Monday, March 30, 2015

Lay it Down

Last night I did jail ministry in a local county jail.  I've been a couple of times before, it is a humbling experience.  This time our leader asked if I would do the lesson and I asked her if I could share my testimony, she said yes so I began to prepare.  I also asked her if I could bring my keyboard with me and she said she would try to get it approved.  I've sang with the ladies before but with no music, which is fine but I thought they'd enjoy this.  About 30 minutes prior to my leaving, my keyboard got approved, so I packed it up and headed to the jail.

We had two groups of women, some I had seen before, some were new.  I printed lyrics for them to sing along and to take with them back to their cells, I hoped it would be an encouragement for them.  We prayed, sang, and there were lots of tears, I shared my testimony which is nothing's simply my story about surrender and how Jesus saved me.  It is really all about surrendering our will, laying down that pride, our fears, our life and following Him, letting Him have control.  I am so grateful for these opportunities and am so in awe of God using little ol me to do anything at all.

I have the privilege to do a concert for them in May, how awesome is our God!

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Friday, March 27, 2015

The Prayers of a Righteous Man Availeth Much

I was looking for a notebook to write in and ran across this one.  Whew, it made me tear up a little.  This first page is a sermon Christian preached a few years ago, I think from 2009.  If you've been following our story on this then you know that my sons are not following Jesus right now.  But as much as this grieved me to see his faith then in relation to now, this even more so shows me God's promise of his return to Jesus' arms.  I am so blessed and thankful for my Savior. 

Some other things he wrote in this notebook that I want to quote because they are so so good...

Romans 1:17
*The gospel is what God uses to tell us things about our lives...
*The gospel shows God's righteousness
 - The righteous man shall live by faith

Colossians 1:11
*It's not about just getting by

Philippians 1:27
-We should walk in a way that is worthy of the glory of the message
-Are you willing to walk in integrity?
-If you confess your sins to your brother then there will be healing

I've been on my face every day for my boys and my gracious Heavenly Father is giving me glimpses of their return and peace beyond belief.  I am constantly in awe.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I don't know about the Omega 13 but I do know that when it comes to marriage "Never Give Up, Never Surrender" is a good motto.  I really believe that every marriage can be saved and that too often people throw in the towel instead of trying to work it out.  Let's face it, marriage is hard work!  I know mine has been and I have to continue to work on it each and every day.

The words "for better or worse" always stick out to me, the "for worse" part is so over looked today, when things get party or the other bail.  Now, I realize that God's grace and forgiveness extends to all and there are even grounds for divorce outlined in God's Word but it is not His design or plan for us.  My best advice for surviving and thriving in marriage....Grace.

Give your spouse grace just as the Lord gives us every day.  We mess up, give each other grace.  I put up or extend grace to my husband but he has to put up and give me grace as well.

"So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore, God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:6

Never give up, never surrender...

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sing for the King

I know my sing for my King.  Let's go back a few years...

My musical interests revolved around playing the piano and the saxophone.  I begged my parents for piano lessons when I was in 6th grade and they said yes.  My lessons were $4 a week and I walked to them every week for a year and a half.  We moved after my 7th grade year and had to leave my piano and my lessons behind.  I played the saxophone from 7th grade on and I loved it.  Even when I started singing in high school the saxophone was my first love.

I didn't begin singing until I was around 15 years old, I hadn't thought about singing.  I loved my saxophone, remember?  A year or so after "the move", we began attending a little country church...they had a youth choir.  They asked my sister and I if we would like to join and we said why not.  My sister sang in glee club at our former school but I had only been interested in playing instruments.  Much to my surprise and everyone else's, I was a decent singer, who knew?  And...I wasn't too shy to sing in front of people, another who knew?  The first solo I ever sang at my church was by Petra "The Prayer", I would sing with tapes or CDs or acapella if need be.  I sang a duet with a friend at youth church camp the Summer after my freshman year, I was in the high school choirs my Junior and Senior year, I sang at revivals at various churches, in people's living rooms, I would sing whenever anyone asked, anytime, anywhere.

This continued through my adult life, singing in my college show choir, singing at church, cantatas, special events in my or other communities, youth conferences, stupid talent shows...sing, sing, sing. In 2003, I recorded a "demo" CD with 6 songs to tracks, I never really did much with it but was grateful for the opportunity and experience to make it.  Once in a while someone asks me about a CD and I get a little embarrassed, I don't know...I really don't think of myself as a big deal and don't want to either, even typing this makes me a little uncomfortable because all this is not about me, it's all about my Jesus and the journey He has led me through. 

I did a few concerts at various churches after that which was a great learning experience as well.  And eventually I ended up on a worship team at my church...

All the events leading up to now are important and played a role in my life but the last couple of years have been a whirlwind of not only musical growth but more importantly spiritual growth.  In the Fall of 2010, I began singing on the worship team at my church, I led a few of the songs for Sunday morning worship and gained some knowledge on what it was like to sing with a live band instead of CDs or the typical church piano.  Then in 2013, due to various circumstances, there was a need for an interim Worship leader and I seized the opportunity.  It was also at this point that I began singing on Monday nights as well at our Celebrate Recovery meetings, another blessed experience and opportunity.  The CR worship leader was a big support and contributed about as much as I did to the Sunday morning process.  I can't say that I was great at it because I wasn't but it was an eye opening experience and I am thankful for every minute of it.  It taught me a lot about all the work that goes in behind the scenes that nobody sees or notices on Sunday mornings and what kind of leader I was and need to be.  Another first during this time...Prison Concerts, the CR worship team took their first concert to prison, it was awesome and we were hooked. Along with that...I began playing the keyboard, I played for a couple songs during the prison concert and a couple times at CR and the very last Sunday morning that I led the music.  I was not very good, I just chorded mostly but it put me on a path to things I had only dreamed of.

Five months later we hired a worship pastor, he was wise and gracious and an incredible leader, musically and spiritually.  He has taught me a lot about music and worship and has been continually guiding and teaching me to be a better worship leader.  I now play keys most Sunday mornings and every Monday night and the craziest part...I'm singing too. That has always been a challenge for me, to sing and play at the same time and I'm still working on it, but I can play for myself and have on several occasions now for revivals or our worship services and the occasional funeral.  But the most important life-changing part is the work God has done in my heart.  I have a renewed sense of awe and wonder about Him, He has given me a freedom to worship Him like I never had before...what an amazing King I serve.  I am humbled by His majesty, undeserving of His mercy and grace, and completely surrounded by His love and presence every day.  And I can't wait to see what's next...

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About Me

I am a woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter, singer, leader, and more but the greatest of these is a Child of the King, my King, Jesus.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I want every aspect of my life to ooze Jesus, maybe that’s a poor choice of words but I want to be so inundated with the Gospel that it flows so freely from me that people can’t help but wonder about why I am the way I am.  Let me be the first to say that I am not even close to perfection; I’m on the journey…stumbling, dusting off, getting back up, trying.  This whole sanctification process is a wild ride, there are times that I want to get back on the kiddie ride and take it easy but that won’t make me grow, that won’t make me more like Jesus and I want to be more like Jesus.

I began this blog to simply tell precious stories about my family and happenings and maybe the occasional deep thought I might have here and there.  Sometimes I don't write a post for months and sometimes every day, sometimes it's completely random and sometimes ridiculously silly.  But I hope that there is something to be learned or a way to be encouraged or a glimmer of hope and joy.  Most of all, I hope you see the love of Jesus here.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Make Jesus Famous

This post is going to hurt…

Right now, my children are not in love with Jesus, it’s heartbreaking because I know how wonderful He is and how worthy He is and how much my boys are missing out on.

My boys are good boys, they aren’t out partying and carousing and doing the things that rebellious teenagers and 20 somethings do; they are usually at home, spending time with each other and with their crazy parents, they are going to church because they know we want them to, they are bowing their heads when we pray over dinner, they are going through the motions but have vocalized their doubts and maybe even unbelief.

And it makes this mom wonder…did I show my kids what it looks like to make Jesus #1?
There’s a difference between teaching them and showing them.  We’ve said all most of the right things, put them in the programs (Sunday School, Awana, Youth Group), sent them to camp and on mission trips.  But what about the other things?  Did we give up that basketball game or team so we could pursue Christ more?  Did we say ‘no’ to Music events, school plays, school activities that coincided with church events?  Did we make excuses for the birthday parties, the golf match, the once-in-a-life-time opportunity? Even if these activities aren’t on Sundays…did it consume all the other days so we had nothing else?  It seemed that we started out with “good” intentions to keep Christ first in every part of our lives and then what’s his name is really good at this and he is getting a lot of recognition for this or that and it’s only a couple of times a year this is going to happen and slowly these things become important somehow…how did this become #1 in my child’s life?  Wait…how did it not? I was at every match cheering him on, telling him he could do all things through Christ, give God the glory, praise Him when you win and praise Him when you lose.  And those are good things…right?  Yes, they are...I tried to teach them things along the way about grace and mercy.... But we put so much importance on doing well and competition (everything is a competition) that defeat and losing are not in our vocabulary and we become consumed with being the best, winning, and before you know it…there’s not room for anything or anyone else.

We fool ourselves and take for granted that God is constant and that if we miss a couple of times every now and then it’s not really going to have an impact on my spiritual walk.  Now, I’m not trying to be legalistic, God’s grace is sufficient.  I’m pointing out that when we put more emphasis on the worldly things (even though they are fun and even make us proud) then we are going to lose something.  That something will be time spent with our Lord, time spent hearing and reading His Word, time spent in fellowship with believers, time spent pursuing Christ and knowing Him more.  Because, in the end, none of this matters, only Jesus…  It doesn’t matter if my kid was prom king or the hall monitor or the star athlete…it’s about the Kingdom.  Did I make Jesus famous? So famous that they wanted to be like Him, know Him, love Him more than anything this world could ever offer?

These are the things you look back on when your kids are grown and you wonder where the time went.  Yes, I wish I would have done more to point them to Christ and I wish I would have cut out some of the things that eventually would consume a lot of their time.  Where do I go from here?  “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23  An awesome reminder of the amazing Savior I serve.  My boys are going to come back to the Lord, God has given me a great gift of peace about this and I am so thankful.  I will continue to speak truth into their lives and love them like Jesus.  I cannot save them but I can point them to the One that can and I will do that with every part of my life.

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Mardi Gras Mission Trip 2015 ~ My Journal

The following are journal entries from this year's trip.

Friday evening, 2.13.15

After a crazy week of not feeling ready to even begin this journey this time around, here it one of traveling is over and tomorrow we will be in New Orleans face to face with the people we will be ministering to.
Feelings of inadequacy and unpreparedness flood my thoughts along with ironically, pride and self-centeredness.  I'm the "leader" of this trip which is already a stretch but I better take hold of it and do one of the things I do best, boss.  The last two times I came on this mission trip I was very introverted for the most part with my team members and I didn't realize quite how much until one of my current team members made an innocent remark about me that I was mindful of my lack of community amongst my own team.  This leadership thing has forced me to engage more, God is using me in different ways this go around and I'm eager for the journey.  To God be the glory!
*It's all about Jesus - not about me winning people to Him ( I can't do that, only He can), not about me even leading this team, nothing good can come from any part of Christy Hoagland.  If there is any good in me it is because of the redemptive work of Jesus.

His grace is sufficient, His mercies are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness!


This has been a weird trip.  Please move in my life, Lord.  I feel very under attack, spiritually and emotionally.

Distraction - whether the enemy's whispers in my ear or issues at home have been difficult for me to overcome.  I feel like I am able to talk with people and share Jesus, because of the Holy Spirit, but I am not always as focused as I should be.

Lord, I need Your help, to finish this journey, to lead this group and to put You first in every situation.  Go before me today, give me strength and courage and discernment to do what You have put before me.  To God be the glory. I love You, Jesus!


We are back in our hotel room in Mississippi before we head home tomorrow.  This has been a stretching week, leading the team and making every stinking decision isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Nevertheless, Christ was exalted and proclaimed!  I am weary...


We are home safe and sound.  God has taught me a lot these past few days.  One being to be bold and authoritative in my decision making.  Although I am naturally bossy, I'm also a people pleaser and I'm learning I cannot make everyone happy and that I can lead people more graciously.

As for my personal struggle (which I really haven't shared but maybe will in the future) talk with my husband went better than expected.  He was gentle and gracious with me and I am so thankful for him.

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