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Monthly Archives: August 2013

  • Stephen and Alex Kendrick Dare Couples

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Family Christian

    A yearlong journey helping couples transform and deepen their marriages, The Love Dare Day by Day, releases in padded hardback Sept. 1. From groundbreaking filmmakers and best-selling authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick, the new release of The Love Dare Day by Day from B&H Publishing Group.

    “You’re about to learn more about yourself and your marriage—some of it encouraging, some convicting,” Alex Kendrick tells readers. “In either case, you gain a new view of where you are with your marriage and with God.”

    The Love Dare Day by Day—A Year of Devotion for Couples joins the international phenomenon of The Love Dare, with nearly 6 million copies sold. In The Love Dare Day by Day, 52 biblically based “dares”—one each week—challenge married partners to unconditional love. Daily devotions amplify each dare’s scriptural base.

    “Our marriages reveal our need to grow and deal with our own issues and selfishness,” Stephen Kendrick said. “But if we are teachable, we can learn the single most important lesson in life—to love. One powerful union, our marriage, invites us to learn to love another imperfect person unconditionally. It’s wonderful, it’s difficult and it’s life-changing.”

    The Love Dare Day by Day features:

    • 365 readings on aspects of genuine love
    • 52 weekly dares to help readers better live out their love in marriage
    • Dozens of prayers spouses can pray for themselves and their partners
    • Questions to spur creative thinking about your marriage
    • More than 100 “Go Deeper” sections for personal Bible study on marriage and love
    • A link to a free online marriage evaluation resource

    The Love Dare Day by Day is for one or both spouses. Each week’s “dare” ranges from focused prayer to specific ways spouses can build each other up. A few examples:

    • “Begin praying this week: ‘Lord, teach me what real love is and make me a loving person.’”
    • “Make a list of positive attributes about your spouse, then choose one each day and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.”
    • “Ask your spouse if you can begin praying together. Use this time to commit your concerns, disagreements and needs before the Lord. Don’t forget to thank Him for His provisions and blessings.”

    Simple? Yes. Easy? Rarely. But practical, doable and potentially life-changing. The Love Dare Day by Day—A Year of Devotions for Couples can lead to new marriages with the same partners.

    Brothers, pastors, filmmakers and authors, Alex and Stephen Kendrick co-wrote the international bestsellers The Love Dare, The Love Dare for Parents and The Resolution for Men. They are among the co-founders of Sherwood Pictures and worked together to write and produce the hit Christian films FLYWHEEL, FACING THE GIANTS, FIREPROOF and COURAGEOUS. Kendrick Brothers Productions is expanding their movie productions with renewed focus on encouraging and equipping the next generation of Christian filmmakers. Alex and Stephen continue to serve on the pastoral staff of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.

  • Show Your Love for Mandisa

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Family Christian

    Show your love for Mandisa with these exclusive cover photos for your Facebook page!

    Add one to your page today.

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    To read our exclusive interview with Mandisa, click here. Check out her new album by clicking here.

  • Do You Have Enough?

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Karen Ehman

    Karen

    "Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'" Luke 12:15 (NIV)

    "On your mark. Get set. Go!!" my husband shouted as our three kids began the M&M race.

    The rules were simple. Each child had a bowl in a separate corner of the family room. In the middle of the floor sat a huge bowl of M&M's. The kids were to transport their candies one tablespoon at a time back to their individual bowls. If any dropped on the floor, they couldn't pick them up.

    The most important rule was this: when the timer rang, they had to stop in place. If the kids weren't sitting in their corner holding their bowl, all their M&M's would be forfeited.

    The clincher? We wouldn't tell them how long the timer would be set.

    Four-year-old Spencer, the family clown, giggled as he dashed back and forth, candies flying off his spoon. He kept going, thinking he would get the most by hurrying and scurrying.

    Methodical Mitchell was slow and careful so he could balance more candies on the spoon, not drop any and fill his bowl to the brim. But he forgot about the timer.

    Big sister Kenna quickly clued in to the "catch" of the game. She too was careful transporting her M&M's. But after a few trips, she sat down with bowl in lap and waited.

    Moments later the timer went off. Spencer dove for his bowl. Mitchell, who was meticulously scooping, realized all of his tedious effort had come to nothing. Both boys were without a single M&M.

    In her corner sat their sister, now the proud owner of everyone's candies. One boy began to complain, the other to cry. They wanted their candy! We had them calm down to listen as we finished the Bible lesson. There was a point to this shenanigan.

    My husband read the story of the rich fool in Luke 12:13-21. This man had a prosperous farm that earned him quite a deal of money. Instead of using his wealth to bless others, he tore down his barns and built bigger ones to stash his stuff.

    However, that very night, life's timer would go off and he would die. All of his earthly possessions would be of no value to him. In fact, they would be left for others. We related this story to our family game that day.

    You know, when I step back and look around, it's easy to see how I can seek excessive earthly treasures too. I spend money on things I don't need instead of giving to feed the poor or reaching out to people with the good news of Christ. Clothes, out-on-the-town outings, or money spent on luxuries for ourselves can fill our home and heart. I'm not only talking about really expensive items or trips. It can be as simple as a pair of sandals on sale.

    Even though three pairs of sandals sit in my closet that are in good condition, I can justify spending $15 on new ones. They're cute, match my favorite blue shirt and are half price! And I sure do want to get to the store early so my size is still there.

    Do I really need them? No. Do I want them? Yes. And here's where I have to do some soul searching and re-read the story of the greedy farmer from Luke12:15. In it, we're warned, "Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.'"

    Am I hoarding my money for an abundance of possessions? Could I limit myself by setting a budget for splurges (like those sandals) and spend the money I save on needful things?

    While there is merit in saving for a rainy day, we should also share that which God has given us. This is exactly what our daughter did that day with her M&M's and her two baby brothers!

    Dear Lord, show me where I can spend less on myself and more on others. All I have belongs to You. May I use it for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    A Life That Says Welcome, Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    The NIV Real Life Devotional Bible for Women with 366 devotions written by the Proverbs 31 Ministries team on everyday life.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Keep track of what you spend on items that aren't necessities. How could you spend that money in a way that would help someone else?

    What areas are strongholds for you in the struggle with greed? Pray about what action God would have you take to curb your cravings for more.

    Power Verse:
    Proverbs 28:25, "The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Follow-Up

    Posted on August 18, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded.  So Moses blessed them.  Exodus 39:43

    Follow-up is necessary for effective leaders. It is necessary in your work and family. It is necessary as you manage and hold others responsible. Follow-up means you care about the person who is performing the task and you care about the work being done. You follow up with your children because you care for them too much not to stay involved in their lives. They may seem distant and disinterested, but you still follow up. Relationships retreat for lack of follow-up.

    Ego and pride resist follow-up and expect others to initiate, but people forget. People do not place as high a priority on your activities as you do. They may even commit to a certain time, but because of busyness, fail to follow through. Extremely active people need more follow-up than is normally necessary. You may feel rejected when a person appears disinterested. They may be, but you are responsible to provide gentle reminders and reengage them at a more robust level. Effective follow-up is as much an art as a science. Yes, have a systematic style to your communications, but do not badger people by bombarding them with too much, too often.
    People do better when you “inspect what we expect.” So, take the time to inspect. Create margin for inspection and accountability. Follow-up is an appropriate time to revisit expectations. The longer disconnected expectations are left unaddressed, the higher the probability for misunderstanding and failure. Frequent inspection leads to clarification and correction. Small adjustments along the way defuse frustrations and avert subtle surprises down the road. Do not assume that someone understands the first time. Don’t assume you understand the first time.

    Make sure everyone is on the same page and that there is a coalition of efforts and resources. Also, be willing to adjust, as thinking and engaged people will discover a better way of doing things. Encourage and reward their wise and resourceful innovation. Follow-up frees people to give much needed feedback. Above all else, make sure the project and the process revolve around God’s principles of work and relationships. It is imperative that everyone be aligned around the Almighty’s agenda. His way is the best way; so do not compromise the non-negotiables that define the values and mission of the enterprise.
    Follow-up keeps a focus on the purpose of glorifying God. Follow-up is for the purpose of wise stewardship, excellent communication, and affirming accountability. Use your frequent follow-up as a way to bless the other person. Make the follow-up of the transaction or task a small percentage of the conversation. Use this excuse for relational engagement to find out about the person. Listen for their fears, their frustrations, and their dreams. People want to know they are cared for before they care to listen. Follow-up leads to follow through, all for a greater purpose than any one individual.
    Use your faithful follow-up as an opportunity to bless others on behalf of God. For example, Paul wrote out expectations and then followed up in person. “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

    Post/Tweet: People want to know they are cared for before they care to listen. #followup

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Gifted Bible Teachers

    Posted on August 17, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel” (Ezra 7:10).

    A gifted Bible teacher is a gift from God. He equips them with the discernment of His Word and the ability to apply it to everyday life. Gifted teachers dissect facts from Holy Scripture and then bridge their relevance into contemporary society. This requires prayerful preparation. Biblical facts without application become dry, dusty, and boring. Indeed, factual information without individual life change facilitates our pride.

    “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1–2).

    The danger is to fill our minds without a change of heart; so the gifted Bible teacher presents his message to both mind and heart. Of course, the other extreme is a potential problem. Bible teachers who attempt to apply the Scripture without proper biblical context and grounding in God’s Word run the risk of sharing opinion rather than absolutes and Scriptural principles. Truth needs to be released, not watered down or overexplained.

    “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15 nkjv).

    The teacher’s role is to harvest God’s truth and humbly deliver it to the sheep of his flock. Like a seasoned chef, he wants the delivery to invite interest. The presentation of a delicious meal is inviting to the eye and stomach; so the proper presentation of God’s Word is to the head and heart. One quality of an effective delivery is a humble spirit.

    People do not want to be talked down to. They want to be taught by a fellow learner and struggler. People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. “Perfect” Bible teachers build walls between the people, while “imperfect” ones build bridges to the people. The best Bible teachers are those who perceive themselves as growing in the process of their own Christian maturity.

    Another good quality of a compelling presentation is stories. Jesus told stories. Stories illustrate truth with clarity. Like the sun shining through a freshly cleaned window, you can see much better. Interesting storytellers are students of people who understand their hopes and fears. Gifted Bible teachers comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

    Lastly, the gifted Bible teacher loves to read, research, and engraft God’s Word into his own soul. The Bible oozes from his being. Scripture is not just a source for sermon preparation, but first a source for heart preparation. He opens the Word of God and asks God to speak to him and to change him. Private study with personal application leads to public connection.

    God, change me first, so I can present your truth to others in need of You. Pour me out as a broken vessel to others who are hungry and thirsty for Your truth!

    “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

    Prayer: Do I allow the Word of God to change me first, before I teach it to others?

    Related Readings: Ezra 7:6; Ecclesiastes 12:9–11; Hebrews 5:12; James 3:1

    Post/Tweet: People respect you for your strengths but connect with you for your weaknesses. #giftedbibleteachers

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Direction From God

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18

    The Lord’s path for His people is not always a straight line from point A to point B. In His wisdom He may allow us to go through the wilderness, before we arrive at the promised land. He knows preparation precedes the blessing of the destination. He desires that we learn trust in Him—along the way to where He wants us to go.

    It’s when the Lord’s will is a non-linear route that we begin to doubt and wonder why He has led us through a desert experience. However, if life were that easy we could easily take credit for our successes and grow demanding and proud, instead of grateful and humble. Thank the Lord that He has you in a process that requires intense prayer and faith. He knows what’s best to grow your faith, so you are able to handle His blessings.

    “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Do you find yourself in a wilderness, unsure of your next steps? Are you overcome with doubt and uncertainty? If so, do the next right thing and trust God with the future. Remind yourself of His history of faithfulness to lead you into the very best plan. The timing may not be to your liking, but you can trust the Lord that His timetable is for your best.

    If it’s a job transition—let go and let God—because He is your pilot to navigate the next steps. If it’s relational upheaval—figure God in—and He will figure it out. If you still wallow in anger from past hurt—get over it by God’s grace and forgiveness—and get on with your life. Above all, follow by faith your heavenly Father’s gentle leading. Remain in the palm of His protective hand, as you traverse up and down His trusted pathway.

    “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).

    Lastly, make the Bible your roadmap for righteous living. It is in His holy writ that the Lord lays out clear boundaries as you travel through life. The route of His will involves exit ramps to rest, driving at night with limited vision and occasional car wrecks. But throughout your travels in this life keep an eye on eternity’s prize in the person of Jesus Christ. Keep your faith in Jesus for He will never let you down. Get directions from Him.

    “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the nations” (Revelation 15:3b).

    Prayer: How can I better let go and let God lead me along His best path for my life?

    Related Readings: Proverbs 12:28; Isaiah 55:8-9; 64:5; Jeremiah 32:19; Hebrews 3:8

    Post/Tweet today: Preparation precedes the blessing of the journey and the reward of the destination. #directionfromGod

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Quiet My Soul

    Posted on August 16, 2013 by Wendy Pope

    Wendy

    "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984)

    I'm a talker ... I always have been. When report cards came home, my parents never expected anything better than a C beside the word "conduct." One of my elementary school teachers politely called me "very social." Most were more blunt: "Wendy talks too much. She could learn more if she would talk less."

    Unfortunately, old habits die hard. I brought this trait of talking too much into the time I set aside each day to spend alone with God. I often fill my "quiet time" with my words ... lots and lots of words. I wonder if sometimes the Father looks to the Son and says, "I can't get a word in edge-wise with this girl! She could learn more if she would talk less."

    No, silence wasn't easy for this girl who likes to gab. Rather than waiting for God to speak to me, I wanted to tell Him what I thought would be good solutions to my problems. To-do lists ran through my head, instead of peace and quiet. It was easy to go on and on about the dusty shelves and piles of toys. But sit and listen? That felt unnatural, so I resisted and kept talking.

    I shared this uneasiness with God, knowing silence and stillness were things I needed to practice. During these times I felt God's gentle encouragement: Shhh ... be still. It's okay to be silent. You don't have to say a word.

    God was clearly trying to teach me something. His direction to be quiet was about more than resting my mouth-it was about resting my heart. I understood this when I read Psalm 131:2, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul." God wanted me to understand true rest ... His rest.

    As with anything, practice makes perfect. With great intention, I slowed my 90-mile-an-hour thoughts and parked them during my alone time with the Lord. Sometimes this required me writing out my to-do list prior to our time together. Or re-adjusting my priorities. Vacuuming was not as important as listening to God. Many times my thoughts would rev up, and I'd be talking without even realizing it! But I'd rein them back in and start over.

    My spirit felt renewed and at peace. In silence and stillness, I sensed God's direction for my day, peace for my circumstances and the soul-rest I needed.

    As we fill the reservoirs of our souls with true refreshment from God, we learn to relax as we experience real peace and rest that only comes from the silence and stillness of being with Him. We carry this refreshment with us as we face the challenges of our day.

    Do you have the gift of gab like me? Do you find it challenging to sit quietly with God? Ask Him to help you practice and enjoy silence and stillness. Your soul will find refreshing peace. God's rest is exactly what our restless souls need.

    Dear Lord, my soul is having a hard time being still. I lay down my resistance to silence and ask for your help to spend time in silence with You every day. I praise You in advance for what You are going to say to me in the silence. I thank You for the rest only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What keeps you from silencing your soul during quiet times with God?

    For five days spend five minutes in silence with God. Open the time of silence by repeating today's key verse, "But I have stilled and quieted my soul" (Psalm 131:2a). Keep a journal of your time with Him.

    Power Verses:
    Matthew 11:28-30, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)

    Ecclesiastes 3:7b, "... a time to be silent and a time to speak." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Honor Aging Parents

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

    Aging parents are a gift from Almighty God. How many children have the opportunity to grow old with their mom and dad? Some see disease or an accident snatch away their mother or father before they become elderly. It is a blessing to support those who may have supported us over the years. To serve and honor our parents is to serve and honor Jesus. Yes, caring for them is a picture to a lost world of how our Heavenly Father cares for us. Aging parents are God’s excuse to love.

    How can we help our aging parents in a way that honors them? What if they don’t want assistance, but find themselves in a very needy situation? Build up relational equity with your mother and father before their bodies begin to break down. Don’t wait until they really slow down, before you start your service to them. Dignify the aging process by honoring them along the way. They’ll feel more comfortable as you continue your care, as mentally they are less aware.

    Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32

    Receive whatever level of engagement your loved ones allow. You may have total access to their finances, if so seek to co-manage their money with them. They may invite you into the inner sanctuary of their soul for spiritual support, do so with humble prayers, Bible reading and church attendance, if they are able. Perhaps you join your mom and dad in their conversations with their physician. Ask questions as their advocate. Or, maybe they move in with you for a season.

    Most of all pray aggressively for your aging parents. Pray for them to feel the caring comfort of Christ in their heart and His peace in their mind. Pray for them to come to know Jesus in a personal relationship of trust in His death and resurrection for their salvation. Pray for opportunities for you to love them to the Lord and to share the gospel. Pray for yourself to patiently model the grace of God. Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor.

    Love is patient. 1 Corinthians 13:4

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me favor with my parents to love and honor them as You do.

    Related Readings: Malachi 1:6;  Matthew 15:5-7; Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:1-2; Titus 2:2-3

    Post/Tweet today: Aging parents are not about our convenience, but their honor. #honoragingparents

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • 1GirlNation - Taking Over the World

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by John van der Veen



    Talent, passion and youthful exuberance are always a potent recipe for great music, but when you add message-driven lyrics, a finely tuned sense of purpose and five fun-loving girls, therein lays the foundation for an explosive new entry on the cultural landscape. 1 Girl Nation delivers an ear-grabbing, effervescent sound that uplifts audiences by merging engaging melodies with substantive yet catchy lyrics, packing a one-two punch with considerable impact.

    1 Girl Nation is made up of five talented young women, each possessing a strong, distinctive voice and tons of personality. The group includes Kayli, who grew up on military bases all over the world due to her father's career in the Air Force, settling in Orlando, Florida; Lauryn Taylor, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, Alabama who heard about the opportunity from a friend who works inside the music industry; Kelsey, a Chicago, Illinois native with a degree in music education; Carmen, a singer/dancer who grew up in the Nashville area and attended famed Belmont University and the youngest member of the group, Lindsey, a pastorís kid who hails from Jacksonville, Florida.

    John: You ladies are new to the scene. Five of you - put together. Was this kind of a competition thing that you guys were part of, or did you all grow up going to kindergarten together?

    Lauryn: No, we actually didn't know each other. This was an audition process. They kind of found us, I guess.

    Carmen: We were all working on solo careers before. About a year ago there was an audition call for a girl group through Patton House Entertainment, and we all sent in audition videos, and the top 15 girls came to Nashville and did an audition week where there were solo auditions, dance auditions and group auditions. There was a recording day and they narrowed it down to eight and then five, and here we are!

    John: Did you know that it was going to be five?

    Carmen: We had no idea who or what. It kept it interesting for sure. They made us work hard.

    John: You were scared during that experience?

    Carmen: Yes, it was very nerve racking. We got there and none of us are really used to being close with a lot of girls. You came to the process of you're staying with all these girls in this apartment and everyone's beautiful and talented and loves the Lord. It was very intimidating, but everyone was rooting for each other, I’d say. It was a really good experience.

    Kelsey: It was a positive environment, for sure.

    Kayli: I was surprised because I was expecting, you know, it was a competition, so girls are going to seclude themselves or be mean, but everyone was so nice. It was such a great experience.

    John: That's cool. We probably should have done this at the beginning, but let's go around and we'll say names and where we're from and who our biggest influences are.

    Lindsey: Oh, start with me. My name is Lindsey. I'm 20 years old. I'm the youngest. I'm from Jacksonville, Florida. A big influence in my life has always been Amy Grant and Jump 5.

    John: Oh, yeah.

    Lauryn: I'm Lauryn Taylor, and I'm from Birmingham, Alabama. I'm 21. My biggest influence just in life is my mom because we are like the same head on two bodies. I've learned so much from her, and she's my best friend.

    Carmen: I'm Carmen. I'm from Nashville, Tennessee. Musical influences growing up… I listened to a lot of Point of Grace. That was kind of what I was raised on. Vocally, Kelly Clarkson is my girl.

    John: A little soul.

    Carmen: Yes, I kind of learned a lot from her.

    Kayli: I'm Kayli, and I'm from Orlando. My influence in my life would be my sister. Musical influence would be Mariah and Whitney and all the powerhouse vocals.

    Kelsey: My name is Kelsey. I'm from Chicago, Illinois. I'm 23. Probably my biggest life coach would also be my mom and my grandma. Wonderful influences in my life. Probably musically I would have to say Rachel Lampa. I've always been such a super fan of her, growing up listening to her and trying to sing her stuff. I can't do it, but I still try.

    John: Have you guys ever met any of the artists? Have you met Jump Five or Amy?

    Lindsey: I met Amy and about passed out. I wasn't expecting it. I was going in for a write and she was, there was the guy I was writing with in the building and she was writing with someone else in the building, and she was leaving as I was coming in. I wanted to say so much that nothing got out. It just ended up being uh, uh, you're, you're, and I just started getting giggly and weird. She was just like, "I'm Amy Grant." Then she just hugged me. It was just awful. There was so much that I wanted to say, but I was so star struck that I couldn't say it.

    John: That's awesome. How about you guys? Have you ever met Kelly Clarkson?

    Carmen: I would pass out if I met Kelly Clarkson. I would be like Lindsey.

    Lauryn: This girl is her number one fan right here.

    Carmen: Seriously, I'm the number one fan. We got to actually meet Point of Grace though through the audition process. They came in one day and did a morning session devotional with us, which was really cool. I teared up. I was crying.

    Lauryn: They gave us a lot of advice on how to just live together, be together and how to make it work.

    Kelsey: We grew up listening to them. We were really honored to meet them.

    John: That's cool. Have you ever met Rachel?

    Kelsey: No, but one of her really good friends did our makeup for a couple different shoots. She's always posting pictures of she and Rachel, and I'm always like if I could just squeeze in there for one picture. I'm hoping to meet her though.

    John: What would you say to someone who is 13 or 15 that kind of has that star struck look that either looks at somebody that has either been in our industry for a long time like Amy or the POG girls or looks at you guys and says, "That's what I want to do?"

    Kelsey: I would say you can never dream too big. I think for me, being an artist and being a singer and being on the road was always something that was so not attainable. It was such a far-fetched goal for me. Always something I wanted, but never something within reach I always felt like. God is a God that makes dreams come true. If they're aligned with His will, then I think that there is never a dream that's too far to reach. That would be my encouragement to that 13-year-old aspiring artist: that you never know what God can do if you're just willing. If you're willing and ready to take a step of faith.

    Lauryn: Mine would be to always seek God's will first, because no matter what, He knows what's best. Like Kelsey, I was always shy growing up. I never thought that I would actually be able to get up on stage, but God just continued to open doors and I would walk through in faith. It led me here.

    John: With the record coming out later this summer, what other big things are you guys looking forward to for 2013?

    Lindsey: We're looking forward to a tour called Secret Keeper Girls, which will be all over the country. We're really, really excited to be a part of that and partner with them.

    John: That's with?

    Lindsey: Bob and Dannah Gresh, yes. We're doing that and ...

    Carmen: That's actually a big part. We'll be on the road nonstop with them.

    Kelsey: We're also looking forward to our single being out. It just released and we're super excited.

    Lindsey: I'm really excited just about—back to the tour—I'm really excited about the hands-on ministry we get to do in the tour. We get to really work face-to-face with a lot of little girls. We're privileged to be able to do the altar calls and one-on-one time with girls, and then to do a little bit of worship and, of course, some of our songs. We're really excited to be all hands in and really just do this whole ministry thing. That's a big part of all our hearts. We grew up leading worship in different churches. I think it's going to be really cool to get to do everything that we feel like God has given us a heart for in this tour.

    Kayli: We're excited to share our stories. We all have very different stories and love to hear everyone's stories. That's where it opens up for us.

    Lauryn: Through that, we're all so different that I feel like the girls in the audience can at least relate to one of us and one of our stories.

    John: I'm sure that will take place.

    Carmen: This is a unique tour, I think, touching on what Lindsey said. We do get to be all hands on deck. We get to be part of the set up, the tear down, and learning how to serve is going to be a cool thing for us. We've all grown up in the church serving and doing ministry, but I think that what we do as 1 Girl Nation, such a small part of it is performing and the rest of it is sharing our hearts and being able to connect with girls on a deeper level than that, so that what they see on the stage is the same as what they see off the stage. The conversations that we have and the difference we get to make in their lives through conversation through just relating our stories to theirs is going to be the biggest thing that we take away from that. That's super exciting for me, and I know for all of us.

    Lauryn: I think they're going to teach us a lot more than what we think. I'm really excited to figure out what we learn from them.

    Kayli: We think we're ready.

    John: How would you guys describe your music?

    Carmen: I would say Toby Mac meets One Direction. It's that group feel, but girls. It's very current sounding, but with a great message.

    Kayli: Top 40 sound with a very bold Christian message.

    Lauryn: I really feel like it's kind of funny… the sound is kind of like that, but we're kind of our own thing. I don't think we could really even be compared to anything secular. We've kind of just gone with what each one of our hearts is. Our voices are all completely different. They're completely distinct, and it's really cool to see how God can take five different voices and make it work into one project. We're really hoping that will be a big part of our message too, that, look what five completely different people can do together.

    John: That does stand as a testimony. Who produced the record?

    Lauryn: We had actually a group of teams. We had Jason Ingram, Casey Brown and John Smith. That was one group. Another one was John White from Capital Kings. Then we had Josh Silverberg and Kip Williams.

    John: Awesome.

    Lauryn: Great minds.

    John: Each of them have their own kind of unique talents as well in various styles of music.

    Lindsey: It's a good amount of different kind of flavors and spices all throughout the album.

    John: Yeah, I would assume. Did those guys stretch you, or did you walk in and it was very comfortable?

    Carmen: We started out with a worship song. I think the best way to unite a room of people or a group of people is to just worship together. I really think that's something that's always helped connect hearts. We were just singing and worshipping, and I think that was a really good start for us. We'd always start in prayer so there was kind of a peace. Whenever we're in the studio and we're singing and they're like, “No, go again. You can do better.” I felt like it was a sport.

    Kelsey: We learned so much from them. We recorded the album in nine days start-to-finish. The days in the studio were long and exhausting, but I think what we learned and experienced in that short time was a lifetime's worth.

    Lauryn: I wanted it to last longer.

    Kayli: We made it fun. We brought strobe lights and candy. Every time a song was finished, we'd turn on the strobe lights and eat candy and just dance to it.

    Carmen: We wanted to make it a party every time.

    John: That's cool. One last question here. Well, maybe a few more. We'll see. What has God been teaching you guys either collectively or individually as of late?

    Lauryn: I can talk about this. I think for me God's been teaching me that it doesn't matter what your past looks like. It doesn't matter the things that you've been through. It doesn't matter the mistakes that you've made. God sees who He has created you to be. The things of the past, the mistakes that you've made, the sometimes dark paths that you've walked down do not define who you are. Your identity is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. For me that's been such a, it's a hard pill to swallow sometimes when you think about how did I get here? Why did God choose me for this incredible ministry. I'm not worthy. I'm not adequate. I'm not equipped for this ministry.

    The beauty of that is that God uses broken people and God uses imperfect people and that's kind of overwhelming to me. I think that what I've been learning the most and taking away the most lately is that I am valuable. I'm loved. I'm treasured by Christ. That's pretty overwhelming day-to-day for me. That's something that I have to tell myself every day, remind myself every single day that“God loves you. Here's who you are in him. Here's who he has created you to be.” I think that probably everybody at some point of time in their life needs to get back to that place. It's not about me. It's not about what I've done. It's not about who I was in the past. It's about who I am now and the direction that I'm heading now and the person that God is creating me to be now.

    John: What an important message. Timely for so many people today, especially young girls. Anybody else?

    Carmen: I've just been humbled. I tell the girls a lot that I thought I had this great plan for my life and great goals for myself, and then God walks in and completely goes, "I have something even better." I'm like, what? Not selling myself short in just being humbled completely. Every day I thought I was so great, and it turns out I'm not at all. That's what I'm learning.

    Lindsey: I think God has been teaching me, I grew up as a pastor's kid and was really hands-on in the church, and I think in my life there's been a lot of good that has come out of that because it's been such good accountability. God has taught me what it's like to work and to do things for him and stuff like that. I have such a heart for worship. That's just a big part of what my family has taught me.

    Another side of that is that when you're under the spotlight and you're always a leader--at 12 I was leading worship and running the kids' ministry--there's so many things I had to do because whenever your dad is planting a church or starting one, your family is, we are the staff, you know? I found myself kind of losing who I am and losing that I can't struggle anymore and I can't look like I have something wrong. When I hit the doors into the church I've got to look like I've got it all together because people are depending on me, and you know that pressure. Through that I feel like I was the most miserable person and I felt like I was lost.

    I found myself writing songs. Looking back now, I found myself writing songs to people that are struggles I was going through to other people. It was things that I was dealing with and things that I couldn't come face to face with anymore. Through this whole girl group thing and stepping out of that and meeting these girls for the first time, I felt like I have accountability of my own. God has really taught me just to be real with Him, and that whenever I'm real with who I really am and what I'm really struggling with, that's when I can be free. That's when He can show me new things and show me who He is and what His love really looks like to the fullest. That's been a really cool thing for me. It's been recent and it's not easy.

    Sometimes it's easy, especially in this industry, to walk in and put that face on and go back to who I was and what I need to look like. Every time I do that, I don't see God work near as much as whenever I'm vulnerable and whenever I'm open with what I'm struggling with too. It's been a really good lesson and it's really changed who I am.

    Lauryn: We've just been challenged lately on so many levels.

    Carmen: I keep calling it a crash course. God is putting us through the fire so he keeps refining us, refining us, refining us.

    John: Alright, I said that was the last question, but I have one more. Black coffee or fru-fru coffee?

    Kayli: If it doesn't taste like cake, I don't like it.

    Lauryn: I'm not that bad. I'm a happy medium.

    Kayli: If I want it to work, I'll drink black. When I go to Starbucks, I ask for extra caramel on the caramel macchiato. I'm like just pound it in there. That can be half the cup. I don't care.

    1 Girl Nation wants to encourage and inspire its audience, but ultimately they want to lead them to the source of all power. "The whole point of everything that we do is to bring more people into the Kingdom of Christ," says Kayli. "We were given these talents, abilities, tools, opportunities and platforms to get people to know the name of Jesus and that's the only reason why we do what we do. It's a fun life and we get to play out our dreams because of the talent God has given us, but it all goes back to Him."

    To find out more about 1 Girl Nation, click here. To hear their single, click here.

  • When My Happy Gets Bumped

    Posted on August 15, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV)

    Most days, I wake up fairly happy. It's not like I wake up in a mood for a party but generally I'm not grumpy when I arise. I wake up and things seem pretty good, level and fresh with possibilities. And then inevitably something will bump into my happy.

    An early morning meltdown by one of my people. It's amazing what a bad hair day can do to a teenager's attitude.

    Or a forgotten something for school. And one of my people wants their irresponsibility to suddenly become my emergency.

    Or an email from somebody who clearly gets pleasure from trying to bring others down.

    Or me misjudging the time and suddenly everything is rushed, hurried and stressful.

    Or my husband, Art, lowering the thermostat in the house to 68 degrees and I can't stop shivering until the temperature hovers closer to 72. It's amazing how much difference four degrees makes.

    Things happen. Things that bump into my happy. And suddenly I'm a little off-kilter and little less nice.

    Can you relate?

    Well, I'm learning something about a little mental perspective I need to have when things bump into my happy. In that moment, Satan is scheming to have me help him out. If he can just get me jostled to the point where I react out of anger, it's like lighting a spark near a puddle of gasoline.

    Even the smallest spark can ignite quite a fire. A fire that will spread and feel much bigger than what the situation ever should have been.

    Take the temperature discussion for example.

    It should be just a simple discussion about the thermostat. But, add a little anger and suddenly things in my brain escalate to the point where I've just about convinced myself Art is completely insensitive and couldn't care less about me.

    Is that true? Of course not. He just likes to sit in his house without sweating. Surely, we could find a compromise with the temperature or I could go put on some socks and a sweatshirt.

    Instead, when he bumps my happy, a "growth opportunity" ensues that leaves us both feeling a little burned.

    In other words, I play right into Satan's scheme and help him out. Remember, Satan's very name means one who casts something between two, causing a separation. Be it a temperature issue, tight finances, a misunderstood statement or one of the millions of little things that can bump our happy ... we have a choice.

    We can choose to play into Satan's schemes and enable his attempts to separate us from God's best.

    Or, we can choose to fight for our relationships and against Satan's divisive attempts.

    When I think about it in these terms, it helps me identify the real enemy.

    My real enemy isn't any of the people who bump my happy. My real enemy is the one who tries with all his might to get me to jump into a grumpy mood and help him tear down all that I love.

    Knowing I need a strategy against these attacks, I turn to the wisdom found in Ephesians 6:11, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."

    You better back up and back off Satan. I'm on to your schemes. You are my enemy, not people. And now I have a totally new game plan for when my happy gets bumped. Starting with finding just the right pair of socks and a sweatshirt to wear in the ice cave.

    Dear Lord, sometimes my happy gets bumped and my emotions get the best of me. Help me to react in a way that's honoring to You instead of reacting in a way that will fuel Satan's agenda. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:

    What Happens When Young Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst and Hope TerKeurst

    Reflect and Respond:
    What bumps into your happy and sends you off kilter?

    Could this realization that it's not just you feeling jostled, but a scheme of Satan's to separate, give you a different perspective?

    Power Verse:
    James 4:7, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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