Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest post: Rebuilding Burnt Bridges

Plank by plank we build but it only takes one flame to burn the whole thing down.

You know what I mean.  We spend time investing in others.  Having lunch and babysitting each others children.  Spilling our life out to them when we are hurting.  Trusting each other.  Praying together.  Then Satan steps in while we're not watching.  He plants little embers of pain and lies.  You know what they are, you've seen them, heard them.  Then one day or one minute, he lays the tender on those embers and a fire begins.  A bridge burns.  Words are said, or not.  Pain is sewn and reaped.  Maybe we are justified in our anger or hurt but does that make it right.  What happened to "turn the other cheek" and "forgive 70 x 7"?  It seems we only pull those scriptures out when dealing with unbelievers.  But what about our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Don't they deserve the same grace and mercy...and forgiveness.

How can we be effective for God with all the bridges to and from us burnt.  We can't function as an island with no way in and no way out.

I can recall every time I've lost it and burnt a bridge and I can recall every silent burning.

This past week I lost it.  And the sad thing is, I lost it on a nonbeliever.  Did it feel good at the moment?  Yes.  I was tired of my family constantly being attacked.  Was it justified?  Maybe.  I apologized but my witness to them may have been damaged.  I know that God can still fix it but...

Sunday a family walked into our church that used to be great friends.  She was the first person I met when I moved to Fairmont and she knew every ugly thing about me and never judged me.  She prayed with me on so many occasions I can't even count.  Something happened (won't go into detail) and we haven't spoke for probably 5 years.  When she walked in Sunday, God brought all of this post to my attention.  I want to mend that bridge and with God's help, I will.  Because it is true we live in a double standard world but it goes both ways.  I'm tired of pointing the finger.  I am ready to step up and take responsibility.

Are there bridges that need rebuilt in your life?  No, it won't be easy because we have to lay down our pride and admit that we might have been wrong.  But with God's help, all things are possible.

 Until next time, stay blessed.

This is a guest post by Tracey Moore who blogs at Building My House.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ladies Bible Study

I’ve spent many years looking for the perfect pair of jeans. You know the ones that will bring hope and life to all we hope and long to happen in a pair of jeans. We search high and low for a good pair of low rise, easy on the eyes, sturdy on the thighs pair of jeans, and we have bought quite a few pairs, but are still looking for the pair of jeans.

And it’s the same when we look at the rest of our lives. What we desire is not necessarily what we have. Who we are isn’t really the person we want to be. Just as the perfect jeans seem to elude us, so do the obedient children, the perfect marital communication, and the conquering of all our weaknesses.

It seems like despite all our churchgoing and devotional reading, the weaknesses seem to be conquering us. So not only have we not found the perfect pair of jeans, but we are still struggling with anxiety and pride and an incapacitating love for chocolate.

It seems we supergirls need some forgiveness in other areas of our lives besides jeans and outerwear. We need forgiveness in our lives in general.

Join me and other supergirls as we combat sneaky nemesis like Tired Lady, Compare-a-girl, Mrs. Prideful and others with the most powerful weapon on Earth - God’s Truth.

The class starts September 4th and is based on the book All I Need is Jesus and a Good Pair of Jeans by Susanna Aughtmon. You can download it from Amazon or B&N or print copies available for $8, but not required.  You can sign up at the Welcome Center, message me here or just drop by.    

Thursday, August 22, 2013

10 Ways to Meet Women Where They Are.

We’re constantly trying to find new ways to reach women where they are, and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. As culture shifts, so do the needs of women. No matter what your age may be, women are still women and we are always going to need other women in our lives. Here are 10 ways to meet women where they are:
  1. Don’t assume anything. We often look at women and assume that they already have enough friends or they don’t have enough time. Looks can be deceiving! Maybe she has a lot of acquaintances, but is longing for a real friend. It could be you!
  2. Ask. Ask her to go places with you and be in your life. The worst thing they can do is say “No.”
  3. Keep asking. Unless someone tells you to stop asking, keep extending the ask. Sometimes it just takes a few attempts and the right thing to grab her attention. Don’t just quit asking because she turned you down the first time.
  4. Do life together. One of the sweetest parts of friendship is knowing the day-to-day happenings of the other women in your life. The mundane can be, well, mundane, and it  can be so much more rich in community. This also happens in the good, the bad, and the ugly times. Life is messy, and we all need other women in our lives who just know us to walk with us through it all.
  5. Be real. Last week, I heard Pete Wilson (pastor of Cross Point Church in Nashville) say, “Authenticity is the cry of all, but the game of few.” While we often claim authenticity, we still try to prove ourselves and often end up being someone we’re not. Just be you, and she’ll love you for it.
  6. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of my dearest friends are ones that I initially thought I had nothing in common with, but was so wrong. When my friend Christie and I met while I was in college, she was a newlywed and I learned that she had majored in math in college. I was single, and lets just face it, I still hate math. I literally thought we had nothing in common except for Jesus, but boy, was I wrong! Nine years later, I’m in the airport waiting to board a plane to visit her and her family (5 kids!) and couldn’t love her more, even though our everyday lives look so different.
  7. Pray for her. Don’t just ask how you can pray for her… actually pray for her and pray with her if the Holy Spirit leads you to. Be willing to go to battle with her through prayer, whether she ever knows it or not.
  8. Speak truth. The truth can hurt, but find ways to speak it in love. Be honest, but be kind in how you approach challenging conversations and situations. It can feel risky, but seek the Lord before you speak. Make sure you’re not speaking out of your flesh, but you’re listening to the Holy Spirit. My closest friends are the ones who are willing to speak truth into my life.
  9. Love her right where she is. It’s not our job to fix anyone or change her, but we are called to love her. Be the kind of woman who is steadfast in her life, whether she has a relationship with Jesus or not. Walk with her, pray for her, and just love on her.
  10. Be Jesus to her. Take her a meal. Watch her kids. Listen to her. Cry with her. Laugh with her. Show up. Just be there. When you can, put your needs aside and just be Jesus to her. You don’t have to provide answers or a solution, but point her to the One who can.
At the end of the day, we are called to meet other women at the point of their need. Philippians 2:1-8 paints a beautiful picture of how to treat the people in our lives. If we truly are putting the needs of others above our own, it will show through our actions. Our role is to step in, stand in the gap, and offer them a cold cup of water in the name of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:42). We often over-complicate things that are really simple, and sometimes it just takes one step in the right direction on our part. It might be hard, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Mary Margaret headshot

Mary Margaret is an Event Project Coordinator on the Church Education Ministry team at LifeWay. She works alongside Chris Adams and coordinates training events for women’s ministry leaders like YOU Lead and the Women’s Ministry Forum. Mary Margaret has served several churches in the area of Girls Ministry and she recently completed a Master of Arts in Christian Education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In her spare time, she writes for Story of My Life - her personal blog.

You can find the original LifeWay post here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

His Perfect Word That Gives Freedom.

I wanted to share this blog post from LifeWay Blog.  Enjoy!

On our flight home from the Living Proof Live event in Long Beach, California, the Lord orchestrated an event that prompted this guest post.

I was sitting at the back of this nearly full plane when a lady approached me, asking if the seat next to me was taken. It was not.  As I stepped into the aisle so that she could move into the row, I noticed she was holding Beth Moore’s “James: Mercy Triumphs” member book.

I couldn’t believe it.  Of the thousands of people who travel daily through Los Angeles International Airport, and the one God ordained to sit next to me on this flight, it was a woman doing Beth’s new study.

That, of course, launched us into a lot of discussion on the four-hour flight home.  And it ended with me asking her if she’d be willing to share her story here. And she agreed.

It’s important to note that she wasn’t even in California for the Living Proof Live event; she was there on business (as you’ll read below).

Please allow me to introduce you to our LifeWay Women friend, Rebecca Moffitt!


Guest Post by Rebecca Moffitt 

God answers prayers.  
I don’t know about you, but I needed to read that.
I was aware of that truth from God’s Word and the Bible studies I’ve done, but I didn’t think that it was always true when it came to MY struggles and me.
I believed it was true for all my friends, but, in my heart, I somehow thought that maybe it wasn’t true for me.

But I kept praying and seeking and asking… especially over the last year and a half.  I was praying for freedom. I knew God wanted me to be free, but I wasn’t getting it. I’ve had many strongholds in my life – one in particular I’ve never been entirely free from.

There were seasons when I felt free and didn’t actively participate in that particular stronghold, but it was just hibernating. I knew it was there, and it scared me.  Then, I’d take it out and spend time with it a little, like an old friend, and then wrestle with it to go away yet again…over and over. I was in pain and confused. I would think to myself, “Maybe I’m not really saved,” “Maybe I’m a lost cause and just too weak,” and “Why isn’t God removing this?”

And then the women’s ministry at my church was getting ready to start Beth Moore’s “James: Mercy Triumphs” Bible study.

Becky (in the middle) standing with her Bible study friends Susan (left) and Tammy (right).

I love Bible studies, especially Beth Moore’s, and I was hungry to get into the Word, so I signed up. In the first class, our leader told us that we’d have to choose which level of the study we wanted to do. Level 1 was just showing up and watching the video, level 2 included the daily homework, level 3 included physically writing out the book of James, level 4 included extra reading, and level 5 included memorizing the entire book of James. We were supposed to commit to a level at the next class.

But I’m a busy woman.  I work full time and am a mother and a wife. I decided to sign up for level 3. I shared my decision at the next class and even said that the memorization was for less busy overachievers and not me. I even said that I used to be that person but now I know better.
Ugh.. My rebellion was showing up again, to say the least.
I was faithful and did my homework every night, and I loved it.  But I kept feeling this “tugging” at my heart that I needed to do the memorization. And it wouldn’t let up. Then, I thought about all of my prayers and asking God for freedom. Perhaps this was God wanting to answer my prayers, and I needed to listen and obey.

So I decided, about two weeks into the class, to start memorizing the book of James. I memorized a verse a day, and, miraculously after the first month, I had the first chapter memorized.  I kept going, second chapter memorized, kept going…(and still working on it).  But that’s not the real miracle.
The miracle is what happened (and is still happening) in my mind. It’s like the links of my chains began to fall off, one at a time. Where I used to worry, I have peace. Where I used to be suspicious, I have certainty that all is well. Where I used to dwell on my stronghold, I now forget to think about it.
Verses like,  ”…But each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed,” (that was me!) and, “…Humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you,” began living and working within me!

I have an amazing new weapon in this battle.  The memorization worked to occupy my mind when I replaced those negative thoughts with my daily scripture.  James says, “…Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin…” Well, desire didn’t have a chance to conceive when I had my weapon,  ”The Sword of The Spirit,” at hand and was willing to use it. I’m an analyzer (can’t you tell?) so I don’t want to over analyze how this process began freeing me in a way I’ve never been free before, but God was answering my prayer and showing me the power of “His perfect word that gives freedom.”  

Recently, I had to give a presentation in front of a large audience at a prestigious hotel in California. I am not a public speaker and normally would have been sick with nerves and anxiety. The worst part was waiting, with my mic on, to walk up on stage. I had to wait all the way through one presentation.  I did not allow myself to think about it. I just started with James 1:1 and recited all of my memorization over and over again. When it was my turn, I was calm and gave the best presentation of my life. I couldn’t believe it.

God is faithful.

I hope I’m not giving the impression that this is all about the act of memorizing because that is not the case.  It’s about God and His word.  It’s about my obedience and His love and mercy. I never want to stop memorizing scripture because I want to have victory in this battle, and I desire to be a servant God can use. I want His word to truly abide in me.  It’s my medicine, my freedom, my hope, my answer. I thank God for it. God must love us to give us such a treasure. 

And I thank Beth for sharing her wisdom with me and teaching me! God has used her books and studies to change me and help me grow. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share this testimony with others. That is something that humbles me because God asked me, a weak, sinful woman, to speak of Him for just a moment.  If you are struggling and confused, I hope this will encourage you to not stop praying and seeking. God will bring answers. He will show you the way.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Women of Faith 2013.

What happens on a Women of Faith trip, you ask? 

Well, let me just tell you.

Start with a bus full of wonderful (some wacky) women.

Prepare for the day with some brisk Prancercizing.
Mix in some good friends.
Add a little sweet.
And more than a little sass.

Make some new friends.  Like Mac Powell from Third Day.

(I'm fairly certain these two were shooting a shampoo commercial with their long luxurious manes.)

Hang out with your new BFF, Lisa Harper. 

Worship God!

And have a blast! 
Hope you can make it next year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Beth Moore Study Starting September 4th.

Ladies, are you ready to begin another Beth Moore study?    Beginning on Wednesday, September 4th we will open our Bibles to the Book of Revelation and follow Beth Moore in her 11-week DVD lecture style series of "HERE and NOW---THERE and THEN".    

During these one-hour and fifteen minute sessions, Beth will translate some of our greatest God-fearing scholars' commentaries and perspectives into laymen's terms and applications.
Note that our Fall Woman to Woman Bible Study will have a new format this time around.   Firstly,  our weekly meetings will begin at 7:00 p.m.     Participants may place their order with us for a Listening Guide & Weekly Assignment Book  ($10).  Homework will consist of reading along in the chapters of Revelation and answering 5-7 questions during the course of the week and recording personal revelations of God that you've experience or witnessed during the week.    Since this is a lecture series, we will not be holding small group sessions.   Coffee and refreshing water will be available each night.   And, our meetings will conclude promptly at 8:30 p.m.
Our featured memory verse during our study will be from Revelation, Chapter 17, Verse 14:   
"They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords, and King of kings -- and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." 
To register for this study and receive the listening guide/assignment book, just sign up at the Welcome Center.   You'll be registered and you can pay for your book on September 4th.
Hope you can join us for this study series!
Looking for my own personal revelations of God,

Debbie Starn

Monday, August 12, 2013


Passionate Living.


Why do I have to be so stubborn?

Wouldn't life be easier if I just listened the first time? 

For a while (ok, a long while) God has been nudging me.  Wait, not really nudging, more like pushing. 

Hard.  Really hard. 

You see, I've been spending the past decade saying the right things and living the way I knew I was supposed to but I lost my passion. 

Before our daughter Grace died, I was passionate.  Passionate for God.  Passionate for His presence, for His word.  Passionate to let others know how much He loves them. 

After we lost her, I was so angry.  I felt betrayed.  Somewhere along the line, I began to think that it was my passion that led to her loss.  Like by being passionate, I had painted a giant bulls eye on my back.  And while God & I eventually worked things out and I let go of my anger, I think I subconsciously started flying under the radar.  I prayed, I read my Bible, attended church - I've always loved God.  But it wasn't that whole hearted, passionate, can't wait to be in Your presence love.  It was easier than putting everything out there just to be hurt.  It was safe.  It was just enough to keep that bulls eye off my back again. 

I was kind of a hot mess, right?  But here's the thing.  God loves hot messes.  And while I was playing it safe, He continued to passionately woo me, just as He always has and always will. 

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind". 

You see, my job is but to passionately love my Lord and speak what He tells me to, remembering that He is trustworthy despite what's going on in my circumstances.  I don't need to be afraid.

The enemy can attack, but he can not win.

He can't steal away my passion.

Don't you know?

I am a daughter of the King.

And my Daddy won't stand for that.