the country to serve abortion-vulnerable women through pregnancy resource centers. Please visit their website savethestorks.com to see how you can help save the storks and make a difference in the lives of women in crisis pregnancy.

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Mary Wiley exhorted us about the hard road of publishing and encouraged us to be obedient to God because if we have the wrong motives, and are seeking fame or fortune, that we have a target on our back. Publishing for the wrong reasons has lead to family’s falling apart because in Christian Publishing it is all about God receiving the glory! She had many great things to say, but don’t you just love her facial expression pictured below?

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We heard powerful messages by Jenn Jett, Mandy Ballard, Jan Greenwood and Amy Ford. Jan closed us out with a powerful message to prepare us for re-entry back home. She challenged us to the guard the deposit that we were given at Declare, cover the seed, and water it so it will bloom.

All of the speakers were amazing! I would love to recap everything that was said by all of the marvelous speakers, but instead, I encourage you to find them online and see their ministries for yourself, you will not be disappointed.

God showed up and He showed off at declare. Check out the beautiful rainbow, a sign of God’s covenant to his people that radiated across the sky above the Declare event!

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If you are a digital communicator, author, speaker, blogger, social media evangelist then you must sign up for The Declare Conference 2018 to experience it for yourself. Next year’s theme is Warrior! I am so excited and can’t wait for next year’s conference!

 

Grit on the Grid Iron

Have you seen the show American grit?  My husband loves the show, and we watch it together. John Cena is the host of the show and men and women from all walks of life go to a camp where they live and compete in a series of physical, sometimes mental challenges until eliminated. The last man or woman standing is the one who wins the prize.

Grit is a personality trait that is defined as courage and resolve; and strength of character. Synonyms include courage, bravery, pluck, mettle, backbone, strength of character, strength of will, moral fiber, steel, nerve, fortitude, toughness, hardiness, resolve, resolution,  determination, tenacity, perseverance, and endurance.

As a parent teaching strong character is one of the most important things that we do with our children. We accomplish this by many different means, and sometimes we wonder does what we are doing with our children even make a difference? My answer is Yes! It absolutely matters.

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

[ctt template=”2″ link=”Y9hdp” via=”no” ]Suffering produces grit and grit produces character.[/ctt]

We can rejoice because that character produces hope and character matters.

I would like to commend my son Ian today for his grit. Let me explain, every year we approach the beginning of our school year by seeking God’s will in prayer of each of our children. Through a series of unforeseen circumstances, our plans for this school changed a few short weeks before school began. Through much discussion and prayer, Ian asked if he could play football this year. He played football in junior high but took off during his freshman year and wasn’t physically active over the course of the past year.

Sign-ups for the season began last year in the spring, and by August 1st the team was formed and already out on the field training and conditioning. The problem for us is that on August 1st we were across the country on a much need vacation after a whirlwind summer of wedding planning and the marriage of my eldest son.

I submitted a request to play with the Tomball Christian Warriors and told Ian I was not sure if he would be able to play this year. As we waited, we committed it to prayer and planned out the rest of our school year. We pray we make plans, but the Lord orders our steps.

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9 ESV

On our way home from the east coast much to our delight we found out Ian was able to play. He needed to have a physical and concussion baseline test before we could get out on the field. I immediately scheduled those appointments, bought Ian some practice gear and by the middle of August Ian was on the field. He joined late, but he made the team.

Ian Football 1After a year of physical inactivity, the first few weeks on the field were pretty rough. In full gear with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees and the killer Texas humidity, running around the field for hours in the blistering sun provided to be quite challenging.

One day we picked Ian up and he wasn’t looking so great. Drenched with sweat I could tell he was exhausted. I thought he rolled the window down in the back seat to get some much needed fresh air, but instead, he painted the side of the car with the contents of his lunch. Another day on our way home from his coop class he was so tired that he fell asleep in the car on our way home from class, and fell asleep again in the car on the way home from practice.

Football practice was really kicking his butt but through his grit, determination, and hard work he was recognized by his coaches on the field. During the last quarter of the first game of the year, Ian was put on the field, and he did a great job as left tackle! After the game, his coach told us that he did a great job and that he would get him back on the field sooner.

Ian pushed and persevered through hard work and determination, despite being behind, starting late, and getting sick. Coming home after practiced battered and bruised. Getting out on the field and giving it his all day after day. He has proven himself to his coaches, his peers, his parents and himself. All of that grit has paid off and has earned him a starting position on the varsity team.

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[ctt template=”2″ link=”Ebsfn” via=”yes” ]Life is challenging and it takes grit and determination to succeed.[/ctt]

Picking ourselves up when we have been knocked down by life and getting back up produces character in us. Showing up day after day when we have been beaten up by life and just taking the next step forward somedays is all we can do.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

The trials that we face in life are what test our faith, and through our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the sanctification process we become more like Christ each day and that is true grit!

I would love to know what Christ-like character traits you see your children exhibiting that you could encourage this week? What traits would you like to further develop in your children? This week I challenge to live aware of your child’s character. Find something worthwhile that they are doing that you can praise them for, and watch to see how their character may flourish.

 

Building a Wall

Last week at The Declare Conference I learned a ton and made lots of new friends. I look forward to sharing some insights from The Declare Conference with you soon. Until then, I am delighted to introduce you to one of my new friends, Beth BrinkmeyerI have asked Beth to share a devotion with you today, and love the idea she presents us in Building A Wall. Without further ado, please welcome Beth Brinkmeyer to By His Grace.

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Building a Wall by Beth Brinkmeyer

I remember the first and last name of the salesman at Best Buy who sold my Dad our first ever CD player in the early 90’s. A man named, Clyde, installed new carpet in my childhood living room over 30 years ago. For some reason, I can remember things like this, but I forget the one important item on the grocery list when I go to the store. And once, when we were buying a new car, we discovered I forgot to renew our auto insurance. This is how my mind works.

I happen to think random people are placed in our minds and hearts for a reason. I happen to think it may not be so random. I happen to think encounters aren’t coincidences. I happen to think the Lord might just orchestrate opportunities for us to be a light in a dark world; a world that cheapens encounters by camouflaging them as being meaningless. I happen to think prayer is powerful.

Years ago, I met someone who told about a wall in her home that was covered in pictures of random people. She spoke about how she would take pictures of people she encountered, post them on her wall, and pray for the people she met throughout the year.

I’m not sure what happened to Jeff from Best Buy. I’m guessing he cut off the mullet, shaved the stash, and moved on to other things in life. I wonder if Clyde’s knees give him trouble these days from laboring as a carpet installer all those years ago. If I had a picture of them, you could bet I’d place them on a wall so I’d remember to pray for them.

This was the year I finally built a picture wall. It is slowly filling up with color, shapes, and beauty only the random can provide. It is anything but meaningless.

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Want to Join me? Build a wall. Pray. Make a difference in the life of the people you meet long after your paths go separate ways.

May your encounters with others mean something. May your wall be full of people who are in desperate need of prayer. May your eyes be open to those around you, and your heart be full from being used by Him.

Beth Brinkmeyer is a writer, author, and public speaker. She manages a household of two energetic boys, is married to the tallest man in the world (almost), and friend to any person who wants to chat in line at the store. She has a passion for encouraging other moms, wives, and Jesus followers with humor, transparency, and truth. She enjoys quality family time, good music, morning snuggles, chocolate, and strategically placed sarcasm. You can find her blogging at www.bbrinkmeyer.com or on social media at https://www.facebook.com/bbrinkmeyer/

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You Were Meant For More

Do you know that you are beautiful and created for a purpose?

Fearfully and wonderfully created in the image of Almighty God and positioned on this earth for such a time as this to do the good works that God has divinely appointed for you.

You were uniquely created to live in this particular time period in history.  No matter your skin color, eye color, size, or shape you were beautifully created in the image of God. Everyone, no matter who you are, as long as you are alive and breathing here on planet earth, God has work for you to do!

For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10 ESV

And the New Living Translation says it this way,

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”God considers you his masterpiece! Through our salvation in Jesus Christ, we have been made new so that we can do good works, good things that God planned for us to do a long time ago.

Our salvation is not based on works. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. We will never be good enough, work hard enough or be enough. We are saved in Christ alone! However, as we seek to be more like Jesus and as we become more conformed to his image we want to be more like Jesus.

Jesus came to serve, and not be served.

“even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  – Matthew 10:28 ESV

It is our privilege to serve one another and do good things because God has good things for us to do.

You were made

Are you walking in the good works God has prepared for you?

I would like to close with these encouraging verses from Ephesians 3:14-21      

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

My challenge for you today friend is to seek God and ask Him what he has divinely created you to do today? What future works are you created to do? What can you do today to fulfill your calling?

Don’t limit yourself, dare to dream. Through the power of Jesus that is within us, we will be able to do far more than we think that we can. I dare you to dream.

Seek God today and his will for you that you may walk in the good works that He has prepared for you! I would love to know what seeds God has planted in your soul. Leave a comment below and share what God is calling you to today.