Friday, February 1, 2013

Words - Guest Post by Janet Harward

You wouldn't have to spend very much time with me to find out that I am a "woman of words."  (now this doesn't just mean that I love to talk, although I do).  I enjoy words.  I like how they fit together.  I like written words and spoken words.  I like how they sound.  I especially like when I find just the right words to express EXACTLY what I am thinking.

I did not come to love words on my own.  This is one of the many things that I learned from my Dad.  My Dad enjoyed words.  Dad taught his children to speak correctly.  He told us the importance of being able to communicate clearly with each other.  He always told us we were smart and special and that what we thought was valuable to him.  My Dad also taught me that nothing has the potential to affect a person like words.  Words are powerful!  They can be positively powerful or negatively powerful.  Very few things in the life have the power to lift our spirits or tear us apart like words.

                                                                   -  Excerpt from Take Off Your Mask by Janet Harward

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Troubleshooting 4 Parents

Want some parenting wisdom?  Join Ronda Evans for a once-a-month parenting support group where Ronda will share effective parenting strategies!  The group meets the first Wednesday of the month at the Hut from 6:30-8:00 PM. February 6th is the first night!  Both moms and dads are invited.  There is child care for children ages 3 - sixth grade if the children REGISTER for Awana.  There is no book required for the adults, but a pen and paper would be really helpful!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Guest Posts - Making Memories with Children by Val Childs

When Penny asked me to post a blog about being a mom several weeks ago, I asked my girls to answer a couple of questions for me.  One of the questions I asked them was if they knew another family that they wished they had been born into instead of ours - dodged a bullet there - they both said no.  But when I asked them what they liked best about being in our family I didn't get the answers I expected.  It wasn't that I was a great mom or Robin was a great dad.  It wasn't that we live in a great place or that we went on some neat vacations.  It wasn't even that we had family meetings and voted on things.  (Although, when reminded, they did think that was cool.)

The things the girls found most important to my grown girls is that we have family traditions that have been passed down from their grandparents.  These traditions encompass nearly every holiday of the year.  Rules about holidays are not to be broken lightly.  And, most important tothem was that our family was known to their friends as a giving and generous family.  Funny, we didn't know that.

What I learned about holiday rules are you have to make them in the positive.  The girls can tell you all the holiday rules except Halloween.  I have a personal issue with this holiday, you can ask me about it sometime, so our rule was that we didn't celebrate it.  We did different things every year.  I always took the girls out of school for the day and we did something special - but the girls can't remember this holiday rule because I always stated it in what we DIDN'T DO.  The things you learn when you get old!

The kids say one of the biggest reasons their friends thought we were generious was because we always let them have soda at our house, or taking them to Burger King.  You just never know the perspective a child has - the things you learn when you get old!

When my children were small I spent every minute I could trying to make memories for them.  Now they are grown and those memories I made with them are some of the best memories of MY life.  Who knows how those memories will stack up in their book of memories;  but I know both of my girls treasure making memories - it is a value I believe I have taught well. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest Post from Dee Crossley on Love

Matthew 22:37-38 reads “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38: This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22: 39-40 reads “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” 40: “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Love for God is the first and great commandment, therefore in our practice of love for all people , we must never compromise our love for God and the righteous standards of His word. We are to love God wholeheartedly inspired by His love for us, dominating affection and value, loving Him with our obedience and to honor Him while on this earth. 
We live in the midst of a God-rejecting world, where instant gratification rules the heart of many people. The heart of the believer is one that desires His presence and fellowship, longing for the companionship like a bride for her bridegroom. Love for God includes an allegiance and loyalty, a firm faith and commitment, with heartfelt devotion and a dedication to righteousness. Gods love for you is everlasting, ever powerful and ever present. Gods love is embedded in your spirit, deep enough to rule every aspect of your life.
Never second guess Gods love for you, nor look at Gods love with questions that have no answer. You are the most important part of God's heart, nothing you do will change that. Nothing you have done, will make Him love you less. This does not give us a free pass to continually ask for forgiveness, but rather it becomes a change of our hearts were we no longer want to do the things that would hurt God.
There is a transformation, when we think less of ourselves and more of God. Meaning that we can't simply look at our own lives and not consider what God is doing. Faith, that non-logical step that allows us to believe God is in control, allows us to use our lives for the greater good of Gods plan.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

On Shepherding Women in Pain

Have a heart for shepherding women?  How does the relational nature of women make another woman's counsel especially helpful?  What is the meaning of the admonition in Titus for older women to teach the younger women?  Here is a link for a great book that addresses those questions and for those who want to minister to women in pain.  For a limited time the first 200 can receive a free book!  Check it out!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Magnify Your Calling

One of our great ladies gave me a copy of this poem by Reva Henretty (1908-1955) and the encouragement of which is speaks is as needed today as when it was written.  As we near a New Year it brings to mind some questions.   What is your calling?  Do you have a clear idea of the work the Lord would have you do, or is the whole concept of calling like a cloudy thought?  In what ways has God gifted you?  What brings your heart joy?  When can you sense God's smile on your life?  Here's the poem:

Magnify Your Calling

Heeding your calling, O my children,
There are tasks for each of you;
Work that falls within your talents,
There is much that you can do.

It may be in lowly places
I have greatest need for you;
Do not hesitate to work there.
You'll be blessed if you do.

Cast aside the things of darkness,
Follow ways of truth and light;
Look tell me for daily guidance,
I will keep you in my sight.

Search for me among the highlands,
I'll be waiting for you there;
Bet you might have greater wisdom,
Seek divinity, in prayer.

Always work with courage, smiling;
Ever reach beyond your grasp,
Climbing higher, higher daily;
I can lighten every task.

When at last your work is ended up,
and I meet you face to face;
I will find you in my haven,
blesses and saved by Jesus' grace.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Some years ago I injured my back.  Now , it was no big thing…I’m all better now.  But I did a dumb thing at the time and tried to pick up something too heavy during a week when I had a major event coming up.  I was running behind on this major event because sometimes the “all church needs” and the “women’s ministry needs” clash.  I work in both arenas, and sometimes things just crunch all together.  I was faced with the decision of canceling the event, or continuing to work the long hours I knew I would need to do to have the event go as planned.  The long hours and activities I knew I would need to participate in to prepare the event would certainly prolong my back injury.  Even though I was disappointed and felt like a flake, I knew after counsel with my husband that canceling was the right thing to do.  What I did not anticipate was the response.  A lot of people were planning to attend the event, but time and time again what I heard was, “I’m so sorry you hurt your back, and I was planning to attend, but honestly, I’m kind of relieved.  I have so many things I have to do this weekend.”  

In a very insightful book called, “What Women Wish Pastors Knew” author Denise George writes the following admonition to those who either pastor or lead in women’s ministry; “Pastor, I’m Tired.” Women come to church for many reasons:  They love the Lord. They want to support you, your family, and your ministry.  They want to see lost people led to Christ; the sin-guilty forgiven, the sick healed, and the loveless loved. They want to work hard for God and to leave an eternal legacy for those who follow them.  But, Pastor, you should know:  today’s Christian woman is tired.  Women listed exhaustion as their number one issues.  Why do Christian women want you to know this?  Do they want your sympathy?...The answer is no.  They want you to understand that their attendance and church involvement often come at great personal sacrifice….George Barna reports that “While women represent the lion’s share of Christians and the majority of participants in religious activities, many women appear to be burning out from their intense levels of involvement.” 

I am well aware when I ask women to participate in a challenging Bible study with 45 minutes of homework 5 days a week, or ask them to give up a Saturday morning for Cup of Encouragement or a weekend for a retreat, on top of their regular church attendance, I am asking them to give up something to participate.  Usually that “something” is very important, and it is a personal sacrifice.  It may be time alone with her husband, or nurturing time with her children, or time with a friend or family member who needs her care.  Our lives are busy and stretched and in ministry I really have to weigh the positives with the negatives in asking for women’s participation.
That injured back during that time and the response I received sent a signal to me that was very clear:  women’s ministry needs to be focused and strategic in the use of women’s time.  We need to be extra respectful of the many life roles that women play.  We want to help marriages, not add to their stress.  We desire to encourage good biblical parenting skills, not take more time away from the family.  We want to help women prioritize time and energy on godly values, but we do not want to have women serving so much that they miss the joy of giving.

And so a value in our women's ministry is to be strategic and focused.  Toward that end I would appreciate your response in the area of need for Bible Studies and events.  Is it family relationships where you would appreciate some encouragement?  What is entailed in your season of life?  What are the stressors that bring you to your knees in prayer?  What is helpful to you in your journey with Christ?  You are invited to respond on this blog.