Full Of Grace

Col. 4-6Paul is exhorting us to be mindful of the words we speak. They are to be gracious toward and about everyone. They should also be salty, as if to leave the listener longing for more and not in a gossipy manner. When we do that, it seems like we will know how to answer any person who crosses our path.

Full of grace.

Grace is something we don’t deserve, but we desperately desire. It’s something that we don’t always give but always want given to us. I strive to keep this in mind. Many don’t want to extend grace, but often want to teach lessons to people. Funny. God never told us to get back at anyone. He says to be gracious. Why?

Because He didn’t get back at us.

Our words should also be salty, leaving the listener thirsty for more of what we have to say. Do my words have an attractiveness about them? Not always. May that change today.

May the Holy Spirit of God help us see where we are failing in this area. May he give us the resolve and ability to change our words. For in merely changing our words, we could change someone’s life.

Shut Yo Mouth!

Woman With Hand Over Her MouthIf you don’t want to experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit about the things that come out of your mouth, don’t read Proverbs. 

You’ve been warned.

I read through the Old Testament book of Proverbs a couple of times a year. It is jam packed with so much wisdom and insight. Which I why I read through it every year. 

Over the past two weeks, I’ve come across the following verses:

Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. Proverbs 10:19

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3

A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence. Proverbs 11:13

Need I go on? Because there are plenty.

I talk a lot. Wish I didn’t. I think about not talking a lot and then I go somewhere and people are like, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you saying anything?” I tell them I’m just trying to talk less and they look at me with weird eyes hoping this phase in my life will be over soon.

Guess they like my words.

Whether or not I stop talking so much isn’t the issue. I must choose to quit gratifying my flesh with less than godly speech. I do it often all in the name of “being myself.” But I’m tired of myself being the self I don’t want it to be anymore. I want myself to be a self who has a pure heart which in turn leads to pure desires and pure speech.

So, I’m committing Ephesians 4:29 to memory AGAIN and will speak it throughout the day. Everyday.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Care to join me?

Good.

Pain = Gain

absI enjoy growth. Umm, let me rephrase.

I enjoy the results of growth. 

There, that’s better. I honestly cannot remember a single time where I have enjoyed the growth process. Case in point.

I have a personal trainer named Michael. I love him, and I hate him all at the same time. I appreciate his memory when my mind is frazzled, when I can’t remember if I go to lunges or the Bosu ball next. I appreciate him when my jeans slide on easier and when the bottom part of my upper arm doesn’t keep jiggling after I’ve stopped waving at someone. 

But, right now, I do not like him because I am in pain from my neck to the top of my thighs. Why you ask? Because dear, sweet Michael demolished my core three days ago in my afternoon workout. It hurts to sneeze. It hurts to sit down and stand back up. It hurts to do almost everything.

But this isn’t about personal training. This is about growth in our spiritual lives. 

Having a “teachable spirit” allows growth. For one to be teachable means she is able and willing to learn…that she is capable of being taught…that she allows something to be taught or learned easily.

So, are you able to learn? Willing to learn? Do you see that you need to grow in certain areas? Are you willing to allow God to use the tool of His choice to teach you the lessons He wants you to learn? Do you find yourself rejecting new ideas at every turn because you simply just don’t want to work that hard?

Anything worth having takes effort.

I’m willing to endure the brutal workouts that Michael puts together for me because I want a healthy temple where the Holy Spirit resides. Spiritually, I’m willing to examine my heart and let God change me from the inside out so that I’m never complacent in my walk with Him.

Often times we think that someone younger than us or less experienced that us or not as spiritual as us can’t teach us. Think again. God will use whomever He wants, whenever He wants, with whatever tool He chooses to teach us to become more like His Son. 

He loves us that much.

Living Above Mediocrity

earYou know that Voice.

The quiet one. The power-packed one that doesn’t yell but simply is there. The one that can make you shout in triumph and the one that can bring you to your knees. That voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit.

It’s not the norm and often calls you to live above the level of mediocrity. It’s not obnoxious like all the other ones screaming for your attention. You know the ones…pride, insecurity, entitlement, the “gotta make my point” voice.

I don’t do everything right. The words “I’m sorry” and “please forgive me” exit my lips regularly. Like almost everyday regularly. I don’t want to sin. I don’t want to hurt others with my words or attitudes. But sometimes I do.

Guessing you do, too?

Sometimes that Voice is the clearest one and I know it when I hear it. Other times it’s much more obscure and I wonder, “Is this the Holy Spirit or something I had for dinner?” 

I hear the voice when I post on Twitter and Instagram. It asks if what I’m about to declare to the world (or my few thousand followers) is necessary or uplifting or inappropriate. I’ve had a post ready to go on social media and then out of nowhere there is a hesitation that begs the question, “Should I post?” And the moment I hear that voice and wonder if God is suggesting an alternate post or an all out abandonment at the moment, I simply don’t do it. 

Because I know the Voice is right. 

Or when I’m in a crowd and there is this desire welling up in me to make a joke, possibly at another’s expense, and I hear the Voice simply, but profoundly say, “Stop.” I stop. And I ask no questions or stomp my feet asking Him why. 

Because I know the Voice is right.

And because I know the discomfort, embarrassment, and the simple feeling of “ugh” when I haven’t listened to the Voice. The Holy Spirit of God calls for excellence and godliness but He is so full of grace and mercy. 

Do you know that Voice? It’s pretty simple, really. You have to spend time with your Heavenly Father, bathing your soul with the Truth of His Word. And the more you spend time with Him, the more you know Him. The more you know Him, them more you will recognize His voice when He speaks.

Insight and Wisdom From The Best

It truly is one of my greatest honors to be a part of LifeChurch.tv. I consider it a privilege and gift to get to serve under Craig and Amy Groeschel. As many of you know, my husband is the Campus Pastor of our Oklahoma City location.

This past week our entire staff and their spouses came together to attend our annual LifeChurch.tv Family Reunion. It truly is amazing. Not only did we get to hear from Christine Caine (I know!) but also from our Directional Leadership Team. These five men (below) lead our church effectively and humbly and have served together for 13+ years. Some of them have been together longer than that!

FR 2

(From left to right: Kevin Penry, Sam Roberts, Bobby Gruenewald, Jerry Hurley and Craig Groeschel.)

There was so much wisdom from these men that I’d like to share one piece of advice with you and even expound on it for a bit. Ready to gain insight? Let’s boogie.

1. Failures are productive. -Kevin Penry
My thoughts: We will all make mistakes and fail at something. Why not let it be a springboard to progress instead of a setback toward complacency? Kevin’s point is that our failures will show us what not to do next time. Failure is an excellent teacher.

2. We hardly ever plan a future that expects our capacity to increase. -Bobby Gruenewald
My thoughts: Dang. That one bruised my toes. But Bobby is right. How often do we live with an expectation for our character and capacity to grow? How often to we “reach for the stars”? We typically don’t want to “bet the farm” and “go all in” for fear of failure. (Refer to #1).

3. Don’t ever make a policy when a simple, uncomfortable conversation will do the trick. -Jerry Hurley
My thoughts: We do this all the time, don’t we? We run from uncomfortable conversations and instead just make a blanket statement about some issue in hopes that the 2% of the people who are messing it up will catch on. But y’all, they don’t. They just don’t. Have the conversation. It will not be easy and you may break out into a man-sweat (sorry guys) but it is the best course of action.

4. It’s not always what you do but who you are. -Sam Roberts
My thoughts: This is a powerful statement for those in leadership roles. And if you are a person who is leading anyone…your career, your children, your friends…then you can apply this. I know for me as a pastor’s wife, sometimes just walking into a room at church is all I need to do. Not because of my stylish fashion sense, no no, because of what I represent to them. I also have seen this with my sons during storms. I’m not necessarily doing anything but my presence alone brings them security. 

5. Be honest about where you are vulnerable. Nobody trips into righteousness. -Craig Groeschel
My thoughts: Wise people know they have weaknesses. Ignorant people think they don’t. Be authentic by sharing those weaknesses with trusted people. Allow people into your life to help you. And then seek God with your whole heart because godliness does not just happen. We have to want it.

I would like to challenge you to think about the statements above and allow God to show you how you can learn from them and what adjustments He wants you to make as you continue on your Christ-following journey.

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