Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Are you Growing?

A child grows significantly during their first years of life. But once they get to a certain age that rate slows dramatically. 

This got me thinking of our spiritual states. When we first get saved or become Christians we give up this and that. We begin to read our Bibles and change a lot in a relatively short period of time.

Then all of a sudden we just stop...
Our spiritual growth often can become stagnant and when we really take a look at ourselves not much is changing anymore. We are just maintaining...

Think you yourself right now... How much have you grown as a christian in the last year? Month? Week or even compared to yesterday.  Are we better Christians today then we were last week?  Most of us probably can't detect much of a difference.

I know there are seasons and we often have references points and key moments of change...but we should be renewed day by day. We should see our characters, attitudes and behavior becoming more and more Christlike.

So here is my challenge....on a grand scale it's hard to determine how  we are growing...but for 30 days, I want you to write down each day one thing you have done to help yourself grow and change as a Christian. Or how you are a different christian today compared to yesterday.

It could be how you responded to tough situation, it could be some extra time in prayer, a phone call to a struggling Christian to encourage them...but let's for 30 days make it our aim to grow!

Please comment below if you accept the challenge and feel free to share how your progress is going!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dear Me

*I started this Bible reading plan called 'The End of me* by Kyle Idleman
This was the first devotional piece and I thought I would share as it really touched me and made me realize how much of me needs to still die!

Dear Me,
I’ve known you for as long as I can remember. I once heard there’s “a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” and yes, that’s us, though I doubt it’s what the proverb was talking about. I’ve been close to a lot of people, but you and me? We have quite an attachment. Looking back, it’s fair to say I’ve treated you pretty well. As a matter of fact, more times than I can count, I’ve put you ahead of anything and everything else. Agreed? As we were growing up. I tried to make sure you were always at the front of the line. I saw to it that you got the biggest cookie on the plate, the best parking spot, the comfiest chair in any room we entered. In school, I noticed the little things you liked, and I went after them. You always loved attention, so I did everything in my power to see that you got it. You still like the spotlight, so I’ve maneuvered to keep you in its glare. Now that we have the Internet, I have more tools. I post only the pictures that show you at your very best. Anybody would think you’re living the dream. Have you seen the comments people write about you? When you have struggled or had a hard time, I’ve done my best to keep that our little secret. I’ve tried to make you happy. Sure, it was a little easier to keep you happy when you were a cute little tyke. A simple temper tantrum got the job done. Then, as we grew older, I had to be a little more discreet. You wanted to keep winning and getting your way—all the while looking humble and unassuming. That gets tricky! Not to mention tiring. As a matter of fact, you never seem to care about dull stuff like bills and consequences and what happens tomorrow. I’ve said more than a few harsh words on your behalf to certain people, and you never warned me about the mess. You never told me I couldn’t unsay what I’ve said. I love you, Me. But I can’t keep living for you. You always insisted that if I’d just keep you happy, then I’d be happy—as simple as that. But you know what? It’s not as simple as that. It never has been. Me, I’ve let you be in control and sit in the driver’s seat, but it’s clear you can’t be trusted. You keep insisting you know the way we should go, but it always seems to be a dead end. I’ve looked into some other options, and I have decided to begin a journey down a different path. It’s narrow and difficult and not many choose it, but it leads to real and abundant life. However, and there is no easy way to say this, I can’t take this path if I bring you along. So, Me, this is the end of you.
Sincerely, Me

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Prayer Challenge!

Last night my husband preached an awesome sermon about watching and praying during the night. He challenged the congregation to repent of prayerlessness and encouraged us to pray more often.

I have always been one who loves a challenge. Especially spiritual ones. I have done long fasts, read my Bible in 7 months, memorized new testament chapter topics among other things. So this was an exciting challenge for me. And one that a new mom probably can do a lot easier than anyone else.  We are already up at nights anyhow.

So today I challenged myself to pray every time I wake up to feed my son at night and contend for our city, my family and personal needs in my life.

Christianity should always be something we are growing in. Growing in the area of prayer, reading and our relationships with God. Sometimes the usual routine gets old and stale.

How refreshing it was the idea of waking up in the midnight hours and praying each night. Some of you are probably thinking getting up at 2 am to pray is anything but refreshing, but I want to share a story with you.  I heard this story when I first became a Christian and I never forgot it.

A preacher of the gospel went to China to preach. He was scheduled to preach like 20+ sermons in a two or three day period. After a very long flight, with little to no sleep and severe jetlag, he got right to preaching.  No nap, no break. Back to back sermons he preached.  His body began to wear out and he felt very sleepy. He was given a 20 minute break. He went into a quiet room desperate to close his eyes and get some rest.  No sooner did her lay his head down did a still small voice say 'pray'. Pray??  At a time like this...he needed all the rest he could get as he didn't know when his next break would be. Surely God had to be joking...pray?
But the still small voice boomed loudly in the quiet room. After a few moments of resistance he proceeded to pray.

At the end of his 20 minute prayer he got up feeling like he has just slept for 8 plus hours. He felt refreshed, energized and ready to preach once more.

That story always inspired me. There is a scripture that says  'man can't live by bread alone'. There is a very spiritual element to our lives.  Our lack of sleep from prayer can be made up for. Do you trust God with your lack of sleep in exchange for prayer?

Being a mother of a new born baby I am willing to trust God in this area...as REST is much needed for  me right about now! Lol

I encourage you to take this week to wake up and the late night hours and pray!

Happy Thursday!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Welcome Preston Ray

Welcome Preston Ray
Born at 11:47 on Friday June 26th
was 8 lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long
For birth story click here

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Daddy Day

Daddy & his two children!
Certainly not as popular as Mothers Day, but of equal importance!
There are three fathers in my life I would like to give credit and honor to this fathers day!
Firstly my Father!
My dear old Dad is the best thing since sliced bread.  He has been there for me in so many ways over the years.  Many of the people I know are fatherless or have fathers that are 'dead beats'. I am so thankful my Dad always stuck around to give me the love and support a daughter needs.  I admire him so much, from his generosity to witty personality!  I am who I am today in large part because of my loving father! 
The Father of my children!
My parents weren't married growing up, so I never had the privilege of living with my Dad until I was older.  I watch my husband and the love he shows our girls at their young age and it melts my heart. Being a girl myself, I personally know the effect a father has on his daughter. The confidence and acceptance he provides her with.  Our girls are so blessed to have their Daddy.  And my little son has an amazing role model!
Me & My Daddy
My heavenly father!
Words can't express my gratitude to Jesus Christ for saving me.  How He has stood by my side through the ups and downs over the years.  His faithfulness and willingness to forgive blow my mind.  His patience with me and kindness towards me are enough to bring tears to my eyes.
How people live without the father is beyond me.  Because where men may fail our Lord never does!
My father's day was spent with all three of my fathers.  Firstly going to church and then out to lunch with my Dad & Hubby.
I am so thankful for their influence in my life. They inspire me to be a better me and make me feel loved and cherished!
At the end of the day we can all celebrate fathers day because we all have a heavenly Father looking down waiting to spend time with us.  So where you are lacking in the physical, God more than makes up for in the spiritual!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ministry & Children

I really can't believe my babies are PK's (pastors kids)
Ugghh kind of annoys me a bit!

Why?  There is such a stigma that comes with being a PK.
My oldest is only 11, so I am no veteran in the raising children in the ministry department, but I will share what I have learned thus far and wisdom gleaned from others :D

1) If you love it...so will they!  I notice my daughters ALWAYS want to go at church and be at church. They love Gods people and spending time with them.  I truly believe their love for church stems from their parents. We don't gripe, or complain about church or going.  Not because we hide that from them, we just genuinely enjoy church and the people of God.  I believe that rubs off on the kiddo's.

2)They still need your attention.   Remember when I said it was hard to share your husband with the church, well kids have an even harder time sharing their parents.  Since we have such busy schedules I do my very best not to plan to much in the week.  I notice my children have a difficult time when we have people  over and they need to go bed and don't get the usually mommy attention as per norm.  Though I don't want my kids growing up thinking the world revolves around them, I do try and bare in mind that i'ts hard for them if mommy or daddy are out every night with church folk or doing ministry related activities.

3)Let them grow on their own. As i said my oldest is only 11...so i have no idea if this works, just something my hubby and I have chosen to do.  We don't force our kids to be christians.  We don't inundate them with scripture memorization, or family devotions (though I know some that have and it turned out wonderfully)  Our thought its that we don't want Jesus to be common to them.  Which is super easy for the pk because they grew up in it.  Someone from our church shared how he grew up with bible stories and they meant nothing to him but simply that...a story. Am I saying we don't teach our children scriptures or read bible stories...not at all.  But our approach is more from letting them witness our lives.  If I am praying there is an option to join me.  And my main topic with my children is salvation and them getting saved.  Because I don't ever want them to assume they are saved because they grew up in church and do good things!

4) PRAY PRAY PRAY!  When all else fails, the prayers of the righteous availeth much!  I count on prayer to guide help and direct my children. Not our own weak, imperfect parenting abilities.  I always pray God would reveal himself personally to my children.  The bible says "taste and see that the Lord is good" not hear and see that the Lord is good!  I know once my children get their own taste of Christ they will serve Him.  Until them I plant seed, water and pray that those seeds grow!

5) No favoritism:We treat our children just like any other children in the church.  The same rules that apply for  everyone else apply for them.  While this may be challenging, this is important, especially as they get older.  Pk's can easily get a complex that they are "above" the law so to speak because dear old dad runs the church.  I NEVER EVER want my children to get that idea.  They will be held to the same standard as everyone else.  That's not only good for them, but gives you credibility among your church members.  You never want your precious church to feel that you treat your own better than everyone else.  Even though its natural to want to, being in the ministry you just can't do that!  At least when it comes to church and church affairs.  Of course personal things are up to you...but when it comes to ministry guidelines, standards and church practice your children need to adhere to the same rules as EVERYONE else.

We have a rule in our church that if you arr late you don't minister on platform.  I was late one day and I went to my ministry leader (song service leader) and said I was late and maybe the back up pianist should play.  I was given grace...being 9 months pregnant, but he said to me "Does that rule even apply to you?"  I said "of course it does, i am no better than you!"  If anything I should have a stricter standard. I can't expect something of others that I don't expect of myself and the same goes of our kids.  If we don't want other kids running up and down the church, we can't let our children.  If we want other children to be respectful we must first teach our own children.

Well those are my two cents! HAHA!

Hope you have enjoyed my little minstry series!
I have learned so much in 6 short years...and look forward to learning MUCH MUCH MORE!
Please do share your own thoughts and ideas on children and ministry! Would love to hear!'

Marriage & Ministry

Lately my posts have been very PW related. Given the title of my blog its expected.
So what's marriage& ministry like?
Well it sure is something!
You thought sharing that toy in preschool was a big deal....haha try sharing the man of your dreams!

Marriage & Ministry can definitey go very well together...or they can be a natural disaster.  It depends on how you handle it.  Here are some of the ways we have learned to make marriage & ministry compatible.

1) Let your husband lead.  It's his calling..you are his support person.  From what I have noticed, experienced and observed when wives get "too" involved in the ministry aspect it can put a strain on the relationship.  Either you accidentally cross a line with the people, or your husband.  YOu are completely worn out from being the "back up pastor" that you have nothing to offer hubby, and when things are going a bit rough at church with people if you are too involved or emotionally attached you may be more inclined to get your hubby riled up to instead of calmed down.

2)  Take a break!  It's VERY VERY hard to pry a husband away from his church.  Just like it is separating a mother from her new born baby...but I believe God gave Pastors, wives just for that purpose.  They need to break, and often won't take it unless forced! Even if its one hour on a date with you, or  mobile free...its imperative you have time together where the affairs of ministry aren't your focal points

3) Share the same vision: If you both don't have the same desires and vision for your church it will be a constant battle,  If you want to leave and he wants to stay...and that's the consistent feeling that needs to be addressed and dealt with.  Your precious church members will eventually sense discord among the both of you.  And not having the same desire for ministry is the worst sort of discord to have in your marriage.  Talk with each other often about your hopes, desires and aspirations  for your church. Remember you are a team and in this together!

4)Find your calling!  While you may not be called to be the pastor, you do have a role in that church.  I am not referring to the roll as a "PW".  I mean just a role in general.  What  are your gifts, talents and strengths?  For myself,  music, song writing and hospitality are my gifts...so I give myself to them. They make me happy, not as a pw but as a christian.  A lot of pw's lose themselves in the pw role and take on what they think are required roles as a pw and just end up miserable in the ministry.  I don't count offering in my church...there was a time when I did out of need, but that's not my thing and the second a worthy candidate was able to take over, I gladly allowed.  Just because you are a pw doesn't mean you have to be jack of all trades!

5) HAVE FUN!  Honestly if you  forget everything else I wrote remember this.  Ministry is fun, a privilege and BLESSING!  Maybe the role seems treacherous but I assure you IT IS NOT.  If you and your hubby have fun together in the ministry not only does it strengthen your marriage it strengthens your ministry.  If your marriage is failing, your ministry won't be very far behind.  These two "m" words for very strongly linked!  

Marriage & Ministry, Ministry & Marriage
They don't have to be enemies, but can be best of friends! :D

Up next week Children & Ministry

Stay tuned....