Yes, I'm a pastor's wife, but I suspect not all of my readers are Christian. I won't hold back on my beliefs, but I also won't shove religion at you. I try not to accept things just because they're told to me but read and research in order to make up my own mind. You'll find a random mix of stuff here, depending on what interests me at the moment. I like to read others' opinions, whether they agree with me or not, which means I love comments on my posts!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Raising Leaders

We took a group of 19 to Spiritual Boot Camp over the weekend. It was an expensive trip for our small church (over $1000) but well worth it, as we feel like it's investing in the futures of these 19 people as well as the future of our church. This group consisted of the leaders of our youth group...adults and teens who make up our core. We got to choose 3 class sessions to attend, and I went to Instructing Leaders to Lead, Sunday School Curriculum, and Finding Your Ministry. The classes were great, the worship was amazing, and the church was HUGE. Here are some highlights of what I learned:

1. Have an exit strategy for volunteers! Teachers, leaders, etc. should not feel guilted into staying in their positions. New volunteers should not be afraid to accept a position because of the fear of being stuck there for life.

2. A leader is simply one who has followers and influences others. When identifying leaders, keep in mind that it's not always the loudest or boldest. If there is a leader in your youth group who is a bad influence (leading others to do bad things), get to know and encourage them. Direct them towards being a good influence.

3. When teaching, 1 point clearly communicated is better than 3 foggy or rushed points. With multiple points, people get confused and are more likely to forget what you said.

4. People who are in visible positions must be held to a high standard. Worship leaders, teachers, etc. are representations of the church and its standards; as the body of Christ, the church represents God's standards. If the music minister is getting drunk on the weekends or teens in the youth praise band are living together as a couple, they will be seen as hypocrites by others. This hurts their testimony as well as the effectiveness of the church.

5. Teach about the Tabernacle! During the worship part of the day, the speaker told us about the Tabernacle...the different areas of it and what was required in each area. Then we encountered a bit of it ourselves. Over 100 of us stood in line waiting to enter the "Tabernacle." (So it was a gym/youth service area, but we got the symbolism of it.) Just the entrance was a curtain where we were to thank God, maybe for something He's done for us, how He's provided, or just who He is. Then was the altar to place a sacrifice, and offering buckets were on top for us to give money. During the initial part with the speaker, he stressed why there was a sacrifice at the tabernacle and that it was giving our best to God. After that was a thing of water to "cleanse" ourselves by wetting our hands and asking God for forgiveness for any sins we had committed.
Through another curtain was the Holy Place. Here we took communion and prayed for what we needed and for various people (our Pastor, Youth Pastor, etc.). The idea was to get everything off our minds before we continued through the Tabernacle. Through the last curtain was the representation of the Holy of Holies. Here we also prayed, but it was mostly for allowing us to simply be in God's presence. "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

That's it for now, but there were plenty of other bullet points and discussions that I would like to bring up eventually. In the meantime, have a great week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Joyful Living - Dance Like No One's Watching

I heard a man say earlier this year that the Bible forbids dancing. He wasn't just saying the bumping and grinding where it looks like a baby might be made on the dance floor. He was talking about ALL dancing. He went on to say that there are no godly people who danced in the Bible. Well, he must have read a different Bible than the one I have.

In Exodus 15:20-21, Miriam led the other women as they danced and played tambourines after crossing the Red Sea.

In 2 Samuel 6, David danced before the Ark of the Lord as an act of worship to God.

In Jeremiah 31:13, Jeremiah foretells of a time when people will celebrate and dance with joy because of the Lord.

And my personal favorite is Ecclesiastes 3:1,4: For everything there is a season...A time to grieve and a time to dance.

I'm tired of grieving over how much I can no longer do because of my poor health (I'm recovering from toxic mold exposure) and am ready to rejoice over how much I CAN do. This is my time to dance! Sometime today I will dance like no one is watching. Will you, too? I dare you to. Dance with your child or alone in your bathroom. Blare some music or dance to the music in your head. Move for a few seconds or keep on dancing all day while you do the household chores. Twirl, jump, flail your arms, or just clap and stomp your foot. Enjoy it! Then come tell me about it. If you need some musical inspiration, I love Mercy Me's Move (video below)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Joyful Living with a Smile

Remember when the yellow smiley face logo was absolutely everywhere? I had a t-shirt with this face that read "Smile. It confuses people." As a rebellious preteen who secretly wanted to fit in, I thought it was so cool.

Seriously though, would you rather see someone smile or frown? When I'm walking down the street or through a store or wherever, my feelings are immediately uplifted for a moment if someone walks past me and smiles. It's a millisecond of shared joy.

Today I will simply smile at someone. Won't you join me? It could be someone you pass by at work, in a store, or anywhere else. If you don't leave the house today, simply offer a smile when your spouse, child, etc. walks in the door. I want to learn and show to myself that even when I don't feel like being happy, I can show and share a bit of joy. Amazingly, that bit of joy starts to lift my own 'blah' mood.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Joyful Living - Beautiful Creations

I just recently got back from a Spiritual Retreat in the mountains where there was beautiful scenery, comfortable weather, and serene quietness. The rooms had no TVs and my cell phone had no reception. I just want to was nice!

I've been battling with depression on and off for quite a few months. It was nice to have a peaceful, relaxing break from it in the mountains, and it got me thinking a lot about joy. I used to wear a bracelet all the time that read "joyful." It was my reminder that we can always be joyful with the Lord, even when we're not happy. Happiness is a feeling--an emotion that comes and goes--but we can choose to be joyful.

Psalm 4:7 says "You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine."

I want that surpasses all logic. I had that kind of joy in the mountains when I wrote this in my notebook: God says we're His bride, and He will rejoice over us as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (Isaiah 62:5). It's thrilling how the places He made--the mountains and beaches, forests and creeks--can also be the most romantic. He woos His bride every day with starry nights, sunrises and sunsets.

Today I will appreciate something beautiful that God created...a late-blooming rose, the sunset, the starry night sky, red and yellow leaves as they change colors. He didn't have to make things visually appealing, but He did it for the joy of seeing it. I will joyfully see the beauty today! How about you?

That's the view I had a few days ago. *Sigh*

This post is also linked to Homemaker in Heels.