Friday, November 21, 2014

Sweet Spots

Since many of you have read my post several years, you know that I am a chocoholic.  I love that wonderful rich, sweet tasting treat.  However, I want to talk about another sweet today and ask you a question.  Do you have special sweet spot where you have served in ministry?

Over our thirty plus years in ministry, my family has had several sweet spots in ministry.  Each one has its own special memory and always makes us smile and miss the people we have served.  I can honestly say that we even find sweet spots in some of our more difficult ministry locations.  If you would allow me, I would love to share a couple of my favorite sweet spots of ministry.

Our first church out of seminary will always be a favorite.  We were young yet this church filled with godly, country people loved us dearly.  Our oldest son developed a love of nature and even learned to call the cows in from the fields.  When our youngest son was born, he was a “native” Texan and became the church baby.  We watched this small, rural church learn to reach out in its community to reach the lost.  Over the years we have had the opportunity to return to our “roots in ministry” and we are always greeted with open arms.

In one church we served at in Arkansas, we became heavily involved in the community.  Our sons literally grew up in this Northwest Arkansas town.  The church was a center point of activity and served the community.  Football was a way of life as well.  Both of our sons played on the junior high and high school teams and my husband became the play by play radio announcer for the teams.  On Thursday and Friday nights the entire town filled the stadium to support their Bearcats.  It was there in those stands that outreach was done.  When God moved us away to another ministry, many people who had not been in church had found a church home.  Now that is a sweet spot in ministry!

Another place that brings sweet memories was our time in Nashville, Tennessee.  We love everything about Tennessee from the beauty of nature in the surrounding countryside, the big city life, and the friendliness of the people.  We developed some very deep and long-lasting friendships in the church and across the state.  It is where God planted a passion in my heart for ministering to ministers’ wives which I have carried back to Arkansas.  Even though at times the church faced power struggles like most churches, it was and is a church that desires to reach its community for Christ.  Now that is pure sweetness!

Where God has now planted us back in Arkansas is another sweet spot in ministry.  We know without a doubt this is where God needs us.  The senior adults are looking at the future of the church.  We are seeing young families join our congregation because they see the church investing in their children.  A few weeks ago my husband asked that the preschoolers to be brought on stage at the beginning of the morning service.  As these sweet babies marched in, each person in the congregation had huge smiles on their faces.  From my bird’s eye view from the choir loft, I saw excitement in what God is doing in our church at this time in history. Oh yes sisters, this is a special sweet spot in our ministry and I love it!

We all too often look at the down side of ministry.  We focus on the bad and fail to remember the sweetnessSo my dear sisters, do you have a sweet spot in ministry?  If so please share with us.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the Moment

A couple of weeks ago I was nestled in a Northwest Arkansas mountain lodge with fifty other women for a fall retreat.  Late in the afternoon I slipped outdoors and settled in a rocking chair on the porch.  I needed a moment to catch my breath.

A soft rain splashed from heaven.  Creation sang with chirps and croaks.  Occasionally, a gentle, cool breeze blew across the porch.  I knew that God was there in the moment.

As I looked across the field, I spied a grey squirrel scurrying across the wooden fence rail.  His little mouth was packed with a tasty nut to add to his winter supply of food.  God was there in that moment.
Throughout the weekend, God was in the moments.  He was with our team as we prepared to host the ladies from our church for this retreat.  He was in the laughter and tears as we shared in His word and through the message of our speaker.  God was in the moment of girlfriends bonding and in all the silliness that comes when ladies get together.

As a pastor’s wife I often forget to enjoy the simple moments.  I miss seeing God in the moments of my grandson’s sweet smile.  I fail to see God in the moment of a crisp fall day.  Why?  Because I am often rushing from one event to the next never realizing God is in each moment of my day.

Sisters, our Father is in your moments as well.  Each second ticks away on our life clocks and they can never be recaptured.  This month I challenge of us to stop for a moment and be in the moment with the Lord.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just for Fun

A few weeks ago several of my ministry sisters were discussing how many wives and ministry families were discouraged.  It seemed several “safe” online pages for ministry wives were filled with news of firings, battles with the church, or personal family struggles.  In order to redirect our thinking, our group decided our network page needed to have some humor.  As a result I, being the crazy, blonde, fun-loving, chocoholic pastor’s wife, posed the following question:  “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go AND what flavor of M & M’s would you eat while there?”

In reading your answers, I laughed my head off and spewed a mouth full of perfectly good M & M’s all over my kitchen.  In order to hopefully bring a smile to your face, get you to laugh out loud, and help you forget the trials of ministry life, I want to share my findings.

I discovered that peanut M & M’s are the overall favorite.  Of course they are.  After all, they are our “nerve” pills.  The close second answer was “all” varieties which I will “amen.”  Seriously, why discriminate.  However, sadly one sister, Becky Dinkins, is a Plain Jane and will stick with original M & M’s.  Ladies, we need an M & M party to introduce our dear sister to the world of M & M’s. 

My big question is for Jewell Burke.  What makes “blue” M & M’s so special?  I see no need to differentiate.  I mean all M & M’s should have the equal honor of being consumed by desperate ministers’ wives.

While we are on the subject of a specific color of M & M’s, wait until you hear Amy Shivar’s explanation for the “green” ones.  While she is traveling to Australia and New Zealand with an extended stay in Hawaii, she is going to nibble on green coconut M & M’s.  Why?  Amy states, “Everyone knows that the green ones make you sexy!  After all, ministers’ wives sometimes carry the stereotype of being “frumpy” when in actuality we enjoy feeling good about ourselves and being stylish.”  Well, that is an eye opening fun fact!  So girlfriends, eat your greens!!!

In my extensive research, Hawaii is the favorite destination for ministers’ wives.  I think we all agree that Hawaii is a beautiful place and the waters are inviting.  Of course, I, being a beach bum, would choose any sun kissed, sandy beach where I could sit back and listen to the sound of the ocean waves.  Oh wait, I got so relaxed that I better go grab my jar of coconut M & M’s because they’re my favorite for the beach.

One other favorite destination comes from Joy Mercer.  She wants to tour the British Isles—Scotland, Ireland, and the British countryside.  She loves dark chocolate mint M & M’s so that will be her choice for the trip.  Of course, I assume she would eat the green ones since she will be in Ireland.

Girlfriends, I know this post is pure silliness but we all need to remember to laugh and leave our cares before the Lord.  Besides, who said being a Christian or a minister’s wife is not fun!  Hmm, let’s plan an M & M’s retreat!!! 

By the way, I still want the rest of you to answer this question:

  “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go AND what flavor of M & M’s would you eat while there?”

I would really like to know where Ms. Jeanne Davis would travel and what her choice of M & M's would be?  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful For Another Year

As I write this blog, I am thankful to be celebrating another year of life. Yes, today is my birthday! According to my mother (since I surely would not remember!) I was officially born into this world at 1:29 a.m. on November 12, 1963.

As I look back over this past year there have been some joys and sorrows, triumphs and trials, milestones and missteps, yet I am thankful!

I have realized over the years that life will give us heartaches, and our Savior said it would be this way. He tells us that in this life we will have trouble, but He victoriously proclaims that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). I believe that with all my heart; He is my HOPE!

I have also experienced some of the most joyous moments ever imagined, and our Savior also says that He has come to give us an abundant life (John 10:10). I can’t imagine living in this world without Him; He is my LIFE!

As each year passes, I am trying to be more of a thankful person. My sisters, our attitude of gratitude would prevail if you and I were to make a list of our blessings versus our complaints. I mean seriously counting our blessings to the infinite degree, such as being joyful over the fact that we can get out of the bed in the morning in a right state of mind, having healthy lungs that can breathe in God’s air, being able to watch a beautiful sunset, and on and on and on……………………………….. The blessings are endless!

Next time you celebrate a birthday, look back over the past year of your life and recount all that our loving Father has done for you, and be thankful for another year!

“Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5:20

Monday, November 10, 2014

What Does God See In Me?

A few weeks ago our church had a wonderful women’s conference. Each speaker truly spoke to our hearts, and the praise and worship times were phenomenal. The Lord greatly ministered to all of us who attended as we shared God’s Word together, and enjoyed fellowship with one another.

The Scripture theme for our conference was 1 Peter 3:3-4, “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

For our conference program booklet, I wrote the following words, which were meant to have us reflect on how we truly see ourselves. It’s titled “What Does God See In Me?” I want to share it with you……….

Have you ever asked the Lord, “Father, what do you see in me?”

When I see my reflection in the mirror, is it all about my physical appearance? Is it all about the hair, the makeup, the manicures & pedicures, the clothes, or the jewelry? Maybe it’s all about the things I surround myself with, a well-decorated home, a loving family, tons of friends, or a successful career? Surely, all these things do not define me. What does God see?

The totality of who we are matters to the Lord. But there is one thing that our Father is more concerned about than anything else. In 1 Samuel 16:7 , the Lord reminded the prophet Samuel that, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”.

Yes, the Lord looks at our hearts. We can become so preoccupied with the external, but fail to cultivate the internal, a heart that chases after Christ and desires to have that gentle spirit that is pleasing to Him.

It’s fine to be well-groomed from head to toe. We should give due consideration to our appearance since our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Also, material possessions, relationships, and careers have their place as well, since the Lord has given us all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). Again, these things do not define us.

May we strive to be women after God’s own heart to serve the purposes of God in this generation. Then when we ask the Lord, “Father, what do you see in me?”, may He speak to our spirits that we are beginning to look more and more like His Son, our Blessed Savior.

This is something to think about my sisters, as we strive to live our lives for Christ.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Out of Here

Today will be my last day to post on this blog this month because...........our church so graciously gave us a weekend in Pigeon Forge for Pastor's Appreciation.......and Roger and I plan to take advantage of that this weekend.  

We are looking forward to a couple of days away from the duties of the church.........the duties of our secular jobs............the duties of being parents........and the duties of being grandparents.....(although, everyone, including  our church and especially our children, know that we are only one phone call away.)

We are very thankful to have a church that understands the importance of this time away and has given it to us.  We are very blessed.

Gobble, Gobble!