You can get it back

I am not sure how long it has been since you read the story of Samson and Delilah.  It's a Sunday School classic (although I am not sure why) found in Judges 16. I will give you a quick recap…
    Samson was Israel's leader.  A man with super strength that allowed him to defeat their enemy, Philistines, for many years..  He had taken a Nazarite vow from birth which was the secret to his strength.  He wasn't the most noble guy and he started to get into some trouble.  He got involved with the wrong girl.  She betrayed his trust multiple times but somehow manage to get him to tell her the secret of his strength.  She betrayed him for money to the Philistines.  The story goes downhill from there.

The saddest verse of the whole story is verse 20, "Then she called, 'Samson, the Philistines are upon you!'  He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him."

Samson got involved with the wrong people.  He got wrapped up in bad relationship.  And he got so deep into it, he didn't even realize Lord's strength had left him.

The thing is, if you want to get involved with the wrong people, go the wrong way, God will let you.  But He will remove his strength from you.  And you probably will not even notice until it's too late.  You will pay a high price.

The good news of God's grace is that it is renewed by simply asking.  It is called repentance.

Here is what David prayed when he confessed his sin…

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
   or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

If you find yourself feeling apart from the Lord's strength, you can get it back.  That's the beauty of God's grace.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Fashion File… Spring trends for 2011

This spring, if you are feeling the need to add a few new pieces to you wardrobe, here are a some trends you may want to consider… 

High waisted wide leg pants (or jeans).  Don't worry, if you recently bought your first pair of skinny jeans, they are still in style.  I personally love the high waisted pants.  To me, the most flattering jeans are the ones where the rise hits just below you belly button.

Wide leg

Bright colored bangles.  Plastic, metal, or wooden, this is a really cheap way to have fun with your outfit.


White, white, white.  Also, try mixing shades of white, like cream colored trousers with a bright white top. 

White on white

The must have orangy color- I don't know exactly what you call this color, coral, salmon, rust?  Any shade in that family is definitely something you want to add to your closet this Spring.



Comfy clothes.  Don't you love to hear that?  Here is a quote from an online article in Glamour magazine…

Michael Kors said “It’s time to get rid of all those painful heels and too-tight dresses.” Come spring, stores will be chock-full of looser, easy-breezier shapes like long, billowy blouses and swingy dresses. All we can say is Phew!


Military look.  Here are some skinny cargo pants and a great military jacket that has a feminine touch (not to be worn together, you don't want to look like Private Benjamin).

Military 2 Military

And like I said, don't worry, your skinny jeans are still in and so are nude shoes.  Have fun with it.  Happy Spring.

Worth a listen

Because I have a newborn, I spend a lot of my time in our rocking chair these days.  Whether feeding, burping or rocking Abbey to sleep, it seems as though a large majority of my day is spent sitting in the chair.

We recently got Apple TV.  This allows us to access Netflix, Itunes, YouTube and more, all on our TV.  We have enjoyed watching some of the video podcasts.  It's pretty great.  The greatest preachers in the country at my fingertips (Oh you know Steven Furtick is in heaven).  And while I still watch regular TV shows (I am a big reality TV fan), I love have the option to renew my mind while captive in my chair.

I watched Pastor Judah Smith preach a great message a few weeks ago called Partially Fulfilled.  In the message Pastor Judah uses the story of the Shunamite woman to discuss what happens when we encounter situations in our lives that we just can't understand.

The message is phenominal.  You can watch the video podcast, or on the City Church website.


Somebody bottle this energy!

I never truly understood the phrase, “if you could just bottle up that energy,” until I had two preschool age boys.  Their energy is off the charts.

After watching Elijah fly past us one day, my husband asked me, “What would it be like to willingly run everywhere you go?”  And it’s so true, they run 90% of the time!

Earlier this week, we were recording some videos on my computer.  I had to leave the room to tend to Abbey.  When I returned, there were about 10 additional videos recorded.

Here is one of my favorites.  It is the perfect picture of their never ending energy.  They are really this active for the majority of every day.  I love my boys.

A prayer for protection

Eph 6:19-21 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

I hope you are praying for your pastor this week.  We need your prayers.  The battle being fought over our church, our city, our nation this week is real.  We are believing God for lives to be changed this weekend and we know that the oppostion is going to be fierce. 

In the past I have written about the opposition we face this time every year and asked you to pray.  You can read them here (Put Up Your Dukes) and here (Keep Up Your Dukes).

I am excited that I get to be a part of this.  I am praying for all of our church members who are asking their friends and family to come to church.  I am praying for our staff families.  I am praying for my pastor's wives friends all over this nation.  I hope you will join me in prayer.  Great things are ahead.

Monday Morning Commentary (in the afternoon)

Grapesandgiants This weekend we wrapped up our series, Grapes and Giants, with quite the bang.

My husband preached on Ephesians 6:10-20, the armor of God. Here are a few of the highlights for me…

There is a battle going on.  The scripture tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

God has given us the tools that we need to win the battle.  It is in the fight that we gain strength.  The struggle makes us stronger.  While I am struggling, God is strengthening me.  I am becoming stronger for the next battle.

Have you ever gone through something difficult only to realize years later that the struggle you went through made you a stronger person in the end? 

God has equipped you with everything you need to fight. 

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17

So fight.

You can listen to the sermon here and here.  And don't forget you can now subscribe to our video podcast.

And I cannot end this Monday Morning Commentary without mentioning that we closed our weekend off with some truly spontaneous baptisms yesterday.  You can read Sean's take on it here

Honestly, if this past weekend at Elevation was an indication of what to expect for our upcoming Easter weekend, we better hold on, because God is at work in our city and this nation.  More on that tomorrow.

Be yourself (the addendum)

Last week I posted and answer to this question…
Is it hard for people to see you as yourself, or do they find it hard to seperate you from some of the different hats you wear? (pastor wife, etc.._)

You can read what I wrote here.

After a great date night conversation with my husband, I realized that my post was not finished.  I have something I need to add.

You see, my husband is the opposite of a people-pleaser.  Truly a role model for me in this area of my life.  Last week he had a situation where he was misunderstood by another person in ministry and it hurt him.  He had made a choice to put our family and our church priority over an outside ministry event and another person was not happy with that.

Here's the thing, and this is not just pertaining to ministry.  In life, you can either become a slave to everyone's opinions of what you should do and say, or you can decide what your gifts and priorities are and order your life around that.  BUT either way, someone is not going to be happy because you can never make everyone happy with you, no matter how hard you try.  And it always hurts when people are not happy with you.

My goal should not be to make everyone happy.  My goal should be to serve and honor the people God has directly placed in my life, to put them first and let everything else fall into place.  For me that is my husband, then my kids, then my family, close friends and our church.  And when, not if, someone gets upset because I did not meet their expectation, I will be sad, I will be hurt, but I will not be surprised.

So in clarification of this statement that I made last week, "As best as I can, I need to tell others who I am, not the other way around," telling others who I am doesn't always mean that everyone will be happy with me, but hopefully my kids will not grow up saying I put everyone before them.  And hopefully, my marriage will be stronger in 20 years than it is today because I chose to make it a priority.

Monday Morning Commentary

Grapesandgiants This weekend Elevation had the privilege of hearing from one of the best Bible teachers in the nation today, Pastor James MacDonald.

Pastor James did what no guest speaker at Elevation has ever done before, he preached a different message at each of our worship experiences.  I am so glad I was there for each message.  I kind of feel like I went to a conference this weekend.  I took so many notes.

One of my favorite things Pastor James said in reference to prayer was,
I know I am trying too hard when I am praying how and when prayers rather than what.

Have you ever done that?  Prayed, "God, how are you going to fix this or when are you going to come through?" rather than, "God show me what you are doing, what you want me to learn, what the next step for me to take is?"

So often I want a quick fix.  Or maybe I want a fast forward button on my life.  When in reality, it is the difficult times that God uses to make me into a better person, wife, mother, etc…

God wants to fill me with His wisdom and see me mature as His daughter.  And yet, often I act like a child when I whine in "prayer" with my hows and whens.

So my prayer today is that I would begin to shift my prayers to a what mentality.  I hope you can begin to do the same.

You can listen to one of Pastor James' messages at here or here today.

You asked… be yourself

Amy asked… Is it hard for people to see you as yourself, or do they find it hard to seperate you from some of the different hats you wear? (pastor wife, etc.._)

I am not sure if I can separate myself from my different roles.  I think that the different roles we play in life (wife, mom, friend, daughter, pastor's wife), play a huge part in defining who we are.

I have shared before that I struggle with being a people pleaser.  I would be lying if I said I didn't care what people think about me, or that I didn't desire to live up to everyone's expectations of me.

As best as I can, I need to tell others who I am, not the other way around.

The best thing I can do for my husband, my family and our church is to be confident in who I am, who God made me to be and nothing else.  I need to know what I am good at and what I am not good at.  I think it is an insult to God for me to spend my time and energy trying to be someone I am not.

When you know who you are, what you are good at, what you like, what your priorities are etc… you are able to say yes to the right things and no to the rest.  Then you live with the peace that you are being who God called you to be, not a slave to who others think you should be.