Friday, July 31, 2009


Last week I wrote about the two Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1 who used their abilities as midwives to impact their world. Another woman in that same chapter is Jochebed. Who is she??? The mother of Moses! As the mother of a newborn boy, Jochebed had a real predicament. Pharaoh had ordered every son born to Jew to be thrown into the Nile River. However, she knew she could not just let her son die. Motivated by her trust in God and love for her little son, Jochebed took a step of faith and hid Moses in a little basket. That one act of faith earned her a place in the clouds of witnesses whose lives testified of their faith in God. (cf. Hebrews 11:23) Only two other women are mentioned in that "hall of faith"--Sarah and Rahab. Jochebed's faith in God gave her the courage to make the decision to trust in God rather than obey Pharaoh's command. "She took an ark..and laid the river's bank." (Ex. 2:3) She actually put her baby in a basket made from bulrushes covered with tar and mud, and set it in the Nile River. God was faithful to her in bringing Pharaoh's own daughter to the bank of the Nile River, finding the baby, and getting a Hebrew nursemaid for the baby) which happened to be his own mother, Jochebed). Now there is MUCH more to the story and if you have not read it recently, go back and read Exodus chapters 1 and 2. Application: Ask yourself and/or those in your women's ministry these questions: "What act of faith have I done lately that shows my faith in God to others? What would others point to in my life as evidence of my faith? What acts or 'works' might they notice (cf. James 2:22)?" As we set our goal to live lives of faith in order to be lights shining in a dark world, what challenge in your life do you need to risk having faith in God rather than giving in to fear or worry? Jochebed reaped the benefit of her faith and was allowed to be the nursemaid to Moses. You will be blessed because of your risk of faith in whatever situation you are in, and this in turn will be a testimony to others of the faithfulness of our God and Father!

by Sharon Beougher

Thursday, July 30, 2009

the light of life

Fairly recently, I have felt that God has called me to help with Children's Ministry. This realization had left me a bit bewildered. As I talked to one of my friends, he seemed to pick up on this and reminded me of Jeremiah's calling.

Jeremiah explains,"The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'

'Ah, Sovereign Lord,' I said, 'I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.'

But the Lord said to me, 'Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. " (Jeremiah 1:4-8)

I am amazed at how God guides us. When we trust His love, power, and sense of direction, He can do incredible things through us! We can be confident in His support – remembering John 8:12:

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"

(photo from

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"It's Cancer"

"It's Cancer"...I will never forget the day that I heard these words shared with me from my doctor during the summer of 1994. My husband had just been transferred to East Texas and he was already working out there during the week and coming home on weekends until we could get moved. We lived in Plano, Texas at the time, and I was not feeling like myself so I went to get a check-up before we entered the moving process of packing boxes and all that goes into relocating to a new city. Our house in Plano sold in just a few days on the market and we were down to our last couple of weeks before we were to move. (thank you for the many ways that you are "The Body of Christ"!)

Our dear church family in Plano, Texas (Meadows Baptist Church) had a very very special "send-off" prayer service for our family that included a time at the alter when our pastor and church family prayed for us as we were about to be "sent" by The Lord as "missionaries" to East Texas. (They also presented us with a portrait of "The Lord is Our Shepherd" that to this day hangs over our fireplace.-that God uses to remind us that He is always taking care of us, His Sheep!) During that special church service prayer time at the alter I vividly remember hearing someone whisper a prayer into my ear that God would lead the church to us that He wanted us to serve in in East Texas instead of us having to search for a church (they knew that was a concern we had, finding the exact church that The Lord had for us for the next season of our lives), our home was already sold and we only had a few days to finish packing and move out so that the new owners could move in...BUT, the very next day, Monday, of the week that we were to pack up the moving trucks and move, my doctor called me with the results of the tests that he had run when I went to see him for that check-up...(a call that I didn't expect as I thought that I was just run-down from the upcoming preparation for our move). When my doctor shared with me that I had cancer and that I needed emergency surgery right away, God's Peace and Provision unfolded through the Power of Prayer like I have never experienced before!! Here is a time-line listing of the "unfolding grace of God" that I experience through our church family (praying friends) sharing their gifts of service in action!!!

  • Praying friends took over all of my daily responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.)
  • Praying friends took care of our 3 small children as I went into the hospital
  • Praying friends sat with me, prayed with me, read to me, encouraged me
  • Praying friends mobilized and actually packed everything up, loaded the moving truck, came to our new home in East Texas, contacted a new praying friend in East Texas to meet her at my new home without ever even meeting her before, unloaded the moving truck, unpacked all of our boxes, set-up our new home, set-up our children's rooms that even included lots of decorating so that they could have their toys to play with right away (brings tears to my eyes as I share these precious memories with you), they did everything they could do., through God's loving gifts of service & grace to minister to our every need, it was overwhelming!! You see, I was in the hospital while all of this was taking place-I did not even know that God was doing all of this through my church family!
  • Praying friends came with me to East Texas when I was strong enough to travel and stayed with me, cared for our family & God raised up a new church family to take over where they had left off...what Glory God received!!!
  • So many more details I could share, but for the Grace of God here I am today as a testimony of His unfolding grace shared through His People!! Cancer or any crisis is a strategic opportunity to share your giftedness given by God with others! The person you may be sharing your acts of service with may already be a believer, but it is important to remember that there are people around watching and seeing the Body of Christ mobilized by His Gifted Love!! You may be the only "bible" someone else sees lived out through actions!! Matthew 22:37-39

I share this testimony with you today for a very special prayer request that I have permission to share with you all... I ask you to pray for one of my praying friends here in our dear church home in East Texas (Macedonia Baptist Church), Roxanne. Roxanne has just heard the words that I have entitled today's Blog..."It's Cancer"... thank you for praying for my praying friend, Roxanne, as the Lord ministers to her through surgery, chemo & radiation beginning next week!

As my friend Roxanne begins to experience the indescribable love, peace, and unfolding grace of God, I sent her the picture of the biggest flower (see picture above) that I have in my praying friends flower garden as we begin to pray & mobilize, as The Lord leads, ministry to unfold upon her & her families life...this flower garden is a small reminder to me of God's unfolding Grace & Care from many praying friends that God blessed my life with!! When something significant happens in my life, I add a flower or plant to this garden as a reminder of how Faithful God Is because He Makes All Things New Just Like A Flower In A Prayer Garden as we Bloom Where He Has Planted Us!

Isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sand Dollar Dove

"From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse" Romans 1:16.
It was in my childhood that I grew to love the beach. Somehow the creation seemed to roar with the sounds of the waves and the voices of the seagulls flying overhead. The sand brought a certain squishiness to my feet and whether it was burning hot, cold and wet, or just as soft as walking on cotton, I loved it all. What made it even more fun were the incredible finds - sandcrabs running about, shells turned to display their beauty, and sand dollars that were perfect. By the time we gathered our finds and returned home, everything wasn't the same...especially those fragile sand dollars.
I was cleaning a basket of collected shells and found one of those broken sand dollars. I said my peace and tossed it only to find that in the bottom of the basket was a sand dollar dove that had fallen from the brokenness. Maybe that was the message that I was supposed to see. The message that there is hope from brokenness. The message that creation cries out every day that God is there and is clearly seen when we seek Him.
I'm wondering if today that someone out there is broken and needs to be reminded that there is hope. God is in the middle of the brokenness and stands ready to bring new life to your weary soul. I'm wondering if maybe we have passed up someone and discarded them because they were broken and they seemed too messy to deal with.
Lord, today, help me to focus on what you can do to change a broken life. Let me see the hope that only comes from You. Give me your words to say as I go about my day remembering that all creation is crying out for people to see that there is hope in the name of Jesus. Lord, let me be the one to put that message of hope together for them. Give me someone to share with today, I pray, Amen.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Let's Take a Walk

Chris and I absolutely love walking in our neighborhood, particularly with our little dog Chaser. Isn't he cute? For one we have some awesome hills to get that heart rate up and the scenery really couldn't be more beautiful as we live very near the lake and many plush trees. We walk (because these days I am with child :)) so much that a neighbor recently kidded us that our dog got the most exercise of anyone around, probably true. These little strolls make for the perfect opportunity to find new friends, and that's precisely what happened late last summer when we met Eddie and Kimberly. It started off as a friendly hello as we trotted by each day and evolved to dinner at each other's homes. It was effortless, easy. All it took was a little time, kindness, willingness, and the ability to whip up some yummy dinner. This relationship of course has presented us with a great opportunity to share about the grace of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus! So far we've learned that our new friends are open to church but to this point seem pretty clueless about real relationship with Christ Jesus! Ah, how I love to see His salvation come and hope to see it in this family of 3 as Kimberly gave birth to their new little addition about 6 months ago. So, I'll tell ya what. We will keep going to keep going on our little walks and I'll let you know what happens as we go. Who knows what the Lord has in mind, but I'll tell ya this, we are willing vessels.

But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests though us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the tone an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another Lesson from Jochebed: The Task of Evangelism for Mothers

Last week we looked at Moses' mother, Jochebed, and the courage she had (fueled by FAITH IN GOD) to put him in the basket in the Nile River and then how God blessed her in return by giving her the chance to be his nursemaid. (See Exodus 1 and 2). This opportunity gave Jochebed about two and a half years to teach Moses about God. She had about a thousand days with Moses, and she needed to be sure to make each one count.

God has given us as mothers the important role of teaching our children about Him. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 gives us two main guidelines for training up children:
1) Love God more than anyone or anything
2) Teach God's Word

What are a few suggestions of how can we do this?

* See motherhood as the greatest place of ministry, position or power that we could have.
* Live lives that reflect Christ (we cannot give what we do not have ourselves).
* Take advantage of the 'little moments' we have to teach "as we go".
* Partner with God. We are vessels with the God of the universe to help us mold our children's characters.
* Let our children join us in making our homes a light in our neighborhoods.

Gifted2go girls

What an incredible group we had for the test run of eco: gifted2go!
God is at work and we appreciate your prayers as we take our gifts to the world!
Bless you each and every one!

ready to run

"...for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones." –Proverbs 2:8 (NIV)

Have you heard about the first woman to officially complete the Boston Marathon?

In 1967, according to The Women's Running Magazine (July/August 2009), a number of people outside of the running profession were not sure a woman could run 26.2 miles. Yet, 20-year-old Kathrine V. Switzer registered for the Boston Marathon that year.

During the race, after four miles of running in the cold, a co-race director noticed her and became upset. He actually tried to physically pull her out of the competition, but Kathrine's boyfriend (who was running by her side) "body-blocked" the man! She kept running with her trainer and finished the course in about 4:20.

Kathrine became the first woman to run the Boston as a numbered entry. In our lives, trials can come from different angles (John 16:33), but Jesus Christ and God will be there for us every step of the way as we keep our trust in Him (Jeremiah 17:7-8)! I pray that we are confident, like K. V. Switzer, to keep "running" and share God's great, unmatched love with others today.

more info:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21, 1985!

I am 24 years old today...IN JESUS!! I will NEVER forget the day that I heard about JESUS for the very first time...I was a married 22 year old young mother and very LOST=empty, fearful, selfish, lonely, searching, purposeless, worldly, filling our lives with things that did not matter, yearning for something better, and much more (the small picture you see at the top of this post is a picture of my husband, Marshall and I BEFORE we were Christians-our "before" picture & the larger picture is our AFTER and one of our most recent pictures - my husband became a Christian 4 months after I did during the week before Thanksgiving 1985-I have SO MUCH to be thankful for, especially that year!)!

I thank God for VBS and a Vacation Bible School Bus that came down my street in Houston, Texas to pick-up our neighborhood children for VBS (it was the week of July 21st, 1985)...God used the Follow-up visit from the children's minister of that very special church to DRAW me to JESUS!! When Bro. Jim shared the ABC's to JESUS with the children of my neighborhood that were playing outside in the cul-de-sac of my street the simple true words he shared specifically for the children about what John 3:16 meant were for this grown wife and mother! I will NEVER forget how the TRUTH from GOD'S WORD met me right where I was at & led me to where God wanted me to GO!

An exciting long story short-my husband & I and our little ones were at that special church that came down my street with their VBS bus that next SUNDAY and I RAN to JESUS during the FIRST WORD of the FIRST VERSE of JUST AS I AM...tears of JOY filled my NEW HEART IN CHRIST just like they are filling eyes & my heart today 24 years's just as powerful and just as meaningful as if it had happened yesterday!! I have asked God to NEVER let me forget what it was like being LOST & what it means now to be FOUND in JESUS=peace, purpose, unconditional love, joy, meaning, unselfishness, concern for others, gifted by God, hear His still small voice, purchased FIRST BIBLE & began to understand His Word for the very first time, filled to overflowing with God things, and much more...most of all I had the deepest desire to SHARE what God has done in my life with others because in Jesus I began to learn that am Gifted2GO & tell what Jesus has done in my life!! This is my 3 minute testimony so I need to wrap up this post...BUT...The story doesn't stop until Jesus returns or we go to live with Him FOREVER!!

As His children, we all have a very very special story to share, a testimony of what our lives were like before we met Jesus - how we came to Jesus - and what Jesus is doing in our lives today...YOU have a very very special "testimony" that God will use over and over as His Gifted2Go witness!! That's evangelism 101 to me, share what God has done in your life with someone and leave the results up to Him!! ABC's to Jesus!! Gifted2GO!!!!!!!!!!
What is Your Story? Your Testimony?!

Describe Your Life Before Jesus: (even if you became a Christian as a little girl (my children all have this kind of powerful testimony of becoming Christians while young! Describe the things that you knew separated you from a little girl it could be; taking a piece of gum that is not yours, telling your parents a story that is not the entire truth, or not minding your parents when they told you to do something)

Describe How You Believed in Jesus and Became a Christian:

Describe What Your Life Has Been Like Since Becoming a Christian:

I thank God for the first Christian women role models in my life that encouraged me to write down my testimony so that I could share Jesus with others!

Thank you for allowing me to OVERFLOW with HIS STORY in and through my life that He begun 24 years ago...TODAY!...the longer I serve Him the SWEETER HE grows!!!!!!!

Do you know that you know that you know that you are HIS?!
Never Give up on those that you are praying for to come to JESUS!
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life"! John 3:16!!!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shedding Light with God's Wisdom

“I was made a servant of this [gospel] by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens.” Ephesians 3:7-10

We wonder how we can share Christ on a daily basis. We really want to impact the world and for others to come to know the difference that Christ has made in our lives. We desire to make the world a better place. Yet, how do we do that?

Is it easier than we are making it? How do we give the gift of Jesus Christ and eternal life? Ephesians 3 sheds light on this. We are to give the gift that God has given us. Just share the tips of wisdom from the Lord that you already know.

Think about it. What tips of wisdom have you received from the Lord?
1 - Thank God for those Words of Wisdom.
2 - Pray for God to give you a chance to share them.
3 - Tell somebody about the wisdom that the Lord has taught you.

Spend some time with the Lord. Shed light on the gift of wisdom that He gives you today.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Outside Looking In

“…to win those outside the law.”
1 Corinthians 9:21b

It came up again at dinner last night, just like the week before. One of our crew didn’t have a Blackberry or Palm and wasn’t on Facebook. She said she wished she had a camera to show how we were all hunched over (we are old) our devices and trying to explain the latest applications to each other. It seems that Dana won since his Blackberry will allow Facebook contacts to dump into his phone list and therefore allow a photo of the caller to pop up. She said it was like being on the outside looking in.

I could write a book on this but I probably won’t. So many times we are on the outside of conversations and just looking in…especially with the culture the way it is. We see the things of the world and don’t get involved and it makes it hard to be part of the conversation.

The same thing goes for those in the world and not in Christ. They don’t know how to get into our spiritually in-depth conversations. They want to know more but know it is way over their comfort zones and sometimes don’t even understand the language that we use.

Whatever it takes, we need to look for ways to be in the world without being of it, and to be in on what they are interested in. And we need to look for ways to let outsiders in on our conversations – to explain the mystery of the message of Christ in simple terms so that others may understand it and join us on the inside.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

the sound of music

My eyes were half open as I lunged with the bar. Halfway through a morning strength training class, I began to wonder why I had come. My instructor's words were encouraging, but her long intervals were definitely a challenge.

As I began to think about changing to a lower weight resistance, a familiar song on her playlist began to play. It is "Give Me Your Eyes," performed by Christian artist Brandon Heath.

As I listened, I began to pray to God, asking why this class was hard for me. I was reminded of the perseverance God loves to see in us. James explains it this way:

"As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."
-James 5:11 (New International Version)

Music can have great power. It can attract, inspire a feeling, and send a message. I think, in life, what message do I show when I play music with friends in the car? How does it move me? How could it move others?

My new instructor has painted a picture of how we can inspire others. I pray that I can use music for God's glory to tell of His love. King David expressed his love for God this way:

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothe me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!"
-Psalm 30:11-12 (New Living Translation)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Set your mind...and go

"Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth." Colossians 3:2

Last night I saw an ad on TV for It claims to be a new search engine that sets your direction and makes decisions for you. I looked at the site this morning and decided that it wasn't for me. I don't want unknown pre-set tabs in cyberspace determining my direction. I started thinking about it and I decided that there is room for some thought here. We are bombarded with information. Information overload can shut us down and keep us from deciding anything. Too many options; too many decisions. What are we to do with all this information... even on spiritual things?

In Colossians, Paul tells us to set our minds on things above and not on earthy things. When we focus on God and His Word, it rules out many of the choices. When we stick to what is the best thing to do; then we are able to focus. Even when we think about all the evangelism tools out there, it can be easy to be immobilized and just shut down. My thought is that we need to pray and go. Stop worrying about how or when or what…just go. Set your minds on God and go overflow onto others…as you go.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lessons from the Garden

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”

This summer my husband, Chris, and I decided to try a small garden in our backyard. We weren’t sure what the results would be as our backyard can tend to be quite shady, but we risked it. We are so glad we did!! Our tomato plant, broccoli, and carrots are thriving!

This was my very first garden attempt and what fascinated me about the whole process is that all we did was put seeds and a little plant into the ground. It seemed unlikely that any real fruit would come out of such feeble efforts and yet one day we saw green sprouts begin to emerge from the ground and our “tomato plant” became very much like a tomato tree. In the picture you can spy the white climber that my husband Chris built to help hold up all the growth. Presently there are no less than 16 tomatoes on the plant, some will be ripe soon others just emerged.

The garden has served as a real life reminder of the spiritual truth that it doesn’t matter whether we plant or water…there is only one who causes the growth of all things in my garden and in the human soul. It is the Lord alone who saves us and grows us. Keep this biblical truth ever in the fore front of your mind and perhaps you will find yourself freed up to share Christ regardless the outcome.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Opportunities Flying By

Just flew back to Texas from Gifted2Go gathering in Louisville Kentucky @ SBTS and God gave me an opportunity to pray and share Him in the middle of the airplane I was flying on...

As my plane began to taxi back from the terminal, everyone was seatbelted in and not allowed to get up, a middle age man and his wife that were seated a few rows behind me began to make noise to get the flight attendants attention. The call for help was coming from his wife because her husband had collapsed into her lap and was unconsious. The flight attendant went into emergency crisis mode and got word to the pilot so that he would stop the plane from taking off into the air...this call for help was a call to prayer as the Lord provided the opportunity to pray for this situation and those around me. From panic to peace is the atmosphere that God changed because of the power of prayer!

All around us there are opportunities to pray as God provides all we need just like He says in the book of Ephesians that Gifted2Go is based on...I had just had the privilege of reading & praying these exact verses hours ago as we concluded our evangelistic leadership for women time together @ SBTS...WOW!!!...God is so amazing to pour into our lives what He desires to pour out of our lives as we look for those "opportunities that are flying by" as we GO!!!

Please read these POWERFUL promises from God about PRAYER in Ephesians 3:14-21 as these verses will help you like they helped me to be ready to pray...we would love for you to share an example of an opportunity you have had of praying for someone to come to know the Lord! Your prayers make a HUGE difference as seeds are planted, watered, and God causes them to Grow as we Go and share a Gift of Prayer....opportunities are "flying by" as we look for them!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

first gifted2go

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation – created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10 , HCSB).

This week beginning on Tuesday, about 20 of us met in Louisville, KY for the first gifted2go training/testing. Words cannot even express the blessing that these women have been to me. They came from all over - Texas, Ohio, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, and who knows what I am leaving out. They represent women's state evangelism leaders, WMU leaders, associational women's ministry leaders, children's leaders, local church staff, seminary grads, church planters, retreat directors, ministry coaches, teachers, seminary staff, and the list goes on. All walks and seasons of life are represented in this one small group. They brought their giftedness of exhortation (encouragement), mercy, teaching, proclaiming, shepherding, service, faith, discernment, apostleship, evangelism, and more. They have shown the fruit of the Spirit through their love, joy, peace, patience, and self-control. They have been excited about what God can do through women and have been essential in helping me to see what we need to include in a new resource for women about how to use their spiritual gifts to further the kingdom. What an incredible picture of the body of Christ we have seen this week!

I will be sharing photos and more but for now, pray for us this morning as we finish up and this afternoon as many of them travel home. God is at work in the lives of women. He never intended for us to go into the world alone - He is still here, still with us, and still on the throne! He loves for women to use their spiritual gifts and talents to share Christ! Pray for us as we close today.

Bless you,

(The photo attached was taken last night of Tracy, Garnetta, Connie and I when we dropped off Tracy and Debbie at Connie's awesome Louisville home. More photos coming!)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Take Advantage of the Little Moments

II Kings 5 shows a great testimony of a young girl whose name is not even mentioned in the Bible and who only appears in one verse. If you have your Bible handy, read the chapter. Naaman was a captain in King Aram’s army. Verse one tells us that he was a great man, a valiant warrior, and was highly respected……BUT he had leprosy. The Aramean army had gone out and had taken a young girl from Israel captive in one of their conquests; she became the maid to Naaman’s wife.

Now, back up and think about what was just said. A little girl was taken from her family, her religion, her homeland and everythng that was ever famliar to become the servant of one of the very men that put her in those circmstances. THAT would be hard to accept!

However, instead of complaining or sulking, she evidently accepted her situation and did not give up her faith in God nor her desire to make Him known. She tells Naaman’s wife: “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” If I were her, I am pretty sure that would not be my attitude towards the man that dragged me from my family.

Isn't it amazng that just that one mention of her in verse 3 resulted in Namaan going to Israel, seeing Elijah, being healed of his leprosy, and his coming to know the God of Israel. Verse seventeen says, “your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord.” Wow! He came to know the personal God of Israel because she took advantage of an opportunity to say and do what she could to point Naaman to God. Scripture doesn’t say, but doesn’t it seem likely to you that the rest of his household probably came to know Him through Naaman? The faithfulness of one little girl certainly impacted more people than she probably ever dreamed! That nameless young servant speaks volumes to me:

* She was selfless in her circumstances.
* Her eyes were not on herself, but on others.
* She took advantage of a moment where she could verbally testify about God.
* She did what she could and where she could.
* She was faithful to courageously speak out about her faith.

This was a convicting passage to read as I have been having computer problems, not being able to log on to e mail, facebook, or even this blogs and all I have done is complain. My thoughts have been on “How can I keep up with everything?” I am in Houston right now to help my parents (I live in Louisville), so the last thing I thought I needed was a computer that wouldn’t behave. Just remembering her circumstances and how her focus was on God and on her desire to make Him known was a timely reminder to me to keep the main thing the main thing! (And computers aren't the main thing!)

“Lord, help me be as selfless as she was and to daily look for opportunities to speak about You no matter where I am or what I am doing.”

Y’all have a great day and let’s all encourage each other to keep on keepin and to take advantage of the little moments we have. Also, remember to pray for the 'first ever' Gifted2Go training going on today at Southern Seminary in Louisville.



Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Fields are White

Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work."Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest."Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal; so that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together." John 4:34-36

I met E.J. at Green Hills Mall in Nashville, TN. She was a sweet strikingly pretty girl with chestnut chin length hair, and full of kindness. She was working, and I was in the throes of morning sickness and the worst kind of exhaustion you can imagine. Thankfully the Lord graced me to see through my sickness and helped me to realize that this “chance meeting” was a perfect opportunity. I asked her the simplest of questions, “Do you go to church anywhere around here?” From previous experience, I was well aware that someone could quite possibly divulge their entire life story in response to such a simple question. People have much to say about faith, religion, and spirituality, and this should really come as no surprise. E.J. and I exchanged a few words, but the Lord impressed on my heart that she was open to the Gospel, so I asked her if she’d like to do lunch some time. She graciously accepted the invitation and we happily exchanged contact info. When I emailed her several days later you can imagine my sheer delight to receive her quick affirmative response to my invitation to hang out again.

Our first meeting after our run in the clothing store was at Barnes & Nobles. We met up before going to see Confessions of a Shopaholic, a truly hilarious, Legally Blonde reminiscent movie. I thought E.J. would love it, and I was right! Prior to giggling over popcorn and a movie we had the chance to chat over a coffee. Immediately we began sharing life stories, and E.J. got right to the point. She felt like something was missing in her life, and indeed HE was. She went on to say that she did not think our meeting was a chance encounter, and of course it wasn’t. E.J. had only a cursory knowledge of the Gospel, so I explained to E.J. who Jesus was and what He desired to do in and with her life. I am telling you only GOD can orchestrate moments quite like these. E.J. chatted on her voice intense with excitement and desire to learn about my Lord. I could only wonder if He would become hers.

Fast forward 2 weeks:
E.J. and I met for dinner at 6:30 Cheesecake Factory on a Sunday night. As I listened to her and shared life with her, I marveled as I have time and again at the work that God Himself has done in her to draw her to Jesus! With no religious background, raised in Maryland, and dealings with nominal Christians who mistreated her and attempted to make her feel inferior due to her lack of knowledge, lack of church attendance, etc. and seeing as she had little exposure to the Gospel, it is a MARVEL that E.J. by her own confession realized that she would not find purpose in life apart finding God. Truly it must be the work of the Holy Spirit.

E.J. asked TONS of great questions. About heaven and hell, how do we know Jesus is the only way, what about other world religions, homosexuality, what about my past, on and on the questions went. We talked of all these things and of our lives for a solid 2 and 1/2 hours. It was one of THE most AMAZING experiences I have ever had in sharing with an unbeliever. E.J. drove me to my car after dinner I offered up a prayer for her out loud that she would know Christ and that God would make Himself known to her and bless her. When I said Amen. We were sitting in a parking space near my car and E.J. looked over at me and said something to the effect of, “When you pray I feel good. I sense something.” She looked at me with penetrating eyes and went on, “I feel like my life will not be right unless I ask God to come and take over my life. I know I’m going to have change many things, but I am compelled to pray to Him right now…” With that she grabbed my hands and offered up a prayer to the God, now, of HER life. It was one of THE most beautiful things I have ever seen. With tears in her eyes she asked God to bless me (Bless me?! I was blessed already!) and for God to help me to teach her and help her in her life. After her Amen. She peered at me again exclaiming, “I can’t believe you’re willing to spend all this time with me and help me learn just because. I feel like I should pay you something (with laughter).” Little does she know that there’s no amount of money in all the world that could persuade me to trade getting to see her inherit the one true treasure in all of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ!

The fields really are white for harvest. Let's be disciples who work it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Eleven Conversation Starters

"Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel...Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should" (Ephesians 4:19-20, HCSB).

As promised, here are eleven tips for beginning conversations when you are out in the world. Once you have them talking, you can share the love of the Lord. Be sure to add your tips to the comments!

1. Notice your surroundings. Comment on what is around you. What’s in the grocery basket? How’s the weather? Those kids are very well behaved. Use what you see to prompt you when starting a conversation.

2. Give a compliment. Do you love her hair cut? Where did she get that beautiful scarf? Tell her if that color looks great on her. People love to get compliments and usually don’t hear enough of them. Be sincere and you will gain entry to speak of more meaningful things.

3. Share a verse for the day. Maybe you were reminded that morning that God gives strength and you can share that with someone who needed to hear it too. Suppose you read about the love of God, share how God loves the one you are standing next to.

4. Read the paper or listen to the news. Knowing what is happening is a shoe-in for starting conversations. As you pray and ask God’s perspective on current events, you can share that viewpoint as God opens the door.

5. Listen to what people are really saying. People often share bits of truth about having a bad day or going through a difficult time. When you are listening, you are not planning what you will say next. You are hearing what the person says and needs. Be the encourager and the one who gives mercy as needed.

6. Offer to pray for those in need. As you see a clerk with too many people to wait on, tell her that you will be praying for her. As a mom with a crying child gets upset with the situation, tell her it is okay and that you will say a prayer for her. Sometimes it might be appropriate to stop and pray for someone right then. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

7. Give something away. Some people give business cards, some give sealed and wrapped candy, others may give pens. If you have little things you can give, then keep them with you. A balloon for a grade-school kid in line can create excitement. As you have extras of safe things, put them in your purse and pray about when you can give them away.

8. Just smile. Smiles can put people at ease. They can say that you are in a good mood and are not a threat. Smiles just let people know that you might be a really nice person. Smiles can open the door to share the love of the Lord – even when you can’t think of anything to say.

9. Body language is important. Standing with one hand on your hip may communicate that you have little patience let. Looking down and avoiding eye contact says you want to stay in your own world. Having open arms and looking at people communicates they are important and that you are open to conversation.

10. Ask about beauty tips (or sports). Who does your nails? hair? Where did you get that purse? I notice your lipstick stays on well, what brand do you use? There are so many directions one can go about beauty tips.

11. Open-ended questions are also great conversation starters. What good books have you read lately? What did you watch last night? What’s your favorite candy? What do like to serve for the holidays? The variety of options is endless.

Blogging Buddies
I am thrilled to have several capable leaders join me on this blog: Tracy Jones, Sharon Beougher, Kristi Beougher McCartney, Regina Gibson, and my daughter, Kelli Martin. We are excited about what the Lord is doing and can't wait to share with you!

Regina will be with us tomorrow. You will see Regina's photo all over Southern Seminary's info as she is a recent grad (MDiv in Women's Leadership) and is presently a women's enrichment specialist at LifeWay and great with child! Congrats to Regina and Chris.

Remember to add your comments on your ideas for conversation starters!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

between the celery and the cucumber

Confession: this is my first time to blog! I am excited to join you ladies here! Please hang in as I give this a try... :)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..." (Colossians 3:23, New International Version)

After my dad and I tried to beat the rush to the grocery store before the 4th of July, I realized the power in this verse. After weaving through isles of people trying samples, ordering meals for their families, and debating over seemingly endless varieties of pasta, my dad and I reached the cash register with our collection.

A petite brunette with her hair pulled back bagged our groceries and we began to talk. I told her thank you as she bagged, and a couple of moments later she asked if that was my class ring on my hand. I said yes and then noted it was actually my college ring.

Her eyes lit up as she said that she is getting her high school senior ring in about a month, and that she is hoping to go to college to be a nurse. Suddenly, she looked down. She explained that she got into trouble last year, so she is actually a year behind in school.

My heart broke that her disappointment in herself seemed to drag her down. We talked about how much nurses were needed today. Inside, I did not want the past to puncture her confidence in the future. As my dad finished paying, I told her, "You have so much to look forward to now. Best wishes."

That night, I wondered if there was more I could have said to show her God's love. Looking back, I could have encouraged her to put her hope in God. I would have loved to share one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:31 (Holeman Christian Standard Bible):

"but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

Every moment counts. I do not clearly see how I will impact the world. Yet, I thank God that whatever we do, even in the hurry of getting ready for celebrations like Independence Day, His light can shine through us!

"For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
'I have appointed you as a light for the Gentiles,
to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" (Acts 13:47, HCSB)