An Impossible Question and John the Baptists Answer: Incredible

Some people are quick on their feet. When asked a squirrelly question, they respond with grace, wisdom, and poignancy.

Not me.

My amber eyes bulge wide. My cheeks glow pink. My voice goes silent. When I start to utter syllables, I stammer. Silence thickens. Continue Reading...

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A plum-colored reupholstered velvet couch.
A creamy white repainted picture frame.
A refurbished cherry red 1969 Mustang.

What comes to mind when you hear the word “restoration”?

I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. Restore is the theme of this year’s Women of Joy tour. Alongside Angela Thomas, Angie Smith, Patsy Clairmont, Anita Renfroe, Candace Cameron Bure, Lysa Terkheurst, Jan Silvious, I’ve been wrestling with what it means to be restored.

Restore: The Women of Joy 2016 Tour

Restoration is messy. Whether you’re mod-podging a canvas or reupholstering an old chair.

Often when we say God will restore us, we want that to mean…

God will erase the pain and suffering we’ve experienced
or that he’ll reimburse us for our losses
or that he’ll make everything “the way they used to be”
or “give us back our former life.”

Yet Biblical restoration isn’t about recovering our losses as much as recovering right relationship with God.

We orbit around God.

Jesus is our centerpiece, our focal point, our gravitational pull.

God’s restoration is a transformation of our character that enables us to better reflect the true image of God both to the world and back to him in worship.

When he restores us, he restores us to faithfulness, integrity, courage, truthfulness, goodness, kindness, temperance, wisdom, purity and discernment.

First Peter 5:10 encourages us:

“The God of all Grace, who called you to his eternal grace in Christ, after you have suffered awhile, will himself restore you strong, firm and steadfast.”

It would be nice say that God restores our lost days, our relationships, our broken pieces of a life, but this word “restore” does not biblically mean “return,” “bring back” or “refurbish.”

I think of Job. In the final swooping chapter of the book bearing his name, he abounds with children, livestock, and wealth. Job’s losses were returned. Right?

In some ways, they never were.

The children he lost were gone, gone, gone.
The flocks he owned were gone, gone, gone.
The wealth he had was gone, gone, gone, gone.

How do you look in the eyes of a father and say, “Look you have more children!” when he will never hold the firstborn who once bounced on his knee.

Restoration is messy.

In my life, the things that have been stripped from my body will never return. If I wait for those, or endure another half-dozen surgeries, what I receive will never, ever be the same.

Perhaps that makes me biased. But I believe we must nudge deeper into restoration—beyond surface repairs.

When God promises restoration, it’s for the formation of our character.

God’s desire is to form us more and more into the image of Christ, not to get us our houses, jobs, spouses, children and belongings back.

Now let me clarify: we are not called to comfort, but neither are we called to suffering.

Those who live by faith in Christ are called to eternal glory.

“A world where Christians can expect to suffer simply because of their faith in God is not a world as God created it. In the time and place of eternal glory, there will be no suffering, for God will put things right, eliminating the source.”

The word restore (katartistei), “is the idea that God ‘called you in Christ to his eternal glory.”

We are going to be restored unto God, not unto our human life on earth as we think life should be.

So perhaps the one thing we must do if we want to lay hold of the restoration God has for us is to stop looking back to…

the life we once knew…
the illusions we once clung to…
the false security we once enjoyed…

And begin looking up to…

the One who longs to embrace us tighter
the One who seeks to deeper our trust
the One who calls us to eternal glory

After all, the restoration of God takes place from the inside out rather than the outside in.

Restore: The Women of Joy 2016 Tour

Join us for the Women of Joy Restore tour coming to a city near you. Grab your girlfriends, small group, or women's ministry and register here to join us in Myrtle Beach, Louisville, or San Antonio.

I can't wait to hug your neck.

 

Crossway Interleaved Bible

Over the past few months some treasures have been coming across my desk that I can’t resist sharing with you.

Those who love journaling while studying the Scripture will adore Crossways ESV Journaling Bible, Interleaved Edition (Autumn Song). The super thin pages require a light touch, but color, draw, paint (with a sheet of protection) away. Unleash your inner creativity as you meditate on the beauty of God’s Word.

One Delightful Button

And Jessica, our precious office manager and travel companion, introduced me to the most wondiferous company: One Delightful Button. They make the cutest earrings in a variety of colors for bargain buys. I want to introduce you to them by giving away a pair of their sparkles.

Heavenly Help Pic

My friend, Sarah Bowling, just released Heavenly Help: Experiencing the Holy Spirit in Everyday Life. A friend for years, Sarah always challenges me to go deeper in studying the Scripture and responding to the nudges of the Holy Spirit. You’ll love this book.

Colors of Goodbye

And finally, you must know September Vaudrey. I feel like I know her through her poignant, beautiful writing in Colors of Goodbye: A Memoir of Holding On, Letting Go, and Reclaiming Joy in the Wake of Loss.

She is a registrant for Writers Boot Camp—yes, published authors come to grow and develop, too—and I’m excited to learn more about her writing process in June. Her book is accompanied by a beautiful necklace that reminds us no matter what we’ve been through, we are “Beautiful still.”

To win this package of gifts and love, simply comment below about what you’re looking forward to most this summer.

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Pinterest is the single biggest influencer of women’s events I’ve ever seen.

The images, ideas, and pins are transforming retreats, getaways, and events with the most beautiful and mod creations.

Say goodbye to 80’s clip art and bad fonts. Pinterest ushers us into a much needed design-upgrade in the church. When guests walk in the front door, what they encounter shouts welcome and echoes quality through handwritten script and stunning hues.

Make no mistake: the centerpiece of the most breathtaking events is always Jesus.

But in our eye-for-design culture, sometimes low-quality design communicates subtle messages like:

Quality doesn’t matter.
This was a list-minute, thrown together event.
We’re out of touch.
We don’t really care.

This spring I’ve had the privilege of being part of events all over the United States and Canada where the design elements communicated:

We care about quality and we care about you.
If we pay attention to the details, how much more does God?
We love this event, we love you, and we want you to know how much God loves you.
You are welcome here. We want you to leave encouraged, refreshed, and more in love with Jesus.

The focus of the themes, the font selection, the creative elements, the artistic expression of teachable take-a-ways, even the food served has been stunning. Even more wowzer, much of it has been created on super skinny budgets thanks to sharable, online creative ideas.

More than the emergence of Pinterest, I believe something deeper is transpiring in the church.

People with God-given creative talents and an eye-for-design are being unleashed to use their gifts in the church.

Teams hosting events are becoming more intentional about identifying the people within their churches gifted in areas of display, décor, and hospitality.

Most of us know the Pinteresty, Etsy-lovin’ people in our midst. These wild creatives are living, breathing gifts to our communities and churches. Their talents are being given the opportunities to shine and enhance events like never before. And we are blessed because of them.

I snapped a few pictures of the fun, fabulous ideas we’ve seen this spring:

Women's Retreat Continue Reading...

How to NOT Miss Your Moment

Sons of Thunder.

The roaring brothers—James and John—earn their booming name in Luke 9. Jesus sets out for Jerusalem, the city of kings. He sends a messenger ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for His arrival.

The village refuses entrance.

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