Walking Worthy

Friday, April 24, 2015

Don't Follow Your Heart

I could feel a major light bulb moment brewing. I could see their minds buzzing with new truth. Finally someone broke through the silence and asked “So does that mean we can’t even trust who we love?” I shook my head no and told her, “No we cannot rely on our hearts or emotion to tell us what is true” 

The Lie We Buy
“Follow your heart, go with your gut, do whatever makes your heart happy, do what feels right.” These are all lies. Every last one of them. 

When we listen to these lies we fail to recognize we are actually saying “your heart is good and true and pure. You can believe everything it tells you because it is worthy of trust. Let your heart be the honing beacon for everything” Are you paying attention here??? Do you see how insanely absurd these lies are? We are buying into a lie when we rely on our self and our own heart tell us what is true and what to believe.

Our Hearts Cannot be Trusted
The problem with the lie we buy is that our hearts are anything but good. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”  Proverbs 16:25 tells us “There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death”

There is nothing good or true about our heart. In fact our heart is actually wicked and deceitful. Our heart will lie to us. Our heart cannot discern what is true and will lead us down a path of destruction.

The Foolish Prayer
Lord don’t let me feel ______ if it’s not your will.

Most likely everyone of us have prayed this prayer at some point. Why is this a foolish prayer? Isn't is a good think to pray? It is a foolish prayer because it focuses on emotion more than it focuses on Jesus and His will. Remember that your heart is a liar?? So why would you use it as a honing beacon for God’s will? When you pray this prayer then you are relying on your deceptive heart to be worthy of all trust. You are trusting in a heart that is untrustworthy. 

The Better Prayer
Lord I feel _______, help me know what to make of this, show me what your will is.

Instead of relying on our heart, we must take our heart to the Lord and ask Him what His will is. Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” We must put aside what feels right in our gut and center everything around the will of God. We entrust our heart to Him and don’t lean on what we believe to be true.

God and His Word are true.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Since God and His Word are true we must ask the Lord to help us make sense of what we are feeling and surrender everything at His feet. Even when our own heart cannot be trusted, we must rest in God and His Word. God and His Word are holy and true and more than trust worthy. Truth is the very character of God.

The heart is deceptive, your gut can't be trusted, emotions will change with the wind. So please don't follow your heart, follow the One who knows all and is in all and holds everything in His hand. He is worthy of our following.

Photo Credit: Camdiluv
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Thursday, April 16, 2015

DIY Book Page Wall Art

Today I am sharing my Book Page Wall Art with you. Last Christmas I had coffee with a friend at a local coffee shop. The moment I walked in I fell in love with the d├ęcor. The coffee shop had two large art pieces hanging on the walls I knew I wanted to incorporate somewhere in my life. This spring my husband and I are renovating our college room. As we began planning I knew I wanted to incorporate a DIY version of that art piece somewhere.

I began to search for a tutorial where all good DIYers search: Pinterest. I searched for hours, but couldn’t find a project that was exactly what I wanted. I found some more inspiration, but not an exact replica of what I was looking for.

Tutorials and Inspiration:

I found canvas pieces, but they were too small and completely glued down. I wanted my piece to have movement and texture (I DIDN’T want my book page art to look like I cemented book pages down on a piece of board). I liked the table runners I found, they had the look I was going for.

My DIY Book Page Art Piece Wall Art cost me less than $20 because I had most of the supplies on hand. I only purchased the precut plywood and the hanging kit.

Supplies You Need:
Old Book
Hot Glue Gun
Extra glue sticks
Extension cord (if needed)
Staple gun

Carefully rip out pages from the old book. If you love books this will go against every fiber of your being. Trust me the result is worth it.  Tear out small sections at a time so the edges are somewhat uniform.
Find a large space to work close to an outlet and lay your plywood down. Plug in the hot glue gun using the extension cord if necessary. Lay out one row of book pages allowing the edges to cover the edges of the ply wood. To keep the pages from looking perfect layer and stagger the height of each page until. After the first row is in position begin raising the top of the pages and glue the back of the page to the plywood by putting a row of glue half an inch to one inch from the top of each page. Gluing the page down at the top allows for a loose flow of the pages. Press the page down onto the plywood until it’s secure (It won’t take very long) and then continue with the next page.

Glue down the entire row, then lay out the next row. Each time change the pattern the book pages as they are laid out so your finished art piece appears random. Continue  laying out rows and gluing them a row at a time until you reach the top of the board. At the top of the board make sure the pages cover all the edges.
Once the entire board is covered and glued down look for opportunities to randomize the piece. Find places to insert a page here and there to give the art piece depth and not look too put together.
Allow the hot glue to dry and turn the entire piece over to attach the hanging kit. The kit has two d-ring hangers, a piece of wire and screws. Unravel the wire and determine the length needed to hang the art piece.  Lay down the D-ring hangers to be secured. The placement will be determined by the length of the wire and the width of the art piece.  Once the right spot for each hanger is determined, use the staple gun to secure it in position (No judgment here okay?! I choose was ¼” thick plywood so the art piece wouldn’t be too heavy. I needed to improvise. If your plywood piece is thicker, feel free to use the screws to secure the hangers). Once you have stapled each hanger, use the gorilla glue to cement each hanger in place. Give the gorilla glue several hours to dry.
Once the glue is dry, thread the wire through the D-rings and hang the art piece on the wall.
I'm linking up this post to Tip Junkie and  Skip to My Lou's Link Party
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Standing Firm When You are Limping

Some days you limp along. You know days when your friends’ son is in the hospital and you aren’t getting much sleep and then you go into worship and ugly cry through every song. Those days when everyone needs something from you and you have nothing left. When you look around  and people are self-destructing as the enemy attacks and you just want to yell at them to get it together because at this point your filter is completely gone and your mercy is nonexistent. No one seems to notice there isn’t any more room in your arms to carry one more burden because your arms are FULL. You are SPENT.
I keep asking the Lord to carry me. When I have nothing left I know I can stand firm in what God has already done for me. Ephesians 6:10 says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” I hear the Lord quietly whisper, hold on tight, stand firm in me because I am strong and I am Mighty. 
And I am just so grateful.
I’m grateful for the reminder that I can’t do anything apart from Jesus
I want to think that I can. I want to believe that I am stronger than I think and that I can handle so much. I just can't pretend anymore like I can hold things together. And it’s foolish for me to pretend like I can do it anyway. So in those days of limping along my Great Defender and Strong Tower reminds me to sit so close to Him. To hide myself within Him. To stand firm in what He has already done for me and continues to do within in me.
I’m grateful for how BIG my God is
I am grateful that because of what He has already done for me on the cross, because I am in Christ and with Christ I have access to His Strength and His Might. He is greater and bigger than anything that comes my way. He is in charge of all things. You know He spoke things into being. He created this world out of NOTHING. Nothing is too big for Him to handle.
I’m grateful His armor is better than mine
My fleshly body is so weak which is exactly why I need the Lord’s armor made up of His character. As I seek Him with everything I slip into His armor. As I dive down deep into the Word and focus on His Truth I buckle that belt of Truth around me. When I recognize how despicable my sin is and I need Him to cover my sinful self I pull on that breast plate of Righteousness. As I remember that I am nothing apart from Christ but have all things in Him then my feet are planted with the shoes of the gospel of peace. When I put my trust in Christ and His character (not in myself and what I can do) I stand behind the shield of faith that can extinguish all the fiery arrows of the enemy. I pull on the helmet of salvation when I remember I possess salvation in Christ and the enemy does not own me. When the Spirit exposes my sin and woos me back to Jesus I stand with the Sword in my hand.
You see the armor isn’t about being on the offense. The armor is about Christ fighting for you. It’s that He ALREADY HAS FOUGHT FOR YOU. That in Christ our debt is paid in FULL. We don’t owe anything, and don’t have to strive to be anything. We BELONG to Jesus and He cultivates His character in us. We must run hard after Jesus, sit with Him, soak up His Word, rest at His feet, hide ourselves in Him, and allow Him to carry us instead of trying to limp along on our own.

Photo by Duncan
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reaching Away Students: Student of the Week

Our college ministry is constantly looking for ways to reach students away at school. My husband and I tossed around ideas, but never had time to formulate a plan to reach our away students. Kayla, one of our student leaders, approached us with an idea.

Kayla’s idea was to create Student of the Week. Kayla says “ I realized how important community was and that leaving that community is a big leap of faith and can be super intimidating. I wanted our students away at school to know their church community was still loving them and praying for them. That people were waiting for them to come home, but also encouraging them to find community there.”
Remember how exciting it felt getting real mail as a college student? Ultimately Student of the Week puts real mail in the mailboxes of our students away at college. Each week we feature two students and write notes to them.  We share on white boards each student's name, the name of their college, and ways to pray for them. We pin an empty envelope next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes with personal notes. Each envelope stays on the board for one week allowing everyone an opportunity to write each person. At the end of the week we take the envelopes and mail them along with a general letter that Kayla wrote. 

Kayla spent many months planning and praying over Student of the Week. Student of the Week now has it’s own space in our college ministry area. If you want to start your own student of the week area here is how you can get started:
Where do I Begin? 
Collect information from your college students. We created a simple card to have on hand. Over Thanksgiving and Christmas we intentionally sought out information on students who were away at college. We even told them if they filled out the card they would receive something in the mail. 

Purchase and Gather Supplies:
  • White board that is half cork board (similar product)
  • Push pins (our dry erase board/cork board came with them)
  • Dry erase markers (similar product)
  • Regular markers
  • A box of pens
  • A stack of notecards
  • a box of envelopes
  • a general letter to include with personal notes
  • Printed calendar or planner
  • Folder for calendar and envelopes

Calendar students for an entire semester. 
Our goal was to reach every away student we gathered information on in one semester. To make that work for us, Kayla calendared two students each week. Calendaring students for the entire semester makes the entire process easier (trust me this step is worth it). 

Write a general letter to be included with personal notes. 
The purpose of the general letter is to tell your away college students who the personal cards are coming from (your college ministry). The point of the letter is to say our college ministry cares for you and we can’t wait to see you again! 

Introduce the idea to your college students and get to writing!!! 
Share each student’s name, school, and ways to pray for them on whiteboards. Pin an empty envelope on the cork board next to each name, lay out note cards, pens, and markers and ask students fill up the envelopes. We encourage students to write encouraging notes, ways they are praying, or a favorite verse. At the end of the week take the envelopes and mail them along with your general letter. 


Here are some free printable note cards you can download and print on your own:
Jones Design Company  
The Pretty Blog
Lauren McKinsey

I keep wondering how it took us so long to figure out something so easy, but sometimes it takes someone else, who has a heart and a passion for something to come up with an idea that you could have never thought of. (Plug: that’s what we love about our student leadership team. They bring ideas, passions, and talents to our ministry we just don’t have. We are super grateful for the way they lead and serve in our ministry)
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kindness Fueled by Christ: Guest Post for Transform Student Ministries

Occasionally I have the honor of writing for the Transform Student blog. This month the theme is kindness. Read a taste of my latest post for them and follow the link below to read the entire post.

I hung my head as I watched another debate go down on Facebook. You have seen them right? They spring up over theological issues. People standing up for the “name of Christ” and “His Word.” Yet I wonder how their desire to be right with a lack of kindness shows anything about Christ.... 

Keep Reading at Transform Student

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Shoulder Companions

I sat at the head of the circle, not sure what was about to happen. I watched as one girl shared and the avalanche began. As one girl let down her wall, another did, and they just kept sharing. They let one another see their wounded souls and shoulder companions were born. 

Shoulder-companion, when fighting in battle
Our heads we protected, when troopers were clashing, (Beowulf)

Shoulder companions went into battle fighting shoulder to shoulder or back to back. They trusted trusted each other with their lives in the midst of battle.

Paul also talks about shoulder companions. In Colossians 3:13 Paul calls believers to bear up with one another in love. Vine’s Dictionary tells us that to bear with means “to have or hold up, to endure, to forbear one another.” The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament tells us it means “to hold up or hold back from falling." To bear up with one another means to come alongside each other and help hold each other up or hold back from falling. 

I believe there is a connection between Beowulf and Colossians. Paul describes the evidence of a true believer in Colossians 3. He unpacks what it means to wear Christ’s covenant robe of righteousness.  He uses language that means to take off and put on as one does clothing. Paul is clear that Christians are transformed by the heart resulting in life change. An outside result of Christ driven heart change is bearing up with one another as Christ driven shoulder companions.

We All Need Shoulder Companions
We all get weary and worn. We need someone to come alongside us and spur us on toward Christ (Hebrews 10:24). Christ calls His church the body (Ephesians 4:12) and we are called to move and work as one unit that is interdependent and intertwined (Ephesians 4:16). There is a battle raging all around us (Ephesians 6:12) and we often feel alone.  Yet Jesus calls us to walk with others in essential fellowship and community (Hebrews 10:25).  We are called to look out for the interests of each other more than the interests of ourselves (Philippians 2:3). To be in the body of Christ is to be a shoulder companion to our brothers and sisters.

Transparency is Key
No one can bear up with you if you don’t allow them to. Bearing up requires transparency. It means we let down our walls and trust other people.  The community and fellowship God calls us to begins with gospel centered transparency. That means exposing what sometimes feels private or shameful. It means not fearing what others will think when they see the real you.  Bearing up requires us to be trustworthy shoulder companions that receive each other with truth and grace. Gospel centered transparency drives shoulder companionship.

Ultimately we Rest on Christ
We cannot be shoulder companions in our own strength. We are not capable of helping apart from Christ. Shoulder companions are rooted in the gospel and must rest in the character of Jesus. Christ is the rock (2 Sam 22:3), fortress (Psalm 18:2), present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1), shelter, mighty warrior that goes into battle for us (Zephaniah 3:17). He is the ultimate shoulder companion that strengthens and bears up with us (Psalm 68:19). Shoulder companionship rests on Christ.

Die to Ourselves
Who doesn’t desire to be affirmed by thinking someone needs them? Whose pride is not puffed up at being someone’s shoulder companion? We must fight that urge and die to ourselves daily (Colossians 3:3). We must remember we wear His covenant robe. It’s His character we live out as shoulder companions, not our own. We must daily die all the while clinging to Him.

Battle in Truth and Prayer
We battle shoulder to shoulder as we speak truth to each other (Ephesians 4:25) and lift each other up in prayer (Ephesians 6:18). I am convinced that two of our greatest tools are God’s Word and prayer. Without them, we are lost. Shoulder companions must speak God’s Word and pray.

Body Jesus, how are we doing? Are we bearing up with one another in love? Are we transparent with the people in our community? Are we fighting for each other in Truth and Prayer?

Photo by Jakub T. Jankiewicz
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Friday, March 20, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things: Bloggers I Love

I’m sharing with you today a few of my favorites ladies who love Jesus and write about it. Each of their testimonies encourage me and spur me on.  What I love so much about each of them, is they always give it to you straight. There is no fluff. They help you see they are people who struggle with sin.  They share their individual battles, while striving to come full circle in every situation.  These writers remind, encourage, and refocus our minds on the goodness of Jesus, that He alone is perfect, and all our hope must be found in Him.

Grace Covers Me
Photos provided by Christine Hoover
Christine and her husband Kyle are native Texans church planting in Virginia. Christine has authored two books: The Church Planting Wife and From Good to Grace: Letting Go of the Goodness Gospel. As I read Christine's blog I often wonder how she understands me so well. I sit at my computer and wonder "How does she know that about me???" As a ministry wife I have so many questions, concerns, and fears. Christine addresses so many of those things and more. Her posts encourage and give me perspective in ministry while reminding me I am covered in God's Grace. Find Christine at Grace Covers Me.

Mundane Faithfulness
Kara Tippetts of Mundane Faithfulness is battling metastatic breast cancer. She is the author of The Hardest Places and Big Love. When I read Kara’s blog (written by Kara, friends, and family members) I remember that God is so much bigger than I think. The story He is writing has His sovereignty woven throughout and He is faithful to take care of us as we walk through the hardest times. Kara's story is powerful and raw. Kara's fight is hard and sometimes it doesn't make sense to our earthly selves. She shares her honesty while clinging to Jesus in the most beautiful way. Kara leaves a legacy of fierce faith flowing with love, kindness, and gentleness that can only come from walking intimately with Jesus. Read Kara’s story on Mundane Faithfulness.

GraceLaced
 
Ruth Simons is an artist (see her shoppe) and mother of six man cubs living in my home state of New Mexico. Ruth writes about her continual struggle to give herself grace. And let’s just say I really relate to that. My struggle with perfectionism often leads me to give myself a harder time about everything. I know I am harder on myself than anyone else could ever be and that us why I love the way Ruth laces grace through every post.  Join Ruth at GraceLaced.

What blogs do you read that encourage you with your walk with Jesus? 

 
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