Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coffee Group Defined

A few of us in Coffee Group have received this video in an email from different sources. It is BEAUTIFUL, well-written, and beautifully defines and illustrates the friendships that are forged through time and trial. The woman who wrote this obviously doesn't have the bond that comes from having Christ as your savior, so there are a few minor noteable differences in what our actual Coffee Group looks like, but the similarities make it amazing how universal friendships among women are.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Magnificat

I love to sing scripture. I have trouble memorizing scripture but put to music I can memorize all the day long! That's why I'm always happy to find some new song that has scripture as its lyric and this week I did.

We had a meeting for our HIP Praise Team (at SoHills) and our fearless leader, Bubba Luke, gave us some new music. One of the songs included was Magnificat. It has a lovely soprano part and all the voices work together singing different tunes and words to create the Magnificat.

So often in our tribes we leave out the ancient prayers and music that has been praising God for centuries. One of those is Mary's Song in Luke that is often referred to as the Magnificat. We love our contemporary music, rhythms, and harmonies - not that there's anything wrong with that! I have come to see the benefit of the ancient words and sounds for worship. Praise God for all the music and words the LORD has inspired over the centuries.

Like the Psalms and these words of Mary.

And Mary said:
"My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Watch Out for Number 3!

by Sarah Stirman

At a recent youth basketball game, I found new joy as a mother when I heard an opposing coach yell to his players, "Watch out for number 3! Watch out for number 3!" Since her first team as a 6 year old, my daughter has always requested to be number 3. Now at age 12, God has blessed her with height and talent. She has become a force to be reckoned with on the court. To hear the other coach acknowledge it and warn his team about her made my heart swell.
Shortly after that game my daughter chose to claim Jesus as her savior and be buried with Christ in baptism. There are no words to describe that particular joy as a parent! Watching my daughter become my sister in Christ, I thought back to the coach's warning to his team: "Watch out for number 3!" I pray that I have trained her to be a force to be reckoned with in His kingdom. I hope that Satan acknowledges her as a strong opponent to his evil. Above all, I hope that I model that for her: keeping my sword sharpened and ready for battle, ever kneeling at the throne to hear His word, knowing my "play book" better than my opponent does, and walking in the faith that will extinguish the enemy's flaming arrows.

The Holy Spirit breathing fresh life into her has given her a tangible passion and fire for the Lord and His work. As I send her off to school today, I know in my heart Satan is warning his team, "Watch out for number 3!" Wonder what Satan tells his team about me?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18 NIV).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who Am I?

As most of us mentioned in our blog posts about our time hearing Beth Moore, the theme/ idea of the whole conference was to remind ourselves (DAILY): "I am an heiress." She told us to get up, first thing in the morning and look in the mirror and say to ourselves, "I am an heiress. I may be a little rough around the edges, but I am an heiress!" (keeping in mind it's first thing in the morning). I loved that she mentioned that she tells her husband Keith, who leaves for work before she is "fixed", "Remember how cute I was last night when we went to dinner? Or last week, in that precious skirt? I want you to think of me that way today. Not like this." I told Troy that last week when he left for work while I was staggering out of bed when Riley had a stomach bug. Glasses, furry robe, disheveled hair, and who-knows-what kind of breath. I told him to remember me cute! I'm sure that was a stretch for him -- and it was especially hard to look in the mirror and declare: "I am an heiress!"

That whole concept has been a struggle for me since Beth introduced it. Through words she said over that weekend, I came to realize that I don't doubt God's love for me in the least. I KNOW He loves me beyond what I will ever imagine. HOWEVER, I have come to realize I do doubt His ability to do things in me and through me. My doubts place my own human limitations on the creator of the universe. No, you don't have to do it: I'm 'tsk, tsk-ing' at myself. I evidently need to read this book. God able to use ANYone to do ANYthing is an idea/ concept that I have given lip-service to all of my life, as well as even seen in action, but my flesh, fears and doubts override that too often. I have de-valued my place in His kingdom. I have traded my birthright as an heiress for a little bowl of security stew here on earth.

With this thought in my head, God has really been hammering me with who I am in Him. And, being like He tends to be, He is ever-so-subtle about it. I was just plugging away, daily Bible reading, going in my little order, and here I land in 2 Corinthians this week. Love both of the Corinthian letters. And God used 2 Corinthians, letters that have been in His word for thousands of years, to remind me who I am through Him.

I first thought of it when I hit one of my all-time favorite verses, 2:14:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and
through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.

  • So... I am the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

    Verse 3 of chapter 3 says:
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written
not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but
on tablets of human hearts.
  • I am a letter -- from Christ himself!

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being
transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the
Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • I reflect the Lord's glory.

For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your
servants for Jesus' sake.

  • I preach Christ as Lord, and preach myself as your servant.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.

  • I carry the death of Jesus in my body so that the LIFE of Jesus may be revealed (this one is HUGE to me).

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by

  • I am being renewed day by day (it doesn't matter that I am STILL screwing up -- I'm also still being made new!!)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the
new has come!

  • I am a new creation (can I get a 'hallelujah'!!)

We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal
through us.

  • I am an ambassador for Christ.
Oh, gracious, I am overwhelmed with all that the Lord has entrusted to me. Oh, and I was reminded yesterday: God is not just good, he's smart. I really had to think on that one... and since he's smart, I guess it's okay to trust all that He has entrusted to me. And KNOW that I will mess it up. And KNOW that He will forgive, and bless, and grow me, for I am being made new day by day.

May you find who you are in Him.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

San Antonio, Sunday Naps, and Scolding

Okay Sarah, I heard you loud and clear that I need to post on "The Coffee Group" blog instead of just my own. So I have copied and pasted my blog entry about our weekend in San Antonio. I loved your summarization about the weekend. You are some writer girl!

What a Weekend!

I have just awakened from a marathon nap--it is Sunday afternoon people! I don't awaken well after a deep sleep nap. My brain is not fully functional and I have learned that because of this, my mouth can sometimes say things that people (my family) sometimes misunderstand. I need to be awake so that my "be nice" filter is in place because I tend to be somewhat grumpy when I awake. So while I am in my "no filter on brain and mouth mode" I thought I should quietly write about this weekend and leave my precious family alone.

The reason for the marathon nap is because me and my "Peeps" went on a road trip to hear Beth Moore speak God's words to us in San Antonio. There were around 10,000 ladies from all over the world-even Japan in attendance. The worship was incredible. Hearing all of these ladies praise God was something I won't soon forget. Beth visited with us about our inheritance in God. It was powerful.

I loved seeing Beth-we all got our picture made with her. She had her two girls with her and we bloggers got a special chance after her last talk to sit in a question and answer period. Very fun! I have to tell you all that even though I loved seeing and hearing Beth, my favorite part was before and after the picture shoot with her. You see, I got to visit with "Boo Mama"

Boo Mama has always been one of my favorite blog sites. I love her writing style, precious stories about her comings and goings, and her incredible testimony on the internet. I also felt somewhat connected because she and my husband and about 10 others went to Africa together in February with Compassion International. (My husband, Phil, got to meet our little adopted girl there-Doreen which was so precious) Anyway, I and my Coffee Group friends just marched ourselves up to Boo Mama and before I knew it, I was in a big bear hug with her. I just love that woman even though it was the first time we had officially seen each other in person. Isn't it neat that those that love the Lord have such a common bond that we can't help but love each other.

So to recap the weekend:

Cost of hotel: $244, plus $38 to park; Drive to and from Abilene:12 hours (we had lots of potty breaks); loss of sleep: 4 hours; Friday night supper time: 10 pm on the river walk; Grossness: huge rat on said river walk; Hair: wet and dripping from rain in San Antonio; Walking to and from and all around the Alamodome: three hundred miles (I am exaggerating somewhat, but I didn't have my pedometer so I had to estimate), water for sale in Alamodome: warm and $3.75 a bottle.

Hearing Beth and meeting BooMama: priceless!

Recap of Beth Moore's San Antonio Event

Anytime I want to 'summarize' something (in quotes because y'all KNOW I don't do brief very well at all) I sit for 10 minutes with my fingers on the keyboard not knowing how to start. And you can be sure that a weekend with my Coffee Group peeps listening to Beth Moore is HARD to summarize.

For the record -- our trip wasn't intended to be a Coffee Group trip. It was intended to be 'friends-that-could-make-it' trip. And it ended up being Coffee Group and Robin -- who we consider to be our publicity manager, anyway. So, it turned into a Coffee Group trip. But we invited many other folks to go with us. No doubt, the weekend before school starts is a horrible time to be gone. I had to get a friend to take my kid to 'Meet the Teacher'! How much of a crummy mom am I? Oh, but the word I heard from Beth tells me I am NOT crummy, I am an heiress. (I'm not exactly sure that my son's teacher was thinking an heiress wouldn't even stick around to go with her kid to school).

For me to say it was AMAZING to be in a ginormous arena with thousands of women is a miracle of the Lord in the first place -- y'all know I'm not about the crowds or the huge factor. But, truly, for 10,000 women to be worshipping together -- just a little taste of what the book of Revelation says is coming, friends. Can you just not wait? Okay, Beth did talk a little about heaven, but my life NOW is what really stuck with me.

Many of the things that really touched me have already been mentioned on this blog:

  • We must never allow ministry to take the place of intimacy with God. It occurred to me today -- if we're doing that, we are making it ministry to OURSELVES, not God. If He isn't in it, it isn't for Him. hmmmmm...

  • Your boundary line will never go any higher than our intimacy with God.

That last one really got me, since that is where I am suffering right now. Beth put up the following illustration for Psalm 16:6: "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." The box represents our own personal boundary lines, the whole of our lives. All of the 'outside words' are what create our boundary lines -- that are in pleasant places! Boundary lines that are the way God would have them! But our bondary can never go any higher than our intimacy with God.

In talking about our past, Beth also mentioned that we cannot become the identity of our past pain. That really struck a chord with me -- because it's so tempting to do: to drag around hurts that life has burdened us with. But that isn't claiming the victory over those things that God offers.

She also said, "We worship out of the reality of our present." Whether that's pain, doubt, joy, or praise -- we worship where we are. Loved that. And, before I go away from the box illustration, she also mentioned that any place inside your boundary that you haven't fully given over to God, Satan is on. "Satan is on your LAND!!" she yelled! :-) Think about THAT!

In thinking back over the weekend I just have a smile on my face -- not only for my word from the Lord via Beth, but time with my friends. What a wonderful time. So amazing. I do have to say that in my notes, I took A LOT of notes in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Because, BETH? Have you NOTICED??? She TALKS in CAPITAL!! LETTERS!! A LOT!!!

We were also able to attend a 'Fiesta' for bloggers (although chips, salsa, and festive colored crepe paper were all conspicuously absent from the fiesta) that Beth and her two girls came to. We took pictures with them by groups, then they sat and "chatted" (much like The Coffee Group does when we speak!!) with the crowd and answered some questions. I did love hearing the 3 Moore women interact. Amanda is SO precious and sweet and soft-spoken, and what I would LOVE to be, and Melissa let me see that 'telling-it-like-it-is' (like I tend to do) can be funny and beautiful, too. She and I are alot alike. Other than the fact that I'm probably 40 pounds heavier, 6 inches shorter, and have strawberry blond to her rockin' brunette hair -- we're EXACTLY alike! :-)

And, since I tell it like it is, I'm gonna throw this out there: we have all heard how awesome it was, and I would venture to say that every woman in there was nodding with Beth and loving what she was bringing, but girls, we have got to be Jesus out in the crowds, too. I was saddened, and in one instance that I won't detail here, apalled to see us 'scratching and clawing' our way to the front of lines and in prime spots in the crowd. What hurt my heart most was that we were all wearing armbands that let all of San Antonio know what we were doing. One man stopped Denise and me and asked what in heaven's name was going on at the Alamodome. When I told him it was a Bible study, I dearly hoped he hadn't been trampled by an armband-clad woman on a quest for her grande caramel latte'. Oh, you knew I couldn't leave here without preaching!

Here are thousands of women (and about 7 brave men) praising the Lord, arms outstretched, and the words on the screen (that we are singing) are, "Here in the power of Christ I stand!" Amen and amen...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

See You On The Beach

Yall, know I'm not as eloquent as Tammy. Or nearly the writer that Sarah is but I still wanted to put down some impressions from this weekend.

1. Beth Moore is good live! She is funnier, more real, and smaller. I teared up when she touched that baby's head Friday night. I would want to be her friend no matter what.

2. My girlfriends keep me honest. We don't pretend with each other. We can show our insides and the world doesn't fall apart. I can hear Beth talking about crisis in some one's life and think of one of us. It will bring me before the throne everytime.

3. Our Theology Hasn't Become Our Reality. When Beth said this, I wrote it down in BIG letters. I'm pretty sure it isn't original with her but this is where I live alot of the time. I'm praying for the LORD to change my heart cause my cynicism is funny but sometimes it gets in the way. It can leave me feeling empty and wondering why.

4. Get in your Word, Girl! Like Tammy, I want more God. I want more intimacy with the LORD. Beth told us this weekend that our anointing will never go above our intimacy. I want the Anointing! I want the Intimacy! I need to be with Him to receive either.

5. BooMama almost made me cry when she talked about Phil and how much he loves Donna. Yes, it was that tender (no cynicism intended.)

6. When I get to heaven, my property will be on the beach. I've been saying this for years and Beth confirmed it! Yall will come to me to get your cabana, chaise, towel, water bottle, whatever.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalms 34:1

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Fresh Word God Gave Me

Two days of studying the Word with Beth Moore in San Antonio. There was a river made for walkin' but I would have rather been in my bible with my friends than anywhere else. The catch word was Inheritance, one of the really cool things that she showed us in scripture is that we, God's people, are His inheritance. It reminded me of Sally Fields accepting her Academy Award, when she said, "You like me, you really like me." That was how I felt about hearing that of all the things God loves, He loves His people most. He loves each one of us enough to call us His inheritance, and really mean it.
I learned so much this weekend, have about 10 pages of notes and many new underlined scriptures that mean so much more to me than they did just 3 days ago. I had told my friends to anticipate the fresh word God would give them this weekend. I knew He had a word for each of us. He had a place in our hearts that we needed to give over to him with finality. The word He laid on my heart was discipline. The words at the top of my In the Grip of Grace Blog are, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7
I chose that scripture to head the top of my blog because I knew I would see it each day and it would call me to places I have not been to. I love each word in that scripture, but what it says to me is that to reach the intimacy with God I strive for, never being complete until He calls me home, but seeking to be closer to Him each day I need to be self-disciplined.
What does self-disciplined mean to me? Jesus must be first in my life in every way. Self-disciplined means to me that when it is easier to go along with a crowd I must not, it means that when I want to sleep in and for go my quiet time with God first thing in the morning, I must not, it means that when I am faced with a difficult situation I must choose the path that God is on, probably harder, but much more everlasting. Most of all it means to me when someone is unlovable I must love them, because that is what loving like Jesus is about. Very importantly it means that I must be disciplined enough to pass on what God has taught me to my own children.
Most of this is out of my ability, but if it doesn't require a supernatural intervention for God then it would be from me and who wants to settle for that, my kids and family need more than I am able to give them, I need to call on God to guide me through this and with His power I can do all these.
Self-Discipline is tough. I loved what someone told me a couple of weeks ago, they were relaying a story they had heard. A man and a wife were in marriage counseling and the counselor asked the woman if she was committed to work on her marriage and she said she would "try." The counselor then asked the woman to go "try" to pick up a chair across the room, she did, she walked right across that room and picked up that chair. With a sense of accomplishment on her face she looked back at the counselor and he told her to put the chair down, she did it wrong, he asked her again, "try" to pick up the chair, so she picked it up again....the story finishes up that there really is no trying, we either do it or we don't. She was either committed to her marriage or she wasn't there is no trying, that is just a wimpy way of saying I really don't want to do this but I want to save face and say I will try.

I will leave with a great quote from Beth, "We must never allow ministry to take away from our intimacy with Jesus." I have to set aside that time to give to God. For me it should be the very first thing, not after I get a couple things done around my house or on the computer, but first means first. The first fruit of my day belongs to God, not something I have left over in the middle of the afternoon. That is a great time for me to study on top of my first fruit offering, but not in its stead. Instead of fitting God in He gets the prime spot. He is so worthy.

Thank you God for calling me to a spirit of power, love and self discipline.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Slacker

Have you been Slacking for the summer? Laid off the exercising? Not made a menu or planned a meal? Picked up your Bible for church only? Forgotten where the vacuum is kept?

Yeah. Me, too.

I had been very good about reading my Bible everyday and spending time in prayer. I had my clock set to get up before everybody else and put God at the beginning of my day. Then summer hit and sleeping in sounded really good. So I did. Hit the snooze and slept instead of talking to the Father. Turned on the Today show instead of reading about Jesus.

Think of this as a confession - I've been on a better path for 1 week now. I would appreciate some accountability from my friends.

Now I'm encouraging you. It seems like the beginning of a school year is always a good time to start over or begin a new project. You can make a decision for your growth, get someone to be accountable to, and get moving.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


today on heartlight

Years ago in the days of small children in diapers, car seats, sippy cups, and pacifiers, I learned a valuable lesson of forgiveness. It was one of those ridiculously busy times in our life. My husband was drowning in work and church obligations and I was going stir crazy with the little ones at home and had my own share of church obligations.

In the middle of one of those weeks, we were trying to all get out the door for our mid-week service at church. Of course, at church, we all had what seemed to be 437 different obligations, and my husband had a meeting after church. I was still rushing to finish cleaning up from dinner so I asked him to go ahead and take the kids to church since we needed two separate cars there anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed a few kid-free moments and took my time finishing up.

I wandered up to church and stopped and visited with some friends in the hall. As I was passing the classroom where my younger child should have been in class, I quizzed a dad standing outside the class, "He's in there, right?" He seemed baffled, "No, I saw your daughter and her friend taking your son upstairs." Well, that's weird. Maybe I should go check on that.

I climbed the stairs and began walking the hall. The first classroom I came to had the lights on – and one very dejected almost-two-year old alone in the room. It was the classroom he attended on Sunday nights. It was Wednesday. I can still see his chubby little cheeks and sad eyes that must have wondered what in heaven's name he had done to be left alone for Bible class. I got him all squared away where he should have been, and tried to go on with my evening.

But I was angry. Actually, I was FURIOUS. Knowing it would be a very long time before I had an opportunity to talk to my husband, I did a very thoughtless thing. I went to the door of the room where he was in Bible class and asked him to meet me in the hall. When he got there, I unleashed with both barrels about how I couldn't believe he would let our 3 1/2 year old take our 1 1/2 year old to class and not CHECK that all were where they should be. Strangely (or not) he didn't respond very well to that particular approach at conflict resolution. He failed to apologize, muttered something about "Well, that's just one more thing I've messed up lately!" and stormed off.

Fine. I finished all I needed to and took the kids home. I got them all tucked in bed and collapsed on my bed. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I KNEW that the Lord would want me to forgive and I hoped my will would roll out of my head with the tears rolling down my cheeks.
However, stubborn soul that I am, I really thought I had a fairly good argument for NOT forgiving: "Lord, I have felt ignored and cast aside from him lately. I can forgive that. But, Father, that is my baby boy. He ignored him. I vow to you, Father, that I will honor my vow to you and my husband. I will not leave him, but, Lord, I don't think I can ever forgive him. It's my baby boy!"

As the sobs quieted and the words of rage finally left my body, I heard it. No, there was no audible voice in my room. But words came into my head. Words that were not at all in line with my will, but His word: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)

I gasped and cried some more. For His message was clear to me at that moment: "That was MY baby boy. If I can forgive YOU for all the things you have done to put him on that cross, you can certainly forgive the man you love for something your baby boy will never remember."
I was humbled, repentant, and sorrowful. With a few words the Lord reminded me of His holiness and my humanness. How could I possibly be so unforgiving of another human when the Lord of the universe was willing to watch His own baby boy suffer and die to forgive me for everything – every thoughtless sin, every willful sin, sins he knew I would commit later, all of them!

I wish I could say that was the last time I have ever been tempted to draw a line in the sand and tell God, "I will love this person, but I will NOT forgive them." I still have those fleeting thoughts, but they are just that – fleeting. I can be incredibly stubborn and a generally slow learner about life lessons, but it's hard to ignore or forget being reprimanded by the Lord of heaven and earth! "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14).

Interview with William P. Young, the author of the Shack

Yesterday was the blogger's phone conference with William P. Young, the author of The Shack. The way it worked was; 10 bloggers were asked to submit questions for Mr. Young, who goes by Paul, not William. Then the coordinator organized a schedule of who would ask their question when. Each of us were given a phone number where we would call and punch in a code number that would enter us into a huge conference call. We could hear each other speak. It was very well organized and so much fun to be a part of. There will be a link to hear the call yourself and when I get that I will post it.
My question was first, thanks to Jana B. for suggesting it. Where did the inspiration come from for heaven and the garden of your soul? Mr. Young responded that over the centuries garden's have been used in literature to represent the soul...he took his inspiration from past literature.
Some tidbits of info I learned yesterday. The first printing for The Shack was for 15 copies. Mr. Young's wife had suggested he write a story for his kids that shared with them his thoughts. He wrote this book for them. He has 6 children, gave a book to each child and one to his wife, then others to some close friends. When he started receiving feedback on the book from his friends, they suggested he publish the book. No one would publish it, so together they formed a publishing company and published it themselves. The total advertising budget thus far on The Shack has been $300.
2 million books have been sold.

Mr. Young said that the characters of MacKenzie and Missy were really based mostly on his life. He was abused as a child and he said that he takes Mackenzie on a journey in the Shack that lasts one weekend, but it was based on his journey in his own shack, the place of healing for him which took 11 years.

Mr. Young refers to himself as an accidental author. He would write stories as gifts to people, but never dreamed that he would ever have a published work. He gives all the credit to the Lord, and said that he is happy to follow along and just carry the bags.

The entire interview process was very interesting. Many questions were asked about the controversy of the book, how he chose the name of Sarayu, why he chose to make God a woman. Each answer was articulate and the entire time Mr. Young was speaking of his love for scripture and the love of Christ. Once I get the podcast address I will post it so you can hear the whole interview.

If you haven't read The Shack yet, it is certainly worth your time. I think that I am ready for round 2.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Original Transformer

Who is who in the characature above? Left to right, Donna, Sarah, Judy, Denise and Tammy (me). Thanks again to Jen at Blue Yonder who made our blog beautiful and fun.

On Sunday nights at our church I am in a bible study called "Discerning God's Voice," by Priscilla Shirer. Each video has been exceptional and the homework has been simple but insightful. I love this study. Anyway, last night Priscilla spoke in the video about the importance of seeking God, she called it pressing into Him. As believers we have to ask ourselves do we seek God for what He can give us, our long list of prayer requests, or ultimately do we seek Him to know Him and His character. Priscilla uses an example of how she has 2 brothers. She and her sister would on occasion have girls befriend them with the ultimate reason being they wanted to get to know the brothers. She said those friendships wouldn't last, once the new friends discovered that they couldn't get close to the brothers, the friendship would end. Then Priscilla contrasted that with friends who just wanted to be their friends with nothing in return. Just get to know each other, spend time together, share each others lives. Those are the friendships that last.

I would have to say that the more I get to know God, my prayer list has changed. I just want Him, and I want everyone else to know and want Him too. That makes me want to devour His Word, be in scripture, make it my priority, be open to the Holy Spirit and pray. Priscilla quoted someone last night that said the more you know of God, the clearer His voice is. The bible is full of what God wants us to know about Him, we press into Him. Then it is up to God. For it is He who grows us and transforms us. Seek and ye will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Seek God with all of your heart. He does the transforming, answering, opening and finding. Peace. Out.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Look!

Y'all! Check us out! Don't we look good?? Special thanks to Jen at blue yonder design for our awesome new look. WE TOLD YOU changes were coming! More on the way, and keep praying!

Monday, July 21, 2008

And a Need...

As Coffee Group continues to forge new ground (for us) we are seeking people (men and women alike) who would commit to being on the Coffee Group Prayer Team. We don't know all that the Lord has in store for us, but we want to be sure to hear where He is taking us! Email me if you would be willing to be a prayer warrior for us -- and we will keep you posted about our prayer needs!

sstirman [at] gmail [dot] com

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Change Is In the Air!

No, it's not the weather. That is hot and dry with a forecast of hot and dry for the next two months or so. No change there. But while the weather isn't doing much exciting, God continues to lead The Coffee Group beyond anything we could have imagined! So, just a tease for now... keep coming by for exciting things!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Word from The Word

God gave me this verse this morning:

Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16

It speaks directly to a current concern and worry, and tells me, yet again, "Child, I have you in the palm of my hand. That's not only where I hold you, but where your NAME is engraved. I am caring for you, your family, and every need. No worries."

No worries.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Too Busy?

Have you ever thought that you just couldn't do it all? That you can't add one more thing to your to-do list? Do you spend the day running from one thing to the next? Are you in charge of too many projects already? Are you doing too many projects already?

And then someone asks you to do another.

It's a good thing - teach at Vacation Bible School, make a meal for a sick church member, work at Field Day at your child's school, be the secretary for PTA, clean up a sick lady's yard. But can you add anything else? You start to think that you can handle it. You would even be really good at it. You may be the best at it.

Today Randy Harris told a funny joke in our Sunday School class. He stated that it was told to him by a hermit - and you always listen when a hermit tells a joke.

A man went every month to see his spiritual mentor and get guidance. It was a regular appointment but this day the man was just too busy! There were lots of wonderful things that the man just had to do! How could he make time to talk about his spiritual life?! So, the man decided to make it a quick visit - get in, get out.

The man went to see his mentor and the mentor asked how it was going. Fine, great said the man. Nothing to talk about today. Hmmmm. The mentor was somewhat surprised but accepted the man's explanation. Whew! The man knew he would have time to get to his next task, meeting, job.... Oh, but he did want his Bible verses - his mentor always gave him verses to meditate on for the coming month. The mentor gave him just one verse. Just one? This was unusual but the man had to go!

In his car, he wanted to know what the verse was. Of course, his dome light was out, but he needed to know that verse! So the man got out of the car to read it using his headlights:

Are you the Messiah or should we look for another?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Alta Mesa Pics

Here are some pictures from our Alta Mesa Ladies Retreat. The decorations were so much fun. The Super 7 did a great job of planning and decorating!
Here is the goody basket that they put together for us! It was filled with awesome goodies, but the best part were the personalized notes to each of us from each woman on the planning team. It was such a blessing to have each note.

Here were just some of the drawing give aways for the ladies who came to the retreat. There were so many fun baskets and bags.

Here is one of the ladies who helped with the registration table. Her daughter, Diane, is a good friend of ours in Abilene.

This is my cousin's wife Karise. She was given a sweet gift from her friends and church family. Her husband (my cool cuz) took a job at a different congregation. I know that they loved their time with Alta Mesa and it was a very hard decision to move. Karise had quite a few surgeries this last year and I know that her church sisters ministered to her in so many ways. (Karise's doctor told her she no longer had any optional parts inside of her anymore, everything was a must keep)

This was a fun game. Each table had to come up with a "coffee themed" sentence. The best table won a prize.

Here are some of the Coffee Group. The top picture is of one of our friends' mom with Donna, "Anne's Mom", Sarah and Judy.

We had a great time with our sisters at Alta Mesa. One of the main messages that we try and impart is that we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all need each other. The importance of being real with our community of believers is part of the New Testament Church. Mourning and rejoicing with those who we walk along side during this time on earth is part of what we are called in to as followers of Jesus. Satan would have us just be too busy to stop and find a friend, and if we do find a friend, he would try and keep us quiet and not bare each others burdens. Don't fall for Satan's trap of loneliness, seek and pray for a godly friend.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Where Is That From?

Well, I'm finally on the Coffee Group blog! I finally feel like I've got something to say....

While at the Alta Mesa retreat I mentioned a favorite quote from an old Acappella CD (cassette tape really.) On the CD a voice says,

"I have come that you might have life and you might have it more abundantly!"
And then it goes into a song. At the retreat Donna thought it might be Marshall Keebler, a rather famous African-American preacher. I decided to ask a, hopefully, trustworthy source -George Pendergrass.
George was singing with Acappella at the time and I thought he might know where it came from. When asked who had said it George told me Jesus Christ. Duh. Another smarty-pants in my life! I knew Jesus said it, George! (John 10:10) George told me that it was his voice on the recording and they had great fun doing it.
Just wanted to set that straight. We had a great time working with George yesterday painting a little lady's house. It would appear that singing isn't his only talent!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Fellowship of the Unashamed

Tammy reads this as part of her talk at almost every Coffee Group speaking engagement! And you will see why it strikes such a cord with people. She gets frequent requests for it to be printed, etc., so we are simply putting it one more place for people to see. Be blessed:

"I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My banner will be clear!

-Found among the papers of a young Zimbabwe pastor after he was martyred

Monday, April 28, 2008

Heading East...

This Friday we are headed to Alta Mesa Church of Christ to do a ladies retreat for them. It's been very odd -- every time we mention at church that we are headed to Alta Mesa, we hear, "Oh, really? My (aunt/ sister/ sister-in-law/ dear friend/ mom/ obscure relative or friend) goes there! I think she said she was going to go to the retreat!" So, we can't wait to meet more of our family! Very exciting! (Check out their logo and video on that page!! I LOVE to see what all people do with their theme! Creativity -- as I've mentioned -- not my gift!)

As always, getting out of town is tough! Businesses and work loom over us about what all MUST be done before we leave, and if not before we leave, then before we return (which, in essence...) Families need to be squared away and daddies that don't usually do the 'cruise directing' are left in charge of shuttling and managing. Ministries are left to shuffle around and replace us. Just lots of life going on.

Say a prayer for us, as we get all of our lives settled and set in motion, while potentially hearing a word from the Lord that He would like us to pass on to the wonderful ladies of Alta Mesa. Kind of seems like a tall order, doesn't it? It is! Pray also for the ladies of Alta Mesa, some of whom are working so hard to prepare for this event so that those ladies may hear words from the Lord, as well as draw closer to each other.

As much as it is on our 'to-do list', it's always a little like Christmas: we KNOW the Lord will show up, and we can't wait to see what He will do with our time! You know we'll tell you all about it here!

Friday, April 11, 2008

A&M Church of Christ Ladies Retreat

A week ago today the Coffee Group almost to the minute the Coffee Group was meeting to leave town to head to College Station. After we all gathered together, we realized that 4 out of 5 of us had not eaten anything that day, so we headed to Rosa's for a quick lunch. After a 90 second drive we all piled out of the car. Not even a 2 minute drive from our meeting place and we were already stopping. There is nothing worse than 4 starving and cranky women in a car together for hours, so you just gotta do what you just gotta do.

On our way to College Station we laughed and talked. God has blessed us with friends who embrace each of our similarities and love our differences, so there is always plenty of fun to be had. I don't know how Schwann's came up but it did, and Donna mentioned that her families favorite cold treat was a minty, chocolatey bar. Someone said, wouldn't it be cool if we saw a Schwann's truck in the next town. We stopped at a gas station/convenience mart to use the facilities and wouldn't you know it that a Schwann's truck pulled up as we were all getting back into the van. So Judy hopped right out and bought a box of frozen treats. There were 20 frozen treats in the box. There were 5 of us gals. Now although we all like us some chocolate, and those treats were ONLY 60 calories each, we couldn't even come close to finishing the box. We kept our eyes open as to who might like some frozen treats, after all it was a warm day and the sun was shining...who wouldn't want a frozen treat? Fort Hood jumped right out at us, and after asking Denise to turn the car around we headed into the driveway of Fort Hood. The security men asked us for our identification and instead we gave him ice cream. They were VERY excited. After they x-rayed the treats I am sure they ate every last bit. That was so much fun.

Then we arrived at our hotel and in our rooms were hospitality gifts from the church and a nice note to welcome us to College Station.

We went to the A&M Church that night to see where we would be speaking that next day, go over our seating and familiarize ourselves with sound and microphones. The place was full of hustle and bustle with women of the church getting the Aggies For Christ Gym set up for all the ladies the next day.

Here are some pictures of the Retreat Day.

Here is Donna, Essie Childers (one of the co-coordinators of the retreat) and Sarah. One of the ladies of the church embroidered aprons with the theme of the day for all the coordinators.

Here is Donna standing next to Yogi Bear on the way home.

This is a beautiful church that we have driven past to go to a couple of retreats. Each time we drive by Denise and I comment how beautiful it is. This time Denise stopped so I could take a picture.

Praise God for his faithfulness and blessings over the weekend of travelling and showing up BIG for the retreat.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

College Station

We returned last night about 10 p.m. from a wonderful day in College Station with the ladies at the A&M Church of Christ. What a precious and fun group of women! AND -- oh, my stars, the decorations! I love to see it when people are gifted with creativity in that way because it is SO not my gift! I could go on and on about the women we met and the connections we made or re-made as God had us forge new paths and cross old paths with women.

I'll be perfectly honest -- this schedule is hard on my body. I spent the last 7 days going to bed about 11 and getting up at 4:30 or 5 and on Saturday and Sunday I was blessed to sleep all the way to 6. I'm sure for some of you that's a vacation, but I can't keep that up for too terribly long. So, very soon I will be in my pajamas under the covers recuperating from the last week. And, yes, I am forsaking baby showers and gatherings to do that, which is very unlike me. But before I crawl under the covers, I will kneel in gratitude. I still can't believe that the Lord is using me to speak His word, tell His story, and witness His healing in women's lives again and again. I will give up all manner of sleep (for as long as I physically can) to be able to join in His work -- and then I will pray to be physically strengthened so that I may still continue.

To the ladies at A&M: thank you for allowing us as a group to join you in your day. Thank you for sharing your tears and laughter with us. Thank you for showing us a group of women who love big and loud with each other.

And: For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen the ladies of A&M church with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in all of your hearts through faith. And I pray that the ladies of A&M church, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that each of you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Adapted from Ephesians 3:14-21

Inside Jokes

When we traveled this weekend, Donna mentioned that we should write down all of the hilarious things that happen on a trip so that when we're too old to still travel or remember what happened, we'll have those memories! So, only my peeps will get most of this, but here is my list of what I most want to remember from the College Station trip of '08:

  • Accosting the Schwann's man in Hamilton
  • Giving away our Schwann's stuff to the guards at Fort Hood
  • Missing a photo op with Yogi Bear
  • TURN LEFT HERE! (screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech)
  • A surprise visit from Maggie
  • "Doesn't she know that I'm Judy Hampton-Suites?"
  • Judy's phone ringing IN THE MIDDLE OF US TALKING with the ringtone, "I'm too sexy for my shirt..."
  • "Well, I thought she was just name-dropping, but now it all makes sense."