Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Introducing my friend Leah Adams!

I think I first "met" Leah through my introduction to "blog world".  She is a precious sister in the Lord, who has an exciting new Bible study releasing shortly, and I've been honoured to take part as a member of her "Launch Team".  Today I thought it would be fun to have you meet Leah.  So, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down with me for a visit.  I know you'll make a new friend.



Leah, I may have readers who have not met you online.  What would you like for my readers to know about you?

I am a North Georgia girl who loves Jesus -- A LOT.  I asked Jesus to come into my heart at the age of 15.  Within a few years, I made some horrible moral choices that drew me away from Him.  I spent the better part of my 20s walking far from Jesus, and God let me go my own way until I was sick of it.  Then, just like the prodigal son's father, God welcomed me back, and overwhelmed me with a desire for His Word and His presence.  He made it clear that nothing I had done, no sin I had committed, changed how He felt about me.  God loved me with a ridiculous love.  He lavished grace on the heart of His daughter, and ultimately called me into ministry in 2007.

My passion is teaching God's Word, and He allows me to do that through two avenues; speaking and writing.  I have had the privilege of speaking to groups all across the United States.  While my signature message is about the legacy we are leaving for the generations that come behind us, the ultimate message is always about the grace, love, acceptance, and mercy that can only be found in Jesus Christ.  I love speaking to women of all ages, but my heartbeat is for women under 40 years of age.  My hope is that the words God gives me encourage and challenge women to walk intimately with Jesus every single day they walk the dusty sod of earth.  I want them to know that Jesus loves them more than they can imagine.

Another area of ministry that the Lord has assigned to my husband and me jointly is ministry to international students who are studying in the US.  Over 750,000 students fro other countries study in America every year, and the vast majority of them are never in an American home.  What a missed opportunity for the church of Jesus Christ to show the love of Jesus to students who might, otherwise, never hear about Him!  Greg and I regularly host international students in our home, and have developed close friendships with many of them.  In fact, we have become 'American parents' to a delightful young woman from Australia.  God brought Bree, Greg, and me together, and she is now very much a part of our family.  We love her as if she were our own.

What occupies your free time? Hobbies, interests?

I love to read...Christian fiction and biographies are what can be found on my bookshelf, alongside lots of biblical commentaries, Bible translations, and cookbooks.  I enjoy cooking, camping in our fifth wheel RV, and spending time with my husband and my girlfriends.

What are some items on your bucket list?

I would love to visit Australia, Germany, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Grand Canyon.  Speaking gigs in any of those places would make the trip that much sweeter!  My husband is a golfer, and we would like to attend the Master's golf tournament.  I sponsor two girls in Tanzania through Compassion International, and visiting them one day is definitely on the list.  I would like to write another Bible study, or ten, if the Lord gives me the words.  As I said, I love to cook, and attending a weekend Southern Living cooking school would be great fun.  A return visit to a hummingbird haven where many different types of hummingbirds are together in one place is on the list.  I'm amazed at those little fliers.

How did you develop an interest in writing and when did you begin writing seriously?

I have enjoyed writing and public speaking from my junior high school days.  I always excelled in English, and term papers were never a drag for me.  I know...I'm a geek.  My deep-end dive into writing came in 2002 when my Daddy was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer.  As he progressed through his chemo treatments, I would write a weekly email to family and friends who wanted to keep up with his progress.  Each email would close with a few inspirational thoughts that usually included Scripture.  After my Daddy graduated to heaven in late 2004, people began asking if I would write a weekly devotion ad send it out via email.  After a year or so doing that, over 125 people were receiving each email, but unfortunately, my ISP was deleting the emails as spam.  It was at that point that I made the jump to blog format, where I now offer my writing.  When the Lord called me into ministry in late 2007, I needed something to speak about, and that something was the topic of legacy.  for my first speaking engagement, I wrote a 15 minute message about the legacy we, as Christians, are leaving for the generations that come behind us.  Eventually that message grew into an hour-long message, and ultimately became the foundation of my first Bible study, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy, which was published in 2010.


What is the back story behind HeBrews?  What was the impetus for you to write this book?

I began writing HeBrews: A Better Blend purely out of obedience to the Lord.  Several years prior to writing the study, I had done a pretty intense self-study of the book of Hebrews.  It was my hope that the Lord might allow me to write something out of that time of study, but I wasn't sure.  Perhaps it had just been for my edification.  In 2012, I sensed the Lord giving me the go-ahead to write a Bible study from the book of Hebrews.  I've learned that when God says do something, the best response is 'Yes sir'. So, write I did.  I had no intention of publishing HeBrews, thinking it would just be an act of obedience, and perhaps a study that my Tuesday morning small group would do.  God had other  plans.  When I was about halfway through the writing, my friend, Brooke, introduced me to the wonderful woman who is no my Editor at Warner Press.  One thing led to antoher and before I knew it, Bod had opened the door for HeBrews to be published.  It was totally a God-thing, and I often tell Him that this is His doings, and the responsibility is on Him to place HeBrews into the hands of the people who need to read it.

Share with us a bit about your book.

HeBrews: A Better Blend is an eight-week Bible study that takes the student through the entire book of Hebrews.  The Old Testament constructs that were so important to the Israelites, i.e. Old Testament tabernacle, priest, sacrifice, and covenant, are examined alongside the New Testament parallels that we find in Jesus.  Jesus was the BETTER priest, administering a BETTER covenant, offering a BETTER sacrifice, and ultimately bringing us into a BETTER tabernacle.

There are five days of homework each week, and most days the student studies form both the Old and New Testaments.  HeBrews: A Better Blend can be done by individuals, and in group settings.  At the beginning of each week of study, I offer a dessert recipe taken from my collection, or from the collections of some of my friends and family.  Dessert definitely makes Bible study richer.  No pun intended!

Why should someone read HeBrews: A Better Blend?  What does it offer them personally?

The study of Scripture, God's Love Letter to humankind, is as important to me as taking my next breath.  Without it, I would be right back in the ditch of sin that I crawled out of 20 years ago.  HeBrews: A Better Blend offers the reader a guided study of the book of Hebrews, as well as opportunities to apply faith principles to their own life, and grow in their faith in Jesus Christ.

How can readers find you?  Blog?  Social media?

I would love to meet your readers.  They can find me at my website and blog, The Point, at http://www.leahadams.org.
I am also on several social media platforms:
Facebook Ministry page
Hebrews Facebook page
Twitter
Pinterest

When and where will HeBrews: A Better Blend be available to the public?

The release date for the Bible study is July 1st.  It should be available at major e-tailers, as well as Christian bookstores.

What final thoughts would you like to share with my readers?

I want to encourage your readers to fix their eyes on Jesus.  My prayer is that they will raise their eyes above the horizon of their circumstances (good or bad), and look to Jesus for their strength and hope.  He is everything we need.  EVERYTHING!  Developing an intimate relationship with Jesus will not happen accidentally.  It requires intentionality, perseverance, and lots of time allowing Scripture to speak to the heart.  Once a heart gets a taste of walking in intimacy with Christ, there is no going back.  I want that for your readers, because I know what a thrill it is to me.

Thank you Leah for taking the time to "visit" with us here.  I hope and pray that many of you will visit Leah's blog or post and leave a comment here that will encourage her heart.  She is a blessing to me and I trust that the Lord will continue to use her in mighty ways for His glory.  May the Lord bless the release of this new study and draw hearts in close intimacy to His.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Embraced in His Love

"Joy"

She knew my name!  She recognized me!  How and why is still beyond me, but she did.  Yes we share a mutual friend, but she and I had never met before.  There has been no personal correspondence, yet as she looked at me, my name flowed from her lips as her arms embraced me in a hug.  Sisters meeting for the first time.  Sharing the same Father.  Part of one family.


Yesterday was a dream come true, and a re-gift from the Lord.  Back in 2011 I was scheduled to attend "She Speaks" in North Carolina, but cancer and chemo took me down a different road.  Plans changed.  Instead of hearing Ann Voskamp speak I was fighting a battle, a battle that required me to remain on the home-front.

Over a month ago a very precious friend extended an invitation to my sisters and I to attend an event where Ann would be speaking.  Excitement was an understatement!  Yes, excitement to see Ann, but even more excitement to see the God in Ann.  Some people wear Him so well.  He is their covering and His light shines through their countenance.  Ann is one who is clothed in His beauty and robed in His righteousness.

She opens her mouth and her heart speaks.  Words not like any I had heard before.  Like a masterpiece painting, her sentences artistically display His truth.  Yes, I can see Him as each phrase is a brushstroke of His design.  Poetic and powerful.  Breathtaking and beautiful.  Words that burn and bore, seeking surrender and sacrifice, longing to be received, believed and lived.

Unassuming, she takes the platform, shrouded in humbleness.  Although she is nervous (or so I've been told), God's power fills her petite frame.  Overflowing with His Spirit, she shares as one who lives the "holy experience" of intimacy with the Lord.  This is who she is.  No pretense.  No mask.  This is simply a girl and her God.  A girl walking so close to Jesus that she is covered in the dust from His sandals as she follows in her Father's footsteps.

She shared seasons.  Opening with Katie's story, a story that has only a month or so ago started to mess with my heart in a profound way, God continued a message to me of sacrifice, trust, adoration, suffering, space, time and revival. I broke yardsticks, welcomed boring, breathed simplicity and worshiped my Father.  It was a day of burning bushes and radical love.

Ann (without an 'e'), has a style that is unique.  A gift.  Her words fall, saturating the ground; ground delighting in the soaking.  The watering flows from a vessel made pure.   Words that are "other world".  The dialect of the King, yet understood by paupers and princes.  Complimenting syllables and sounds singing His melody of redemption and salvation. Lyrical lines captivating His truth and compelling my love.

Honesty wrapped in modesty. Beauty under the umbrella of forgiveness.  Grace.  Always grace.

This is a friend with whom I can envision endless cups of tea on porch swings.  Tables covered in Bibles.  Books and paper with pens poised.  Journal pages covered in heart stirrings.  Silences.  Abandonment.  Listening.  Tears.  Sharing.  Laughter.  Prayer.  Someday we'll have all of eternity to praise the Lord together.

As I've reflected over yesterday I've been reminded of Someone else who knows my name.  Of One who speaks His "Joy" over my life.  I'm a nobody to most.  An unknown to many.  Yet, God recognizes me.  He knows my name.   Did you hear that?  The God of the universe knows my name!  

Pausing.

Receiving.

He looks at me.

"Joy"

Embraced in His love.



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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Redeeming a "No"

I knew as I pressed "Send", I was responding from a place of personal fear.  There wasn't any way I could envision myself being able to answer this request in a positive way.  Just thinking of fulfilling this responsibility made my palms sweat and my heart race.  Feelings of disappointing the Lord filled my heart, but I just couldn't do it.

Each year mothers from our congregation are asked to take part in the special Mother's Day Services.  One will read the Scripture.  Another will pray.  It is a lovely blessing being asked to take part.  Several years ago the invitation was extended to me.  I felt honoured to be asked, but the thought of standing on the church platform in front of so many people absolutely terrified me.

I know that sounds strange coming from someone who actually speaks at Women's Events, but it is true.  Most often when God invites me to share at ladies events I take my trusty stool with me and speak from a sitting position.  This keeps the audience from seeing my trembling legs.  Not only that, but I've only spoken to groups of women.  This would be reading and/or praying in the presence of both men and women.  I couldn't do it.  Thinking about it made me nauseous.

Over the past year the Lord has been daily asking me to trust Him more.  He has been asking me to abandon self-reliance and abandon myself to Him.  Recently I told the Lord that if such an invitation was ever extended to me again, without hesitation I would respond favourably and rely on His strength.

I think in many ways the Lord has been preparing me for the invitation to come.  Early February I trusted the Lord as I stood on this very same platform as my role in Women's Ministries required I act as welcomer and announcer for our large ladies event.  Early March I spoke at a ladies retreat for the entire weekend without using my stool.  More recently I've had to fill-in on Tuesday mornings speaking to approximately 150 ladies at our weekly Women's Bible Study gatherings.  Step by step God has been asking me to trust Him and in His strength alone I've been obedient.  Anyone without this disabling fear may not understand, but it has seriously controlled many of my decisions and I've missed out on opportunities to allow the Lord to work through me.

When the phone rang this morning I had no idea what the call was going to be about.  I recognized the number as being our church phone, but was not expecting the request about to be made.  Actually, when I recognized the Pastor's voice on the phone I assumed he was calling concerning something entirely different.  However, within seconds he asked if I would be willing to say a prayer at our Mother's Day service.

This time initial fear collided with overwhelming delight.  So humbled, when by God's grace He offers a "do-over".  An invitation that was met with my "no" years ago, was extended again to me this morning.  There's no guarantee opportunities like this will come around a second time.  Still feeling anxious, but I responded with an enthusiastic "YES".  Immediately I recognized this as a gift from the Lord.  God is redeeming a fear and He alone will help me walk this out in faith.  "He is my personal bravery..."  Hab 3:19 (AMP)

Is the fear still there?  Most definitely.  But so is my God!!!!  Greater is He who is in me.  Praise His Name!

I would so appreciate your prayers as I prepare for this day and trust Him.  May I not live these in-between moments with anxiousness, but KNOW the Lord who has issued this divine invitation will fill me with His courage.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"G" is for Gideon!


"Lord...it's 8am!  I need to have an answer by 9am!  I know You think an hour is a long time, but I've been praying for weeks and I still don't feel any closer to a decision."

This is what I was speaking to the Lord, out loud, as I was getting ready to head to Bible study this morning.  You see, today is the day all our study choices for the Fall must be submitted to the church.  It may seem early, but when approximately 200 ladies attend our weekly Bible studies, books need to be ordered, facilitators put in place and opportunity for sign-up offered before the summer months are upon us.  (I know...we haven't even enjoyed a taste of Spring yet and I'm talking Summer, but it is coming...I promise!)

For weeks now I have diligently been praying for guidance as to which study the Lord desires me to facilitate next Fall.  I had narrowed my choice to five studies from an extensive, pre-approved list that had been confirmed by our pastoral staff.  I prayed.  I listened.  I prayed some more.  For those of you who know me via social media, I threw the question out to you for input.  I asked friends. I listened.  I prayed.

God was silent.

This was so unlike past experience.  Every year as I've been called to facilitate studies, the Lord clearly has given direction and I've had the assurance of being in the center of His will.  I was down to an hour and counting.  I trusted the Lord wouldn't disappoint me, but minutes were ticking by.

Earlier this morning, during my quiet time, a strange thing had happened.  I was reading in Judges 6, the story of Gideon.  Gideon's story holds a special place in my heart.  The Lord used that portion of Scripture the morning of my surgery in 2011 to let me know "you will not die" and that He would "consume all" the cancer.  As I read about Gideon again today I thought, one day I'll do the study of Gideon at the church.  (I'm currently working on Priscilla Shirer's "Gideon" study on my own, and just purchased the DVD kit less than a week ago.)  That thought birthed another question:  Lord, do You want me to do the study of Gideon this Fall?  Do my five choices become six?

As I continued getting ready to head out I said to the Lord, (yes, I spoke out loud again, after all, I was the only one home at this particular moment), "Father You could give direction in so many different ways.  You could even make my cell phone go off with the answer."

IMMEDIATELY my cell phone vibrated!!!  I'm. Not. Kidding!!!

A text had come in from a friend inquiring about Bible study.  She didn't have to go into work today and she was asking if it was appropriate to come and sit in on one of the classes.  Yes, of course she could come.  It is always appropriate to come and learn from God's Word.  I told her to join in our group if she wanted.  We've been a "no-homework" study this past year, (long story), and so our group would be a great one to just slip into, participate and enjoy.

As I finished my text conversation with her, I felt the Lord impressing on my heart the need for our church to offer another "in class, no homework" study.  I was balking this.  Although it has gone well this year and God confirmed in so many ways that this was indeed His plan for the current study I was facilitating (we had ladies in our group who had never participated in a Bible study previously so they were able to learn how to do a Bible study), I'm a homework girl.  I love facilitating a study where everyone comes prepared with their answers.  The text that arrived on my phone moments ago spoke to my heart concerning the need for another study that offers this training opportunity.

Well, if I was to offer a no homework study, three of my choices were instantly eliminated.  Because of the volume of material, there wasn't any possible way to do them "in class" in the 7 or 8 months of weekly discussion time.  Now I was down to a choice of three others.

Thirty minutes and counting.  I calmly sat down at my computer.  The studies being considered each had a DVD component.  I would watch the first 10 minutes of each one and see if anything jumped off the screen at me.  I listened to the first one.  Great teaching, but nothing resonated.  I moved to the second one.  Again, fabulous teaching, but no inner stir.  I moved to the final possible choice.  Suddenly I heard these words: You've been waiting for a green light, for something to tell you to go.  Well, this is it...go, go, go!!!

Guess which study it was?  :-)

Gideon!  The reason I hadn't previously heard from God regarding my other five choices was because not one of them was His choice!  He couldn't choose from a list which didn't include His study.

I instantly felt an overwhelming peace and assurance that this is what God wanted!  Not only that, but I then noticed another friend's post on Facebook.  She said, "Today's letter is 'G'".  Hahahaha...yes it is!

There is sooo much more to this story, as less than an hour later, God also confirmed in my heart that I'll be facilitating an evening Bible study of Beth Moore's, "Children Of the Day".  I'm. So. Excited!!!! But that's another story, for another day.  :-)

Lord, thank You that Your timing is perfect.  Thank You that when we continue to wait on You, we have the assurance of Your hand guiding us. Thank You for the joy of knowing with certainty that we are walking in Your will and Your way.

Oh...and PS...yes, "Gideon" just happened to be on that pre-approved list! *smile*


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Friday, February 21, 2014

Winter Interlude 2014

Heading to the end of February, almost a sixth of the year gone, and here's my first post of 2014.  Life has been busy.  Let me catch you up.

January was filled with happy preparations as we anticipated the ladies Winter Interlude event at the church.  Being Women's Event's Ministries Coordinator, my days were spent planning, meeting and troubleshooting.  It was a time of great excitement as we had Sharon Glasgow, from Proverbs 31 Ministries coming to share 3 sessions around the Discipleship theme.  Sharon was staying at my home, and for the first time we had a guest in our newly renovated spare room.

The day before the event my team and I were at the church decorating and setting up when we suddenly heard the news, that due to a snowstorm in Chicago, Sharon's flight, scheduled to land here in just another 5 hours, was cancelled.  Momentary tears filled my eyes as I shared the news with my team, and we went straight to prayer.  After calling on the Lord to provide in some way, a dear friend serving alongside me suggested we then applaud and start praising God for the answer that was already on it's way.  Sure enough, about an hour later, I was talking with Sharon again and her flight had been rerouted and she was on her way.  (As an aside, God needed Sharon on another flight.  There was a gentleman who needed to hear about Jesus...but that's her story!)

The weekend was amazing!  The words that continue to be voiced from all who attended are "Spirit-filled".  From the time Sharon arrived until her too soon departure, she called us to a closer walk with the Lord, sharing personal stories as well as Biblical example.  Honestly, it was one of the most incredible encounters, not with Sharon (although...what a precious treasure), but with the Lord.  I loved how all the evaluation forms reflect that as well.  Although Sharon was loved by all, (the event was three weeks ago and I'm still continually hearing how everyone wants to have her return), God was loved more and all the responses share that the ladies met Jesus that day.

Musically we had Karlene Fletcher lead us into worship.  She is a gifted, humble musician with the voice of an angel whose countenance glows from an inner intimacy with the Lord.  Having auditioned for one of the "Idol" reality television shows, Karlene made progress through the process, but in the end was not chosen to be part of the program.  She sings for One and God used her that weekend to lead us to praise the Lord in spirit and in truth.

Our time together ended all too quickly, but it will be remembered forever.



Next time I will share how I met God as my "personal bravery" that day.  Praising Him for all He is doing in my life.
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Friday, December 6, 2013

A 12th Month Redemption

Good morning friends.

I was so blessed by this short devotional this morning I had to share it.

Whatever your memories so far this year, God is still able to redeem the time and bring blessing in such a miraculous way of reversal that His joy is what you recall from 2013.


video






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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Magnetic Hill

I always look for her every Sunday.  She sings in the choir and she is the happiest looking lady.  You have to notice her.  Others smile momentarily, but she glows.   The joy of the Lord radiates.  It's not a fake smile or one that forms upon recognition of someone in the congregation, it is birthed in Who's she is and all that Christ has done for her.

Recently I've heard or received several teachings about what being filled with Jesus looks like, or 'should' look like.  Those who know the Lord personally and intimately need to be going out of their way to celebrate the gift of Christ and His salvation.

Sitting at Tim Horton's last week, there were seven of us enjoying a time of friendship and fellowship.  There was laughter and sharing.  There was unmistakable joy.  Several times as I let my eyes wander to others sitting nearby, they were looking at us not in an annoying, be quiet kind of way, but in a longing, I wish I had that much fun kind of way.

My Pastor said last Sunday that Christianity should be a magnet.  We need to live Christianity lavishly in our communities.  Tozer writes that we need to deliberately encourage a desire of God.  Complacency is a foe.  Acute desire must be present.

Do you love coming to church and gathering with God's family?  Does your face show it?

Oh Lord, give us a holy longing and desire.  Birth a new freshness in our hearts.  May we be, as my Pastor said, gripped by the grandness of God's grace.  God's power on display in us can be breathtaking, captivating and inviting.

I don't know how many of you have ever visited Eastern Canada, but in Moncton, New Brunswick there is an attraction called "Magnetic Hill".  It's really a type of optical illusion.  When a car is placed in neutral at the base of the hill, it will begin to roll backwards, apparently uphill.  To observers it looks like the car is being drawn by an uncontrollable, magnetic force.

I was thinking last Sunday as my Pastor was sharing, that our church sits on a "hill".  Could we be our cities "Magnetic Hill"?  Could we become known as such a contagious collection of Christ-followers that others are drawn to come and check us out, desiring to see and know the Force that compels us?  In order for that to happen we need to put smiles on our faces and live with spectacular, radiant joy.

Can others really see Jesus in you today?

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