Ten recurring, undergirding themes in my life/this ministry over the past ten years . . .
1. Ministry flows out of intimacy with God and the overflow of a life that is full of His Spirit. There is no substitute—if we’re not full, we don’t have less of eternal value to offer others. We can fake it or “perform”—for a while; our efforts may impress others and produce “results.” But that performance will only carry us so far, for so long. In the long run, our ministry will be empty and powerless—“wood, hay, and stubble.”
2. We are weak but He is strong – our weakness showcases His strength. Our limitations are no obstacle to His power!
3. Pressure sanctifies – we need it! Anything that makes us need Him is a blessing. God is not so concerned about using us to build a ministry, as He is about using the ministry to build our lives, to conform us to the image of Christ. The greatest growth happens in hard places. As we reflect back on all those “Red Sea moments,” we are reminded that He always comes through—He always provides a means of deliverance.
4. Little things matter – Everything we do contributes to a greater outcome that is the sum of all the parts. This is true both positively and negatively. Also, there is no “little player” on the team—we need every person and the gifts and contribution they bring to our mission and ministry.
5. It’s not about us . . . it’s all about Him and others – The effectiveness and success of the ministry is not measured in statistics, operations, the broadcasts and resources we have produced, or the events we have pulled off. It’s about the glory of God and the people whose lives have been/are being transformed by the power of His grace and the ministry of His Word.
6. Ministry is hard – it requires hard work and sacrifice; it involves bearing burdens and pressure and engaging in battle. It’s easy to be faithful when everything is novel, fresh, and new; but the real test is whether we have staying power and faithfulness over the long haul. When considering the price, remember that He is worth it and that all labor we offer up for Him will be rewarded—not necessarily here and now, but for sure, Then and There!
7. We need each other – we can’t make it without each other. The prayers, encouragement, and support of this team and God’s people have been a huge gift in my life. Every person on this team is needed by all the others; our different gifts and strengths complement each other.
8. God’s truth really does set people free – we have experienced the preciousness and power of the Word—to sustain and strengthen our own lives, and to change others’ lives—to renew their minds, set them free, heal, and restore.
9. God’s faithfulness really is steadfast – His promises are true; He knows our needs; He cares; “all we have needed, His hand has provided.” He will continue to be faithful and provide all that we need in the days ahead.
10. God’s grace really is amazing – it is greater than our sin; it is sufficient for every need. We are utterly dependent on the saving, sanctifying, strengthening, satisfying grace, lavished on us through Christ!
Cultivating a thankful heart will result in speaking thankful words. But we all need periodic reminders to be thankful, and, for most of us, developing the habit of thankfulness may require some practice! Here are some practical suggestions for devoting one week to practicing thankfulness.
We believe the vast majority of Christian young women (and not-so-young women, too, for that matter!) are suffering the consequences of believing lies. Those consequences include broken relationships, fear, depression, self-loathing, and guilt, to name a few. The results of believing a lie can be as numerous as the kinds of lies one can believe. But if there is a single word that sums up the results of believing any lie, it would be bondage.