Fire

by Melissa Parkhouse

Sometimes adding more wood to the camp fire doesn’t help.

It’s cold, the fire seems to be burning out, there are crispy log chunks remaining but they’re not doing much to provide warmth.  It might seem that adding more wood to the fire would be the right move.

But a smart fire builder will look at what is already there and position embers- seemingly burnt out embers and the remaining burning logs so that there is maximum air flow.

Why?

Because air is the lifeblood of the fire.  Without airflow embers die out.  Heat diminishes and your fire dies out. Continue reading Fire

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Church Hacks (Part 2)

by Melissa Parkhouse

Welcome to part two of the Church Hacks blog series!  Last week I shared some easy tips on getting your heart ready before you come to church on Sunday (check it out here).  Let’s continue with the next Church Hack, which happens to be on one of my absolute favorite topics: worship.

Church Hack #2:  Come Ready to Get Your Praise On!

When you show up to church, having your heart in a place that is ready to worship the Lord is crucial!

Psalm 100 exhorts us to, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His Courts with praise!”

In this verse, the word gates is an image for the Presence of the Lord, thanksgiving and praise are ways that we can create an atmosphere for God to dwell.  Psalm22:3 says that God is ENTHRONED on the praises of His people.  That means our praise builds Him a throne.  Since He is God and King over all, perhaps we should make it a good one!

We spend sometimes half the service on this one area, so to get the most out of the praise and worship time, try the following tips:

Continue reading Church Hacks (Part 2)

Stop Judging Me

By Dani Maddox

For quite a while now, I have felt as though people have been judging me in one specific area of my life: My faith.

And when I say faith, I mean my relationship with God, my dependence on Jesus, my heart, my works for God as evidence of a changed heart, my love for others, etc. I felt from what people said around me that they didn’t think I was mature in my faith or that I wasn’t doing enough for God. Because of this judgment, it turned into a competition of sorts. “Let’s see who can be godlier!”  “Let’s see how much we can do for the Lord!”

Many of my friends were leading groups, starting churches, taking in foster children, and overall doing so much for their community and the people around them. “They must think I’m just sitting on my butt doing nothing,” I thought to myself. In turn, I would begin doing more for God (in my own strength, of course). And if I felt like I wasn’t doing enough, I would either wallow in my shame or begin to justify not living up to this invisible standard.

The judgment I felt from others who seemed more “spiritual” began to turn outwards and I would start assuming things of others like, “Oh, they must be doing all of this because they feel pressured” or “That can’t really be what God has called them to do.” Blah blah blah. But I felt justified in these statements because I assumed they were judging me.

Continue reading Stop Judging Me

Church Hacks (Part 1)

by Melissa Parkhouse

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the rise of DIY Culture.  Don’t know how to do something?  Google it!  Love that crafty idea?  I bet Pinterest can tell me how to do it!  Have you seen those blog posts that cover what they call “Life Hacks.”  You know, the stuff where they put a bagel sandwich inside the empty CD stack case (because who actually knows what to do with those once they’re empty?!)

All of this thinking makes me wonder, do people know how to go to church?  I mean, what kind of instruction have we actually had on the topic?  Many of us have preconceived notions on what church should be like or how you’re supposed to dress.  Maybe you have some previous experience going to church, or have never been before.  Maybe you’ve been going for years and feel like something is missing.

Here’s the thing.  Churches are places full of people who are all on a journey, a journey of learning to love God and fully surrender to Him.  That means there is place for everybody, at every stage in the journey.  While being a part of a church means so much more than corporate gatherings (like discipleship, relationship, personal growth, intimacy with the Lord and much much more!), I want to take some time to explore some helpful ways to get the most out of what is happening on Sunday mornings at church and use those times to grow deeper in your walk with the Lord.  Thus this blog series, Church Hacks: How to get the most out of Church.

Hack #1. Get Your Heart Ready Before You Come

Here are 4 simple steps for this Church Hack:

Continue reading Church Hacks (Part 1)