Friday, May 29, 2009

ApronStrings Home Edition

Last night was the final monthly session of my in-home ladies group ApronStrings Home Edition...until next September.
I love this group of gals. We have a variety of ages, interests and denominations amongst us, which makes it fun and interesting. We do have the common denominator of loving Jesus and wanting to grow in our relationship with the Father which bonds us together.
Some of this bonding takes place during our chatty time over goodies in my kitchen. Some of it takes place as we dive into the Word and still some occurs as we get the privilege of praying for one another at the close of each session.
What started out in my kitchen in California years ago has grown to encompass two other groups here in Idaho. These two groups are hosted by women from my home church. Good Housekeeping magazine has a test kitchen for the recipes they feature. These groups are my 'test kitchen' so to speak. For years I have written Bible study/discussion and retreat/teaching material for my own use. It's a completely different thing to write for others...the don't have anyway of knowing what's in my head if it's not on paper! ;)
I have had other ladies, (outside of my home church as well as within), express a desire to start their own ApronStrings Home Edition group. So, I will be spending my summer doing a rewrite on the nine lessons that I produced this last year...ironing out the wrinkles, so to speak.
I was thinking that you could help me with this process by answering a couple of questions for me...
1) If you are looking to lead a women's group, what type of help and information are you hoping for in the leader's guide?
2) If you are attending a women's Bible study/fellowship what are you looking for and wanting to gain from the experience?
I would appreciate all the input that you can give me...and hey, if you are interested in hosting your own ApronStrings Home Edition group, let me know that too! =]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Verse To Chew On - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Isn't this a great picture? I just love it! I wonder what the rest of the house looks like and I wish I had a green thumb like this gardener does. I am, how shall I put it, gardening challenged. I have even been known to kill you didn't even know that was possible.

I think part of my problem is that I tend to forget about what I've planted. I get busy with the house and my girls and ministry and the next thing you know I am responsible for another horticultural casualty.

This year I am actually scheduling things like 'watering plants' on my calendar. I used to think that just putting that on my 'to-do' list would help my problem...but I would forget to add it to the list. Anyway, I am off to a much better start this season. My roses are blooming, my tomato plant (yes, just one - I know my limitations) has grown slightly and the herbs are still'd better hold the applause until the end of the growing season! ;)

Whether we possess a green thumb or not, gals, there is a type of gardening that we can all excel at! It requires some effort on our part, but we have the advantage of a Master Gardener who ensures our success.

Galatians 5:22 says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"

I don't know about you, but I would love to produce a harvest like this in my life. I won't if I focus on any one of these fruit or try to produce it in my own ability. This fruit is produced only by the Holy Spirit in my life.

In John 15 Jesus identifies God as the Master Gardener, Himself as the True Vine and we, as Christians, as the branches. He states that if we choose to abide in Him and His words abide in us we will bear much fruit. It's like gardening with a guarantee! :)

Just like I can neglect my backyard garden unintentionally by getting caught up in the stuff of life, so I can neglect my relationship with the Lord. I certainly don't want my life to look as dried up and shriveled as some of my past gardening attempts have. My garden needs constant and consistent attention, (I've found out the hard way that watering once a week just doesn't cut it), as does my relationship with the Lord.

As I choose to abide in, (dwell with, adhere to, be vitally united with), Jesus - He will, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, produce this fruit in and through me! This fruit will not only benefit me, it will bless those around me. Isn't that what a branch produces fruit for anyway? provide nourishment!

As we, Sister~Friend, become fruit producing Christians as a natural outflow of our relationship with Jesus, then we nourish others! And that in turn brings glory and honor to the Master Gardener.

So, How does your garden grow? A little parched, Jesus is the Living Water! Are your branches a little lacking in the fruit department? Cling to the Lord! Fruit will come from holding tighter to the True Vine.

Here's 2 questions for you to chew on...

#1 - Which Gal. 5:22 fruit would you like to see more of in your life?

#2 - What steps can you take to 'abide' more in Jesus?

I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Introducing A New Blog

Hey there! I know it's been a while since I posted and I had every intention when I jumped on the computer to post a Verse To Chew On. But to my surprise, when I logged in I found a new addition to 'blogger world'. Now this is something to get excited about!

My friend Rebecca has just published Redesign Your Homemaking. Rebecca is a gifted speaker and writer that I've had the pleasure of developing a dear friendship with over the last couple of years. She loves the Lord and loves helping kind of gal! She also has a great sense of humor and deep knowledge of the Word. Rebecca has been published in magazines and is now working on her first book...and she would like our help.

Take a few minutes to pop over to answer her questions and sign up to follow her blog...I know it will be worth it!

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Verse to Chew On - Sharing Secrets

I had a brief conversation, this last weekend, with a gal who had a self professed 'good life' and yet confided in me, that she had a lack of contentment.

As she spoke I immediately thought of Philippians 4:12. Here Paul states, " I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (emphasis-mine)

So - what is Paul's secret?

I think Brother Lawrence may have been on to something when he stated, "God won't allow a soul that is searching for Him to be comforted anywhere other than with Him" (from the book The Practice of the Presence of God)

Paul goes on to say, in Phil. 4:13, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."

Jesus said in John 15:5, "I am the vine and you are the branches...apart from me you can do nothing."

Not even find contentment ? ! .

Jesus also said that the 1st and greatest commandment is to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind. (see Matthew 22:37)

Psst - I think I know the secret! Only by completely loving the Lord and choosing to remain in Him, (see John 15:5), can we find a contentment that supersedes our circumstances and situations.

What does that type of Love relationship with God look like to you?

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Ten Mile" Retreat at the Ashley Inn

I'm back from speaking at a retreat for Ten Mile Community Church at the Ashley Inn in Cascade Idaho! I was blessed with this lovely room to stay in. It was so nice, on this rainy weekend, to spend my study and prayer time in front of this fireplace.
I was warmly welcomed by the sweet gals from this church. Shirley, (pictured with me above), made the adorable apron that I am wearing...what a neat gift. I had the pleasure of working with an incredible group of ladies who planned, organized and led worship for this event, (bottom picture).
The ladies of this church embraced me, making me feel like I was one of them. We laughed and cried together and sat shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart at the feet of Jesus. I believe that God did a reforming work in each one of us, to one degree or another.
It was an honor and privilege to serve the Lord and His daughters this weekend!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Speaking Engagement

This morning is all about getting ready to head up to Cascade Idaho for a speaking engagement at the lovely Ashely Inn...and I can't wait!

I am honored to bring the message, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, to the women of Ten Mile Community Church of Boise, Id. Meeting each and everyone of these ladies personally is one of the things that I'm looking forward to this weekend.

I am also looking forward to being up in the mountains, enjoying the fresh air and the beauty of God's handiwork. The fact that I've never been to the Ashely Inn, and that I hear that it's absolutely wonderful is another plus.

What I am looking forward to, most of all, is meeting together with sisters in Christ at the feet of Jesus. I can't wait to hear what God has prepared in advance for each one of us...don't worry, I have been in prayer and study and have my notes - I'm just always pleasantly surprised by what the Holy Spirit adds in!

I've got to scoot and do all the last minute stuff...I'll tell you all about it when I get back!