“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 

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 5 {Never Walk Alone}

Book Club header week 2 chapter 5

Welcome back to the Women Living Well Book Club!

Chapter 5 Discussion

sally clarkson community

Image via Sally Clarkson

In Chapter 5, I list the 4 ways I have found community, accountability and friendship within the church.

1. Women’s Bible Studies – raise your hand if you have been in a women’s Bible study!

Women’s Bible Studies are not all created equally. Depending on the leader, the book choice and the group that attends – experiences can vary.  For me personally, this has been a huge piece of the puzzle of my spiritual growth and connection with other Christian women.  I LOVE Women’s Bible Studies and highly recommend you join one or start one in your home or at your church!

Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

2. Mentorship/Discipleship Ministry – When I was in 9th grade I was mentored/discipled for the very first time. I talk about this mentor named Holly in my book.  Holly and I met – one on one –  on a weekly basis for 2 years when I was in high school.  Holly was only 2 years older than me – but she had a huge influence in my life. She held me accountable for my daily Bible reading and walk with God and she listened, counseled and befriended me.  When she left my high school youth group, to attend the Moody Bible Institute – it wasn’t long until I followed in my mentors footsteps and joined her on her dorm floor as a student too!

Holly took the time to invest in me.  Who can you invest in? You are never too young!  And now she is a missionary in the Ukraine {she continues to inspire me through her life} and the last time she was home on furlough – our kids played together – here are some pictures below.

Holly Rist 2011

Holly's visit kids

3. Titus 2 Worshops – connecting with older women - If you are a young woman, the Bible says we NEED older women and if you are older- the Bible says you need to be with the younger women.  We need each other.  We need your wisdom, insight, leadership and example.  Young ones – if you don’t have an older woman to learn off of  - pray for one.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

4.  Good Morning Girls – (the background story) When I started the very first Good Morning Girls Group at my home church  (which was previously titled the ’6AM Club’) in 2007 – it was all about accountability.  I knew I needed accountability for my daily quiet times and that is just what Good Morning Girls provided for me.  This sweet group of 5 ladies emailed each other every.single.day for years and years.

first GMG group

But little did we know that our little group of 5 would one day in August of 2009 – turn into 120 Good Morning Girls here on Women Living Well!  These groups kept on multiplying and multiplying, to the point that I was at 600 women and I needed some on-line help to manage it all.

This winter, GMG enrolled 13,000 women in our on-line Bible Study – Praise God!

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Let’s Discuss:

Here’s a – very brief – 1 minute video of my closing thoughts on this section of the book – “Your Walk with God”.

(if you are reading this in the feed – click here to view the video)

1.)  Tell us about a Bible Study you have  been involved in or a mentor or a Titus 2 Woman in your life, that you have connected with on a spiritual level.  How did that affect your spiritual growth?

2.)  Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (posted above), how can you apply this in your life?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 5″

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Connecting to Your Sisters in Christ

Alex baby at Christmas

I remember the first day we brought our first baby boy home –it was over ten years ago.

To enter our house there were 4 steps to go up and as I stepped up onto the first step I fell completely flat on my face – my leg gave out. Luckily, my husband was carrying the baby. But I said to him – “something is wrong with my leg, it is numb and I can’t bear my weight on it”. It had been numb in the hospital for 2 days (I thought the epidural was still wearing off) but I didn’t realize how weak it was.

In days to come, I would learn through a visit with the neurologist that I had injured my leg during my delivery and that the nerves in my leg had lost connection with my brain. The synapses in the nerve that told my brain to tell my muscles to work had lost connection and now my body wasn’t functioning quite right.  If you’ve had health problems, you know how frustrating it is when a part of your body isn’t doing what it should -when a part of your body shuts down or clogs up or deteriorates.

In Romans 12:5 it says,

In Christ, we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

In Christ we are one body.

You belong to me and I belong to you – each member belongs to all the others…

You belong – God’s word says it.

We are connected to one another because “we who are many are one body“.

Do you feel connected to the body of Christ –  the church?

Or do you feel like my leg?  When you are around Christians — there’s a disconnect.

Fall is here and it’s a great time to get involved in Women’s Bible Studies and fall groups that take place within your church body.  I want to encourage you to look for ways to connect and be brave – get involved.

If there is nothing like this happening in your church – I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and lead!  Start a group for moms, singles, new wives, divorced women, homeschool moms, preschool moms, empty nesters or widows!  Take the initiative.

Not sure what to do with this group you would form?  Here’s one idea.  You could become an accountability group.  A group of women who email each other every week day to keep each other accountable in your quiet times.  Or you could meet weekly to discuss an on-line Bible study you are all doing together.

Every month I write twice over at GoodMorningGirls.org.  There we gather women together into groups called Good Morning Girls groups.  Some of these groups never meet in real life. They simply email or create a facebook group and every morning check in on each other and encourage each other. Other groups meet weekly in homes or in churches.

This fall we are offering a FREE 8 Week Bible Study through Luke 17-24.  We provide FREE daily Bible reading plans, free study guides, videos and devotionals.  Our materials are translated into over 10 different languages and we have children’s resources for moms who want to use the study with their children.

Enrollment has already begun this past Monday and in two short days already over 5,000 women have enrolled!!!  So I encourage you to come check all the excitement out!

 fall 2013

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.”

Let’s use this new season of fall to greet our sister’s in Christ with a warm smile or hug.  Let’s reach out to visitors to make them feel more comfortable and like they belong.  Let’s pray for our sister’s in Christ and send them letters of encouragement. Let’s forgive those who have offended us.  Let’s extend grace, mercy and kindness in all circumstances.  And finally, let’s develop deep friendships with accountability and a place for women to belong.

Walk with the King,

 

**Chime In: Do you have a group of women you do life with?  What type of group is it?   –A Bible study group, Mops group, Good Morning Girls group, or something else?  Tell us about your group and what you all do together and how you have seen God work through your connection with your sisters in Christ.

Women Friendships {In Opposite World}

Women Friendships In Opposite World

 

I got a phone call a few years back from a friend at church.  The girl called me to talk about our friendship that seemed strained. She called to see if anything was wrong (I LOVE that she took the time to call me).  I really had no issue with her –only that I could sense that she didn’t really like me. And I accepted the fact that not everyone in the world is going to like this fast talking, loud laughing, Bible girl…so I had made peace with it. We were polite in the halls at church but there was no real friendship.

So when she called to ask what was wrong? I didn’t know what to say…only that I felt like she didn’t like me but I didn’t know why.  Then she said it. She said her reason why.

“I don’t like the cheerleader type.  You were a cheerleader in school weren’t you?”

I gasped for words…I mean yes – I was *guilty* of being a cheerleader BUT we were grown adults with children.  I’m NOT a cheerleader now (unless yelling for my son while he dribbles down the court counts lol!)… nor have I been one in over 15 years!  So this felt like a strange thing to hold against me. Then she told me the story of some hurtful things cheerleaders did to her  in high school.

But these girls were not me and I was certainly not them. We are sisters in Christ –commanded to love one another – but the world had lied to her.  It told her that “my type” didn’t like “her type”. And “her type” had better not sell out to being friends with “my type.” The world had pitted us against each other before we even knew each other.

And the worst part –we are in the same family, the family of God.  We are are both the same type — sinners saved by grace. Two women, two wives, two mamas, –struggling in this fleeting world to live for Jesus. We share the same heart –truly this woman is a woman of God and we are the beauti{full} bride of Christ.

And oh church – when will we get this right? When will we realize that we live in opposite world and the world has lied to us and told us that size matters, color of skin matters, type of car matters, size of house matters, color of eyes matter, hair style matters, fashion matters, the guy on your arm matters, the number of children matters…

NONSENSE–it all does not matter in God’s economy!!!!!!!

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” ~ I Samuel 16:7

And we are all just a little messed up and twisted from years of drinking Opposite World’s Koolaid.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2

When we are in God’s word – he untwists the mess in our minds and truth takes the place of lies.

Friends, we must stop looking at the outer appearance of the girl in the pew beside us and placing judgements.  We are the family of God, one in Christ!  Our love for each other must look different than the world’s divisions.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ~ John 13:35

How will the world know we are Jesus’ disciples?

By our love for one another.

Without a word.

People will know.

Just by our love.

Isn’t that powerful?!

Let’s walk in this truth and show Opposite World women friendships that love each other across worldly divides. We are one in Christ!

Chime In: How are your women friendships within your church?  Have you found a love that supersedes divides or has this been a struggle for you?  Share about a friendship where God has worked across divides in your life.

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,

 

***********************************************************************************

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! :)

 

Unity With Our Sisters in Christ & WLWW Link-Up Party!

Photo credit

I love this image above – it is SO powerful. It shows how the two eggs on the outside may differ but on the inside they are the same. I think of my two children – one boy and one girl. On the outside, they are very different and when they fight it makes this mama miserable! All I want is for my two children to GET ALONG! When they play cheerfully for over an hour together without needing a referee, this mom-heart is blessed!

You see what’s on the outside is different but their hearts are the same. The cross says they are both sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness.

How Can We Have Peace With Our Sisters in Christ?

Visit me over at Good Morning Girls where we’re discussing this today. 

Now it’s link-up time! 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, 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! :)

Walk with the King!

 

An Announcement at GMG – A NEW Contributor!

Today over at Good Morning Girls we are announcing our NEWEST contributor Jen Thorn!  And here we are 15 years ago – rockin some BIG rather dark – hair lol!

18 years ago, I arrived as a nervous freshman from Ohio, at the Moody Bible Institute. I settled into my new home in Houghton Hall dorm on 9 North and there across the hall lived this sweet girl with a beautiful smile. Jen had arrived in Chicago all the way from Germany and little did I know that God had a special friendship in store for me. Over the next four years, we’d become roommates, life long friends, we’d laugh, cry, share clothes, talk boys and surprisingly talk theology half the night! This girl runs deep!
 
During those four years of college, I was dating my husband long distance – so this poor girl had to endure me monopolizing the one phone in our room (there weren’t cell phones or email yet – just long distance calling cards!) and me writing snail mail nightly letters to my man. She helped me to enjoy life while my heart ached to be with the man I was head over heels in love with and trust me – that was a bigger task than you realize…I told LOTS of Keith stories people! lol! Which means this girl is a patient listener!
 
Jen was also head over heels in love with a very wise and intelligent student named Joe (who blogs at JoeThorn.net) – who also happened to be one of my close friends. This guy’s theology rocked my world – he was the source of Jen and I’s very late night theology discussions! lol! I think he taught me more about Theology than all three of my Theology courses at Moody combined! But I’m off track now – back to Jen! They married! Yes, they married the week after graduation and I was in her wedding.
 
 
And then I married 3 months later and she was in my wedding!
 
 
That’s Jen on my left and surely you recognize who’s on my right??? It’s Angela my partner at GoodMorningGirls.org! What huge blessings these girls have been in my life and I am SO excited to be coming together here and serving along side of them…
 
You want to see an updated photo of Jen now – along with her four children and read her bio?  Come check it out by clicking here!
 
We will also be announcing a second NEW contributor on GMG on Friday – so don’t miss it!
 
Then get ready for the BIG launch Monday as we begin an on-line study of the book of Ephesians!  Click here to open your free Estudy guide!!!
 
 

Walk with the King,

6 Essential Elements to a Thriving Women’s Bible Study Group

Here are some pictures of my Ministry of Motherhood Summer Bible study in my home!

This is Janelle from ComfyInTheKitchen.com co-leading! She did fabulous!

We celebrated multiple  Birthdays and Anniversarys together!

On Monday, I talked about Social Media and Our Friendships.  I encouraged us all to take our friendships off-line.  Starting or joining a women’s fall Bible study is a PERFECT way to do this!  Here’s what I’ve learned about women’s studies.

For over 30 years, I’ve watched my mom lead Women’s In-depth Bible Studies. I followed in her footsteps 15 years ago and began leading women’s studies also. The studies I have led have always met on a weekly basis. We usually go for 10 weeks in the fall, 15 weeks in the winter/spring and 8 weeks in the summer. 

As a child, I peeked through the railing of our stairs and watched the ladies come in streams through our front door. There was excitement in the air as the women ate snacks and laughed together. Some would come upstairs and visit my sisters and I to give us hugs goodnight – we loved that! Then in my footed pajamas along side my 2 sisters, we would freeze so my mom would not see us peeking, and there’d be a hush as my mom opened in prayer and then taught God’s word. It fascinated me as a child to watch all these women open God’s word. What a joyous night we had in our home once a week!

Since I’ve started blogging, I have not led a study but I have attended and hosted them in my home because I believe they are so vital to my walk with God and Christian friendships.  This summer, I have had the joy of welcoming over 20 ladies into my home on Wednesday nights. To be honest, a group of 20 is a bit large. 12 is an ideal number for connecting – but when it comes to studying God’s word – I turn no one away!

Some essential elements to a thriving women’s Bible study group are:
1. A good leader - she must have integrity and be wise with her words. She must love God’s word and all the women and be praying daily for her group.
 

2. A good Bible study book - there are many good materials out there. My personal favorites are written by Kay Arthur, Beth Moore and Elizabeth George.


3. Consistency
- the ladies must be committed to attending.


4. Prayer time together -
sometimes ladies can share too much or too long. It’s important to give them time to share prayer requests and connect – but it’s equally important that it does not take so long that there’s no time left for Bible study discussion. It’s the leaders job to manage this time.


5. Confidentiality -
the women need to keep in confidence all that is shared during Bible study time. No husband bashing…as I have personally watched a friend not be allowed to attend Bible study because other women were doing this and he feared his wife would do the same. Protect the marriages and ask private matters to be shared one-on-one.


6. Food and laughter -
some cookies, coffee and fellowship time for 15 minutes at the beginning and again at the end can do a soul good.

The first time I ever led a women’s Bible study fresh out of college (It was a Beth Moore study), I was a bit nervous.  But the joy I have found participating in Women’s Bible Study is uncomparable!  I just love learning God’s word with other women! 

Are you in a Bible study this fall?  Tell me about it!  What have you found to be an essential element to a thriving Bible study?  And If God is laying on your heart the desire to lead or host a Bible study in your home or church, Go For It! Just watch God knock your socks off!!

Walk with the King!