It's the beginning of the month...one of our favorite times at the GB offices. Why? Because we get a new Jewelry Box from our favorite author! Grab your snuggie, a quiet comfy corner and a cuppa' joe and just breathe in this month's JB and then meet us back here....
Here we are, centered around a subject we are all quite familiar with: Pain. If you don't have pain in your life, you know someone who has pain or you WILL have pain in your life. It's inevitable. One of those "consequences of the fall" things. Do you remember that verse in James that is just annoying at times? You know the one, "Consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds..." Ug. Consider trials, pain, to be JOY? It's annoying until you look at the story Priscilla shared in the Jewelry Box. At that point, you realize, the boundaries that pain indicates are beautiful. For your good. And even keep us alert to how to avoid future pain.
Today I'm working on considering pain to be pure joy...for it develops me into a more Christ-like woman...if I but let it do it's job.
Grateful for you...what are YOUR thoughts on the Jewelry Box?
You are LOVED!
For the GB Team, most of our days seem to speed by in a blur...one to-do item being checked off after another. Creative hats are traded for problem-solving hats...which in turn are traded in for brainstorming-new-projects hats. We go from the office to the home to the conference. There is a non-stop whirlwind!
Ok. So you get the drift: Our lives look a lot like yours.
Last weekend I went on my first vacation in...maybe EVER. I don't take vacations. If I have time to take off I'll go to a friend's wedding or to my parents house to reorganize the garage or to watch my sisters kids or to visit a friend who just had kids. But last weekend, I went on a good, ol'-fashioned, honest-to-goodness vacation. Complete with sand between my toes, no agenda and a flight required to get there. And it was...pure magic.
Our balcony overlooked the ocean...we would leave the a/c off and the sliding glass doors wide open...and just breahte in the fresh air. The waves lulled us into this place of relaxation...and we just breathed. Deep.
(View from the back door)
I walked away with a few thoughts.
1. Vacations are EVERYTHING everyone has been cracking them up to be! I've been missing out!
2. I need to spend 15 minutes in the outdoors everyday. EVERY. DAY. Eating lunch...or just walking to get mail...my soul comes alive in the outdoors.
3. My feet appear to have had a professional manicure. In reality, I just took a few walks on the beach...turns out, sand is a fantastic exfoliator!
4. Meditation is good for the skin. I would sit in the sun and just think of God and His Word for about 15 minutes at a time each day...I came back simply glowing (or so the friends tell me!).
5. Never take a full suitcase of clothes to the beach...you only need an extra set of clothes. The rest of the clothes will sit in that case, collecting sand.
6. Candles, friends and laughter make everything better.
On our last night there, we sat around laughing and reminiscing. We went around the circle answering 2 questions...
1. When were you most happy?
2. What goal do you want to accomplish in this year?
I said, "1. Right now. I like myself more than I ever have...I know Jesus better than I ever have...I enjoy the community and church He has led me to. 2. I want to finish writing that book I always talk about writing."
Ok. So what about YOU? When were YOU most happy? What goal do YOU want to accomplish this year? Lemme know! And then we can check back in with you to see how you're doing with it in a few months!
Love y'all...find a way to breathe today...sit outside...call a friend...meditate on Jesus.
.... seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth.... Put on then, as chosen ones, holy and beloved,
bearing with one another
forgiving one another
.. and above all these, put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.....
These verses from Colossians 3 are being cemented into my head these past few weeks and I have loved sitting with them and thinking about them over and over again. There is so much truth and power that lies in these few words. Oh how I desire to be a person of all these characteristics. I want to constantly be putting on all of these things and letting go of anything that does not resemble them.
I'm asking God to show me how to walk this out today. If anyone has any ideas, please do share.
If not, I encourage you to sit with these words today. There is life and perfect harmony in store by putting others above yourself. Feeling upset? There is forgiveness in store. Feeling impatient? There is patience waiting for you to take on. Does that feel impossible? It's ok. Take a breath, read Colossians 3, and perhaps God will give you a new perspective that you need to make it through this day and this day alone.
Love you all dearly,
We had a good and full weekend here at Going Beyond Ministries. Friday and Saturday we were with about one thousand moms along with the Lifeway team and others for the dotMom Conference in Frisco. Let's just say we had a good time. I've never seen so many happy moms in one place before. You could tell it was just what they needed - to get away for a few days with their friends and hear amazing teaching and eat lots of food. From Travis Cottrell to Angie Smith to Vicki Courtney to John Croyle, and of course our very own Priscilla closing the event on Saturday... it was some gooooooooood teaching and such good worship! We even got Jerry on a men's panel! Needless to say, it was a whole lotta fun.
Priscilla was a champ and after being at the conference for two days, she spoke at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill yesterday for their church services. We've got to get that message out to you all because it.was.awesome! We'll get to workin' on that =)
After weekends like this I'm so grateful for the opportunities that God gives us - to be around such amazing people and serve the body of Christ. It's quite humbling to think about and I don't want to ever take it for granted. Sure it can be tiring and not easy at times, but it sure is fun and such a privilege.
Wondering about you all and what your weekends looked like? Was it hard? Was it fun? Is there something that you can look back on and be thankful for as you look at the week ahead?
Would love to hear how YOUR weekends were.
just a few of my phone snapshots from the weekend.....
Priscilla and I with our friend Michelle
worship team doing a sound check before the event
a few of our extremely cute interns helping out at the resource table at Trinity Church
Glad you are back today sisters. As promised, I'm so excited to share Shannon's CD with you! More importantly, I want to share SHANNON with you! She is a delight to know. Her love for the Lord and His people is effervescent! She graciously wrote a note to you today!
Congratulations to those of you who won my “Take Heart” CD! And thank you to my friend Priscilla for sharing my music with you all!
As I was writing for this new project, Jesus’ words “Take Heart” found in John 16:33 echoed through the canyon of my spirit. “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In my own life, all too often I have let my eyes drift from the Lord to the trouble I’m facing. I’m guessing you might have the same struggle at times! But an amazing thing happens when we choose to lift our gaze to Christ rather than fixate on our circumstances. Our perspective is radically transformed, and our vision becomes clearer. We are able to reach out and take hold of the peace Jesus extends to us as we walk through the trouble. The fact is, our troubles on this earth do not have the last word - Jesus does! If we can catch that truth, it brings such freedom!
And so my prayer for you today is that, no matter what you’re facing on your journey right now, you would lift your eyes to Him and take heart! He has already overcome.
Many blessings to you!
P.S. If you’d like to read more about the creative journey in the making of “Take Heart”, click here to read the blog I wrote about the process! http://shannonwexelberg.com/blog/general/take-heart
3. Brenda S.
5. Karen (krm_mitch)
Email us at email@example.com. You are going to love Shannon's CD!
Ya'll have a great weekend.
Gosh it's been a peppy kinda' week! Linnae and I completed our long-awaited marathon. Yep. Crazy, I know. We ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 16 minutes. And we (along with Jerry and Priscilla) think we are absolutely crazy for doing it!
Here is a pic BEFORE the marathon (don't judge...we were tired already and wind-blown!)....
And then RIGHT after.
It was a pretty amazing lesson for me. I tend to be an independent, "I don't need anyone's help" kinda' girl. But Linnae and I had trained together and committed to running the race together. So when we started and were going a little slower than the pace we had aimed for, I was a bit disgruntled. I would run about 5-7 feet ahead of Nae and look back as if to say, "Are you coming or what?" Linnae was undeterred. She just smiled as if to say, "Hold your horses impatient one!" Linnae is the younger of the 2 of us, but I think she has the patience of an 80 year old. I was ready to sprint the first 16 miles. She wanted to ease in, listen to her body and go.
So I had a choice. I could go at my pace and go alone. Or I could go with Linnae. Immediately the verse "2 strands are not quickly broken" popped into my head. I exhaled a frustrated breath, rolled my eyes toward the heavens and slowed to Nae's pace. I was gonna test a spiritual principle and show the Lord how He was so wrong. "Better in community Lord? Hm. Let's just SEE about that!"
We passed the 12 and 16 mile marks with no issues. We were cruising. Not really chatting it up...we were present in the moment. And since we work every day, all day together, we know each other pretty well. We knew when the other needed to stop for a restroom break, grab a gatorade...it was like samurai magic. We were in sync.
And then we hit mile 20. Mile 21 and 1/2. And mile 22. The worst hill of the race...and that is saying something as 85% of the race was uphill. They even put a super steep hill on mile 25. ("NOT COOL ROBERT FROST!", anyone seen the pep talk?!)
Let's just say at mile 22, my mom took what is undeniably the least attractive picture I will ever have taken of myself. *fingers crossed* I looked like I felt: Like I would not make it another step, much less 4 more miles. But, Linnae in her springy "listen to your body" way, gave me the head tilt and away we went. We stopped almost every 3/4 a mile to give each other (read Linnae gave ME) a pep talk.
MILE 22 (THANK YOU Alycia, my bestie!, for the photo!)
The fresh and focused Nae:
We made it. Safe and sound. I'm sore. Linnae lost a toenail. But we are faring well. And went to bed just grinning at all we conquered in that day.
While I am trying to convince Nae to train for Boston next (she ain't buyin' it...YET!), we both walked away feeling like we had accomplished something in our souls. We had set out to accomplish a tangible goal and God had helped us make it. There were tons of moments of crazy "Please Jesus! Help us get through this hill!" but moreso, it was a reminder to be in the present. To take everything as it comes. But the biggest thing we both walked away was: Community. We gotta walk in community! Our cheerleaders included: My mom and sis (Mary) and little niece cheered us on (you should have SEEN the 4 year old yelling "WIN! Aunt Netta, WIN!") and Linnae's brother and sister-in-law and their precious little ones came (Brian and Lucy are the BEST!)...and then both of our roommates and best friends (AB & SP for the WIN!) came along to make posters and even run with us for bits of it. We ran away with that lesson: To do life successfully, you gotta walk in community...because that is the ONLY way you're getting through this life alive.
So. No community? Go FIND SOME. Engage here on the blog...check out a Bible Study at your church. Believe me, community is messy. It's hard. It's scary. You WILL get hurt. You might not feel so comfortable at the pace they set at the beginning. But at the end, when the steepest hill is on your last mile, and you're exhausted and hurting...your community is what is going to get you across the finish line! "Run with endurance the race set before you" friends...and grab a few of your sisters to cheer you in the process.
You are loved more than you can imagine!
Annetta + Linnae
Years ago, the Lord did me a big favor and introduced me to a recording artist named Shannon.
A friend surprised me with her CD entitled Faithful God and I immediately fell in love with her amazing voice and ability to lead in worship. Seriously, I played this CD so many times that my whole family was soon singing along to several of the tracks.
We all loved it!
As quick as I could, I ordered 10 of them and sent them out to some close friends. I knew they would be as moved as I was by this woman's ministry. And they were!
Well, let me tell you, I'm a super happy sister today. Look what I just got in the mail from Shannon herself!!!
She graciously sent one for me and another for a friend. I was grateful but given my track record of hogging as many copies as possible to give away to others, I bravely asked her for more.
. . .FOR YOU!
Take Heart is Shannon's brand new gift to women who want to worship deeply and passionately and she has graciously agreed to give away five copies to some of our blog readers. Girlfriends, I am so happy for you cause you're going to soon find out what I already know - Shannon Wexelberg's voice and ministry are INCREDIBLE!
Entering for a chance to win is so easy! You only have to do two things:
1. Tweet or facebook a link to today's blog so that others can know about this opportunity to win Shannon's new CD.
2. Leave a comment here telling us how you would use a worship CD like this most often (in your car while running errands, during your quiet time, while you work in the office, etc.)
You have until Thursday, Feb 21st to leave your comments! We'll post the names of FIVE winners on Friday and the CD will be sent directly to their homes!
Until then, take advantage of this free download of FOUR of Shannon's songs by clicking here:
Then, listen to her music while you poke around her website! She's one of my favorites. .. and will soon be one of yours too!
We here at Going Beyond Ministries are basically all becoming foodies and I'm loving every minute of it. Eating is an EVENT, not just something that has to be done around here. I feel like it is my goal to find out about all the "weird" foods out there and be among the first to know about them, but I must say that it is becoming quite the competition around here with Annetta and now Jerry and Priscilla. It's certainly been fun, especially since Dallas is filled with awesome organic grocery stores. (We're just now getting Trader Joes... can anyone share in my excitement????)
However, we all know that most of us do not have the ability, or perhaps desire, to have our fridge and pantry stocked with completely organic products. I'm the first to admit that I just don't do that because I don't want to legalistic or waste money on unnecessary foods when I can get it at my local grocery store for just as good and just as cheap.
I came across an article the other day that gave a list of suggested products that you can really do without purchasing organic, and I thought you all might like to be in the know about it. So, here are some foods "they" are saying you don't need to be so worried about being organic...
Friends, this is good news considering these are, in my opinion, some of the most delicious items you can put in your mouth out of fruits and veggies. Now I'm sure there are MANY opnions about all this, but let's just choose to accept this great news of information for us foodies and get the $2 less avocados from Walmart rather than Whole Foods and celebrate as we eat a ton of Guacamole, yes??
Cheers to saving a little money!
People. ALL people. Will fail you.
People DO fail you.
ALL the time.
What's also crazy to note is at the end of the day, not only are your friends and relationships going to fail YOU, but YOU are going to fail THEM. It's not a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's called "original sin." If you read the first few chapters of Genesis, you'll get the idea: We are a wicked, sinful people whose righteous deeds are as filthy rags to our Creator (Isaiah 64:6).
So we get it. We fail, they fail, everyone fails. Sounds like a really uplifting blog, huh? Well...enter Jesus.
Jesus is the ONE human who has ever walked this planet who will NEVER fail you. You might THINK He has failed you...you might have been praying for that spiritual breakthrough or husband or money for the house payment, and you seem to have walked away empty-handed. But the REALITY is Scripture says He satisfies the desire of every living thing. You have a need? He's got you.
Don't believe me? Maybe His current behavior or movement in your life doesn't leave you to believe that He is making good on something huh? Well, that's when we get nitty-gritty my friend...that's when we get on our knees and claim all the Promises He has given us in His Word. Are you at a loss for a good promise for your arsenal today? Let me hand you mine from this weekend...it has seemed to give me a little energy in my prayer life this week.
I was preparing for Community Group, reading Psalm 84 and just STOPPED dead in my tracks at verse 11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
No GOOD thing does He hold back from those who walk uprightly? If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, and you are being faithful today to confess any known sin (and pray He reveals unknown), you have the Blood of Jesus on your head...you are PERFECT in His eyes. You ARE upright! And there is a promise right there: He doesn't hold back anything from you...maybe if it's NOT good. Maybe you're praying for something that He isn't ready to give to you yet...maybe He needs to be the center of your heart before He brings that husband...maybe He needs to cement your "child-like, trusting faith" before He showers you with financial blessing. And maybe our sinful fallen world would keep it from us, we need only to PRAY IT INTO EXISTENCE.
But I haven't even gotten to the GOOD part yet. The word "good" in the passage is the Hebrew word for towb: good, pleasant, beautiful, excellent, lovely, delightful, convenient, joyful, fruitful, precious, sound cheerful, kind, economic or practical benefits, wisdom, esthetic or sensual pleasure.
SHUT YOUR MOUTH. So. Good. HE IS! THAT is all part of the promise??
But one step farther, hold on, your arsenal isn't complete yet: Lamentations 3:24-25, "'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I have hope in Him.' The Lord is good (towb) to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him." The word "wait" here qavah is "to bind together by twisting, to collect, to be joined, to be enduring." Such an interesting word...I immediately think of entwinging my fingers with a boyfriend. When they are entwined, it's almost like you're saying, "I'm on your team. I'm throwing in my lot with you" (At least, for the length of that date!). Entwining fingers is a sure sign to others that you and that fella are an item.
So. If I "entwine" my fingers with God, I'm basically saying, "I'm on YOUR team. I'm stepping forward in faith saying, I NEED YOU TO MOVE! I trust in YOU to do it. I'm throwin in my lot with YOU!" Do you recall instances in the New Testament of folks throwing in their lots with Jesus? The blind dude did, he got a little mud masque and "Voila!": SIGHT. The bleeding woman did and badda-boom, badda-bang: NO MORE BLEEDING. There is instance after instance of folks who aligned themselves on Jesus team (stepped out in faith to say, "Jesus, YOU are my great need!") and His response was massive, miraculous and GOOD.
SO today. Believe His Word. Pray it to Him. Walk forward in confidence. He is a good, GOOD God who has all sorts of fun things around the corner...now get on your knees and spend this V-Day praying this things to HIM! Call Him OUT my friend! Ask Him what's taking so long! He's really good at answering...although, not always as we'd prefer (see Job 38-41). But He WILL and DOES answer...and at the end of the day, He "satisfies the desire of every living thing"...and that every living thing is YOU.
Love you fiercely. Press in.
God, You SAID You would satisfy the desire of every living thing. I'm alive! I have deep needs I am desperate for YOU and YOU ALONE to meet! You said if I positioned myself on YOUR team that You would meet me with GOODNESS. Not just goodness that is a feel in my heart, but FINANCIAL goodness and ESTHETIC goodness and JOYFUL goodness and ALL SORTS of other goodness. And I gotta say: I am desperate for that GOODNESS! God, would You step in? Would You make good on your promise? I have a need! You said You'd meet it! Here it is! Move God! SO we can proclaim to others: LOOK WHAT GOD DID. I love You, in Jesus Name, AMEN!
Friday afternoon Annetta and I got to have a date with Jude man and decided in leu of of normal winter weather (Texas decided to give us a 75 degree day) that we should take a picnic for lunch. So, we grabbed a blanket from the cottage next door, orange slices and apple juice, crayons and some paper and headed out for the best spot in the sun.
Sometimes it's just necessary to stop and enjoy the little things while you can.
From coloring pictures, to hunting for clouds, to resting our eyes, it was a perfect 1.5 hours. And even the four year old was kept well occupied. Needless to say, when he picked wild flowers and gave them to us, our hearts melted and our Friday was made. It's the little things, you know...
So, grab a friend and go have a picnic and tell us about it.
And last but not least, the winner of the "momma" give-a-way goes to....
Congrats!! Please email your shipping information at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can ship your book and earrings to you!