Category Archives: Church Stuff

happenings at church or church related functions

Aside

I tend to start things off with a lot of energy and get excited to pioneer of New Ideas.  It was this tendency which caused me to excitedly sign up for The Romans Challenge in January.  I made little booklets for myself and a friend that contained our weekly verses for the entire year.  There were weeks I fell behind and was reminded that any progress was worth continuing, catching up and celebrating.  There were times when my partner fell behind and I pulled her through with grace.  There were many weeks we didn’t “sign off” on each other’s pages.  What is most amazing to me is how the content of these sequential verses had life and light for me often on the very week that I needed them.  Another surprising development that I could not have anticipated is that I now have a mental calendar of 2013 which is tied to scripture.  I can envision several different places I walked, sat, or sang my verses:  the soccer field in January, an island in SC in April, the beach boardwalk in July, Mount Trashmore in October.  The process has brought me new awarenesses, some giggles, and often perfectly-timed support for myself, my partner, and others which I have been thrilled to pass along.

Now as we close in on the final weeks of 2013, we also prepare to finish memorizing the last verses of The Romans Challenge.  I was really hoping to know all my December verses before Thanksgiving, and admit I have been peeking ahead.

Perhaps the other strange thing that has happened during this process is that I discovered an ability I didn’t think I had.  Because of the tunes and the repetitive nature of this process, I have retained three whole chapters of Romans and can recite them (with or without singing).  I am amazed at the ability of my mostly forgetful mind when I discipline it to focus and do a little bit every day.

I shared some of my tunes here but I’m going to share a few more favorites that make me giggle in my head when I sing them.  I sometimes have to boss around the syllables to make them fit, but it works for my brain.  Enjoy!

Jan 30-Feb 6  Romans 1:9-10

tune:  I Remember You by Skid Row  –the chorus

 

Remember yesterday

God whom I serve in my spirit

walking hand in hand

In preaching the gospel of his son

love letters in the sand

Is my witness how constantly

I remember you

I remember you

through the sleepless nights

In my prayers at all times

and every endless day

And I pray that now at last

 I wanna hear you say

By God’s will the way may be 

I remember you

opened for me to come to you. 

May 22-29  Romans 8:5-6

tune:  I Got My Mind Set on You, George Harrison

I got my mind set on you

 Those who live according to the flesh

I got my mind set on you

Have their minds set on what the flesh desires

I got my mind set on you

But those who live in accordance with the spirit

I got my mind set on you

Have their minds set on what the spirit desires.

But its gonna take money

The mind governed by the flesh

a whole lotta spendin’ money

is de-e-e-e-eath

its gonna take plenty of money

But the mind governed by the spirit

to do it right child

is life & peace (child)

And for the final weeks of the Romans Challenge:

Nov 6-Dec 4  Romans 11-15

(tune:  Hopelessly Devoted To You)

Guess mine is not the first heart broken

 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep

my eyes are not the first to cry

Your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

I’m not the first to know, there’s just no gettin over you

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction

(instrumental)

Faithful in prayer

and oh, I’m just a fool who’s willing

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need

to sit around and wait for you

Practice hospitality

but baby can’t you see

Bless those who persecute you

there’s nothing else for me to do

Bless and do not curse.  Rejoice

I’m hopelessly devoted to you—oo-oo

With those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

Hopefully we can rejoice together!  What are your tricks for remembering things?

 

I Remember You, Romans!

The Beautiful Sand

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“Abraham was past the time when he could have children.

But many children came from that one man.

They were as many as the stars in the sky.

They were as many as the sand on the seashore.

No one could count them.”  Hebrews 11:12

NineSandGrains-web-copy

“If each sand grain is unique imagine how unique each person is?”

Irritating though they sometimes be, grains of sand are a thing of beauty.

Sometimes we feel we are surrounded by them.

Sometimes we choose to avoid the joy just beyond them because it gets too messy.

Sometimes we can become covered in them.

But they are beautiful.  If you look close enough.

Unique and beautiful.

MauiPieces-2-web-copy

Staying Engaged

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I was prompted to pray for a marriage today.

On my way home from church I had to make a stop at a store that I don’t typically go to.

Thinking about the personal prayer prompt I had been given earlier, my mind wandered as I walked into the store.

I specifically remember stepping away from the heat through the automatic-open doors and into the cool A/C as I considered several people I know who are experiencing challenges of all sorts.  I also thought of several engaged couples I know and the unique stress of those months for the brides and grooms-to-be.

A bored helpful employee asked me immediately upon entry if I needed help.  “Nope,” I said.  “I know exactly what I’m looking for.”

As I grabbed my items and went to the front to check out, a distressed woman spoke up from behind me directly to the cashier.  She worriedly held a cell phone to her left ear, conversation halted.

Has anyone turned in a ring?

The compassionate cashier replied, “No ma’am…but I will call my manager.”

While the manager was summoned, and unfortunately affirmed that no ring had been turned in, the distressed lady murmured dejectedly to no one in particular, “It’s not the kind of ring that someone would turn in.”

My optimism kicked in and I found myself saying, “You never know.” And to make further conversation with her, ” Was it loose on your hand?”

Distressed Lady nodded.  Phone still at ear.  “It was less than 20 minutes ago.”

She left the store and I shook my head, making small talk with the cashier.  “I couldn’t bring myself to ask if it was a diamond…poor thing.”

The cashier sympathized too.  “I should probably not be wearing my ring at work.  It could easily fall off into a customer’s bag.”

As I walked back outside the automatic doors, I felt that lady’s pain.  I prayed to the God Who Sees.  “Lord, you can see everything.  If it’s possible, please allow me to help this lady find her ring.”  My inner dialogue went like this:

Where did she even go?

Man this pavement is sparkly.

I guess I’ll take the crosswalk instead of walking right to my car in case that’s what she did too.

Did she maybe cut through the mulch?

I wonder what kind of ring it is…what did she say?  A ring that someone probably wouldn’t turn in…

So is it maybe an engagement ring?

Wow…I never knew asphalt could be so glittery.

If she’s still here and I make it back to my car, how much longer should I stay to help her look?

Is she even still here?

About 10 steps away from the front of my car, in the wide open space between parking rows it materialized at my feet.

3-stone-engagement-ring

I knelt down grinning, knowing full well OF COURSE God would help me find it.  Why wouldn’t He?  Here.  It.  Is.

He sees.  He knows.  He cares. 

The lesson I had just taught to the elementary kids at church that morning was about Paul explaining to the people in Athens who their “unknown God” is.

When I arrived here the other day,

I was fascinated with all the shrines I came across.

And then I found one inscribed, “to the god nobody knows.

I’m here to introduce you to this God

so you can worship intelligently,

and know who you’re dealing with.

The lesson concluded with the encouragement that each of us can tell people what we know about God–some will listen and some will not.

I picked up the gorgeous three-stone ring, placed it on the first knuckle of my index finger and held it high over my head so that she could see me wherever she was in the parking lot, if she was still there at all.

“Ma’am?”  I called looking right and left, hand held high, pointing skyward.  I didn’t see her anywhere.

“YES?!”  She yelled from a crouched position between two cars down the row a ways from mine.

“Is this it?”  I knew it was.  Without a doubt.

“SHUT IT!”  She hollered as she raced over to me.  It was almost too good to be true.

For almost half an hour her wounded spirit had searched against all odds, dwelling in the frustrated hope that it could be found and that until/unless it was, life as usual couldn’t continue.  She was frozen in panic.  Time and her heart stood frosty still, though simultaneously ticking away.   Then, in the moment hope became reality I noticed the last dregs of her uncensored doubt fully register and then get tossed away.  She was only steps away from her renewed treasure.

I could hardly contain my joy at this divinely orchestrated reunion.

She hugged me repeatedly.

Relief was everywhere.

Distress was nowhere.

Unrestrained joy was imminent.

My words gushed into her shoulder as she embraced me a second time.  “I prayed!”  For the benefit of us both–and whoever it was that was still on the frantic cell phone call I repeated as she thanked me with a look of pure gratitude and borderline disbelief,  “I just want you to know that I prayed that God would help me find it!  And He did!”

She put it back on and I asked to see it.  I hadn’t really looked at it except to pick it up off the ground.  It was back where it belonged on her left hand where I could admire it and wish her a hearty “Congratulations!”

I’m not only amazed at the God Who Sees helping me to see too, but also that I can count on Him to answer my prayer(s) for the people I had in mind as I walked into Walgreens.  And for all the engaged people.  And for all the married people.  For us all to find our treasure and STAY ENGAGED.

May we ask for help when we need it.

May we tirelessly search for the treasure found only outside ourselves in others.

May we bravely share the treasure found only inside ourselves with others.

May we boldly and often pray to the GOD WHO SEES.

May we have the strength to accept when someone unexpected comes alongside to bring us out of distress.

And may we all stay engaged–with our Others and with our God.

What do you need to see today?  Who can you ask to help you?  Who can you help?

Pinterest Inspirational Version

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My close personal friend Jon Acuff (who is a dude) has invented a Pinterest board entitled PIV.

It has things like this on it:

hatersgonnahate

Yesterday in the Start Experiment, our task was to “ignore the haters.”  I wasn’t sure I had one.

Until I did.  At 7:09 am.

That hater was HARD to ignore.

That hater thought I had done them wrong.

And in that person’s perspective I had.

It was difficult to correct by ignoring, but it was empowering to not be sucked into battle or manipulation.

As the day went on, I spoke to  others who were experts at ignoring their haters…many of whom were in their own families.

By day’s end, I had a thought.  What if I am someone else’s hater?  Intentionally or not?

I made a “joking” comment to someone earlier in the day.  I may be someone’s hater.

I said something that wasn’t uplifting, but pointed out an obvious flaw in a non-constructive way.  I may be someone’s hater.

I got frustrated with the person who was frustrated with me.  I may be someone’s hater.

I don’t want to be anyone’s hater.

So the only antidote I could think of was to encourage.  Sincerely and from the heart.

I thought about what I wished my hater had said to me instead of the yuck.

I listened to what other people’s haters had said to them and had stuck.

And I said the opposite to people.  It was fun.  I could put that energy of “fixing” to use in a completely different direction rather than the downward spiral brought on by the hater.  Like a wind-up toy that just gets picked up and pointed in a different direction.

Maybe “ignoring” can be inspiration to act in a different direction.  How did you ignore YOUR hater?

Children’s Minister’s Pledge

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I was an Early Childhood major so I soared through my early years of parenting.  Even with 4 kids in 5 years, I remember feeling knowledgeable about milestones, maintaining proper boundaries, experiencing success with behavior modification, and participating in all manner of educational field trips, musical exposure, all while managing effective sleep schedules.

Now mine teenagers.  All four of them.  And all bets are off.

However, in God’s remarkable love, care and concern for me He has called me to remain surrounded by kids through serving families at my church.  It’s quite different though, caring for other people’s kids.  So I’ve been inspired by my pal Julie to adapt her Pledge to be Awesome to Other People’s Kids and make it work for myself and my team of Ministry Leaders.

  • I will be kind and understanding to our CCC kids, even if they are late, cranky, or both.
  • I will find balance between making them sing with gusto and letting them stay seated during worship.
  • I will not warn other leaders that a child “always does that.”  God is in the New & Improved business–exhibit A = you and me!
  • I will ignore that which is not my business and counsel others to do the same.
  • I will not think less of a kid who is doing normal kid things like laying all the way down on the floor during the Bible story, taking off their shoes repeatedly, making faces at each other during prayer, finding other uses for craft supplies, etc.
  • If a kid says an inappropriate word, I will love them anyway and help them find a better choice for what they are attempting to communicate.
  • Even if a kid smells like they forgot to shower this month, if they want a hug from me, they will get one.
  • If the time ever comes when I have to tell a parent something difficult about a child, I will do so as gently as possible.  I will not be Piers Morgan.  I will be Katie Couric.  We may not see each other for a while, but I will still have a smile for you.
  • I will remind you how amazing your kids are on their worst days, how thankful I am to be a part of their world, and to celebrate with you on their best days.  Beach baptism plug:  August 11, 2013 at Little Island.  Call me maybe.
  • I will remind you and myself often that all those things that make them difficult will also help them be wonderfully successful adults and that those same challenging qualities are ones God gave them ON PURPOSE, for a purpose.  Hang in there.
  • We are all in this together.  Love, understanding, strength and hope are just a conversation and a prayer away.  YOU CAN DO IT!
  • I have cell phone numbers for both our Middle School Pastor and my counselor if/when you need them.  And you will.

These things I hereby promise this day to begin/continue to do to the best of my ability,

Shannon Hendrix

Between the Rains

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Finishing up a 7 week study of James this week with a peek at rain as an example of  faithfulness.  Usually I think of rain as something to persevere through instead of benefit from or look forward to.  It was very intriguing to consider rain as the blessing, and a sunny, dry, clear sky day as the meantime.

Reading through this lesson, I realize many beloved friends, family and myself are in a type of drought–circumstantial, not spiritual.  Some are financial; some are relational; some are physical;  some are emotional.  We are all, in a sense, between the rains as we remember more pleasant, refreshing times that may have happened long ago and we wonder when and if the next one will ever come.

While we wait for our next rain, we can take a lesson from the plants.  Too much water is just as detrimental as not enough.  In time and in season, the next rain will come.  Every crop is different, every yield is different.  The world keeps turning, and we keep doing our invisible, essential work as we wait patiently for the next rain.  It will come.  It has to.  This is faith.

We can accept not just the process of growth, but the beauty of that process.  It is purposeful and intentional.  Nothing is wasted.  No part of the process can be skipped, minimized or rushed through.  The process itself is beautiful and productive–even before the harvest.

And through it all, God is faithful.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters…See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm…” 

raindrops

Unintentional Grandma

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As a Bible Study Fellowship graduate, I was placed in late September in a discussion group with lots of new babies and expectant mommies. After being one of the youngest in my group last year, this year I was shockingly one of the oldest!

In November Lesson 10 mentioned Jesus as our Restorer. In that week’s lecture, Lily highlighted the process of restoration–comparing it to the process of making new a thrift store treasure. Just days before that lesson, my husband and I had discovered that our teen age daughter was 11 weeks pregnant. She is 14 and in the 8th grade. We began trusting Jesus immediately as our Restorer—for our daughter and our family.

In December we studied the Heroes of Faith in Hebrews & were reminded in one of the principles that faith doesn’t always mean immediate deliverance. We were asked the thought provoking questions, “Do you see an unknown future? Unexpected and unexplained? Have you experienced disappointment?” We were challenged to look beyond our immediate circumstances and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter—the creator of Faith.

In January, lesson 16 asked us to pray Paul’s prayer from 2 Thess 3:1-5 in our current circumstances. Sharing my answer outloud in my discussion group allowed me to share our devastating news with these grace-filled, lovely ladies through tears. Here was my prayer that week, from Paul’s example: “That each family member will hear, know and share Gods word, be delivered from evil men, That our faithful God will strengthen and guard us from temptation. That we will do God’s tasks, guard our hearts & experience Christ’s perseverance.” Then dropping down to vs 16 which was especially meaningful to me: “That the Lord of Peace Himself will give us peace at all times in every way.”   He has done this!
In February, as we studied 2 Cor 2:15 we had the opportunity to experience and witness the fragrance of life vs the stench of death as my daughter was counseled more than once to terminate the pregnancy and she chose life. We were able to provide the aroma of Christ .

In March we went to court to testify against the baby’s father as he was convicted of a felony and added to the Sex Offender registry. I wrote 2 Cor 2:10 on a note card and carried it with me that day: We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every though to make it obedient to Christ.”

That same week we had a positive verse as well which delighted me from Luke 13:17 “…the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” I had been surprised and delighted to bump into Sheila from my discussion group at a class for young moms to be and she helped my daughter and me adapt to our new reality through her devotions and care for the girls (and their moms) in this predicament. My own cousin gave my daughter her first ultrasound in South Carolina and prayed with us both. God placed lots of support for us in many surprising ways—a soccer mom, the tour guide at the hospital, sometimes just acquaintances and new stories from old friends.

In April as my daughter got bigger and bigger and it was emotionally draining to deal with the public glances and judgements, one week we sang “sin/despair like sea waves cold threaten the soul with infinite loss, Grace that is greater yes grace untold points to the refuge the mighty cross.”

And now, as my group has prayed us through by ASK prayer requests week after week, even that I would be able to be here to share today, I stand here as a brand new grandmother. This child was born at noon yesterday, is beautiful and healthy and wanted by 3 mommies. God’s choice of the best mommy for him will be taking him home on Saturday—it is my younger sister and her husband from Louisville, KY and a big brother 18 months and a big sister who’s 8.

A principle in May was “God arranges things so we can fulfill our calling.” Part of my calling is PEACE WITHIN no matter what it is God chooses to do with me and my family. I pray we each cling to the PEACE WITHIN as we each look to our new beginnings.

Shannon Hendrix
May 24, 2012