Real Talk -by Angel

040416_ls_lipreading_freeHave you ever said something to someone in passing and then find out later you offended that person? Have you had someone say something to you, that was not intended to be hurtful, however you walk away with your feelings hurt? How many times have you had a conversation with someone and when they bring it up later, you do not even remember the words you spoke?

I have spent some time reflecting on these points. I have taken the critique of those I trust on my communication skills to heart. I have looked up verses on what God commands of my speaking; there are tons of bible verses on how we should speak.

Speaking comes in many forms: verbal, email, text, and social media.  Many of us have heard how texting is great way to misinterpret what the other person is trying to say. Another great quote I have read is ‘We listen to reply, not to understand.’

What does all this have to do with anything? Simply that I want to encourage you to take a moment to reflect on your speech (in all forms). Are you representing God in your daily speech? Are you being kind with your words?  I promise you that words hurt and last longer than any bruise that can be seen.

Today, as I continue to reflect on how I speak to and with others I am reminded of what I strive for: I want my speech to always be gracious and seasoned with salt, so that I know how to answer each person the way that best reflects how God would answer. I only want to speak positively and honestly with a gentleness that lets others know my heart.

I hope your day is amazing and your words are kind, helpful and true!

Angel

Friend Angel on Facebook or follow her on twitter @AngelLayher
Follow Journey Church on Twitter @Journey_MO

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The Sweet Life — by Danny

SweetLife_BrooksYeah, that’s me at one of the top rated beaches in America, with a chocolate chip cookie in my mouth and sunshine and the ocean at my back. I am not going to lie … it was a pretty sweet moment.

What you don’t see is my wife who had to talk me into driving the two and a half hours to get to this beach. You don’t see my friend who requested a pic of me eating a cake by the beach while listening to “Cake by the Beach.” I didn’t have any cake so he settled for a cookie. LOL. What you can’t possibly see from this picture is the fact that my friends allowed us to stay at their house and take over their car for a week for FREE.

There is no way you could possibly figure out from this shot that while I am out of town, I have friends covering any needs that the Children’s Ministry has while I am out of pocket. There is also a friend who is checking on my house and animals so that I don’t have to worry about them and I can enjoy my time off, but you probably can’t see her in the picture, either. Without each one of these people in my life, this moment doesn’t happen.

Whether you are on a journey or have reached a destination, it truly is the people that make the best moments. It was pretty sweet to be on the beach, but the thing I love the most about my life are the people I have in it. These same people know that they can count on me to be there for them when they need me. It is so important that we surround ourselves with positive impact people. Can you look around your environment and know that the people who inhabit it are on your team? People will say “Man you are so lucky to have friends like that.” It is not luck that brings great people into your life. It is a choice to not to settle for people who drain and abuse you.

I believe isolation is the biggest enemy to progress and happiness, but surrounding yourself with people who drain and abuse your relationship is a close second. You can’t have the sweet life without loving people surrounding you. Jesus even surrounded himself with core people so that He could live the sweet life while He was here and even after He rose.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is John 21. One of Jesus’ last moments on Earth, and He decides to chill with his friends and eat some breakfast. There is nothing sweeter than having legit friends who care about you and who you care about. There are great people in this world that can change yours for the better.

Danny

Friend Danny on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Instagram @00brooksy
Follow Journey Church on social media @Journey_MO

Support Systems — by Jesse

SupportSystem_JQuirozWe just celebrated 7 months of Aisha a couple of weeks ago, and the difference between who she is today and who she was when she was first placed in our arms feels like night and day.

Her abilities for mobility are seemingly increasing exponentially. We took this pic a few nights ago while her brothers were compelling her to do something she really has never done before, move from a sitting position to an army crawling position. They were doing whatever it took to compel her away from the comfort of sitting on her can to bring her over to her pink owl.

I could see the psychological battle taking place in her mind as she compared the comfort of where she was to what she wanted that stood out of her reach. After about a half-hour of compelling, she finally did it. And she was rewarded with that pink owl wherein she showed it some intense slobbery love.

What an accomplishment! We all clapped and cheered as she watched with curiosity our loud claps and loud sounds and smiles. She seemed to really be proud of what she did. Support systems are so key to creating successful moments in our lives.

And I guess that’s my question to you today: Do you have a support system around your life?

Support systems are meant to be around all of our lives to do just that: support. The raw definition of support means enable (meaning to to impart ability). People that exist around you to pull and push you forward, away from where you are.

I honestly credit the support system I have placed around my life to the success God allows my life to experience. Because I can’t get there alone, like my daughter, I don’t see my undiscovered abilities until someone pushes me to attain them.

In short, my prayer is for your life’s support system. Who are they? And if you don’t have one, get one. I’m telling you, there’s a pink owl in it for you just waiting for you to slobber on it!

‘A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.’
– Robert Heinlein

Jesse

A Step Forward — by Angel

StepForward_Layher“He is not going to make it.”

Those were the words the doctor spoke; those were the words we heard as the room fell completely silent followed by a chaos of tears, shock and utter disbelief.

So fast forward a week … the hardest and longest days we were to experience. The week that seemed to creep by and each day presented itself with harder decisions and more and more silence. The funeral, a very beautiful celebration of life is over, the cards and texts and phone calls have stopped. Now what? What happens next?

Now is the time to take a step forward. For each person in our family, this means something different. Personally, for me, I had to take a step back, reflect on what just happened, take a long and slow breath, take a moment to pray (even when I felt like I had no words to say) and then I was ready.

The first step was just that, taking the step. I have to determine what our new normal will be. I just lost my Dad. Yes, he was technically my father-in-law, but in all ways, he was my Dad, too. My husband just lost his Dad, my girls lost their grandpa, and my mom (mother-in-law) lost her mate in life. How do I keep moving forward and help my family to do the same?

This was the lead of our family. He was our guide when we did not know what to do next; he was Mr. Fix It when our stuff broke; he was our laugh when we just needed to laugh, he was a huge part of our hearts and now he is gone.

For me, I found taking a step forward was little easier because I knew God was right beside me. He was ready to listen when I wanted to cry. He was able to take it when I was mad, ready to remind me that my Dad was now with Him and He knew if I was willing, I could find comfort in His words.

I am by no way suggesting this is an easy time. It is actually quite difficult. Everyone around me is continuing with life as normal while I have an empty feeling that only time and trusting in God can heal. I do, however, know that my Dad is now resting in the amazing arms of Jesus and I will see him again one day. Until then, I will find comfort and strength in God’s words and through the amazing memories we made together. I thank God that he blessed me with 22 unforgettable years with such an amazing man.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Matthew 5:4

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

Building Blocks — by Morio

BuildingBlocks_WrayThis past weekend, myself along with countless other members of our Adopt-A-Block team hosted our first annual Adopt-A-Block Block Party. There were bounce houses, concessions, life-sized games, raffles and much more. We were there to celebrate the transformation God has allowed us to be a part of in our community. But this transformation goes much further than just mowing some grass, trimming some trees and removing a couple of eye sores. God is using us to transform lives!

Through this outreach, we have built relationships with the residents that go far beyond just a work day. Several residents of the block have begun to attend church while others have served with us, and we even had a couple donate their fence for the kids to paint while attending the block party. All in all, God is continuing to make an impact in this community through the efforts of His people!

While sitting back reminiscing on the amazing events of last Saturday, I kept seeing images of the field where we held the Block Party. But these images were not of the people, the bounce houses or games; I saw the field as it was before. Overgrown trees, broken bottles, littered with trash, and weeds that were 10-feet tall.

Then, I saw the purpose behind the images. God was showing me how he can take something that this world would call ‘a mess’ and use it to bring joy to all those around it. Afterwards, I began to see the parallel between my life and this field. God chose to clean me up despite the fact that I was considered ‘a mess’ and has given me a heart and purpose to serve others and bring joy to the world around me.

Just a quick reminder before I go. No matter how much junk or clutter we are carrying around … God is willing to step in, clean us up and use us to make impact in the world around us.

Morio

Tell Your Story — by Steve

Version 2Everybody has one. But for some reason, we are reluctant to share it. Our opinions … heck, you don’t even need to ask for them. We give those out freely. But our story … not so much.

And before you start in with the line about not having a story let me stop you right there. EVERYBODY has one, without a doubt. Like those we heard this past Sunday from Tim and Angel and Morio. You may not like yours as much as some others’ stories, but you most definitely have one. And I have one, too.

Two years ago this month, I resigned my (by the world’s standards) great job at The Boeing Company to follow a word God had placed in my heart and life. I quit my good-paying, benefits-providing, respect-garnering and society-approved professional position to volunteer at my church. Crazy some said. Stupid others murmured behind my back. But none of it mattered. I KNEW what HE had said.

Now on to my point … living in a small community (Silex) tucked inside a close-knit and rural county (Lincoln), my assumption was that everyone had heard my story. I believed that everyone that knew me also knew the story. Most do, but many still don’t. Take, for example, a good high-school friend of mine that I recently bumped into at a church service. She said she had been praying for me (awesome) but when I told her what I’ve been doing for the past two years, she had no idea. And yes, we are friends on Facebook.

Here’s the deal: we all LIVE our story every day, and we assume people see it, appreciate it and understand it. But they don’t. In addition to living our story (important), we HAVE TO also TELL it. God’s instructions to us weren’t simply to live a good life and keep to yourself. Not at all. What did He tell us to do with our life? Go tell all the nations.

So my challenge today is two-fold. First, know your story. Be comfortable with it because God gave it to you. Accept it. And appreciate it. You are incredible and unique. Agree with God on that point. And second, go and tell your story. People want to know you, what you’ve been through, how God is working in and on and through you. YOUR story is absolutely worth telling.

“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”
Mark 16:15 (NLT)

Your story IS Good News.
Steve

Friend Steve on Facebook or follow him on twitter @stevemiller31
Follow Journey Church on social media @Journey_MO

One Day At A Time — by Missy

Embrace_MQuirozTo Embrace means to “accept willingly and enthusiastically.” Today as I am writing this our daughter, Aisha Kay, is now 7 months old. I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since she came into our lives and has forever changed it.

Life with a baby is a continual adjustment but we are definitely trying to enjoy every minute! She is grabbing everything in her reach, she loves playing peek-a-boo with her brothers and she is being very clingy as many of you know. Having two teenage boys we now know first hand just how fast life goes by (I can’t believe they will both be in high school this fall!).

So each day that I spend with Aisha, I want to embrace the stage that she is at. I have realized the more I am here on this planet just how precious this life is and how we need to embrace the everyday moments. Those everyday moments seem so insignificant as we live them but it’s weird how as soon as we look back we can see just how much of a treasure they are.

This weekend as we saw those close to us lose someone dear to them it again hit me in the face just how fragile and precious life is. We can’t slow it down or speed past the tough parts; we simply just have to embrace it and try to enjoy every minute of every day we get.

Missy

“By living one day at a time you’re living all the days of your life.”