Category: Serve Others

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!


Why Should We Gather?

Why Should We Gather?

Happy first day of summer!  This warmer weather has me thinking about all of the backyard barbecues, family dinners, impromptu swimming parties down at the pool… all the gatherings.  I can smell the grill now!


One of my biggest prayers for our family is that we would be an inviting family.  I want our house to be filled with people gathering in the kitchen or around the grill… seated at the table and sharing a meal.  I want our boys to grow up hearing stories from all different kinds of people.  I want them to know that we are a family that loves ALL people, and that we love to share in their stories.


But you know, I don’t want it to just be about food.  While I love to eat, gathering is about so much more.   In fact, Scripture has a lot to say about gathering … both as a body of believers, and as human beings.


Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house.  They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude, praising God and having favor with all the people.  And every day the Lord added to them those who were being saved.  ~ Acts 2:46-47


Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2


How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! ~ Psalm 133:1


And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25


What then is the conclusion, brothers?  Whenever you come together each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, another language, or an interpretation.  All things must be done for edification.  ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26


Gathering together is Biblical for so many reasons….

*We honor God when we act in unity as one body of believers.

*We encourage each other toward good as we do Kingdom work.

*We praise Him with our thanks for His goodness.

*We support each other as we carry the load together.

*We create a larger body as we each bring our own skills, stories, and gifts to the table.


What's so important about gathering together?  What should it look like in a media-filled society with so many walls and barriers?


When we gather together, we are opening our homes, our hearts, our lives to each other.  In this social media driven society, sitting across the table from each other is almost a foreign concept.  Our garage doors stay closed and porch lights stay off.  How many of us have intentionally rushed inside to avoid being caught by *that* neighbor?


What would happen if we started inviting instead of shutting?  What would happen if we listened instead of avoided?  What would happen if we poured coffee instead of judgment?   The answer isn’t scary.  Stories would be shared.  Food would be eaten.   Friendships would be formed.  Seeds of the Gospel would be planted.


My friends, I want to be a family that plants seeds.  I want to be part of a community of women that encourages their families to do the same.  Will you join me in that mission?


The Gather & Dwell Facebook group is officially live.  I would LOVE for you to join us.  We will share simple tools for gathering around the table with your family.  We will share ideas for gathering with your neighbors and friends.  We will share resources for dwelling in His Word as we intentionally grow as daughters of the King.  Let’s gather together as we live on mission!


Are you ready?  If so, hop on over to Gather & Dwell and let’s connect!  I can’t wait to chat over coffee!



Menu Plan Monday {May 28, 2018}

Menu Plan Monday {May 28, 2018}

This post contains affiliate links.

Whew… I don’t know about your family, but for us, the month of May is exhausting!   The school year is coming to a close and that means wrapping everything up and trying to finalize things.  In particular, we are switching school districts this year, so we have an added level of finality and new beginnings.  Exciting, but exhausting.


There are some weeks when I plan a menu that I feel like it’s just … okay.  There’s nothing too exciting.  This week, however, I’m looking forward to the meals I’ve planned.  Knowing that I’ll have a little longer to linger in the kitchen during the days allows me to plan different meals than I can on rushed, busy nights.  It’s also getting HOT here in Texas, which means we need to squeeze in a few more patio dinners and dig into some summertime dishes!


Here’s what’s on the menu for this week!

Join us around the table for dinner this week!



Mushroom Bacon Quiche

(Can Opener Gourmet)

Warm Goat Cheese Salad

(Trader Joe’s Vegetarian)


Teriyaki Chicken

Carrots Glazed in Ginger-Lime Butter

(Can Opener Gourmet)

Fried Rice


Tomatillo Sauce Over Baked Potatoes

(Forks Over Knives Family)

Black Beans & Corn


Taco Night!


Chicken Croissants

Green Beans


Family Dinner Out

Snacks & Extras

Fabulous French Toast ~ First Day of Summer Vacay Breakfast

(Peas and Thank You)

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chickpeas ~ munchy snack

(Peas and Thank You)


We’re linking up at I’m an Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday, so stop by over there to check out all of the menus!


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Menu Plan Monday ~ 4/16/18

Hey, hey friends!  So today I am bringing you one of my favorite ways to serve my family … food!  I LOVE planning menus, grocery shopping, and preparing meals each night.  I firmly believe that family time spent around a dinner table is some of the most connecting time there is.  We all have busy schedules and sometimes it’s hard to make time to spend as a whole family.

Menu Plan Monday  ~ A real menu from a real mom for real families

For our family, my husband and I decided that dinner time is non-negotiable.  That’s not to say that we don’t have nights where one person is gone, but we make an intentional effort to keep those nights as few and far between as possible.  When we are all at home, dinner together is a thing.  We all eat dinner sitting at the table together and enjoying conversation.  
It should also be noted that I am NOT a food blogger.  You will not find posts with beautiful food photography and perfectly plated dinners.  I do not create these recipes on my own.  I am a big nerd and have a process for how we work through recipes… I am not a chef.  I simply love to serve my family through intentional preparation.  My process is another blog post in and of itself, but for now, I’ll let you know that we cook through a cookbook each year, so many of my recipes come from that.  I also go back and try “in progress” recipes that we liked, but weren’t quite perfect for our family.  I also have a few tried and true favorites that I don’t remember where they came from!  
With all that said, here’s what’s on the menu this week!  I’ll try to link to the cookbook or blog where the recipes can be found!  And just an FYI, some links may be affiliate links.
Chili-Rubbed Steak
Barbecue Onions
Scalloped Potatoes
Tuna with Asian Flavors
(The original recipe is swordfish, but we switched it to grilled tuna steaks)
Fried Rice
Stir-Fry Veggies
Frozen Casserole
(Tuesday is my Bible Study night with my women’s group.  The boys sometimes go grab something, but generally prefer something they can just pull from the freezer)
Tokyo Bowls
Chick-Fil-A Night!
Chicken Alfredo Rollups
Green Salad
Teriyaki Chicken
Asian Rainbow Salad
Brown Rice
(The chicken is just marinated in a teriyaki sauce, but the salad comes from Forks Over Knives Family)
So there you have it!  What’s on your menu this week?
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