True Worshippers are Catalysts

It’s so funny when God fits things together like pieces of a puzzle. This week I’ve been reading a leadership book for seminary called “The Starfish and the Spider”, where in the fifth chapter begins the discussion and definitions of a catalyst; here are a few of their characteristic: Catalysts are all about letting go and trusting the community, they have a genuine interest in others they have a desire to help people, they depend on emotional intelligence, they meet people where they are, they inspire others to work toward a goal that doesn’t involve personal gain, they make things work when they empower people then get out of the way, they have loose connections that allow them to thrive on meeting new people, then mapping those people together who can then help each other or link together to meet a greater need, and they have a great tolerance and preference for ambiguity, knowing that if they are too much in the center or at the top of what is going on they will just end up getting in the way. To me when I look at these characteristics, I can’t help but see Jesus. I think it describes him very well. And I find it interesting how it ties in so much to the roles of good leaders, which got me thinking of how God is teaching me this same principle when it comes to worship. Some, who know me, know that I had struggled for a long time to express myself through worship. It’s not that I couldn’t, it’s just that I always felt that I was under a certain protocol, if you will. Now as I journey on, and as I sat in Mid-week service last night at my new church, I was given my worship rights back. Pastor shared how as true worshippers we are to set the temperature for the house of God. Anyone can stand there all day with hands raised, but if it isn’t done with the right heart, then you are just going through the motions. Even more important, is that we can’t wait for our feelings to engage in worship; we must come and give all for the one who gave all for us. What’s more, is that there are people walking in the doors who are broken, looking for hope, longing to worship in spirit and in truth but may feel unsure if they have that right. As true worshippers, like catalysts, we must have a genuine interest in others and lead by example, setting the temperature, giving them the green light to meet with God however they need to. We must empower them to meet with Jesus and find healing and wholeness. What’s most important I think is the piece on ambiguity. We must not only lead and empower by example, setting the thermostat of worship for others, but we must always remain humble and worship alone to God. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in wondering how many people around me have raised hands, as well as wondering if in tune with what is happening around me, but I am learning to constantly strip that off of me, and focus on him alone. I find it no small coincidence then this morning, that God would have me read John 4: 21-24 “21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” So today my prayer is one of Thanks to God for tying all these truths together for me, and teaching me to keep my focus on him; reminding me too, that worship is not just about our songs of praise, but it is a way of life, a way of sacrificial living toward others, and as we come to worship in the house of God, we give such thanks and adoration for all that He allows us to do and be a part of for his kingdom. May we all be catalysts of worship in every area of our lives. In Jesus’ Holy Name, I Pray, Amen.

Confidence in Christ Alone

I’ve been blogging for over 2 years now. I have changed blogs and hosts a few times, and just registered my own domain  name. I  was presently surprised that my latest blog stat is over the 10,000 mark. But really, does it matter? I remember when I first started blogging, I researched and joined all sort of sites and communities to get more traffic to my blog; it’s just one of those things we do in the blogosphere. I remember there were times when I’d see days slip away b/c I was so sucked into what I was doing. I had to post daily, I had to try and keep up with my blogroll, I had to read my favorites and then make sure to comment in hopes that they would come and do the same on my blog. “I had, I had, I had” What started out with the intention of glorifying God through me learning and sharing my life lessons was about to turn right on me and teach me something; for the one thing that I enjoyed was now causing me to become a slave to it. I am sure I’ve blogged this at some point, but perhaps not in the same way. We all know to put our confidence in Christ, and when we do, he will grow us in some really big ways. Recently I have been on myself to blog more. There was this nagging feeling that if I didn’t do it, people would lose interest and stop coming by; I’ve already noticed my comments have gone down. Work, Work, Work. That is what it was becoming. The joy was lost b/c I was trying once again to put my confidence in the response of others instead of trusting God was leading people to my blog to get some encouragement. How often we do this with so many areas of our lives; especially with our relationship to God. We forget, and get back in the driver’ seat “No worries Jesus, I got this”. How easily we deceive ourselves, even if it’s with something as simple as a blog. It’s a very good lesson for me to learn, and one of surrender. I am worshiping God through my writing and I am trusting that who needs a word will be lead here for that. I hope to no longer whoop and holler about blog stats, but I just might, when I let the human side of me out; and if I never receive another comment on my blog that would be fine with me, b/c it’s so often not was is said, but how what is said changes a person and then allows that person to live a different life. I hope and pray that I can be God-honoring with this little declaration of mine, and I hope that all who come to find my blog will not only be blessed, but will grow in the characteristics of Christ; because that is the point. Yes, Lord, may my confidence always be in you alone.  Thank you for reminding me of this once again today.

Prayer Mode: Are you in it?

I recently wrote this for my church’s prayer team newsletter and thought it would be good to share on my blog, since I’ve seen to be absent for some time now.  Blogging takes a certain discipline at times and I must admit, it hasn’t been on the top of my list this new year, but I am trying to find a way back into it.  So here we go with another attempt.  May you be blessed and encouraged.  

I just got done reading a fantastic book on over-coming your fears and reaching your God given potential called “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” by Pastor  Mark Batterson.  It was one of those divinely chosen books that God led me to; you know the kind that you can’t put down and you find yourself highlighting something on every page?  I guess you can say it did quite the spiritual work in me.   In the seventh chapter he says “that if we want to make the most out of every opportunity, we have to devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful.  People who live in prayer mode are watchman.  They see further than others see.  They see things before others see them.  And they see things that other people don’t see.  People who live in prayer mode see opportunities that other people don’t even notice.”   I can testify to this myself, and saw it again with another prayer warrior this past week as they shared what God was showing them.  He goes on to say “that there are only two ways to live your life: survival mode or prayer mode.  Survival mode is simply reacting to the circumstances around you.  It is a pinball existence; predictable, monotonous and boring.  Prayer mode is the exact opposite.  Your spiritual antenna is up and your radar is on. Prayer puts you in a proactive posture to catch the opportunities God throws our ways. Living in prayer mode is the difference between seeing coincidences and providences.” Prayer has a way of helping us recognize that what we might dismiss as human accidents are really divine appointments.”  So let me ask you; are you pursuing a lifestyle of being in prayer mode?  Do you find that your “antenna” is always up and that you are hearing and seeing God move in and through your prayers?  Are you seizing those opportunities that God puts in front of you by tuning into the voice of the Holy Spirit?  Many of the greatest breakthroughs in our lives happen when we are in prayer mode.  Prayer is an opportunity incubator that is birthed out of not just good ideas, but of God ideas.  At the end of our lives we won’t regret the mistakes we’ve made but the opportunities that we missed, being haunted with the questions of “what if?”  Lord I pray that we are all seeking a lifestyle of prayer; and that we would do whatever it takes to not only protect that but to allow you to ignite more of it in each our lives.  May we be eager to see you move in our lives and through all of our circumstances.   Yes Lord, we grow in the valleys, and are strengthened on the mountain tops.  Through it all, may we be constantly asking what you want to teach us and see it all as  opportunities for you to strengthen us and grow us.  As we seek to become more like you through our prayer lives, may we continually love you more, love people more and live surrendered to your perfect will for each of our lives.  May your consuming fire grab a hold of each of us and do a new and deeper work in us that will leave us radically changed.   May we experience and long for more of you as we walk in obedience and becoming shining beacons of light for you that would reflect your glory and love.  We pray this in Jesus Holy Name, Amen!

“When I say that I’m a Christian”

This poem was shared with me from a friend at cafemom. I guess its pretty widely known, but I had never seen it until I started posting it myself. It is a beautiful reminder that this life is not about us, or what we want when we call ourselves Christians. I know for myself, when I fell away, I had a huge wake up call from God. It was the hardest thing to walk back into church after I disobeyed God. Thankfully, after some time, I allowed God to start removing my guilt and shame. I pray that when people see me, they don’t see someone who calls themself a Christian just for name sake, but I hope they see Jesus, and desire to know Him too.

When I Say “I Am A Christian”

by Carol Wimmer

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I’m not shouting “I am saved”
I’m whispering “I get lost!”
“That is why I chose this way.”

When I say…”I am a Christian”
don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble
and need someone to be my guide.

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak
and pray for strength to carry on.

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I’m not claiming to be perfect,
my flaws are too visible
but God believes I’m worth it.

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartaches
which is why I seek His name.

When I say…”I am a Christian”
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority.
I only know I’m loved.

It’s in the valley’s that we grow

I found this on the internet, and I remember probably getting it in my email at one time or another. Its a great reminder of Gods love for us and why we need to sometimes struggle with difficult things in our lives. I know for myself, its very true, looking back on some of the really hard times in my life; the only thing I could do was to cry out to God to help me make sense out of what I was going through and to teach me what I was suppose to learn from it all. I always tell God, “hey, if your gonna put me through some junk in this life, you’d better let me learn a thing or two from it”. That’s not always an easy conversation to have, but I have come to find that it is the best one to have when you are in the middle of a mess. God loves us, and he never lets go. I hope this poem will remind you that we need to struggle to become closer to God and his will for our lives.

IT’S IN THE VALLEYS I GROW
Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe
It’s then I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

If I always stayed on the mountain top
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing.
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death;
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your love with others
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow!

Have a blessed day!

What’s in a Name? Desperate for more of HIM!

Desperate For More of Him!  I remember months ago, when I had 3 blogs going over on the blogspot server, I was being grown by God in some amazing ways.   I soon began to follow hard after Him and felt it time to figure out a way to get my heart onto one blog once and for all.  Long story short, I decided to focus my blogging strictly on my walk with God; since I felt that is really what I was trying to do, but in 3 different parts of who I was; part mom, part single mom, and part Rocker for Jesus!  As I’ve blogged and added and deleted blogs from my blog roll for different reasons, I’ve really started to take notice of why people name their blogs the way they do.  Sometimes there is no significance, but many times there is.  It got me thinking of how I named this blog; and so I thought I’d share with you.  I’d love to sit here and say it was because of some great song that really spoke to my heart, and perhaps there was a song or 2 or 3 or… (I love my music); but if I remember correctly it came out of a sermon from Church.; (which of course I can’t locate at the moment), but I am pretty sure remembering this was mentioned:  ” Our desperation flows out of our needs”; our need for love, acceptance, fellowship, our need for understanding, compassion and love; our need for Christ!   Hungry people are desperate for food.  Drug addicts are desperate for another high; and I rremember sitting in church and thinking how desperate I was for God.  Yes I was saved, yes I was serving, but I was desperate for More of Him.  I needed more; I wanted more of the Bible in Me, transforming me, not just so I could say I read through this book or that chapter, or I can recall this or that story, but that the Living Word would begin to live and dwell within me.  I began to ask God for this, and like a water faucet; he just started pouring in and out of me in every way.  I began to “see” and “hear” everything that seems like it was unattainable before.  There where parts and pieces of who I thought I was in Christ that started to really sink in deep.  Yes, our desperation reveals our need!  Our Hunger, Our thirst, Our desire to get closer to Him; to be in an intimate relationship with Him.  For Him to completely take over, to truly become the lover of our soul, and be able to love Him back in that same way; incredible!!   So I ask you.. What are you desperate for?  Are you desperate for a job? , a relationship with a mate? Are you desperately trying to repair a relationship in your personal and/or professional  life?  Sooner or later all of these needs run dry.  Human relationships, no matter how close and important will fall short for the simple fact that they are just that; human.  You may be hungry and get food, but you will be hungry again, same with a fix on a drug or a bottle; sooner or later, it’s gonna come back around to get some more of you.  But the fulfillment of God will always be enough!  He will always be with us, and never leave us!  When all else in your life fails God will be there to pick you up and hold you close.  Life is hard, but with God, we can make it!  We can over come and become all that He wants us to; but we have to be desperate for Him to change us.  We have to lay it all down at the foot of the cross and leave it there; trusting that He will never let us go.  I know it’s scary to trust in what we can’t see, but this is the faith that God calls us to have.  We can do this b/c He lives in us.  So I hope you will find that all your needs will only and always be filled by God.  He’s our creator and the author and finisher of our life.  He has a good plan for us, but we need to be willing to trust and obey where ever He leads, even when we don’t understand and can’t see the next step ahead of us; we know that He can!  My prayer for you today dear reader is that you may become Desperate for More of Him and begin to truly walk in faith and obedience to His will.   This is my prayer Lord Jesus, please move in the hearts of everyone who reads this, that they would become desperate for you and be willing to trust in you in All areas of their life. Lord help them and do a mighty work in them! I pray all this in Jesus’ preciouse name, Amen.   May God Bless You!

Blessings in the brokeness

Ok, I’ve been over at WordPress for a few days now and really, really like it. I love this blog too, and really hope all my blogging friends will make their way to my new home. I know everyone is busy, so I am gonna keep things in 2 places for now. But please stop by, I’d really hope you would. https://girlforgod.wordpress.com Here is my latest post over there. Hope you will leave me some comment love at my new blog too!

As I have been going through my blog lists, getting use to WordPress and discovering new blogs as I grow, and expand my reading in the blogsphere; I’ve come upon a blog that is challenging it’s readers to reflect on the past years blessings and struggles (sounds allot like my blogspot blog), but it is a good time to remember God’s sovereinty and will for my life and how He is forever molding me. Stop by Red Letter Believers and take part in some refection and growth; for our God is good in all things and to Him be The Glory forever and ever. Here is my blessings in the brokenness this past year. Thank you Jesus for all of it. It has made me more in love with you.

Last march I was working in the hotel industry as a front desk agent and decided to take a new job offering benefits and higher pay. I was let go a week into it for no reason, only to think I was a threat of some sort to their way of doing business, which was a little shady to say the least. That same year, I went through allot of hardship with my daughters father who at the time, unknowingly, was suffering from dementia, was wrongly incarcerated by me in a way, and passed away right before Christmas. I buried him on Christmas Eve; it sucked to say the least. Going back to church and finding my place again was another challenge that has been painful as well, but the healing is finally starting to kick in, after I fell away several years ago and became a single mom. Thank God for the church; as hard and disconnected at times I felt, our pastor preached on living surrendered which is part of our church mission. It is in my deepest broken. desperate moments alone with God that I have learned true surrender, in the midst of all my pain. I realize surrender is a life-long process, but one that has also brought me into the pure love and presence and power of God. I have learned that it is in our brokenness that God can start to finally mold us and form us into the people he wants us to be. So I guess this year I have really learned what it means to be broken, and out of that I have longed and thirsted for God more; I have a deeper passion to see the church of God truly become His hands and feet here on earth. I have been praying for God to show me where to serve, because there are so many needs! I know that being a mom is really important and perhaps just being a mom and a Godly example to my daughter is a way for me to glorify God. So this has been a year of brokenness for me; but I have also been blessed with family, food, shelter, and friends. My prayer for the new year is to not hold back on God, to let Him use me for His glory, and that I might listen and chase after Him wherever He calls me.

Yes Jesus, Shine Jesus, Shine Through Me!

I did a google search tonight on my name because I was remembering the meaning behind it and thought it might be cool to see how it ties into what God has been doing in my life. I found a blogger who had found the meaning in a book:
Robin
Language/Cultural Origin: English
Inherent Meaning: Shining Fame
Spiritual Connotation: Victorious Spirit
Scripture: Psalm 18:32 NKJV “It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect

Of course I was presently surprised and blessed of fond memories of friends and my journey after The Father, but also reminded of how much I have truly overcome and how much of that Victorious Spirit is truly coming out in me.
Years ago as a youth, I received a small wooded plaque as a gift. It has my name on it with the words “Shining FameAt the time, I was far from being saved, but knew I wanted Jesus to shine through me even back then. Since then I have seldom thought of the profoundness of the gift up until now. It was a small gift from a friend at the time who I knew in a youth group. I remember his stories of seekng after Jesus, and his struggles with addictions even after the fact. I’ve often thought of him throughout the years, as I have many people in my life who had come and gone; who I once shared a bond of knowing Jesus with. My only hope and joy is to one day see all those people in heaven someday along side me worshipping the God we so desperately were trying to get to know. Today, I know that God, and it seems through a lifetime of struggles of seeking after Him the long race and persistence, even through my shortcomings have begun to pay off. All I ever wanted since I began my God journey as a kid was to truly know this Big God of the universe. What I have come to find is that as big as He is, He is as close as the breath that I exhale. He is living in me, and I am starting see Him finally shine through me, as I have constantly learned hard life lessons, as I have done my best to live surrendered and take up my cross, as I have tried to pray and obey what He has asked me. It’s been some major pain and hurt, tears, and lamenting from me; but it has all had a purpose. It has all been for His Glory, and For Him to see me as someone who is faithful, someone He can truly use to Shine through. God as I learn to live for you each day, help me to remember that it’s all for you. Everything is for your Glory, so you can shine your love, your hope, your truth, your everything through me. Thank You Jesus for never letting go, for picking me up out of the ditches that I have gotten myself into, brushed me off, and carried me on my way until I was strong again. May I live to worship you with my life, with my whole being, to shine for you, so that you can be seen by those who need you most.

I Am A Featured Blogger On Christian Women Online!

I was finally featured on Christian Women Online Magazine! I am so excited to be able to reach people and share what God is doing in my life through bloggging. I coppied my interiew below. There was a pic too, of me and Olivia, but it didn’t transfer, but here is the link to the site as well, and the page with the interview.
Christian Women Online Magazine

Blessings and Struggles of Single Moms

Robin Richards, age 36, from the greater Cleveland OH. Area, has been seeking after God since she was a little girl. Growing up, she always knew that there was a deeper relationship with God that she desired. In her mid 20’s she gave her life to Christ through a local Christian outreach ministry and seemed to be on the right track by following after Christ and serving in the ministry where she was gifted. Life had a way of pulling her awa,y when she took a job that required her to work on Sundays–missing Church and her friends that could keep her on the right track. She found herself far away from God, pregnant, and uncertain about her future.

After much prayer, counseling, and determination to get back her relationship with God again, she returned to Church, learning the true meaning of surrender and finally experiencing the real power and presence of God that He wants all that seek after Him, to experience.

Robin is currently attending a large non-denominational church where she serves as a Bible study leader and patiently waits on The Lord for direction in her life. Being a single mom has been a blessing in disguise for her. It has taught her many life lessons and brought her into a closer and deeper relationship with her savior Jesus Christ.

Robin, how did you go about naming your blog, and where can we find it?

I have a Café Mom group for single moms called: “Blessings and Struggles of Single Moms,” and I thought it would make things easy to keep the forum and the blog under the same name, by both sharing a ministry of reaching out to and encouraging single moms. The name was voted on by my café mom forum members, and honestly it wasn’t my first choice, but I prayed about it and gave it to God, and He really laid it on my heart. I am so glad now. Looking back, it makes so much sense when I find myself writing and sharing with other single moms and what they are going through. http://blessingsandstrugglesofsinglemoms.blogspot.com

What do you find yourself writing about most often?
I write mostly about what God is teaching me either through His word during my daily devotion time, or if I am struggling or being blessed in a certain area. This past month has been full of growth and a roller coaster of emotions for me, but all in all, it has consistently brought me back to the feet of Jesus in surrender.

What prompted you to start blogging, and when did you launch your site?

I started blogging out of curiosity of seeing others blog and wondered if it was something I wanted to get involved in as well. I think I launched my site sometime in the early summer of 2008 and just started out with one, which ended up growing out into 3 separate blogs. Most of my spiritual growth though is shown in this one.

How much thought and time do you generally put into each post?

It depends. I really blog more for quality and not quantity. I may go a few days or even a week w/o blogging because I want my content to have true meaning and purpose for not only myself, but also my readers. I want to use it to show others my strengths and weaknesses, to encourage and grow in my relationship with Christ, and get to know my fellow bloggers as well.

What are some of your hobbies or accomplishments outside of blogging?

I am finishing up a few classes to complete my Bachelors in Business degree from Tiffin University and I am an avid Christian Music fan. I would love to go to more christian music concerts and events, but it’s hard with Olivia at this stage of our lives. A few of my absolute favorite groups are The David Crowder Band, Switchfoot, and Mute Math; but I’ve been listening to CCM since I was a kid back in the 80’s, so I’ve seen a lot of movement within the industry since then, I could talk all day about it, lol.

Right now, I spend a lot of time just being a mom, and trying to keep my life in balance for myself, and my daughter. I attend my church regularly and try and stay involved and volunteer where needed.

What struggle if any have you experienced with keeping your blog updated?

I guess sometimes, just coming up with new and exiting content. Because I have 3 separate blogs, I have to divide up my time and give equal posting to the others as well. I’d actually like to merge them all together into one blog, but I haven’t quite figured out how I want to do that and what it would look like. It would make it easier for readership and for me to be able to post in one place all the time.

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Wow, that’s a hard question. It kind of changes as I grow and discover more blogs that bring me closer to Jesus, and help to feed my soul. A few of my favs that are always chiming in with encouragement are:

http://tamelasplace.blogspot.com/

http://www.poweruplove.blogspot.com/

http://persevere-lori.blogspot.com/

Is there a Bible verse that God has recently placed on your heart?

That would have to be Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future”.

Right now, God has me in a season of waiting, and so I am learning to place my whole being in who He is and His promises for me as I seek to grow and serve Him here on earth for His Kingdom.

Is there anything that you’d like to add in closing?

I am blessed that God has allowed me to share my heart in this way, through CWO, blogging, and social networking. I hope that single moms will come by and visit my blog and/or the cafemom forum and know that they are not alone in their journey as parents. We all as human beings need each other to lean on and find support through.

My hope is that we will do more of that online and off line as well in our churches, communities, and families; because we are the body of Christ here on earth, made to serve and love and be Jesus to the world.

Visit Robin at her blog:
http://blessingsandstrugglesofsinglemoms.blogspot.com

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 28th, 2008 at 11:16 am and is filed under Spotlight on Bloggers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.