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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,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Leading in your Strengths

I have learned that to be a good leader you can never stop learning.  Here is one thing I have learned and emailed our leadership team at CCA today.  Hope it helps you too if you lead a team on your job, in your church, or even at your kids school.

A huge factor to leading well is to focus on your strengths and assign your weaknesses to someone with that strength.

Often times we think when we find that weak area in our leadership we need to focus and spend our time working to improve that area. But when you do this you are neglecting the things you do right and are leading from your weak spot. Therefore you are minimizing your potential success.

So what's the solution? Staff your weak areas. Example: If you find it very easy to get a big picture for an event but find it difficult to think through the details, delegate that to someone on your team that can handle the logistics.

I used to feel guilty because as a leader I thought I should be able to 'do it all'. Then I realized I don't expect others to be able to do it all, so why should I think I could. I was trying to be perfect. I'm not.

I discovered we were more successful as I enlisted people who were gifted in my weak areas because #1 we were all working from our strengths and #2 not just one person was passionate about the cause, many were.

So set your priorities and focus on your strengths and delegate the rest. You will find your life less stressful and your projects more successful.