Introducing AbidingMinistries.net and RICH Bible study

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Guys, it’s here, it’s here! If you haven’t checked in lately, today is the big launch day of the new ministry site AbidingMinstries.net, a new video-based Bible study I filmed called RICH: Discovering God’s Abundance in and Through Your Life, and the latest season of my podcast Feathers: Faith in Flight. I feel like I’m birthing not just one baby, but triplets!

I’d love for you see the new babies, and come hear more about it.

My Next Ministry Path and Your Invitation

I have some really exciting news to share today!

I’ve spent the last 15 months or so on a break from writing and concentrating on my podcast Feathers. I haven’t written about it here, but I shared a bit on episode 16 of Season 2 how God has used the time to teach me more of my identity in Him. God healed me in several hurt places from my past and confirmed my creativity, and I’m still learning to stand secure in identity as beloved daughter, gifted and called with purpose.

Last year I also felt called to speak and spent last year attending a speaking conference, writing my first message, and then getting to share that in my mom’s church at a women’s group and at a youth retreat at my home church in November.

In the last six months, God has begun to show me my next steps in ministry.

The message I wrote last year was birthed out of John 15, where Jesus shares with his disciples that he is the true vine and warns them that they can do nothing unless they abide in Him. This is the lesson I have been learning for years now, perhaps the hard way. God is prompting me to share this message with other women in an online ministry called Abiding Ministries.

The vision God has given me is to encourage women to read his word, pray, and obey Him.

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Feathers is already completing part of that vision as women encourage others with their stories of faith and obedience. I’m excited to see this expanded into Bible reading challenges, morning encouragement videos, teaching series, prayer partners, and more.

I’ve met with friends, family, and other wise people and feel confident the next step is to form a small pilot group of women that would begin doing these things together and help launch Abiding Ministries as an online ministry.

The pilot group will meet together starting June 1 in a closed Facebook group and commit to:

  • Read the Bible in 90 Days (June 1 – August 30)
  • Participate in a study I’m writing of John 15 (likely 4 weeks) which will include written and video material and give feedback

In this group you’ll receive:

  • Daily encouragement by video
  • A tight-knit group of women for accountability
  • Free study materials for John 15
  • A deeper understanding of abiding
  • Clarity of God’s big-picture story
  • Deeper relationship with God as you study His word
  • A prayer partner
  • A certificate of completion for reading the Bible (just for fun!)

If this idea excites you, I would absolutely love to travel the next few months together. I need accountability and encouragement as much as you do. If you would like to be in on the launch of this ministry and can commit over the next 4 months, please apply to be in the group here. Applications will be open until Monday 16 at midnight–you have one week!. I will be prayerfully considering each and every entry and truly believe God will reveal Himself more as we follow after Him together.

A [Late] Response to the Refugee Crisis

Earlier this week I read this post where a Muslim family had a vision of Jesus. Jesus told them a man named Daniel would visit them and tell them more about him. Sure enough, a missionary from Vermont showed up at their doorstep and said he was Daniel and he was there to tell them about Jesus. The entire family asked to hear about Christ and accepted him.

It is stories like these that show me that God is at work even among, and maybe most among, refugees.

It reminded me of a post I wrote in November about the refugees, when the topic was often in the media. I had some convictions, but got too scared to share them. It’s funny when you run a podcast about obedience that God keeps calling you to do even small things and yet you feel too much fear still to obey.

So, today I’m confessing I disobeyed and yet, I felt God saying it’s not too late to share. So, I guess I want to say today that God is at work in the refugee crisis and I believe he’s inviting us to play a part. It’s clear he doesn’t need us to make himself known, but we have the honor to be part of the body of Christ if we choose.

 

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Many, many other words have been said on the subject of refugees. An ocean of them. But as it turns out, I feel as if I ought to add my drop. (This is a must-read and I like this one too) Let me make my stand on the matter clearly and quickly: I do not oppose letting them in.  The more I read about Scripture and listen to people’s stories about how God is working in their lives, the more I am convinced our only job is to love each other at the cost of ourselves. In John 15, Jesus says this is the way to complete joy. Embedded in that is God’s desire to take care of the oppressed, the poor, the naked, the alien. I have been asking God lately who the oppressed are around me. He’s been answering me most recently with the Syrian refugees.

In light of that, I have learned that it is futile to do anything but ask God, if this is what your word says, then will you please make this true in my life? This is the picture of abiding with Christ: you understand what Christ is like through Scripture, you ask him to make you more like that, and then you obey His Spirit when he reveals it to you. What that looks like in this case for you may be to open your home, but it may be to donate financially, or a million different things. I couldn’t say.

I don’t have any other answers aside from that. We must each seek God to know what he requires of us in this time, but I can guarantee you His heart is always with the oppressed.

I recognize the fear. And I recognize it well because it’s the same fear I had before we adopted. The child was not a name or a face, but “an orphan”. And that “orphan” was scary to me. Many, many times I had visions of him shooting us with one of Scott’s guns, coming after me with kitchen knives, or losing it and hurting one of our girls. “The orphan” was dangerous and did I really think it was safe to invite him into my home? It turns out that my son sometimes doesn’t even know the right side of the blade on a knife to use. My family knows I have room to say that because there is a very classic story of me using the wrong side of the knife to cut something as a teenager. The point is: often the fear is unfounded or blown out of proportion.

And man, I get it. Do the vetting. Ask the questions. Let’s be as safe as possible.

But as Jeremy says, this is scary and dangerous. There is no doubt there are risks. But, God never promises safety. Look at his prophets and disciples. Or Jesus himself who was innocent and obeyed His Father to lay down his life. This is not a safe calling. Saying that we’re not safe is not a good excuse to disobey God. He is the God of Daniel and the lions den and Jonah and the whale, after all. Jesus says if you love me, you must obey. So, whatever that thing is he answers for you up there about how to help the foreigner and oppressed, you have to do it, safe or not.

I have pondered whether God is scattering these people and bringing them to our doorstep because many never obeyed the call to actually go to them. Could it be he is bringing them to our doorsteps and saying since you won’t go and make disciples, could you at least let them in and make disciples? I wouldn’t ever try to understand God’s motives. I can’t. He tells me I can’t. But I do wonder what kind of opportunity is staring us in the face that we’re too scared, hard-hearted, or prideful to see.

And so, Christian, my challenge for you and me is to, in prayer, agree with God’s word that he wants to see the oppressed taken care of and then ask what do you require of me?

The Power of Thoughts, Entanglement and an Emotional Affair: My Interview on the Mud Stories Podcast

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Heather and I recorded her podcast episode last Saturday. It was a last-minute one, although I’d been thinking on it for weeks. As I was sitting there, a message popped up from Jacque, would I, could I, record my emotional affair story for her podcast Mud Stories? Do you know, though, we’re 10 years out from this relationship and 4 since the eBook and I’ve never really spoken out loud about it publicly? But  without hesitation, I said yes. Remember how God has been calling me to speak this year? Yeah, this is one of those open doors I’m walking through.

I find God’s timing is impeccable to have both my sister and I sharing our stories of brokenness and redemption the same week in the same format. It’s a tale of two sisters, both with very different stories, but at the heart, finally learning that God is the lover of our souls.

It’s my prayer that even if we don’t share the same story, that you too would be beckoned by our Savior in your own mud, throw off whatever entangles you and fix your eyes on Him.

Listen right over here.

Let’s Catch Up and an Intro to Fifteen Verses for 2015 [Vlog]

Guys, I’ve missed writing regularly here so much! I really hope you’ve been enjoying the podcasts in the time since. God has been doing a very good work in me these past few months and I wanted to catch you all up. In this video, I share why I quit writing for a few months, what I’ve been doing, and where I see things headed in the future. I hope you take a few minutes to catch up.

Let me just take a minute to encourage you just to take a few minutes to open your Bibles today and see what God might have in store for you.  Here’s Isaiah 121:-6 I read on the video:

In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.
    Although you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away
    and you have comforted me.
Surely God is my salvation;
    I will trust and not be afraid.
The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.”
With joy you will draw water
    from the wells of salvation.

In that day you will say:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done,
    and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
    let this be known to all the world.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,
    for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”