Saturday, July 30, 2016

Anything ~ Week Four Wrap Up

This has been one of my favorite weeks...reading Katie Davis' story of surrendering everything to Jesus is so inspiring.  I hope you have been blessed this week and challenged to begin praying anything...God I will do anything.

This week's recipe:

Blueberry Yogurt Morning Cake

~ Ingredients ~
1/2 cup Butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1 cup sugar, plus two tablespoons for the berries
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups pound blueberries

~ Directions ~
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, and line it with buttered parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt, and almond extract.  Mix well.  Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and mix by hand until combined.  Be careful not to overmix.  Pour the batter into the springform.  Toss the berries with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and then scatter them over the top of the batter.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cake plate.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Define Surrender

Surrender - laying aside all selfish ambitions, comfort, safety, giving up everything you love, want and need over to the One who created you, the God of the universe and being willing to do whatever it takes to follow His plan, no matter the cost.

I'd love to hear some of your answers to this week's conversation cards...

What does "wanting more" look like for you?

Have you ever had a "bathroom floor" moment?

Do you believe in the invisible God enough that you are willing to live for Him? What does that look like for you?

Look back at 1 Corinthians 15:32, what does that verse mean for your life?

One page 78, I talk about grieving the ways I had lived for myself, how might you "almost get away with a wasted life"?

Who has been a model of faith like this to you, like Katie Davis was for me?

I think I have an answer for every one of these questions, or at least an attempt at one.  I will sum up several of these questions like this...wanting more for me is giving up the life I now have for a better one, for a life of service and surrender to do what God has called me to do, I feel like I have had several bathroom floor moments - each time I see someone doing something I call courageous or "crazy faith" like, an example is Leigh Anne Tuohy, the lady that took in Michael Oher and loved him unconditionally (The Blind Side), people giving their lives for the cause of Christ, there are countless stories and I want to live my life this everything for Jesus.  I don't want to look back on my life and see a wasted one, I don't want to cram God into my day, I want every day to be centered around Him, I want to be sold out, surrendered, living for the Glory of God.

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Anything ~ Week Four

Praying Anything...things are getting real.  I love these chapters (8-10), they make me want to live differently, they make my heart ache for the time I have wasted chasing the things of this life...

God was real and heaven was coming, and I wanted to hold every moment on earth in light of that moment when I would meet God face-to-face. I was ready to forsake this life for the next. I wanted him to unreservedly have me, so that when I faced him, we would both know that my life was spent on everything he had dreamed for me. - Jennie Allen

Do I believe in the invisible enough that I'm willing to live for it? - Jennie Allen

Let's face it...we are numb or at least I have been or used to be. I noticed this morning in church while my pastor was preaching his guts out, passionately and unashamedly that everything inside of me was screaming Yes! and Amen!, tears were rolling down my face and I wondered...what is wrong with us?  Why are we not shouting from the rooftops about the gloriousness and majesty of Christ?

The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him. - Henry Varley

This week:
Read chapters 8-10
Study 1 Corinthians 15:12-32
Do Project One (this one is interesting...please call me or set up a time to meet with me if you'd like)

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Anything ~ Week Three Wrap Up

Let's wrap up week three by sharing what is in our new scrapbooks.  This is what I'm hoping my scrapbook will hold now and in the future.

Lives changed with the gospel, reaching out to the least of these every day, becoming who God has called me to be, a servant, a leader - taking the gospel through song and the Word to the lost in prisons, shelters, in the supermarket, alongside the road, everywhere!  Challenging churches to be intentional in sharing the greatest story ever told and their story of redemption daily! I hope boldness and obedience is the story of my life.  Going anywhere, anytime to share the love of Jesus.

Soft-Baked Ginger Doodles

~ Ingredients ~
1 1/4 Cup old fashioned oats
1 Cup raw almonds
1 1/2 Cups sweetener that measures like sugar, divided
2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 1/2 Teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1/8 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 Cup unsweetened apple sauce

~ Directions ~
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil sprayed with cooking spray. In a blender or food processor grind the oats and almonds into a flour-like consistency. Pour into a medium bowl and add 1 cup sweetener, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice and stir to combine. Add the applesauce and stir until the mixture forms into a dough.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sweetener and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and stir to combine. Scoop 2 Tablespoons of the dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball between your hands and coat in the cinnamon mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Let It Go

Letting go of this temporary life is more of a struggle than we realize.  As I was reading this week I was struck with how much of an idol I had been making my job to be.  The statement on page 64... "So we live more afraid of losing what we love here than of facing God in eternity, even when it all is striving after the wind, to paraphrase Solomon (Eccl. 1:14)."  Ouch.  Let's stop striving after wind, let's "Let it go"...this life is so short, so temporary.

"If I Were the Devil" by Tom Nelson, this is powerful and convicting, let's not let the enemy keep us from living for Jesus and keep us from the life God wants us to live.

   If I was the devil, I'd tell you what I'd do.  I would try to deceive you and get you into error.  I would get you off base.  And if you still stayed true, I would try to disqualify you.  I would get you immoral, I would get you where no one would believe what came out of your mouth.  I would make you a tabloid, where nobody would believe you.  I would remove your confidence until you were afraid to speak because your life was such a shamble.  I would get you into sin, I would prowl like a roaring lion to devour you morally.
   And if I couldn't do that, I would try to make you successful.  And I would distract you if I couldn't disqualify you.  I would get you busy.  I would get you so distracted to the gospel that no longer would your prayers be about holiness and souls.  They would only be about the bottom line in your business.  I would get you materialistic, and no longer concerned about the spiritual nature of life.  If I couldn't do that, I would divide you.  If I couldn't divide you, I've almost lost you.  You know what I'd do then?  I'd discourage you.  And then if I couldn't discourage you, I'd try death.  I would try my best to kill you.  That's what I would do to take you out.

Loving this life too much will affect our love for Jesus and will affect what we are willing to do for Him. - Jennie Allen paraphrase

At the end of your life, what will count?

Complete Project 2 and answer one or more of the questions below.

Conversation Cards

In what ways has the enemy - or just life - made you numb and distracted?

What things are in the scrapbook in your head?

What would it look like for you to set your mind on eternity in the everyday?  How could that change your everyday?

What are the little gods that are being exposed as you consider letting go of everything?

Look back at the definition of the word Abandon on page 57.  What keeps you from living that word?

What are you most afraid God will ask you to give up?

For those that really know me, you know I laugh all the time, I am not too serious and I love to have fun.  This study is serious to me, I am loving it.  But here is a fun video shot last Christmas Eve of me singing and our Youth Pastor lip syncing...enjoy.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Anything Study ~ Week Three

The last couple weeks of my feeling of loss over walking away from my job seems quite silly as I watched this week's video.  This is only the beginning, if I really want to pray this prayer and see God move in my life then more sacrifices, suffering, and who knows what may be in store.

This week we are looking at abandoning fear and abandoning this life.

"What are you most afraid of? What would be the very worst thing that God my allow you to suffer?  He is God, and if our suffering brings Him the most glory, let it be." Jennie Allen

I've often said that if God took my voice, my singing away and that brought Him the most Glory then so be it.  Do I really mean that?  If I didn't before...I'm starting to.  God is molding me and shaping me and I want to be more like Him, I want to be used for His Glory.  He loves me and He will never leave me or forsake me.  He showed me something special Friday night at Algoa Correctional, I was getting my "stuff" ready to lead worship and I always open up my Bible and lay it on the keyboard.  I opened it Friday and it turned to Matthew 5:4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."  I had written below it - Mourn the loss, if it were easy to give up those things then what would we gain?  How would we be changed?  These words I had written down during a sermon from my Pastor, Chris Guffey.  I used that scripture as I led these men in prison, I was overwhelmed with God's goodness and faithfulness.

This week:
Read chapters 6-7
Study 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 and answer questions
Complete Project One

Our faith must remain greater than our pain and our fears. - Jennie Allen

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Anything ~ Week Two Wrap Up

Week Two is through and I've been a mess.  It seems like everything I've been trying to share regarding this study is about struggles, my insecurities, my fears.  Is God's timing perfect or what?  I know He is using this time to grow me and I'm thankful.

If you have something to share and you're up for it...please share what your biggest challenge has been so far over these last two weeks.

This week's recipe:

Monica's Goat Cheese Toasts (whoever Monica is...)

~ Ingredients ~
1 Baguette
8 Ounces goat cheese
1/4 Honey (I didn't forget really only says 1/4...1/4 what?) good luck
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts
1 Tablespoon Chopped Fresh Rosemary

~ Directions ~
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the baguette into 1/2-inch diagonal slices. Spread goat cheese on each slice. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until edges are slightly golden and cheese is soft, about 10 minutes. While they're baking, warm the honey in a saucepan, and toast the nuts on a foil-covered rimmed baking sheet or in a dry pan on the stove. Arrange baguette slices on a platter, then drizzle with the honey, sprinkle the nuts, and finish with rosemary.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Freedom comes through letting go.  Project Two asked us to draw an image of us laying down the thing you love most...right now, for some reason, it's my job.  My shabby and ridiculous stick figure drawing is me leaving my desk at Cornerstone behind.  I have been consumed with this since I gave my notice last week, crying off and on, losing sleep...  I am always telling people that if we could look into the future and see what God has planned or how He wants to use us then we'd give up everything in heartbeat to chase after that.  And here I am...petty and pitiful about leaving my job.  How dare I?  I was bought with a price.  I really do want to serve Jesus and live a life completely surrendered to Him.  I'm not going to chicken out - I am done with normal.

Conversation Cards

How are you letting people's opinions shape the way you are living?

Has your view of "normal" stolen God's plans for a more risky life of faith?

What things do you feel you deserve from God to be happy?

Read Romans 8:6 and share about how a shift in your perspective could bring life and peace?

What would it look like to lay down approval?  What fear do you need to face to be able to let go of living for people instead of God?

How have the people around you shaped what you think it means to follow Jesus?

Choose one or more questions and share.

Romans 8:6 "For to set the mind on the things of the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace."  What sweet words...  I need to continually set my mind on the things of the Spirit.  This reminds me of the hymn - Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace

There really is no comparison.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Thank You, Jesus and please forgive me for trying to forgo the plans You have for me.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Longing for More

My pastor preached a powerful message Sunday about our foundation being in Jesus Christ and us being eternal minded.  Isn't that what we are learning right now?  To put our focus on Christ and the things that last?

During my sons' teenage years, I allowed them too much "world time", that's what I'm going to call it, meaning more time was spent on the seen than the unseen - extracurricular activities, whether sports, music performances, etc...these became more important than they should.  Here's where that entitlement issue comes in, we try and have it all, the kids involved in everything so we can keep up with what everyone else is doing (when they really need Jesus more than ever), the nice car, the good job, the perfectly decorated home and we squeeze God in so we feel better or okay with ourselves, with our lives and since most Christians are living the same way..we accept it.  It's "normal"...

And then, every once in a while the Holy Spirit pricks our hearts with conviction and we long for more.  We long to let go of the all the things keeping us from more, more Jesus saturating our lives, more seeing lives changed with the Gospel, more watching our family, friends, and others sell out to Christ...

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8

What do you need to let go of in order to pursue things that last?

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Anything Study ~ Week Two

Abandoning Approval and Entitlement

These are tough for me...especially abandoning approval.  I think this is why leaving my job is so difficult for me, I want people's approval and I knew this resignation was going to be hard for people to accept.  As I read chapter 4, I would be so much easier for things to stay the same, for things to stay "normal".  But I no longer want normal.

"Set your minds on things above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2

What if heaven and God and forever became our normal? Wouldn't that change everything?

This week:

Read chapters 4 & 5
Study Matthew 19:16-30 and complete the questions in the back of your book
Complete Project One

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Anything ~ Week One Wrap Up

Anything Photo from Angelia ~ Post or send me yours!

Wow! Week One is wrapping up and I have already been challenged, encouraged, and overwhelmed with what God is doing!

Share what you are learning and how you are fighting the things that keep you from surrender. Comment below or on our facebook group.

Here's a bonus! Every week we get a recipe - no, these are not original to me ;)

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

~ Ingredients ~
3/4 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Sweetener that measures like sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk (or low-fat milk)
2 large egg whites
1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter

~ Directions ~
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 in. baking pan with cooking spray. Place the oats, cocoa powder, sweetener, baking powder and salt in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and the oats are ground up. In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, almond milk, and egg whites. Add the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared baking pan.

Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds. Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the brownie batter. Using a knife, gently swirl the batters together to make a marbled effect. (Be careful not to overmix.) Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely and cut into 9 squares.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Call to Obedience

I quit my job....a job that I've had for almost 6 years, a job that provided a substantial amount of my family's income, a job that I have loved and sometimes complained about but mostly loved.  I am feeling a wide range of emotions, I feel like I need to grieve over leaving yet I'm excited for what the future holds.  I know this is the right decision, God placed this on my heart long ago, but the follow thru has been and is still surreal to me.  I've never been more thankful for my faithful and trustworthy God.  He has appointed this time - His timing is perfect and I know this is the next step of obedience for me, the next step in my "anything" journey.

I am still in awe that this Bible study and big act of obedience have coincided like they have, I honestly didn't plan it that way.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

If I get too caught up in thinking in worldly terms or just fleshly selfish terms, fear and doubt start to creep in and the tears threaten to come.  In fact they haven't just threatened, I have sobbed over what I have lost.  But who am I to say what's best for me, God knows far better than I, I just need to be obedient, even when it's hard.  It's in those moments that Jesus surrounds me with His peace and reminds me that this world is not my home, that these "things" don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  I am sure thankful that I serve a holy, righteous, transcendent yet near and loving God.  I can put my hope and trust in Him.  I marvel at that, at who God is, how He cares about me, a rotten, self-centered sinner.  I love that word - Marvel.  Jesus used it seeing the centurion's faith, the Pharisees, His disciples and others used it seeing the wonder and majesty of Jesus.  Marvel at the awesomeness of Jesus Christ, He has great and unthinkable plans for you.  Step out in faith, in obedience to His calling on your life, He is worthy of our trust, our obedience.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Freedom through Surrender

This week we are looking at what we are holding on to...freedom comes when we surrender those things to Christ's care and control.  What are you fighting?  What are you trying to hold on to?

I have been fighting safety, comfort, and change...there are big things on the horizon that I know God is calling me to and the next step is giving up safety, comfort which is going to lead to big changes!

Here is my Project One prayer and response:

Lord Jesus,
Forgive me when I try to hold onto the comforts and safety of worldly things.  Help me to see that Your plans are the best plans and that if I let go, You will bring about Your purpose in me, for me, and through me.  Forgive me when I doubt who You are, forgive me when I don't believe or don't act like I believe You are in control.  Thank You for Your forgiveness, for Your truth and for the freedom only You can give and will give when we surrender everything over to You.  In Your name, Amen.

God's response: Depend upon me, Christy, you know I have the perfect plan for your life and that I want to do wondrous things through you for My glory.  I will make you holy and blameless, I have sealed you with the Holy Spirit and have given you an inheritance in My kingdom.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10

God wants to give us freedom, freedom through surrendering everything to Him.  He has the best and perfect plan for our lives.  Trust Him.

Conversation Cards - Pick one (or more if you feel inclined) and share.

In what ways are you pretending?

What is truth that you know about God, but you don't live like it's true?

Do you find yourself judging others' behavior at times? Why?

How have you experienced taking a Godly risk draw you closer to Jesus?

In what ways have you lived as if God were plastic?

What are you fighting that no one else can see?

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Anything Study ~ Week One

The wait is's time to begin.  Let me begin by telling you a piece of my story with "Anything", I know I've prodded you to read a couple of posts I wrote when I did this study 3 years ago but what has happened during these last 3 years keeps me in awe of God, who He is, what He does, what He wants to do in us if we will simply pray "anything...God, I will do anything"...

God took me from singing on Sunday mornings to leading men in prisons, women in jails, people in churches in worship.  He brought me to a bolder faith.  He made me a "risk" taker.  He gave me a greater love for people, especially my own family members that drive me crazy.  He took me from never playing the piano for myself to writing songs.  And more...

I am ALL IN and even when other people say I am crazy, I am going to follow Him in anything He asks of me.  You see, I was bought with a price.  Jesus is worth giving anything to and for.
2 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."

This risk taking??? Page 9 - "To risk is to willingly place your life in the hand of an unseen God and an unknown future, then to watch him come through. He starts to get real when you live like that."

Crave a reckless faith. I don't want to live the rest of my life wondering...what if I had really lived out the calling God has placed on my life? What if I would have really given up everything, really done anything?

This week:
  • Read chapters 1-3
  • Study 1 John 1:5-10 (do questions in the back of book with study guide for week one)
  • Do Project One
 I will post again this week with group discussion questions.

We will weep, we will struggle, we will be changed...

Bless you, dear have been prayed for, this is going to be a summer to remember.

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