I posted this blog three years ago — I ran across it today and thought it is worth a re-run. Hope you enjoy it.
I built this pretty pond. There are pretty chairs arranged in groups to encourage conversation. There are lovely flowers and greenery for people to enjoy. The whole area was created to make people comfortable. The pond is covered in lily pads and pretty imported dragonflies flit from pad to pad.
I invited people to come to my pond. Those people look a lot like me. We have the same values, similar upbringings, and agree on most issues. We had lots of great fun at the pond. We talked, we shared. Life at the pond was enjoyable and agreeable.
There was something about the pond that was just not right. At first most people didn’t notice it because everything around the pond was so pretty, but if you stayed long enough and looked close enough you could tell –
the pond was stagnant. The water was stale and unmoving.
The pretty pond is the story of my life in ministry. For so long, I had all the ‘stuff’ to make me look good. The pretty stuff; the stuff that looked like everyone else’s pretty stuff. I made people comfortable and complacent – because I was comfortable and complacent. I was stagnant and stale.
God called me out of that place – well, He’d long been calling, I just wasn’t listening. I liked it there at the pretty pond with the people who didn’t challenge me to go beyond complacent into the adventure of a life fully submitted to Christ.
I’m still a work in progress and I’ll slip back into that stale pond from time to time, but once you’ve experienced a life with Christ in the deep, rushing, refreshing, living water, a stale pond just won’t do it for you.
Christ called His disciples to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men (Luke 5), He didn’t call them to build a pond and wait for people to show up.
Are we building ponds and waiting? I was.
Check out my latest Bible study where I talk more about living the adventure of Faith. Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women Finding Real Faith
Beer and Baptizing. Not two things that normally go together.
I have some very unique opportunities — and I try to never forget that it’s God alone who allows me these opportunities.
Recently, I was standing at a pool where a very long line of people were waiting to be baptized. It was an amazing sight. All those people wanted to show the world they trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. One young woman caught my eye. She was holding a bucket of beer with one arm and drinking one of the beers with the other. I laughed — and I’m embarrassed to even write the words. But I laughed and thought to myself – What she doing in the line? A bucket of beer? Does she even get what’s she’s doing? Is she going to sit her bucket down when she steps in to be baptized?
The woman’s turn came and she set down her bucket of beer as she stepped into the water. When she stepped out she left her bucket of beer at the edge of that pool.
I’ve thought about her a lot over the last many weeks. I have even told the story of seeing her — and laughed at the story. Until I realized that I was and am no different than the woman with the bucket of beer. She stepped into her relationship with Jesus holding tightly to her beer. Jesus invites us to Himself BEFORE we put down our sins. We come to Him holding our buckets filled with all manner of sins – pride, unforgiveness, anger, addiction, to name just a few. The difference is our buckets are invisible — no one can see the buckets we bring before the Lord. Often we hold onto these buckets long after we’ve accepted the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We hold onto our sins, we hold them in our hearts, we never let them go or release them to His power.
I want to be more like the woman with the bucket of beer. I want to leave my bucket and walk away.
I want a real faith. An authentic faith.
What about you? Are you holding onto your bucket?
My bible study, Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women finding Real Faith is available for only 9.99 at Christianbook.com!
I’m thrilled to tell you that my first ever bible study is here! Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women finding Real Faith arrived at my door yesterday! I was so thrilled I gave my UPS driver two copies for his wife and daughter! The guy brings me a package a day… well, not quite, but close. I do love the online shopping world!
I opened the boxes, grabbed a handful of books and my phone and snapped a few pictures. I had to put it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I had to shout it from the rooftops — and I did. I posted, tweeted and created the perfect vignette so my Instagram friends would see my excitement. And I am excited, honored and humbled that the God of the universe allowed me to write such a study.
I began planning my tweets, posts and pictures. I wanted the perfect Pinterest worthy phrases and tweetable quotes. I’ve watched other authors (with bestselling books) create amazing launch parties — I’ve even been involved in a few. I loved every minute of it. I began planning out who I would ask and how I would ask. I might be a bit late to the book launching party but I was ready to come on full force until….
I opened the pages of Authentic Girlfriends -and read:
God showed me that I was replacing my ministry and my relationship with Jesus with marketing. I had put book sales and number of speaking engagements ahead of time with my Lord. I made fame and success my benchmark for faithfulness.
WHOA! That’s me. I wrote that about my last book. I wrote this in the introduction and I remembered why I walked away from writing. It wasn’t the writing — I love that part and I fell head over heels in love with writing a Bible study. Bible studies are how I grew in my faith. Studying God’s Word changed me. God used women’s Bible studies to change my heart and mature me as a believer. And while I LOVE Bible studies and writing them, I do not love marketing. I get so caught up in the numbers and the success that I lose sight of why I do what I do — for God alone.
So the Bible study is out! My sweet is doing a fun little contest to win books and necklaces (I LOVE this necklace) and it’s on my facebook. I would LOVE everyone to win. I may even tweet a few quotes and make something for pinterest, but I’m keeping my eyes on Jesus and not the numbers. I’ll trust His hand to place this before those who need to hear these words. Oh, and I’ll share a sample of the first chapter too! (another sweet offering from my publisher). I hope you enjoy it.
I will do my best to keep my focus on Jesus — my Savior and Redeemer — and off the sales and speaking engagements. I’m trusting that the God of the Universe will do with this work what He sees fit. I’ll just follow where HE leads. But I have to say this…
I LOVE the cover! And I’m crazy about what’s inside. I hope you like it too!
I wrote the following blog post four years ago today. Four years ago I had no idea about a Bible study title Authentic Girlfriends: Real Women Finding Real Faith. Four years ago I didn’t know that today I’d need to hear this message again.
Four years ago I wrote about being authentic and today I’m one month away from the release of my first Bible study — which would not have happened without two amazing women Melinda Garman and Karen barrows.
(original post 7/3/2010)
I’ve tossed around the word authentic a lot lately — I want to be authentic. I want authenticity in my friendships. I want an authentic ministry.
It hit me last night…. what do I mean? What am I saying? Am I just tossing around a word that sounds good. And yes, I’ve done a lot of that in my past.
Authentic means real, true, not a fake. But truly, what does that mean?
How do I live authentic?
Does it mean I have to tell you ALL about me? Oh, for your sake, I hope not. It’s 65 parts boring and the rest you don’t want to know about.
To be authentic, I have to trust that God is God and He alone rules my heart and my life. I have to keep my eyes on Him, the author and finisher of my faith.
To be authentic, I have to live life daily in the way the Lord has laid out for me. This means I don’t manipulate situations to my benefit or enjoyment. This means that some days are just stinking HARD. It also means God has a plan for my life each and EVERY day of it.
To be authentic, I have to trust God’s plan for my life and accept the sins of my past. I have to look to God to use all things (even the yucky, icky stuff) for His great GLORY.
To be authentic, I CANNOT look to people to increase my position, my standing, my popularity — as an authentic girl I will trust God to bring the right people into my life and I will trust God’s plan for my life.
To live an authentic life, I have to grasp that God’s plan for my life is much greater than my plan and I have to walk in that plan even when it is FAR different than what I’d thought.
To live an authentic life, I will serve where God places my feet and I will rejoice in the knowledge that He is God
What do you believe it means to be authentic?
I do a bit of celebrity wrangling. It is a part of my job. Recently I was at a big event with red carpet and all…it was a snazzy affair. I stood to the side of that red carpet and just watched while I waited to bring a celebrity out. It was fascinating and overwhelming.
As I walked with this person and her manager, she was bombarded with “can you sign this?” “I want a picture with you.” “What was it like …” Her name was shouted…. And she withstood it all with great grace. I wanted to scream. And then we stepped onto the carpet and it increased tenfold. The shouts grew louder, people pressed in, requests hit rapid fire, but she kept her eyes on her manager. She looked to him for direction and protection. I watched her navigate the red carpet, pose for pictures, and talk with interviewers. I cringed at the onslaught of shouts, flashes and camera snaps. She handled it all with grace.
When it was time for us to leave she grabbed onto her managers hand and put her head down, tucked in close to him and followed. She would lift her head and smile and nod, but she never broke from his grip. She never stopped following him. She never pulled away. She followed him, closely. He led her with authority. He didn’t stop. He knew the right path and it wasn’t the easiest way, but it was the best for her. She trusted him.
I watched this all unfold as I followed along behind them. It struck me how I should hold onto Jesus much the same way. I should tuck in close, follow His lead, trust that He has it all under control, and know that He has our destination mapped out. Instead of running ahead and slap into a big ol’ mess of crazy. I should act like I’m on a red carpet — answer the questions with grace, respond to the shouts with smiles and trust Jesus has a plan to move me beyond the chaos.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message