Refresh Gathering

Are you weary? Does your soul need to be refreshed?

As women and especially as wives and mothers, our hearts can become so weary from caring for the needs of others that we tend to overlook taking care of ourselves. Recently, I listened to a message from my friend Lisa Allen, Executive Director of Ministry Training at Proverbs 31 entitled, “Self-Care Isn’t Selfish.” This message really resonated with me. As women, wives, and mothers, why do we think it is selfish to tend to our own needs? For years I have poured my life out for others and neglected to care for myself. The Lord is showing me that life is a marathon and not a sprint. Runners don’t run marathons without first being properly nourished, rested, and hydrated.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1

As Christian women, we are called to run our race in life with endurance. To run with endurance, we also need to be properly nourished, rested and hydrated. Our nourishment comes from spending time in the presence of God, meditating on His word, and loving others.  Before any flight takes off, the flight attendant instructs passengers of what to do in an emergency.  Passengers are told to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting anyone else.

This past weekend was a breath of fresh air for my soul, it was a privilege to attend the Refresh Gathering hosted by my friend Debi Chapman. I am so excited to share the Refresh Gathering with you this week.  I love Debi’s heart for the Lord, and her multigenerational vision to encourage women. The Refresh Gathering was held at a beautiful venue in Grapevine, Texas called the Laurel. The day was referred to as a “spa day for your soul.”

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It is a beautiful thing when women of all ages come to together to enjoy Christian fellowship with one another and to encourage one another in their Christian walk.

Debi Chapman’s great opening session centered around the story of Lazarus in John 11. The key scripture from her talk was John 11:40.

Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” John 11:40 ESV

If you believe (in the midst of your pain, suffering, and mistakes), then you would see the glory of God. The enemy wants us to question God when things go wrong in our life. We can’t go back and change the past, but we can choose to see Jesus in the midst of our circumstances.

We must believe that no matter what happens in life….. that Jesus sees us, He hears our prayers, and He loves us!

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[ctt template=”2″ link=”a148b” via=”yes” ]Where do you need to be refreshed today?[/ctt]

Colleen Stickl of Awakened Heart spoke on receiving refreshment and taught from the scripture in John 4 about the woman at the well and our need to be refreshed by living water. Colleen focused on three specific areas where we refreshment, our identity, our perspective, and our purpose. Each day our souls need to be refreshed by living water so that we can refresh others out of our overflow.

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” – John 4:10 ESV

The woman at the well was full of regret and was isolated. As Christians, our identity is not shame or regret. We need to remember who we are, and whose we are!

Our identity is in Jesus, and we are called, chosen, and forgiven.

My favorite statement of Colleen’s was this….

The enemy wants me to look back at regret and look ahead and fear.- Colleen Stickl

Our identity, our perspective, and our purpose need to be in Jesus. 

Monica Zuniga of We Are Unveiled spoke on being refreshed through forgiveness. She taught from the story of Joeseph and reminded us that we have been set free so that we can forgive others. My two favorite quotes from her talk were….

The enemy will always divide

Man will subtract

God brings Unity

Our encounter with grace and mercy with the King of the universe should affect our encounters with others. – Monica Zuniga

Next, we heard from Emily Thomas of Mom Struggling Well. She encouraged us to obey God, and if God is telling you to do something, just do it. He will help you do whatever it is he calling you to do!

Kaye Haun of House on Oak Street encouraged us to allow the Lord to renew our souls. To create an environment that brings refreshment to ourselves and those who we have the opportunity to serve in our homes, we need to be sensitive to our season in life. She talked about slowing down and being present with the people in front of us and being present with the Lord. She encouraged us to spend time with the Lord listening to how he would have us care for ourselves and for others, and allow him to give us ideas of refreshment.

Cindy Haggerton spoke on wellness. Dr. Jim Bob and Cindy Haggerton are a husband and wife chiropractic team who have dedicated their lives to educating the public about health and wellness. I encourage you to find out more about them here at Family Wellness. Cindy shared her powerful healing of restoration in her marriage to Jim Bob. She taught about the brain, digestion, and chronic inflammation and it was fascinating. Her philosophy is “move well, be well, think well,” but this is my favorite quote from her session.

“Your husband needs to see you refreshed.”- Cindy Haggerton

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Susan Ryan has lived an incredible life of international travel and is passionate about developing leaders. Through humor and wit, she encouraged us to embrace life in all its fullness, messiness, and beauty.

I love this quote from Susan!

“Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.”- Susan Ryan

Lexa Brecheen of Gateway Church was precious! She spoke on God’s sufficiency to supply all of our needs. She told us about the importance of one word of refreshment and how it can change the course of someone’s day. Refreshing other people is not about us. It is about God being glorified. Make it all about Jesus.

The day concluded with an insightful panel discussion and Q&A with the speakers, and Debi Chapman closed out by sharing Jeremiah 15:19.

Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.- Jeremiah 15:19 ESV

Her final charge was this: We are precious because we are made in the image of God, and that the enemy tries to convince us that it doesn’t matter what we do, but what we do matters!

What we do matters!

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. -Proverbs 4:23

We are salt and light, and as we are refreshed by the Lord, we need to refresh others. There were other amazing vendors and sponsors, so be sure to check out Refresh Gathering for all of the details.

I want to close with one final thought from the book of Hebrews.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV

Let us encourage one another to love and good works. I would love to know how you inspire and refresh others in your sphere of influence!

 Link ups this week.


 

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.

 

I Love My New Teapot!

I love my new teapot! It is a beautiful Mckenzie Childs teapot that I have had my eye on for quite some time.

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I don’t just love it for its form or its function. What I love about it is what it represents. If I am using my teapot that means I am at home, safely nestled in my sanctuary away from the crazy world in which we live. It is hard to find a quiet spot anywhere in the world. Read about the World being loud here

A proper cup of tea takes time to make, which means that I am slowing down, which is good for my soul. It refreshes me and brings me joy. Today the boys and I are enjoying our wonderful little cups of tea, enjoying the aroma of a beautifully scented candle, while we work and listen to Mozart. I am busy working on my Bible study, while the boys sit near me working on their school.

I am savoring this moment because I know that it is fleeting….

Psalms 27:11 ESV says, “Teach me your way, O Lord”

It is in these quiet moments in my home teaching my boys, that the Lord is teaching me. Teaching me to slow down, and listen to His voice. Teaching me to love them well.

Tomorrow we will be back in the car fighting traffic to get to the other side of town, and we will rush from thing to thing to thing. But today, we sit here in tranquility and civility and sip our tea.

What recharges you? I would love to hear from you! What do you do to help renew your spirit?

 

Don’t believe the Lies

When we were kids on the playground at school, we used to call each other names. Some were terms of endearment, others were not so nice. I can still hear echoes of voices from my childhood saying, “I am rubber and you are glue. What bounces off of me sticks on you.” As we have grown up, we internalize some of the names we have been called.

What names have been STUCK on you? What do you tell yourself about who you are? Which voices do you listen to?

Did you know that you have a very real enemy who likes to call us names and accuse us? In Revelation 12:10, John says:

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.'”

The enemy tells lies about us and he lies to us. He tells us that we are guilty, unforgiven, not enough. We can either listen to the voice of the accuser, or we can choose to believe we are who the Lord says we are.

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In the book of Ephesians chapter 1, we learn about some of the spiritual blessings that we have in Jesus Christ. He has names for us also, and because we are in Christ we are:

Blessed

Chosen

Predestined 

Adopted by Christ 

Accepted in the beloved 

Redeemed 

Forgiven 

Enlightened 

Given an Inheritance 

Glorified in Christ

Sealed 

Assured 

We have:

Faith in Christ

Wisdom in Him

Hope in Christ

Power in Christ

Ephesians 1 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Aren’t you so glad that we have the voice of truth? And if you are in Christ, then his character qualities are your real identity! Regardless of what names we are called by ourselves or by others, we need to be secure in the knowledge that we have inherent value and worth because we belong to Christ!

 

Learning to Show Grace to Myself

*** UPDATE 2017 ***

I posted this last year on Labor Day weekend. What a difference a year makes! In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, life, as we know it on the Texas Gulf Coast, is far from normal. Yet this post still resonates with me on this Labor Day Weekend, but for different reasons. I still need to show myself some grace, because as much as I would like for things to get back to normal, things are still a little topsy turvy right now, and I need more grace than ever.

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I am my own worst critic and tend to be very hard on myself! What about you?

My type-A personality drives me to accomplish much, and I have a difficult time relaxing. I set up very high expectations for myself and then feel defeated if I don’t live up to my self-imposed “righteous” standards. I put unrealistic expectations on myself and my family. I think my house should always be spotless, and that my kids should always behave and do what I think they should do. I drive myself to perfection, especially when I undertake any outside projects or events. I work myself up into a frenzy and push myself to exhaustion.

I believe it is a biblical concept to strive for excellence in all we do, and I get this from 1 Corinthians 10:31:

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

[ctt template=”2″ link=”4cYBr” via=”yes” ]It is a good thing to want to do everything to the glory of God and to strive for excellence.[/ctt]

However, if I am so hard on myself that I feel guilt or shame because I haven’t lived up to my own expectations, then I am only hurting myself.

 

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This week in Bible Study, we discussed our battle with sin and the power that we have as Christians to live a life pleasing to God based on Romans 8. The first thing we read is Romans 8:1.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

I don’t know why I expect perfection from myself—the only perfect person to ever walk this earth was Jesus. Not only that, but He came here to save me. He came to set me free from the bondage of sin and death, and He doesn’t want me to feel condemnation.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”p5WKw” via=”yes” ]I am beginning to learn to have grace with myself when things don’t go as I have planned.[/ctt] I am human, and I am going to make mistakes.

Romans 3:23, says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Most likely, I will continue to disappoint myself and others along the way, but I don’t have to feel condemned. I must choose to believe that I am flawed, but forgiven.

[ctt template=”2″ link=”GSNW_” via=”yes” ]Does anyone else struggle to show themselves grace or am I alone in this battle? [/ctt]

Today, I choose to show myself grace. Instead of driving myself to perfection, I elected to enjoy this Labor Day weekend with my family, and try to catch up on some much-needed rest.

I hope you enjoy a wonderful Labor Day weekend and find rest in God this week!