New Study “Rebuilding Your Broken World”—Chip Ingram

I started a new Bible study last week with a group of ladies from our home church. We miss it so much that we are finding ourselves drawn back there to attend any chance we get when we are not on the road for ministry. The study is Chip Ingram’s “Rebuilding Your Broken World.”

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Life has many broken places for us to experience. We can have brokenness in our emotions, our relationships, our careers or dreams, our spiritual lives, and more. I am learning along the journey that being in a broken spot is the exact place where God reaches parts of me that I never knew needed His touch. When I give in to that brokenness and, as the first week of the study has talked about, ask “What?” instead of “Why?” God begins to work. I am NOTICING GOD more when I am seeking, and I am SEEKING more when I am hurting, and I am HURTING when I am broken, so being BROKEN leads to noticing God more and growth in my relationship with Him. The key question is: will I notice and seek even though I feel hurt in the broken places of my life?

You can find out more about this study by clicking HERE.

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Happy New Year 2015

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While I don’t make it here nearly enough to blog and keep this site up-to-date, my thoughts always turn back to this blog at the beginning of a new year.  In past years I used the blog to write about so many topics, but one of my favorite topics has always been my Word of the Year.  At the end of the year, I spend time looking back at the old, looking forward toward the new, and praying and seeking God for a new focus, a new start, and for this Word of the Year.

I learned SO much in 2014, I will have to do a recap post here on my 2014 Word of the Year “FREE”!

Here I am at the beginning of the New Year, 2015, and like every year since 2010, I have chosen a Word of the Year.  This tradition has always given me joy in finding a new focus at the beginning of each year.  I love the examples from years past where God has taught me lessons throughout the years pertaining to those particular words of the year.

Without further ado, my 2015 Word of the Year is ABIDE. I have been spending time daily reading, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, a devotional that is packed full of wisdom and endearing lessons written from the perspective of Jesus speaking to the reader.  One sweet devotional at the beginning of the year encourages us to give ourselves over to this “adventure in increasing attentiveness to His Presence.” This is the essence of abiding.  To recognize every move, every breath, every step, every heartbeat as a part of this adventure in Him. It’s a journey. It’s a process. It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about Jesus drawing me closer and closer to Him.  My faith is NOT just a religion. It is my LIFE. My faith is not a separate part of my personality or just a chosen belief system…it is who I am, a child of God, a daughter of the Most High King, cherished, beloved, created to be HIS masterpiece.  What a blessing to have these truths and this kind of HOPE to hold on to in a world that is rocky and downright scary and unstable at times.

So, in 2015, I will abide.  I will live and breathe in the knowledge of faith in my Heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Free and abiding.

Feeding Spiritual Hunger

Spiritual Hunger.  It’s not all that different from physical hunger.

When our bodies are hungry, we may feel weak or have a slight headache.  We have grumbling stomachs, growling and urging us to find something to satisfy.  We may become more easily frustrated, quick to snip or snap at others, and just feel pretty miserable when we are truly needing to feed our bodies.

Our soul is very much the same.  We need to pray and commune with our Heavenly Father.  We need to feed on the Word of God to allow Him to satisfy our soul hunger.  We need solid, Bible-centered teaching that will fill our minds with TRUTH. We need fellowship with other believers for encouragement, edification, and, yes, even reproof or correction at times.

What happens when we don’t have these sources of nourishment for our soul? Like our physical signs of hunger, our spiritual hunger results in weakness, aches of the heart, grumbling, growling and the urges to find satisfaction.  It can fill us with frustration and anger and misery.  Loneliness, uncertainty, fear and anger creep in.

Ultimately, when we don’t nourish ourselves physically, we can die.  When we don’t nourish our spirit and soul, we will also end up spiritually “dead”–dry, ineffective, broken and bearing no fruit.

Sounds like a dangerous place to be.  I pray that I never get so spiritually malnourished that I find myself in that spot.  We have to find ways to feed ourselves spiritually.  In full-time ministry, where we don’t consistently get a “Sunday Morning Meal” of worship, preaching and fellowship in our home church body, we have to make the effort to bring these things into our lives by purposefully seeking out sound Bible teaching, personal quiet times, and fellowship with other believers. It is not an easy task.

It’s all part of growing.  Working in full-time ministry has amazing blessings, but it also has its own set of difficulties. We will just keep moving forward and trusting the Lord to meet all of these needs.  What do you do to keep yourself spiritually “full?”

Stop Thinking, Start Doing

I’ve had blogging on my mind for a few days and just felt the urge to come back to my blog to share a thought or two.  Life is too chaotic for me to blog regularly, and I am too hard on myself if I fail to blog as often as I think I should, etc.  I won’t promise that I’ll be back for any regular posts or that I will even be able to finish a complete sentence the way my thinking is most of the time, but I am promising that I am going to STOP just thinking about it and START writing something.

Recently I read a blog post that drew my attention to the fact that I am really slacking when it comes to spending time reading the Bible and really nurturing my relationship with God.  I  wish I could remember which blog or where I read the post, but it has escaped me.  That’s what I get for not pinning it or bookmarking it.

The point is: I am tired.  I am worn.  I am stressed out all of the time.  I need stress relief and I need ways to relax and find peace with our current chaotic life.  I cannot do this on my own human strength.  I know that the source of this supernatural peace is God.  He can somehow give me what I need to handle ten kids and a household and a job that really requires more of me than I feel that I have to give.  He sees all of this chaos and stress and still calls out for me to “Be Still.”

I get so stuck in my head.  So stuck in my thinking.  I can’t live in this state of mind anymore. I have to stop thinking and start living. I need to start doing the things I know He is calling me to do.  That starts with the basics of reading the Word and prayer…and, for me, writing.  Whether it’s a blog post or a handwritten journal, an email or a letter, I need to put thoughts into words, even if no one else ever reads them.

Here’s to my renewed effort to stop thinking and start doing.  Whatever it is that He calls me to do.