Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Marilyn Monroe once said

And while I’m not sure about them being my BEST friend, I sure do think they are pretty!

One of the best things about diamonds though, is that they didn’t always look like this

They used to look like this

 or this

I’ve heard it said

 ***** (See note at bottom of blog)

I was reading  2 Corinthians 8 in the Message Bible which says:

Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts.

Yes I know this passage is talking about the Macedonian church giving an offering, but I got stuck on this line- the pressure triggered something totally unexpected. What happens when pressure comes to us? Do we crack or do we allow it to trigger something totally unexpected in us?

I don’t know about you, but when the pressure hits me, (and it does) I want it to trigger something unexpected in me. If it would be my tendency to freak out, I want to remain calm. If I would normally be upset, I want the joy of the Lord to instead ooze out of me. If I would normally be worried and fretful, I want to cast my care upon the One who cares for me. Every time I see a diamond, I’m going to remember that if I don’t break under the pressure, one day I too will be beautiful and will sparkle and shine like it does!

How about you? When the pressure comes what will you choose to do?

******Side Note- According to several scientific sites I found, diamonds are actually, more than likely, not made from coal!   :)******

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What’s Big Today?

Today we started chapel for the kids from the daycare next door. Last year chapel was one of the highlights of my week. A bunch of little kids from preschoolers all the way down to little babies in their strollers, visit our church each week to learn a scripture, sing worship songs, hear a Bible story and hopefully have some seeds planted in their lives that Jesus loves them and will never leave them.

On the way out the door one of the teachers stopped me, pointed to a little boy and told me he accepted Jesus into his heart. I didn’t even do an altar call today, since it was the first chapel and the kids were just getting used to things. However, the teacher saw that the little boy was not participating or even all that interested in the lesson. She asked him if he liked the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and if he knew Jesus. This precious 4 year old didn’t know anything about Jesus at all! So, she asked him if he would like to ask Jesus into his heart…. and he said YES!

I gave him the thumbs up and told him I was proud of him and his face lit up like a Christmas tree. His smile was so big you would’ve thought he won a trip to Disneyworld or something!

That made my day! It also made me ask the question I ask myself every time I get the opportunity to have a part in impacting the life of a child or anyone really.

So often in ministry people have the tendency to think this is big

  and it is!

Or this

 and it is!

Or this

  and it is!

All of these things are great! and they are big.But you know what else is big? A 4 year old little boy who got to meet Jesus today, the lady in the grocery store who you got to encourage yesterday, the homeless man who you gave a McDonald’s meal to last week.

I hear people all the time say they want to do BIG things for God. And I do too. But I want to do what’s big to Him every day. I want Him to show me little things that are really big things in His eyes.

I challenge you  to ask Him to show you what’s big to him today, and then to be obedient to do it no matter how small it may seem!

 

You cannot receive in a moment what can only be gained through relationship

How many of you remember the story of Moses found in Exodus 33 ? To paraphrase, Moses is talking to God and  in verse 18- And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

Because no man can see God’s face and live, God puts Moses in the cleft in the rock, covers his face as He passes by, then allows Moses to see His back.Later on in Chapter 34, it says when Moses came back to the camp the people were afraid because his face shone like the sun. His face shone so brightly, that he had to wear a veil when speaking to the people

I have to tell you, I have always thought it was in that encounter with God’s glory that Moses had a physical transformation as he reflected the image of the Lord.  However, earlier this week I was studying this passage, I saw something else that I had read a bunch of times before, but had not really grasped. Exodus 34:28-29  And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

The phrase that jumped out at me was “he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights.” Moses did not reflect God’s image because of a single encounter with his glory, but rather after an extended time in His presence where he did nothing but commune with Him. He had no other interaction, he didn’t even eat and drink. He just spent 40 days and nights listening to the voice of God and spending time with Him.

 

So often I think we try to get by with momentary encounters with God. We experience His presence, get charged up and go about our lives until the next time we have an encounter with Him. But that’s not enough and that doesn’t bring change and transformation to our lives.

See even after Moses came back from his time on the mountain, he would still go to the tent of meeting and commune with the Lord. It says Exodus 34:32-35 that when Moses was speaking to the people he would wear the veil, but then he would go back to spend time with God and would remove it.

Rather than living from brief encounter to brief encounter, let’s instead develop an intimate relationship, a lasting relationship, with our Savior.

 

oneSOUND

I am so excited about our 2nd Annual praise and worship conference August 9-12, 2012!

This year we will be welcoming Pastor Sam Hinn, pastor of the Gathering Place to kick us off on Thursday night’s general session.

Friday, August 10, Freddy Rodriguez will be our speaker.

I have been so blessed by his ministry and I cannot wait to hear him!

Saturday, August 11, we will have a full day of workshops for singers/songwriters, musicians and dancers, discussion panels and worship with presenters:

Amazing award winning vocalist, and worship leader LaRue Howard, who has been one of my personal worship mentors (even though she doesn’t know it!)

The incredible John Wilds worship leader at Church on the Living Edge under the leadership of Dr. Mark Chironna.

James Burt, who is a phenomenal musician, music director and producer of William McDowell’s As We Worship Album.

Tyrina Murphy, a gifted liturgical dancer.

Saturday at 7pm will be a powerful night of worship with LaRue Howard, John Wilds and our own Relevant Worship team.

If you are in the area, or can get here, I encourage you to come and be a part of this event.
Last year’s conference was awesome, and we are expecting this year to far exceed it!

To register for the conference visit our website at Relevant Church or call our office, 386-257-4622.

Evening sessions are all open to the general public so join us!

Valuable Lessons from DirecTV

I have been a DirecTV customer for almost six years. My contract expired 4 years ago, but I am still a loyal customer. The other day when my kids tried to watch Nickelodeon, they were a little upset to find a public service announcement -trying to explain why DirecTV wasn’t carrying that channel right now- instead of iCarly. (But that’s not what this post is about)

So anyways, I called DirecTV just to try to find out 1) If they thought they might get their missing channels back soon, and 2) to see what kind of deal I could get if I re-signed a contract with them.

I am trying to lower all of our bills, so figured I could start with the cable. I had visited their website and found this!

Now, I was not expecting the same deal as a new customer but I thought they might try to work with me, considering I’m not in a contract and could potentially cancel at any time. Not to mention the fact that I am a loyal customer!

I researched a couple of packages and asked the girl on the phone about them. Her response? “Oh, no, those deals are for our NEW customers. You are an old customer.” I talked with her for a few minutes more and she tried to offer me something else, but it didn’t save me any money, so I told her I would think about it.

After I hung up the phone I thought, “Wow, they are only concerned with getting NEW customers rather than trying to keep the existing, faithful customers they already have happy.” Then I thought, “Wow, What a valuable lesson.”

Being in the ministry we are constantly dealing with people. Both new and existing members, volunteers and staff. The seasons of people’s lives are constantly changing as well as their level of involvement and excitement about being a part of the ministry.  Sometimes when a new person comes on board, it’s easy to try to make them happy. Their excitement and enthusiasm can be invigorating.  However, in the process of building new relationships, it’s important not to let the existing, faithful relationships fall by the wayside. It’s important to maintain the same sense of excitement about our current volunteers as the new ones.

In Isaiah 43:4, God says Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored, And I have loved you;

If God sees everyone as valuable and precious, we should too! If He honors and loves everyone, so should we! Take the time today to value everyone in your life, wether it be a new friend or a long-time faithful acquaintance!

 

Even Pastor’s Wives Don’t Get It Right Sometimes

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I’m gonna tell you something that might shock you. Are you ready?

Sometimes I don’t listen when God speaks to me.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute. Yes even a pastor’s wife- who is in full time ministry, who leads praise and worship, who teaches Bible School, who counsels people, and I could go on and on- doesn’t get it right sometimes!

This morning I woke up early. 6:30am. Which I know isn’t early for some of you, but it’s summer and I get to go into the office a little later, plus I went to bed really late the night before. So back to my story.

6:30am, I wake up. And I’m talking wide awake, bright eyed and bushy tailed, could’ve gotten up and taken on the whole world kind of waking up. I looked at my phone to see what time it was and saw how early it was. I didn’t feel like I needed to go back to sleep so contemplated just getting up and starting my day. Then I heard that still small voice saying, “Go downstairs and pray for a little while.”

And guess what? I didn’t. I laid in bed, and didn’t even go back to sleep, but just laid there and thought about nothing for at least an hour.

It hit me about 15 hours later. After I had a stressful day. After I felt completely overwhelmed and a bit panicky at everything I still needed to accomplish. After I almost had a nervous breakdown. After I got mad at my kids. After I felt like an utter failure. Hmmmm maybe I should’ve gotten up and prayed this morning.

I’m not saying anything would’ve been different if I had, but I’m pretty sure I would’ve been able to handle it better. My heavenly Father was trying to prepare me for what was coming and I like a dummy didn’t listen.

Lamentations 3:22-23 in the Message Bible says-

22-23God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!

Thankfully I get a do over tomorrow. So I’m not gonna beat myself up over it, I’m just gonna get it right next time.And you better believe when He speaks, I’m am going to listen and obey!

Da do run run!

If you’ve been around here very long, you know that over the past year or so I have developed a love of running. This in itself is a miracle, because even when I was a kid I could not run. Note I did not say I would not, but that I could not. I would get short of breath and my chest would feel like it was on fire. because of this I avoided running at all costs. As an adult it was something that I just did not ever think I would be able to do. Until last year when I started forcing myself to run. It was slow going  little by little, adding a block at a time, until one day I just pushed myself to run a mile! That was a happy day! (After I was finished of course) 🙂

Since that time I have gone back and forth with my consistency but I have at least continued to run a few miles at least once or twice a week.

I am even toying with the idea of running a half marathon next year. ( I will be honest and say that the Disney Princess Half Marathon caught my attention, primarily because who wouldn’t love to put on a tutu, a tiara and be a princess for a day even if it meant running 13 miles in the process!)

One thing I have learned about running, is that you need the right shoes otherwise you will regret it! I have a pretty good pair, but yesterday my husband took me to the sporting goods store and I was ruined when I tried on a pair of Mizunos! They were like heaven on my feet.

Being the bargain shopper I am, I of course went straight to EBay to see if I could score a pair for half the price. I did and my new shoes will be here next week! I am looking forward to trying them out.

It’s the little things that make me happy!

This Saturday, July 14 at 7:30am, a big group of us will be meeting at the Ormond Beach Sports Complex to run, or walk or walk/run. All levels of runners will be represented; from avid runners, to beginners, to those who just want to leisurely stroll. If you are a women in the area, come on out and join us! We would love to see you there!

Hebrews 12:1 does tell us- let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. so we are going to take this scripture literally! Some of us may also need to meditate on Philippians 4:13I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!