Revive Gathering

Calling all women of North Houston: Do you know about Revive Gathering yet? If not, then you need to! Revive is a seasonal gathering for the women of North Houston to come together and glorify God through worship, prayer, and God’s Word. Women from several churches and denominations in the area gathered together this past Thursday at Revive Gathering.

To God be glorified, women be unified – Revive Gathering

fullsizeoutput_18e4The worship was phenomenal Thursday evening and women from all walks of life were united together in praise for  Jesus under the stars at the Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands. We sang songs of praise and worship to our Almighty Lord and Savior out in the brisk cool evening air. Voices lifted high to our King! It was a beautiful thing to be a part of. Then, Gina Webster brought an incredible message of unity for women to lift up and encourage one another so that Jesus Christ may be exalted!

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Gina encouraged women to show forgiveness, love, and mercy to one another and to build up the household of Faith. She said we don’t need to wrestle, envy, or be jealous of sisters. Instead, we should realize that we have received the promise of Jesus Christ and that God has a plan for each one of us that is full of goodness. She concluded her message with a charge for us to be women who fight for our sisters to lift up one another and to celebrate the good gifts that come to our sisters.

We ended the evening gathered in small prayer circles, where we prayed for one word for each woman. I was honored to lead a sweet group of young women in prayer, and I look forward to what God is going to do within their midst!

As women, we were made for community, and we need our sisters to love, encourage and pray for us. The enemy of our souls would love nothing more than to keep us isolated, separated and divided. As women, we must stand with our sisters and build one another up for the Kingdom of God.

Revive will meet again April 20, 2017, and I hope to see you there!

 

 

Move Toward the Mess

Move Toward the Mess

I love God’s timing! It amazes me the things that only He can orchestrate. When you answer the call to follow Jesus, you just never know where you may end up. Following Jesus is definitely not boring! During the Wednesday evening service this week, my pastor talked about how when God calls you, He will most likely call you to a place that is out of your comfort zone. God will never call you to mediocrity. If God called you to something that was easy for you, then you wouldn’t need Him, or have to rely on Him. Hmm… Interesting. Hold on to that thought.

I just finished reading the book Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life (David C. Cook 2016) by John Hambrick. Little did I know that the timing this book would correspond with a day I won’t soon forget.

img_0864Last fall, my Ladies Bible Study group wanted to do some kind of service project together. Today was our appointed day to volunteer at a local soup kitchen by the name of Fishes and Loaves. This soup kitchen feeds 200-400 hungry people in downtown Houston six days a week.

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As we pulled up to the to the building, there is already a huge line of people waiting to be fed. For some of these people, this may be the only meal that they eat today. It is a cold day here in Houston, and the temperatures are in the 40’s and 50’s, and it is damp and overcast. Most of the men and women we served, live under the bridge near the kitchen on the east side of downtown Houston.

Our group today consisted of mostly men, and a few women. The people thanked us and said God bless you for serving food to us. However, one woman in particular caught my attention, and it struck a cord with me. She came in with a black eye, and I wondered what she endured to get her to this place. Life on the streets is messy.

The Houston food bank along with other generous sponsors help provide the food. Our family donates money to the Houston Food bank every year, but today I locked eyes with the hungry men and women of Houston and I will never be the same.

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Magnificat Houses is the umbrella organization over Fishes and Loaves that serves some one the neediest people in the inner city of Houston. It has been serving the mentally ill, homeless and disadvantaged since 1968. Magnificat house provides hope, food, shelter, half-way houses and rehabilitative services to people in the Houston area. It is completly led by volunteers, and operates by donation. Visit Magnificat Houses to learn more about this incredible organization.

Julie Batsche at Fishes and Loaves was our tour guide for the day. Our group served along side some of the most joy filled people that I have ever seen, their countannce radiates Jesus! We began with a tour of the facility, the chaplin shared the history of the organization, and we started with prayer. Today we served fresh salad, and gumbo made by Cedrick Broussard the cook, and his assistant, along with a roll, crackers and dessert to 205 people.

fullsizeoutput_1852The murals on the wall were painted by one of the homeless men who used to come the shelter many years ago. Below is a depiction of the miracle of the fishes and loaves from the gospels that the kitchen is named after. The workers here today see this miracle played out before their very own eyes, because God provides daily for Loaves and Fishes to feed the hungry.

fullsizeoutput_1855Our world is full of lost and hurting people who desperately need to know the love of Christ. In Move Toward the Mess, John Hambrick challenges American Christians who are bored sitting in the pews each Sunday, to get up and follow Jesus into the mess to minister to the lost and hurting in the world. I found this book to be both challenging and exciting.

In the first part of the book, John provides several examples of people that live their lives right smack in the middle of the mess, and in the second half of the book, he outlines practical ways for us to move toward the mess. There is a nice flow from chapter to chapter, and each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions that would make this an excellent book for individual study or small group discussion.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Move toward the Mess:

What gives Paul peace in the middle of the mess is God’s outrageous, unconditional forgiveness.-John Hambrick

Move toward the mess is a love story.  It is the ultimate love story of a mighty Savior who came to earth to bind up the brokenhearted, wipe every tear away, save the lost, and lavish his amazing grace on us.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”U46xi” via=”yes” ]Jesus is on the move today are you willing to answer the call and move toward the mess?[/ctt]

There are lots of different ways to move toward the mess. Last Spring when our community experienced devasting flooding we mobilized hundreds of church members into the community to help flood victims. You can read about how we moved toward the mess in The Church Has Left the Building. It is time for the church to leave the building, and move toward the mess.

I love the message of this book, and would love its message to go viral! Share this post on social media for a chance to win your very own copy of Move Toward the Mess between now and January 15th!

John Hambrick is no stranger to the mess. He is the Director of Starting Point and Staff Development at Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA – one of the North Point Community Church campuses in Atlanta that bestselling author Andy Stanley founded. John has served in other churches as an associate pastor and pastor. He has also been a staff member for Young Life and was one of the chaplains at Kings College, University of London. John and his wife, Patty, have two children and reside in Atlanta, Georgia.

A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.

 

Holiday Preparation and Inspiration!

Celebrating the holidays with friends and family is a great way to make memories and tie heartstrings with those we love. Last week I talked about our homes being a sanctuary,  Our Home – A Sanctuary. This week, I am excited to share a few more photos of my 2016 fall decor in my home, along with a couple of photos from Christmas 2015 to inspire your upcoming holiday decorating!

Also, I want to tell you about a lovely book that will inspire you with your holiday planning. This wonderful little e-book was written by my friend Debi Chapman, and it will help  prepare you for the holiday of your dreams! In the coming weeks, I plan to share other books I love on hospitality, and making Christmas meaningful.

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I just love this new vignette on my entry table – a beautiful floral arrangement surrounded by mercury glass canisters and candles. At the front and center of this photo is a beautiful cross that I recently purchased.

The cross is such a beautiful reminder of Christ’s sacrifice for us on Calvary. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to live and to die, just to save us! If you are interested in learning more about God’s great love for us, I would love to share the good news of Jesus Christ with you!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” -John 3:16 ESV

Pictured below is that same entry table in Christmas 2015.  I love to incorporate my existing decor with seasonal items. Here I incorporated my mercury glass containers and paired them with a beautiful cherished nativity scene we received as a wedding gift from a family member, a nostalgic looking Santa Claus, and a beautiful sleigh filled with gold ornaments, flanked by lit aspen trees.

One of the reasons that I love Christmas so much is because it is a celebration of the birth of Christ!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder, and his name shall be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 ESV

We have so much to celebrate! During the Christmas season you will find nativity scenes scattered all throughout my home, because Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

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Another area that is easy to change with the seasons is my fireplace mantel. It is the focal point of the great room in my home. My decorator friend, Sherry from Just Lovely Decor, always helps me to come up with beautiful vignettes and holiday decorations.  I love the way these white pumpkins look with the heathered blue pumpkins and florals. If you live in the Houston area and would like help decorating this holiday season, Just Lovely offers full design and installation of decorations for your home. Just let me know, and I will put you in touch with my friend Sherry.enlight1

Pictured below is my mantel all decorated for Christmas 2015, along with a side view of my Christmas tree. Notice how I have used the same candle holders and mirror both in fall and at Christmas. Again using my existing decor and adding some seasonal items to spruce things up.

By taking advantage of sales each year, I add a few pieces to my Christmas collection every year. My collection began to grow when my mom started a very special Christmas tradition with my boys. From the time they were born, they would each receive an ornament from her as part of their Christmas present every year. I love this tradition, and plan to do the same thing for my grandchildren in the future.  Another special tradition that began early in my marriage was Gigi would take us shopping after Thanksgiving dinner every year. These are special memories I hold in my heart.

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What holiday traditions are you celebrating this year? Are you overwhelmed by the thought of preparing for the holidays, or are you just not sure where to start?  I am excited to tell you about my friend Debi Chapman, and her new e-book Holiday Happening – 21 days to the holiday of your dreams.

In Holiday Happenings, Debi gives you practical ideas and tips to make the most of your holiday season. This book is filled with beautiful pictures that are sure to inspire, along with practical how-to advice to prepare your home for the holidays. I love the way that Debi incorporates healthy living and use of essential oils for your home during the holiday season. She encourages you to dream, and then provides practical hints and tips to pull it all together. I can’t wait to incorporate Debi’s wisdom in to my holiday planning this year!

In Holiday Happening you’ll find a simple path to 21 days of purposeful holiday preparation. Follow the plan day-by-day and I know you’ll begin to see your ideas take shape. Each day will take you one step closer to the holiday of your dreams.

-Debi Chapman

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The ebook comes with a Holiday Happening Pinterest Board and a Facebook Page to gather and share ideas, progress reports. You can order a copy of this e-book at: www.holidayhappening.com. Books are only $5 and are payable via Paypal.
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Debi Chapman

I am convinced that our homes are the battlefields for society and it’s my privilege to encourage mothers to stay the course and embrace the daily – for the sake of Christ. – Debi Chapman

Debi’s mom-journey began over 30 years ago. Armed with a newfound devotion to Christ and a Child Development background, she married her college sweetheart. Together they began to dream of what a family could become. Presently, Tim and Debi have eleven children, nine grandchildren, and lives filled with frontline battle scars and victories beyond measure. Debi desires to leave footprints for those who follow and impart grace to mothers of all ages.

Debi’s blog Fresh Grace for Mothers is full of life-giving wisdom to moms, Refresh Gathering – women’s retreat, New Season Oils – home business, Fresh Grace – facebook page

I hope you found some inspiration to help you begin preparing for the upcoming holiday season and look forward to more helpful holiday inspiration in the coming weeks. I would love to hear about how you plan to celebrate your holidays this year!

 

The Waters May Rise…

Raucous thunder and electrifying lightning filled the sky here in the Houston area on Sunday evening. The light show it produced and the amount of noise felt like we were on the front lines of a major battle. The storms were relentless. After many hours with no electricity and by the time the rain finally subsided we were left with a city ravaged by flood waters. It made me think about Noah—I can’t imagine experiencing the wrath of God for 40 days of constant destructive storms.

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God told Noah to built a boat, and in Genesis 7:5 it says, “And Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.” The Lord saw that men were wicked and evil, and He was sorry that he made man. God found favor with Noah because Noah lived his life differently than everyone else in the world at that time. So God made a covenant with Noah, spared the earth from complete destruction, and promised that He would never destroy the world with flood waters again. Thank you God!

There are many lessons that we can learn from the story of Noah. Noah lived counter-culturally, and because he did, God spared the entire world! The evil people perished, and God saved a remnant of Noah’s family, spared the animals’ lives, and did not completely destroy the earth all because of Noah. Noah was far from perfect, but Noah was faithful.

In our world today we are again at a point in time where there is much evil, and atrocities are occurring across the globe at breakneck speed. In the midst of this perverse generation, we need more people like Noah. People who are faithful to God, people who listen to God and are obedient to God. Not perfect people, not people that don’t mess up or have it all together, but people who are willing to listen to God and obey.

After 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain, the flood subsides and God remembers Noah, but the flood waters were not abated for another 150 days. So Noah waited on God. He trusted God’s faithfulness, and knew that God would guide him. The storms of life will come. How will we respond?

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It is my prayer that I will learn to listen and obey God more everyday. That I would care less about what the others think or what they do, and choose to live my life in obedience to God, even if that means living  counter-cultural and doing things that other people think are weird. That I would follow hard after Him, and that I would be found faithful.

My friend, are you listening for that still small voice in a world screams loud? Will you be found faithful? And will you wait on God through the storms of life?