Monday, April 27, 2015

New Blessings

Differences in marriage can be good. However, there are a few things we must always agree on. Join me at Woman to Woman Ministries for Marriage Monday. Click HERE.

#eucharisteo, #joydare, #thanksgiving, #thankfulness, #1000gifts,

Continuing to count God's sweet blessings..

1765. My parents sitting at my dinner table.

1766. A safe trip for my mom, daughter, and 2 other young ladies from church as they traveled for our district Fine Arts Festival.

1767. A "Superior with Invitation" rating for each of the young ladies, which brings them to Nationals this summer. We are so proud of each of them.

1768. God stretching my daughter and teaching her new things. She is going to nationals for 'Short Sermon.' We didn't even know speaking was one of her giftings!

1769. My heart breaking when my daughter's breaks. It reminds me that God's heart breaks when mine breaks.

What are you praising God for? I love rejoicing with you. Please comment below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Your Tone of Voice Through the Screen

Email. Text. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. The list goes on. I love it all! I love emailing, texting and social media {would that be social media-ing?}. But over the many years of using these outlets, I've learned one big lesson.

We cannot possibly hear the tone of voice or know the attitude it is presented with through a screen.

I've had more conversations than I care to count where I read something and took it wrong because I read it with the tone of voice and attitude that I assumed was being portrayed, even if it wasn't. I've sent messages that were wrongly received because the recipient read the tone of voice and attitude incorrect. My husband is currently dealing with this very thing over email. He read something probably in the tone it was not sent. Then he replied and it was read it the tone that it was not sent. And it just goes on and on.

It damages relationships. It hurts feelings. It causes bitterness. I've lost friends over this very thing. Sometimes due to my mistake and sometimes not. And sadly, often times when a relationship is damaged, it is too hard to fix.

Photo Credit

How can we be careful to project the right attitude and tone of voice through a screen?

  • Be careful not to use all caps. This is known as yelling. Only capitalize what needs to be capitalized.
  • I use smileys. A lot. :) It may annoy some people and some may think it's 'girly' or unprofessional. But I do it anyway. I want people to know that I am smiling when I am talking to them.
  • Reread your message. Reread it several times even! If possible, have someone else read it. I often will have my husband, mom or 17 year old read something to make sure it sounds ok. Sometimes I get the thumbs up and sometimes I'm told it sounds rude. If someone close to you says it sounds rude to them, likely it will to the recipient too.
  • Be careful not to be condescending. We all know what this is and how it sounds. Be careful not to do this. There is no reason for it. Ever.
  • Read received messages without a tone or attitude. I struggle with this one sometimes. Don't jump to conclusions and read the message as if the person is attacking you. Try to read it void of emotion.
  • You are in control of you. I told my husband this just today. You cannot control what someone says or how they say it to you. But you can control what you say and how you say it to them.
  • Damage control. If someone is hurt or upset by something you've said, pray first, then fix it intermediately. That may mean you need to humble yourself and apologize, even if it is their fault for taking it wrong. Don't let your relationship slip away over a misunderstanding or miscommunication.
  • Remember that not all things should be done over text, email or social media. There are just times when face to face or a phone call is best. Especially if it is a serious issue or a complicated issue. You can hash things out and deal with it without the back and forth and without risk of being misunderstood. If you need to talk with someone, it's best to just ask if you can call them or meet together. If someone sends you a message and you feel attacked, your reply needs to simply be, "Can we meet together to talk about this?"
What are other ways you are careful to project the right attitude and tone of voice through a screen? Have you had relationships damaged by this very thing? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Think About Such Things {giveaway}

I've shared before how my family's verse is Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true,
whatever is noble, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable 
-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-
think about such things.

One way that we intentionally 'think about such things' is by closely monitoring what we allow on our tv. So when we find a family friendly tv show, we are excited! My daughter and I also love things about the 'olden days.' One show that we love is When Calls the Heart.

Last year when season 1 began, we couldn't miss an episode. We loved everything about this show as we watch Ms. Thatcher move into town to become teacher to the children of Coal Valley. We have anxiously been waiting for season 2. Guess what!? Season 2 starts this Saturday!

If you are looking for something wholesome to watch, check out When Calls the Heart on the Hallmark Channel this Saturday!

To enter to win season 1 on DVD, complete each task in the rafflecopter below.

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Full Weekend

We have a very real enemy in this life. An enemy that comes to kill, steal and destroy. While I know this enemy is real, I also know who this enemy is not. To find out who, join me at Woman to Woman today. Click HERE.

#eucharisteo, #joydare, #thanksgiving, #thankfulness, #1000gifts,

Continuing to count God's sweet blessings..

1760. First baseball game of the season.

1761. A productive day at home.

1762. Baby shower for my niece who will be making her debut any day now.

1763. The sound of my boys playing basketball outside.

1764. Starting a new She Reads Truth plan today, the Timothy plan.

What are you praising God for? I love rejoicing with you. Please comment below and let's praise together!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

When Church is Work

I remember many years ago when my family would be the first ones at church. We were also the last ones to leave. If the doors were opened, we were there. We loved church. Sunday nights especially. We went early for choir practice, then fellowshiped for awhile. Then service began with praise music. We sang, clapped and worshiped. Then the preacher began and that was followed by time at the altar. This was even more special. I remember times when my parents would pull us kids into the corner of the altar and we would kneel together and pray. Sometimes mom would have to snap her fingers to get us to focus. But we prayed together as a family. And sometimes the altar times were so powerful! The Spirit of the Lord fell hard. People shouted, danced, and fell under the Spirit. People were saved, delivered and healed. People encountered God. It was amazing!

Fast forward many years, church is hard. My family is in ministry, my husband and I are the children's pastors and my husband is the associate pastor. Every single service we have ministry work to do. Which is great.

Can I just be honest here? Sometimes we leave church and I feel like we worked instead of encountered God. Going to church is a job for us. Yes it is ministry, but it is still a job. If you are a pastor you understand this, it is your ministry but also your job.

We are still the first ones there and last to leave. We are still there every time the doors are opened. We adore our church family and feel so blessed by them. Our church is wonderful. But there are times, seasons, when I don't feel that same fire or passion.

I want to encounter God. I want to bless His name. I want to feel His presence. I want to bless others. I want to be on fire.

Photo Credit

Here are a few ways to make church more than work:
  • Remember that your corporate worship at church should be an overflow of your private worship at home. Church should never be our only time of worship, Bible reading or encountering God. Spend time with God each and every day. Read the Bible, listen to praise music and worship Him. We have a precious mature lady in our church, she openly worships God each service. But one time she told my husband and I that her worship at church is nothing compared to her worship at home. Did you know that even at home you can lift your hands in worship? Even at home you can bow down in reverence. Make sure you are spending time with God each day, not just Sunday.
  • Don't skip your quiet time on Sunday just because you're going to church. For a long time I wouldn't have my quiet time on Sunday morning because Sunday mornings were just too crazy. Sunday was the only day my husband got to sleep past 5am, so I took it upon myself to get all 4 of the kids ready alone. Some days I even cooked breakfast, but don't worry, some days it was just cereal. I had to get ready. Even though the Saturday before I had everything out and prepared, it always seemed there were last minute things to do. Plus, we were going to church, so it was okay to skip quiet time right? Yet I've found over the past year that when I make it a point to meet with God in my own home before church, I have a greater encounter with Him at church. Remember the whole 'corporate worship is an overflow of private worship'?
  • Pray at church before service starts. We get to church every Sunday by 8:30am. For the next hour and a half we are doing last minute prep work and getting things ready for children to come to their church. Most Sunday mornings we already have a room full of kids during this time (other leader's kids). So we are already in full on work mode. Our other pastors and our worship team are the same way. So we purposely pause for prayer together before the service starts. At 10:00am we all gather around at the altar, hold hands and pray. This prepares our hearts and let's us touch God before service even begins. Even if your church doesn't do this, you can!
  • If you work at church, strive to attend a service that you don't have to work at. Sometimes this is really hard. Our job is at every service. So for my husband and I, this means going to revival services or sometimes visiting other church's services that may be on a different night. Many of our workers in our church rotate so that they minister/work and have time to simply be in the service and encounter God. If you work in every service, try to attend a few services a year that you are not working in. This is a great time to visit friend's churches.
  • Have an accountability partner. A pastor wife friend of mine was sharing at our women's night recently. She shared how she has accountability partners in place that will gently reminder her when she is taking on too much and they help her say no. Sometimes we just need a break. Maybe it's cutting back from several small groups at church to only 1 small group, maybe it's a break from leading a Bible study and just becoming an attender for awhile, maybe it's cutting down from working 3 weeks in the nursery to working 2 weeks. Have a mature Christian in place who can guide you and pray with you in this area.
Recently the Christian music group Sanctus Real came out with a song. This song brings me to tears every single time. I want you to turn up your speakers and listen. Think back to that time you were so on fire for God. You couldn't wait to get to church, to minister, to share with others of your faith. You didn't care who saw you raise your hands in worship. You just wanted God. You were so hungry for Him. Friends, it's time to get back to that.

What are other ways you intentionally encounter God when church is work?