Archives

Blooming in Christ: Studying with Others

Hey y’all! Ginger here with a new Blooming in Christ post.

Today we are talking about blooming in Christ through studying with others.

There is really no better way to bloom in Christ than through studying his word, and it is amazing what you will learn when you study with others.

There are a few ways to study with other people.

Those are:
Studying with others who have the same beliefs as you.
Studying with people who believe a different belief than you.
Studying with people who have no knowledge of God or the Bible.

As I began to write this I was going to split each category up, but then I realized they all 3 have so many similarities it would be hard to do that.

Whenever we sit down to have a bible study with someone, something wonderful happens. We open our bibles to discuss God and his love with someone. What better thing to discuss with someone is there than that?

Normally, if we are having a bible study there is a topic that has been pre-determined before hand and we have been studying that topic to be prepared to have a discussion.

There are so many great things that are taking place in this process. We are studying our bibles more and studying other resources, so we’re are learning new things that we may have never known, or reading verses that suddenly have a whole new meaning because of our studying and we may see something and understand something that we didn’t before.

I haven’t had many studies or talks with people who believed something different than me, but the occasions that I have…..that is when I learned the most. It was a challenge to have to be prepared to share with them why I believed what I believed, and not to just say”this is what I believe”, but to be able to back that up with scripture. It really helped ground me in my beliefs because I so thoroughly studied and discussed a certain topic.

When we study with others we learn so much about them and ourselves. We learn what their bible knowledge is, we learn about things that have happened to them in life that affect what they believe, we learn that sometimes we are not going to agree, we learn what we are good at discussing, we learn where we need to improve in our knowledge, we learn that sometimes we have too explain to someone that they need to forget everything they have been previously taught and just read what the bible says, we learn that sometimes we need to forget what we have been taught and read what the Bible says, and I think most importantly it helps us learn how to talk to people about the bible with love and caring.

So the challenge is to improve our blooming through studying Gods word with others.

You can start slow. Have a few friends over for a bible study. You can either pick the topic yourself or have one of the others pick the topic, then give yourselves plenty of time to research and study on that. Make notes and have everything ready to talk about. So here are somethings to prepare for:

·Who can you invite over for a bible study?
·What would you like to talk about?
·How often do you want too meet?
·Be sure to schedule your next meeting and to pick a new topic if you need to.

If you are going to be studying with a friend who doesn’t have the same beliefs as you: make sure that you have found all the verses on that topic, be prepared for the other person to not agree with you, make sure you speak to them calmly and with love, be prepared to stop and continue at another time if things seem to be turning into a debate instead of a discussion, make sure that you are not letting personal bias or opinion cloud your discussion, and be prepared to accept the fact that you may be the one who is wrong or needs to change your stance…..it’s not always the other person who is wrong. So how to prepare for the study:

° Think of someone to study with, one on one or as a group.
° Pick a topic.
° Research the topic, gather all the verses you can find on the topic, make sure your verses are in context….don’t just grab verses.
° Know where the other person stands on the topic.
° Be prepared to defend your stance, but make sure that your stance is backed by the Bible, not by opinion.
° Make sure that you listen to what the other person has to say, understand why they believe what they believe.
°Be prepared for the other person to not immediately change their view, it may take sometime for them to work through new information, it may take time for them to accept that the Bible says something other than what they have been raised our taught for so long.
° Do not let the discussion turn into a bash fest of the other person, do not let any frustrations you have of why they don’t see what you see push the person away.
° Remember what is really important.
-If you are studying things that are essential to their salvation, you do not want to argue with them and lose your chance to reach a soul for God.
-If you are studying something that is not essential to their salvation, you do not want to push them away. You just want to have a discussion with an open Bible, in which you and them can grow.
-You want to have more studies, don’t let things get heated and turn into an argument….that is not the goal.
° Remember how Jesus and His taught others.

If you are studying with someone who had little to no Bible knowledge you will need to have a different approach. We have to remember who we are studying with and what we are trying to teach them. To do this you will need to have a plan.

° Set up your study.
° Figure out how you want to do the study.
-Do you want to use a prepared study?
-If you are going to use a study that requires homework for the other person make sure you prepare them for that. Be sure to give them the “homework” with plenty of time for them to study and complete it.
° Start slow with them, this could be all new information to them.
° Be sure to teach the fundamentals of Jesus, I would approach it the way they did in the first century.
-Jesus is the son of God.
-He died for everyone, so they can have a home in heaven.
-The Bible tells us exactly what we need to do to have salvation.
°Show them in the Bible what they must do to be saved.
°Understand it may take a lot of studying and discussion, be patient.
° Remember that the gospel is for everyone, no matter how many bad mistakes they may have made…..you may need to help them to understand that to.

So here is my challenge that I hope you will join me in:
How can I start to study with others and bloom for Christ?

I guess there is nothing to do now, but to find someone to study with.

I hope this will help you to bloom in Christ!
Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today, like share God with them!

Until next time,
Ginger

Advertisements

Don’t Make Excuses, Salvation is to Important

Hey y’all!  Jennifer here with a post about something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

Why do we wait on something as important as our salvation?  As someone who waited on theirs, I have a few ideas and I hoped that sharing what I have learned may help someone else stop waiting and do what needs to be done….there is nothing more important than your soul.

I was raised with a belief in God and never questioned that, nor did I question that Jesus is His son and Jesus came to earth and died for my sins so that I can go to heaven when I die.

I went too a Christian school through the end of the 6th grade and was taught bible matters there with a Baptist background.  They taught the sinners prayer and wanting to be saved before Armageddon and the anti-Christ. I can remember many times as a child going forward during the preachers invitation and I remember saying the “sinners prayer” numerous times. I didn’t go to church services regularly growing up, I didn’t have any bible studies, I just always knew I was saved because I had said that prayer asking Jesus to come into my heart and save me……and because of that I was good.  I was never baptized because I believed that meant I had to change the way I lived, I had to change things that I didn’t want to change, so I never took that step.

When I met my now husband I started going to services with him at the Collinsville Church of Christ, but I only went to be with him, I never really paid attention…..but I was confused by several things.

They had water in the baptistry all the time, there was no piano or organ, they didn’t talk about Armageddon or the coming anti christ, and they took communion every Sunday.

He explained to me that there was always water because if someone wanted to be baptized it needed to happen immediately so they would be saved. There was no piano or musical instrument because there was no mention of a musical instrument ever being used in worship in the new testament. Revalation was written to Christians living during Roman persecution and was written to inspire them and reassure them….and the word anti christ is nowhere in the book of revelation. They took communion every Sunday because Jesus said to do it often in remembrance of him, and when you read about the first Christians meeting for worship it says they took the bread.  I was okay with all those answers, they made sense.  (If you question any of those things I would encourage you to get out your bible and study)

So I continued to go with him to worship, but nothing really changed as far as my opinion of getting baptized or really changing my life.

I liked doing things that I knew God would frown upon, and isn’t that really what is at the heart of why we don’t make that commitment to God?  It is always selfishness.  We want to go to heaven…..I don’t know many who would say they would rather go to hell, but we don’t want to put in the work.  We don’t want to make the sacrifices and give up the pleasures of sin.  I think we know in our heart of hearts that we have to change and try to be a more godly person and we don’t want to, that’s why we come up with so many excuses for putting it off.  I genuinely think that is why someone came up with the sinners prayer or the thought that if you simply believe in God or live good enough that you will get into heaven…..because trust me those things didn’t come from the Bible, but those teachings are wide spread and widely accepted and putting a lot of people’s souls in jeopardy.

I know about making excuses!  Like I said my first excuse was that I didn’t want to change my life style, the second excuse is a popular one: why would I want to be a part of them? They are all hypocrites! I see them in the church building acting one way but when I see them in other settings they are judgemental, selfish, uncaring, blah blah blah.  Now be honest, lots of people use that excuse, but that’s what it is an excuse!  Don’t get mad hear me out!

About those hypocrites:  not all of them really are hypocrites.  Some of them are going to turn out to be wonderful God fearing people who love the Lord and strive do his will no matter what!  They may mess up from time to time, but they will repent and try harder.  Some of them are going to be hypocrites plain and simple.  If it wasn’t going to be a problem in the church, then the Lord wouldn’t have addressed it as much as he did.  But here is what I have learned about that.  If you get to know someone and learn that they are living in that way, you can go to them in private as a caring spiritual family member and talk to them about it, you can pray for them, you can be an example for them, but ultimately they are responsible for their actions and they are going to have to answer for it on judgement day…..you don’t have to answer for them, but you will have to answer for yourself. 

On judgement day do you think you can look at the Lord and say “well I knew what I was supposed to do, but I didn’t want to change my life or I didn’t want to be with that hypocrite.” And he will let you in?  Sorry folks, it won’t work that way. If you haven’t done what you were supposed to do, your not going to heaven.  So why keep making excuses?  Stop risking your soul and the souls of those you have influence over. 

Jesus came to earth and performed miracles to prove who he was.  He taught many lessons to show us how to live.  He taught his disciples what they needed to know to teach others.  He was brutally beaten and crucified, his blood was shed to take away our sins.  He rose from the dead three days later.  His disciples wrote many letters to teach us what we needed to do to be promised a home in heaven,  they give us examples of standing up for God, and they teach us how God expects us to live.  It is all there in the Bible, we have the information we need to make the most important decision in our life…..it is up to us to do what we have to do.

Well my day came where I quit making excuses and took responsibility.  I was baptized in January of 2009, and I have stumbled along the way, had to learn a lot, and try harder everyday to be the Christian I should be.  I hope to share more about that another time.

Don’t put off your salvation like I did, tomorrow is not promised.  We never know what moment will be our last.

The bible says it won’t be easy, but it promises that it will be worth it.

Until next time,
Jennifer

Blooming in Christ Post

Hey y’all!

I wanted to apologize for the lack of Blooming in Christ post lately.

I still have several topics I want to talk about and have started writing a few, but my personal studies have gone to something different and other things have been on the frontline as far as in my heart and on my mind.

I hope to get back to the blooming post soon, once I can really focus on those topics better.

Thanks for being patient with me!!

Until next time,
Ginger Donovant

Blooming In Christ: Using Your Talents

Hey y’all! Jenn her with a new Blooming in Christ post.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? I had realized that I was not blooming in Christ so I began working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth and compared that to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them.

Today’s topic is: Using Your Talents

Lets take a moment to think about what our talents are, write them down….we will come back to them.

Some of you may have a hard time saying what your talent is, don’t worry about that. What are you good at? What do you excel at that you use for God or can use for God? I can’t sit here and tell you that my talent is ______, because I don’t really know what I have that I would list as a talent. But I know that there are things I enjoy doing, so I do those to my fullest ability for God when I can and I seek out opportunities to use those things for God. Just in case you are struggling with finding something that you enjoy or are good at I am going to list something’s. Be totally honest with yourself and I am sure you will find at least one thing that you are good at/enjoy doing/would learn to do/ can do for God….
– Teach a Sunday School Class. -Teach Ladies Class. -Help Clean the Building
– Help Prepare Communion. – Be Welcoming to Visitors. – Help with VBS or other events.
– Write Cards to Sick and Sutins. – Visit the Sick and Shutins. -Visit People in the Hospital.
-Work on Bulletin Boards. -Take Meals to Members in Need (new baby, surgery, etc.)
– Go Door Knocking (invite for studies, services, special events, etc.).
-Check on Members who Miss Service. -Go on a Mission Trip. -Help With the Pantry.
-Be Welcoming to New Members (invite them out for lunch or over to your house)
-Visit other Members and Invite them to do things with you (going shopping, or just over to hang out). -Call Members when you Know they are having a hard time.
-Pray for your brothers and sisters and let them know you are praying for them.
-Give members a ride to appointments who need them.

There are so many different things that could be listed, I have tried to list all the ones I could think of. Also, do not be discouraged if you feel that you only have one talent and other women have more than one, its okay. God made us all different, with different talents and abilities. He didn’t make us the same on purpose. We all have things we are good at and when we work together with others who are good at different things, more gets accomplished for the kingdom. He has a plan and a purpose for us and our talent. Just make sure you are using your talent to the best of your ability for God.

We all have talents. We all have something or something’s that we are naturally good at or can learn to be good at. But do we use those talents for God?

The Bible says lots about talents/gifts and using them for God. One of my favorites is the parable of the talents. It is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and Luke 19:12-28. I am not going to post the entire parable, but I would encourage you to take the time to read it and really think about what it says. To paraphrase this parable is about a man who is going on a journey so he gives talents to his servants to watch over. To one he gave 5, another 2, and another 1. The servants who were given 5 and 2 went out and used the talents and doubled the amount. The servant with one talent was afraid and hid his talent. When the man returned and went to his servants the two that doubled the talent amount were told what a great job they did. But it really sticks with me what was told to the one that hid his talent…..
“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:26-30 NKJV)

Wow! What a punishment for the servant who hid his talent! The first time I heard this and it really clicked I was shocked! It got me thinking…. what are my talents? Are there other things I can learn to do? Are there things I could assist with? Am I using my talents for God?

Now lets go back to your talent or talents that you wrote down….are your using it/them for God? Or have you hidden your talent?

I think that it is easier than we realize to stop using our talents, not use them to their full potential, or to not even try to use them. There are so many reasons. I have a few that have been an issue for me or for other women I know so I am going to talk about them. I hope that you will be open and honest with yourself as we talk about these things, it can lead to some serious blooming for Christ.

-“No one asked me to help”. If this offends you, so be it, but you can not sit back in the shadows and expect someone to ask you to do something all the time! If there is a project you would like to help with, SPEAK UP! If you don’t no one will know you were interested! Then later when your feelings are hurt and you didn’t get to help, you only have yourself to blame. I have seen women do this, and eventually they get their feelings hurt so much they pull away from the church, but no one knew they wanted to help because they never said anything until it was to late.

-“They have enough people already”. There can ever be “enough” people involved when doing something for God. The more the better! Even if there are more hands than projects there is still fellowship with other sisters which can be soooo good for the soul! And if you have extra hands, it creates the ability to add to a plan or event and make it bigger and better or it allows the ability to add more events because you have enough workers.

-“I was asked to help, but that’s not my thing”. Hmmmm….how do you know? Maybe at least try it and see. You never know what you may find you enjoy or are good at it. Someone may ask you to do something like help with bulletin boards and you say “no thanks, that’s not my thing, I’m not creative”. You may not think that is something you would like to do or be good at, but if you don’t try you never know. You don’t have to be creative, you just have to be willing to help,and again you are missing a fellowship opportunity with other sisters in Christ.

-“I would like to plan a ______, but we have never done that”. If there’s something you would like to start or plan at your congregation just find out who to talk to about it and go talk to them. The worst thing that can happen is they tell you no, and if they do, they will tell you why it can’t be done. But then at least you tried. If you don’t ask you’ll never know and it could be something that turns into a great outreach or ministry! Don’t be afraid to ask!

-“I don’t know how to do ____”. There are things that someone may ask you to help with or to do and you don’t know how to do that thing, but I promise that someone is willing to teach you if you are willing to learn. At my current congregation there is a group that crotchets scarves and hats for orphans in another country, what a wonderful work!! There have been women who wanted to help with it, but didn’t have a clue about crocheting, well all they had to do was come to the meeting and someone taught them! Now they have a new talent to use for God! Be open to learning/trying new things, you never know how that new skill can be used for God.

-“I would like to help, but _____ is going to be there and she always has to control everything.” This is a touchy one. There are people out there who have the personality that makes them naturally more in charge and sometimes that can make it seem that they are not open to the ideas of others. If you have this feeling about a sister in Christ I would suggest going to that sister and talking to her in private about it. (Talk to her, not everyone else) I do not think that any of us should sit back and let someone else keep us from doing work for God, we are commanded to use our talents, not to hide them. The confrontation may be awkward and hard, but you could come out with a new friendship that you never imagined having.

-“If we don’t do it this way, I’m not helping”. Well that is simply a matter of pride most of the time. We all have an idea of how things should be done, but that does not mean that our idea is always the only one to consider, or the best for the situation. The church is made up of lots of people who all have ideas, we need to be willing to put our self aside and let others bloom sometimes. For example: you may have worked really hard to come up with a great idea for _______, but when it comes time to do the project someone else shows up and has another idea. What do you do? You do not browbeat them into submission until they give up and use your idea! You listen to their idea, listen to everyone’s ideas, go over your idea, then have an open conversation about the best idea and then go from there. Your idea may be best, someone else’s may be best, it may be best to combine different things from all the ideas…..it doesn’t matter whose idea it was, it matters that we all work together to accomplish good for God. This does mean that sometimes we may need to step out of the spotlight, it does mean that sometimes we let someone else take charge….it does not mean that we are not an important part of the work for God. I can not stress enough how important it is sometimes to back up and let someone else shine, it could be the blooming that they so badly need! And again it doesn’t matter whose idea it was or who had the best plan, it matters that everyone worked together to accomplish something for God. And if your idea is not the one that is used…..I see NO bible verse anywhere that says you are allowed to pout and not participate nor does it mean that you participate but complain the whole time and talk about how your way would’ve been better.

Do you remember that talent you wrote down?…….have you allowed any of the above things keep you from using that talent? If you have it’s not to late. Change your mind and your heart, get past the thing that is preventing you from using it and start using it today. It may mean that you have to pray about something, it may mean you have to apologize to someone, it may mean that you have to have a conversation with someone…..but isn’t it worth it? Lets not hide our talents in the ground, lets use our talent for God. Our blooming will be amazing and we never know how our talents can help someone else or the kingdom bloom also.

I hope you will join me in blooming by using your talent to the best of your ability for God.

Love,
Jennifer

Blooming In Christ: Being Distracted During a Sermon

Hey everyone! Jenn here with a new Blooming In Christ post.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them.

Today’s topic is:
Being Distracted During a Sermon

I am not going to sit back and say that “if you don’t take anything away from a sermon you have a heart problem”, because I don’t believe that is always true. Sometimes it is caused by us thinking we do good in the topic at hand, so we really don’t think we need improving, so we don’t pay attention to the sermon. Sometimes it is caused by negative feelings for someone else, and we let that cloud our mind and then we get nothing from a sermon. Sometimes it is caused by thoughts of someone we know who is struggling, and when we really care about people their struggles hurt us, this can distract us from the sermon. Sometimes we get distracted by our “smart” technology. Sometimes it may be that there is a heart problem, but you have to examine yourself to determine that, that is something that only you and God know.

Letting “it Doesn’t Apply To Me” Distract:

Have you ever seen the topic for a sermon and immediately thought “this doesn’t apply to me”? What an injustice we are doing to ourselves! We may do a great job at evangelism, inviting others, praying, teaching, using our talents, we may already know how to observe communion respectfully, we may know baptism is required for salvation, whatever the topic we may have it down…..that doesn’t mean we can’t improve or learn something we could teach someone else.

Christianity is a constant growth process. For example, we may be great at inviting other to do things or into our home…..but we should still listen intently to a sermon on inviting others. We may find that yes, we invite others to our home or out with us shopping or for lunch…..but we may realize through a sermon that we only invite certain people or we only invite the same people all the time. By listening to a sermon on inviting we could realize we need to invite new families to our home, we need to invite new Christians out for lunch, we may need to invite strangers to services or events. We can never invite enough different people to services, lunch, our home, shopping, ladies class….we never know how much that invitation could mean to someone.

-No matter what the topic and how great you think you are at it, there is always room for growth or new ideas. –Even if you “know all about” what the preacher is talking about, he may say something that makes you see something in a whole new way, he may point out a verse that you just need to hear, or he may say something that will help you discuss that topic later with someone else.

Letting Negative Feelings Distract:

How many times have you been listening to a sermon and the whole time you had a certain person or people’s in your mind and all you could think was “man I hope so and so is paying attention! Because he is talking to them!” Or have you had this thought “man he is giving this sermon, but so and so isn’t here! This is for them! He must know what they did, why didn’t he wait until they were here?”

You may not struggle with this, or you may not have realized that you struggle with this, but I feel it is pretty serious.

If we start to hear a sermon and it brings negative feelings to mind about another person, it hurts us. We should listen to sermons intently and look for ways to apply them to our daily lives, not sit there thinking harshly about a brother or sister in Christ. When we do that we may miss something that could help us bloom.

I am not saying its easy. We have all had a problem with someone and it is sometimes hard to get past that. So we need to focus on pushing that negativity out and filling that space with person growth and love.

So how do we get past that negativity?
– Remember that everyone makes mistakes and everyone has their own struggles, yourself included.
-Is there someone who has wronged you or offended you that you need to mend fences with? Take the time to sit with that person and talk to them about the problem, and make sure to listen to their side to.
-The next time you hear a sermon and those negative feelings start to come up, pray about them and pray for your heart to be rid of that negativity so good can come in.

Distracted By Others Struggles:

Now sometimes when we are listening to a sermon we think of someone else and it is not in a negative way. We may know of something someone is struggling with, we may know of someone suffering with what is being discussed, we may be having a Bible study with someone on the very topic the preacher is discussing…..there are times that other people will come to mind and we mean nothing negative by it at all.

In those times we can still find a way to apply it to our lives, but we can also learn so we can go back and talk to that person who has popped into our mind.

If this happens my goal is to not be so distracted by my thoughts of the other person that I fail to pay attention to the preacher. I want to pay attention and take notes, that way I can go back to the other person as prepared as possible. And I want to go talk to that person as soon as possible so the sermon is still fresh in my mind.

So what to do if this happens?
-Take notes so you can go back and talk to the other person.
-If appropriate write a note or card using verses or quotes from the sermon that may uplift the other person.
-If you need this for a Bible study see if the sermons are recorded. If so ask for a copy so the other person can listen to it or y’all can listen to it together and discuss it.
-You could also get a copy to simply give to someone that you know is struggling. They may find comfort in listening to it in private, but make yourself available for them if they need to talk, cry, eat, whatever.

Distracted by our “smart technology”:

In this day of iPads, iPhones, droids, tablets, and Bible apps a lot of us have switched from using a paper Bible because the electronic one is so much more convenient. But we need to beware of what a distraction they can be. It is so easy to click on a notification about a new email and completely stop listening to the sermon. It is also easy to hear something and then you feel the need to google it and then you are way off track because you started down the Wikipedia trail. Be careful of electronic devices!!

-If you use an electronic device and have come to realize it distracts you, I encourage you to switch back to a paper Bible or work harder at not letting yourself be distracted by all the other things at your fingertips.

Distraction of not getting anything from the sermon:

Sometimes, no matter how hard we try….we just struggle with the sermon. This has happened to me before and it makes me feel like a terrible Christian because I leave going “man, I got nothing out of that, I am more confused than anything”. I have really struggled with this and beat myself up over it, but I don’t think that is healthy. Don’t let that happen to you. If you really have a heart that is zealous for God and learning about him and you tried…..don’t worry. God knows the heart, He knows your love for Him and if your heart and mind was in a sermon or not. But, if you leave every sermon feeling as though you got nothing out of it, then I beg of you, examine yourself; we shouldn’t leave every time not learning anything.

So lets all try to bloom in Christ by keeping away distractions during sermons. Lets always look for ways to apply sermons to our own lives.

Until next time,
Jennifer

Blooming in Christ: Preparing for Sunday Morning and Worship

Hey y’all! Jenn her with a new Blooming in Christ post.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them.

Today’s topic is:
Preparing for Sunday Morning and Worship.

Picture this if you will: It’s Sunday morning, and you have overslept! Now it’s time to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door…..but OH NO! Your husbands shirt is not ironed, you child’s clothes are downstairs, you need a shower, there is nothing defrosted for breakfast, where is that skirt you wanted to wear? Okay its time to go!….But where is everyone’s Bibles? Where is your book/material for Sunday School? Okay your out the door and headed to the building. But did you grab the checkbook? Do you have cash for your little ones offering? Did you pack a drink and snack for the little one? Ahhhh!! And then after all that rushing around the inevitable happens…..
By the time you get to the building you are all in a bad mood, you are either arguing or obviously mad at each other and not talking to each other, you have unjustifiably yelled at your spouse and/or child. You sit through Sunday school and worship mad at the world and the worse part is you don’t get anything out of class or the sermon, because you keep thinking about your crazy morning and how upset you are.

Soooo does this ever describe a Sunday Morning at your house?…. If not I am truly impressed!! It definitely describes some that we have had, and that I am trying to work on.

I think Sunday morning should be so what calm and relaxed, I feel like you should be preparing your heart and mind for what is about to take place. You are getting ready to go join your brothers and sisters in Christ for Sunday School, fellowship, prayers, singing, taking the Lords supper, offering, and to hear a lesson from Gods word. Those are all such wonderful, heartwarming, and much needed things, sometimes I think we forget how much we and others need those times. We shouldn’t be so worn out from a lack of preparedness that we don’t enjoy and learn from our worship.

So how do we improve this? This is my challenge to you and myself. Bloom through preparation for Sunday morning.

1. Get your clothes ready the day/night before. Make sure everyone’s clothes are clean, ironed if needed, and ready. This is a challenge for me because I usually don’t know what I want to wear until I wake up, so I have to work on that. If you have children lay out their clothes the night before.

2. Have a plan for breakfast. If you are cooking make sure your meat is laid out to defrost. If you are having cereal make sure you have enough for everyone and that you have enough milk. Make sure your dishes are clean that you need for cooking and eating. If you plan on going out for breakfast make sure you leave in enough time to get your food and eat it before class.

3. Have your bibles ready. Either right where you can grab them, in your “church” bag, or in the vehicle you are taking to service.

4. If you had homework for Sunday School or you are teaching a class, make sure everything is done ahead of time and ready to go.

5. If you write a check for your offering make it out ahead of time and have it ready, this way you can reflect on the Lords Supper properly and not have to write out the check quickly before the offering plate comes around. If you like for your little one to put money in the plate make sure you have that cash on hand.
*Our daughter likes putting money in the plate, and I want her to be a cheerful giver. So I want to be sure to have some for her. I don’t usually have cash, so I set a reminder in my phone at the start of the month to go to the bank and get her offering for the moth, but another method may work better for you.

6. If you have little ones and need to have things for them to do, keep a bag packed.
* Be sure to switch out toys occasionally because children tend to get tired of the same things every Sunday. We also have traded toy bags with another family which seemed to work good because they got to play with different things.

7. If you need to have a snack for your little one, pack it the night before. Then just add their cup of water in the morning.

8. Try having a “church” bag. This has greatly reduced my stress of not having something during services. Designate a bag as your church bag and keep essentials in it. I use a 31 tote that is perfect! It has a large inside which can hold bibles, iPads, coloring books, crayons, a notebook, books for class we may need, and a few toys. It also has pockets on the outside that are perfect for holding gum, tissues, pens, band aids (I have a 4 yr old), my daughters snack and her cup of water.
* This will have be cleaned out regularly, if you are like me it will end up with crumbs from snacks, gum wrappers, broken crayons, etc in the bottom of it.

Now time to work on blooming!!

-Evaluate how your Sunday mornings go.

-What areas do you need to improve on when it comes to your preparedness for Sunday morning?

– Make a list of things that need to change.

– Use the above ideas to help your Sunday mornings flow smoother. Or adapt them to fit you.

I guarantee that when you go into class and services on Sundays after having a smooth stress free morning that you will benefit so much more than when you spent your morning running around like a chicken with your head cut off.

I plan on blooming by being better prepared for Sunday mornings, I hope that you will bloom along with me…..and together we will bloom in Christ.

Until next time,

Love,
Jennifer

Blooming in Christ: Singing

Hey all! Jenn here with a new Blooming Christ post.

If you missed the start of this it was a post titled Am I Blooming In Christ? Are You Blooming In Christ? And what I have realized is that I was not blooming in Christ so I have begun working on that. I made a list of the things I was doing when I felt the most growth to compare to what I am doing now…..so I can address the things on the list and correct them!

Our congregation recently had its Old Fashioned Gospel Singing. I love it so much! It is a time when people come from all around (we have had up to 300) to sing, pray, fellowship, and of course eat. It is so amazing to hear songs like A Common Love sung by 300 brothers and sisters in Christ! AMAZING! And this brings me to todays topic:

Singing.

I will be the first to admit I can not sing…there I said it! I do have a few talents, but singing is NOT one of them. I used to dread singing during services because I was afraid of what the people around me would think…..I could just hear them going…..WOW DID YOU HEAR HOW BAD SHE WAS! I know it sounds petty….but admit it, you have thought people were judging you before because of something you weren’t especially good at! We all have that fear. Well this fear kept/keeps me from really singing. I tend to hum or just mouth it. But over the last year I have really started to read and think on the words in the hymns and how they can really have an impact on any situation in our lives.

I split singing into 2 different categories:

-Singing during worship:

It is so easy to just sing during worship because “it’s what we do” and never really focus on what we are singing. It is also just as easy, at least for me, to overlook the fact that singing is a part of how we worship God.
I can’t begin tell you how many times I have heard the verse: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to The Lord” Ephesians 5:19 and I seem to just ignore that last part, but wow what a statement! “Making melody in your heart to The Lord!” I can tell you, I definitely am not always making melody in my heart to God when I am singing in worship. I even made a book for my daughter on worship and for singing I wrote “we sing these songs in a way to show love to God”….well I guess it’s easier to write it in a book and teach it than it is to apply it. But that is going to change! I am going to really work on focusing on what I am singing and focusing on the words of the songs….those hymns can really speak to you, if you let them. And it doesn’t matter how I sound to the person next to me, all that matters is that I am singing to God.
I think that if we focus on what we are singing, focus on the prayers being said, and combine that with really focusing on the lesson given by the preacher…..WHOA! I imagine what we would take from that service would be AMAZING! And it would be such a wonderful show of reverence, respect, and love to God.

-Singing everywhere else
I used to do a better job at this and I have really fallen off. I have a hymn book from church and I used to sing while I was cooking supper, washing dishes, and baking. (I don’t know a lot of songs by heart so I would prop the book up and sing while I did these things) I used to also go on you tube under Westside Church of Christ and listen to/sing with the videos they have posted. It amazed me how quickly I could learn the words and how the songs would pop into my head later on….even when I was thinking about something else. Alas, I have fallen away from this. When we moved I couldn’t find our hymnal….then I found it and just never got back in the habit.
I have been trying to improve this and pick back up. Today we made cookies and I had Westside pulled up on the iPad so we could listen and sing along. It is amazing how the songs can cheer you up and even more amazing how just listening to them can put them in your head to pop up later….sometimes when you need them to.
I think the important thing is to try to apply them in different aspects and again to really listen and think on the words and the message in the song! We recently started singing Count Your Blessings during Bible time, and I try each time to really explain the song to my daughter. That is a powerful song and it can get you through some tough times….if you think on it and let it help you.
Now just for fun I will add that I like to think about children’s songs sometimes :). I am in The Lord’s Army everyday! I do need to let this little light of mine shine (yes we can pause for you to hold up your finger and go around in a circle)…..there have been days where I recited 1,2,3 the devils after me! And who doesn’t smile when you randomly think of the hippo song….I have no clue what is actually the name of that song, but it makes me smile every time I see or think of a kid singing it and for your smiling pleasure I will say that we have broke out in that song and dance in parking lots and on the sidewalk of a busy street.

So here is our challenge:
Find some favorite hymns
Sing them at different times throughout the day
Sing ones appropriate to our situation
During worship make melody in our hearts to The Lord

I am going to start blooming by singing and thinking on hymns more frequently. And I hope you will bloom right along with me!

I picked a favorite hymn to go along with this post and I think it is only fitting:

Sing and Be Happy

If the skies above you are gray, You are feeling so blue,
If your cares and burdens seem great all the whole day through,
There’s a silver lining that shines in the heavenly land,
Look by faith and see it my friend, Trust in His promises grand.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

Often we are troubled and tried, Sick with sorrow and pain,
There are others living in sin blest with earthly gain,
Take new courage we cannot tell what the morrow may bring,
When the dark clouds vanish away then your heart truly can sing.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

Oft we fail the see the rainbow up in heaven’s fair sky,
When it seems the fortunes of earth frown and pass us by,
There are things we know that are worth more the silver and gold,
If we hope and trust Him each day, We shall have pleasure untold.

(Chorus)
Sing and you’ll be happy today, Press along to the goal,
Trust in Him who leadeth the way, He is keeping your soul,
Let the world know where you belong, Look to Jesus and pray,
Lift your voice and praise Him in song, Sing and Be Happy Today!

LOVE THAT SONG!

So let’s lift our voice and praise Him in song and sing and be happy today! And bloom in Christ through singing.

Don’t forget to do something to make someone smile today!

Bye for now,
Jennifer