Friday, September 30, 2011

"The World is Better Place Because..."

"The World Is a Better Place Because . . ."

Michelangelo didn't say, 'I don't do ceilings.'
A German monk named Martin Luther didn't say, 'I don't do floors.'
An Oxford Don named John Wesley didn't say, 'I don't do fields.'
Moses didn't say, 'I don't do Pharaohs.'
Ruth didn't say, 'I don't do arks and animals.'
Mary didn't say, 'I don't do virgin births.'
Mary Magdalene didn't say, 'I don't do feet.'
Jesus didn't say, 'I don't do crosses.'"
(source unknown)

Romans 12:1-2  "There, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is our spiritual act of worship."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sharing a GIFT of Prayer!

A GIFT of Prayer!

Ephesians 6: 19-20 "Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

G od gives the words to share through prayer as you go! (v.19-20)

I nvite others to pray for you as you pray and go! (v.19-20)

F earlessly pray & go! (v.19-20)

T ake prayer with you as you go! (v.19-20)

A Thankful Fall Strategy for Evangelistic Prayer....Fall is a wonderful important time to focus on the importance and the power of prayer! A time to renew thankfulness and get "prayed up". As we share the Lord with others, our personal prayer life is so important! Prayer is simply talking to God, but the results are strategic! Prayerful lives are powerful Gifted2Go lives! There are thankful Fall strategic prayer opportunities are all around us, especially during Fall activities, See You At The Pole Prayer Day, and the upcoming Thanksgiving season! Below are a few plans you can make to pray listed for you. We would invite you to share your simple summer strategy ideas of prayer too! God promises to "teach us to pray"! (Luke 11:1) One way The Lord teaches us to pray is when simple strategic prayer plans are shared with others!!

Some Fantastic Fall Strategies for Prayer: A Prayer Walk, A Prayer Retreat, A Prayer Garden, A Prayer Gram, A Prayer Journal, A Prayer Time...we left room for your prayer ideas and would love to hear about one of the times that you experienced an answer to prayer!

Have A Wonderful Prayerful Day!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Gender differences

Men and Women are Different
            I find it hard to believe that anyone who has seen toddlers playing has not noticed some distinct differences. Usually women who have had girls and boys both are emphatic about the differences between the sexes. I am told that little boys make noises and love to crash things. I know from having a daughter that I did not have to teach her to nurture her stuffed animals or to name each one, dress them up in bows and clothes, and sit them around a little table for a tea party. As we see children growing up, we also see some basic differences between teenage girls and boys. Boys generally like to engage in sports to get to know each other while girls are usually found sitting and talking. I vividly remember going to an Eagle Scout ceremony of a young man that my daughter was dating when she was in high school. When he got up to give his speech, one of the things he told was that his best memories of scouting were going to camps where he got to start fires and blow things up. Wow, somehow it never occurred to me that there were camps where young leaders were encouraged to do this. I have to tell you that the scouting trips that I went on were full of making crafts topped off with campfire cooking, singing, and lots of bedtime chats.
            It was not too long ago that I heard a young minister preach the evening sermon. He did a wonderful job and told the story of a time when he was growing up. His neighborhood had a tree house and apparently the neighborhood nearby had just built a new one. Just after he said this he said, “You know what we had to do?” and then he paused. In my mind, I thought, I guess they went to visit the new tree house to see it. What he said shocked me (although it should not have). He said, “We had to go and destroy it!” This is just another illustration of how vastly different girls and boys are.
            A book I enjoyed reading was John Eldridge’s Wild at Heart. While not everyone may agree with the whole book, I love his statement inside the front cover, “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”[1] He writes of the concept of men being warriors. I do think he is on to something.
            As a married adult, I continued to learn about the innate differences. We won’t go into all of them but we lovingly label movies as guy movies or chic flicks. I have almost learned not to talk during the five minutes of the sports news, to do my phone talking and chatting before my husband comes home, and that flowers do not need to be on every piece of upholstery in the house. While my husband is certainly outgoing and a conversationalist, I still talk much more than he does and when he has heard enough, somehow his ears seem to shut down and he has an ability to see my mouth move and not hear one word that I am saying. I have learned that if I want him to hear me, I had better say it in bite-sized pieces and give the summary version rather than the dissertation version first.
            These are just some of the things that women have to learn in order to work with men in the workplace. Regardless of whether they are Christian men and women or not, there are some differences. Men and women are made in the image of God and they are, in fact, different. We know that God has a plan and as women and we are created uniquely yet we are equal and important before God. We do need to learn how to work with men so that we can communicate the message that God has given us.
[1] J. Eldredge, Wild at Heart:  Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001). Cover.

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

15 mistakes I made while working with men: Intro

Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord—you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24, HCSB.

I could not wait to get to staff meeting. I had long waited the day that I would be invited. There I sat, early of course, wide-eyed with my pencil and pad in hand, just waiting for all the excitement to begin. The staff arrived and greeted each other, welcomed me to the table and there it started. It was much like what anyone would expect in a meeting – things like opening with prayer and requests, sharing exciting things that God was doing, discussing Sunday’s services, reviewing the calendar requests, and various reports from different ministry areas. At the conclusion of the meeting, the guys teamed up and went to lunch while the three women in the room went to a lunch place of our own. I loved every minute of it. Maybe it was in the weeks to come that the real revelation began. I was there in every sense of the word but somehow I felt invisible. What I said did not seem to be heard. These were incredible men whom to this day I love and respect. They were more than gracious, considerate, and gave every impression of listening to me, but much of what I said did not seem to be understood. Somehow there was this communication gap. Most of what I had to share just did not seem to be heard. One of the most revealing things of all to me was the decisions that were made seemed to be made before the meeting. These guys had connections with each other. Decisions were made at lunch, on the golf course, watching the ball game, and who knows where else. By the time they got to staff meeting, they all seemed to agree. Some weeks, a decision would be communicated in the meeting and by the next week it would have changed. Then one day it hit me. It wasn’t that they were leaving me out or trying to keep things from me, there was just a gender difference that I had to figure out.
            Men and women working together can be quite a challenge. Even in the best of situations, there are some things that I learned the hard way that I’d like to share. For those of us who find ourselves of the female gender, it is no secret that learning to adapt to a man’s world is just an average fact of life. From the moment we are born into this world, the adapting begins. It is not something most of us even think much about, it is simply the way it is. Serving with men in ministry can be an awesome experience.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my tips and my stories with you. My prayer is that you will not make the same mistakes that I did!

Excerpts from Women Leading Women: The Biblical Model for the Church, Chapter Six, Serving with Men, by Jaye Martin.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Good News for Broken People

A young girl worked on a beautiful ceramic tray for her mother at school as a very special gift.  When it was finished she was walking down the hall.  She had been working on it for several weeks and she was very proud of it.  As she carried it down the hall, she tripped and fell.  The tray crushed to the floor and broke into several pieces.  The little girl was devastated.  She began to cry loudly and uncontrollably.  She was absolutely heartbroken.
People tried to comfort her with all kinds of counsel:  "It was just a tray.  Not worth much.  No big loss.  Besides you can make another one.  It's nothing.  Forget it.  You can give your mother something else.  Don't worry about it."  But nothing helped.  The child was inconsolable.  Finally, her mother arrived on the scene.  Quickly, she realized what had happened.  Kneeling down besides her crestfallen, distraught daughter with her broken gift, she hugged her tightly and said:  "Well now, I think this is fixable.  Let's pick up the pieces and take it all home  We'll put it back together and see what we can make of it."  The little girl hugged her mom back and smiled.
Isn't that exactly what the Christian message is about?  The world is broken into many fragments, as are our lives.  And God stoops down beside us.  He hugs us and says, "Well now, this is fixable.  Let me help you pick up the pieces.  We'll put it back together and see what we can make of it."  Christ offers us the gift of salvation, inner peace, and hope in the midst of our brokenness.  We need to share this message with someone today.

(Adapted from Dr. Jim Moore's article in St. Luke's Methodist Church Newsletter, Houston, Texas, November 1998(

Thursday, September 22, 2011

renewed minds

"{20} But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, {21} assuming you heard Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus: {22} you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires;  {23} you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; you put on the new man, the one created according to God's [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth." -Ephesians 4:20-23, HCSB

The other day, I was asked to explain part of Deuteronomy. My first thought was, "Wow... I have some reading to catch up on. Where's my head at?  Why don't I remember what's in Deuteronomy?"  As I read more of the book and some commentary, it was really refreshing to see how much God had to teach me through it.  

Is there something that you think God may be trying to teach us today? From the verses above, in Ephesians, I see how our faith in Jesus' sacrifice for us is how we can have a relationship with God.  God is intelligent, and even though we do not always think with a pure mind, He does, and He can reveal truths to us.

So, I pray we praise Him today, with what He has revealed to us so far and with what He reveals to us in the future.  And I pray we don't hesitate to share about our Savior, who can forgive what we've done against Him and can help us see how to live for Him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"I Carry a Cross in My Pocket"

           "A Cross in My Pocket"
                              (author unknown)

I found this little poem recently that my grandfather, Cecil, always carried in his pocket.  It not only brought back great memories of him, but reminded how important my daily life with Christ is!

I carry a cross in my pocket
     A simple reminder to me
Of the fact that I am a Christian
     No matter where I may be.

This little cross is not magic
     Nor is it a good luck charm
It isn't meant to protect me
     From every physical harm.

It's not for identification
     For all the world to see . . .
It's simply an understanding
     Between my Saviour and me.

When I put my hand in my pocket
     To bring out a coin or key
The cross is there to remind me
     Of the price He paid for me.

It reminds me, too, to be thankful
     For my blessings day by day
And to strive to serve Him better
     In all that I do and say.

It's also a daily reminder
     Of the peace and comfort I share
With all who know My Master
     And give themselves to His care.

So I carry the cross in my pocket
     Reminding me, no one but me . . .
That Jesus Christ is Lord of my life
     If only I'll let Him be!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

renewed strength

"Rather, train yourself in godliness, for the training of the body has limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." 
-1 Timothy 4:7b-8, Holman Christian Standard Bible

My professor who taught personal spiritual disciplines, who is also a medical doctor, reminded me one day of this verse.  It still sticks out to me from time to time, and with a recent exercise group I'm a part of, I have been thinking about it more.  I have been thankful for some friends who have been helping me keep up with exercising, as I've found it helps me to have support like that, reminders to stay physically healthy.  Most important, though, is our relationship with God.  God has done much for us - in all our own unholiness, and in all His purity, He is able to not only forgive us, but also transform us.

In 1 Timothy 4, Paul explained to Timothy the basics that are needed as we minister to others.   One commentary compares Paul to a good coach, who sometimes reminds a team of the fundamentals of a sport ( commentary).  Christ asks us to follow Him, and we can do this by having faith in who He is and by trusting in His lead.  Like physical training, it is not always easy.  We are able to follow, though, because of His great sacrifice for us and by the Holy Spirit's power inside believers.

Is God our center?  We can encourage each other in how to live for Him.  I pray that others see God's working in us, so they may know Him, too.

Some books that have helped me dig deeper, in focusing on and depending on Christ in everyday life:

  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney
  • Devotional Classics compiled by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith 
  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Being The Church Through The Fire!

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon though something strange were happening to you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed...Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good." 1 Peter 4: 12, 13, 19 ESV

Much of Texas and many other States are experiencing devastating fires right now! As our hearts and prayers are extended to those that have been hurt, lost their homes, and are experiencing much pain right now, this is a huge opportunity reach out to people with God's Love & Faith through the fire! Sharing Jesus during times of crisis are some of the greatest opportunities for people that need the Lord to come to the Lord!

Please join us in praying and giving to those that have needs right now because of the many fires across our Nation! Please pray for those that are on the frontlines working tirelessly to put out the fires! Please pray for Christians as they reach out to others and Be The Church!!

Here are a couple of INSPIRATIONAL videos that are great examples of The Family of God Being The Church to Others!! Let's All Go Out Today & Everyday & Be The Church!! (Pastor & His Wife Serve Others Even After Their Home Burned In The Fire) (Bastrop Texas Church Is Being The Church Through The Fire!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Garden of Success

              Garden of Success
                              (source unknown)

Plant 5 rows of Peas . . .

Include 3 rows of Squash . . .
     Squash gossip.
     Squash criticism.
     Squash indifference

Add 4 rows of Lettuce . . .
     Let us be faithful.
     Let us be loyal.
     Let us be unselfish.
     Let us love one another.

No garden is really complete without Turnips . . .
     Turn up happy.
     Turn up with a smile.
     Turn up with a new idea.
     Turn up with real determination.

May your garden flourish!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Mistakes Women Leaders Make - #10 Fatal Flaws

"Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults" (Psalm 19:12, NASB).

Today, we come to the end of our list of the top ten mistakes women leaders make. Of course, we cannot be limited to ten, but this is about all we can take! We will save the rest for a later time. :)

Our tenth item on the list is the "fatal flaw(s)." You know exactly what I am talking about. This is the thing that everyone else sees clearly, yet the owner of the flaw has no clue that it is a problem. Often, there is one thing that keeps someone from being hired, keeps a woman from being effective, and keeps someone from asking that person to lead.

Fatal flaws can be most anything. I know a woman who is outstanding in numerous ways. She has a passion for the Lord and loves people. Her fatal flaw is that she is convinced that she is the only one who is able to hear God speak. That's a pride, humility, and arrogance issue; yet it keep her from being effective. I know of a young lady who has been given many opportunities, but is so unsure of herself that people cannot follow her. She has not understood the power of God to speak through her and has crippled her ability to lead. There is one I know who has the fatal flaw of not presenting herself well. She rarely takes care of her outward appearance (can we say bath, a little mascara, and a hair cut?). While she is gifted, she is not presenting herself well. (Let's face it, she needs a makeover.) The woman who is an emotional wreck is not the one anyone wants leading their team. Fatal flaws (spiritual, emotional, physical, mental) are things that must be fixed.

Sometimes we as leaders forget that humanity can get it the way of being an effective leader. Pray and ask God to show you your fatal flaws. Ask your friends and those you love, "What is one thing that would make me more effective as a leader?"

Remember, we are gifted2go! Let's don't let fatal flaws be our downfall.
You know you (flaws and all) are loved.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top Ten Mistakes Women Leaders Make - #9 Not Involving Others

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42, NASB).

God called us to fellowship. He knew we needed one another. His desire is for us to work together as the body of Christ.

As a leader, sometimes it is easier to work alone. Involving other people can be so exhausting and time-consuming. Many women make the mistake of going it alone. Our ninth mistake is not involving others. Men tend to work together in teams. They may "fight" to find the strongest leader but the way they rise to the top is to be the strongest and do their part on the team. While we can put people into categories, we do know that the tendency for women is for them to do anything they can to charge ahead and go around the system. Secular research shows that while women are relational, they do not work together well.

As believers, we are to encourage one another and work together for the cause of Christ. Look for ways to involve others in the planning and execution of projects. Sure, it is faster to do it on your own, but God's plan is to work together. Let's show the world how Christian women should act. God will help us as we look for women to be on our teams.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Top Ten Mistakes Women Leaders Make - #8 Not Mentoring or Being Mentored

#8 Mentoring

            One of the keys that we see in the Christian world as well as the secular world is the need for women to be mentored. We see this as a biblical concept in Titus 2 but we also see it through the word of God. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).
            As we think about this last challenge that especially women have in the workplace, mentoring is one that is at the top of the list. It is difficult to find women to be mentors and help those who are coming behind them. In the secular world, there are many books written on this. Women who finally make it to a position of influence tend to want to stay there and are threatened that someone else will take their place of leadership. This makes it difficult for young leaders to find mentors, even in the Christian community. Therefore, we must strive to find people to teach us and strive to be mentors and encouragers to others who are coming behind us.
            As I reflect over my years in ministry, there were several Godly women who mentored me in so many ways. I remember my Sunday School teacher as a young married woman who stuck with me and taught me what it meant to be still before the Lord. I remember the one who encouraged me by always taking my needs to the Father in prayer, and I remember those who just as a need was expressed, showered their wisdom on me in little bits and pieces. I did not just have one mentor, I had many. If you are in need of a mentor, look for women who might could help you in one area. One of my bosses in interior design taught me to always call the smartest person you know when you have a question. I have made that a policy and it has proven to be so beneficial. Every woman will not know something about every subject. I have also found that the men in my life have been excellent mentors, especially in the area of ministry. I wish there had been women doing women’s ministry that I could refer to over the years but they were few and far between. Godly men, their wives, and other women have filled in the gap and as always, God provided the wisdom that I needed at the time that I needed it.
            One of the things that I have sought to do is to mentor those who the Lord brings across my pathway. As I am involved in a ministry from coast to coast, one can imagine that I am not always with the same women on a weekly basis so I look for women to seek to pour my life into. These are usually young women who feel like God is calling into the ministry. Often I meet them on the campuses of our seminaries or at a conference where I am speaking. I pray that God will send me those who have a passion for Him and want others to know Him. I try to be a listening agent, allow them to share with me their purpose and their dreams, and pray for them. As they share their needs, I can often share some of the wisdom that I have learned from God along the way. I have found that often the questions that I am asked are those about things like balancing my home and work life and other questions about being a Godly woman. I always get the questions asking how I got started and how I landed the jobs that I have. (The answer is staying on my face in prayer and being faithful with small.) Whatever the question, I have learned that I always have more to learn as well as plenty to share. We need not be intimidated by learning or leading.

Today's blog taken from Women Leading Women, The Biblical Model for the Church, chapter 5 written by Jaye Martin.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What God WON'T Ask

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:14-17)

  • God won't ask what kind of car you drove.  He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.
  • God won't ask the square footage of your house.  He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
  • God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet.  He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.
  • God won't ask what your highest salary was.  He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
  • God won't ask what your job title wasHe'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
  • God won't ask how many friends you hadHe'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
  • God won't ask in what neighborhood you livedHe'll ask how you treated your neighbors.
  • God won't ask about the color of your skinHe'll ask about the content of your character.
  • God won't ask why it took you so long to seek salvation.  He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven and not to the gates of Hell.
  • God won't ask if you went to church regularly.  He'll ask if you have asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins and invite Him to be your Savior and Lord.
As followers of Jesus Christ, let's all be sure we understand the kind of questions God will be asking us!
(Source of article unknown)