Saturday, September 2, 2017

Trust Him

I ran across an old binder full of Bible Studies I had done a few years ago (I have lots of these kinds of things, notebooks, journals, you name it).  This one was particularly interesting, it contained the "Anything" study I finished in Summer 2013...take a look...


I'm not sure if this is the first time prison is written somewhere or not but it is important to me because I didn't go into prison for the first time until December 2013 with the band, it was our first concert.  And then number 4....doing ministry with my hubby full time wherever that may be!  Isn't God good!  He was directing and leading me this way all along, this is part of His plan.  I am constantly in awe of Him, who He is, what He does...simply amazing.

Keep seeking Him, keep surrendering and living wrecklessly abandoned to Him, He will use you for His purposes, for His Kingdom.  Thank You, Jesus for Your marvelous work in my life, help me to honor You with all that I am.

Sing for the King,
Christy

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Proven: Week 8 ~ Wrap Up

Wow! What a week, what an 8 weeks!  I hope you've been as blessed and as challenged as I have been.

Do you know what I love about this week's lesson?  The demonstration of Peter and the disciples going fishing and catching nothing...and then Jesus guiding them to throw their nets in a certain place and them catching all those fish.  We can do nothing on our own, we need Jesus!  We need to listen to His voice and follow His instruction and He will give the increase, He will work through us and in us.  I love that!  As I have prepared for the Sing for the King Ministries fundraiser event I began asking the Lord what He would have me share and He just kept speaking to my heart "Christy, just tell them about me, just talk about me", after all this is all about Him!...so I reminded myself that I had nothing to prove and that I just needed to depend on Him, talk about His love, His grace, His sacrifice.  This night was the benefit dinner and concert, the album launch and my name was "out there" a lot and I desperately wanted it to not be about me and all about Him.  The Jason Lovins Band blessed our church recently and shared a song written about Jason's grandma, I cried listening to it, it is called "I Wanna Be Known" and it's all about wanting to be known for loving Jesus and living like Him.  That is my heart's desire, to be known for being a Jesus girl, loving Him so wildly and radically that it will never be about me.  I want to be obedient in the small things and in the big things...but it's really only the world's standards that categorize what big and small are, isn't it?  There is no big or small in obedience to Christ.  Let's just be..with Him, doing what He's called us to do.

In the Experience section of this week's study:

DREAM

Where could you display God's extravagant love around you? Dream a little.

What needs do you see around you?

What nudge do you feel from God concerning these needs? Which ones may He be wanting you to meet (even if it seems small)?

What is keeping you from responding?

REFLECT

What have you learned about yourself in these weeks?

What have you learned about Jesus?

How has the Holy Spirit convicted you about the way you are living?

What is now your vision for your life, your friends, and your family?

VISION

Let's write a mission statement...

Your mission statement should be based on your passions and what you hope people will say about you when you are gone.  Look over Jesus' prayer in John 17 and consider what it is God has called you to and what He has done already through your life for the good of others and His glory.

Here are some things to consider as you work on this statement:

  • Pray and read Scripture. You want your statement to reflect God's heart and purpose.
  • Consider your gifts and passions.
  • Think about your legacy. How do you want people to remember you when you're gone?
  • Reflect on how God has already worked in and through you.
  • Seek the counsel and observation of trusted, godly friends. How have they seen God work through you?
So it's your turn. Write a mission statement for your life.

In Jennie's conclusion she says this...I want less days of coping and more days of fighting for God's glory and the good of people.

COMMISSIONING

We are a generation of women that desire to be brave.

May our bravery lead us to sacrificial obedience.

May heaven become more real than earth.

May we see God, really see Him.  And then care more about what He thinks than any other person on earth.

May we go to war against bondage that has controlled us and kept us from living the lives that we were meant to live.

May we crave freedom for God's people.

May the state of our hearts become more concerning to us than our reputations.

May our generation live knowing God is real.

May the religious come back to Jesus.

May the faithless find Him safe to consider.

May we see that heaven is coming and that we have a mission.

I want to see in my lifetime a generation of un-numb, un-stuck, focused missionaries, empowered by the Spirit building the kingdom of God together. - Jennie Allen (Proven)

The more obedient and surrendered I live for Jesus the more fulfilled and free I feel and become.  Let's be free, with nothing to prove because Jesus has already proven everything.  Let's rest in Him, abide in Him, live brave and courageously for Him, outside our comfort zones and loving every minute of it.


https://youtu.be/HmJnl5GqdaA

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Be with Jesus

If there's one thing (there's actually many) but if there's one thing that's been speaking to my heart a lot or the most is this: "Be with Jesus"...spend time with Him, everything else will fall into place if I will just spend time with Him.  That's where change will happen, that's where I will really follow His will because I will know Him more and I know the next right step to take.  This week, emptiness...calling...and it doesn't depend upon us, who we are, but who He is and the more time we spend with Him, the more we will realize this and let it sink in.

He wants us to be with Him and then give away what we have been given from being with Him. - Jennie Allen (Nothing to Prove)

Sounds pretty simple doesn't it?  Why do we make things so hard?  Because I want to be seen, to be admired, to be loved...by people?  This CD launch is exciting and kind of a big deal (it would appear) and I want it to be perfect, I want to be perfect...but what if it's not?  Who cares?  I had a reality check the other day, I'm not going to play keys for the concert Saturday...there goes my crutch, I suddenly realized that I won't have the lyrics in front of me...panic attack?  What if I forget the lyrics to my own stinkin' songs?  So what.  And then I thought, what if I do forget or what if I do use lyrics?  What does it matter?  I have NOTHING TO PROVE!  But boy does it seem like I do right now!  And then I get the gentle reminder that Jesus is enough and no matter what, it'll be ok...that I don't have to prove myself, Jesus has done such a work in me and that's what I need to show, to give away...my performance is meaningless, but my worship needs to be about Him, for Him.

To simply display God has become my greatest goal. What could be a greater calling than to live so that God's great grace is magnified in our lives? - Jennie Allen (Nothing to Prove).

So, this week and always...let's seek Him, spend time with Him, abide in Him.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 8: Called ~ The End of Emptiness


Called. I looked up the definition of the word called and this one caught my attention - "to give a name to".  That's what Jesus does, He gives us a name.  Our family name shows to what family we belong to and it's just like that with Jesus, when we belong to Jesus we are part of His family...we are called.  Forgiven and set free to enjoy this life with Jesus instead of strive and toil.

In this week's video, Jennie reminds us again that Jesus says you don't have to be perfect, I've been perfect for you.  Isn't that a relief, isn't that a comfort?  The more I am obedient and walk in my calling, my relationship with Jesus and live sold out to Him, the less empty I feel.  When I said "anything" to Jesus He showed me things beyond what I could've ever imagined.  This calling leaves me fulfilled.  And the more I trust Him and obey Him, the more fulfilled I am.  It's not about doing big things, it's about being obedient to Jesus...saying yes to Him.  What if we all just did the thing God put in us to do every day? - Jennie Allen (Proven)

This week we will see how our obedience flows out of a relationship with Jesus, out of being loved.  Jesus shows the disciples this extravagant love in John 21...what love!

This week:
Watch the Lesson 8 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 11 "No Longer Empty" and "Final Thoughts"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 8 (Read/Study John 21)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 152-153)
Describe the apostles' fishing experience prior to Jesus appearing on shore.

What was different after Jesus appeared?

Describe Peter's response to seeing Jesus.

Why do you think Peter responded this way?

What did Jesus provide for His disciples that morning?

What do you think He wanted from them in that moment?

What do you think He wants from you in this moment?


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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Proven: Week 7 ~ Wrap Up

What have we learned this week about Jesus' love for us, His humility, His grace?  His cleansing is the only way to be free, His blood makes us free.  He is waiting for us, to confess and to repent.  We talk about being real, genuine, authentic but there is nothing holy about authenticity without repentance. Authenticity is the necessary soil for repentance, but if healing comes from Jesus, then confession is only the first step.  Grieving and leaving our sin is the next one. (J. Allen, Proven)

Step into the Stream
What sin are you afraid to bring to Jesus?

Wade in Deeper
Write a letter from God to you concerning your sin. What would God say to you about His love and forgiveness for you?

Quench Your Thirst
Identify patterns in your life that keep you from confessing your sin. Get a few notecards and write out some verses that remind you of the truth of God's grace when you fall into one of those patterns of shame. Stick those verses everywhere - in your car, on your bathroom mirror, on your bedside table.

The Overflow
Go on a walk with a mentor or friend you trust and share what God is teaching you about His grace. Ask each other these questions:

  1. Where are you craving grace?
  2. In the past, how have you experienced God's grace in your life?
  3. What is keeping you from bringing your sin to Jesus?


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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fraudulent Living

When we began this study several weeks ago I told you I would pour out my guts to you, would share intimately with you, would be an example to dig deep into the innermost recesses of our hearts and lay everything out.  And I've wondered over the past few weeks if I've really done that or asked myself what I can confess to you.  Here's my confession...I feel like a fraud today, like I haven't done enough, shared enough, spilled my guts enough and I need your forgiveness.  That's sin number one.  Sin number two...I'm a perfectionist, maybe that's laughable to some of you, ahem, but it's true and with this crazy CD recording I faced that perfectionism head-on this week.  And to be "perfectly" honest, it's not perfect and that's okay.  But I tortured myself pretty good and those around me (the hubby) with incessantly listening and ridiculing myself.  I even texted my producer and asked him to make one more change after I had given him the go to master everything.  He graciously obliged but geez...I'm a handful.  How ironic is all this?  God had to remind me that I have "nothing to prove" and remembering this truth gave me peace.  When I began this recording process I had a clear goal, to glorify God, encourage those that would listen to it (my target is offenders) and share the Gospel through music, and help support Sing for the King Ministries.  I believe this is still intact and will indeed remain the goal but somewhere along the way I got in my own head and started over thinking, put too much pressure on myself, and dwelt too much on how this or I would be perceived.  And wonderfully enough, through this study this week I am reminded that my dirt does not define me, my inadequacies and perfectionism is not who I am and I can let it go..I'll try to let it go.  I really do want God to be in control of my life...I really do want to be led by the Holy Spirit instead of my own selfish ambitions...I really do want God to have the spotlight instead of me...I really do want Him to use me for His Glory, my good, and His Kingdom.  I really need His help, I really need your help...to keep me accountable, to call me out...love me enough to do it.

So many of our problems come when imperfect people try to act as if they have it all together.  We all have been there.  And what's the result?  We hide behind images we create of happy, clean, impressive lives.  We are exhausted.  - Jennie Allen (Nothing to Prove)


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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Proven: Week 7 ~ Grace: The End of Shame

Confess, and repent.  We've talked about naming our sin, getting caught.  But once we've laid it out there, exposed it...we need to repent and believe.  Jesus forces us into the light to remove our shame, He wants us to be free.  Jennie talks about pride and humility here, none of us want to admit our guilt, our sin...but our pride keeps us from being right with God.  And as she so eloquently states, the rhythm of grace is brokenness.  The rhythm of grace is humility.  I don't know about you but I want to be free from shame but more than that, I want to live a life for His Glory no longer caring about what the world thinks or sees.  I find it so amazing that in this week's video Jennie talks about her son and praying a prayer of humility over him.  My youngest son just moved out of our house and more than him being successful in life, I want him to love Jesus and be right with Him.  I want that for myself as well and it comes from risking exposure, confessing my sin, and turning from it.  Let's bring Him the things we most want to hide from Him.

This week in John 13, Jesus teaches us about humility by washing the disciples feet.

This week:
Watch the Lesson 7 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 10 "No Longer Ashamed"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 7 (Read/Study John 13)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 132-133)
Describe Peter's reaction to Jesus' humble act.

Why do you think Jesus insisted on Peter receiving this cleansing?

What was Jesus hoping that His men understood by this act?

Describe the kind of love Jesus is calling us to in this chapter.

Why is Jesus so adamantly demonstrating and calling us to this kind of love (vs35)?

It starts with us. If we don't experience His forgiveness and His grace on a regular basis, then how could we give away His forgiveness and grace to anybody else? - J. Allen (Proven)

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Proven: Week 6 ~ Wrap Up

Intense stuff this week...facing fears, embracing suffering, letting go of control, trusting God.

We have to get to a place where we finally believe God is who He says He is, believe that God has a perfect plan that even includes our suffering...for our benefit and His Glory!

Those of us who have Jesus and are found in Him... (Jennie Allen, NTP)

  • We are free of worry about this life working out perfectly, because a perfect eternal life is coming.
  • We are free of guilt and shame, because we have been completely forgiven.
  • We are free of all fear, because who or what on this earth would we fear if God is with us?
  • We get to stop being afraid. Fear has no power over people who aren't afraid of the very worst being thrown at them.
We live in a broken and fallen world and we are going to face difficulties...hard, gut-wrenching moments that may even leave us wondering..."where are you Lord?" but He will be there, revealing His power, His grace, His love upon us and reminding us of the home we have waiting for us in Heaven.

After my son's heart breaking confession I leaned heavily on God, I sought out His promises in His Word and I began to trust Him more.  And throughout the last few years God has graciously shown me little glimpses of Himself in my son's life, what love our Lord has for me, for us!  He is faithful...

Reflect:
Face some of your darkest fears and hurts.  God already knows and He is there to strengthen and comfort you.  Take an hour or two by yourself with a journal and consider these questions.

What are some of your greatest disappointments? Can you see the presence and purpose of Jesus in those moments? Where? How?

What are some of your greatest doubts about God? Have you shared those doubts with Him? What do you think Jesus would say to the doubts?

What are some of your deepest hurts and insecurities? How does Jesus want to meet these needs in your life?

What are you most afraid of? What do you believe Jesus would say to your greatest fear?

Connect:
Look for people who are suffering and find a way to encourage them. Grab some friends and visit a homeless shelter, prison or jail, nursing home or hospital. You don't even have to bring anything; just go talk to people. Look them in the eyes and hear their stories. Be with them. Practice the ministry of presence.

https://youtu.be/Z92vaGrxnQU

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Faith Over Fear

Live believing.  The hope that Jesus gives is assurance, peace, and faith. If we believe God and trust in His plan then we have nothing to fear...even in suffering.

Is it conceivable that God may allow temporary suffering to expand our faith? Absolutely. (See Romans 5:1-5 and James 1:2-4)  Our faith, tried and tested, will lead us to our eternal home where pain and suffering will never touch us again.  But what if the very thing that God is allowing for our good, our faith, our hope, our perseverance, we keep pushing away and avoiding?  We can either move into the suffering within us and around us or we can try to avoid it. But if we choose avoidance, not only will we miss the hard parts but we will miss the best parts, too. - Jennie Allen (Proven)

John 11 - the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is all about our faith and His Glory.  I want to live for His Glory and have my faith strengthened.  I cannot attest to seeing someone raised from the dead but I have seen miracles in my own life in the midst of suffering that have resulted in a closer walk with my Savior.  In August 2010, I was pregnant with our third child, I was 11 weeks along and miscarried.  We were grief stricken with our loss but I had a peace that was beyond imagination.  Leading up to this loss I felt God preparing me for it, that may sound strange but He did...and He grew my faith and trust in Him in so many amazing ways.  Another example, my oldest son walked away from Jesus...and I was devastated.  It was one of the most heart wrenching moments of my life, this child that was on fire for Jesus, that was a leader amongst his peers in FCA, who preached in front of youth and adults, was telling his mama that he didn't know that he believed in God anymore.  I asked many to pray and then gave it to God, or at least I tried to.  During the year or so that followed God did a work on my heart, I lived believing in His promises, trusting Him more, and that whatever would happen in my son's life would be for God's glory.  And I began to pray differently for my son...if suffering or the hard things in life will bring my son back to loving Jesus then please Lord, do whatever it takes.  When he would call home and be distressed about something I would pray, Lord, use this to draw Him back to You.  In times of distress I ask God what He's going to teach me through this (most of the time, I'm still human, ya know).  It is freeing, this trusting God, believing He has everything under control.  He has proven Himself over and over again, in His Word, and in my own life and He is worthy of our trust and faith in Him.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Proven: Week 6 ~ Hope: The End of Fear

I heard speaker and author, Dr. Robert Loggins, say at a leadership conference recently that he was grateful for the suffering he and his family have endured.  An odd statement, right?  But it was because in those times of suffering he began to know Jesus more.

What if we are missing the very best parts by pushing away the hardest?  Jesus is calling you into the darkest places, because in the darkest places, His love and light burn brightest. - Jennie Allen

If we're honest we would say we don't want to suffer, we wouldn't choose suffering for ourselves or for anyone we cared about. But as Jennie states, Jesus' light shines brightest in the darkest places. Our suffering may show Jesus to someone and bring them to repentance, a loved one's pain may reveal Christ more to them in a way they've never known before.  Suffering, pain, and death in our loved ones, children, and servants of Jesus is difficult for us to comprehend.  Do we believe God?  We can!  Jesus gives us assurance and faith, He gives us hope!  And hope changes us and we get to live fearless, believing lives and it is worth it.

This week we will study John 11, this is not just a story about Jesus raising someone from the dead, this is a story of Jesus' tender love for us, His light shining in the darkness, glory to the Father, and so much more.

This week:
Watch the Lesson 6 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 9 "No Longer Afraid"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 6 (Read/Study John 11)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 111-112)
Why did Jesus wait to go to Lazarus?

What feelings and convictions do you hear in Martha's words in verses 21-22?

How did Jesus respond to Martha?

Describe Mary's faith and posture in verses 28-32? How was it different than Martha's?

How did Jesus respond to Mary?

Why do you think Jesus wept with Mary?

What did Jesus ultimately want for the people He loved (v. 15)?


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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Proven: Week 5 ~ Wrap Up

Have you risked this week?  I'd like to say that I have...but I don't know that I really have, I did have the opportunity to speak to the guys at prison last night and encourage them to risk.  How hard do you think it is for them to risk for Jesus in prison?  Yet, some of them are risking, living and sharing the gospel with gang bangers, drug dealers, and more.  It humbles me, to see their faith and love for Jesus.  I'm going to try to live this next week looking for opportunities to risk, to share Jesus with someone, anyone.  I want to live like this every single day!  I am so weak...but God!  I will simply take it one day at a time, and try to live expectantly and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading.

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Living with nothing to prove actually makes God-honoring risk a lot more fun. Just as Jesus risked His reputation to set a man free, we are able to more easily see and meet needs around us with less fear when we let go of controlling the circumstances and how our lives appear. - Jennie Allen (NTP)

Step into the Stream
What is one small or large risk you could take for the glory of God or the good of people?

Quench Your Thirst
Do you have diverse friendships? If so, how have they shaped you? What kinds of people intimidate you? What kinds of people do you not pursue? What keeps you from being close?  Hang out with someone different from you this week.

Simplify (I love this simplify stuff...I long to do it!...see my confession there?)
One night this week, beginning at sunset, do not use any electricity where you live.

  • Make s'mores
  • Read by candlelight
  • Initiate deep conversations
  • Look at the stars
Consider
What is the thing you most fear right now? Write it down or draw an image that represents it.  Now consider how your life would be different if that fear were conquered or overcome.
Consider the following ways to face that fear:
  • Confess it to a friend
  • Pray about it
  • Memorize Scripture that relates to overcoming it
  • Create an action plan
Now go do that.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear." 1 John 4:18

Create (I'm going to throw this one out there...I, ahem, am a terrible artist but this would be fun to try and share, so do it if you're brave enough)
  1. Buy a canvas, a paint set, and paintbrushes (or even just gather simple stuff around your house)
  2. Sit and observe
  3. Paint or draw something that reminds you of God's beauty
  4. Share your artwork online using the hashtag #ProvenBibleStudy
Jesus shows us the way to freedom, what an example for us to follow!

I want to sink all I have in the field with the treasure that goes on forever because it is the wisest risk of my life. Is there a risk Christ is calling you to take? There is no more secure venture than risking on an eternal, loving, steadfast God.  What is holding you back?  - Jennie A. (Proven)

This is a risk song...You Make Me Brave, God will equip us and use us and enable us to do what He's called us to do!
https://youtu.be/_UglO7SGUWk

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Risking for Jesus

Have you ever listened to a missionary's story or someone else's story of faith and been amazed, touched, and overwhelmed with how God used their life for His Kingdom?  What about a teenage girl who sparked the great welsh revival?  Or Corrie ten Boom who was imprisoned for helping Jews escape the Nazi holocaust?  There are many stories like these, many we don't even have names for because they are believers living sold out lives for Jesus in their small towns and neighborhoods in their everyday.  See people, love them...risk and tell them about Jesus, show them who Jesus is. These aforementioned stories may seem like the extreme but they all started somewhere, they all started with obedience, risk.  I want to believe God, believe that He is all powerful and in control, and live like I believe it heeding to every prompt by the Holy Spirit living in me.

Why are we afraid to risk?  Fear of rejection, change, don't think we have the right words, afraid to live outside our comfort zones or are we just plain selfish?  I heard an Alaskan missionary speak last year and he said we tell ourselves that it isn't a convenient time to speak to someone (in the grocery store, doctor's office, etc) so we say nothing....but that there is never an inconvenient time to change a life.  Look for ways and opportunities for the Spirit to lead you into conversations about Jesus, let's start seeing the people in front of us.

I think there should be a God-honoring, obedient risk in our lives every single day. I'm not saying I want that to be true. I'm just saying I believe that Jesus lives on the other side of our comfort. And that when we get comfortable for too long, we start to miss our need for God. We tend to make most of our decisions based on our fears rather than on our faith. Obedient risk will simply be us leaning into His abundance, leaning into His love, simply believing that He will work, believing that He could take any situation and any boring day and cause life change to happen in it. This isn't just random risk, throwing caution to the wind. This is you stepping out of the boat toward whatever risk God puts in your path, no matter the cost. I want to love Him more than I want to appear religious. I want to love people enough to lead them to the One who can heal them. I want to be healed myself. I want to initiate for the good of those around me rather than pad my existence with comfort and ease. - Jennie Allen (NTP)

Some of my greatest "risk" moments have been with my own family members, my own children...uncomfortable conversations that I knew needed to happen, to honor Jesus and point them to Him.  I don't always do this well and sometimes I fail and stumble over my words or get strange looks (especially from strangers) and that's ok.  Lost people especially will think we are odd for loving Jesus wildly and even some of our Christian brothers and sisters will shake their heads at our risk.  When I quit my job last Summer and gave up half our income I thought I would get the "she's crazy" and maybe I did.  But I knew I was being obedient and clung to God's promise of never leaving, nor forsaking me and then I would ashamedly bawl and whine and feel like I was giving up too much or this was too hard and God would gently remind me that this was His plan for me, that He was in control, that He is bigger than all of these piddly things I was concerned about.  The risk...on paper looked completely ridiculous (our tax return even more so), how did we survive?  We serve a big and mighty God, that's how.  And can I tell you that we, my hubby and I, are having the time of our lives!?! We are!!  My husband and I get to do ministry together and we are closer to Jesus and each other than we ever have been.  God really does know what He's doing.  Risk, He's worth it.

There is no safer risk than throwing the weight of your life on an eternal, loving, steadfast God. - Jennie Allen (NTP).

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Proven: Week 5 ~ Risk: The End of Passivity

Risk for the Glory of God...is He worth it to you?  The weeks prior have been leading up to this...RISK, anything for Jesus!  I cried watching this week's video, if you haven't watched any sessions watch this one...please.

This week we are going to be studying Jesus healing the blind man on the Sabbath, Jesus' risk and the blind man's risk.  When we build and move for the glory of God we have nothing to prove and nothing to fear!  The rhythm of the world is safety, the rhythm of grace is risk.  Risk your comfort and step out in compassion, compassion for a lost and dying world. What price are you willing to pay so others can see?  Can see the Savior and be free?

Risk forces us to need Him, to need Jesus!  I am so inadequate, I need Jesus, I can do nothing on my own.  Jennie talks about humility and pride this week as well...pride keeps us passive and not willing to risk.  God put music in my heart for a reason, to use it for His Glory!  My pride kept me stagnant, it wasn't humility.  My pride kept me passive and I sat on my gifts for a long time calling it being content with what God had given me but really not doing what He called me to do.  Let me be real, I have moments of insecurity when I lead people in worshiping Jesus, I feel unsure of myself and sometimes like a bumbling idiot.  BUT, I am secure in who I am in Christ (most days), my risk forces me to rely on Him, on His Spirit in me to do whatever He wants, whatever He has called me to.  Here's an example: I do prison ministry, to most that is probably a risk but I have never been afraid or thought it "risky" at all, I love it!  Here's the risk... We were at a prison service last Spring and I told my testimony and led worship, at the end a man told me his sister had a TV ministry in North Carolina and that I needed to meet her.  So, I risked, I called her and we talked and prayed together and she asked me to come to a conference, she flew me and another woman to North Carolina last December; I flew with a woman I had never met, I sat on a panel with 7 black women who were all amazing and confident and yes, I felt inadequate and maybe even out of place but most of all... I felt peaceful...because I knew who I was to Jesus and in Jesus.  And I immediately loved these women and they loved me.  God has let me experience amazing things because of risking, the most amazing is seeing the lost come to faith in Him.

Let's not go through our Christian lives and risk very little for the cause of Christ.  Risking for Jesus is worth it.  What is your greatest hindrance in risking for Christ?  Let's not settle for comfortable but be willing to give up everything to follow Jesus.  Let's pray "Anything you want me to do, Lord, I'll do it for you!"

This week:
Watch the Lesson 5 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 8 "No Longer Passive"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 5 (Read/Study John 9)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 92-93)
What details do you notice about Jesus' interaction with the blind man?

How did the blind man respond to his healing?

How did the Pharisees respond to the healing?

Why was dealing with Jesus so difficult for them?

What do you think Jesus wants us to understand by His healing on the Sabbath?

It is appropriate to post this song along with this week's study.  A song I wrote last Summer "Anything".

https://youtu.be/zzyBqI3W4i0

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Proven: Week 4 ~ Wrap Up

Rest...we really can rest.

Our confidence comes from believing God can do anything, then stepping back and letting Him.

There's no need to worry about anything this world may throw at us, there's no need to fear, no need to strive for things that are beyond our control.  God's got this, He has us in His hands, in His care and if we will just stop and think about this big God and His power, love, sovereignty...we will feel silly worrying about anything at all.

Trust and rest in the grace and goodness and provision of God.

From Nothing to Prove:
Step into the Stream

  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how worried are you today?
  • Name what you are most worried about right now.
Wade in Deeper
Dream a little. What would you do if nothing was holding you back?
  • Tell one person about the dream.
  • Commit to pray for the dream.
  • Identify and take one step toward that dream.
Quench Your Thirst
Invite a woman who loves Jesus and is older than you to lunch. During your conversation, ask her these questions:
  • How have you seen Jesus be faithful in your life?
  • When has God provided in abundance even though you doubted He could?
  • What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
Maybe you feel like you don't even know what to dream, maybe you're struggling with striving, or trusting, or resting in the Lord.  Give it over to Him, He loves you, He sees you, He has you.

I love this song by Tim Timmons "Rest My Soul"

https://youtu.be/K7Dyrt4xWGA

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Live the Life You Were Called to Live

Soul weary...that's what this is about.  Rest for your soul.  I spent years with a burden on my heart to live the life God called me to, a crazy, wild, obedient life.  A life that loves much, sees people...past their sins, past their circumstances, recognizes their need and loves them.  A life burdened for the lost and the courage to share the Gospel with them with words and actions.  And now that I'm living that life (but believe me, God's still working on me), now that I'm living out my calling to risk and to love and to replace the idols of this world with Him and His mission...I'm living a fulfilled life.

Now don't get me wrong, I've had a beautiful and wonderful life raising my boys and serving alongside my husband in various roles in our church, etc.  But this is different, I wish I was living this free when my kids were younger... they even see it now, they recognize the changes God is making in my life to be bold and wild for Him.  God granted me a glimpse of this recently, on my birthday actually.  My youngest son prayed over our lunch and this sweet phrase settled into my heart, he said "God, thank You for my mom and the amazing life she lives serving You"...what a gift...I think as mothers and wives that we think we really can't live out our calling because we will sacrifice our families.  The best thing we can do for our families is to live surrendered, sold out lives for Jesus.  It is contagious, people!  And if we would just let God have control, risk our comfort zones or looking like a fool, step out in faith then God will show who He is.  Because...this life isn't about us.  Oh how we try and make it be but no matter how hard we try, it just isn't and it never will be.

Jennie states in "Nothing to Prove" - Last night I sat with a friend who is wrestling through the tension of the call on her life and what people will think if she risks it and obeys.  And her fear is that she would appear self-promoting. Oh, I get that! That was mine too. So I did nothing. As if what God was calling us to had anything to do with us. As if our reputation mattered enough to sit on our gifts, training, and dreams that could actually help people and make God known to this world.  Like Moses, we begin to believe that since we are not adequate, then we shouldn't do what God has called us to. And we limit the work of God through us because we think it is all about us, our abilities, our resources. But it is never about us. It is always about hungry people in bondage whom God wants to set free.

And He wants to use us to do it! He wants to use us in His great story! Let me tell you a story...when I finally caved and said "Yes, God, anything You want me to do"...and meant it...things started to happen.  He began developing the gifts He had given me, He equipped me with more gifts to accomplish what He wanted to do with me, and most importantly changed my heart to use these gifts where He wanted to use them...for His Glory, for His renown!  This isn't about me, remember?  I tried to shy away from any recognition and put things off because I really did not want any of it to be about me.  Translation here...I did not care about this whole recording a CD business, I was content leading worship in prisons and at my church.  And God had to remind me...this is part of your anything, Christy.  So I said, ok...but I need original songs (still making excuses, trying to make it about me).  So, He made me a songwriter...He pulled things out of me I never knew were there and even sometimes when I hear my song lyrics, written from His Word, I am overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed with who He is and that He would allow lil ol me to be part of His great story in such a remarkable way.  And He put an urgency in my heart to keep going, to finish...I would see men in prison come to the altar during my songs, others would ask me if I had a CD they could listen to or about a song speaking to their heart and lives.  Or a young woman at a service somewhere weeping over "Anything" or "Be Still".  So here I am...waiting for His timing on all of it (it's perfect ya know) and anxiously await the next opportunity to show Jesus to those around me or to those I come in contact with.  I don't want to waste one more minute of my life wondering "what if"...  And in the waiting I will try and not get soul weary trying to do things in my own strength, on my own terms but trust this miraculous God that wants to use me.

We get to trade striving for rest.  We get to trade striving for confidence - not confidence in ourselves but in the power of a sturdy, heroic God, eager to rescue. - JA (Nothing to Prove)

"Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." 1 Corinthians 7:17

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Proven: Week 4 ~ Rest: The End of Striving


Why are you tired?  Why do you want to make an impact? Why do you want to serve? Why do you want to lead?  If the answer is anything about you then it means nothing.  Why do we try so hard doing anything at all in our own power?  We serve the God of the universe and yet we fool ourselves into thinking we can have control of something, even the tiniest thing.  And what's crazier is we work so hard at it!  I know I have!  It's where my song "Be Still" came from...a place where busyness was keeping me distracted and not resting in Him and His power.

Rest is relying on Jesus' power to accomplish the impossible.  Thank God for what's He's going to do and watch Him do it!  Jesus let's us be a part of His great story!

It brings me great comfort in knowing that if anything I'm doing is really about Him and His plan, then nothing can keep it from working, from accomplishing what it's supposed to for His Kingdom, for His Glory!  I can't do anything to mess it up!  I can have rest in my calling!

This week:
Watch the Lesson 4 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 7 "No Longer Tired"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 4 (Read/Study John 6)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 70-73)
(John 6:1-15) Describe the problem.

Compare and contrast Philip's and Andrew's responses to the problem.

Describe Jesus' posture and actions in this passage.

What were the results of the miracle?

(John 6:16-21) Describe the setting.

Describe the disciples.

Describe Jesus.

In these two miracles what do you think Jesus was communicating to His disciples?

(John 6:22-71)
What were the crowds wanting from Jesus?

Describe the "work" that God wants from men (vv. 27-28).

Write down all that Jesus offered them. (vv. 35-70).

Did the masses want what Jesus was offering?  Why not?

Who did want what He was offering?  Why?

*Jennie Allen

I'm attaching my "Be Still" song this week, I had no idea Jennie was going to talk about Psalm 46:10 (maybe I should've had a clue since this week is about rest but sometimes I can be dense) but regardless of my ignorance I love how God weaves things together.

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"

https://youtu.be/dONmetketak

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Proven: Week 3 ~ Wrap Up

Jesus is trying to call us out of hiding.  He wants us to be free!

Recently a friend of mine eloquently pointed out in a blog post of her own that I am a stuffer...I stuff things, I keep it all bottled up because admitting I need help or am struggling is very difficult for me.  So she has to pull things out of me, my fears, my doubts, my "issues" and I need this from her and love that she does it...it is so freeing. I always say I am not good with relationships...probably because I'm not.  My husband is so good at connecting with people and staying connected with them (students from our Youth Group leading days, that are now grown, still communicate with him, ask his advice, check in, etc...from 7 years ago!)  Really, I'm trying, I reached out to casual friend to interview for a class a couple months ago, there were tears shed and hearts shared, we were vulnerable and I see Jesus connecting us in deeper and more personal ways and I am excited about it. It is hard to admit our sin, it is difficult to admit it to ourselves let alone someone else but it is necessary to risk and lay down our pride to truly be free.

Let me be the first to admit that I am a loner, I don't even need to hear the sound of my own voice and often can go an entire day all alone without saying a word...if I have occasion to have an entire day alone. But I do get lonely, I long for people, good company and good conversation.  I find this most in my cousin and her husband, when we are able to get together we really enjoy each other, all four of us.  My BFF and her hubby are becoming these "good company" people too only we haven't given enough effort on making time to be together...it might be the fact that they have 5 kids, ha!  It is important for us to be connected with each other, with those who will point us to Jesus.  Friends that we can be honest with, some vulnerable and a few that we can be transparent with.

Transparency is necessary with our closet people and especially with God.  It's the only way we can truly be known.  But it's a scary thought that sends us into hiding.

We are thirsty!  Thirsty for more of Jesus even if we don't realize that's what we are thirsty for!  Thirsty for freedom from loneliness, from striving, from trying to be enough.

Jesus says, Let Me be your enough.  You will be filled and you will be known and you will be free.

Like the woman at the well, we need to risk being exposed.

When we hide, we diminish ourselves, we diminish our worth, we diminish our belief in God.  The reason we hide is because we don't know what it feels like to live wholly forgiven.  We've never known what it means to truly enjoy our lives, to run into a crowd with no shame, no fear, no guilt, no proving ourselves, no performance.  Just us.  With the amazing news of a Savior who happens to change lives.

Jennie's words here remind me of my friend, Johnny.  He lives free.  He runs into crowds proclaiming Jesus' life changing Gospel.  He turns a coffee stop at Casey's into a 20 minute prayer time with a customer or the cashier.  He turns a short stay at McDonald's into a weekly ministry of community with a group that is no longer strangers to us.  He lives wholly forgiven.

Living like this begins with us laying down our pride and risking exposure...it's time to get caught and connect with God and with each other.

Connect
...with God  (Read Hebrews 13:5; Romans 12:2)
What distracts me from my time with God?

How can I practically remove these distractions based on the Scriptures?

...with People (Read Ecclesiastes 5:18-20; Ephesians 5:15-16; Colossians 4:3-6)
What keeps me from being present in my relationships?

How can I be more present in my relationships based on the Scriptures?

Gather
Get together with friends and ask these questions:
What are you struggling with right now?  How can we help?

What do we need to know about you to really know you?

What things are you tempted to hold back from the people closest to you?

Why do you hold back?

Along with or instead of...confess what you're hiding with someone else, someone gracious, trustworthy, and safe.

Be
Spend time with Jesus regularly if you are not doing so already.

  • Identify a place in your home to be your quiet place
  • Put a basket in your quiet place that contains your Bible, a few books, a candle, journal, and pen
This week, set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than normal.  And at least five times this week, spend your extra 30 minutes praying, journaling, and reading your Bible.  Meet with Jesus.  As you get to the end of the five days, write about the experience.

What did this time mean to you?

How did this time affect your day?

What barriers are keeping you from making this part of your routine every week?

Meditate
Psalm 84 (underline the words Psalm 84 uses to describe the person who is in the presence of God).

*from Nothing to Prove


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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Vulnerable and Transparent

Vulnerability and Transparency - both are scary.  What is the difference?  Putting yourself out there...that's vulnerability, an attempt at letting people in or being truthful about ourselves.  Vulnerability doesn't mean we tell all... that's transparency.  And we need both.  This entire blog is me being vulnerable, I share stories about my life, how I feel about things, struggles, sorrows, and more.  And maybe I am slightly transparent at times (some of you might agree) but deep down we don't want people to know the truth about us, how we need help at times, how we fail at times, how we aren't who we portray ourselves to be... and then whoever I'm transparent with will know the real me... yikes!  We all need a transparency friend, I have one...she's my BFF, it's a beautiful relationship filled with honesty, accountability, encouragement, and no condemnation.  We are real with each other even when it makes us sound like a loser (to our own ears anyway).

Vulnerability is the edited disclosure of feelings or parts of your life.

Transparency is exposing the unedited, unfiltered, unflattering parts of your soul.  I think it is very difficult to even want to be fully connected when we are fighting subtle shame or disappointment.  But something about encountering Jesus was enough to change all of that for the woman at the well.  The foundation of her identity shifted.

 This has been a process for my friend and I, we have waded through our insecurities and have come out on the other side accepted and connected to each other.  This all begins with our relationship with Jesus, He's the only one that can make us really secure.  And when our identity is wrapped up in Him and who we are in Him we will feel secure.  The more I learn this truth and live in this truth, the more I risk for Him and for His Kingdom; the more I will try to engage strangers in conversation in hopes that it leads to the Gospel, the more I will walk out my calling and seek His plan for me, and I will no longer let life pass by and wonder why I didn't step out in faith, why I didn't risk being vulnerable and transparent to live the life He has for me.  I don't want to settle for a wasted life, I want to live fully for Jesus and it begins with being honest...with Him and with ourselves and then with others.

Read James 5:13-16, 19-20.  In light of what you read, answer these two questions.

Who are You, Lord? & What do You want for me?

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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Proven: Week 3 ~ Connected: The End of Loneliness



Connectivity, how do we become really connected?  Through transparency, through being exposed, being completely known.  Sound scary?  Maybe...but what's scarier, being caught or being isolated and appropriate?  Let's be honest, we don't want people to know the truth about us, our sins, our doubts, our fears, our shame and this keeps us stuck, alone...  Do you want to be FREE?  Then be transparent, get honest, lay it out there.  I will probably do a lot of bawling this week, I cried watching this week's video...I love a good gut punch from God, the Holy Spirit's conviction is what changes me and the more I grow in my relationship with Christ, the more I welcome it.

We are going to study John 4 and the woman at the well and we are going to see how she was completely known and exposed and then completely free and how through her transparency she gained connectivity.

This week:
Watch the Lesson 3 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 6 "No Longer Lonely"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 3 (Read/Study John 4:1-43)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 51-53)
Describe the woman at the well.

Most women in those days got water in the cool of the morning or evening. Why was this woman there during the heat of the day?

Describe Jesus' interaction with her.

How did Jesus begin the conversation? Why is this important?

What barriers did they press through to carry on this conversation?

What were some of the results of this intentional conversation?

Describe the water Jesus was offering.

Describe the food Jesus chose to feast on.

What convicts you most from this passage?

Jennie talks about identity again in this week's lesson, when our identity is secure, we can live free!! While watching her video I thought of the Christy Nockels song "Everything is Mine in You", it is so appropriate for this lesson, take a listen.

https://youtu.be/zokDEfvD5gY


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Friday, June 16, 2017

Proven: Week 2 ~ Wrap Up

Satisfaction comes when we lay down this life and live for the next! Let's not numb out with technology, entertainment, let's live loving and enjoying Jesus, looking to eternity, being present in the lives of our families and the people around us.

At the end of this week's study there are 4 Experiences.  Four things to do to grow your relationship with Jesus and have joy, to focus your attention on the things that matter and to live a life more abundant.  I encourage you to do them all but to at the very least choose a couple and be intentional.

1) Be: Take a technology fast
The enemy wants to numb us by using technology and entertainment.

2) Create: Create an experience with your friends or family just for fun!
Make time for the people you love, be intentional!

3) Meditate: Spend time with Jesus.  He is so worth it.
Read Psalm 63 and earnestly seek God.

4) Risk: Sit down with a friend, someone you trust and ask them these questions. Hebrews 3:13
Do I seem joyful to you?
If not, why do you think I'm not?
Do you see any patterns in my life that may be stealing my joy?
When have you seen me most fulfilled?
What is one thing I could change in the next month that would cause me to live more content?

I loved Jennie's conclusion this week...

Friends, what if abundant joy, bliss, wonder, and pleasure were ours, but we just kept missing those things because we're either trying to work our way to God or numbing ourselves with fleeting entertainment?

I am learning to pick up books that show me more of Jesus, instead of turning on Netflix. I am learning to call friends over for chili instead of surfing Facebook. I am learning to look my kids in the eyes instead of stare at my phone. Our family is choosing to eat outside and laugh and have game nights and I am learning that the rhythms of gracious living are sacred and pleasing to Jesus. I want to enjoy God's gifts but never give them too much power in my life. I want to see that Jesus is better, better than any cheap substitute I may crave.

I am getting there and I pray the same for you.

As some of you may know, I have bouts with insomnia.  The cause?  My mind will not shut down, I'm not a worrier but I am so distracted by the things that I "need" to do that I lose sleep and if I'm honest, that same distractedness harms my time with the Lord and it is not quality time.  I find myself thinking about all the things I need to do for God instead of just being with Him.  I really am trying to remedy this, pray for me.  Aren't you thankful that His mercies are new every day?  The He gives us so much grace?  I certainly am!

The lesson for me this week is to enjoy Jesus more, spend more time with Him, enjoy His good gifts, make time for the people He has given me, and live life with joy :)  Let's live for eternity and enjoy the journey!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Jesus is Better

Jesus' first miracle...turning water into wine.  I honestly never thought much about Jesus' first miracle, about this miracle of turning water into wine, the significance, the symbolism.  It really is a remarkable thing!  The ceremonial washing jars vs. Jesus, religion vs. relationship, the cheap wine vs. the best wine...the new covenant!  Communion!  Nearness to our Father!  How amazing and telling this first miracle of Jesus was and is!

Forever the new wine would mean:
the end of our sin;
the end of measuring up;
the end of proving ourselves;
the beginning of what we were made for - nearness to God.

Ephesians 2:4-10 "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raise us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

God has given us a great gift, the best gift, Jesus.  We don't have to work for this gift, strive for this gift, it is freely given when we accept this gift in faith.  God's precious grace that covers every aspect of our lives so we can live better, so we can quit trying to measure up, most importantly so we can live and walk closely with Him with real fulfillment, real joy, real peace.

God forgive us for deciding what is should look like to follow Him, for suggesting that fulfillment comes more from the life we build here than the life that waits for us with Him.  Somehow we miss that the most exciting, fulfilling rush of an experience comes in following the Spirit of God.  Jesus promises complete fulfillment.

Why do we settle for cheap wine?  Entertainment, social media, work, our kids' activities, our kids' lives?...ouch, material things?  The list could go on and on with the things we put in place before our Jesus.

Our joy, or our lack of it, is a direct result of where we spend our time and thoughts and energy.

Time with Jesus...how much time do we really spend with Him?  I'll be honest, I do not spend enough time with Him.  I have been settling for cheap wine in the way of ministry and trying to keep everyone happy (aka people pleasing).

We want to do things for God without spending time with God.  God built us for Himself, and all our attempts to manage life apart from intimacy with Him only further expose our ache for Him.

Jesus, the best wine means: joy, satisfaction, freedom, enoughness, He will measure up for us, that we no longer have to be addicted to the empty diversions of this world.  What does this look like?  Cutting off or out the things that distract us from intimacy with Jesus!  Do it!  Do we want God more?

Be Still

"And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail".  Isaiah 58:11

Step into the Stream

When you look at your life and how you spend your time, what is the most tempting addiction for you?  Name your cheap wine.  How is Jesus better?

Wade in Deeper

Plan one hour and be with Jesus in a new way.

  • Arrange time to be alone.
  • Pick a new, unique, inspiring location.
  • Take your Bible and journal and a pen,
  • Turn off your phone.
  • Be.
Quench Your Thirst

Take a technology fast. Try it for one day!

The Overflow

Right now, pick up your phone and text one friend a passage of Scripture she needs to be filled up.

Jesus is better!


https://youtu.be/H0QotnipM-o

*Everything in italics is from "Nothing to Prove"

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Proven: Week 2 ~ Fulfilled: The End of Thirst

Before we even begin with lesson 2 Jennie addresses our joy.  Can we have joy, can we have fun, can we be satisfied in this life while serving Jesus?  You know what?  We actually can't have all those things until we ARE truly serving Jesus, laying down this life and living for the next.  Jennie talks about her and her husband praying "God, we'll do anything you want us to do" and how it changed their lives.  Praying that prayer changed my life too, and it is still growing and changing it in unimaginable ways.  Being sold out for Jesus does mean sacrifice, it means stepping outside our comfort zones but it is the only way to live.  It is more satisfying and brings more joy than anything we can give ourselves or gain from this world.

Does God want us to be fulfilled and happy here?  I believe He does but I think that we have twisted thinking when it comes to us being happy here on earth. Believing we can't be fully surrendered to Jesus and be happy or we believe that real fun is what the world has to offer.

Jesus lived for His Father's work with purpose and joy and so can we.

Are we living the same way?

Satisfaction comes when we lay down this life and live for the next.

This week:
Watch the Lesson 2 video ~ Click Here ~
Read NTP (if you have it): Chapter 5 "No Longer Thirsty"
Proven Study Guide: Lesson 2 (Read/Study John 2:1-12)
Answer Questions from the study guide (pages 25-28)
What do you notice about Jesus' actions and words in this passage?

What do you learn about Jesus' priorities?

Describe the details you observe about:
The setting:
Mary:
Jesus:
The other people present:
The bridegroom:
The jars Jesus had the men fill:
The wine:

How did those who knew Jesus performed the miracle respond?

Why do you think Jesus did this as His first public miracle?

From here on out the lessons have a lot more to study, questions to answer, etc.  I will make several posts this week as we work through it.  Blessings!

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Proven ~ Our Desert of Striving

I am not enough.  And I want to quit trying to be enough or pretending I am or have to be.  Oh, I want to be enough, to be able to have control over everything and accomplish so many things in my own power.  I've been called out..."it's not my curse that I believe I am not enough; it's my sin that I keep trying to be".  Jesus is enough and it's time I get to a place where I not only know He is but I believe it and live like it!  

We don't have to earn God's approval...He adores us, why else would He have come to earth wrapped in human flesh, dwell with us, and then die for us...in our sinful, pitiful state?  He loves us so much more than we can possibly imagine.

Name your junk...name your limitations, efforts to strive, sin...  Mine is pressure.  I put so much pressure on myself to measure up, to do everything on my own or in my own power because I believe I can do things better than anyone else or more efficiently or the "right" way...but secretly I feel on my own when God is there all along wanting to free me.

Pressures - I can't measure up, I am too weak, I feel like it is up to me, if I don't do it - it won't get done, I am too busy, I feel unlovable, I feel like people love me for what I do and not who I am, what if I fail?   My biggest pressure is Sing for the King Ministries.  

I am not enough for Sing for the King and I never will be but He is and honestly He's the One who's been doing it all along so why am I not resting in Him and why am I putting so much pressure on myself to "get everything done"?  It's time I start to believe rightly about God.  That He is enough, that I can quit trying to be, that if God wants this to succeed then I can't do anything to mess it up!  How freeing is that?!?  He is calling us to big things and small things and extraordinary lives, not that we have to earn or strive for or that require checking out because it's too difficult...He is enough, He will work through us, we just need to get out of the way and trust Him.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

From Nothing to Prove - 
I was making this harder than it has to be.  You see, God has called us to His huge vision. He is calling us to go and make disciples of the world and to show people Jesus and to see people transformed. He has called us to feed the poor and bring hope to the sick and love our families through the hard days. He has called us to lives that set people free and to invite them into the family of God. While sometimes we miss the wonder because we daily live out our calling in mundane ways, He has called us to an exciting and noble and awesome task, and if you are not part of it, I can promise that is one reason that you feel like you are missing something - because you are. We can't make light of the vision, but we also cannot accomplish any of the purposes of God unless we do them with the power and the resources and the energy of God. - Jennie Allen


God has called us to more, to be free so we can know Him, worship Him, love Him, and be with Him.  And HE will enable us to do big things and small things for His Kingdom and as Jennie states..we won't know which ones are which and it doesn't matter.  Live like Jesus.  In every area of our lives...live like Jesus, it's all supposed to blend together - our everyday roles and big things we think are big things that we are doing for God...all of it builds eternity, let's not lose sight of living for heaven but do it resting in Him, instead of being weary - delighting in Him.

Identify what you are carrying...name it!  Is it Fear, Difficulties, Pressures, Shame, something else? God is not surprised, name it and trust Him with it...admitting it and letting it go will bring freedom.

Lord,
Help us to admit our thirst, admit what weighs us down, what causes us to strive or numb or whatever else is making us believe we are enough.  Show us what it is and help us lay it at Your feet to never pick up again.  Help us trust You more and rest in You, in who You are.  Thank You, Jesus for being enough.

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