Monday, December 30, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

The One Way You Can Keep Opening the Presents

The One Way You Can Keep Opening the Presents

Submitted by Courtney Winkler, "Woman Blessing Julie Ford introduced me to the writings of Ann Voskamp, and I fell in love.  If you haven't read 1000 Gifts, add it to your list to read in this coming year.  You won't be sorry you did."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Which Christmas Eve Service Will You Be Attending?

Early Christmas Candlelight
Wednesday, December 18 at 6:30 with woman blessing Sue Busler
preaching (in the Sanctuary).

Christmas Eve
Service Descriptions
Each of the Christmas Eve Candlelight Services
will include Christmas carols, special music, a
Christmas message from Rev. Dennis D. Price,
and a traditional candlelight ending with Silent

2:00 Family Life Center
Christmas music will be led with piano and small worship
ensemble. There will also be special music by the student
ministry band and other soloist.

4:00 Family Life Center
During this service, music congregation singing will be
accompanied with piano and keyboard. Special music will
include children’s ministry groups, kids choir, youth choir and
the Jr. Praise Band.

5:15 Communion Service in Sanctuary
This will be a brief time of Christmas Eve Communion in the
Sanctuary. All are welcome.

6:00 Family Life Center
Christmas Carols will be led by the worship band, worship
choir and special soloists.

11:00 Sanctuary
The final Christmas Eve Christmas Eve Service will be held in
the Sanctuary and music will be led by piano and organ.
Special music will be provided by the choir and other

Can't decide?  Attend more than one . . .

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Daily Wisdom: Fill Heaven

"There is little good in filling churches with people who go out exactly the same as they came in;
    The call of the Church is not to fill churches but to fill heaven."
Submitted by Carol Pigg

Friday, December 13, 2013


For all concerned, this is a PG blog post, but please keep reading anyway.  The hub and I are approaching our eleven-year anniversary.  For ten of those years, we have played musical beds due to my snoring and the birth of two baby girls.  Finally, this past year I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and now wear a nifty nose mask to bed in order to eliminate the snoring.  Thus, the hub and I have once again joined forces in our queen bed for the duration of the nights.

Now, instead of being woken due to snoring, the hub shakes me if my nose mask is blowing cold air on his back (this happens when the mask becomes dislodged on my face).  I adjust the suction mechanism on my nose, and we both return to our state of slumber.  

A couple of nights ago, I woke to the sound of snoring in my ear.  Literally, I was on my back (as the CPAP is most comfortable in this position), and his mouth and nose were targeted right for my ear.  Lying there hoping the noise would cease, I could not help picturing our situation as if I were standing from our bedroom door looking in at the view.  Doing this, I started to giggle, which, in turn, caused me to choke (opening one's mouth with a nose guard on during use results in loss of breath).  

In truth I was thinking, "Is this sexy, or what?"  The response in my mind was an unassailable, "Yes."  

Ecclesiastes 9:9
Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.

By Courtney Winkler

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Girlfriends in God: Long Walk Part of Gift

Long Walk Part of Gift

Submitted by Deb Ellis, "This devotion came and it is the same scripture Dennis is preaching on for the month of December (and it’s about gifts).  How cool!"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

UMW Collecting Items for Oasis Women's Center

United Methodist Women are holding a drive to benefit the women and children at Oasis Center in Alton for battered and abused women.  New underwear is a prized commodity at the center and would be greatly appreciated.  Pick up an extra package of womens, boys, or girls underwear or bras and put them in the box in the lobbies.  Size doesn't matter.  Paper products and large bottles of liquid detergent are also needed.  Contact Diane Jones at 288-7254 with questions.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Daily Wisdom: Clock and Christ

The clock and Christ are not close friends.
Imagine what God thinks of us now that we are so locked into schedules that we have locked ourselves out of the Sermon on the Mount - it is hardly possible to walk a second mile today without offending one's pocket calendar.
We jump at the alarm of a Seiko but sleep through the call of the Almighty.

~Richard M. Swenson~

Submitted by Carol Pigg

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dinner for Eight

Would you like an opportunity to know 7 other people over dinner and a devotion?  During Advent, several people will be hosting "Dinner for 8" in their homes.  You can sign up on Sundays or Wednesdays (or in the office) for the date and time that work best for you and to bring one food item to share.  If you would like to host- please contact  Advent will be the "Pilot"- but we are confident that we will continue to have Dinner for 8 each month.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Karen Paubel's Daily Prayer: Pray in Agreement for Our Children and Grandchildren

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving Service

There will be a Thanksgiving communion service with soup lunch (chili, turkey noodle, vegetable beef, and salad, too) following on Wednesday, November 27 at noon in the Family Life Center.  EVERYONE is invited to attend.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gracias Senor

I always feel so much better after attending church at Troy United Methodist Church.  For me, the sermon inspires me, the music gives me the goosebumps, and the people make me smile.  Today was no different.

Pastor Dennis' sermon was entitled, Gracias Senor, and the scripture reference was Philippians 4:4-9:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Pastor Dennis was retelling about our church's work with another Hispanic church community in Southern Illinois (I cannot recall the name of the small town now, but do remember Pastor Dennis said this town came in second in the State basketball finals in '64).  While Pastor Dennis' college Spanish was rusty, he could make out the repetition of "Gracias Senor" which translates "Thank you, Lord" throughout devotions and prayers in this Hispanic community.  Thank you, Lord.  What greater gift to ourselves than to remember to repeatedly offer thanks to our Lord.

In fact, Pastor Dennis offered seven suggestions of further implementing this kind of thanksgiving into our lives:

1)  Have a morning gratitude session ever day.

2)  When facing the inevitable challenging day, compose a gratitude list.

3)  Instead of being angry with a person, show gratitude for this person.  Consider whether this person in question has done anything positive in the past, and focus on those acts.

4)  Show gratitude for your spouse versus criticizing him/her.

5)  Show gratitude for your kiddos versus criticizing them or their actions.

6)  When facing major challenges, be grateful for them.

7)  Look at what you have and be grateful versus focusing on what you do not have.
The hub and I immediately did just this by offering thanks to one another on our walk down the hall to pick up our kiddos from Sunday school.  Their joy after attending Sunday school filled me with gratitude.  Gracias Senor;  thank you, Lord.

By Courtney Winkler

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Aunt Bet's Sage Dressing

Since my one attempt at homemade dressing was nothing but gooey, I have been a Stove Top kind of dressing girl.  Talking with my Aunt Bet, though, my mouth began to salivate at the mention of her Sage Dressing, so I begged for the recipe.

Submitted by Courtney Winkler

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seek and You Shall Find

With minimal grading to do, I had no excuse not to walk for an hour today determined to hit the 10,000 step mark on my FitBit.  So, after dropping the girls at school, cashing checks at the bank, and purchasing fun patches at the Girl Scout office, I headed to SIUE Gardens, one of my favorite places to walk.  Not only is there a paved path, but there is also a trail hidden in the woods in which one may walk.  I plugged my headphones into my cellphone, hit "play" on Pandora, and set the timer for sixty minutes.  At roughly the twenty minute mark, the little girl's room was calling.  So, I visited the facility adjacent to the trail and then resumed my steps. 

With a mere three minutes left on the countdown, I headed back to the car.  Seated in the driver's seat, I adjusted myself so as to read my FitBit readout when, much to my surprise, it was missing from the waist of my stretch pants.  Ugh!  Thanks to woman blessing, Sherri Volz, I connected my steps to Walgreens balance rewards, and my thought was, I will never be able to earn points.  A tad frantic, I retraced my steps beginning with the path.  Passing an older gentleman, I stopped and asked if he had seen a lime green FitBit.  He told me, "My eyesight is shot," so I thanked him for his help and kept walking.  Over the river and through the woods I went to no avail all the while thinking, "My hub is not going to dig my losing yet another electrical device."  Two cellphones met the electronic graveyard due to my leaving them on top of my car and then driving away.  In fact, the hub found one in the form of roadkill at the entrance to our subdivision.  So, losing this FitBit after only three weeks was not going to fair well.  In a final attempt at recovery, I revisited the restroom near the parking lot.  On the floor beneath the sink lay the object in question.  Eureka, Baby!  Of course, forty minutes of the sixty I had walked did not register since the FitBit had disengaged from by body.  Bummah!  All of that walking had been for naught. . . or had it?  I felt better, and even though I could not prove my steps, I knew they had been taken.

Driving home with a smirk on my face, I thought of a favorite song, Seek and You Shall Find, I used to sing while in my parochial school choir.  As a tween, I would belt out the words to this song as if I could sing on key.  Miss Bowden would have us sing this song year after year in rounds.  Perhaps, there was a method to her orchestrations, one I have held in my heart all of these years.

Matthew 7:7 
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

By Courtney Winkler

Could I Be the Worst Mom Ever?

Could I Be the Worst Mom Ever?

Submitted by Julie Ford

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Raise the Praise

When:  Friday and Saturday, November 15 and 16 at 7:00 p.m.;  Sunday, November 17 at the 10:30 a.m. worship

Where:  Troy United Methodist Church in the Family Life Center

This concert is FREE!  Doors open at 6 p.m. each night.  A free will offering will be requested to benefit Beverly Farm Foundation in Godfrey, IL, a non-profit organization and home to nearly 400 residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

ALL welcome!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Living Simply

John 10:7-10

New International Version (NIV)
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

In the event you missed church this past Sunday at Troy United Methodist Church, Pastor Dennis Price delivered a sermon entitled "Simple:  Life."  The overall theme as I understood it was the need to simplify our lives and make Jesus our number one priority.  One of the examples Pastor Dennis used to demonstrate his point was, "What did you do with that extra hour last week?"  Did you use that extra hour to fit in three more items on a to-do list?  Did you use the hour to sleep?  Did you use the hour to replenish yourself by reading the Bible or praying?

Today being Veteran's Day, my two girls were off of school.  Although sleeping in was on my to-do list, it was not on theirs.  Instead of running errands or taking in an activity outside the home, we decided to simplify our lives today.  Opting to stay in our pajamas for the duration, a leisurely (not necessarily healthful) breakfast of homemade Nutella waffles started our day.  My oldest daughter had written a thank-you letter to a Veteran for a school assignment, so we folded said letter after the breakfast plates were cleared and addressed it to her Great Grandpa O., a radio operator on a B-17 during World War II.  In the meantime, my youngest daughter dug in our craft box and found a soap making kit given to us by our thirteen-year-old neighbor.  We proceeded to create soap (for the first time) and then wrapped it in order to gift it to the same thirteeen-year-old neighbor.  Even I managed to walk a mile with Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home video;  yes, I should have walked the 5 Really Big Miles  as the subtitle suggests, but, hey, one is better than nothing.  After a stint in the kitchen making cake balls out of bundt cake which failed to fully release from the pan, the three of us snuggled in and watched a movie. 

While the hub was downstairs directing the girls in clean-up duties, I took an Epsom salt tub (suggested long ago by woman blessing Jessica Dudley via Faithful Fitness Friends) by candlelight and prayed for some women blessing friends.  

After I finish this post, I plan to load the dishes before the hub and I catch up on a missed episode of Homeland. Then, I am off to bed with a novel I have been meaning to finish for a few weeks now.  Although my family and I spent the day living simply, I feel as if this kind of simplicity allowed me to appreciate the richness of my life.

By Courtney Winkler 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Metro East American Heritage Girls . . . Join Us!

American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community and country. The organization offers badge programs, service projects, girl leadership opportunities, and outdoor experiences to its members. It serves as a catalyst for building young women of integrity and faith. It also broadens girls' social development through extra-curricular activities. This program of character building has successfully served thousands of girls since its inception and will continue to do so long into the 21st century.
For the past year, a group of hardworking moms and excited daughters have been meeting as an informal AHG group to see if there were any interest outside of our families for an organization of this kind. Troy United Methodist was so kind to allow us to meet monthly at church where we had over 60 girls attend our first gathering! The interest is definitely out there for families to have a Christ centered service-oriented organization for our daughters. We have had the privilege to serve homemade dinner that the girls prepared to those in need at a homeless shelter in Granite City, packed and sent out over 100 shoeboxes stuffed with goodies for Operation Christmas Child, had a great time camping this past summer, participated in a walk for unborn babies with Mosaic Crisis Pregnancy Center, walked in the Veterans Day parade and much more!
We are so proud to announce that after months of paperwork and hours of meetings Metro East American Heritage Girls troop IL2911 is now formally established! Troy United Methodist Church has agreed to be our charter organization, and we are very excited to see where God takes this partnership! I had the honor of naming the troop IL2911 after my favorite bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 which reads:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
It is our prayer that AHG troop IL2911 becomes a place where our daughters can investigate their relationship with Jesus Christ, where they can discover God’s will for their lives and where they can develop the heart, hands and feet of the gospel all while building relationships with each other and our community.
We would love for your daughters, granddaughters, neighbors or any other girls God might bring to your heart to come and experience this fantastic group of young ladies for themselves. Our membership is enrolling now from Kindergarten through 12th grade! We would love for you to become part of the Metro East AHG IL2911 family!
Please contact Aimee Folmer at 618-659-3400 or Heather Budwell at 314-363-6011 for more information. Like us on Facebook at Metro East American Heritage Girls (IL)

By Heather Budwell

Friday, November 8, 2013

Living Proof Live

October 25-26, 2013, I attended the Beth Moore Living Proof Live conference in Springfield, IL, with my mom, aunt, and sister-in-law.
I love the way Beth Moore teaches.  She always is able to simplify scripture in ways that give me new insight I had never had before.  This weekend was no different.  The theme for this conference was "A Reach Beyond the Breach," the life of John Mark.  She talked about how John Mark and Barnabas were cousins, which I didn't realize, and that he went on Paul's first missionary journey, but then left for no explainable reason.  
Beth Moore refers to him as "Quitter Boy" for the rest of the weekend.  Later on, Paul and Barnabas argue about whether or not to let John Mark come with them again.   A breach has been made between Paul and Barnabas because of John Mark.  A few years later though, something has happened (that we are never made aware of)  that has repaired John Mark's relationship with Paul, and when Paul is writing while under house arrest, John Mark is listed as his coworker.  Paul is later martyred, and in Peter's letters he mentions John Mark as son.  John Mark would go on to write the Gospel of Mark.  
The main points that Beth Moore highlighted over the course of the weekend were:
1.  We can't keep riding on the coat tail of somebody else's faith. 
2.  We don't always thrive in the spot where we're so special.    (We don't realize how special we are to Jesus because we're so busy trying to be so special to people.)
3.  We will all fail, but the question becomes  "will we fail well"?
4.  To have a comeback we actually have to come back.
5.  Integrity refuses to enlist loyalty on the side of it's offense.   (Where loyalty reflects lovelessness, it is never noble.)
6.  Pressing in with Christ, our relational pattern can completely change.
7.  Those around us are reading the gospel according to us.   (What are they reading?  Hope or hopelessness?  Negativity or uplifting?
A few things that stuck out to me as I was listening and taking notes:
-We need to help mend the breach between people, not help widen it.  When we hear others talking negatively about others, we need to stop it and not add to it.  Especially within the body of believers in Christ, we are to  be united. 
-Peter and Mark got along so well because they were both former failures.  God used them both to do incredible things, but if they both would have just given up, God may not have used them the way He did.  The question is WHAT DO YOU LET JESUS DO WITH YOU NOW?
I feel like God had me go to this conference to hear two things.  One, I need to stop widening the breach between me and my husband.  When I want to nitpick, nag, or say something unkind, I need to stop it and concentrate on speech and behavior that will close the breach.

Also, Beth Moore talked about the people that were home praying for Peter's release from prison, that when Peter came to the door they didn't believe it and said it had to be an angel.  How often am I like that?  Feeling like my prayers will never be answered?  The second thing I needed to hear was that I need to stop acting like the people that were praying for Peter that really didn't believe their prayers could be answered.  I need to pray for things and expect God to answer because He is ABLE. 

2 Timothy 3: 1-9  But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, trecharous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God---having a form of godliness but denying its power.  HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM!    (This is scripture I highlighted in my notes which almost gives me chills because you see how all of these things are true in our current society.)

By Lisa Powell

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Door Prayers

"Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place."
2 Chronicles 6:39-41

"Ask and it will given to you;  seek and you will find;  knock and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:6-8

"And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold."
1 Kings 6:31-33
Have you ever done what I call “door prayers?” They can be done in any building or in your home. However, I often feel called to pray at the doors at church. I have found that it usually takes me about an hour, and I personally like going early before church services start on Sunday mornings. You can pray throughout the whole building or split it up over several visits and do a wing of the church at a time.
Here’s what I like to do.
Stop at any door, and pray for the person who uses that room, or the ministries offered through it. So, when I stop at our administrative assistant, Sharie’s door, I will lay my hands upon the door frame, and pray something simple “Dear Lord, bless Sharie and the work she does in our church. We are blessed to have her as she attends to all the needs of our staff and our congregation.”
Then, I may move on to Pastor Dennis’ door. I will lay my hands upon the door frame and say “Dear Lord, bless Dennis as he is the shepherd to our church. Keep him strong in the faith of the Lord. Protect him and his family as they remain faithful to our God and our Savior.”
When I move to a custodial closet, I might say “Dear Lord, thank you for the great custodians we have, who work many late hours keeping our church clean and prepared for all the events we hold. We bless and praise you that they are employed by our church.”

As I go to our daycare office, a prayer could be “Dearest Lord, how blessed we are that you said ‘Let the children come to me.’ Bless their families and help us all raise the children in our church to love and trust you.”
Stop by the kitchen and pray “Lord, you made the fishes and loaves of bread feed thousands. We bless those who cook here. Thank you for the nourishment not only of our souls, but also of our bodies. Bless our Wednesday night dinners, our celebration of lives, our fund raisers that start here with food.”

You get the idea. I have done this many times and find that it moves me so greatly that I find myself crying in love for all the Lord has given us. 
By Carol Pigg 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ladies Christmas Brunch: "Gifts of the Heart"

When:  Saturday, December 7th from 10-noon

Special Guest Speaker: Mary Ann Turner, Journey Team Leader

The Journey ministry at Christ Church exists to connect women to Jesus Christ. We provide opportunities for women to go deeper in relationship with Jesus Christ and with others, to grow stronger in faith for a lifetime, and to reach out to our church, our community and beyond.  

Tickets will go on sale Sunday, November 10.  
Price is $13 ($10 if purchased by Dec. 1).

Monday, November 4, 2013

Girl Rising

I’m trying to bring a screening of the powerful movie Girl Rising to the Showplace 12 in Edwardsville, IL.  Girl Rising spotlights the stories of nine girls from around the world who face – and overcome – unbelievable obstacles on the path toward getting an education. Around the world, millions of girls face barriers to education that boys do not. When you educate a girl you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation. I believe this movie will be a great experience for you and your children, especially your daughters. It will definitely be a great topic for Thanksgiving week. This movie is available in limited release. The screening is possible thru a new option called ‘crowd-source’. Please consider attending this screening on Tuesday November 26th. We need to rally 80 advance tickets, prior to November 11th, to bring this movie to Edwardsville, IL. Your credit card will not be charged until this event tilts. If you haven’t seen Girl Rising, take a minute to watch the trailer and be inspired. 

When:  Tuesday, November 26th (Tuesday before Thanksgiving)
Where:  Showplace 12- Edwardsville
Time:  7:30 p.m.
Cost:  $10/person 

Reserve your ticket today:

We need 80 tickets purchased by 11/1/13 to confirm the viewing will take place!

Girl Rising

Contact Glynda Lavelle for more information 618-977-5651 

Submitted by Deb Ellis

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pecans Are Here!

UMW pecans are on sale.  Now is the time to stock up for Christmas baking.  One pound bags of mammoth halves or medium pieces are $10/bag.  

To order, call Diane Jones at 288-7254.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trunk or Treat

Do Not Worry

Matthew 6:25-34

New International Version (NIV)

25 “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? 26 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? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Submitted by Karen MacMillan

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Curse of the BFF

I used to have a school days book that my mom recorded all of my keepsake information in about school from K-12.  Starting in Kindergarten, the question was asked "Who is your best friend?"  I remember even from when I was really young always feeling pressure to have a best friend, a BFF.  Growing up in a fairly small school district, I always had a group of close friends, but always longed for a best friend.  It seemed like everyone around me had a best friend.  Someone that she always hung out with, talked on the phone with, someone to be inseparable with.  As I've grown older...much older...this desire to have a best friend has never left me.  I've always had close friends, and some that I considered my best friend, but then something always happened and we ended up drifting apart.  It is something that has been a constant longing in my life.  Lately I've been reflecting on how many great friendship moments I've missed out on because of my longing for a "best friend."  Why do I feel like my life is lacking something because I do not have a best friend?  What's wrong with having lots of great close friends? 
Now in today's culture the terms BFF and BESTIE seem to be everywhere.  My three young daughters are no strangers to the terms.  However, I have found myself being very careful with letting them label their friendships.  I do not want them to fall in the BFF trap that I have been lost in since Kindergarten.  I want them to appreciate all of their great close friendships and not get caught up in having one BFF.  I want them to look around at all of the great girls in their lives and count them all as blessings, instead of feeling left out because they do not have one specific BFF.  I feel like as a culture, we are setting our kids up for disappointment with stressing the BFF or BESTIE terms.  Maybe that's too negative of me, but I'm just trying to be realistic. 

Just recently I've come to terms with a lot of stuff in regards to this matter.  I've had numerous people trying to be sympathetic attempt to encourage me with things like "Jesus is your best friend," or "Your husband is your best friend,"  or even "Your mom is your best friend."  And while there may be truth in each of those statements, they are not the same as having that BFF that everyone is talking so much about.  So, I'm choosing to be grateful for the amazing group of people that I am blessed to call my friends.  God has brought SO many wonderful people into my life through so many different circumstances.  And those true friends, the ones I know would be there for me at the drop of a hat, that pray for me, and would never turn their back on me, those friendships are the ones that mean more to me than some BFF title.  I prefer to think of that term now as Blessed Forever Friends.  Because my life has been blessed forever because of those people who I can truly call my friends,  I refuse to get bogged down with negative feelings about myself because I do not have a BFF.  And I refuse to let my daughters grow up feeling that way about themselves.  I want to break the curse of the BFF for myself and my daughters. 

By Lisa Powell

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Now Is the Time

The Journey Team at Christ UMC hosted their 2013 Women’s Conference at Christ UMC on Saturday, Oct 19. The key note speaker was Melissa Bishop, the wife of their Senior Pastor Shane Bishop. There is always this misconception about pastors' wives which puts them in this mold of perfection, born a Christian from the womb and still going strong. I know firsthand this is not the case for many pastors' wives, I am from a line of pastors in our family: my grandmother, my aunt, my mother-in-law, or just read the book “Choose Joy” by Kay Warren, Pastor Rick Warren’s wife.
Life as a pastor’s wife is not a cake walk; Melissa didn’t say a word about what I just described, that was all my interjection, but she did want to make certain we knew up front her life has been full of struggles just like the rest of us women, and by listening to her, possibly more struggles than most. She continues to struggle but she wants to live “intentionally for Jesus Christ.” Here are a few of Melissa’s comments.
  • We hear from the Lord in our struggles
  • We are called to be ambassadors for Christ
  • God pursues me when I should not be pursued, but he does it anyway, please hear that…..God pursues me when I really should not be pursued…that is great news!!
  • We need to be a “yes” person to Jesus when he calls us to do something, scared… do it anyway.
  • Being broken happens, but staying Broken is a SIN…..ouch…!!
  • Please don’t live God’s sacrifice in vain
  • You know the past is the past, the past can paralyze us….let it go
  • Use the Word of God; it’s the only book we have
  • Failure is part of the equation….failure gives us a chance for a do-over
  • We learn in the crash of life
  • If you keep getting up, God will make us stronger.
  • What holds us back is the “condition of our heart”-God knows our heart; he knows everything in our heart - Psalm 139 asks God to search our heart, he wants our heart to be blameless.
  • Comparison is prevalent with women, why do we do that, men don’t do this…it would be weird to hear your husband say “oh I wish I was like ….” Oh yes, women do compare themselves with other women. Think about this………
Melissa was absolutely charming, witty, funny, and very intentional. I was moved by her pure honesty from the first words out of her mouth. I had not planned to attend the conference this year because my husband and I were going out of town, ended up not happening, so I decided at the 11th hour to attend, and all I can say is “Praise the Lord” for getting me there. The Holy Spirit was moving mightily, and boy oh boy did I need his presence.
The time is now, just like her coined words say,
Melissa talked about her devotion time, sounded so familiar to me. Get up early to spend time with the Lord, and then you notice that
  • the stove has a crumb on it or..
  • the water in the dog’s bowl is low or..
  • the magazine is not in the right place or..
  • the picture is crooked or..
  • the floor needs to be vacuumed or..
  • you remember you didn’t put anything out to thaw for dinner..
Goes on and on then it's too late to intentionally spend time with the Lord. I also suffer with distraction almost ADHD ish… is necessary to fit God time in even if it is all throughout the day or in the car while driving by ourselves. I love to talk out loud to God during my prayer time. I still struggle with the reading of the Bible every day; it will have to be intentional, just not going to magically happen for me or for anyone.
It has been a very long time since I have felt the Lord move so mightily in my life, and when the Holy Spirit wants to get your attention, it can be exhausting but worth every ounce of energy……. I am so grateful to the ladies at CUMC and to Melissa Bishop, BUT first and foremost to Jesus who knew the condition of my heart and knew I needed to hear from him.
By Julie Ford