{Rooted} Registration for Incourage’s New Session Starts Today!

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Today is a BIG day. Incourage.me, the site which provides support and encouragement to women who desire to follow Christ, is beginning registration for their small groups. I love the site. I love it so much that I decided to become an “incourager” for the site’s small groups.

I co-lead a group called Rooted: Women Rooted in God’s Word, Drawing Closer to Christ with Karina Allen. This group has been a tremendous blessing in my life. We have read, discussed and witnessed God move in our lives by reading the following books: (1) Anything by Jennie Allen, (2) Greater by Stephen Furtick, and (3) Your Beautiful Purpose by Susie Larson.

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This session we are excited to announce that we will be reading Restless by Jennie Allen. Restless explores this important question: “Do I matter?” And Jennie asks, “We live with lots of things, lots of people…but do we live for something?” We know God will use her words to draw us closer to Him. The group meets online in a secret Facebook group to ensure privacy and a safe environment to share with others. (After registration, you will be invited to the group via email.)

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Please join the fun and experience the blessing for yourself.

Regular registration starts today, January 27, 2017. Click here.

If you have any questions, please leave me a note in the comments.

Wishing you joy and community,
Hope

The Perfect Opportunity to Make More Friends Who Love God

inRL 2014

inRL 2014

Hello there!! Today I have a message worth shouting from the rooftops! Ladies, please go register for the (in)RL  Webcast  on April 25 & 26, 2014

This webcast is put on by (in)courage.me, a site created to connect real women who love Christ and desire to follow him. I found this site very early in my Christian walk and was immediately drawn in by the womens’ voices, which were so real, warm, and authentic. There were blog posts by women who tell it like it is. Sometimes this walk is hard and messy – but it is mostly beautiful and rewarding. And we get more of God each time we show up and pray to Him.

Since finding the site, I also became an (in)courager for the site’s community groups. I still can’t believe I was given this opportunity. I love to read God’s word and share it with others so I lead a group called Rooted: Women Rooted in God’s Word, Drawing Closer to Christ, with co-leader, Karina Allen. This ministry has been such a blessing in my life. And I believe it has blessed the women that participated too. {Psst: You can join this group too. Registration begins next Monday, January 20 – check my site or (in)courage.me for details!}

Anyway…. this webcast allows women from all over the world to get together in real life. There are even women opening their homes to host the get togethers. It’s going to be fabulous. Although I didn’t go last year, I am hoping to go this year (if I have my babysitting act together for the little one on his way)! I’d love to make new friends who love God as much as I do.

So, check out the video invitation and then SIGN UP!! You will be so happy that you did.  Click here to register. And if you register today, you have a chance to win tickets to the Allume conference and the IF: Gathering. BONUS!

wishing you hope, love, and new friends today,

Hope

{Rooted} “Greater” Study – Week 1: Steve and Me

Hello Rooted Ladies,

I’m writing this post to you on the day of Love – Valentine’s Day!! Today must truly be God’s day. I’m super excited because we are kicking off our first set of discussion questions for “Greater: Dream Bigger. Start Smaller. Ignite God’s Vision for Your Life” by Steven Furtick. {And for those of you just finding out about our group, it’s not too late to join! Just leave me your Facebook info in the comments.}

I’m overjoyed to read this book because I’m a super planner. Extreme Type-A person who always wants to know what’s going to happen and works really hard to make things happen. And I’ve realized lately that maybe, just maybe, I’m not living the plan that God designed for me. And I know that the smallest thing that God could plan for me to do would be bigger, and much greater, than anything I could ever do on my own. That’s why I have to read this book. I want some of that God-greater wisdom, power, and relationship in my life. {Does anyone know what I’m saying?}

Greater book

So Furtick begins this book in such an awesome, honest, and relatable way. He talks about the power of Steve Jobs’ life and the introspection that it caused for him. Steve Jobs made Steve Furtick think about being greater in God.

1. Could you all relate to the impact of Steve Jobs story? Or is there someone else’s life that you’ve witnessed or read about that seems so impactful/life-changing? A life that really matters?

2. What was your immediate reaction to John 14:12?

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. he will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

What is Jesus asking or telling us to do? Did you honestly feel like He’s calling us to be greater with Him through His Spirit within us?

3. Discuss a time when you found yourself wishing you were accomplishing more in life that really matters. What caused your discontent?

4. As you think back over your Christian life, what has been your most grandiose (and unachievable) pipe dream about doing something great for God?

5. Steven says, “We wake up one day to find ourselves stuck in miserable mediocrity.” Is that true for your life right now? If so, describe how you are stuck in mediocrity.

6. What’s your reaction to this book’s concept of greater (as opposed to grandiose greatness and mediocre good enough)? Does greater still seem vague or unattainable? How does it affect your perspective on the future?

7. If you already have an idea of what greater thing God might have in mind for you, what is it?

8. Are you ready to open your imagination to the possibility that God has a vision for your life that is greater?

9. On pages 11-12, Furtick lists many ways in which God can make your life greater than the labels. How many can you relate to?

I love that Furtick asks us to pray the prayer about faith (p. 11) and later tells the small groups the following: As a group, decide that you’re going to be there for each other in your pursuit of greater. Begin by praying for one another, asking God to open your eyes to the greater things He has in store for each of you

The memory verse for this week: John 14:12

I’m super excited about praying this prayer of faith for God to show all of us the greater things He has in store for us. I’m looking forward to seeing how God moves in our lives as we draw closer to Him and his vision for our lives. And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, prayers, questions, and reflections on this first chapter.

wishing you prayers full of faith, hope, and God’s vision for your lives,

Hope & Karina

P.S. If you are interested in more, check out Steven Furtick’s sermon 1.

Greater – Sermon 1

(in)RL Meetup - photo by Dawn Camp

Let’s meet off-line at an (in)RL Meetup!

(in)RL Meetup

(in)RL Meetup – photo by Dawn Camp

“And let us not neglect our meeting together…but encourage one another!” Hebrews 10:24-25

One of my favorite websites, incourage.me, is having a real, in-life meetup. It’s basically a chance for all of us girls who love God to meetup in person. God is already doing amazing things in 2013!

Many of us have already met super awesome women online because of (in)courage.me. {I know I have met some GREAT women, who encourage me daily.} So, this is an opportunity to forge new friendships offline – in person – the face-to-face deal! I’m so excited.

Although I am not hosting one this year, I will be attended a meetup – probably the one in Los Altos, CA (unless there is another one closer to San Francisco).

To learn more about (in)RL meetup, hear other women’s experiences from 2012, and to sign up, please visit this site. Registration begins TODAY – January 14, 2013. If you sign up today, you will get a (in)courage 365 Daybrightener (a perpetual calendar)!

Take this God-blessed opportunity to get to know other women of faith!

hope, joy, and peace,

Hope

God in the Chaos

{Rooted}: “Anything” Study – Week 7: God In The Chaos & Fighting Brave

God in the Chaos

God in the Chaos

Hello Rooted Ladies,

This week we move swiftly into Week 7 and chapters 16 & 17. How is the reading of “Anything” going for you all? I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve gone from being thrown in the deep end of the pool when thinking about surrendering . . . to beginning to understand a wee bit about what it takes to swim {living for God}. I’m learning it takes utter and complete trust in God and God working in our lives. Trust! Yes, Trust. Admittedly, this is a hard word for me at times – for both God and people. Yet, it is the very thing that we need to do to completely surrender our lives to God. We have to believe God. We have to trust in Him.

And then I’m starting to realize what it truly means that our lives are not our own… and they are only temporary. So, with lives that are not our own, we can use them to glorify God. I even have to catch my breath sometimes because I’m amazed at how much He loves all of us and wants to use us – even with our shortcomings and flaws. And then my heart swells with how much I love Jesus. And I wonder why am I having so hard of a time surrendering. Like Allen (p. 145), I know God’s story for my life is much better than I could ever possibly imagine.  Oh well, enough about me. How’s it going for you?

Let’s dive into the discussion questions…

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chapter 16: out of control: God in the chaos

1. Share a time when you were glad God trumped you in your life?

2. Often I feel a disconnect between my mind and my heart after praying for God’s direction. What about you? Share a time when your mind trusted God, but your heart frantically grasped for a solution of your own (pg. 147)

3. Share an experience in parenting that helped you to realize that your life was completely out of your control. Is parenting more of an agenda or an experience for you? (p. 147)

4. Where in your life are you trying to control outcomes that were never in your control to begin with?

5. Where is your faith currently being tested right now?

6. How does God initiated chaos differ from world initiated chaos?

7. Share a time when you had to go against the concerns of family and friends to follow God?

9. I’m so guilty of making pro-con lists and negotiating with God. This chapter left me so convicted. Am I the only one? Read 1 Cor. 1: 18 -20.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Cor. 1:18-20 (NIV).

If you had lived your life only by the conventional wisdom of cost/benefit analysis, share one blessing from God you would have missed?

chapter 17: war on: fighting brave

This chapter is so awesome because Allen discusses spiritual warfare and the devil – a topic that is not discussed enough. I found myself wanting to know even more. This chapter also reminded me that if we are truly and deeply for Jesus, the devil will be against us. Wow, we have to be prayed up and ready for this battle!

1. In what areas do you tend to doubt God?

2. As you grow in surrender to God, share areas where you have experienced increased spiritual attack?

3. How does adjusting your expectations to the reality that life is supposed to be hard allow you to more fully experience God’s joy. (p. 157) Where do you need to do some adjusting?

4. Read Eph 6:12.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV).

How do we show the glory of God and fight dark cosmic forces in our day to day lives at home?

5. How does knowing whom you are fighting change the way that you treat those around you? Give specific examples (p. 159).

6. How can we be more intentional about supporting each other in the battle?

Let’s discuss these questions with one another. Let’s share how we are fighting the battles as we surrender daily to God. Let’s share our victories too. Let’s talk about how God is being glorified in our lives.

Wishing you a week of fighting brave to do God’s will,

Hope and Karina

welcome mat

{Five Minute Friday} Welcome

welcome mat

[Today I’m joining the wonderful LisaJo of thegypsymama and a beautiful community of bloggers for the 5 minute Friday writing prompt. Today the word is WELCOME.]

So week after week, I go searching and longing for a church home where I feel welcome.” And I think “welcome” has several meanings. First, and perhaps most importantly, my spirit must feel welcome or at home. For me, it requires that the sermon or the pastor’s message resonate with me. I want the words to dig in deep – to set up a place inside of me that requires me to think, meditate, and pause. I want the sermon’s words to challenge me and take my faith to the next place – God’s place.

And secondly, my ears must feel welcome. Yes, this sounds silly, but I believe that my soul will be stirred and welcome where the music moves my heart and spirit. You know how you listen to a song and it sticks with you all week.

And finally, in my search for a church home, I want to feel welcomed by the church {God’s people}. I’ve discovered the difference between “nice” and “friendly” in the recent weeks. I’ve visited several churches where the people were nice – meaning pleasant, said hello, well-meaning, but carried on about their business.

It wasn’t until I visited a friendly church where I felt the difference. I felt like they were waiting for me. Like they somehow rolled out a warm welcome mat. I was met with hugs and questions about myself and what I liked to do. They really tried to get to know me. They even wanted to spend more time with me – little old me. I felt the beginnings of friendship.

God is welcoming. God is friendship – the ultimate friendship and when you find him… He digs in deep into your soul.

wishing you hope, joy, peace, and lots of welcoming experiences,

Hope

Five Minute Friday

Adam & Eve

{Rooted}: “Anything” Study-Week 1 (Part 2): Fig Leaves & Abandoning Pretending

Adam & Eve

Adam & Eve – Fig Leaves

least good: abandoning pretending

So, I don’t know about you all but I’m definitely picturing Adam and Eve and their fig leaf coverings after reading Chapter 2 of “Anything.” And I’m struck by how much power the “covering up” before each other and the Lord has over us.

Jennie Allen drove the point home on page 21, when she writes, “We are all hiding from each other with big fig leaves, but God says, ‘You could stop because I am a way better covering. I have an actual payment for all the sin you are hiding. But it will take coming out from behind your leaves. It will take humility to see that you need me.” (John 11:25, 1 John 1:8 paraphrased.” The irony is that Jesus’ blood takes the least good and makes them the most good. It’s beautiful.

So… my big question for Chapter 2 is: What is your fig leaf? What are you hiding or pretending?

With Genesis 3 firmly in our minds, let’s jump into the questions.

  • Allen writes on page 15: These were leaves of pretending, the same leaves we call religion or perhaps mortality or maybe being good.

What “leaves of pretending” do you turn to trying to cover who you really are?

  • I don’t how many of you were suprised by the good works versus our hearts/faith dichotomy. Allen writes on page 16: “God is clear. The state of our invisible hearts takes precedence over all the good behavior, over all the bad.”

How worried are you about “being good” or “looking good”? 

For the parents: How do you practically address the true condition of the heart in parenting and guard against behavior modification? Do you have anything that has worked that you could share to help those in the group?

  • On page 17, Allen tells the story of Jesus rebuking the religious in Matthew, “So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:28). 

How does the gospel promote humility? 

  • Allen writes on page 21: “Anyone can get to heaven – no matter how messy his or her life. And by the same token, anyone can be kept out – regardless of all his or her fancy goodness.” 

Do you really believe in heaven? And if so, do you believe you can get to heaven through faith and not good works? 

  • Allen talks a lot about pride and arrogance.  I’m learning that pride and arrogance can look like so many different things.

In what ways has pride kept you from drawing close to God? Your spouse? Your kids? What do you need to surrender so that God can have you entirely (pg 19)?

  • Allen shares a great story about her friend Kathryn, her prayer, her questions about her father and heaven, and the aunt’s call.

How did you feel about the story? The call? Her prayer? Are there people that you have the same prayers for?

  • On page 24, Allen talks about the “imperfect forehead signs.” 

What is your “imperfect forehead sign”? 

Favorite part/line/saying?

I loved the part about God is clear on page 16. He deals in the unseen. He deals with our hearts. I just love it. {Now, if I can just not forget it!}

What was your favorite part, line or saying? 

Bible Verses to Ponder

I thought that Allen’s verse was a great one to ponder this week. And I really liked the power of The Message’s version.

  • “So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28.
  • “You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.” Matthew 23:7-28 (MSG)

Please share yours!

We can’t wait to hear how God is moving in your lives! Please post your comments here or on the Facebook group!

your sisters in faith,

Hope and Karina