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I have been absent from the blogsphere for a while now. Our family has had some big decisions to make the past few months, that will overall effect my ministry to children and families. My husband has been the youth pastor at our church, Dutch Fork Christian Church, for the past 7 years – where I have currently served as Children’s Minister. We are going to enter a new season in our life as he has accepted a position with North Point Community Church to plant a Strategic Partner location here in Columbia, SC. His last day at our home church was actually today and as of tomorrow he is full-time lead pastor of Columbia Church. We are first and foremost humbled by what God is doing in our loves. NEVER did we think we would be leading a church, let alone one with the name “North Point” connected to it. We are excited about what God is going to do in our city and through us. This means that I will be stepping down from my current position at Dutch Fork as Children’s Minister prior to launch. We’re looking to launch Sept. 2009 and I will resign effective June. At the same time as this we are adding a new blessing to our family, baby Richards #3, who is due the beginning of June. 

So as we step into this new season of our life we are excited and full of anticipation and faith with what God is going to do. I will no longer be posting on this blog as I will be eventually leaving the ministry world to simply serve my husband and the church God has called us to and to minister to our growing family. If you’re still interested in following our journey as a family, this wild adventure we’re starting on, and my personal ramblings, you can follow my other blog: Mommy Needs Coffee. (http://www.mommyneedscoffee.wordpress.com)

church planter’s wife. 

That’s right, as of January 11th, I will be a full-time church planter’s wife. JD announced his resignation to our church today as we open this new chapter in our lives. 

So that also anserws a bit as to why I haven’t been blogging the past few months. God has been moving us in this direction, starting this past February. When there’s something so BIG and heavy, and God-ordained, yet you cannot speak of it outside certain circles, it became difficult to blog. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll share some more information regarding what’s going on, what we’re doing, what this means for my children’s ministry, info on the pregnancy, and just an update to our lives. 

Stay tuned. 

messy spirituality

God is rocking my world right now and I love it! I am craving his Word more than I crave Starbucks! It seems like daily I am reading the Bible at every opportunity I have and I can’t get enough. At the same time I am reading an awesome book, “Messy Spirituality” by Michael Yaconelli. If you haven’t read this book, run, don’t walk to the bookstore and BUY it!!! It is hitting me right where I am at — God loves us because of the messy, unperfect lives we live. A few points fro the book:

Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; itis about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of a spiritual life begins where we are now in the mess of our lives. Accepting the reality of our broken, flawed lives is the beginning of spirituality not because the spiritual life will remove our flaws but because we let go of seeking perfection and, instead, seek God, the one who is present in the tangledness of our lives. Spirituality is not aboutbeing fixed; it is about God’s being present in the mess of our unfixedness.

 

Messy Spirituality has the audacity to suggest that messiness is the workshop of authentic spirituality, the greenhouse of faith, the place where the real Jesus meets the real us. 

I LOVE it! Stay tuned for more snippets from the book and if you’ve read it — comment and let me know your thoughts! 

lyrics speaking to me…

This song, Whatever You’re Doing, by Sanctus Real has just been speaking to my heart. It’s amazing that we have a God who know at all times what is best for us and continually moves within us. I love thinking of the illustration of being clay with God being the potter –

Isaiah 64:8

8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Just remembering that we are the work of His hand. We were created to glorify God, praise God, and to reflect God’s love. He wants to renew us daily to being us closer to Him and closer to looking like Him.

Whatever You’re Doing - Sanctus Real

It’s time for healing time to move on
It’s time to fix what’s been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It’s time to find my way to where I belong
There’s a wave that’s crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

[Chorus]
Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace
It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see
but I’m giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender…
To…

[Chorus]

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I’ve wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You’re up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It’s time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out

We decided to switch up the way we do children’s baptisms. We’re holding a celebration just for children this upcoming Sunday to celebrate this milestone in their lives. Following worship on Sunday, the children who have responded and their families with guests are invited to a picnic at our local park. We’ll grill hot dogs, have chips and drinks and a cake. Then we are baptizing the children in the river at the park. We’ve had 7 children respond to this need and are beyond excited about it! I think that having the children have their own baptism celebration takes the intimidation and fear out of it. It is a special day just for them and they are thrilled. God is awesome and I am so excited as these children make this incredible decision to live for Jesus. How do you do baptisms for children once they accept Jesus as Lord?

living a creative life

I recently read a wonderful book, “The Creative Family” by Amanda Blake Soule that challenged me to look at creativity daily in new ways and to make living it intentional. Whether it is within my family, personally, or professionally there are many ways in day to day living to foster creativity.

Creativity is authored by God. Just look at creation! From the species of plants and animals to the differences in humans – God was creative. Creativity isn’t just being artistic or being crafty, but finding the beauty and ability to observe and explore in anything. Creating art is part of it, but so is nature. Celebrations, special days, rituals, etc. all create a climate of creativity.

Its funny how in ministry to children we get “crafty” yet how often do we incorporate nature into learning? We read Bible passages or stories, but how often do children interact with the characters and live through the scenes? We sing worship songs, but how often do children experience worship.

Thinking creatively may be a stretch for some – so start small. Find something personally that you enjoy and be creative. Explore artwork, different genres of music, go hiking, observe a child… When I intentionally observe my children I realize the creative world in which they live – from making up games, to creative play, to creating artwork.

Children are creative beings. They need this in order to learn and in order to grow and mature. God is a creative God. I believe that teaching his word to children (and adults!) should be as He would – and that would be with a boost of thinking out of the box, unordinary learning!

Cade, my 4 year old, wanted to color a picture. That’s cool, kids love to color right? So I got him a piece of construction paper and some markers and away he went. A basic task like coloring should be predictable, right? Paper, markers, and a 4 year old = scribbled mess and mommy’s masterpiece, right? That is what I expected, but Cade soon diverted from the plan.

Cade got a hold of a post-it note pad with stars printed on it and thought to decorate his paper with the post-it notes. After precisely applying every note he wanted to display his art in his room. He asked for some tape and Igave him the scotch tape. The pictures below are what resulted.

I really was inspired to think. What I had expected was not at all what Cade produced. It was awesome! He secured his portrait to the wall beside his bed with an entire roll of tape.

As a church leader we need to be inspired to step outside the confines of what is expected, and lead creatively. Too many churches are exactly the same as they were 20 or even 50 years ago. How are you creatively doing and being the church?

Second, always over do it. Over plan, over execute, over communicate, always over do it. In church world there is a tendency to do just enough instead of our very best. Maybe we would see God move if we actually planned for it instead of simply complaining when we didn’t see it. This is especially true when a church or organization wants to create momentum. If you don’t anticipate and plan for the unseen growth you will never see it. If you don’t plan for and create space for people that are not a part of your church you will never see them, and if you do, they won’t be back next week.

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