Month: August 2018

Living in God’s Loving Truth {A 30-Day Reading Plan in 1 John}

Living in God’s Loving Truth {A 30-Day Reading Plan in 1 John}

Friends, I first want to say that I have been blown away by your response to the writing plans so far.  I am simply beyond thrilled that you are enjoying them and finding that God is speaking to you through them!  If you haven’t joined the Gather & Dwell Facebook group, be sure to hop over there and get connected!  We have a fantastic group of ladies who are encouraging each other as we dwell at the feet of Jesus.


It seems like the fall season is the busiest time of year.  Anyone else?  School starts back up, lots of extracurricular activities, the holiday season, and the FOOD that seems to take over our counters and tables!  It’s easy to get pulled and distracted from our biggest priorities.  I pray that during this season, we will be able to pause and truly *dwell* in Him.  Breathe.  Rest.


As we enter this busy season, I don’t want to lose sight of the person who matters most.  I want my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus.  I want to be intentional about lingering in the Word a little longer each day.  So with that, I have something a little different for you for the next few months.  I’m so excited!


During this busy fall season, take time to linger with Jesus.  Join us in this 30-day reading plan through 1 John!


For the month of September, instead of doing a topical writing plan, I’m giving you a textual reading plan.  We’re going to be reading through the book of 1 John… slowly and intentionally.  We’re going to linger and truly soak it in.  Just as with the writing plans, there are no set rules.  Do what works for you!


We’ll be reading through the entire book, a few verses at a time.  Each day, there will be a handful of verses to linger in.  Ask God how He wants to speak to you.  You may be surprised where He takes you!


Here are some ideas for each day’s reading.  Again, do what works for YOU!  Time spent in God’s Word is never wasted.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.

*simply read the verses and journal a few thoughts

*pick a single verse from the day’s reading to break down and study deeper

*write the entire passage using a color-coding strategy such as this one from Women Living Well

*pair it with a commentary (I recommend this one)

*draw a picture

*simply read it and highlight a line or two in your Bible

*create a digital image and post on social media (use hashtag #dwellingin1john)

*share your take-aways in the Facebook group

*anything else God lays on your heart!


During this busy fall season, take time to linger with Jesus.  Join us in this 30-day reading plan through 1 John!


I am so excited for this month!  Fall is my absolute FAVORITE time of year and 1 John has been on my heart for quite some time.  I can’t wait to see how God moves in us!


Announcement time!  Starting October 1st, we are launching our first ever devotional study!  Stay tuned for a post coming soon with more information!  Woohoo!  You are NOT going to want to miss this!



Are You Living on Mission Through Biblical Hospitality?

Are You Living on Mission Through Biblical Hospitality?

This post may contain affiliate links.  For more details, see my disclosure policy.


When it comes to my family, there are lots of times that I consider myself to be “on a mission.”  I’m often on a mission to get some task accomplished, to teach something, to help with something, or to make something happen.  I am intentional about completing a series of steps to do whatever that “something” takes.


Recently, I was on a mission to redo my boys’ bathroom.  It serves as both their bathroom, but also the main bathroom downstairs where guests would go.  I wanted to organize their drawers, clean their bath toys, and do some redecorating.  I wanted something fun for the boys, but also grown-up enough for guests.  Has anyone else had this dilemma?


I spent time every single day emptying drawers, tossing the junk, bleaching bath toys, sorting into bins.  I searched countless stores to find the right shower curtain, matching wall decor, and new hardware.  I’m still searching for the right lampshade.  When all is said and done, I will be able to stand back and say, “Mission accomplished.”


But in the big picture, is my front bathroom the most important mission?  Of course not.  Jesus has given us a much greater mission.  When He spoke to the disciples and gave them The Great Commission, did you hear it as your personal mission?  Did it light a fire under you to go do Kingdom work?  Are you living on a mission?


For many of us, we will never find ourselves on some grand stage preaching to a crowd.  We may never write a fantastic Christian living book that finds its way on thousands of shelves.  More than likely, we won’t find our pictures on an album cover.  But you know what we will do?  We will offer a helping hand to the new neighbor.  We’ll give our phone number to the mom down the street who could use a babysitter every now and then.  We will bless a family who recently experienced a loss by putting dinner on their table.  We may not serve thousands of people, but we will serve those within our reach.


The Great Commission wasn't intended for the clergy or the "professional" religious leaders. It was for the everyday people... for you and for me. Are you living on mission through Biblical hospitality?


When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  ~ Matthew 28:17-20


The Great Commission wasn’t intended for the clergy or the “professional” religious leaders. It was for the everyday people… for you and for me. Are you living on mission through Biblical hospitality?


Let’s break that down a bit.  Sometimes hospitality is inviting a group into your home for a full meal.  Sometimes it’s having people spend the night in your guest room.  Sometimes it’s serving a family outside your home.  But sometimes, it’s simply having one more cup of coffee, one more conversation, and planting the seed for one more life lived for the Kingdom.


When they saw Him they worshiped Him; but some doubted.  Y’all, these were real people.  Jesus called everyday people like you and me.  Fishermen, tax collectors, doctors… people, with real lives.  And if we’re honest, don’t we all have doubts on some level?  I know that I love Jesus with everything that I am, but there are times that I don’t understand.  There are times that the enemy’s lies creep in and I start questioning everything I know.  The original Greek word goes back to “hesitate.”  Yep… I know I’ve hesitated.  Hesitated to take that step.  Hesitated to call that neighbor.  Hesitated to serve that person.


All authority on heaven and earth has been given to Me.  We know that were are absolutely powerless without Christ.  I mean, goodness, how many times do we try to convince ourselves that we have to do *all the things* on our own?  It’s pretty ridiculous, if we’re honest.  When we are extending an invitation to another human being, our only responsibility is to say “come and see.”  It’s an invitation… not a command, not a forced hand… just open arms and an invitation to sit and have coffee.  It is NOT our responsibility to save every single person we come in contact with.  That would be impossible.  God does the work.  We just bring the message.


Therefore go and make disciples.  Did you notice that word “go?”  That’s a definite call to action.  When we go, we take the initiative.  We move past those hesitations and doubts.  We make that first phone call, take the first step across the street.  We go with a heart of worship.  It’s living on mission and being intentional about inviting people into our homes and lives.  It’s welcoming others into our circle.  It’s initiating conversations that create real relationships.  When we create that authentic community, we open it up to becoming disciples together… to learning and growing as we follow Jesus.


Of all nations.  Confession time.  How many of you have scurried inside and closed your garage door so you didn’t have to talk to *that* neighbor.  How many of you have skipped that grocery store aisle because you didn’t like the look of someone already there?  Have you changed up a guest list because if you invite one person, then you *have* to invite that other one … and you really didn’t want them there?  Cut a conversation short because you didn’t want people to think there were actually friends with that person?  I think we’ve all been there in some capacity.  I know I have.  But y’all, Jesus was clear.  Love God, love people.  All people.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  So strike up a conversation.  Let that neighbor pause in your driveway.  Invite the people.


Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  This is when those seeds begin to bloom.  We go from seeking to finding.  It’s the first step toward a personal relationship with Jesus.  I don’t remember where I heard it, but I’ve often repeated the saying, “Make it easier for the next Christian that comes behind you.”  While we may never know, on this side of heaven, how people were impacted by our hospitality, the reality is that people ARE being impacted.  That one cup of coffee matters.  That one conversation matters.  It may stir something inside their heart that grows with the next conversation they have.  If the people around me know that I claim to follow Jesus, but they see me being closed off and uninviting, how am I impacting their opinion of Christians as a whole?  Romans 10:14-15 says, “How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'”  My friends, we have been sent.  You have a mission.


And teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.  When we engage in authentic community, we are doing life together.  We are learning and growing deeper in relationship with each other and with Jesus.  These relationships begin to move from casual acquaintances to relationships rooted in something much deeper.  As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17  Most than likely, as we’re doing life together, we’re not just talking about what God’s Word tells us, we’re encouraging each other to live it out.  We’re not just reading what the Bible says, we’re obeying it.  We are actively following Jesus.  We’re confessing our sins to each other, we’re praying for each other.  We’re lifting each other up and offering encouragement.  We’re loving each other, and living on mission to continue inviting into our circles.


And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  If I may offer you a bit of encouragement today… Jesus authorized YOU to be His messenger.  He picked YOU to extend the invitation to that person.  If we’re living on mission, we want to look back and say, “mission accomplished.”  If Jesus authorized me to be the messenger on His mission, I certainly want Him to look at me and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”


It’s not just The Great Commission… it’s YOUR mission.  So my friends, let’s live on mission through our hospitality.  One more cup of coffee.  One more conversation.  One more life.


Join us in the Gather & Dwell Facebook group as we encourage each other!