Archives For Ministry

Jesus, Am I Resting, Resting?

Meredith —  April 16, 2012 — 1 Comment

Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art.
I am finding out the greatness of they loving heart.

All too often, that’s not true… especially in ministry. I know it’s not true for me, but I have a suspicion I’m not the only one. In fact, this came to mind recently as I emailed back and forth with a fellow #kidmin professional. She told me she was about to take a sabbatical… for 5 weeks! I was elated for her! A Sabbatical. In. Kids. Ministry… that NEVER happens, or at least not to any kids ministry folks I know. What a blessing!

In our Sunday Bible study class at church, we’re discussing a theology of work… and yesterday we looked at what the Bible says about rest. How often do we ever even think about having a “good rest ethic.” We easily talk about a “good work ethic,” which is important, but the two go hand in hand. It’s a command from God. Over and over and over again. In Exodus 31:

Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’”

And again in Exodus 35:

“These are the things that the LORD has commanded you to do. Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.” Moses said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “This is the thing that the LORD has commanded.

And in Psalm 127:

Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

What do you do to stay accountable for getting rest in ministry? I know I fail to see its importance more than I’d like to admit. I love the idea of living with margin in our lives, but there’s something more to obeying the Lord’s command to really stop and rest. Maybe it’s on these rest days that I REALLY need to learn to say “no” to more things.

Jesus, am I resting, resting in the joy of what thou art?
Am I finding out the greatness of they loving heart?

Meet Becky. She is a former mentor of mine, a volunteer at my previous church, and an incredibly wise woman who’s a few steps further down life’s journey than I am. I prayed for a mentor, asked the Lord who that might be, began to build a friendship with Becky, and then I just asked her to mentor me. She said she’d been praying for the opportunity to invest as a mentor! GOD IS SO GOOD!

I don’t know what I’d do without those people in my life – those trusted ones who listen when I need an ear and speak when I need trusted voice of wisdom. These aren’t just friends or acquaintances, but wise people who walk with the Lord, know me well, and offer an outsider’s perspective for whatever I’m dealing with in life. Do you have that personal “board of directors” in your life? Why do you need them?

1. They offer an outsider’s perspective.When you’re dealing with an issue, or making a tough decision, the waters can become muddy very quickly. Mentors and trusted voices tend to have a much less fuzzy perspective because they aren’t all up in whatever you’re dealing with.

2. When they know you, they often know what you need. One of the things I love most about Becky is her ability to ask the hard questions… the ones that make me thing… the ones that make me find deeper, root issues. It’s not always fun, but it’s exactly what I need. A trust voice can help you by often knowing what’s best for you.

3. The Lord often gives wisdom through others. They may say something you haven’t thought of before, or help you see where you’re off base. They may point you to a helpful passage of Scripture, or just speak wisdom in the way you need to hear it. God can indeed speak through other people… but never trade His word and prayer for a conversation. Let a wise mentor simply be another place for the Lord to speak.

Ask God who those people are in your life… and when you might have the chance to be that voice of wisdom for someone else. I’m curious… how do you go about seeking out those people? Comment and share!

I originally posted this on April 25, 2011… but I believe it’s quite applicable each and every year.

Bunnies, Easter eggs, good home cookin’, and another chance to get together… for many Americans, I’m afraid that about sums up Easter. We had a ton of fun hanging out with family this Easter weekend, watching my niece experience her first Easter, and enjoying the beautiful Spring weather. My mom and dad even cooked multiple delicious meals for us. I watched yesterday morning at church as dozens of people, old and young, marched into an over-crowded Easter service in their brand new dresses, suits, Easter ties, and heels. But, none of that is it.

It’s fun to be together, to buy new clothes, to spend money on others, but I pray that the true meaning of Easter remains close to our hearts and minds. I hope that things like dressing ourselves up, eating well, and ensuring that kids get lots of gifts are not the sole focus of our time and energy. I loved hearing my dad pray that we would remember and celebrate Christ! What God did for us through the cross of Jesus Christ is so much more than all of the material Easter hype. It’s so much more of a reason to celebrate. It affects not just one Sunday a year, but every day of life. Let’s not put it away until next year, but live lives that think, act, speak, sing, and reflect how GREAT is our God, and how deep the Father’s love for us! These lyrics remind what a great gift Easter really is to us…

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

What do you do to keep Easter from becoming just another holiday?

Review | Outlive Your Life

Meredith —  December 2, 2011 — Leave a comment

It may come as a surprise to some, but I am not a big reader. At all. I have great intentions of reading but seldom pick up a book long enough to finish the entire thing. I tend to try to read at night, just before bed. Epic fail. I always fall asleep within 20 minutes… needless to say, it had been a while since I finished a book. So, in October, I read Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado after recommendations from several friends. This is a good read but not exactly what I expected.To help propel my reading, I challenged Nic. “I’ll finish my book before you finish yours! Ready…GO!” It helped, more than a little.

The flow of the book parallels the book of Acts in its flow and sequence. The author takes different passages and uses them to set up the different chapters in the book. To me, it felt more like short snippets than it did one book that flowed well from chapter to chapter. All of Lucado’s points were great, but it just wasn’t my favorite read.

The author had a lot of good things to say, and I was challenged throughout the book. However, I expected to walk away with a big broad idea of how to outlive my life through my legacy. Instead, I walked away with a number of little things I can do, day by day, to make an impact. Interesting, just not what I expected.

Jen with Johanna and Jennifer

It’s true… in October I had the rare opportunity to really hang out with the Duggar kids. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar spoke at our Kids Ministry Conference, and several of us hung backstage with the kids while waiting for their book signing. Afterward, we hung out til everyone left, escorted the fam from LifeWay to their hotel, and even got a tour of their bus! We had a blast.  Here are 19 things I discovered:

1. They are a big family. But, really, in person… there are so many of them.
2. The Duggar kids are super cute.
3. They are good at scrabble.
4. They entertain themselves easily.
5. They are very articulate and well-spoken.
6. They now know what the “scramble face” is, thanks to some CentriKid Camps staffers.
7. They now know a little bit about camp… since we told them how cool it is!
8. They clean up after themselves, or at least they did in the green room at this event.
9. Jinger is big into photography and has a super nice camera with some great lenses.
10. Joy is a blast to hang out with!
11. The younger girls will melt your heart… just hang out with them for a few minutes.
12. Most everyone signs books at their book signings, unless there are not enough chairs.
13. At home, all the girls share a room! WOW!
14. The Duggar children know a lot of riddles, and tested them on us.
15. The guys are big Razorback fans.
16. Their church has a handful of families and around 100 people… do the math.
17. They have a sweet bus, driven by dad and 2 bros.
18. Big kids are buddies to little kids… but I am not sure if this is permanent.
19. I want to watch their show even more now, after hanging out with them!

For any of you guys who were there, feel free to add to my list!

The whole fam on stage (#1)

Mary with Jordyn (#11)

The Scramble Face (#6)

The Whole Gang!