Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There Is No Greater Thing

"Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things.” Jeremiah 9:23-24


Kari Beougher
As a grad school student desperately trying to finish up this semester, this passage is especially convicting to me. While I certainly want to do well in school and be a good steward of my time and work, I recognize how easy it can be to let that desire become idolatrous and consuming. Wisdom, might, riches, success, good grades- all these may seem good, and yet the Lord delights in His people taking time to truly know Him. In Philippians 3:8, Paul says, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Paul truly believed earthly successes, wisdom and riches to be completely worthless in comparison to knowing Christ.

One of my favorite lines from the popular song,  "Knowing You," says, "All I once thought gain I have counted loss, spent and worthless now, compared to this: Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you, there is no greater thing!"

Do you consider knowing God to be the greatest thing? Have you taken time to know Him today?  Do you count all other things loss in light of knowing Him? Today may we lay aside our pursuit for wisdom, strength, wealth and success to seek God's face.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ready?

"Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour" (Matthew 25:13, NASB).

On Saturday evening, we had just finished dinner with friends when we received a phone call from our security company informing us that our home fire alarm was ringing. While the fire department was being notified, we quickly made our way toward the house. On the way, I was praying and trying to decide what to pull from the house, all while staying calm and keeping things in perspective. There was an overwhelming peace that if the house was burning, we were all safe. There was also the thing that I wish I had done, to back up my computer data. I paid for online backup for the year, yet never activated the service, so my computer was at the top of my list of things to grab. Thank you Lord that the house was fine. We think lightening struck the rod or that something was shaken when our neighbor's huge tree fell during the storm. It was a good wake-up call to once again ask myself, "Am I ready?"
Jaye Martin

Just like the passage about the 10 young women in Matthew 25, we are to be ready. We never know when the Lord is coming or when a crisis will happen. Are we ready? Have we prepared for physical disasters (like knowing all your work could be lost on a computer) but more importantly, are we ready spiritually? Are we ready to meet the Lord? Who else do we need to tell about the Lord?

Today, there are a few things on my to-do list including backing up my computer data but also asking the Lord who else needs to hear the good news from me. Lord, make me ready physically and spiritually!

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Evangelism Experience

                    “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and
                        mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

My friend, Lacy, shared with me how she had prayed for ten years for an old  family friend named “Bob.”  He was a very gruff man who always treated people harshly.  He came to Louisville on business a year ago and he agreed to go to church with Lacy and her husband, but she could not find an opportunity to share the gospel with him.

Lacy prayed to the Lord and told Him that if he were EVER in Louisville again, or she were ever in the same city as him, that she would share the plan of salvation with him. 

Sharon Beougher
Last week he was back in town.  Lacy remembered her promise to God and, though she was nervous, she was determined to fulfill her commitment to the Lord.   She asked to meet him for breakfast the next morning, telling him that she wanted to share what Jesus meant to her.  Not hesitating, he said, “Yes.”  It turns out he had been diagnosed with cancer and he said he had taken care of all his business except his religion.

The next morning Lacy was able to go through whole plan of salvation with him and he prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord.  Lacy was obedient to share the gospel and God answered a ten year prayer!  May we all be faithful to pray, keep praying, and be obedient to share!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Conversation Starters: A Helping Hand in a Crisis

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:6-7, NASB). 

News of the bombing at the Boston marathon last week sent a shock wave through me. As a runner and an American, with friends living in Boston, I was left praying and trying to process it all as the story unraveled. It inspired me how some runners ran straight to the hospital to donate blood and how other cities are organizing runs to honor Boston. 


As Jesus' disciples, we have insight into how He responded in crisis moments and how we can try to help others in practical ways. God has told us that life isn't always easy. Jesus was in touch with God the Father through prayer and was into God's Word. He got to know the community, helped the sick and spoke of an everlasting hope to all, including the outcasts. 



Kelli Martin
We may not be able to do much physically to help people, but we can pray, listen to God and listen to others who are going through a crisis. We can trust God and simply be there for others. We can pray for an opportunity to share how God gives a peace through His Son that outlasts whatever circumstances are going on around us.

Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Opportunities To Share Jesus Are Flying By!

On a recent airplane trip to Louisville, Kentucky to team teach HeartCall and Gifted2Go with Jaye, God gave me an opportunity to share Jesus, at the airport I was traveling from, and on the airplane I was flying on...

As I missed my first flight, God used all the details of my second flight to build a quick relationship with the airline representative, we will call her Sally.  As I shared a "HeartTalk" witnessing booklet with Sally, then saw her again right before I boarded my flight, she expressed to me that she was going to go home after work and do exactly what she just read in "HeartTalk."  Sally expressed those words to me with tears in her eyes while God whispered in my heart that He took my missed flight and used that experience to share Jesus with Sally, Praise The Lord!

Tracy Jones
As I settled into the the final leg of my flight, a group of more than 30 women that were very friendly boarded my flight.  God placed one of them next to me and we became fast friends, we will call her Jane!  As I got to know my new fast friend, God gave me the opportunity to share with Jane about HeartCall, Gifted2Go as I shared a "HeartTalk" witnessing booklet with her.  Jane took the time right away to read her HeartTalk booklet and, as we were about to get off the plane, she shared with me that she was going to go to her hotel room and do exactly what she had just read in "HeartTalk"!

My heart was bursting with joy for the privilege of sharing Jesus with these 2 precious women!  All around us there are people to share Jesus with as God gives us these opportunities and God gives us the words to share!  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!!!

Do you have some witnessing booklets everyday everywhere you go?  That is one way that God equips you to be Gifted2Go!  Please put some booklets in your pocket, in your purse, in your car, at your desk, at the door of your home, everywhere you spend time!  You are Gifted2Go Share Jesus as you are Go-ing!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

By Faith



"In hope against hope, he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, "SO SHALL YOUR DESCENDANTS BE." Without becoming weak in his faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore "IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Romans 4:18-22
Kari Beougher

Waiting is a reality in the Christian life. People wait for jobs, husbands, children, the salvation of a loved one, health. In Genesis 15, God specifically promises Abraham that He will give him a son and yet Abraham doesn't see the fulfillment of that promise for years. Instead of doubting God, this passage shows that while waiting, Abraham did not "waver in unbelief" but instead was strengthened in his faith, trusting in God's character and faithfulness.

Unlike Abraham, we may not have a specific promise from God for a job, husband, children, someone's salvation, or health. But we do have the promise that "ALL the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies" (Psalm 25:10). Not some. Not most. All. God has promised that He "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

What is it you are waiting for? It is so easy in the midst of waiting to doubt the promises and ultimately the goodness of the Lord. Yet, the type of faith He delights in is walking by faith and not by sight. Trust in the promises of God. Pray that you may exemplify faith that pleases God. Ask Him to help you walk by faith and not by sight, trusting in His character and goodness and fully convinced that what God has promised, He is able also to perform.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Avoid Controversies

"But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless" (Titus 3:9, NASB).

Knowing when to argue and when to leave it can be an art. More importantly, it requires dependence on the Holy Spirit and on wisdom from God. When we least expect it, we can be challenged on what we believe and why. In the verse above, Paul tell Titus to avoid foolish controversies. In the verse below, we see that we are to be ready to defend our beliefs, yet to do it with a sanctified heart.

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15, NASB).

We are not to get caught up in arguments that divide believers, but should use it as an opportunity to learn more about what we believe and why. Our defense of our faith (apologetics) is as important as the attitude in which we respond.

Jaye Martin
Lord, whether I'm dealing with another believer or with someone who does not know You, help me keep my heart in the right place and depend on Your power and wisdom. Walk me through each moment of every day. May you be glorified in all that I say and do so that others may see You! Amen.




Friday, April 19, 2013

Jesus is the LIGHT 
of the World

"I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Two weeks before Easter, our church decided to go out into the neighborhood to let the community know that our church was there to serve them. We handed out light bulbs to over a thousand families, saying, "Hi, we are your neighbors at West Broadway Baptist Church. We just wanted to remind you that Jesus is the Light of the World, invite you to our Easter services, and ask if there is anything we can pray about for you." We handed them a packet of information about the church along with the light bulb.
Sharon Beougher


Knocking on doors was a personable way to invite people as well as providing a 'first time' for many church members to get out of their comfort zone and talk to strangers. All but a couple people in homes who answered the door took the information and light bulb, along with a 'thank you' to us.

Jesus is indeed the LIGHT OF THE WORLD, and we need to boldly let a hurting world know!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Conversation Starters: Compliments

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well" (Psalm 139:14, NASB). 

Recently, I’ve gotten to see how much a compliment can encourage four-year-olds as they play soccer. As I was thinking about this and reading this part (Conversation Starters: Compliments) of the HeartCall course book, I see that truly everyone could use some encouragement. God created us and sees us as valuable, valuable enough to send His Son, Jesus, to show us how to walk in honor of God and to suffer in our place on the cross. This Creator has the power to turn our ashes into beauty, and He desires a deep relationship with the people He made.

Kelli Martin
A compliment may give us the chance to at least show - and maybe even share - the pure love God has for the world with someone else. As believers, we can point out the good we see in others, encourage them and help them see God's love and desire to bring people into His family.

Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
See Shane and Shane play "Beauty for Ashes" on YouTube here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Trustworthy Truths



"The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds." Psalm 145:15-17
Kari Beougher

Whenever I am tempted to be discontent about where the Lord has me, or long for Him to do something new in my life, I am comforted by the truths in this passage.
  
The eyes of all look to You- I love this reminder about what a great God we serve. Truly all of creation is dependent upon Him for life. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things.

 You give them their food in due time- My favorite part about this verse is "in due time." It doesn't just say that God is Provider-though He is. It also shows His sovereignty and perfect timing. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide it for us...at the proper time.

 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing- It is in Christ that true satisfaction is found. He is the Giver of all good gifts, and only in Him can true fulfillment be found.

 The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds- God's plan can be fully trusted. He is righteous and kind in all that He does.

What are you longing for today? Are you discouraged? You can trust in the care, providence, and faithfulness of our God. Rest in the knowledge that He is Sovereign over all creation, His timing is perfect, and His ways are kind.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Joyful Shouting

 

Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6, NASB)
When Tracy sent me this verse last night, it was a reminder that those who work a difficult harvest will rejoice when the fruit comes in. As I walk through my days, some are spent pouring over the computer. The pouring over can be the hours of labor working on a project or the tears of frustration of trying to get my technology to work. I know in the end that it will all be worth the effort.
This verse has to do with the work that goes into the harvest of souls. Time spent with those who need the Lord can be joyful but they can also be tedious. Sometimes it seems I watch God opens eyes to His Glory but at other times, it feels like no matter how much I work the field that they just don't get it. We are to keep working the field and to know that God is the one who brings the harvest.
Who are you praying for today? Who needs to know the love of the Lord? What is God calling you to do? Keep your nose to the grind and keep doing the work of answering questions or showing the love of Christ...and keep praying for God to bring the harvest. He will. And when He does, we will all shout with joy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Conversation Starters: Interests

"But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24, NASB).

What is something you're interested in? Do you know others with a similar interest?

For me, I love to run and I love Christ. As God becomes more a part of my life, I can see ways that He fits into the world we experience and decisions we make. As I have grown closer in my walk with God, I am drawn to sometimes pray while I run, and I can relate to passages about perseverance in the faith in the Bible. God is my strength, so He will help me press on as I run and in the faith. He offers forgiveness and renewal when I feel I've failed. He will give me wisdom when I need it (which comically can come in handy as things cross my path when I run in a park). When I don't run quite like I wanted to one day, then I know my God has grace and will be there with me the next time I try. All of those things relate so closely to my spiritual walk, I see, and so it is neat to get to talk about that with other runners.

What are some things that you are interested in? Is it business, art, family, technology, developing systems, entertainment, reading or exercise? Whatever it may be, how does God apply to it? How is He a part of that picture?

When you talk with others, ask them what their interests are. Try to find a common one, or listen to them as they share theirs. This is a great way to learn where someone is coming from. If you get to bring up how God works in our everyday lives, then you may get to share with someone about who Christ is.

God is a part of our lives, and so when others are open to sharing about life, then we may get to share about ours as well. Let's pray for the words to say and for a connection with others so that we can have these conversations.

Questions to think about:
  • What are your interests? How does God relate to them? 
  • What are your best friend's interests? How does God relate to them? 
  • Is there someone you know now who doesn't know Christ, but that you have a common interest with?
Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Conversation Starters: Nature

"Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have not storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable are you than the birds" (Luke 12:24, NASB).

Do you love the crisp air in fall or the beauty of new life that you see in spring? I used to have a professor who couldn't help but stop on vacations to take pictures of eroded rock formations as he took road trips with family. What stands out to you in God's creation? This can be a great way to start a conversation with someone, to share more about our Creator.

Nature can be simply striking. Its beauty tends to draw us in, and its intricacy can lead people to wonder about its designer. As life in unfolds around us, we can talk with others about how carefully and intelligently God made the world. He didn't just make everything and then walk away. He is ever-present, watching over every living thing, like the birds of the air. He desires a relationship with the people that He made in His image.

"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1, NASB).

Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).
Photo by Keith Williams from www.birds.cornell.edu.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Conversations that Count: Challenge

"Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, 'Rabbi, eat.' But He said to them, 'I have food to eat that you do not know about.' So the disciples were saying to one another, 'No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?' 

"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, life 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. For in this case the saying is true, 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored and you have entered into their labor'" (John 4:31-38, NASB).

Sometimes, I think it can take me a while to see an opportunity to share my faith. I live in a huge city, and I can run across so many people in a day. There are so many things to do in a day, and most of the time, I truly enjoy doing them. How long do I take a moment, though, to pray and notice others around me who may need God? This is a question I'd like to ask myself more regularly.

Even though we may be slow learners at times, take heart in knowing that God is love, and love is patient and kind. We have a wise and all-knowing Father God who knows what's going on inside us as well as in the world around us. We can come to Him with our prayers, knowing that what is asked in faith will be heard.

Let us pray that God opens our eyes more and that he helps us be aware of people who may not know Him yet. Let us pray that we can encourage others and help them see God, who loves us and wants to transform our lives for the better, into a deep, real relationship with Him.

Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Conversations that Count: Celebrating Conversion

"So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 'Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?' They went out to the city, and were coming to Him...

"From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, 'He told me all the things that I have done.' 

"So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. Many more believed because of His word; and they were saying to the woman, 'It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world'" (John 4:28-30, 39-42; NASB).

The inspiring thing to me about this woman is the way she responded to meeting Jesus. She clearly had been changed. She had met the Promised One, and when she realized it, she was thrilled to share about Him with others.

What a joyful moment! She was filled with joy at the thought that this could be the Messiah who had come to save. I pray that we have joy like that.

Let us pray we remember the purpose in sharing our faith with others so that one day, they will meet Christ and have joy like that, too. We can pray others also find joy in knowing who God is and what He's done for us all on the cross and through the Resurrection. May we all find joy in knowing just what it's like to have this relationship of reconciliation and fellowship with our wise Maker and Savior.

Study based on the workbook HeartCall: Women Sharing God's Heart (Jaye Martin, 1999).