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Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Post for 2011

I pray you had a wonderful Christmas break!  

2012 is right around the corner and anticipation is high regarding all the possibilities that lie ahead for each of us. 

Now is the time that many who participate are writing out their New Year's Resolutions.  

We like resolutions because we want to be challenged, we want to grow, we want to find ourselves at the end of 2012 better and wiser people.

So here is one somewhat simple yet life changing challenge you can take along with myself and many others- Reading God's Word in it's entirety this next year.

The One Year Chronological Bible is our book of choice and I love that it is written in an easy to understand translation (New Living Translation) and it breaks down the daily reading to about 15 minutes a day.  Now that's doable!

So if you do not have one you can click here to order it or you can download one onto your smart phone or tablet here.

I pray you all have a prosperous, God filled, and Happy New Year!!

And thank you for reading this blog this past year.  Your support and comments have blessed me more than you know. 

Much love,

p.s.  For those waiting for their Bible to come in I will post on Sunday the first week's reading so you can begin reading with us and not fall behind. :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm Still Standing

What do you do when you plan, strategize, pray, and believe for things to happen... and they don't?

Well, when this year began 363 days ago I was certain there were a few things I would see major changes in during 2011. Some of those things were personal to me, and some of them were dealing with where we live, and some were dealing with our church. 

It's a good thing I am not a betting person because none of them, I repeat, none of them came to fruition over this past year. 

A personal goal I set... 

Didn't happen. 

Moving closer to Alachua and our church... 

Didn't happen. 

And a church building ready to go up that we so desperately need... 

Didn't happen. 

So, what do you do when you have done all you can and nothing seems to be working the way you had hoped? 

Remember, Redirect, and Reflect. 

#1 Remember- Things could be worse.  I know it is such a cliché but it is so true.  I am alive to have another year to work on my personal goals.  I have a home that I love and a car to drive to Alachua everyday. Our church is filled with the most giving, caring, and loving people who weekly take our temporary home (a school cafeteria) and turn it into an amazing sanctuary where countless lives, marriages, and homes have been changed. 

#2 Redirect- Paul said it best... No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13 & 14 (NLT)

Your past is in the past and nothing can change it.  But you can change or redirect your focus to what is ahead.

#3 Reflect- Ok, this is the one time I am going to say it's ok to look back.  So, go ahead, look at the past and examine it by questioning whether or not some of the reasons your plans didn't morph into reality were due to anything you could have done differently. If so, make the changes needed to change the outcome of your situation.  

But what if you have already done all you can do and still nothing changed?  

Then stand. 

We often quote this scripture to ourselves and others when we feel like we aren't seeing results from our prayers or our labor, Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 KJV 

How many times in life have we let everyone know we no longer wanted to participate in something by saying,  I'm gonna sit this one out.?

Sitting is so much easier than standing, fighting, playing, working, or believing. But simply put, you will never win in life by sitting. 

So, if at the close of 2011 you find yourself like me with goals not yet achieved, moves not yet made, or buildings not yet built, keep standing because our God is a god of timing not time. 

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV) 

Like this year for me, next year we may and we may not see our hopes, our dreams, or our prayers come to fruition, but I pray we'll always...

remember the good, 

continually redirect our energy to what's ahead, 

and no matter how tempting it is to sit, keep standing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

My sheep know my voice and a stranger they will not follow. John 10

To this day I can walk in a room teeming with people, conversations, and laughter, and piercing though all the noise a clearing of the throat can be heard, probably only by me, and in that moment I know my dad is here. 

After 18 years of living with and being raised by my parents I have learned my father's voice and can still know when he is near, even when I can't see him. 

This last week of Christmas we will be surrounded by the sounds of laughter, conversations, music, cash registers, and unwrapping of gifts. Still in all the noise our Father is near. 

He's always near. 

He's near to the brokenhearted. Psalm 34:1 


He's near to all who call on him. Psalm 145:18 

Over 2000 years ago we were so far from God that he sent His Son to us, to walk with us, to teach and train us, to redeem us, so we could be... near. 

And although we might not see God in the noise this week... 

our Father is near. 

He's always near.

Do you hear what I hear?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Final Countdown

Christmas Countdown

Although we have known for months that Christmas was coming, and we have made our lists and checked them more than twice, still over 40% of us have not completed our holiday shopping.

So with the final countdown underway I thought I’d share a few tips that may help you ease the stress this week when it comes to finding those perfect last minute gifts.  

#1 Make it yourself
Most of us are baking cookies, specialty breads, and holiday candy this week.  Buy a cute little goody box or tin (Wal-Mart has them for a great price) and give the gift you know they will enjoy. 

Homemade granola is some of my favorite things to give. Place granola in a little clear glass container and add a red ribbon.  You’re done!  The recipe found here is pretty close to the one I make.

Here's one a dear friend gave me last year.  It was so cute and quite delish!!

#2 Give a service or experience
Make gift certificates for baby-sitting your friend's kids or for detailing your spouse’s car.  

If you have a specialty like cooking fabulous meals or cutting hair, those are also great things to offer on a gift certificate.  Get creative and think outside the box.  If you do your gift will definitely be one of a kind and VERY much appreciated!! 

#3 Shop your closet
There are two schools of thought here for me.  One is that if you just received a new gift you know you will never use, then by all means pass it along.  If, and only if, you feel the person receiving the gift will appreciate and use it.  

The second school of thought for me is this, I personally LOVE to receive 'pre-owned' gifts that have meant something to the person passing it along to me.  Some of my most prized possessions were handed down to me from family members and I can’t think of anything I would rather have to remember my loved ones by.   

So if you give something of sentimental value to you, make sure you let the recipient know where you got it from, how long you owned it and why you have loved it so much. They will forever cherish it!!

#4 Embrace gift cards
I love that you can now purchase gift cards to anywhere in your very own grocery store.  No more running to 10 different places!!  Usually near the checkout is where you'll find a rack full of the most popular retail shops, online stores such as iTunes & Amazon, and restaurants.  So as you finish up your grocery shopping this week pick up that last minute gift for your uncle, you know, the one who already has everything.

And my last couple of tips for this week…


Don’t stress about the things you can’t change…


And remember, the most important things in life are not things.  

Enjoy the last week of our 2011 Christmas Season!!

Merry Christmas,

Friday, November 25, 2011

To Face Unafriad

Last night numerous people gave up sleep and the comfort of a warm bed for just a chance to purchase that perfect gift for their nearest and dearest at rock bottom prices.  Some succeeded, some failed.  But in all their attempts I’m sure everyone felt the same emotion… stress.

As this time of the year brings Joy to the World it also brings fears to our hearts and mind.  We fear getting all the shopping, cooking, and decorating done… having enough money to pay for Christmas… making it through the next few weeks without any major meltdowns from the kids… or ourselves.

I can’t help but think how stressful Joseph had to feel the moment Mary looked at him and said, I think it’s time.   

With no hospitals to take her to or rooms in the inns his thoughts had to bounce from this can’t be happening now to this baby deserves more than to be born in the filth and stench of a stable to I am such an inadequate husband and father.

But Mary, the Bible says, treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). Although she held Christ in her arms that night, she held Him closer in her heart.

So as we move into the greatest and last season of 2011, like Mary let’s purpose to focus on the greatest gift and treasure we will ever receive or give, the only gift that can fully satisfy, the only gift that can give peace in our frazzled lives, they only gift that is the perfect gift. 

And instead of decorating all the rooms in our house this year, let’s decorate our lives with kindness, joy, patience, peace, and love for others.

In John 14 Jesus tells his disciples these two things that I think will help us enjoy this most wonderful time of the year…

Don’t let your hearts be troubled, Trust in God, and trust also in me… I am leaving you with a gift- peace of mind and peace of heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:1 & 27)

We can face unafraid the plans we have made if we take time to do what Mary did on that first Holy Night… treasure and ponder...


Merry Christmas,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Greatest Book Ever Written

Alarming but true... For the most part, many church attenders only read the Word once a week... Sundays as they follow along with the Pastor.

We love God.  We serve God.  We try to obey God.  But the one thing that helps us the most in our daily walk with God (reading and learning His Word) is the one thing we seem to do the least. 

We all at one time or another have struggled to set aside time to read the one thing that can change everything for our good.

Sometimes our list of Important-Things-To-Do can be so backwards.

We find time to shop, watch our favorite shows on the greatest of high def TV's, read our favorite authors, spend time with the greatest friends.  All of which are VERY important, especially the first one. (smiles)

I have always said, You make time to do what you want to do.

For instance, you might not be an early bird, but you let your favorite purse go on sale at 5am and you'll be the first in line (and I'll be right behind ya).  

Or let the first day of hunting season roll around and you'll easily get up at 4am to head to the deep, dark, scary woods (and I WONT be right behind ya). 

But seriously, what does all this have to do with reading the Word?

So glad you asked.  Really I am.

For the past two years CCA and many others have gone on two 365 day journeys through the Word.  This year we are finishing up Solo: An Uncommon Devotional a great devo that teaches you to absorb and mediate on scriptures, communicate with God, and live out the Word daily.
It has been a great experience thus far and we are not finished yet.  But we have come to the time of year when I announce what we will be doing for the next 365 days so everyone can begin to prepare and order their books.
With much prayer and consultation, I have decided for us to go back to our very first book for our 2012 daily reading, The One Year Chronological Bible written in the New Living Translation.  

There are three reasons why I feel this is what we need to do again…
#1 Since we last read through this Bible CCA has had many new people attending who did not get to participate in 2010 and are so hungry for more of the Word.
#2 As with many first-of-the-year-commitments, quite a few people began strong reading through the  Bible, and I want to give them another opportunity to finish what they started.  It's a great feeling of accomplishment when you turn that last 1668th page knowing you read every last one of God’s words to you.
#3 Because this particular Bible is written in chronological order it reads more like a novel than just 66 separate books placed in one big book.  And the New Living Translation is one of the easiest to read and understand.  So with these two things coupled together I know it will help anyone who struggles to read the Word on more than just Sundays.
So, will you join us January 1, 2012 as we commit to15 minutes a day of reading THE GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN?
CCA, if you would like for us to order yours, please email info@ccalachua.com to let us know how many you will need.  The cost is $15 each.
If you do not attend CCA and would LOVE to journey with us, you can order your Bible by clicking here.
Now I'm off to write out a Christmas list, or two... Tis the season to be preparing.

p.s. These make great stocking stuffers too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas in October

Last Friday night we hosted our very first Leading & Loving It North Central FL meeting and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!!

Thank you to Lori Wilhite and her team for the great leadership they provide through Leading and Loving It.  It is a great honor to be a part of encouraging, inspiring, and ministering to ladies who share the same calling of either working in ministry, supporting their husband/pastor, or both.  

Our theme was Christmas in October and the main point of the night was to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits for the dazing days fastly approaching, also known as The Holidays.

I shared with all the ladies how we can face unafraid the plans we have made this yearI also shared how we can wake up on December 26th completely satisfied in Christ knowing we allowed Him to center us over the previous 25 days. 

Of course we began with a fun Christmas get-to-know-you game to which we found out not one lady there had ever made Figgy Pudding.  I guess it is just one of those things that we'd rather sing about than eat.

We followed that by a fabulous meal and one more fun game where 6 ladies paired up, and using only one of their hands had to wrap a Christmas present together.  The winning team received some Holiday Bath and Body Works products.  (Nothing says Christmas like Winter Candy Apple.  LOVE IT!!)

Next we ate some amazingly glorious desserts and mixed it up by moving to different tables based on everyone's name tag theme (snow flakes, candy canes, or Christmas trees) for a time of discussion.  This allowed the ladies to really get to know each other and hopefully make a few new friends.

During this time we discussed topics related to Christmas.  It was quite interesting to hear some of their favorite Christmas movies, holiday traditions, and what gets them in the Christmas spirit.

Then our topics for discussion got a little more serious as we shared how we can stay healthy, mentally and spiritually, while ministering to others.  What great wisdom and advice the ladies were able to impart and glean.  I know that many ladies lives will be forever changed as they continue their work in ministry with this new knowledge. EXCITING!!

As we closed the night out I asked my mother-in-law Pat Johns (who has been in ministry for almost 40 years!) to pray over every lady, their homes and their churches.  Not too many dry eyes after that. :)

A great time was had by all 16 ladies representing 6 churches in the North FL area and we can't wait until our next meeting on January 21st!!

If you would like more info about Leading & Loving It N Central FL just click here.

More great pics from the night...

Christmas 'Candy Bar'

Raspberry Tea and Flavored Water
Turkey Croissants w/ Cranberry Mayo,  Pasta, Broccoli, & Pistachio Salads and Pumpkin Muffins

Our accessories for pictures

THANK YOU Caley Porter and Maggie Lizotte for all your help!!!!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Letting Go

I've had multiple conversations lately with people who are going through some stressing times.  Nothing too tragic or life altering, just situations where they are unsure where to go and what to do. 

From today's reading of my Solo Devotional I posted this on Twitter and Facebook:
We will never complete by our own efforts what was begun by God. Let go, & let God do it. 
And I added this in my comments:
One thing I have learned over the years is that when I am trying to run and control it all, I end up stressed & frazzled and I delay the end result. But when I release the control, I have peace and I get to experience God's powerful love for me when He moves the mountains I would never even be able to climb. I have not perfectly mastered letting go... but I'm better at it then I was. :)
Trying not to get too consumed with the what if's in life is easier said than done.  But know this, whatever you are facing today, God will never let you walk this road alone.  Jesus died so you could live in peace free from all fear and anxiety.
The Bible instructs us to be transformed by the renewing your mind (Romans 12:2). So when those thoughts of fear and even death come in your mind, exchange them for God's life-giving truth.

Here are just some of the truths you can use to transform your mind and thoughts today:

Matt 6:25-27 & 34 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt 11:28-30 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Luke 12:25-28  Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

And here is my prayer for you today...
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 

Much love and many prayers for you today,

Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Dimensions of Leadership

Last week I shared this with our leaders at CCA and I wanted to pass it along to you.  Even if you don't lead a team, these 4 dimensions are things we all can apply in our everyday, influential lives.  Even if the only people you influence are your kids at home, this is for you!

I listened to a teaching last week that as soon as I heard it I knew I wanted to share it with you.  It was on the Four Dimensions of Leadership.   Most likely you and I are strong in one of these areas but to be the best leader we can be we will need to be effective in all.

The first one is Self Leadership- This starts and ends with you.  Self leadership means you take ownership and responsibility for your growth as a leader.  I am well aware that most of us are strapped for time each day, and investing hours to deepen our leadership learning just is not possible. So here is one book I try to read every day that gives me a short lesson on leadership allowing me to easily glean and grow, The Maxwell Daily Reader, 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You.  It takes me about 3 minutes to read each day's lesson.

Second is Managerial Leadership-  This kind of leadership is managing everything that is getting done.  This is one we are all probably good at and let me assure you managing is vital because if we are not overseeing and inspecting the job of our teams things can easily begin to unravel.  We need to consistently take a step back, review our processes, inspect the work being completed, and allow God to use us to see any tweaks that need to be done.

Thirdly, Visionary leadership- If this is your strength you naturally give hope and a picture of the future.  The visionary leader always gives the why behind the what when they lead their teams.  

Example:  Visionary leaders don’t just tell their people not to park in the grassy area by the cafeteria, they also explain to their teams why we no longer park in that area.  Here’s the why: Although it is convenient for us to park there, we are growing and we need that space for overflow for our guests and for our people who can’t walk the long distance from the parking lot each week. 

When your team understands the big picture they are more than happy to comply to requests being made and it makes them feel valued when you share details instead of just instructions. 

And our last one is Spiritual leadership-  We need to be praying and investing in how our teams are growing spiritually in their relationship with Christ.  You, as your team’s leader, are a spiritual influence to them.  A couple ways to care for your team is by sharing encouraging words and verses through email or on the days you lead and let them know you pray for them and if they need anything you are there to serve them in any way possible, not just on the days they serve the church.  This is called pastoring your people.  They will love you and appreciate you more when they know you are not just concerned about what they do, but who they are becoming.

So to recap, Self Leadership is modeling, Managerial Leadership is giving direction, Visionary Leadership is giving hope and big pictures, and Spiritual Leadership is giving care.  

And when we lead in these four dimensions we are well on our way to becoming the great leader God’s called us to be.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wonder-Fall Food

As much as I LOVE Fall and love baking Fall goodies like these I have nev-ah ev-ah ventured into the wonderful world of the beloved Butternut Squash... until now.

So today with all this wonder-Fall weather I thought I'd try my hand at roasting this amazingly delish veggie to go with my favorite salad for this time of the year, The Scotto Family Autumn Salad with Apples.

So here is what I did... I just peeled the squash with a quite large potato peeler, then halved it, took out the seeds and diced it into about 3/4 inch cubes.  Mixed them with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and a little Brown Sugar and layered it all on a sheet pan and roasted at 375 degrees until done. 

Now let me just add a little disclaimer...  This is not a recipe I found, but one I have made up.  At the time of this posting the Butternut Squash was still in the oven.  So not even sure it's going to be good.. praying it is!  I'll come back and let you know the results.*

Now on to the salad.  Those who know me well know how much I LOVE salad.  I am not sure why, I just do.  When I saw the Scotto Family make this on TV one morning last year I just knew I had to add it to my recipe collection.  That very day I purchased the ingredients and made it.  Hope you like to too!


1/2 cup walnut halves

6 to 8 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (I am using feta cause it's what's on hand)

2 packages baby spinach, washed and dried

2 heads bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, washed and dried

2 to 3 ripe apples (preferably Gala) skin on, halved, cored, cut into lengthwise 8-inch slices

1/4 cup sun dried cranberries

1 cup apple cider vinaigrette (Recipe Follows)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on cookie sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, crisp and smell rich, about 10 to 14 minutes. 

Put baby spinach and bibb lettuce in a bowl. Lightly dress with vinaigrette so that everything is slightly coated.  Season salad with salt and pepper.  Plate it up and garnish with sliced apples and sun dried cranberries, nuts, and cheese; serve immediately.

For the apple cider vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup excellent quality extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup opal basil leaves or regular basil, cut into thin ribbons

In a small bowl, add Dijon, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Mix together with whisk then stream in extra virgin olive oil whisking all together.  Add basil.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

I pray you all are enjoying this weekend.  Get out there and try some new Fall recipes... even if you have to make one up. 

Life's an adventure made for us to live to the Fallest!!  (I know, bad pun) Smiles

* The results are in... It was AMAZING!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Leading & Loving It

This is something I have wanted to do for YEARS!!! I have even conducted meetings with other women in ministry to plan and strategize for this.

But it just never seemed to be the right time… until NOW!!

A few months ago I was so thrilled to see one of my fav ministries for pastor’s wives and women in ministry Leading & Loving It come up with the fabulous idea to initiate local chapters. To which I quickly signed up to lead the Gainesville, FL area.

It has taken a few more months of God’s timing for it to come to fruition but I am so pleased to announce that Leading & Loving It North Central FL is finally here!!

So, what exactly is L&LINCF?  I am so glad you asked!!  It is a community that connects, encourages, and supports pastors’ wives and women on staff in ministry in the North Central Florida area.

If you have served in ministry any length of time you know it is one of life's greatest joys but at times it can become very difficult to navigate life, marriage, children, home, AND ministry. L&LINCF is here to rejoice with you in your victories and be a source of strength in your difficulties.

So if you are a pastor's wife (lead, youth, worship, children, etc.) or you yourself are in ministry, join in ladies and let's do life together!!

We have a Facebook group page you can join by clicking here

Also, we will be hosting our first bi-monthly meeting on Friday, October 21st in Alachua, FL entitled Christmas in October.

I know, it’s not Christmas yet, and I promise we are not trying to rush it, but from Thanksgiving until New Years Day leaders in the church are serving more, sharing more, giving more, and attending more parties than we do all year long.

And we can get stressed, Stressed, STRESSED.

So this will be a night of fun, surprises, gifts, an elegant dinner, followed by a time of focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus... our savior, our rock, our strong tower, and our peace... as we embark on this most wonderful, and sometimes crazy, time of the year. 

If you would like to register for our October meeting and/or you would like more info on L&LINCF click here and more information will be sent to you. 

Again, this is open to any lady whose husband is in ministry or she herself is in on staff in ministry in the North Central Florida area.

I hope to see you there!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Growing & Connecting Spiritually

A question was posed to me from a wife in our church that I wanted to share with you today along with my answer.

How does a husband and wife grow and connect spiritually?

This is an excellent question that few couples think to ask. Many Christian couples never realize that those who travel together spiritually are usually well equipped to handle life’s difficulties because they are learning to tackle them as a team.

Of course everyone believes the best way to grow and connect spiritually is to have a set time each day that you and your spouse can sit down, read your couples devotional for the day in your couples devotional book, you know, the one with the picture of the oh-so-in-love couple on the front. And then have deep, introspective dialogue followed up with praying for one another.

If you and your spouse do this, I think that's awesome!! And I mean it.

But the truth is for most of us it is not our reality.  Conflicting schedules or maybe an unwilling spouse may keep you from this. So if you have said, Yea, right, to the ideal then you’re in good company because most of the other Christian couples on this planet do not do this either, including myself and the hubs. 

Does that mean Mark and I are bad, less spiritual, or guilty for not making time daily for a devo-date?


And neither are you.  Sometimes it really is an impossibility and/or your spouse may find it difficult to connect and share in this way.  And that's ok.

I have learned that growing and connecting spiritually is not about a shared devotional life but a mutually devoted life. So don’t feel bad, or think your spouse is terrible because they don't want to sit with you each day in this type of setting.

So let me give you a couple things that Mark and I have found that allow us to grow and connect spiritually... sometimes daily, and sometimes not.

One is sharing with each other things we have discovered while reading a great book or studying scripture. Of course he being someone who shares the gospel every week he’s in the Word unearthing truths continually. And yes he shares these findings with our church on Sundays, but he shares and discusses them with me first which allows us to grow and connect spiritually as a couple.

And the same for me when I am studying. I had a revelation last week that I shared with him and after seeing the look on his face, I’m pretty sure he’s going to use it in a new message he’s working on. 

I'm always happy to assist. (Insert smiley face here)

Another way we have connected and grown spiritually is just spending time viewing God’s handiwork and sharing how amazing God is. We sit in our front yard and watch this every night that we can.

And our discussions always find their way back to God’s greatness, God’s vastness, God’s ability to run this whole universe and yet still hear every prayer we have, heal every hurt we have, plant every seed of promise we cling too, and cast every dream we hold dear.

God is so indescribably awesome.

Now, I do understand that you may have a passion for God and your spouse may not.

So what do you do when you are willing to connect and grow spiritually and your spouse isn't?

#1 You need to pray, and don't preach. Preaching never works. But God does. So pray to God about your man instead of preaching to your man about God.   Let God do the thing you cannot.

Which leads to point two...   

#2 You cannot change your spouse, but you can change yourself. You cannot make them grow and connect spiritually with you but that does not mean that you still can’t grow and connect to God. And often times when you improve your spiritual life, it will produce a desire in them to improve as well.

I know life and marriage is not easy. Please know I am praying for each and everyone who reads this today.  There is an enemy who would love nothing more than to destroy your marriage.  So I pray these insights will help you as you travel the sometimes bumpy road of marriage.

I would love to hear your thoughts on growing and connecting spiritually as a couple.  Do you find it difficult?  Have you found a method that works for you?  Leave a comment below or email me at tina@ccalachua.com.  I ALWAYS love hearing from you!!

Much love,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Taking a look back

There is a reason a car has a very large windshield and a very small rear view mirror.

We need to have our eyes focused on where we are heading.

We need to only glance at what's behind.

This past week two incredible opportunities opened up for CCA that are more than amazing. I shared with the hubs that for me this week has been the most exciting week of CCA's 3 year and 4 month life.

It's the most exciting not because of these two opportunities but because the two opportunities have caused me to glance back in CCA's rear view mirror.

I invite you to reflect with me for just a moment.

In April of 2008 we walked into a small room to about thirty people to share with them the vision of CCA.

This is a picture of Mark praying for us and CCA that day.

Those 30 have turned into 230.  Yes, CCA has grown, but more importantly, the Kingdom is growing!

In April 2008 we began this journey with only a dream and a prayer, literally. So we began to purchase banners, sound equipment, nursery supplies, and even a pulpit.

Today we have 15 beautiful acres and soon we will be breaking ground on our first building.

Those few necessary supplies are about to turn into a 15,600 square feet ministry facility.

This past April we had over 2000 people on our property for the largest Easter Egg Hunt in Alachua. And next year the city, who by the way has hosted an annual hunt for the past 28 years, wants to discontinue theirs and join in on ours.

In November we will graduate our 2nd class of Men of Honor. Over thirty men’s lives will never be the same.

Countless marriages have been restored.

Countless jobs have opened up.

Countless prayers have been answered.

Countless friendships have been formed.

Countless people have come to know Christ as their savior.

As I prepared the congregation to give yesterday, I shared with them that this was all made possible only because we have been faithful to give of our time, our talent, and our tithe and offering.

We have been faithful with little and God has turned it into so much more in only three short years.

This is why I told Mark last Wednesday this is the most exciting week in the life of CCA. Because I took time to reflect on all God has done through a small yet faithful group of people.

My eyes are set on what’s ahead, but my heart is so full because of what’s already behind.

If God has done all this in three short years, I can’t possibly imagine what the next three will hold.

CCA, get ready, because I believe God wants us to do so much more than we could dream possible.

Always remember, with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37)

I Love My Church,