Smile! You are “God’s Girl”!

God's GirlSomewhere around age five, most little girls are full of giddy smiles, immense confidence, and big dreams…but by the time we reach twenty-five, the smiles have faded, our confidence has dropped and dreams have been replaced with a huge dose of reality.    It’s sad but true.  Is it that our expectations were just too big?  Is it that our society is full of lies about what’s real?  Or are we being unfair in our criticism of ourselves? Well, it’s probably a combination of all of the above.  Here’s what I’ve been finding, as I talk with my godly girl-friends…

Life has thrown us a few curve balls.  We thought we would grow up to be “better”, look “cuter”, be “happier”, have more “perfect” husbands, have more “well behaved” children… and the list goes on..and on…

Guess what?!?!  God’s plan for you was never about YOU being Perfect!  God’s plan for you has always been about CHRIST shining THROUGH you.  I can never be a good enough wife or mom on my own.  You can never do it on your own either…we have to look to the LORD for strength.  It’s time to let up on our harsh self-judgments…the incessant self-doubt and criticism.  YOU & I are God’s Girls!  He sees you as a work of art (in progress).  Be encouraged today & know that you are HIS, and you are enough…pretty enough…strong enough…good enough-through HIM who made you!

Be strong today…Be a God Girl!

…Your Hand Will Guide Me…

HandofGod2“The hand of GOD”, that is the title  various news organizations are giving this amazing sight.  And who can argue that this beautiful formation from a NASA telescope, just a few short days ago, looks exactly like a hand extending from an arm?  It all came from a star that exploded and then expelled debris… Psalm 8:3 “When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers…the moon and the stars YOU set in place…”

I just love this picture.  My heart is so touched to see our amazing, all powerful GOD of the universe remind us of HIS presence through a NASA telescope picture of the stars.  Psalm 139:8-12a “…If I go up to Heaven, You are there; If I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there YOUR HAND WILL GUIDE ME, and Your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me, and the light around me to become night-but even in darkness, I cannot hide from You. To You the NIGHT SHINES AS BRIGHT AS DAY.”  

If you are discouraged, look up and know that the GOD of the universe is speaking to you…Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your GOD. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my VICTORIOUS RIGHT HAND.”

It’s not very often that we are given a physical glimpse of God’s glory and presence.  Be encouraged today, and let HIS hand guide you!

hand of GODphoto: NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill

Sources: MSN/ HLN/ Huff Post/NASA

New Living Translation/Bible

Two Ministry Approaches-One Ministry Goal

worshipwars

I can just envision Paul and Peter, if they were here today, ministering to their communities in very different ways.  I can just see Peter, all dressed in a suit with shiny shoes, leading some beautiful hymns, with a well orchestrated service where nothing is done out of order. No rules broken.  No traditions changed.  Sitting only in pews.  Singing only Hymns…yes, that’s how I see Peter.  Absolutely he would be reaching the lost!  Absolutely he would be preaching the truth, but Tradition only…PERIOD!

And then there’s Paul, probably in a pair of jeans, a little unshaven, maybe a tattoo or two hiding (or not) on his arm or chest. He would probably have a “rocking loud” worship band-worship that would go on and on. And rules  would.  be.  broken. I can just imaging Paul topping most of the new non-traditional Pastors, with incredible “out of the box” ideas to bring in the lost.  Very, very, very lost and broken people.  But once they were in, Paul would reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And REAL CHANGE would come forth…

Ok, so I’ve obviously taken a very large amount of “creative liberty” in summarizing these two men and their ministry, but take a look with me at Galatians 2…

Galatians chapter two paints a pretty interesting picture.  Paul, who had recently come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ was “on fire” to share the Gospel.  He had a tarnished past, he had a heart for the “pagans” who were blind to the things of God, and he had a fresh perspective of how to reach them.  Nothing could stop him-nothing that is, except for the established church leaders, James and Peter.  Now wait a minute!  James and Peter? These men were also aflame to share the Gospel!  These men also knew what it was to be persecuted for sharing God’s word, so why on earth would they be standing in Paul’s way?

Paul is clear in his stand, and he boldly stood up to them, “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face…”(2:11)  Paul was reaching the Gentiles, people who were not of the Jewish blood-line.  God had extended his gift of grace and mercy on ALL people, and Paul was diligently working to reach them with the gospel of Christ.  Romans 15:16 God called me…”to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”  Clearly, he did not just want to CONVERT them, but he wanted to CHANGE them with the power of the Holy Spirit.

But Paul came into deep criticism.  Why, you ask?  Well, Paul broke TRADITION. Circumcision,once required by the law, was now (thanks to Jesus sacrifice on the cross) only a tradition.  Paul called out the leaders for this legalism, and he began to bring in very broken people.  This was disturbing to the church establishment.  Paul accused Peter, in Galatians 2:12, of not wanting to be seen with the Gentiles and new converts.  Pretty harsh, but it’s definitely a reflection of Paul’s burning desire to reach those who were as broken and lost as he himself had once been.

So who was wrong?  Who was right?  Well, first we Have to admit that everyone involved in this interesting little “spat” loved God with all of their heart.  They were ALL intending to give God only their best.  They were ALL wanting to reach the lost.  Eventually, the established church would begin to feel comfortable walking in this new-found grace.  It would take a while.  And perhaps Paul was a little harsh with these men who had faithfully walked beside Jesus for so long.  Two persepectives-One goal.  It would take a while to see it that way, and yes, personal growth and understanding would eventually follow.  Paul was correct that they were cleansed by the blood of Jesus and not by their own actions of holding to what was, at this point, only a tradition.  All of these brave men, preached the Gospel with no thought for their own safety or personal gain.  History tells us that all of the men involved were eventually put to death for their faith.

contemporary church pic

So here we are today-still so many controversies over worship styles, still so many controversies over church methodology, still so many controversies over evangelistic tactics…but only ONE GOAL.  So much can be learned from these two amazing men of God, Paul and Peter.  And if you think about it, they are worshiping together now, in one place!

ONE goal, ONE truth, ONE amazing GOD, -that’s pretty much all that matters!

Free Family Resource

I wanted to share this great freebie from Focus on the Family.

This month they are giving away a FREE DOWNLOADABLE activity to help you share your faith with your children!  You can’t beat that!  Free Family Resource.  I hope you will check this out.  It’s so important to share our faith with our kiddos, and it’s also important to answer their tough questions.  This month Focus on the Family featured some excellent discussion reguarding this important topic.  Hope you enjoy!

Athens VBS at Word of Life Church

vbs word of life church
Last week was a big week for Word of life church-VBS 2013! It was such a success, as we reached so many children in our community with the wonderful message of God’s love. The prep started months ago, as our wonderful Kid’s Ministry Director, Sami Young put hours of planning, preparation, and prayer into this power-packed week of ministry. I’m a design lover, so I began to hunt for the perfect way to turn our non-traditional church into Athens, Greece. We were so very blessed when a friend from another church provided a faux, brick wall that had originated from Silver Dollar City! It was a little easier said than done, as it came in four, ten and a half foot rough sections…but my sweet hubby came through for me, helping me pick it up and transport it.  Then came the real fun…sawing, sawing, and even more sawing of the THICKEST styrofoam I’ve ever seen!  Wow, not something I’m ever again hoping to do, but so worth it.  After that Delaney and I touched up the paint on the fronts of the walls & edged out all of the sides that would be visible.  Then, we set it up-right in our own back-yard-just to see if it looked anything like the stone structures in Athens…Whew!  It did!

vbs creating the set

Here is a pictorial summary of this delightful week!

vbs athens window

Athen’s window to the sea…

vbs mural

Lovely mural painted by my friend Tiffany

vbs enterance

The entry-way where very excited children came through to hear the gospel each night!

vbs other athens view

The Athens stage (love the lighting Pastor Kevin!)

vbs marketplace

The market-place, thanks to so many workers, as well as many women who were willing to part with decor from their own homes for the week we borrowed it!

vbs fishers of men

The Fishers of men transformation for our baptismal area-great idea Sami!

vbs paul's tent

Paul’s tent.  Athens VBS is all centered around Paul’s dangerous journey to share God’s love.  The children spent the week experiencing Paul’s stop in Athens, Greece.  Each night they would “crawl” into Paul’s tent where “Paul” shared God’s love with them!

vbs paul

Paul did such a wonderful job!

vbs dionesias

Dionysus, waiting to go into Paul’s tent…another great volunteer!

vbs sami

Sami, our amazing Kid’s Ministry Director!

vbs worship

My favorite part of the night, leading the kiddos in worship!

vbs singing

The kids loved “Yes It’s True”, our theme song!  We tended to go a little wild over this one!

vbs marketplace

vbs marketplace

More market-place fun.

vbs more marketplaceEven more market-place fun-so many wonderful volunteers behind all of this.

vbs prayingThe last night was very special for so many reasons, but most of all because it was the night Paul gave an altar call.  We were able to pray with the children-some  wanted prayer for their families, and some gave their lives to Christ!

vbs parents

We invited the parents to come back about 15 minutes early, so they could be part of our ending worship service.  What a wonderful week!

vbs word of life church

And thanks to countless volunteers (even some parents stayed and helped), Word of Life was ready for Sunday services in a little over an hour!

http://www.wordoflifemarionville.tv/

visit our church website to see what God is doing in our church and community!