“Your Ministry” Webcast & Extra Resources

Week 2 webcast & resources

We have completed Part I of the book.

Next week, we will begin Part II on “Your Marriage.”  I’m super excited about that!!!

This book was written with our inner world in mind – but we MUST not forget that there is a hurting world outside of our home that we are called reach out to and love!

So, today we have a treat.  Many of you know and love our Wednesday recipe girl – Janelle from Comfy In The Kitchen.  She has a warm, inspiring message for you.  The first 20 minutes are Janelle sharing her heart and the last 22 is a couch discussion about “real life ministry” with the 4 of us pictured below.

session 6 group 1

{Me, Janelle (Comfyinthekitchen.com), Clare (Peak313.com), & Angela(GoodMorningGirls.org)}

(if you cannot view the video – click here)

Some other resources for you from Janelle’s Blog:

Janelle’s Top 13 Meal Ministry Meals

Lasagna for 50 – Cooking for a Crowd

An Amazing Banquet for the Little Girls of our Church (part 1)

{the blog post that has the links to all the food that was prepared for the above banquet}(part 2)

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Dinner

Care Package Ideas for Missionaries Overseas

Other posts I’ve written on this topic:

 An Epiphany I Had About My Life and Ministry – from last January

How to Discover Your Spiritual Gift

6 Essentials to a Thriving Women’s Bible Study Group

I hope something here encourages you.

Chime In: Do you have a ministry outside your home?  Tell us about it.  Do you have a favorite ministry resource or book.  Please share it with us in the comment section!

Walk with the King,

Courtney 

When Christians Mock Christians

when christians mock christians

I have watched as the church – just like the world – has divided into the “cool kids” and “not so cool kids”.

I mean the uncool wear dresses to church still…the cool ones wear jeans.

The not so cool – put verses on their twitter – cool ones tattoo themselves with verses.

The less trendy –  love going to church – the cool ones prefer to hang out in a coffee shop – they might even brag that they don’t have a church at all.  They don’t need it.

The uncool don’t drink – the cool ones explore their liberties and celebrate their drinking.

Some say these more conservative ones are less mature in their thinking – they take the Bible so literally and God’s wrath so seriously, the cool kids – are more intellectual and use the motto “grace” to get them to calm down.

The uncool – don’t like bad words – cool ones – use swear words and then call you a pharisee if you judge.

And on and on it goes –  you know what I mean.

I straddle both sides – I like coffee shops and have no problem with Christians taking liberties – and I love grace – but I also like to wear a dress to church, post verses on twitter  and swear words just aren’t in my vocabulary.

To be honest, I am frustrated that there is even such a THING as SIDES within the church.  We are ONE – one body – one in Christ – one bride!

Who CARES how anyone dresses. And if one person wants to post Bible verses – thank you so much for your boldness! And if you drink a glass of wine – I’m not the wine police – don’t apologize to me.  And two of my favorite friends have tattoos – and I’ve never batted an eye at our friendship or questioned their faith – it is clear they are Jesus lovers!

And yes – grace grace grace – but we must balance it with truth truth truth!

I have seen it play out in my own church and I’ve seen it play out on-line amongst bloggers.  There’s even these “cool” Christians that dedicate entire blogs to making fun of their more conservative Christian sisters and brothers.  They call themselves Christians BUT mock other Christians publicly…regularly.  And I have qualified a few times for the public joke of the day.

I get it – I really do, – from a mockers eye – many of my youtubes are kind of funny.  I’m an easy target. lol!  You don’t have to look far to find something goofy that I’ve said – especially in a video.

But here’s the thing – Jesus said – they will know we are Christians by our love. And the part that baffles me is these ones who mock Christians champion the message of “grace” and “loving well”.  And as I watch them mock me and my “uncool” brothers and sisters in Christ, I do not see the grace and love that they shout so high from their rooftops.

And I wonder – do they realize that it hurts? That it’s humans they mock? Or do they realize – I’ve heard this.all.my.life.

Since I was in public grade school – I was the girl who was different.  Who was crazy serious about her faith. Who was sharing the gospel right and left and defending my beliefs even to the teachers and carrying my Bible to even cheerleading camp – yes I was a cheerleader – cool – but carrying a Bible – makes you uncool.real.quick!  And it’s funny – I know – I could laugh at myself back then too – it’s crazy how different my thinking was from those around me.  And when I got the nicknames at school for being the Jesus girl I carried the name with confidence.  But when I got nick names from those in my youth group who I suppose were embarrassed of me at school – it hurt.

I recently told my children the story of my nick names from the youth group – in case it happens to them.  Cause you know – it happens.even.in.church.  And it happens – even.on.so-called.Christian.blogs.

And what other Christians think of me – can’t matter if I know I’m in the center of God’s will for me – and I want my kids to know that. Be secure in that.

And dare I suggest that we also remember that not every.single.person who calls himself a Christian is.

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”~Matthew 7:15,16.

I certainly can’t say which mocker is a wolf and which mocker is my sister or brother in Christ – nor do I really want to.  But since it’s happened so many times in the past – and some of those who mocked are no longer with the church – I know that not all mocking that appears to come from Christians – really comes from a true Christian.

Satan is tricky like that!

So what can we do – I can only tell you what I have done – cause I’ve walked through this valley many times in my life and there’s only ONE way through!

Put on the full armor of God and stand firm friends – stand firm. You are not alone in this battle! And make sure your kids know how to wear the armor too – cause it’s coming.

I Peter 4:12-16-

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

Update: Someone mentioned in the comments that this goes both ways.  I agree – this post is written from my experience in the last 20+ years of living in the church.  I have been hurt – but I know that the reverse has been true for WAY too many. And for that I deeply apologize.  I pray we will be unified for God’s glory and that we will love deeply those who are different from us.

Grace.

Peace.

Walk with the King,

Courtney

 

Highlights of the Proverbs 31 Conference – She Speaks

 

After an 8 hour drive to North Carolina – I arrived at the Proverbs 31 Ministries Conference called She Speaks The hotel was buzzing with women – women who are professional speakers, authors, ministry leaders in their churches or just starting out in these areas.  Suddenly, I became very nervous as I thought about speaking in front of these sophisticated women! 

The highlight of my first evening was meeting my good friend Karen Ehman.  Karen and I have been on-line friends for almost two years but we have never met!  We have spent hours chatting on the phone together but to hold each other in a tight squeeze and look her straight in the eye – oh my – such a treat! 

Karen picked up on my nervous energy and invited me to her room where she reminded me – Courtney, this is She Speaks not She Freaks!” lol!  Then she and her friends laid hands on me and prayed the most beautiful prayers over me  - *tear*.  Was that not the sweetest gift ever?!!   Unforgettable. (thank you Kim and Mary xoxo)

The next highlight for me was meeting Women of Faith speaker and author of nearly 30 books – Liz Curtis Higgs.

 

Karen introduced me to Liz and quickly we began to discuss the topic of blogging – exchanging thoughts and ideas.  Then she said – “I’m coming to your session tomorrow!” Oh dear…remember that bag of nerves I carried into the hotel – remember those lovely girls who prayed over me and helped me unpack that bag …well – I picked that bag back up and carried it into my session.  I was about halfway through my talk and Liz’s hand went up – I stammered – Liz who always has a twinkle in her eye – asked her question.  What did she ask???  I can’t remember – it’s all a blur!  But I do know I answered it and she smiled at me – so I think it was okay? lol!

Later that evening she was the keynote speaker.  She made us roar with laughter but also brought a holy hush over the group as she shared God’s truth and love.  Oh she blessed us all so much! 

Another highlight was speaking on a panel with these 3 lovely ladies - Renee Swope (Renee gets the WLW award for making me cry the most at She Speaks - her God-filled words resonated in my soul), Karen Ehman and Lynn Cowell!  The topic was Balancing Family and Ministry.  I loved when Karen said “pray your husband and children are blessed in a way, they could never had been blessed, if you had not said “yes” to ministry.”  So this is a new prayer I’m praying for my family.

Then there was my blogging friend – Rachel Wojo - who I spent the weekend saving a chair for and sitting beside.  This girl has 7 kids – wowsa - one with special needs. She has a great blog here.

Let me pause and high five my fabulous husband and all the other husband’s who watched their children while the mommy’s went away and were refreshed! Thank you Keith (and thank you Grandma and Grandpa Wise for helping with the kids too! :) )

So you may wonder why no mention of Lysa Terkeurst?  I had a great time meeting her and even had a chance to hang out in her room Saturday night and do breakfast with her Sunday morning (totally unexpected!) but something went a little wrong…I’ll write about it tomorrow – it’s going to be titled “The Most Embarrassing Moment of the Proverbs 31 Conference” so stayed tuned… 

Walk with the King,

My Feelings About The Woman Who Confronted Me & WLWW Link-Up Party!

2 weeks ago, I posted a blog post about a woman who confronted me for being immodest. While the post was mainly about modesty, a huge part of the conversation to follow was about this woman who confronted me.  To be honest, the focus was not meant to be on her and I didn’t expect the huge response that post received! (It was shared on facebook over 9,959 times – and in one day I had a whopping 89,000 visitors to my blog!)

I’ve received emails and comments from women begging me to say something about this woman who many called…”legalistic, harsh, mean, jealous, rude, disrespectful” and so forth.

So the question is – how do I feel about that woman who confronted me?

I have one word…

grace.

GRACE!

I would have liked her confrontation to have oozed grace…and God’s word says to “do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31NIV)

Within my post, I was honest that the relationship was strange but I commended her for the way she confronted me privately.  I am honestly thankful for her call and if I ran into her in the grocery store today…which could happen – she only lives 15 minutes from me – I could thank her for confronting me because it DID help me. And grace would cover everything else…because we are all a work in progress…all of us NEED grace.

And while many cried out that she should have given me grace – I cry out on her behalf and ask for us to give her …what many thought she should have given me – and that’s grace.

I think this is a problem within the church amonsgt sisters in Christ.  We can become too sensitive and hold grudges against other women who said things in a wrong tone or in an uninvited way.  The church is made up of people from all different kinds of backgrounds and personalities.  It is EXTREMELY easy to get our toes stepped on.  But if we respond to every wrong with bitterness, the church will cease to be a light in this dark world. 

 Jesus said ” By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Every church has its handfull of difficult people.  No church is perfect.  I heard this Francis Chan video LONG ago and it cracks me up!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5WbW6J-g6w

We’ve all been there…we’ve all faced someone in our life that we hold a grudge against because of something they said.  This lady said this to me TEN years ago!!  Yet I’ll never forget it – some of you have been holding grudges for 10 years or maybe even more!  I beg you to…

Let

It

Go.

Matthew 18:21,22 “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times

Rick Warren’s says in “The Purpose Driven Life” “What are you doing personally to make your church family more warm and loving? There are many people in your community who are looking for love and a place to belong. The truth is, everyone needs and wants to be loved, and when people find a church where members genuinely love and care for each other you would have to lock the doors to keep them away.”

Did you see that?

When people find a church where members GENUINELY love and care for each other you would have to LOCK THE DOORS to keep them away!  I want that kind of church!!!!  And it starts with ME!

I think the focus should not be on others who have hurt us but on ourselves –  what are we doing personally to make our church families more warm and loving?

So I want to bring this discussion full circle – the last post was about modesty – not about the woman who confronted me.  And this post, is about loving the difficult women in our church – not about the woman who confronted me.  We can’t change others – but we can change ourselves.  We can’t change others mistakes but we can learn from them.  We must press on toward maturity and the mark of a mature woman in Christ will be one who loves the Lord so much she is willing to extend grace to her sisters in Christ because that is how Christ loves them.

John 4:11 says “Since God loves us, we ought also to love one another

Walk with the King,

 

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Now! It’s my favorite day of the week! It’s Women Living Well’s Wednesday Link-Up Party!!!

Join the fun, do a little blog hopping and don’t forget if you join below -please add the Women Living Well Wednesdays button to your post so your readers can find us here! (Posts can include the topics of marriage, parenting, homemaking, homeschooling, finances, recipes, organization and more!)


To find the code go to the sidebar – or right click and “save as” the button and then upload it into your post! :)

 

Spring Cleaning Your Facebook Account

During the year of 2010, 250 million NEW people joined Facebook bringing the total users on Facebook at the end of 2010 to 600 million! Facebook is growing and the pressure to be there is not going away.  It’s the new front porch.Last summer I went on evening runs through my new neighborhood and it was the dogs, crickets and me outside.  Everyone else seemed to be inside enjoying their family, air conditioning, computers, and televisions.  I thought – I know my friends on Facebook, blogland and twitterville better than my next door neighbors!

So let me preface all that I am about to say about Facebook with this statement: Technology is neutral.  It can be used for good or bad.  We, the sinners, determine whether we are going to use it for good or evil.
I personally enjoy Facebook but for those who regularly participate we can find secret sins creeping in – or worse – our sinful heart is revealed for all to see. And I wonder if we should PAUSE and do some spring cleaning in this area of our lives.

 

I Timothy 5:13 warns young women about becoming  “idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips andbusybodies, saying what they should not.” ESV   

Facebook is an easy place for women to become idle and busy bodies.  So Let’s Ask Ourselves:

Am I using Facebook to complain about my husband, children, the weather etc?

Am I measuring my worth based on how many friends I have?

Am I portraying a fake reality?

Am I addicted to checking my page every 30 minutes?

Have I used a sharp tongue toward someone and need to apologize?

Do I have some bikini shots up from 5 years ago that need deleted? (read my modesty post here)

Am I married and flirting with a guy (other than my husband) on Facebook?

Am I married and developing a deep emotional connection with a man other than my husband on Facebook (read my post about this here)?

Am I ignoring my children or husband to hang out on the front porch?

Do I feel excluded from some of my friends when they post pictures together and get jealous?

Am I feeling envious of someone’s house, car, clothes, friendships, status, looks etc?

Am I distracted in my daily life by a Facebook debate?

Am I malicious when I respond to someone with thoughts that oppose mine?

Am I using my status updates to brag?

Am I using the information I’ve read on Facebook to gossip with friends in real life about a friend on Facebook?

Look at this extensive list of dangers that exist each time we log onto Facebook!  Did you realize all the temptations that Facebook opens up for you?  I honestly did not the first time I created my account.  Yet – as I sat down to write this post these thoughts came pouring out of my mind in rapid fire.  Why?  Because I’ve either participated in the above sins or have been troubled as I have watched Christian sisters pulled into these danger zones.

Dear Christian sisters – we are followers of Christ – our Facebook accounts must reflect this!  We are the salt and light of the world – our Facebook updates must look different from the rest of the worlds.

I’m not saying that every status update must be a Bible verse or hymn.  BUT I am saying that our lives are not our own.  We belong to Jesus and so our finger tapping must reflect his heart – not ours.  Let’s let Jesus permeate everything we do – from loving our husbands and children to hanging out on the front porch.  Pray for your friends, encourage them, be bold and share what you read in your quiet time, respond to friends in crisis, connect with missionaries and encourage them, pass on a blog link to a blog post you read today (hint hint lol!!!), or a youtube that speaks truth into your friend’s lives.

And a good rule of thumb to follow is – no Facebook until you’ve read THE BOOK and have had some face to face time with your Heavenly Father.  You will need to be saturated in his truth to handle the onslaught of temptation and ministry that is presented to you everyday on Facebook.  I’m praying for you sisters!  Let’s make a difference for the glory of God on Facebook!

Walk with the King!

What I Learned At The Relevant Conference 2010

It is hard for me to tap on the keyboard this morning. I am sitting in a hotel room and the Relevant Blogging Conferencehas just come to an end. I am very short on sleep as the company of other bloggers is too good to sleep through! And I’m trying to process all that God is doing in my heart. 

I am not sure I am ready to let those emotions flow out through my finger tips quite yet but I do sit here a changed woman…
 
I have never come to my keyboard with such awe of God. As Ann Voskamp from “A Holy Experience” says, my keyboard is sacred. It is an altar where I come and lay down my life and offer up my blog posts as a sacrifice to God. Women Living Well is my gift to God.


Above is Ann the writer of A Holy Experience and I together.

Then there was Sally Clarkson. She very patiently listened to me as I shared my “blogging” struggles over chicken and pasta. She wisely questioned me in areas that needed challenged. She very lovingly shared her story with me and through her stories I found answers to questions I’ve carried with me for a very very long time.

She said “Our insecurities make us vulnerable.”

“My husband and children are going to be the book that people read.”

“Every season gets more full.”

“Social media is a fickle boyfriend – he’ll love you today and hate you tomorrow.”

“Just because it’s challenging doesn’t mean it’s the wrong thing.”

“If it’s God’s will for me to write less, then it’s God’s will for my readers to read less.”

“When women are alone they become a target. With each other, we will maintain our ideals.”

“You can’t give away what you don’t possess in your heart. We must maintain a full heart.”

Above is a picture of me with Sally Clarkson and my partner Angela over at GoodMorningGirls.org Tears come quickly to my eyes when I look at the sweet face of my dear friend Angela of 20 years. I do not deserve such an amazing gift of her friendship. This girl stood in my shadow all weekend long serving me. She was there holding my books, taking my picture with women, lifting me up in prayer, and listening to me chatter on, always with a smile. Her words of assurance calmed me when my nerves were running high before speaking. She was Jesus in the flesh to me and I am humbled that God would bless me with such a gift – she truly lives up to her name – she is an Angel.

And finally, we come to Sarah Mae (pictured above)…my on-line friend! She was my first blogging friend that I spoke to on the phone. She has popped out of the computer and come to real life and with her amazing vision and compassion for bloggers she (along with Dana and Jessica – who I adore by the way!) created the Relevant Blogging Conference.

This conference was not about increasing traffic to our blogs, or becoming number 1 in our niche – it was about being faithful to come to the keyboard with an offering to God. Ultimately, my calling is not to be a blogger, but to be a servant to God.

And so as I continue to ponder and treasure what God has taught me this week, I say to you my dear reader, I love you so much. Thank you for opening your hearts and your stories to me. It is not always easy to Walk with the King! As one blogger shared, sometimes our walk feels more like a hike! And so as we hike along this journey of life, I pray for you that you would not feel isolated in your love for God, your husband, your children and your home. But that you would find a warm place here where we can sit down together over the sacred keyboard and be filled up. And when our hearts are full we can overflow in obedience to God in our lives.

Walk with the King!