Ladies Night Out

Last night our church hosted our first ever Ladies Night Out. It was an awesome experience to see all the women laughing, crying, worshipping, and sharing together as we talked about love and marriage.

It was my honor to speak to our women about some of the peaks and valleys I have experienced through my first 13 years of marriage, and about some of the things Christian and I are doing to make our marriage great today.

It the midst of some of our early challenges in marriage I read a book that changed my life and helped me become a better wife. “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian helped me realize that I needed to change my attitude AND my prayers from, “Lord, change him,” to “Lord, change me!” I began to devour more books on marriage and relationships and I truly believe these books mentored me and taught me how to be a better wife, friend, and lover.

Everyone should be a lifelong reader! When you stop growing, you stagnate, in your life and your relationships. Here are some recommended resources (books & websites) to help better your relationships and your marriage:

  • For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
  • Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trish Davis
  • The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
  • 12 Questions to Ask Before You Marry by Clayton & Charie King
  • The Power of a Positive Wife by Karol Ladd
  • Sexperiment and The Creative Marriage by Ed & Lisa Young
  • The Sexually Confident Wife by Shannon Ethridge
  • Love and Respect by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs
  • Focus on the Family Marriage Site
  • Family Life Website
  • Movieguide.org
  • Pluggedin.com
  • 4-womenonly.com

I’ll follow up in a later post with some of the points I shared for single and married ladies!

    Posted in Journey Church Int, Love & Marriage | Leave a comment

    Thoughts from Matt Chandler & Jud Wilhite (Part 2)

    This post is a continuation from my last post about the NewSpring Leadership Conference that Christian and I attended last month. These are the notes that I took from Matt Chandler and Jud Wilhite. These are tweetable…enjoy!

    Matt Chandler (Pastor of The Village Church)

    *Psalm 27…When you feel all alone, He’s right there. He will hide you in the day of trouble. But remember just because you built your house on the Rock, it doesn’t exempt you from feeling the storm.

    *The only response to the presence of God is to worship him fully. (Ps. 105:4)

    *Position yourself where grace flows…in His presence.

    *Things that attract the presence of God: personal holiness, pursuit of holiness, praise & worship.

    *Things that repel God’s presence: pride, complacency, and indifference.

    Jud Wilhite (Pastor of Central Church)

    *Only 1 in 10 people who go into the ministry will finish in the ministry.

    *You have to learn to lead yourself, no one else will. No one will stop you from hitting the wall. YOU are the leader.

    *Remember that tough seasons are temporary. Every season will eventually pass. God uses tough seasons to shape you. The enemy tells you “things will never change.” Don’t listen to him. Be faithful because God is faithful.

    *Manage the crazy seasons of life intentionally. You have you manage your “yes” well. Honor the Sabbath. Focus on spiritual things that give you strength. What causes you to be strong? Do that on your Sabbath day.

    *Face every season in God’s rest. You don’t have to know everything, every plan. Just know that God will take care of you!

    Posted in Church Planting, Great Quotes, Ministry | Leave a comment

    Sunday in Review

    The last two weeks we’ve been discussing finances or “Biblical Economics” at church. This is not always an easy topic to address in church because many people have had bad experiences or have a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to a preacher talking about “money.” I’ve never been more proud of my husband. His messages have been sensitive, challenging, and convicting…at least for me.

    Last week Christian addressed our perspective regarding finances. His simple outline went something like this… Biblical Attititudes Towards Money:

    1. Stewardship (i.e. Management)…I am responsible. Each one of us is responsible for how we handle the money God entrusts to us. Luke 16:10 says that if we are faithful in the small things we will be entrusted in the big things.

    2. Gratitude (Appreciation)…I am thankful. This attitude of gratitude is so important. The difference between the offerings that Cain & Abel offered was their heart of gratitude. Abel gave because he was truly thankful for God providing for him. Cain gave out of obligation.

    3. Contentment…I am satisfied. In all honesty, this is the point that convicted me the most. Do I live with an attitude of being satisfied with what God has given me or do I always need more? More, more, more…that has become the American standard it seems. Interestingly enough, the famous often quoted verse Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things…” was referring to being content in all situations, not necessarily conquering anything through Christ.

    4. Generosity…I am helping. It’s more blessed to give than to receive.

    This week was a very practical message about a Biblical Plan for Finances based on the life of Joseph and how he saved Egypt from financial ruin. My favorite point this week was about margin. Christian shared that everyone needs financial margin in their life. Margin is defined as a spare amount for contingencies or “always a little bit left over.” So many of us live paycheck to paycheck and are recklessly close to the edge at all times. Margin teaches us to not use everything we have, but instead to prepare for the years of famine.

    “When you live by God’s plan, when there are needs, you can do something about it.”

    To catch these messages and learn more about the Bible’s plan for finances click here.

    Posted in Journey Church Int | Leave a comment

    Sunday in Review

    Yesterday we continued our series Spiritual Drought talking about the “topsoil” from the parable of the sower. This message was amazing again as Christian taught about what makes the topsoil good. Here was my takeaway and most memorable parts:

    • The good soil is somebody whose life produces spiritual growth in them and in others.
    • Jesus’ growth strategy for the disciples consisted of these steps: 1.) Follow Jesus (salvation), 2.)Engage in relationships, 3.) Growth-Develop a time with God (bible reading, prayer, etc.), 4.) Begin serving, 5.) Evangelize those around you and around the world, “GO!” 6.) Leave a spiritual legacy/mentorship
    • Spiritual wisdom and experience without spiritual reproduction misses the mark every time.
    • People reach people! People grow people!
    • The good soil is recognized for its production not its condition.
    • You are not developing if you are not developing someone else.
    • Most of the books in the New Testament are mentorship books written by men trying to lead the next generation of Christians. They were pouring into others to help them grow.
    • Becoming the good soil is more about example than instruction. Its not do what I say, but watch what I do, and then do that. Jesus was famous for this…he asked people to follow him. He showed them with his life how to live.
    • Christianity is a lifestyle you live, not a lesson you learn. Don’t just tell it…show it. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV)
    • At Journey Church International we want to grow people that are: spiritually passionate, spiritually committed, spiritually engaged, and spiritually selfless.
    • Our Year 2 goals for everyone at JCI…PASSION, GROWTH, FRIENDSHIP.

    At the end of the message Christian shared an illustration about the marathon he ran in Chicago. To date it was the hottest day for a marathon in Chicago history. He gave an illustration that brought tears to my eyes.  If you weren’t able to make it I highly encourage you to listen/watch it this week. Catch the message here.

    How are you working to develop others around you spiritually? Have you ever had anyone mentor you? What have you learned from that person?

    Posted in Journey Church Int | Leave a comment

    Perspecitive

    As my husband and I were running this week on the trail by our house he suddenly shouted, “WATCH OUT,” and scared me half to death. I jumped off the trail and when my heart stopped beating outside my chest I asked him what in the world he was thinking yelling at me like that out of nowhere. Then he pointed to the ground and said, “I saved your life! He was about to bite you!” (Very dramatic, I know.) Only then did I notice our little friend that had slithered onto the trail. Truly this snake didn’t look too happy with us for interrupting his nap as you can tell by his coiled up, defensive position. Well, whenever I see an animal in the wild I instantly speak in an Australian accent and like Steve Irwin says, “lets go in for a closer look,” so of course I had to take a picture, which only served to creep out my husband even more. (By now you’ve probably got the idea that he is deathly afraid of snakes.)

    After our run I sent this first picture out over the social media waves and told people I had to carry Christian home (:)) because I just knew our friends and church family would get a kick out of it. I was amazed at all the responses, particularly by people who commented on how big the snake was and how it looked poisonous. Christian and I had a good laugh over this because this is what the original picture that I took looked like…

    Not quite as menacing looking as the first picture right? You see when you step back and get the full picture you realize that the snake is not as big as you first thought it was. He’s actually just a baby.  Perspective.

    In life sometimes we are too close to the burdens we carry and the problems we are facing and we lose our perspective. Our problems appear huge, scary, and life threatening, when in actuality a lot of time they are just baby problems. When our heart feels overwhelmed it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Only when you look at the bigger picture can you see the truth.

    Another interesting thing about our problems…God sees all our problems like the second picture above, not the first. To Him all of our issues and burdens are small. He has the power to overcome all of them if we keep perspective, trust Him and turn to Him.

    One of my favorite verses says this…

    From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
    When my heart is overwhelmed;
    Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

    What problem in life are you facing right now that seems too difficult for God to handle? Share it with me and I’ll pray for you.

    Have a blessed day!

    Posted in Nuggets of Truth | Leave a comment

    Thoughts from Groeschel, Noble, and Furtick (Part 1)

    Last month Christian and I got the chance to go to NewSpring Church for their leadership conference (NLC). It’s a one-day, 8 speakers back-2-back, worship packet, energy filled, drinking from a fire hydrant kind of day. By the end of the night your mind is blown, but it is totally worth it! We’ve come away challenged, inspired, and filled with vision every year, and this year was no exception.

    I wanted to share just a few key points that I took from several of the speakers, starting with Craig Groeschel, Steven Furtick, and Perry Noble.

    Craig Groeschel (Pastor of LifeChurch.tv)

    *Pain is an effective leaders constant companion.

    *There’s purposeful pain in ministry (see Paul, 2 Cor. 11:23) and there is stupid pain. Avoid stupid pain.

    *If we are too afraid to step into the pain of leadership we will miss seeing the glory of God.

    *Sometimes the difference between where you are and where God wants you to be is the pain you are willing to endure.

    *Your potential is equal to the pain you are willing to endure.

    *Increase your pain threshold for unjustified rejection & criticism. The higher you rise, the more people will want to pull you down. Jesus said in John 15:20, if they persecuted me they will persecute you also.

    *Becoming obsessed with what people think about you is the quickest way to forget what Jesus thinks about you.

    *Chances are if you aren’t being persecuted you aren’t totally following Jesus.

    *I can’t please everyone but I can please God!

    *You will face the pain of pruning. God wants to do something IN you before he wants to do something THROUGH you. The harder God breaks you, the more he’s preparing you.

    Perry Noble (Pastor of NewSpring Church)

    Things Perry is praying for this year:

    *#1. Jesus will enable me to continually renew my focus on and love for him. When we fall in love with Jesus, we love people.

    *Stay focused! When we lose focus we hurt people.

    *Avoid arguments with the “religious.” (Mark 9:14) When we get involved in meaningless arguments we ignore hurting people.

    *Sometimes fighting the good fight means knowing which fights to walk away from.

    *Jesus is irresistible when he is preached in his truest form!

    *#2. Jesus give me an increasing measure of faith.

    *Everything is possible for the one who believes!

    *As long as we are attempting what God told us to do we can NOT FAIL!

    Steven Furtick (Pastor of Elevation Church)

    *People who do great things for God are NOT fearless, they are FAITHFUL.

    *Sometimes our greatest need is greater perspective.

    *If you’re running from God…get up and eat. Feed yourself on God’s Word. Your courage is malnourished because you’re not feeding it the Word. You have courage…your courage is just malnourished.

    *Receive God’s faith by feeding on His promises.

    *Get around people who feed your faith and shame your fears!

    *The Devil shouts his lies but remember God whispers (ex. Elijah) because he’s close!

    Stayed tuned for part 2 with Matt Chandler and Jud Wilhite next week!

    Posted in Great Quotes, Ministry, Nuggets of Truth | Leave a comment

    Sunday in Review

    Yesterday Christian continued his series Spiritual Drought discussing the rocky soil from the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. Honestly it was one of the best messages I have ever heard and I’m a tough critic. (What can I say I’m a evangelist-turned pastor’s kid…I’ve heard a LOT of messages :) ) I told him after the sermon that it was one of his most tweetable messages yet. Every other line was a zinger and it hit home in my heart. Here are some of the highlights I took away…

    The “rocky” soil is someone not growing spiritually because they have never followed through on their spiritual commitments. Many times we see people have an emotion experience at church, a revival, or a camp, etc. but that is all it is, emotion. True commitment requires follow through.

    The rocky soil is described as someone who basically has “no root” or is “shallow.” Yikes! James 1:6-8 describes this person as a double-minded man who is unstable in everything he does. Double yikes!

    Christianity is not intended to be “part” of your life. It’s not a drawer in your dresser; it’s the WHOLE dresser.

    Spiritual priorities don’t become spiritual commitments until you act on them. True commitment requires action.

    Commitments eat priorities for lunch every day. Sometimes our biggest problem is that we are just too busy. Most of the things we do in our life are all good things, but are they the best thing? Our spiritual walk has to be prioritized on the calendar of our life.

    Generally every leader is overcommitted, but it’s time to take inventory of your life and your time and see where you might need to change. (Ooh, that one hit home!)

    In Genesis 35, Jacob was coming home and coming back to the Lord. Here were the steps he and his family followed to a careful re-dedication:

    1.)  Get rid of your gods. We know in our head that the order should go something like this…God, spouse, kids, work, etc. but too often the priorities of our life don’t reflect this.  An idol is anything we put before God. What are you currently putting before God? (Hint…look at your calendar.)

    2.)  Purify yourselves. One day if you were called into a church service full of your friends and family and a video of your life from the past week was played for all to see, would you be embarrassed? Would you be ashamed of the way you talked, the way you dressed, the movies/tv you watched, the things you looked at on your computer? Would you be embarrassed by the way you talked to your kids or spouse and how you treated people? If so, it might be time to purify yourself.

    3.)  Change your clothes. Simply put…change your bad habits. Yesterday we found out the hard way that apparently none of my son’s winter pants fit him. They were so tight he got a stomachache before church. Oops! That’s the same problem a lot of us face. We are trying to fit in our old clothes but we are bigger now! The truth is…your old life should not fit you spiritually!

    And all these things led to…

    4.)  Exponential spiritual growth. For some of us it’s time to grow and put some hard work and effort into our walk with God.

    Well, that is just a cliff notes of the message. Like I said it was good! If you haven’t had a chance, you can listen to it here.

    Posted in Journey Church Int, Nuggets of Truth | Leave a comment

    Happy Birthday JCI

    Last Sunday, September 23, Journey Church International celebrated its one-year anniversary! All week as I was telling people about our first anniversary I found it hard to actually believe it’s been one year, and all I can say is…it’s all God. The fact that we have a church, the type of ministry we are privileged to do, where God has brought us from, the way He has healed us and given us new purpose through this church…it’s all Him.

    My wonderful husband (who I am so proud of :) ) in the spirit of 2 Corinthians 10:17, which states that if we boast, we should “boast in the Lord”, filled us in on the awesome things that God did through JCI in year one.

    • 76 people gave their hearts to Jesus and became Christians.
    • 45 Christians who were away from God rededicated their lives spiritually.
    • 46 people were baptized, publically declaring that they were following Jesus.
    • More than 300 Bibles were given away to guests and attenders who did not have a Bible.
    • $62,719 dollars was given away to local outreach, global missions, and church-planting ministries.

    As if all that wouldn’t have been enough of a blessing, we were fortunate to have Tony Nolan as our guest to preach for our first ever “harvest” Sunday. Tony has an amazing testimony and such a great heart to see people truly follow Jesus. He brought it and 38 people made decisions for Christ on the 23rd! If you add in these decisions that means that 159 people have made decisions to draw closer to Jesus at JCI in the past 53 Sundays. God is so good…Jesus is awesome…I am a blessed woman.

    Can’t wait to see what He has in store for us in year 2…stay tuned!

    Weekend Snapshot:

    *Thanks again to Jeff Mullikin for the awesome pics!

    Posted in Church Planting, Journey Church Int, Missions/Outreach, Pastor Christian Newsome | Leave a comment

    Sunday in Review- Rick Muchow

    We were so honored to have Rick Muchow at our church this weekend as our guest worship leader. Pastor Rick has been the worship pastor at Saddleback Church with Pastor Rick Warren for the last 24+ years. He’s a gifted singer/songwriter and worship leader but my favorite thing about him is his heart. He’s one of the most humble servants that I know. He’s lead faithfully and sacrificially for so long, and I think he is an example for so many young worship leaders today. Christian and I are honored to call him our friend.

    While he was in town we had vocal and band rehearsals and also a mini worship conference. I loved watching him in action and trying to learn all I could from him. I couldn’t believe how amazing our team sounded in such a short time with his coaching. I think coaching is so important. The minute you think you’ve arrived or you’ve learned it all, I think you’re done as a leader. God is looking for people who are sensitive to his Spirit and hungry for growth. Here are some of my favorite things that I learned from Pastor Rick this weekend:

    • Worship leaders must be Bible readers. (Pastor Rick knows the Bible and quotes it often. It was very inspiring to me.)
    • Worship is everything in your life…Worship is faith expressed.
    • We become like the God we worship.
    • Is the noise in your life (your phone, computer, FB, twitter, Instagram, etc!!!) too loud to hear God?
    • Worry is when we try to figure it out; worship is when we let God figure it out.
    • Take the high road.
    • Fail fast….If something doesn’t work don’t be afraid to admit it and change.
    • Biblical worship is 3 things: (1.) Love (1 Cor. 13), (2.) Humility & Reverent Fear (Isa. 66:2), (3.) Commanded by God (Luke 10:27)
    • The only part of the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus repeated was the part about forgiveness. You can’t truly worship if you have unforgiveness in your life. There is a difference between trust and forgiveness…Trust is earned, forgiveness is automatic. Be quick to forgive other people so that you don’t inhibit your prayer/worship life.
    • Essential Values for Worship Leaders:
      • Servant hearted (Luke 22:25-25)
      • Authentic (2 Cor. 1:12)
      • Dedicated (2 Ch 16:9)
      • Dreamers (Eph. 3:20) Don’t quick dreaming!
      • Learners (Pr 15:14)
      • Enthusiastic (Eph. 6:7)
      • Bold (2 Cor. 3:12)
      • Affable (Pr 13:7) Not too serious!
      • Committed (Rom. 12:10)
      • Keep on Going (Eccl. 11:6)

    This Sunday was also a great day because 4 more people gave their lives to Jesus! Yesterday Christian preached about heaven and what it will be like. I’ve been a Christian most of my life and I learned so much. Heaven is going to be so amazing! I can’t wait to experience it. If you missed the message you can catch it here!

    Thanks to my awesome bro in law for the great pics! JeffMullikin.com

    Posted in Great Quotes, Journey Church Int, worship | Leave a comment

    “Sorry kids, I’m writing my blog…”

    I don’t know about you but that’s the last thing I wanted to say to my kids this summer, as they stood around me wide-eyed, waiting for the fun to begin. You might have noticed that it’s been a while since I’ve blogged…uh, quite a while. In this journey of church planting I’m learning that balance is crucial and yet so hard to maintain. Sometimes something’s gotta’ give.

    This spring I picked up a second part-time job, became a full time baseball mom, and went from 0 to 60 overnight. Instead of cheating my husband or my kids I decided to let a few non-essentials in life take a hiatus so that I could enjoy my family…one of those being my blog. I decided to get the important things done but only the truly important things. I kept my phone on silent more, I went to bed at decent hours, I watched Disney way too much, I shut my computer off, I played Wii and I tried to talk my son into teaching me how to play Madden (“No thanks Mom,” was his reply. I guess he knows when a cause is lost!), I went berry picking, I visited family I haven’t seen in forever, I read lots of children’s books, and I just enjoyed life and my husband and kids.

    One day my precious Christian & Kasey will leave my house to go and start their own lives. When they leave I don’t want their only memories of me to be listening to them with one ear while I’m on the phone, my face staring at my computer 24/7, or for them to remember my attitude being constantly short and anxious because I was overtaxed. I want them to remember me taking time to talk to them about what was going on in their lives, teaching them about the Lord, reading to them, playing games, and making memories. I’m not always perfect and I do have plenty of “short” moments but that is the goal I’m working towards. That’s the legacy I want to leave.

    Side note…Since I didn’t blog this summer I thought I’d post a photo diary of some of our most fun moments!

    Like I said, LOTS of baseball! But he's so cute in uniform :)

    Thanks to a great friend I got to enjoy the awesome experience of attending the CMA's with these lovely ladies!

    At the CMA's I even got to meet Skylar Lane & Colton Dixen!! Jordin Sparks was standing right behind me. It was all I could do to keep my cool :)

    The kids & I took the long drive to Michigan to see Oma & Opa, my grandparents. I though this was so funny and appropriate for Oma!

    I was glad to see that after 20 years my Aunt still has the same pool toys that we use to enjoy as kids

    One of the greatest miracles happened this summer when our nephew was born. After 3 miscarriages God sent a miracle! Kasey loves him!

    One of the things I love about my son is that he is so sweet to small children. He has a great heart!

    Cousins...so much fun

    My kids had a blast being one of the "big kids" as we went to youth camp. I'll post more on that later :)

    After 15+ years I learned I could still ski thanks to some of our friends who were VERY patient!

    My kids finally found common ground when it comes to video games...Thank you Skylanders!!

    Posted in Fun Stuff, Kasey, Little Christian, Love & Marriage, My Story, Parenting | 6 Comments