• So, it’s been pretty quiet around here. Not because I haven’t been thinking about you, lovely readers, but because God has been showing me some new ways to invest in the women God has placed directly in my life. Like these cuties! A few weeks ago, we hosted a fall kick-off event at our church,… [Continue Reading]

    Kicking off fall with a women’s ministry event
  • A few weeks ago, I had the honor of interviewing Lori McDaniel – former missionary to Zambia and current global mission catalyst for the International Mission Board – about raising missional kids. The article, which appeared recently in the TEXAN newspaper, was of great personal interest to me as I try to keep my own two… [Continue Reading]

    A missionary, mom shares how to raise missional kids
  •   There is no one way to have a quiet time. But there is a way to get more out of your personal devotions. Depending on my schedule, my quiet time will look different from season to season. But regardless of how much time I have allotted for personal devotions or what’s going on in… [Continue Reading]

    How to get more out of your personal devotions
  • In this series – Seeing the Story of the Scriptures – we’ve been looking at the Bible as one, unified story. At the center of that story is the King. The story of the Scriptures is this: a good King created a good world, and although it was corrupted by sin, He is at work… [Continue Reading]

    Plot move 1 in God’s story (and what it has to do with you!)

Kicking off fall with a women’s ministry event

Fall Womens Ministry Idea {Hive Resources}

So, it’s been pretty quiet around here. Not because I haven’t been thinking about you, lovely readers, but because God has been showing me some new ways to invest in the women God has placed directly in my life.

Womens Ministry Ideas {Hive Resources}

Like these cuties!

A few weeks ago, we hosted a fall kick-off event at our church, and I thought you might like to see some of our ideas.

Here’s the skinny:

Photo by Sami Beard

Photo by Sami Beard

Making your Kick-off an Entry Event

You’ve heard me say it before: our church is new (technically called a church plant). That means we are small, but gradually, the Lord is bringing new women to us.

During the past year, we’ve discovered one of two things about some of these women: they have a limited biblical background and/or a desire to make disciples but don’t know where to start.

Either way, our church has been presented with an pressing opportunity to pour into the lives of these women and train them to be reproducing disciples.

A fun fall kickoff womens event {Hive Resources}

So, our fall kick-off event wasn’t just a time of fun, food & fellowship. Although, there was cake there (see glorious exhibit A in the photos above), this women’s ministry event was part of a greater strategy we’re implementing to disciple women.

We used the fall kick-off as an “entry event,” where we outlined the various discipleship opportunities we’re offering this year (I’ll be sharing more about those on the blog later).

Then we asked the women to respond or register for the opportunities using this cute Ball Jar response card (see photo above). The response was overwhelming! Almost every woman in attendance expressed a desire to be a part of our discipleship emphasis.

Making discipleship missional

Photo by Sami Beard

Photo by Sami Beard

As a first step toward learning how to disciple, we decorated our tables in meaningful ways. My friend, Julie, helped me assemble these lovely little tree centerpieces using this tutorial (on pinterest, of course).

We called them our Prayer Trees.

When the ladies arrived, the trees were bare, but they sprouted lovely fall colors as we asked the women to write various prayer requests (including their contact info) on paper tags and then hang them on the tree. Each centerpiece included instructions and ideas for what to write down.

Photo by Sami Beard

Photo by Sami Beard

Before the women left, we asked them to pick up our version of a Jar of Clay and to select several prayer tags from the tree. The jar would act as a prayer jar to be put in a visible and accessible spot in the home, where the women could pray over the requests.

To make the tags, I used this Ball jar free clipart and added our theme verse from 2 Cor. 4:7. Next, I printed it out on craft paper and tied a tag to each jar using twine.

Photo by Sami Beard

Photo by Sami Beard

It was such a joy to see the women fill their little jars with requests from our prayer trees. And because many of the prayer requests included the petitioners’ contact info, the women were able to contact those for whom they prayed to encourage them. Since our event, I’ve heard reports of ladies receiving texts, phone calls, and handwritten notes of encouragement from those who are praying for them.

What a sweet testimony to Spirit-led fellowship, modeled for us by the early church in Acts 2:42. As the early believers prayed for each other (among other things), they were granted favor in their community and God added to their number daily. A true picture of what it means to be a Jar of Clay!

Photo by Sami Beard

Photo by Sami Beard

It is our hope that the women who come through our doors will be equipped to become intentional Jars of Clay. We don’t want pretty decorative teapots filled with lots of knowledge about the Bible or sitting pretty on church pews, but rather, women who are filled with the treasure of the gospel and stand ready to pour out their lives for others in Spirit-led ministry.

We’ve seen glimmers of this the past few weeks and it is encouraging! To God be the Glory!

What role does women’s ministry play in your church’s discipleship strategy? How can you make your women’s ministry more missional? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments as we continue to develop our own strategy.

A missionary, mom shares how to raise missional kids

Ministry Monday MISSIONAL MOTHERHOOD {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of interviewing Lori McDaniel – former missionary to Zambia and current global mission catalyst for the International Mission Board – about raising missional kids.

The article, which appeared recently in the TEXAN newspaper, was of great personal interest to me as I try to keep my own two guys on the right track. I was eager to hear Lori’s insight into how her own three children – now ages 21, 20, and 15 – felt about living on the mission field and how it impacted their walk with Christ and perspective on the world.

Photo provided by Lori McDaniel. Then 14-yr-old Caleb McDaniel shares the story of the Prodigal Son with a West African village chief. This photo originally appeared in the TEXAN online.

Photo provided by Lori McDaniel. Then 14-yr-old Caleb McDaniel shares the story of the Prodigal Son with a West African village chief. This photo originally appeared in the TEXAN online.

Her counsel didn’t disappoint. It was full of everything I needed to hear:

1) I don’t need to be professional missionary to raise missional kids.

2) Being missional starts with me.

and most importantly,

3) how I can start to raise missional kids right now.

Click here to see the full interview, and be sure to share it to encourage other missional mothers you know.

How to get more out of your personal devotions

3 reasons to read 1 book of the Bible at a time {Guest Post at Missional Women}

 

There is no one way to have a quiet time. But there is a way to get more out of your personal devotions.

Depending on my schedule, my quiet time will look different from season to season. But regardless of how much time I have allotted for personal devotions or what’s going on in my life, I try to follow this strategy. I like to read through one book of the Bible at a time.

Here’s 3 reasons you should read through one book of the Bible at a time – and how they can help you get more out of your personal devotions!

Click here to read the rest of this post over at Missional Women.

Plot move 1 in God’s story (and what it has to do with you!)

Plot move 1 in the biblical story is creation {Hive Resources}

In this series – Seeing the Story of the Scriptures - we’ve been looking at the Bible as one, unified story. At the center of that story is the King.

The story of the Scriptures is this: a good King created a good world, and although it was corrupted by sin, He is at work to redeem and restore it through His Son, Jesus Christ.

But how do we train our eyes to see this story, exactly?

FOUR BASIC PLOT MOVES

We learn to see the story of the Scriptures when we focus on its four basic plot moves.

  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Redemption
  • Restoration

How the story of Scripture moves us toward the gospel {Hive Resources}

These four plot moves are CRUCIAL to understanding the story of the Bible because they tell us how our story intersects with God’s story for the world.

Women need to understand these four plot moves in God’s story and how they apply to us, living in a broken world, today. Understanding how the story of the Scriptures explains our hurts and grievances helps us answer difficult questions that all too easily can lead us astray. Questions like: if God is such a loving God, then why is the world he created such an unloving place?

Ultimately, these four major plot moves help us keep our eyes focused on the truth of God’s Word instead of what we want to take away from it. These plot moves move us toward the gospel – God’s ultimate answer for hurts, pains, and injustice.

In the coming weeks, we’ll unpack each of those plot moves and what they have to do with you! Today, let’s look at how the biblical story opens.

PLOT MOVE 1: CREATION

The first plot move in God’s story for the world is Creation a good King created a good world, a kingdom.

Genesis 1 & 2 opens with the story of a God who creates everything out of nothing. And what he created was “good.” In fact, God declares his artistry “good” over and over again.

The author repeats himself because the Creation plot move entails the idea that God created us for a good purpose.

Gen. 1:27-28 says: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

At creation, God created Adam and Eve in his image. He shared his likeness with humanity for two very good reasons: God intended humanity to be his representation and his representative.

Representations of the King

When we think of the image of God, this is we typically what we think of first.  We are a representation of our King.  That means God designed us to reflect his abilities – in our capacities to reason, think, express emotion, perceive and create beauty. We reflect him in these areas.

In all these areas, we differ from the rest of the King’s creation. No other part of creation bears its Creator’s likeness in this way.  When we use these abilities, we are a representation of our good King.

Representatives of the King

But there is another aspect bearing God’s image that we often overlook. Not only are we a representation of our King, but we are his representative, too – ruling over the earth and having dominion over it.

Read Genesis 1:28 again: “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

royal representatives {seeing the story of the Scirptures} a new series at Hive Resources

For Adam, this looked like tending and keeping the garden. (Gen. 2:15). And for Eve, she was to help Adam accomplish all he had to do (Gen. 2:18). And both were to have dominion over the earth and all the animals (Gen. 1:26-28).

Adam and Eve were sub-regents under the king, stewarding the earth in the King’s name.

Today, stewarding the earth looks a little different than in Adam and Eve’s day. This is good news, particularly for those of us who have trouble keeping house plants alive (**raising my hand here**).

To figure out how we’re supposed to represent our King today, we have to focus on the principle behind the passage. Being a representative of God means showing what life in the King’s kingdom looks like wherever you are – in the home, workplace, or community.

Wherever we find ourselves, we are called to be living demonstrations of love and light, peace and grace, holiness and right living.

Today, we are short on these royal representatives. Homes are broken, communities unhinged. With words like Ferguson and ISIL/ISIS emblazoned in headlines, we are tempted to look at the world around us and wonder what can we do? I am just one person.  What can I do to make any real difference?

Times haven’t changed much since paradise was ruined and neither has God’s design; no person is needed more today than a representative of the King – individuals who desire to walk in wisdom, peace, and holy love.

The first plot move of the story of the Scriptures is CREATION – a good King created a good world, a kingdom.

And when he created his kingdom, the King established a pattern for abundant life – mankind living with and serving their King. This is where your story meets God’s story, no matter where you live or what you’re living through.

You’ve been crowned as a sub-regent of the King of Kings.  You are his representative to a hurting and broken world.

How can you be a representative of the King today? 

Ministry Monday: The Big list of ministry ideas

The Very Big list of ministry ideas {Hive Resources}

Last year, I started a series called Ministry Monday to share practical ways to be on mission as mothers, disciples, and women and sisters in Christ.

Most of the posts I shared came from real-life ministry and service projects in our now 3-yr-old Pittsburgh church plant as well as ministry ideas from our own home.

Because Ministry Monday continues to place among my popular posts, I thought I’d list them all here:

The 1 thing that always kills the Great Commission

3 ways to balance family & ministry

22 ideas for calling a family time-out

Why I don’t wear high heels to church

A app that shares the gospel in 40 languages

When Bible lessons fail

Easter devotional for families

How to teach your kids about new life with a new life tree

How to get to church without fighting

Teaching your kids about the resurrection

How to mold missions-minded children

Living and leading from grace

How to teach your child to be a dinner-table missionary

How to host your own home Bible study

 

Ministry Monday Making Better Disciples {Hive Resources}

Making Better Disciples

Grace vs. Knowledge (the motive of disciple)

Investment vs. Sacrifice (how we view discipleship)

Feeding vs. Feasting (the strategy of discipleship)

Ministry Monday MISSIONAL MOTHERHOOD {Hive Resources} #missionalmotherhood

Missional Motherhood

3 ways to live on mission and still say ‘no’

How to connect the gospel with social ministries

When you’re tempted to throw in the towel on quiet times

My favorite missional motherhood tools

simple service challenge - ideas for taking care of your church family {Hive Resources}

Simple Service

Real chicken soup for the soul

1 easy way to stir up love in your church family

The best way to encourage the mother of a challenging child

A missional meal for new moms or new move-ins

Ministry Monday Summer Edition! {Hive Resources}

Summer Edition

When You’re struggling to each your child to serve

How to transform playdates into service opportunities

How to host the BEST grandparents camp ever

Banish summer boredom with ministry ideas for kids

7 resources for a summer of faith & fun

Passport to summer missions

Have a ministry idea you’d like to share or see featured?! Leave your ideas in the comments!

Training our eyes to see the story of the Scriptures

If someone asked you to summarize the Bible in 30 seconds, could you?

Try it. Pretend a friend asked you, “So, what’s the Bible really all about? Just give me the cliff notes version.”

What would you say?

Because if we believe the Bible is authoritative and the basis for everyday life, shouldn’t we be able to tell someone what it’s about?

The Bible in less than 30 seconds {Hive Resources}

The Bible is one story

It’s hard, right? Boiling down 66 books written by 40 authors spanning thousands of years of history into just a few sentences!?

I think there are two reasons we struggle with being able to summarize the whole Bible – besides the fact that the Bible is a really big book:

(1)   We don’t know the overarching story of the Bible

and

(2)  We know how the pieces of the story go together

When we study one of the books of the Bible, we read it in the strangest ways – one chapter, one page, one paragraph at a time.

We would never go to a library just to check out one page from a book.  What good is one page?!?

The Story of the Scriptures {Hive Resources}

From just one page, we wouldn’t get the plot, be able to describe the main conflict, or even the climactic event.

In order to understand a book, we would need more than one page; we need to read the whole story.

But, very often, this is how we read the biblical story. No wonder we have trouble understanding God’s Word. No wonder we have trouble figuring out where our story fits into God’s story!

The Bible is intended to be one, unified story. Yes, we often read the books of the Bible separately, but each book plays an important part in God’s story for the world.

The Bible has one message

Not only is the Bible one story, but it has one messageone unified theme:

The Bible is the story of a good King who created a good world, and although it was corrupted by sin, he is at work to redeem and restore it through his Son, Jesus Christ.

That’s the Bible in less than 30 seconds.

The Bible is one story written by one Author with one message; the Bible is the story of a good King.

So, why is so difficult to see this story on the pages of Scripture?  Very likely, our worldview gets in the way – those filtered lenses through which we read God’s Word. And because filtered lenses often do not align with the reality of Scripture, it is very likely we’ll miss the story God has tucked into its pages.

Our eyes will be directed inward instead of where they should be directed – upward and outward. We will take center stage in our life story, instead of the King.

So, we must train our eyes to see the story of Scripture – the grand biblical narrative that stretches from Genesis to Revelation, the story of the King.

The Biblical Story

Need some help seeing the biblical story? Here’s a little longer version:

OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis 1-2: God reveals his intention for his kingdom & his servants.

Genesis 3: The King’s subjects rebel against the throne.

Genesis 4-49: The King promises to rescue his kingdom from the consequences of their rebellion.

Exodus – Deuteronomy: While the King’s subjects wait for rescue, the King extends grace in three ways (the sacrificial system, the Law, & the tabernacle) so they can dwell in his court and fulfill their role as servants to the throne in a temporary measure.

Joshua – Esther: The King’s subjects demand to be led by earthly kings & often fail to rule in the way that honors the King.

• Job – Malachi: The King’s prophets give the King’s subjects a two-pronged message of judgment and hope.

NEW TESTAMENT

Matthew – John: The promised King of Kings finally arrives & begins to set his kingdom right.

Acts: A previously-quiet character (the Holy Spirit)enters the biblical story as the King’s Helper.

1 Corinthians – Jude: The King’s Helper equips the King’s subjects to serve priests to those living outside the his kingdom.

Revelation: The King’s original goal for his kingdom is realized. His kingdom is remade & his rule is eternally fulfilled.

Is your small group reading Daughters of the King this fall? Enter to win a complete set for all your members!

Enter to win a set of Daughters of the King for your small group {Hive Resources}