#The100DayProject

CreateSomething

Just this past week, I was introduced to #The100DayProject, the premise from what I understood at the time was to spend 15 minutes create a piece of art each day.   The idea was to instill a habit of creating each day, keeping those creative juiced primed.

A few days into the project, I realized it was much more than that.  First, is that it was about being creative… period.  Draw.  Paint.  Photograph.  Write.  Second, there were no rules on the how.  Some are creating new pieces each day, others are working on a progressive piece where they spend 15 minutes each day adding to the collective piece.  There are artists who have chosen a theme for the entire project, or others who have given into a daily muse.

Today is Day Eleven.  So, if you want to join the #The100DayProject… come on over… there is room enough for every creative mind.

To see what people are doing, search the hashtag #The100DayProject.

To see what I am posting, search the hashtag #100DaysMFA

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Chronicling 40: The Bookshelf

eau de parfum

One thing about being sick is that you have plenty of time in bed to read.  Which allowed me to catch up on the pile that has been building.  If you are a voracious reader like me, you know the perils of the “too read pile”.  Too many books, too little time.  In full disclosure, these books were sent to me for the purpose of reading and reviewing, and while I received the books gratis this did not affect my opinions or review.

BecomingAWelcomingChurch

 

Becoming a Welcoming Church by Thom S. Rainer

This is a short, but poignant read… which is right up my alley.  I’ve read some articles by Rainer on this topic before, so I knew what I was walking into with this book.  The first chapter title says it all “Are We as Welcoming as We Think We Are?”   It is really easy to lose sight of the visitor in a church where everyone knows how things are done, what certain terms mean, and who everyone is.

If we want to be a welcoming church, we can’t just consider the people who walk in our doors already.  Yes we want to make sure they continue to feel welcome in their church home, but we must not forget about our guests.  The person who is trying to navigate around our campus, or the non-believer who is hearing the Gospel for the first time.  Rainer does a great job of pointing out that friendly and welcoming are not the same thing, and also a matter of perception.  A long term member is going to see things very differently than the person viewing the church from fresh eyes.

Walking us through various points to consider… from signage to website information… Rainer helps us to shift ourselves into the mind of those we are trying to reach, and ends the book with a chapter of practical application.  I would recommend this book to church leaders, ministry leaders, organization leaders, as well as church plants.

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TheDreamOfYou

 

The Dream of You by Jo Saxton

So let me tell you a little bit about my book keeping habits.  I am VERY gentle with my books.  I don’t break spines, or fold over covers.  I am don’t dog ear corners, nor shove them carelessly in bags.  I will only write in a book if it is an AMAZING book.  Knowing this about me, the wear on the cover of this book should tell you immediately how I feel about this book.

This book took me a bit to get through.  It was tough.  I had to look some things square in the face.  Lies I have believed about myself, moments where I wondered if what I was doing was of any value or worth, confusion about God’s calling on my life, etc.  This book landed in my lap during a season of exhaustion where I wondered if I had any fight left in me.  Why?  Because my ministry work isn’t easy, isn’t always valued or appreciated, and there are times I have felt taken for granted.  This book was like a hot cup of coffee on a day when I was dragging.  I needed to read these words, they restored energy, and pointed me back to what was important.

It matters not what anyone things of me or my gifting.  What matters is that I am a daughter of the King, who has been gifted a calling, and I trust in His provision and guidance as I walk obediently in it.  It led to a sit down with my husband, a phone call that started a ministry partnership, and the Lord removed my doubt and grounded me in His promises.

I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female… leader or member.

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CourageousWomenOfTheBible

 

Courageous Women of the Bible by Latan Roland Murphy

This was a great book for follow The Dream of You with because it took real women from the Scriptures to inspire courage and purpose.  We see the parallels between the women of Biblical times and today.  Murphy illustrates how courage advances us into opportunities that God has appointed for us.  What I also really loved about this was how she helps us find our courage by identifying the source of it… which is obedience and trust/faith in God who is ordering our steps.

We learn from these women, how their past foraged the courage that led to their futures.  Which serves as a prompting to our hearts that indeed our story is not over, and there is a good work being done in us.  Helping us to rely on the power of God over the difficulty of our circumstances.  The final chapter of the book includes journal prompts to help explore these stories deeper and apply them to our lives.

I would recommend this book for personal growth and self discovery, for your Women’s Ministry, Bible Studies, or as a gift to any woman in your life.

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BookOfMistakes

 

The Book of Mistakes by Skip Prichard

I was actually really excited to get this book and really disappointed by it.  However, this could be a case of it being a matter of preference.  The lessons that Prichard wants to teach through this book were woven into a fictional story format.  As I began reading, I found that to be a turn off.  Don’t get me wrong, I love reading fiction.  I just don’t like my fiction mixed in with self improvement books.  It was really hard for me to enjoy the book, and honestly I found myself skipping forward to get to the big points.

I agree with every point Prichard makes in this book about the mistakes that we make and how they impact our success.  My problem was that none of his lessons were anything new or earth shattering, everything was something I had heard before.  I pretty much drew the conclusion that this was a book that gathered well known points and packaged them in a new way.  In that case, the style may actually appeal to a different kind of reader… the ones who don’t enjoy self improvement books.  Maybe Prichard was gearing for a particular audience, a new audience… and I’m just not that person.

Overall, I just can’t recommend this book.  I don’t think it is offering anything you couldn’t glean from an afternoon googling terms like “how to be a successful” or “mistakes to avoid for success”.

 

Chronicling 40: Heaping Ashes

HeapingAshes.png

One of the hardest things I have had to deal with in ministry was not a conflict, but instead the talk after the conflict was over.  I’m not minimizing that conflict itself is hard, because it is.  However when you are in conflict with another person there is a lot you can do.  You can pray that God would convict their heart… and your own.  You can forgive what needs to be forgiven, and repent when you need to repent and seek forgiveness.  You can work to rebuild the relationship, you learn from your mistakes, there is growth.

There are occasions where others were present for the conflict directly, or brought into it indirectly… and it is very hard to reign in the talk that can come from it.   Even when we have done our best to keep people out of the conflict, those who can sense the tension may make assumptions to fill in the gaps… and they don’t always keep those assumptions to themselves.

Several years ago there was a large conflict that I was a part of.  It took time, but we all came to terms with what happened.  There was forgiveness and reconciliation.  It was a beautiful thing to see relationships being repaired and restored.  Two years later, after all the dust had settled, someone came to me because there was gossip being spread about me.  First, I want to say that I appreciate the fact the person told me… but even more so that when the person began to gossip in front of her she shut it down quickly.  She made sure the person and those who were listening understood that she didn’t know all of the fact, had no business speaking about it with anyone.

THESE KINDS OF FRIENDS ARE GIFTS FROM GOD!

She came to me, because she felt that I should know that this issue was still being discussed by people… what was said about me specifically… and how she handled it.

I was far more hurt by those who were spreading rumors with incomplete information than I ever was by the actual conflict itself.  In part,  I believe, because this person was tarnishing my reputation with others who had no knowledge of the conflict in the first place.  Not to mention I had considered this person as a friend, and couldn’t believe she was being so careless.

Yes, I was angry.  Yes, I wanted to confront her.  Yes, I wanted to talk to everyone she spread this gossip to and set the story straight.   Before acting, I took it to the cross.

In order to clear up her misinformation, I would have had to throw others under the bus.  I’ve always agreed with the quote: “What you say about others says more about you than those you are gossiping about”.    There was no way to improve my standing without casting a negative shadow on others, and I refused to do that.  Instead I had to take the high road.  Yes, I can confront the gossiper directly.  As for the rest, I had to make a decision to let my character speak for itself.

I would continue to walk out my faith, live my life, in accordance to my character and integrity.  If she continued to speak ill of me, eventually she would feel conviction.  If others chose to believe her, as they get to know me they too will feel conviction.  If they choose to not bother to get to know me, that’s more on them than it is on me.

Sometimes, in our flesh, we want to repay evil for evil… hurt for hurt.  But, that is not what God would have us do…

Proverbs 25:21-22

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.

When we respond this way, we let our character and integrity speak for us vs. trying to be defensive.  When we respond this way, we are walking in the Spirit and not in our flesh.  When we respond this way, we are separating ourselves from the way the world does things and instead showing how Kingdom dwellers do things.

Chronicling 40: Day Something of 365

On theMend

I have no idea what day it is.

Between being sick for two weeks, spring break, then having Monday off, and my husband also have two weeks off… it’s been a sea of days.

I’m just now having the strength/energy to catch up on everything that has fallen behind.

It is crazy how quickly things can pile up and how long it takes to overcome it.  Rome may not have been built in a day, but surely it could be destroyed in one.

Some things I am thankful for:

  1.  Take out.  I am so thankful for people who make and sell food for those of us who are unable or unwilling to.
  2.  Walk in Clinic.  When your doc can’t get you in right away, being able to walk into a local clinic and get help, even if it is a bit more than your normal co-pay.
  3. Scheduled posts.  I don’t use them here because of the nature of what I write about, but it was a blessing to have been ahead of the game for our ministry site.  Those posts were written and scheduled before the first sign of illness headed my way.  I didn’t feel stressed to get something written.
  4. Understanding kids.  Bless these kids for being understanding and not whining when some of our Spring Break plans went awry.
  5. Medicine.  Because sometimes you need more than just orange juice and rest.
  6. Perspective.  When you are sick, and have to bow out of a lot of things, you really see what is most important.

I’ll be happy when I’m 100% better, that doesn’t mean I am going to return to 100% of the things that filled my schedule.  This spring, I need to do some pruning.

Out Sick

sick

I rarely get sick.  I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies.  Even when the kids bring home bugs from school, most of the time I come out unscathed.

Apparently not this year.

I’ve been since twice this year already.  It’s only the beginning of March.

YUCK.

I’ve been tending the sick in the house, already, which has cost me a few days of posting.  Now, I’m in the trenches… down for the count… and only able to get this post out thanks to cold medicine.

Part of being Fearless in 2018 for me is not being afraid to take time out for myself.  That it is ok to cancel plans, set things aside, order out four nights in a row… whatever it takes to get well, rested, and be at my best.

I had an article to write for this week, and it took all my brain power to muster up that piece.  But as I write this… I am coming full circle.  The piece was on equipping the body of believers in their Spiritual Gifting and engaging them into serving the body.  I finished off the piece with 1 Corinthians 12:12-27… one body made up of many parts, each having it’s role and all of equal importance to the functioning of the body as a whole.  I posed the question of what happens to body parts that are unused, which is that they atrophy.  They waste away, shrink, shrivel, and become ineffective.   So what happens to the people in the church body that go unused?

As I contemplate those words while writing this blog post…  I also see the 2nd part to this topic.

What happens with the body becomes sick?

It doesn’t function as well.  The body may heal itself with time and rest.  Or, if left untreated it could get worse.  If pushed too hard, the body can become so overworked in its fragile state it could die.  There needs to be an intervention in order to become well again.

So what happens when the church body becomes sick?

We need a divine intervention to become well again, or else we risk the health of the body.

That’s some food for thought.

I’m still taking a few more days off to rest and get better.   Share your thoughts on this topic… and let’s pick it back up after this body has rested & become well again.

Chronicling 40: Days 10-15 of 365

Getting Things in Order

For many of us there are times in our lives where things seem to be out of order, out of place, and not making sense.  At the time, it may even feel chaotic or uncertain.  Later, once all the dust settles, we can begin to see clearly how God was ordering things and preparing the way for the change.

After this happens so many times in our lives, when things seem in upheaval, we start to wonder what God is up to.  We still don’t have the answers or what the long term result will be, we simply trust that whatever it is… God is in control.

For myself, when I find myself in this season… I look for how God is getting things in order.  What little things have been changing?  What opportunities have suddenly presented themselves?  Has God brought someone new in to my life, or taken someone out?  Am I seeing roots severed, branches being pruned… a preparation to be transferred out of the comfy place I am in now … into new ground?  Have I been stabilized by what pops up around me?

I look for the fingerprints in the moment, and I always find them.  It’s assurance to me that once again, God is in control.  And… I find peace.