Worship Wednesdays #12

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying this lovely week.

There will be some changes coming beginning next week. I am moving my blog from wordpress.com to wordpress.org. Basically that allows me to control my blog and content by choosing to self-host. This will allow me to grow and change as I see fit and truly own my content.

In addition, I am changing my design for the blog. My friend Erin Lauray is creating it for me as we speak and it will be uploaded on the new blog sometime next week. Keep your eye out for that! Make sure to follow on my facebook page or on twitter to keep up with the latest information.

I wanted to share a really great song by Jesus Culture that has been blessing and encouraging me lately. I hope you enjoy it – and may you be encouraged by it, too.

Jesus Culture – Come Away

 

Worship Wednesday #11

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I hope ya’ll are having a blessed and joy-filled day.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure which worship song(s) I wanted to share with you today.

But then I was perusing instagram yesterday, and found this gem:

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{You can find Jessi’s blog & shop here}

So, you know I had to find out about this song. I don’t listen to a ton of Hillsong United music, but the ones I do like have AMAZING lyrics.

This song did not disappoint. Holy Spirit moved in on me quick when the song began playing from YouTube. It is such a beautiful picture of Peter walking on the water and how that applies in our lives currently. It is an encouragement to trust in Jesus in the toughest of times or situations. May it bless you today and encourage you to keep on keepin’ on in the faith.

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“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.”

Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)

When Waiting Sucks

Sometimes waiting just sucks.

We are in the middle of a lot of changes in our home. With my new job, our schedule has turned upside down…and it has been (at times) a rough adjustment for all of us. My husband has had to take on additional responsibilities while I work for a couple of hours in the afternoons when Eden is home from school. It certainly has not been easy.

In addition, we have been feeling/wading our way through another season of frustration in waiting for the next step. It seems to come in waves for us – periods of peace and trust in Gods timing and plan, and periods of frustration and feeling like we will never make it to step 2.

But the Word of God, my sweet brothers & sisters in Christ and worship music have all been a great blessing/comfort to me.

I posted this pic the other day on my instagram….it definitely shows me that our waiting period is for a purpose. “…waiting time is never wasted time.” MAN – God was pointing a finger right at me with that one!!!

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The She Reads Truth study in Nehemiah has had a profound impact on me. I think the book of Nehemiah is a preview of what is to come for my husband and I when we finally move to Arizona. It has blessed and encouraged me so much – and I am so thankful.

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And while I know in my head that everything will be alright – that God has a plan and is working it out as we speak. Sometimes waiting just plain old sucks – and I have to work through these seasons of frustration through Gods word and through prayer. I am reminded of a very important verse that gives me strength:

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I have to believe. God is good. Amen.

Blessings,

Content In All Things?

I am sharing this post on my friend Carly’s blog today, Texas Lovebirds. Go check her out!! She is amazing!

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{I took this photo during church this past week.}

I am one of those people you’d categorize as frugal. Cheap. Maybe even a tight-wad.

I adore the teachings of Dave Ramsey and I look for ways to save money.

You might even say I find some of my security in having money available. I am not talking SUPER WEALTH or anything. But just knowing I have something in case I need it, that gives me peace.

And for many years this has brought me guilt (okay, the Holy Spirit has convicted me). My husband is quite the opposite of me. He loves to give gifts to others and bless others in monetary (and non-monetary) means. I have always wished I could give that freely without feeling scared or worried that we might need that money down the road.

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{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

Then this past Sunday, my church began a series entitled Content in All Things. My worship pastor, Brian, spoke last week, and shared the story of the rich young ruler from Matthew 19 –

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” – Matthew 19: 21-24

Immediately, I became convicted again because I knew God has been working on me to surrender this area of my life to him. I have certainly come a long way. But this continues to be an area of dis-trust for me. In his message, Brian argued that one of the major issues facing Christians in the West is that we may be missing the mark in the area of generosity. He discussed how in the U.S. we value the idea of scarcity and attaining more things to equal ones worth as a person rather than being generous with others.

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{A favorite quote recently from Ann Voskamp.}

However, I don’t think this missing the mark with generosity necessarily means monetarily/material things only. We may be missing the mark if we hoard our money, for sure. But what about not being generous with our time? Our giftings? Our knowledge & wisdom?

Jesus asks us to forsake ourselves and live fearlessly for His glory. This means forsaking our agenda, our plans, our 401k plans, our savings accounts, our to-do lists, and yes….even our lives. And it is SCARY. It requires major TRUST because it involves great risk in the eyes of man.

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{Photo Credit: worthyofthegospel.wordpress.org}

One of the resources Brian mentioned in his message last week was the book Radical by David Platt. I have had the opportunity to read it, and it shook me to the core. David Platt does an excellent job of analyzing some of the issues/problems with the lack of generosity, lack of missional mindedness, lack of discipleship and community building happening in the current American church today:

“This is really the core issue of it all.  Do we trust him?  Do we trust Jesus when he tells us to give radically for the sake of the poor?  Do we trust him to provide for us when we begin using the resources he has given us to provide for others?  Do we trust him to know what is best for our lives, our families, and our financial futures?” – David Platt, Radical

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Ultimately, Jesus was communicating to this man [rich young ruler] that there was nothing he could do to enter the kingdom of God apart from total trust in God.  It is impossible for us to earn our way into heaven.  In the process, though, Jesus was exposing the barrier that this man’s wealth was to seeing his need for God.  His wealth on earth would ultimately keep him from eternal treasure. – David Platt, Radical

So, what do you think? Personally, I don’t think Jesus is calling everyone to sell everything they own and move into poor neighborhoods. I think Jesus is asking believers to lay down their choke-hold on their stuff and surrender fully to Him. This may mean you go through times of plenty or times of dire need. In both circumstances, give thanks and fully trust/surrender to Him. Allow Christ to lead you. And may you be encouraged by Paul’s account of the matter in Philippians 4 –

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little”  – Philippians 4:11-12

Please take a listen to the sermons mentioned above. Listen to the one by Brian Wages first, then to Jeff Henderson’s second. In addition, take a listen to the song “Rich Young Ruler” by Derek Webb. It puts to song the message behind the story in Matthew 19. Extremely convicting but necessary for our growth as Christians.

Rich Young Ruler – Derek Webb

I am giving away a copy of the book “Radical” here!! I hope it can bless someone else like it has blessed me!

Worship Wednesday #10

Hey all!

It has been another busy week in virtual teaching world. I am sure hoping it slows down some in the coming weeks so I can return to blogging on a more consistent basis! I am hoping to implement some of my organizational strategies to help me get on track with blogging!

For this worship wednesday, I wanted to share some Gungor music with you. I have been re-listening to some older Gungor music and I am just LOVING their lyrics and musical stylings. (It doesn’t hurt that they are a husband & wife team, which just tugs at my heart!) 🙂

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I hope you enjoy worshiping today with these songs – check out my post later this week on some of my favorite Bible reading plans/apps, too!

May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He make His face to shine upon you, and give you peace….today and every day ahead.

Gungor – Beautiful Things

Gungor – Jesus and John

Gungor – Please Be My Strength

Gungor – Dry Bones

Worship Wednesday #9

As my work life has gotten quite busy these past few days, I have been reliant on the Lord now more than ever. The strength He has given me, the peace He has provided….it has been phenomenal. The precious friends who have graciously prayed for me as I sent frantic texts to them, asking for help….what a blessing.

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One of my favorite worship songs that we do at church is an amazing song written by Martin Smith, lead singer of Delirious?. It so touches my soul. It speaks of those struggling, who can find comfort in letting go and letting God take over. It speaks of a place of surrender.

I pray you are blessed by this song. Whatever you are going through, know He sees you. He has everything under control. You are loved.

Find Me In The River – Delirious?

Worship Wednesday #8

Since I am going through a season of transition while still waiting on the Lord for our future endeavors, I often find myself during the day feeling overwhelmed at frustrated. I don’t think that is uncommon, nor do I believe I should feel ashamed for feeling this way. I think this is apart of the process as God teaches me to trust Him and to rely on Him.

In the meantime, God has been using worship music (and His word) to bless me and to calm me as I move through this process and season of my life. One of my favorites lately has been “God I look to You”, sung by Jenn Johnson at Bethel Church in Redding, CA. I am linking a YouTube video below. Please take a listen. It will encourage you and bless you, especially those of you who are going through something similar.

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I pray God shows Himself to you today. I pray He uses you to be a blessing to others, too. Don’t forget to thank Him for who He is and what He is doing in your life! He is faithful! Hallelujah!

Blessings,

God, I Look To You – Bethel Music (feat. Jenn Johnson)

Rushing God’s Plan

My husband and I often get similar comments from folks when they find out that we have been called to church planting, especially since we were called way back in 2009 to Phoenix AZ. This is often what they say, “When are you leaving?” “Why are you still here?” “Do you think you jumped the gun a little bit?” and “I thought you guys were moving, what happened?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am not angry at these folks. They are well-meaning. But I think our culture has bought into something that concerns me. Many people in our area who get into church planting immediately begin fundraising, get involved with an organization to sponsor them, and within a year or two they have launched a church. We have seen SEVERAL churches who have sprung up this way in our area. And perhaps this is why people keep questioning my husband and me.

Psalm 73 23 24

It becomes very difficult to explain to people that WE WOULD LOVE to be there in AZ. My husband and I both feel our hearts pulled to the area and we would absolutely love nothing more than to drop everything and get on out there and begin ministering to those lovely folks in Phoenix/Scottsdale.

However, we both sense God asking us to wait. One of the major issues holding us back is our financial situation, particularly the fact that our home is currently upside down in the mortgage. (That means that we owe more than what it currently appraises at, so we’d have to essentially file for foreclosure or a short-sale in order to get out of our house payment.)

It would be easy to walk away. I could quit paying my mortgage tomorrow and find myself able to move to AZ in a heartbeat. It would be so easy. But my husband has had many conversations/prayers with the Lord and he believes God wants us to be honorable in our finances. That means we have to keep working hard at being financially responsible and wait on the Lord to bring us to a place where we are ready to move. Maybe that is in a year. Maybe it’s in five years. I don’t honestly know WHEN it will be.

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{Photo Credit: @spolleys on Instagram}

I can predict. Give you an estimation. But ultimately I just don’t know. And the further along this path I go, I am more and more comfortable with that. It means I have to trust God. It means I cannot control this situation. It means that God has to lead me. It means I must have faith.

And I am okay with that.

I pray you are learning to trust God in your life. If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure when God is going to move or where God is going to lead you, it is okay. He has you in the palm of His hand.

Blessings,

Happiness or Joy?

One of the biggest things I am learning in this time of my life is that I may not like every single second of each experience I am in. For example: as a mother of a young child, I am often told by other mothers or grandmothers to “enjoy every moment” because they go by quickly. While I understand and appreciate how short life is and how precious each milestone is, I am not sure that is achievable for mothers to do.

As a mother, I think Glennon at Momastery said it best in a recent column, “Don’t Carpe Diem.” She expresses how I have felt about this issue for some time. I can do the best I can, but I know and can guarantee I won’t be enjoying every single moment. Can I get an amen from all my momma’s out there?

And as a person, I have always struggled with this. I want to find the happiness and joy in every situation I am in. I want to be able to suffer well. To find the lesson in my troubles. But there are those days, where I am stressed out and sometimes I forget that I can cast all of my cares on Jesus. And perhaps it would be tempting for me to feel guilt or shame for not always reacting the way I should.

James 1 2 3

But life happens. And I know Jesus loves me. And I can go to Him in my crazy, overwhelmed state and He accepts me as I am….and then He teaches me and molds me into someone who is more and more like Him.

What are you going through today? Are you struggling to be joyful “in every moment.” You may not feel it, but God will mold you and make you content in where you are with Him.

Blessings,

May this song encourage those of you who are struggling today!

Desert Song – Hillsong

God Is Up To Something…

Psalm 23

For those of you who read my blog, you may have noticed that I have been in and out lately. My new position as a virtual school teacher has kept me quite busy as I learn all new sorts of things and prepare to begin teaching new students at the end of this week. As I have been posting my day-to-day thoughts on facebook and twitter, I have been encouraged by some of my blogger friends to keep sharing what the Lord is teaching/showing me as I move through this process of transition.

The funny thing is, I feel like I have been in the process of change/transition for many years now. Ever since the call, my husband and I have been on a wonderful and scary journey with the Lord.

He has taught me so much about trust. About faith. About waiting on Him. And as I begin a new journey in my professional life, I once again find myself in a place of reliance on Him. Because honestly, I cannot do this new thing without His help and guidance.

The times where change is the toughest for me is when there is a large unknown factor….and that is when my phobia of the “fear of the unknown” often kicks into overdrive. As a teacher, this often occurs on the first day of school. Since I am beginning with a new group of students in an entirely new (to me) environment that is virtual school, if feels like the first day of school jitters times a million.

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Since I have had many experiences like this in the past, I know that I can trust God to carry me through. I will survive the first week or so of new students with difficult questions I may not be prepared to answer. I know He will guide me as a I learn new systems and will bring me into a place of holding onto His hand as I learn to form new relationships with colleagues, leadership, my students and their families.

The biggest goal I have for this new position is that I want a chance to be a light for Christ for my students and their families. I hope I can be someone they come to for help, not just for school issues but for other issues as well. I pray I am someone they can come to trust.

And most of all, I am believing that God will use this exciting (albeit complete scary right now) situation to further His kingdom and to bring me into a closer, deeper relationship with Him.

Thank you to those folks who have been thinking of me, lifting me up in prayer and for those who have encouraged me over these last few weeks. You are such a tremendous blessing to me. I can only pray my journey with Christ is an encouragement to you all. Keep pressing on into a deeper relationship with Him. He will use you. You are not alone. You are loved.

Blessings,

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