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Wanted to send out a little reminder to you all that Priscilla has a web show every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00pm and 10:00pm Central Time. It's called The Chat with Priscilla and this month Priscilla and a few of her friends are talking about 50 Shades of Gray. You seriously don't want to miss it!
Check it out: http://thechatwithpriscilla.com/the-chat/
Hope you can join us tonight!
Since when did it become April 3? Holy moly, this Spring is flying by! It feels like just yesterday one of my best friend's found out she was expecting a baby due June 1, and now that day that seemed so far away is only a month away! Time needs to slown down!
As you know all too well, the beginning of a new month is always a good thing around here because we get to read a few nuggets of wisdom from Priscilla. And this one. . . I have a feeling you will appreciate it greatly.
So, without further ado.... click here and enjoy the April Jewelry Box Article. Then we'd love to hear any thoughts you have. Looking forward to chatting with you all today below.
Annnnd week 3 here we are! Let's hear the latest on what Priscilla is talking about for Gideon. It's fast approaching! Have you pre-ordered yet??
Questions?? What do you think? It's getting close. Stay tuned next Monday for more background information on Priscilla's writing process through this bible study and perhaps some fun giveaways are in the future as well =)
Happy Easter Weekend to our favorite bloggers!
The Shirers and Annetta will be hopping on a plane Sunday for a quick vacation and then heading to Memphis to be with our friends at Life Church. It's going to be a full, long week for them but oh so much fun!
I, on the other hand, am going to try and hold down the fort while everyone is gone but it's going to be quite lonely without my pals. Thankfully, my mom came to town and I get to spend time with she and my brother and his fam in Waco this weekend. She even got to drop by the office yesterday which was such a treat!
(isn't she puuuuuuuurty????)
So, while the Shirer's and Annetta are on a plane and I'm spending time with the fam this Sunday, what are YOU doing this Easter? Many MANY blessings to all of you as we have much to celebrate this weekend! He is coming back for us again! That's a great thing to rejoice over these next few days.
We are pretty stoked...we have the newest date for the DFW Awaken event. So without further ado, we would love to invite you to Awaken on...*drumroll cued*...May 23, 2013 here at The Oaks in Red Oak, Texas. Those who attended our first Awaken remember the phenomenal worship and people of The Oaks. We had a blast! So we're going back for more! Take a second to hear Priscilla's invite and description of what goes on at this thing called Awaken:
Registration is free, and if it's anything like last time it'll be full in a matter of weeks. So rush over to register yourself for the event and to keep up on the latest news as we get closer to time!
We love you and can't wait to serve you in a few weeks!
Week 2 it is! This week, Priscilla took a moment to share her big "Aha!" moments from the study...and let's just say, it's not anything we would have expected! Take a minute to listen to Priscilla in between takes on the Gideon set. You'll hear the LifeWay production team busily preparing as she shares.
(Or click here: https://vimeo.com/62199583)
Wow. I really do think travelling back to Gideon's hood is a journey we will never forget! Are you joining us? Only 5 weeks and it's GO-time! We can't wait!
See you soon...
The GB Team
To Pre-Order the Leader Kit click here.
To Pre-Order the Member Book click here.
If you missed last week's Countdown video, click here to watch.
BE FOREWARNED! If you came to our blog today looking for something spiritually edifying or theologically profound please RUN FOR YOUR LIFE. Today, I'm just having some fun. . .and hope you will too!
I’m a curly headed girl. It’s a fact.
Leave it be – straight after a wash in the shower – and it’ll puff into a life-size afro reminiscent of Fat Albert’s.
Funny how my hair has become one of my most distinguishing and recognizable characteristics. Sometimes people write or email our ministry – not to ask some deeply theologically probing question – but to dig into the annals of my mind . . . about hair.
Yup. You heard me right.
Makes me question my effectiveness in ministry. I mean, how would you feel if you’d spent weeks prayerfully planning a message that you hope will bring healing and encouragement to the hearts and minds of your audience only to have a teary-eyed woman walk up to you at the end, dramatically dab her cheeks with tissue and say: I’m so moved. . . by your hair. How’d you make it do that anyhow?
(For all of you that have ever written or talked to me personally about hair, relax. I’m joking. I don’t mind at all. I like conversation – any kind will do.)
And honestly, it’s understandable that women would want to talk hair – even after I’ve spilled my guts teaching God’s word. Sometimes for us women, concentrating on how to bring our thoughts into captivity to Christ, walk in spiritual victory, hear the voice of God or prepare for spiritual warfare is so much more difficult when our hair doesn’t look right – or at least fairly decent. (Cause let’s be honest; God may look at the heart but other women are looking at our hair.) Having a “good hair day” makes us feel strangely . . . better. Our day can be going terribly wrong but if we happen to flip down our car visors and catch sight of a head full of glossy, perfectly coiled curls that all decided to cooperate and go in the right direction, it makes us smile - even though we lost our dog, just got fired from our job and got stood up on a blind date. Good hair is analogous to being happy, clearheaded and able to get on with the rest of our lives.
(I’m exaggerating. . . but only a little.)
I digress. . .
So, I’ve been a curly headed girl for as long as I can remember. Even after I put a permanent straightener in it at age thirteen, childhood photos still gave away my roots (pun intended). I was one of those little black girls whose mother put my hair into two, sometimes four, sometimes eight or sixteen plaits (can’t believe she did that to me) all over my head fastened by colorful little thinga -ma-jigs that had hard plastic knobs that looked like gumballs attached to the ends. (Those things should come with a warning sticker: Will smack young children in their eyes if they turn their head too quickly – especially if they have sixteen plaits. I’m just sayin.) Those braids were not only my trademark but the consistent feature you’d find on the head of most every girl where I grew up.
We had tightly, curled hair that would break a comb that didn’t have enough girth to it in one second flat. And this – this - is what you did with it: put it in plaits sorted by perfectly angled parts that looked like a road-map to Mars.
We hated it.
I think I can speak in sweeping generalizations when I use the word “we” (my slight and hesitant apologies to anyone who actually enjoyed this atrocity). By in large, we wanted our hair to be set free from captivity – like a Siberian Tiger who broke out of his cage at the San Francisco zoo several years back and scared the dickens out of the whole city. Yup, we wanted our hair to be that kind of loose – which might have been just as scary as the tiger except that we had visions of it cascading down our backs and being . . .straight. So, we straightened it . . .permanently . . . the very second we got old enough and our mothers said we could.
(Although I saw a girl not much older than three in a salon chair recently who, under the watchful eye of her mother, was getting her very first permanent straightener. THREE. I know, right?)
I stress permanently purposefully because we had temporary straightening options that we indulged in as often as we could. And we have the scars to prove it. Those hot combs smoked up our kitchens and sometimes seared the tip of our ears when the smoke got too close to actual skin. But it was worth it. . .cause our hair was straight!
. . until it rained.
. . .or it was humid.
. . .or we sweated.
. . or we swam.
. . .or we took a shower without our extra-large shower cap securely in place (Darn those few strands that always escaped out the back.)
So, when our mommas pressed our hair. . .we checked the weather report, refused to sweat, wouldn’t dare swim (even with a swim cap cause they weren’t ever cute enough) and we took a shower with extra care, making sure that the humidity had completely cleared out of the bathroom before we dared remove the plastic from our heads – which never seemed to happen soon enough. So, we’d start sweating because we were too hot from the plastic caps.
Temporary straightening was SOOO high maintenance. Geesh. But we did it. . for a while. Then, we were too tired – and too broke - to keep it up during college so we walked down the aisle and made a covenant with a creamy, white solution that made all our dreams come true.
At least during the honeymoon phase.
Then some of us found out we’d been hoodwinked, bamboozled, conned, misled, deceived (and any other synonyms you can think of right now. I’ve run out). We woke up one morning, looked in the mirror at our beloved and realized it’d fooled us. Our curls had been tamed yes, but, in some cases, it took our hair out– and I don’t mean “out on a date”. I mean it literally took whole globs of hair straight out of our scalps by the root.
Damaged it beyond recognition.
Which is why after more than a decade of permanently straightened hair, I let it grow back to its naturally curly beginnings. I had qualms about it. Visions and nightmares of those bubble-gum, plastic barette thingies hitting me in the face again. But I did it anyway in search of my hair’s original health.
I assumed that I’d hate the texture as much as I did when I was a little girl. But as my hair grew I was so surprised to find that now, as an adult, I enjoyed and loved every single curl. They became my own. It’s been 12 years of heavenly matrimony between me and my natural hair and our relationship is working out nicely.
Every now and then, just for fun, I straighten it – temporarily – with a flat-iron or pressing comb (and I’ve learned how to hold the tips of my ears down to avoid any first-degree burns. It’s much nicer that way). Don’t do it often but it’s fun to shake things up a bit.
Had it done this week in fact. And I’ve enjoyed it.
But . . . .Wait For It. . . I miss my curls.
Can you believe it? I can’t.
Never thought I’d say that. . .but it’s so true. I will enjoy some time wearing my straight new-do but I’m already excited about going back to my huge, curly afro that my friend Shawna says makes me look like a lion about to attack.
(She normally sits a few rows behind me at church and sometimes texts me messages DURING THE SERMON like: I wish I could see the pastor but I can’t because you’re hair is in the way. ROAR!)
(I’d be offended . . if it weren’t so stinkin’ funny – especially with the pastor preaching and all. So, I laugh in a nice “don’t-disturb-your-neighbor-cause-we’re-in-church kind of way and then I don’t text her back . . .because good Christians don’t text in church.)
(But sometimes I do tweet in church, or instagram. . .or. . .well, never mind.)
Looking forward to having my curls back in a few days because. . they are mine. I’m sure the first good rain is going to take care of that. Or I’ll just stand in the bathroom while one of my sons is taking their shower. (They’ll just love that.)
So glad that God has made me ok. . . with me.. . just the way I am.
Head full of curls and all.
Have a good Friday my friend!
It's not often that I so clearly identify myself as one of the Pharisees. You know who I'm talking about? The nasty religious leaders of Jesus time. They gossiped. They plotted. They cheered on the crucifiction.
In my more empathetic moments, I sometimes think I MIGHT be able to "get" their misunderstanding of Jesus. After all, Jesus' first announcer as the Messiah is a dude (more reverently referred to as John the Baptist) wearing an animal skin 'tard, noshing on insects and screaming "Prepare ye the way!" while everyone did their best to get OUT of his. John doesn't come across as the most reputable of identifying sources...first impressions might not be his strong suit.
But even with Jesus' "interesting" street cred, I feel like the Pharisees should have given Jesus a chance. Generally my high sense of self (aka my pride) leaves me yelling "You brood of vipers!" at the Pharisees when I see them in the pages of Scripture...as if I've never disregarded something Jesus said because the street cred was less-than-cool (there's that pride again!).
So when I was reading in John 12 this morning and verse 43 lept off the page, did a little back-flip and set-off party alarms right before my bleary, not-enough-sleep eyes, I knew I was in for a oh-so-sweet backhand from the Holy Spirit. Ok, ok...He would never literally backhand me...poor choice of words maybe, but when my pride has to take a backseat, well, let's just say the "pride going with the fall" FEELS like a slap. And in reality, it's all my own doing. *Ouch!* Just felt it again.
"For they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God." John 12:43
The "they" in this verse is the crowd hanging out listening to the Pharisees have a chat with Jesus...they had a choice: listen to what the Pharisees were peddling or listen to Jesus. With John the Baptist as Jesus' backer and history/the synagogue/tradition as the Pharisees backer, the people easily allowed their ears to be tickled with the Pharisees lies versus the truth of Jesus.
They loved...this greek word for love refers more toward their will than anything else. It was a choice.
...the approval of men...approval here is such an interesting word. In Greek it's "doxa," aka glory or recognition.
They chose the recognition of men over the recognition of God. They wanted men to see them. They wanted their coffers to be chock-full of cool points, running in the same circles as the Smith's, owning the same cars and houses...they needed the recognition of men because their identity was contingent upon men thinking them cool. At it's roots, that's really what people-pleasing is all about: identity. We all have a need to be recognized. We need for someone to find value in us. For if they don't find us to be valuable, then where do we get our value from? Certainly WE know that at the root we are a sham. After all, no one is as put-together as they seem. So we see our flaws and need someone else to tell us we aren't as bad as everyone else...in fact, we might even make the B team. We need others to tell us we really are ok. Right? Maybe...unless you're a follower of Jesus and want that whole identity thing to be rooted in truth.
Yes, His truth seems a little crazy. But when I realize one of Jesus' m.o. is to use crackpots to speak His message (case in point, He sometimes uses me!), I start to think: "He lets his messengers show their weakness so we know He takes us as we are." I see someone with weaknesses and realize He has a stamp of approval on weakness...so maybe, just maybe, He wants me as I AM?
Turns out that backhand from the Holy Spirit this morning was less of a backhanded slap and more of a hug...He wanted me to know: He accepts me as I am. And that right there is an amazing cure for the people pleaser: God loves me for me. I'm praying that all of our hearts gets this a little more today. Maybe you're like me and a recovering people-pleaser...maybe you have other glaring weaknesses. Maybe you wear a leopard-print unitard and eat ants because they are high protein. Guess what? He loves you. He chooses you. You don't need to have your name known on some marquee or by that perfectly coiffed mother in the playgroup or by the CEO of your company..or even by that hot guy in your singles group :) You just need to be known by Him.
So sit there today...let Him see your sadness at not being perfectly accepted by people. And let His Holy Spirit speak His complete acceptance over you. I'm betting you too will walk away feeling like you just got a desperately-needed hug.
Love you fiercely.
Finally. It is finally here! We are only 6 weeks out from releasing the study that Priscilla has worked on for the last 2 years. The word Gideon has become as popular in our office as the word "coffee". Now THAT's saying something!
With 6 weeks to go before our launch, we thought it would be fun to get a little behind-the-scenes look at the study from Priscilla...we wanted to hear all about the late nights, how it drove her into a new fascination with caffeine, you know, the "fun" stuff...SO, we caught Priscilla in various locations and asked her all kinds of questions. Every Monday for the next 6 weeks, jump in and listen with us and we learn about God via the story of Gideon...
This week, Priscilla gives us a who's who of the Gideon roster as well as why she was drawn to the story in the first place. So, press play and be ready to be transported straight to the set of Gideon's outdoor recording!
Did y'all see how cool that fire was? When our office saw the video wegot so excited...it feels exactly like what we had pictured Gideon would be fighting in! So fun! I love how Priscilla takes a few chapters of Scripture and brings such life to it. We hope you had as much fun being transported back into biblical times as we did. We are praying for y'all today...to know Him more fully as revealed in His Word.
You are fiercely loved!
The GB Team
To Pre-Order the Leader Kit click here.
To Pre-Order the Member Book click here.
Wednesday afternoon was bright and sunny and warm and. . .well. . perfect. I was so glad to see the sun peering through the window when I first opened my eyes that morning. Not only because I love how "awake" it makes me feel but because this was my sons' Adventure Camp day and I'd been praying for good weather.
Adventure Camp is a 2-day event offered each year during spring break (and again during summer break) by a faithful, little church near my neighborhood. This local church has so many amazing family activites all year long that they invite the community to participate in and this is one of them. For two days, kids from everywhere participate in every outdoor activity you can imagine: archery, horseback riding, dodgeball and more all under the watchful eye of skilled counselors who love God and love our kids.
But that's this church's way - reaching out to the neighborhood children. For years now, ever since I had my first baby, I've spent one morning a week in their Mainly Music class and October 31st at their "Trunk or Treat" event. Not to mention, my sons have participated in their Awana program and my 2 oldest boys have even gone on a retreat for boys to a Christian camp with their student group. All of these things sponsored by this loving body of believers who want to reach out to the neighborhood around them.
This church has, in a way, helped me to raise my children.
But. . . I digress.
So, on Wednesday, I packed my very excited oldest boys into the car around noon to take them to their first day of spring break Adventure Camp. They could not wait for the excitement to begin. On the way, I popped into Starbucks (well. . of course I did) to grab "the kids" a snack before dropping them off for the afternoon. The lady behind the counter recognized me (which in no way implies that I make far too many visits to my local Starbucks . . .STOP JUDGING ME, OK?) and we struck up a conversation. I casually mentioned that the boys and I were on our way to Adventure Camp at the church. When I did, the man behind me in line leaned in, with a smile on his face and said, "I just got back from dropping my kids off too. They did the soccer camp as well. They love it!"
For the next few moments, while our milk steamed, espresso poured and whipped cream dolloped, we sang the praises of this beautiful church and the amazing way they have become a church for so many who don't necessarily sit in their pews on Sunday mornings. For a moment, while in line at a coffee shop, three strangers from different churches. . . all went to the same church. They were all brought together under the umbrella of ONE church that has chosen to do what all churches everywhere should do. Serve everyone no matter if their name is on themembership role or not.
Don't for a moment misunderstand me here. We should all have a church home and be faithful,committed members but the Church (that's a capital "C" on purpose) can't be YOUR church or MY church. . .it's gotta be OUR church.
That's the way it was meant to be.
Grateful for a church like that, among others, in my neighborhood and praying that their spirit will catch fire to every single house of God on the globe.