Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Community Connecting




Making connections is important.  I have a special bond with all my chocoholic friends.  We love to get together, laugh, and nibble on chocolate delicacies.  It is also vital that we connect within our church.

Last week was VBS at our church.  Children packed our classrooms as they “submerged” themselves in God’s word.  Since I was assigned to the craft area (I am not crafty; I was the fetcher of supplies), I had the opportunity to visit with children from kindergarten through fifth grade.

One third grade caught my attention.  He was larger than his peers and always stood in the corner crying.  Finally, his teacher brought him to me.  For two days the child and I would sit on the floor and talk.  He told me his grandmother had just died and that his parents were divorced.  He also tried to take care of his mother because she cried all the time.  His story broke my heart because this young child was carrying a heavy burden.  I tried to share Jesus with him but he was quite na├»ve.  I finally decided just to allow him to talk.

On the third day one of our youth workers, who is slightly mentally challenged, introduced himself to this young boy.  At first the third grader was quiet but suddenly he was laughing at something the teenager had said.  Immediately, a connection was made.  On Friday the youth worker took this child to our children’s minister and asked him to share the plan of salvation with the child.  Although the child did not accept Jesus right then, I am sure the seed was planted because an awkward teenager took the time to befriend and make a connection this child. 

Everyone needs to feel accepted.  Being a minister’s wife can be tough.  Making connections within the church is sometimes difficult because many people want to keep us at arms distance so we don’t see their failures.  That’s funny, because I fail every day.  Many ministers’ wives choose not to connect with their church families because they don’t want to be hurt.  Well, if we are in the ministry, criticism and pain will come.  We just need to learn to work through those times. 

I never want to be the person who doesn’t connect within my church family or with other ministers’ wives.  I can be shy (I know that is a stretch for your imagination but it is true).  I can be the odd man out in a crowd.  However, there is always someone within our church family with whom we can build a relationship.  Look around.  You might be surprised at who God connects you with.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another Opportunity


An early morning sun blazed through my bedroom window on Sunday.  After a week of VBS, all I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep.  However, the day ahead at church was full and as the pastor’s wife I knew I needed to be at church supporting my husband. 

As I dressed for church, my attitude was really stinky.  I have heard the excuse that people don’t attend church because Sunday is their only day of rest.  Well, what about ministers and their families? 

Gee, I really needed an attitude adjustment.  If I drank coffee I might have downed a whole pot.  However, the only cup of coffee I have had in my entire life was while on a mission trip to Brazil.  It was a strong cup of “Go Go” juice that had me wired for days.  Instead, opted for some chocolate for breakfast.  I mean every chocoholic knows that just a bite can make the world a better place.   Nope, it did not work.

Finally, I picked up my bible and prayed that God would lift my dragging spirit.  I was ashamed that I was forcing myself to “go to church.”  Suddenly, God planted a thought in my mind.  This day was another opportunity to serve the Lord!  It was another opportunity to share Jesus with someone.  It was another opportunity to sit side by side with other struggling church members and find encouragement.  It was another opportunity to worship the Savior of the world.

Sisters, ministry wives grow weary.  We fuss, get irritated and just want to crawl back into bed.  However, we need to remember to thank the Lord for everyday He gives us because it is another opportunity to lead a lost soul to Jesus.

“In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.”


Friday, June 24, 2016

Prayers Answered for Jamaica 2016

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…….” Matthew 28:19a

Ladies, thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL of your prayers!

Once again, the Lord blessed yet another mission trip as forty-five of us from the state of Tennessee went to Linstead, Jamaica to share Christ and be a part of God’s Great Commission!

The Lord truly is attentive to the prayers of His people, and I appreciate all of you going before the Lord and asking Him to glorify His Son through us!

God Protected, God Saved, and God Encouraged!

God Protected

It was exciting as the entire team converged at the Atlanta airport, each group coming from their respective section of the state, gathering together to board the plane for Montego Bay, Jamaica. We had a safe flight, a safe bus ride to Linstead, and safe travel throughout our stay on the island.

As we returned to the United States, and each group went their separate way in the Atlanta airport, I realized how we had experienced the guidance and protection of our watchful Father, who truly guards our going out and our coming back in (Psalm 121:8).

God Saved

We went on the streets of Linstead in teams and shared the Gospel with the local citizens. By God’s amazing grace, He opened up hearts and some made professions of faith in Christ!

I had the awesome privilege of sharing Christ and praying with young people as they were getting out of school. My team was in a very strategic location and God brought us a harvest of school-age kids!

There was a young person on our team who did not have a relationship with Christ and accepted Jesus as Savior while we were in Jamaica! The Lord used the mission trip to bring this precious young soul to saving faith in Christ!!! Glory to God!!!

God Encouraged

In all of my times in going to Jamaica, I got to experience something I had never experienced before; our first night there we attended a “Youth Explosion”. Young people (teens, young adults) from the community, and some of the youth from our mission team, came together to share and express their faith with songs, praise dancing, spoken word monologues, and testimonies. It was so wonderful to see the passion coming from these young believers as they worshipped the Lord! It was a tremendous outpouring of praise, and it thoroughly encouraged all of us, especially the young people in our group.

I know that everyone is not called to go overseas on mission for the Lord, but we can all go next door, go to our families and friends, go into our communities, spreading the good news about how Jesus came to seek and save the lost!

Yet, there may be some of you who desire to answer the call to go outside our borders, to get out of your comfort zone and be a witness in the “uttermost parts of the world”. (Acts 1:8) If the Lord is tugging on your heart to do just that, BE OBEDIENT. The experience will be life-changing, and the Holy Spirit will ignite a fire within you for missions that will never go out!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day



Happy Father's Day to all the Daddy's.....especially this guy, who is not only my rock, but also our four children and two grandchildren's rock!!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Portable Prayer Closet



Remember.....the first weekend of May was the weekend that God chose to once again jerk me out of my comfort zone and challenge me.

I led a Ladie's Conference in Woodbury, Tennessee......A Mary Heart in a Martha World.

God may jerk you out of your comfort.........but he won't make you go alone.  While I preparing for the conference, everywhere I turned God was giving me ideas, etc.

I went to Lifeway to purchase the book....Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.  I figured it couldn't hurt to read it.  While in there, I had NO IDEA where I would go with this conference.  I had a little free time, so I enjoyed browsing around.

When I went to make my purchase, I made the comment that I listened to audio devotions while coming home from work lots of time because my life was so busy and hectic.

(Another proof that God has a sense of humor...............or, he wanted to choose someone to speak on this topic that was living flat dab in the middle of a Martha World....smile.)

Anyway....back to my story.  As I was leaving, a stranger came up to me and said she over heard me talking about being busy, etc.  She went on and asked me if I had seen the movie, War Room...and I told her we had shown it at church.  She said her friend went and bought a display board at Walmart and made her a war room.

She went on and told me that she traveled all the time, so she went to Michael's and got a small display board and made her a small one and took it with her everywhere.

She said........I don't usually talk to strangers....I just felt led to share this with you and I'm not sure why.

I thank her and said...........I know why...........I'm leading a Ladie's Conference in a month and..........I'm gonna use that.  I left and went straight to Michaels and made my purchase.....of the 18x24 tri-fold display board.

It is small enough to take with you EVERYWHERE.....and you can put it on the table in front of you and block out all of the distractions so you can Spend Time With Jesus.

(I've made a LARGE board....from Walmart and we use it at church to post our Prayer Concerns on......using Post-It notes.)

The Ladies LOVED the idea.

Roger even took the Portable Prayer Closet to an Executive Board meeting and shared it in his devotion............I wound up making a retired D.O.M .and our current D.O.M. a portable prayer closet.

The random lady at Lifeway was only ONE of the many, many different examples of how God used things and people to help me make it OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.

Out of our comfort zone is scary.........VERY SCARY..........but if we will just TRUST GOD.....He won't LEAVE US!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Over ANXIOUS

All six of the GiveHIM Tennessee members were EXCITED and had high anticipation.  We planned BIG.

Friday night, we probably wound up and fed close to 90, but only about 50 stayed for the service.

We were a bit disappointed.

We had put soooo much time, energy, money and hopes into this project.

Bro. Willie McLaurin was VERY ENCOURAGING.......telling us that this was the first time so we had to realize....the people do not trust us yet, but we were planting seeds.  He assured us that with time....we would see the harvest.

BUT.....at the end of the service........although the numbers were lower than we had hoped......ONE MAN GOT SAVED!!!

IT WAS WORTH IT ALL....

From the beginning, we had said that if ONE could get saved, it would be worth it all.

Then I got home and saw this on Facebook................

Once again.................I wanted things in MY TIME.................GOD's TIMING IS PERFECT!!!

Saturday night, there were several more people and we were already pumped over the salvation of the 28 year old male from the night before.......
Two more accepted Christ..............a 21 year old female and a 6 year old boy.  Praise the Lord.

Sunday night....we had a great crowd..................a mid-thirty man got saved and we baptized four at the end of the service. 

Lord, please help me to TRUST YOU......and not be over anxious.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#thebrittonstakepcb

The Brittons take Panama City Beach.

The remaining blogs this week have been pre-written and scheduled to post.............because, Roger and I have gone to PCB to play with these babies and get a little rest before our V.B.S. next week.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

GiveHIM Rockwood, Tennessee Revival

The three couples have been busy since January, raising money and working and planning for our first revival.

Our first GiveHIM Tennessee revival was this past weekend in Rockwood, Tennessee.

Our church is in the rural area.  We chose the Community Center, where the pool is and it's located right in the center of Rockwood and just down the street from the Project.

We had been working VERY HARD..........and waiting and waiting for this day.  Thank goodness, we had sold our church on the project so the members gave us tons of manpower.  We could not have done it without their help.

The dates were set months and month ago...........how was we to know that it would be in the 90's that weekend?  But, God was so good.  Each night, right before the message, a little breeze would begin to blow. 

We, also hand-made old fashioned fans, which were much needed for the heat and also to swat the nats away.

We feed everyone that came each night..........the food was good; the music was great and the preaching was fantastic!!

AND.....FOUR SOULS WERE SAVED!!!  A 6 year old; a 21 year old; a 28 year old and a man in his 30's.  

ALL the worry............all the work.....all the money spent..................................

IT WAS WORTH IT ALL...
Four more brothers and sisters in Christ.

The Revival was at the Community Center, where the pool was located, so we got permission and on the last night....................we had a baptism in the pool and all four got baptized!

AWESOME PREACHERS:
Friday Night - Bro. Willie McLaurin (from TBC)
Saturday Night - Bro. Randy Roper (Our DOM)
Sunday Night - Bro. John Parrot (TBC Bi-Vo Leader)


Four Baptisms in Community Pool.

A few more pictures.....
Great Food.....

 The first one getting saved.....



Our Worship Leaders.....from our church.
Bro. Willie McLaurin......from TBC

Roger and Caleb....lead singer...



Luke....our Sound Guy.

Our 6 year old getting saved.


John & Kathy Parrot....our Bi-Vo Leaders from TBC




Even had a Dunking Booth Saturday night.





Monday, June 13, 2016

Vacation Bible School

Because we had the Tent Revival all last weekend and because we left Wednesday to go to the beach and because Vacation Bible School begins Monday.....the day after Father's Day...........................Roger and I decorated my 2 & 3 year old classroom Monday....except for the bulletin boards.









GiveHIM Project


In January, Roger and I went to the Bi-Vocational Retreat and brought two young couples from our church.

It was that weekend when Roger really got convicted about the lost in not only the state of Tennessee, but especially in Roane County, where our church is located.  

Roane county has approimately 32K lost people who do not know Jesus and have no affiliation with any church.  Tennessee is currently growing at a rate of 50,000 people per year.  In January, Tennessee had approximately 3.5 million lost people; people who have no affiliation with any church in the state.....and that number is larger now.

Anyway, Roger shared his thoughts with the other five people in the group.  Without going into to great detail, during the weekend, because of NUMEROUS things that God placed before us.......we decided to began a new ministry.  We call it the GiveHIM Project.  We even went as far as to register our trademark and purchase the GiveHIM logo.

The purpose of the GiveHIM project is to raise awareness that Christians must realize the urgency of spreading the gospel and begin reaching souls for Jesus Christ, or thousands of precious people will die and spend eternity in hell.

We have tee shirts, polos, and bracelets with our logo on it that we are selling.  100% of the profits will go towards promoting this awareness and reaching the lost through community revivals, etc.

I would like for you to pray for our new ministry and also have your church pray for our ministry.  

If you would like to read a little more about it, go to www.giveHIMTennessee.com

Our first community revival .....GiveHIM Tennessee, beginning with Rockwood was this past weekend.  I will share about it tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Green VBS

With the start of this week, my Facebook feed has been filled with reports and pictures from a plethora churches and their Vacation Bible Schools. 

Purple Kool-Aid, Macaroni art and the formal Bible and flag pledges are the memories of my childhood VBS. Now-a-days church platforms are turned into stages and even the lighting is altered to fit the year's theme. Stage managers and set designers are recruited to make the event "work" and "run."

While I can't remember the actual words to the pledges I learned, I do remember the basic truths I was taught. I also remeber that I was loved. My faith was built upon those basic Biblical stories because of the caring way I was taught them. If you look close, not far beyond the hype, those tenants of VBS are still there. 

Being a mom of three girls in three very different life phases, I get the need for all the bells and whistles that have been added to the VBS package and curriculum. Yes, I know LifeWay is out to make a buck and that Oriental Trading Company will take a share of our money too, but there is more to it than that. And that's not the kind of "green" VBS I am getting at. 

Research has proven that the attention span for all of us has shortened drastically and we do have to compete with so much more to get kids' attention in the first place. 

Let's just be careful to keep the main thing the main thing. 

VBS is not a competition between churches or even between volunteers within a church. 

It's not about who has the best decorations or the bigger display or the highest attendance. We are all on the same team, The Church, and our goal is the same, uplifting Christ so He can draw all men to Himself.  

I am guilty of letting Satan get a foothold. I have felt jealous and inadequate when I compare my involvement or room or response to the teacher in the room next to mine. 

While I'm being honest I need to confess some additional "green feelings" that have nothing to do with VBS. Often find myself caring too much about how many "likes" or comments I have on a posting to Facebook or Instagram. Unfortunately, my service to my Lord becomes green in quite similar way when I start comparing myself to what others are doing or have done. 

I have to be careful to remind myself that Christ won and the competition is over. Instead of worrying about what my sister is doing, I should be busy glorifying Christ in my today. When these feelings of jealousy come, I need to confess them and lift up the one I've envied in prayer.  

As we all strive to serve in this manner, our churches' Vacation Bible Schools will be stronger and provide another generation their own warm memories and lasting building blocks of their faith. Our individual ministries and even our home lives will be stronger for it and much more God-honoring. 

A "green" VBS is not an eco-friendly endeavor that only uses recycled and recyclable materials. In my mind, it isn't something to strive for at all, but a reminder to me to lay aside the competition and serve God faithfully in the place and manner He has called me.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Finding Jesus in a Dead Water Heater

Last Saturday morning I had plans. They weren't big plans, but I had an agenda for my day. There were no set times to be anywhere, but there were things I needed to check off my to-do list, things I had wanted to get done.

My husband had a few of those things too and I was encouraged as he headed out the front door to get some much needed yard work accomplished. After all, it was barely 9:30 and we both had the whole day ahead of us.

Before I knew it, I was dropping the dust mop and heading to our basement with the realization that the day would not go the way I intended. My man had come back inside and informed me that he had discovered a very wet basement and he needed to shut off the electricity to the water heater.

The basement, only accessible from the outside of our house, was literally dripping. The humidity in there was beyond high. The insulation and the duct work dripped with the condensation. Everything down there was wet and needed to be drug out into the sunlight

A couple hours and a new water heater later, the day resumed. My lunch and shopping trip with my eldest daughter was postponed from lunch to dinner and we headed out. Only, we didn't get very far when the just-picked-up-from-the-mechanic van decided the gas pedal would not cooperate.

My sweet father-in-love came to our rescue, picking us up and lending us another vehicle. The planned, girl time was successful as proven with full tummies and packed shopping bags.

It would be so easy to miss the many graces God bestowed upon us that day.

Few things were actually ruined in the water. He had already provided the funds to pay for the unexpected expense. The sun was shining to dry things out. And while we don't know for sure when the old girl died, it hadn't been too long before we found the soaking remains.

The van's untimely issues were actually blessings as well. The bolt that had come loose could have "loosened" on out 6 hour trip to visit family stranding me "alone" with three girls on the interstate somewhere in middle Kentucky the following Monday.

God is good all of the time and all of the time He is good.

As much as I want to plan my day, and all my days, I was reminded very gently that He is control of all of them. The Holy Spirit also showed me that He is in the details, taking care of things and taking care of me.

Things may not go as I had planned or even as I had assumed or hoped that they would. But I am not called to be in charge of these things. I am called to simply be obedient TODAY, trusting Him with whatever it may hold- no matter the news coming through the phone, or from my husband's lips.

He's got this. He's got us. He's got me.

This is my hope. This is my today. This is my future.

This is my God - and my Jesus makes it all possible.

I am thankful that He chose to remind me in such a tangible way.

Jesus can be found in a dead water heater.

Where have you found Him recently?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Never say Never (or) You Are Ezer

God often asks me to speak to women.  Women’s groups.  Women's retreats.  Women's conferences.  Women's events.  Women.  Not men.  Women. 

In fact, one Sunday morning someone brought in a group of army men who were stationed at the nearby training facility Camp Atterbury, (in uniform), into my Sunday school class.  In the middle of the class, I might add.  I had started.  I looked up at them in fear and said, “I don’t do men”!  They left.

Nope!  I don’t teach men.  Not going to do that.

Another thing I don’t do...I don’t speak in big church.  On Sunday morning.  Nope.  Not going to do that!

I also don’t speak in a dress.  In heels.  Nope.  Don’t do that either! 

AND….I never invite people to come to hear me speak.  And…I never share with people that I write this blog.  And I never ever share a link to something someone has recorded of me speaking that is available on-line.  This is because Insecurity is my middle name....or maybe it is my first name and Fear is my middle name.

Never say never.

So…how in the world did I find myself this year on Mother’s Day…which IS a Sunday....a Sunday morning mind you.  In big church.  Wearing a dress.  Wearing heels.  Speaking.  And there were men there!?

And why in the world do I feel compelled to share with you this link to when I spoke at Living Word Baptist Church?

Because it is important for all women, particularly ministry wives, to understand that God has created us to be an Ezer (pronounced Ay-zer) and instead of writing it….I am speaking it.

So….here we go!  Take a listen.  Get your sword out and be encouraged.  If you want to worship along with this precious congregation who REALLY REALLY REALLY knows how to worship….listen from the beginning.  If time is an issue….pick up at around 12 mins.


I am doing this afraid!  After all, I never ever do this kind of thing!!  But I am an Ezer! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Do People and Circumstances Have Way Too Much Power in Your Life?

I thought we were friends.  Good friends.  Great friends!

We were about the same age and had children about the same age. We spent a lot of time together while the kids played and we talked and laughed.  We did things together.  We talked on the phone.  I encouraged her and prayed with her as she suspected there was something seriously wrong with her mother’s memory.  They went to our church.  She taught our son in pre-school.  She attended the Bible study I taught.  We were friends.

But I was wrong.  Very wrong.

And I had no idea how wrong I was until I phoned her one afternoon to check on her…she had not been to Bible study for a few weeks and had been acting distant.  Different.  Aloof.  Detached.

That phone call changed much….and it changed me more than it should have. 

She began to attack everything about me...as a woman, as a mom, as a Bible teacher, as a friend—every aspect of my life was hit.  She then blasted my husband and his leadership and his preaching.  Then it was our kids that were the target.

I was devastated.  I was a pool of blob on the floor in tears.  This conversation went on for over an hour.  I was immobilized.  Shattered.  Distressed.  Shocked.  So very sad and hurt and wounded and indignant and stunned.

One particularly troubling statement she made was that she thought she was just a ministry to me.  Something on my to-do list that I simply checked off with each phone call and McDonald’s lunch and play date with the kids. 

A ministry and not a friendship?  Really?  How did I let that happen?  Was it me that failed or was it her that misinterpreted?  What was I to do with this information?

Once I pulled myself out of my bed and the tears finally dried I decided to quit teaching Bible study.  After all, she said I was a terrible teacher.  I was hesitant and fearful about making friends.  After all, she said I wasn't a friend.
 
I also wanted to quit being a mom and a wife...because of what she said...but I couldn't...that was not feasible or practical.  I certainly did not believe my husband was a poor leader or an inept pastor nor did I believe what she said about my children but I did believe the dreadful things she said about me.

I was terrible.  Awful.  Horrible.  A terrible friend.  Teacher.  Everything.  I believed it and acted on it.

Why did I believe what she said instead of what God said?  Why did I give her so much power over the decisions I made?

This is what I now claim over and over….something a dear friend shared…

“Stop giving people and circumstances so much power in your life.”
I am now back teaching Bible studies.  I also realized that, yes, friendship is a ministry….friends minister to each other all of the time and it is beautiful and important and significant and OK….not something erroneous or distasteful or objectionable.
  • Who do you give way too much power to?
  • What circumstances do you give way too much power to?
  • What or who determines how you feel or think or react?
  • Is it people or circumstances?
  • Is it the Holy Spirit?
Oh Lord, forgive us for giving people and circumstances way too much power in our lives!!  We long to be controlled by Your power and the Holy spirit...not people and circumstances!