Sunday, April 20, 2014

Restless - Because You Were Made for More!

As we finish up Easter week and are thinking a lot about new life, I want to share some about the new life I'm seeing in myself and others after doing Restless (by Jennie Allen) together.

I'm so grateful that I've been able to review Jennie Allen's studies. They just keep getting better and better! Restless is basically an eight week study, and you'll want your participants to get the books and do the first week of homework before they come to your first session.

I don't often say this about studies, but Restless is a study I believe every woman should do. Our second group is doing it now, and I will be starting a third group over the summer. My goal: I want to see as many of the women in our church go through it as possible - and soon! Why? Because I believe I've only began to see a glimpse (through the few women who have finished the study) of how the women in our church are going to wake up to their calling and began to mobilize for the kingdom.

So what is Restless about? Restless looks takes a look at the life of Joseph, as it helps the participant look deeper into the threads of their own life. How has God gifted me? How has He allowed me to suffer? Where have I been? Who are the people in my life? What do I dream about? How do all of these threads weave together.

Our group was fairly diverse in make up. A couple of ladies who were recently retired, had just moved to the area, and were looking for what God had for them in this next season of life. One lady was feeling like she knew what she loved, but was feeling a lot of pressure from the outside to be the same, reliable girl she'd always been and not pursue her passions. A couple of us were feeling like our passions probably weren't from God - because how could it possibly feel SO good to be in the middle of God's will. I mean, isn't doing kingdom work really hard and miserable? One of our group had forgotten how to dream completely.

I cannot even begin to tell you the kind of transformation that happened in hearts and lives from week one to week eight. Since we had a fairly small group, we were able to really go deep with what were were experiencing internally.
We watched our friend learn how to dream again. We watched her begin to see ministry opportunities open up and see how God used her. We watched each other realize that our gifts and passions were working together by God's design FOR his glory, not against it. We watched each other wake up to the excitement of being a part of God's story and being wired to play our part in our piece of eternity.

The Restless kit includes a leader guide, a workbook, the DVD, and a set of discussion cards. Restless is also available as a regular book in paper-back and Kindle form; so make sure you get the right format if you choose to do the study. You will want workbook (study guide).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Who Are You REALLY Willing to Forgive?

This year, on Good Friday, I'm being challenged by the collision of something in my past with something in my present.

You see this year God has put me in the middle of a someone's life - someone who has hurt a lot of others with their actions. I had the opportunity to have a "come to Jesus" session with them yesterday - and I really believe they did.  However, my heart is doing a bit of aching today because not everyone wants to forgive them the way Jesus does.

Friday, March 7, 2014

How Do You Do Women's Ministry? - Vicki's Story

Meet Vicki. Vicki and her husband serve the Lord in Malawi, Africa. I got to have lunch with Vicki today, and it will go down as one of my favorite days at work.

Several times a year our church hosts what is called Discipleshift, where churches from all over the nation bring their leaders to learn about relational discipleship. As a staff, we take turns hosting tables at lunch time for our guests. Attendees choose tables based on areas of ministry, if they are interested in knowing more about how we do ministry in that area. Today was my turn to host the women's ministry table, and Vicki came to sit with us.

I asked Vicki to tell me about her church in Malawi, and the stories that began to come out of her were remarkable.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Respectfully Yours

This last summer, I had the opportunity to take the women in my home group through Respectfully Yours: The Secret to Power and influence in Your Marriage by Dr. Emerson and Sarah Eggerichs. Name ring bell? Dr. Eggerichs is the author of Love and Respect. Respectfully Yours is a study written just for women, taking the respect side of the issue to a whole new level.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. I've reviewed lots of studies, and this isn't the one I was the most excited about digging into. First of all, I knew I would probably be convicted - and who wants to sign up for that?! Secondly, I was suspicious. I mean, if they were going to take each side of the love and respect issue deeper, why did they write the one for women first? Ha!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ever After: Life Lessons Learned from My Castle of Chaos

First of all, this book has the same name as my all-time favorite movie. Secondly, isn't the picture adorable? I could tell when I picked it up that I would love it. It looks like a photo taken at any day in my house - except I don't actually have a chandelier.

With chapter titles like "Prince Charming Letdown" and "P-31 Flunkie," any reader would be quickly drawn in by Vicki Courtney's down-to-earth, "let's get real" style of writing in Ever After: Life Lessons in My Castle of Chaos.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Experiencing God at Home Day-By-Day

Blackaby International sent me another fantastic book to review: Experiencing God at Home Day-By-Day. I LOVE this little book. Basically it is a year's worth of devotionals you can do with your family. There are 50 weeks of devotionals, with six days of material provided each week (five days of devotions and one day of parent preparation). The book begins talking about the treasure of God's Word and then walks through the themes of the Bible from creation all the way to the new heaven and new earth (Revelation). In the back there are about 25 special devotions for holidays and other family occasions, such as: Christmas, first day of school, death in the family, disaster in the news, etc.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mary and Elizabeth Show Us How to Encourage Women

Tucked in the Christmas story is perhaps one of the best outlines I’ve ever seen for women to follow in encouraging each other.

Elizabeth was old, she had been infertile her whole life, and was the wife of a priest. Six months before Mary is told she is carrying the son of God, Elizabeth’s husband is also greeted by an angel who informs him that his old, barren wife will have a son - a son whose life mission will be to prepare the way for the son of God.