I recently attended a funeral that was different than most funerals that I’ve attended in the past. Some things were the same of course…tears and hugs were definitely shed and shared among family and friends, there was a thoughtful slide show accompanied by worship music displaying a life well lived and loved. There was an anointed preacher, worship music, and the building itself was a church. So, yes, much of it was like a typical funeral.
But there was something different about this one. I sat there trying to put my finger on it. In fact, it was the first funeral where I didn’t really want to leave. Usually I’m ready to get the heck out of dodge when it comes to funerals…and even some weddings for that matter. But there was a peace, a hope, and tremendous love within the walls of the church that day. There was joy and there was laughter. It wasn’t a funeral at all. It was a celebration of a life that honored God and people.
The man’s name was Mr. Doug Lowrey. He was a man that inspired many for his tenacity and perseverance in everything he did. He beat to his own drum and everyone loved him for it. And if they didn’t love him for it, they couldn’t help but admire his ability to do it. And if you knew him well, you might end up beating your drum like his. He was that kind of a leader. A true legacy. He was a people person who relentlessly and fearlessly pursued people for the Lord and as a result, was loved by MANY and lives were changed…eternally changed.
As I reflected on why I didn’t want to leave the funeral, I remembered a line of wisdom I caught a long time ago,
“The people we hang around often reflect who we are.”
I realized the people filling the church that day possessed the same kind of qualities that Mr. Doug did. They were “Doug’s people” and he was theirs. They were people who loved God and who cared about and loved others well. I think most of them understood those words I mentioned above: peace, hope, love, and joy. And there Mr. Doug brought them all into one place and I was surrounded by them. THAT’s why I didn’t want to leave. I saw many familiar faces with hearts of gold and I knew that the faces I didn’t know, most likely shared the same heart. It’s the heart and spirit of God.
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” -Galations 5:22
I knew that if anyone didn’t know God that day, they surely walked out feeling His presence and witnessing His love. And I know that’s exactly what Mr. Doug would have wanted.
That day was a sweet reminder of the simplicity of our role here on earth yet also the depth, weight, and long distance reach our role can carry if we do what we are called to do…love God and love people.
When the Pharisees asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37
Notice the order Jesus mentioned in loving God and people. He mentioned God first. It’s because God is the source of love, knowing who we are, and why we’re here. God has given us this moment in time in all of history to fulfill a purpose unique to each one of us. We can’t know that purpose until we know God first. And it’s important to note that “knowing” God is much more than believing in Him. It’s an intimate relationship with Him. Not surface level. He has too much to offer than just surface. And if you’re like me and most people, you want more. The good news about our Lord is that He offers limitless abundance. And it’s FREE.
I know Mr. Doug wasn’t perfect. None of us are. But he understood why he was here and many people go their entire lives and never know. He understood because he knew and pursued God. Because of that, his purpose flowed and lives were touched and changed.
So if you’re struggling to find your way, then start where Mr. Doug started… with Jesus. As you discover Him, you’ll find yourself. Your purpose will take root. In fact, it already has. He’s just waiting on you to seek Him and find it.
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33
Thank you Mr. Doug for blessing my life and for the gift of reminding me of the BEAUTY, the POWER, and the IMPORTANCE of pursuing God above all else and how that pursuit not only changes us and guides us, but it changes the lives of those around us. THAT’S a purpose worth living for and there’s nothing else I want more.
R.I.P. Doug Lowrey
Austin & Hanna courageously share their true story of how bringing our struggles into the light not only opens the door for God to move, it transforms us into a new creation. Watch their courageous testimony of God’s ability to redeem, restore, and create a new path replacing shame with peace, and sorrow with joy. Bravery at its’ finest.
Click the link below to watch…
Have you ever been hurt by the church? We sat down with BG Angie and asked her counseling advice on how to process through this common struggle. Click below to watch or listen!
We sat down with our licensed counselor, Brave Girl Angie, asking a common question.
“How do you move past bitterness and resentment?” Watch her response in the video link here:
BraveGirl Robyn & her husband, Donny, share their AMAZING story of Courage, Bravery, & Faith as they share their powerful testimony of how they were in the process of divorce and God stepped in…turning a hopeless situation into something worth fighting for. It doesn’t get any BRAVER than this!! Thank you Donny and Robyn for sharing your BRAVERY with us! click the video below!
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We are starting a new YouTube Channel! If you love videos, check us out! We’ll be sharing testimonies, Q&A with a licensed counselor, and more and more videos about God’s truth! We’d love to have you!!
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Thank you all for your support!
It’s a new year…time for new goals right? New Year’s Resolutions. My husband and I were traveling for the holidays and having our “car-talk-time” – one of my favs because we’re trapped in the car for several hours with no work distractions, no laundry, no dishes, no errands, nothing to do but just sit…and talk. He can’t escape all my questions! 😉 We have the best conversations in these moments.
On this last trip, we talked about all the goals we hope to accomplish in 2017. Lose weight, strengthen our marriage, make some financial changes, finish the remodeling in our house, become fluent in Spanish so that I can hang with his family in conversation, run a 1/2 marathon, write more, read more, dream more…and the list continued. After talking we had too many goals to count and an overwhelming feeling came over me. I thought maybe this is why I didn’t reach my goals last year…maybe it’s because it’s all too overwhelming and I just want to quit.
OR…maybe because they’re MY goals and MY ideas of what will bring me the best year ever. Usually MY ideas lead me into living off my own strength and power, which leaves me burned out and tired. It sparks a question in me and for all of us…What if our new year’s resolutions consisted of JUST ONE RESOLUTION and the resolution isn’t about us, but about Him?
THE ONE RESOLUTION – Give God our First and Best one day at a time…Simply focus on what God might want from us in that ONE DAY…EACH DAY. It’s not a new concept. It’s just rarely done. But I’m already starting to relax just thinking about it. We often get too caught up in our own agendas to do this but I would say it’s the most important thing we could ever do for ourselves.
What if by starting our day and spending time with Him we discover His best for our year…we find direction and guidance? What if out of that time came our purpose? What if doing that each day brought forth more peace, joy, love, patience, gentleness, and more discipline? What if as we cultivated our relationship with God first, we became wiser, more secure, and more confident in everything we do because our trust has grown so much in HIS plan?
God’s word tells us those are all results of being led by the spirit.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” -Galations 5:22.
If those sweet gifts are a result of pursuing God first, then won’t those things help us tremendously in accomplishing our own goals that we had originally planned? Or maybe, just maybe…they’ll help us accomplish the new goals God’s given us that are different and greater than we could have ever planned for ourselves. Either way, just experiencing God’s fruit in and of itself is already a successful year in my book.
When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” -Matthew 22:37
In order to love Him we musk seek Him and get to know Him. He already loves you and me and is there just waiting for us to say yes to Him. In fact, he loved US FIRST!
Will you join me this new year in giving God your first and your best? Just one day at a time. He may do more than you could ever ask or imagine.
“Now to Him who is ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” -Ephesians 3:20
I haven’t talked to one person yet who has regretted putting God first in his/her life. But I’ve talked to countless people who have regretted NOT putting God first. It’s a personal relationship with Him that will not only change your year, but it will change you and the world around you.
This is your year to start over, putting Him first in your life. Are you willing to give Him a chance to take the reigns…just one day at a time? Let’s focus together on that ONE RESOLUTION because it’s THE. ONE. that will affect everything else.
Will you join me TODAY in prayer…”Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this new year and all that you will do in my life as I am giving YOU my First and Best, & letting you take care of what’s best for me. Show me YOUR WILL TODAY. My life is yours. Open my ears and my eyes so that I can hear you and see you. Guide me and strengthen me in following your will TODAY. Amen”
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”- Matthew 6:33
Wishing you all a fruitful year filled with God’s blessings,
A sweet friend dealing with resentment, pain, and the raw realities of life, recently suffered a loss within her family. A hard loss because he was a VERY close family member, yet also a freeing loss because he was her abuser (in every sense of the word) when she was a child and even as an adult. So many mixed emotions. I can’t imagine.
She made a very powerful statement through text today followed by an even more powerful question. It was honest and raw, coming from a place of deep wounds that seem immune to healing.
“I have learned you can do whatever in life you want no matter how bad and before you die ask God for his forgiveness and you can go to heaven…
so why do the footwork?”
I sat there staring at that text, my heart aching for her, wondering…could I offer any response that would even come close to providing some sense of understanding and comfort to a person that has been affected so deeply by this broken person and our broken world? As I pondered my response, I asked God to show me what to say, and before I knew it, my fingers were texting her back. I’ve summed up part of our text messages in this post and added more thoughts as I’ve continued to work this question out in my head.
We certainly are not forced to accept God or do anything for Him during our time on this earth. So yes, we could live our entire lives rejecting God and “doing whatever we want no matter how bad” and then choose Him as we lay there on our death bed…IF we get that luxury of having the moment to ponder and talk to God before our death.
The thief on the cross next to Jesus got that chance. He said to Jesus, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” The other criminal on the cross rejected Jesus to his death, but the thief that accepted Jesus as Lord lived on with Him into paradise. My thoughts…
Praise God he never gives up on us…no matter how long we have rejected Him…
HE. STILL. WANTS. US.
That simple fact alone makes me love God even more. It may not seem like justice to some, especially those who have pursued God’s will their entire lives or to those who have been deeply wounded like my sweet friend. It can be difficult to understand this level of grace. But that is who God is. He never gives up on us. He never stops loving us. His arms are always open no matter what we’ve done or how long we’ve done it. He just wants us to choose Him.
“So why do the footwork?”
“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)
If we do the footwork for God on this earth,
we activate His light to people who don’t know Jesus.
He chose US to spread His word.
He didn’t have to. He wanted to. He wants to work His power in and through us while we face the troubles of this world so that we can experience Him and that others may see His work in us and BELIEVE.
His Power is a power that heals.
A Power that transforms…freeing us from the bondage of countless strongholds.
A Power that shows love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, self control – qualities that we struggle to possess if we are left to our own will.
A Power that serves others beyond what our human hearts are capable of doing.
A Power that forgives the unforgivable.
A Power that gives us a new confidence to live life boldly for Him.
I could go on and on about what His power can do in us. There’s nothing that radiates His glory more than that transforming power.
I would rather live my days out on this earth experiencing God like that than live them without him… banking on the chance that at the very last moment I’ll get to choose Him. Praise God for that last moment if you are so graciously offered that opportunity. But you still would miss out on so much awesomeness you could have experienced in your time on earth. Let’s get real, living for sin is only fun for a season. It eventually leads to emptiness. That’s because you were created for so much more than that…you were created to DO the footwork.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)
It’s IN the footwork where His light shines the most in US.
It changes us and it changes the world.
Because of the footwork,
We Are Blessed and God Is Glorified.
If there is footwork you’re avoiding today, my prayer is that you will take the next brave step towards experiencing God’s power in your life, that you may be transformed, freed, and renewed, that your light will shine even brighter bringing glory to our Father in Heaven. Amen.
There I was, driving down the highway with all these questions in my head about life that were STILL unanswered. I get tired sometimes waiting for God to reveal answers to questions I KNOW He has the answers to.
It’s just not happening fast enough and I’m tired of waiting.
Sometimes I flat out rebel and go my own way which usually leaves me in a pity party with my friends frustration, bitterness, and resentment. They’re all really fun for awhile and then I realize they’re actually poisoning me instead of comforting me. They feed off each other and slowly but surely separate me from the voice of God. I stop caring, stop praying, stop getting into God’s word, start being rude to others, and worst of all, stop hearing from God…and He’s the one with the answers.
Do you ever find yourself there? If you’re like me, you need a game plan. You have to recognize what’s happening and then take action. I don’t know about you, but I rather hear from God than my buddies at the pity party. He’s so much wiser and when He reveals himself, it’s better than any party I’ve ever been to. And trust me, I’ve been to a lot of parties. His are the BEST! So here’s my action plan for hanging at His house and not the other one.
1) TALK TO HIM
God’s word says to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:1), not just when we need a favor or because it’s meal time. It’s a never-ending conversation going on between me and God. Prayers of thanksgiving and gratitude, prayers asking His will, prayers pouring out my heart to Him, prayers to guide my next step and lead me every day. He WANTS to hear from me…and YOU.
Ask yourself, “Is God an acquaintance in my life? or is He really my best friend? my “go-to”?
The answer to those questions reveals a lot about our level of intimacy with God.
2) LEARN ABOUT HIM
God’s word is His voice. It is “God breathed and is useful for teaching and training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)
If we want to hear Him, we have to KNOW HIM…and His word is where it starts. My mom’s voice sticks in the back of my head more than most people because of the connection we have. It’s the same with God. We’ll be able to hear Him because we KNOW how and what He thinks.
3) HONEST CHECK-UP
I continuously need to check where there is sin in my life. When we are living in disobedience to God, it’s REALLY hard to hear what He wants to say to us. This is a piggy back on my first point about prayer.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Where am I messing up? Where am I wrong? What is in my life that is not of you? Show me where I am not listening. Show me where my heart is hardened.”
After a prayer like that, 9 out of 10 times, people or things pop into my head where I know I have been hurtful, stubborn, selfish, prideful, etc. (we don’t have to list all my shortcomings here ok).
I try and deal and go head to head with those areas God showed me in that honest check-up.
Then I pray for strength to change my actions in those specific areas so that they are lined up with God’s will. This is a daily need for me and a lifetime process of pruning and being renewed so that I can walk in obedience to Him.
It’s a domino effect because obedience leads to hearing His voice.
If we want to hear the spirit, we have to walk WITH the spirit. This isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
5) BE PATIENT
We are in an instant gratification society…we don’t understand the concept of patience. We are patient..just for a little while. Ha…which isn’t patience. This is where it can get tough, but it IS possible. We have to be patiently focused on God. It’s a day by day process of living for Him. It’s a learning process which can feel really slow and even painful at times, yet then it becomes freeing, fulfilling and life changing.
At God’s party, we will be changed from the inside out and that’s where we will find Him, His voice, and ultimately ourselves. And the best part…we’re ALL invited.