Wednesday, March 28, 2018
It was the week before IF:TCAL 2018. I was praying for our women as they would begin to discover who they were in Christ and what individual spiritual gifts they each had. I had been praying about what it would look like for us as women to truly walk in the gifts He had given each of us.
As I was praying, the Lord took me back to what it was like taking my children on Easter egg hunts. Honestly He caught me completely off guard. Easter egg hunts? Lord, it's like February. What does an Easter egg hunt have to do with spiritual gifts? Little did I know all He would begin to show me.
One of the things I remember most about Easter as a child was dying the eggs and getting excited about the annual Easter egg hunt. Oh what treasures would I find inside each egg??!! Would it be candy? Would it be coins? Selfishly I'd wonder how many eggs I would get and if it would be just as much as everyone else?
As I became a parent it was so much fun creating these same memories with my own children. Oh to see the excitement in their eyes as they anticipated hunting Easter eggs and what treasures they would find inside! I remember what it was like holding their hand trying to help them walk and carry their basket while at the same time pick up their eggs so they wouldn't get trampled over by the bigger children. I remember putting eggs in their basket I'd find as well so they would get plenty and not end up with just one or two.
As I looked back on this time the Lord began to open my eyes to so many promises He has for us.
Shannon, I want you to see those eggs as the gifts I have given you, the gifts I have given each of the women. Those are from me. They are gifts given to you for you to use for me. I have given you everything you need for this journey. Just as you held your child's hand and helped them along the way to find these gifts, I'm doing the same for you.
So do not fear — for I am with you; do not be dismayed — for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand!" Isaiah 41:10
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.
What a precious promise to us as His children who fear we are on this journey alone!
But wait....there's more!
Remember what it was like to sit down at the end of the hunt and open your eggs and see what treasures you'd found...to share them with others around you as well as see what treasures they had found?
Shannon, that is what this journey is all about!! I'm not only holding you by your hand through this journey as you carry the gifts I've given you, I want you to share those gifts with those around you as well as celebrate the gifts I've given to them that you may not have received!
Some of you received some of the same gifts, enjoy them together!! Just because they came in a different color egg doesn't mean it's worth any less than your gift! Just because their egg is more shiny than yours or without cracks doesn't disqualify your gift or make it any less!!
Everything in your basket came from the Father to you!! He loves you just the way you are! He knew exactly what gifts would glorify Him the most in your life which is why He entrusted them to you! Take some time to open up each one and let Him show you how He wants you to use it. Take some time to sit down with someone else and see what gifts they have as well.
Easter is the day when we celebrate Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Jesus is the Son of God and heroically gave His life to die for our sins. On the third day after He died -- the day we now celebrate as Easter Sunday -- His friends went to His grave, and found that He had risen from the dead. They saw an angel who told them, "Don't be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as He said it would happen."
Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Now He offers to you the gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. This is the true story of Easter, and how it can change your life. .Oh precious friend, what comfort is here! We have so much to celebrate this Easter.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
You’re Never Gonna Let Me Down?
Our church recently added a new song to our worship music. There’s a lyric in the song that says, “You’re never gonna let, you’re never gonna let me down.” It’s a big part of the song and we sing it over and over and I’ve really wondered what people are thinking while we’re singing it. When we first introduced the song I had to put my own heart in check while singing that part. The truth is we really do feel like God lets us down sometimes if we’re honest enough to admit it. In our hearts and minds we say, “I thought I was going to get that promotion but instead I got laid off”. “I prayed and asked God to heal my family member but instead he got worse or even died”. “I started tithing and instead of my financial situation getting better it got way worse and waaaaay scarier”. “I thought my daughter was going to finally get off drugs and here she is in rehab…again. God I trusted you and you let me down”. But is this really true? What we don’t understand or fail to remember in those times is this:
1. God is good. He wants the best for us and dearly loves us more than we can imagine. He is a good father who gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11). He wants us to prosper and flourish even more that we do ourselves, but He does this according to HIS plan.
2. God has an intricate master plan that our human minds can’t begin to comprehend. His ways are not our ways. Our thoughts are not His thoughts. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) He’s much smarter than we are even though we think we have everything planned out and think we know what should happen.
3. We are not here for ourselves but we are here for Him. As Christians we were bought with a price. We are His. We were created for His good works which He planned before we were in existence. (Ephesians 2:10) God has us on HIS path. His way is greater.
I recognize that sometimes knowing the truth doesn’t make us feel better when we find ourselves feeling let down. When we are disappointed and feel like God has let us down we need to choose to believe the truth even if our heart, mind, and feelings are failing us. We need to actively put our faith in the fact that He dearly loves us, wants the best for us, and has a better plan than we can imagine for ourselves. We simply have to trust Him because in reality He never has and will never let us down.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
It has been said you are either going through a storm, headed in to one, or just got out of a storm! Live long enough and you will discover the storms of life do indeed come. We know so many of you are bravely walking through various storms in your personal lives right now. From health battles, wayward children, marriage difficulties, death of loved ones, financial stressors, or juggling the demands of children. The storms of this life can be discouraging, right? However, what IF we followed God with perseverance instead of insecurity?
This month we are taking a journey through the books of I and 2 Timothy in preparation for the IF:TCAL on March 2-3. These letters were written by the Apostle Paul, who was also acquainted with sufferings. He was beaten, imprisoned, and ultimately killed for sharing the gospel in hostile territories. However, he persevered. He persisted. He did not give up. He trusted in the God whom he met on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). In I Timothy 1:18-19, we read Paul’s encouragement to his little brother in the faith:
“I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.”
Paul’s instructions to Timothy are also beneficial for us. We must navigate the storms of life by resolving in our hearts to fight the good fight and to hold on to our faith! If not, the consequences are grave. Paul says in rejecting the truth, some have shipwrecked their faith.
So, what does fighting the good fight look like?
It is caring for your aging parents.
It is serving joyfully in the children’s ministry.
It is showing up to The Well when you are terrified to go.
It is courageously fighting through a cancer diagnosis.
It is trusting God through a difficult season of marriage.
It is washing those dishes one more time!
It is living in community with other believers instead of isolating in fear.
It is reaching out for help when you need it.
It is intentionally spending time in God’s Word to grow your faith.
We know so many of you are already fighting the good fight and not giving in to insecurities that can tempt us all. We see you. God sees you! You inspire us! Let’s be women who walk in perseverance instead of insecurity.
We are praying for you as we countdown to IF:TCAL. Have you registered yet? REGISTER
Invest and invite a friend! We know God is going to teach us some incredible truths to help us persevere through any storm!
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
A New Year, A New Awakening
Can you believe the first month of 2018 is almost behind us? Where does the time go? Hopefully you are getting adjusted into a rhythm of life after the holidays and settling into the new year with a renewed sense of hope. The sermon series this month, “Awakening,” has encouraged us to get out of our spiritual slumber and awaken to the new thing God desires to do in and through us (Isaiah 43:19).
If you have not already, set aside some quiet time to thank God for seeing you through the last year, and ponder what new thing God desires to lead you to in 2018. Trust your Heavenly Father has a plan to give you a future and a hope this year (Jeremiah 29:11).
We want to partner with you as you journey through 2018. We are gearing up for an exciting time in women’s ministry and want you to be present for all of it! Please save the following dates:
The Well- Thursday, February 1 for an intimate night of worship for the women of TCAL
IF:TCAL—March 2-3 You won’t want to miss out on this exciting weekend planned just for you!
Register for a Community Group Now--Are you connected? We encourage you to be a part of a community group this year. It is imperative to your spiritual growth to be connected in Christian community. This is where God grows you and you will have so much fun!! We have some incredible groups. Registration is happening right now online at www.tcalchurch.com
Journey in the Word- We are committed to reading and journaling a different book of the Bible each month. Invest in the Word of God this year and watch the new thing the Lord will do in your heart! Be on the lookout for a new scripture reading plan the first of every month.
We look forward to partnering with you as you continue your journey of faith. Let us know how we may help you take any next steps. May this year be one of living with intention, living in authentic Christian community, and living loved by God!
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving!!! We are so excited to have our very own Barbara Johnson as our guest blogger today. Barbara is the wife of Vic Johnson, Pastor of Cares. She is the mother of three children...Adam, Andrew and Kara, and Gangy (Grandmother) to four precious littles. If you haven't had the chance to meet her, you're going to want to find her and introduce yourself!! Barbara has a love for Jesus that oozes onto everyone she comes in contact with.
A Thanksgiving Heart
I’m not a writer. I know and love really good writers. I’m (unfortunately) not one of them. But, OHHHHH, do I have a grateful heart.
This past year GOD has brought so many blessings to my life for which I’m thankful. 2017 has been chocked full of the sweetest gifts from the loving hand of FATHER. I could not possibly describe them all adequately.
The end of 2016...not so much...
A year ago, this month, I survived:
**An incredibly stressful new job start (3-weeks intensive training with 20 hour days...averaging 3-4 hours sleep each night.)
**The difficult delivery of a precious new grandson that Drs. gave bleak hope of a full recovery.
**Our daughter being re-admitted to the hospital with a serious infection brought on by this difficult delivery.
**And I’m beginning the new job where I fly all over the country for 3 days out of every week.
Anyone feeling cheerful yet?
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship GOD acceptably with reverence and awe,”
Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)
This is one of the scripture passages for November that our precious Shannon has encouraged us to “write out.” I had never participated in the “write out the scripture” thingy (thingy’s a good word.) What a blessing it has been, to not only read and drink in GOD’s Holy Word, but write it out. I’m hooked, now.
Let’s do some more “drinking”....
“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before GOD.” (The Message)
I love the note from the Life Application Bible...
“Eventually the world will crumble, and only God’s kingdom will last. Those who follow Christ are part of this unshakable kingdom, and they will withstand the shaking, sifting, and burning....No matter what happens here, our future is built on a solid foundation that cannot be destroyed.”
And The Teacher’s Commentary, by Lawrence Richards...
“And so the writer promises us that God will guide us into an experience of His holiness. At times our way may seem difficult. But so was Jesus’ way. Through it all, we are assured of the Father’s changeless love.”
And, finally, Life Application-New Testament Commentary...
“Because we have this kind of kingdom, we should be thankful and worship God with holy fear and awe. When we truly worship God, we do it all the time--not just in a Sunday morning worship service...True worship includes every action of every day,”
Thinking through Hebrews 12:28, and how GOD restored my November of 2016 “exceeding, abundantly, beyond all I could hope or imagine”, has left me ashamed that I ever doubted HIS great goodness in my life. This Thanksgiving certainly holds new meaning for me.
**Two days ago, a perfect, sun-drenched, fall day...not a cloud in the sky...I had the breathtaking view of GOD’s Grand Canyon at 30,000 feet. The other flight attendants and I had taken care of our passengers, and were just gazing out the back galley windows. I had to stop and silently tell FATHER “thank You” for His incredible creation. Did I mention I was getting paid for this tough new job? GOD really does bless and love me so perfectly.
**There’s also a precious, gorgeous, smart, one-year-old; that all his doctors proclaim to be PERFECT....that I cannot live without. I kiss him regularly and A LOT. He has a mother that loves to worship GOD, and lead others to do the same. Both are perfectly healthy and whole. Thankful!!! Soooo very, very, thankful.
2017 has been a year where my perfect FATHER has told me gently over and over how much HE loves me. How carefully HE cares for all my needs. And that HE “never ever no not ever” leaves me alone.
This December four big parts of my “heart” are moving to Boston when our son starts a new job there. I will remain faithful to The ever faithful ONE...even in December. GOD can be trusted, and I choose gratefulness.
“FATHER, my prayer for all of us is that we may worship thankfully and faithfully no matter what tomorrow brings. Because we are part of Your kingdom that cannot be shaken. Glory!! Amen”
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Where Women Journey Together
The Well exists to bring women together quarterly for a time to step aside from the every day rush and connect with the Father. Just as the woman at the well, our desire is that we would be able to worship in Spirit and Truth, draw near and listen as He speaks to our hearts, and then be filled as we carry His love to the world.
But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. -John 4:14
Are you feeling a bit empty?
The Well is a place to meet Jesus face to face. You are free to meet with Him in whatever way He asks. We are going to lead you in a night of worship but you are free to come as you are and do whatever you need to connect with God. You can sing, kneel, pray at the altar, journal, take communion, or anything else you feel led to do. There won't be a lot of instruction. We want you to do what is best for you. Every one is different. We want you to be comfortable so that you can hear from God in the best way for you. So bring your Bible and journal and meet us at The Well. Matthew 5:6 says that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled!! Come be filled!
We want to create a safe, predictable, and sacred place for women to come to the feet of Jesus at The Well. Therefore, you can expect to experience some of the same elements each time we gather together. These elements will be free flowing throughout the night.
The Well will always have Worship:
This will be an intimate time to connect with God’s heart. We want to allow Him to speak through lyrics and creativity during our time in worship with Him. We know He has some things He wants to share with us.
The Well will always include Prayer and God’s Word:
We will allow time for you to spend in prayer with Jesus. To seek Him, listen to Him, and cast your burdens upon Him. Feel free to get away with the Father and let Him speak to you or pray with others for your needs or their needs as well.
Clay Cistern – an area where you can come and find journaling paper/pen. Whether it be a praise, a prayer, laying down a stronghold…you are welcome to place it in the cistern or take it with you.
Scripture Cards - The Father wants to speak to you through his word. It is alive and active! There will be a bowl with cards next to the cistern. Take one of these cards with you.
The Well will always include a TIME TO REMEMBER:
We want to remember what Christ did for us on the cross and allow you to experience Communion at the right time for you. During worship feel free to go to one of the designated areas when you feel led to have this time between you and the Father.
Our hurried hearts are starving for peace.
Our scattered minds are longing for rest.
Our weary souls are desperate…for Jesus.
See you at THE WELL
September 14th, 2017