life beyond the well…


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Covered.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. –1 Peter 4:8

I don’t wear it often, but I refuse to give it away. You see, with our Florida winters, there’s only a short window of time where it’s cold enough to warrant a heavy overcoat. But between the few weeks of a year where I find myself reaching for my heavy coats and the possibility of returning home to NC (traveling to any place warmer than Florida) when it’s winter, I believe it’s reason enough for me to keep them.

I probably SHOULD give it away.  It doesn’t fit as well as it used to, and I have more than one overcoat. But beyond commonsense reasoning, I keep this overcoat because she gave it to me; and while it physically covers me, it’s a reminder of how God will cover you–and will send people into your life to do the same.

When I was in graduate school, the Lord sent me to a church not far from campus. The pastor was young and engaging, and as a result; the demographics of the church were changing to include many college and graduate students. Though there were some pain points as I grew to learn and understand the church and it’s members, my time there was one of significant personal growth.  I will always cherish the time I spent there, and the people that I met.

She is one of the people that I met. Tall in stature, beautiful and elegant, incredibly smart, wonderfully transparent.  She shared wisdom with me, but also her life- mistakes and missteps, lessons that she’s learned, what she would do again if she could, and what she might never do again.  She shared herself.  We’ve lived hundreds of miles apart for almost 10 years now, but I still consider her to be one of the best gifts that God gave me.

When we met, I was a functional hot mess. I knew how to do school, but I was still figuring out how to do life (as an adult, living away from my family for the first time). And at a point where I was struggling to manage all the things, she swooped in and covered me. With love, she corrected me and covered me as I walked through a very difficult time of my life.  I am better because of her.

And so, I struggle to part with the coat because it’s more than a coat- it’s a physical representation of how God sent someone to my life to help cover me with love, grace, and mercy as I grew into who He called me to be. Though there are miles and years between then and now, I am so grateful that God loved me enough to send me her way AND that she was willing to invest her time, talent, treasure, and testimony into me.

I pray that I recognize the opportunity to do as she did for me, that I share my time, talent, treasure, and testimony with someone who needs it and that I lovingly cover them with grace and mercy to help them overcome their situations. To God be the glory.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings.

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Updates: Higher Definition Church

So, the last time I really talked about Higher Definition Church, was in this post, when we were 5 days away from launch…and that was 7 or 8 weeks ago.

We launched!

It was awesome.

Seriously, we successfully launched the church on March 15, 2015, and have been moving forward since.  Preacherman and I are so excited about how God is working in us and through us.  Every Sunday since launch, we have had people accept Jesus or rededicate their life to Him.  To God be the glory for things He has done.

A couple of things- you can access the podcasts to each of the messages through Preacherman’s website.  I encourage you to check it out, and share with others.  Because I love you so much, I’ve linked the messages below.  They’re good. For real, for real.

And- would you pray for us? It is our true desire to leave a footprint for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.  Pray for God’s guidance, for people to join us in this endeavor, for our families, for the families of those who have already partnered with us.  Pray for the city of Jacksonville- that hearts will continue to be open and receptive to the work that we have been led to do here.

Finally- connect with us! You can catch us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

I am so grateful for your love, encouragement, and support…and when you’re in Jacksonville, I look forward to you joining us at church!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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5 Days Away…

…from the launch of

HD LOGO BLUE LONG

Wow.

To God be the glory.

We are so excited.  Please partner with us in prayer this week as we prepare for the launch.  We are believing God for an awesome worship experience; that lives will be touched and changed and we will begin to have an impact for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 


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Shop for a Cause: Higher Definition Church

Last week, I was blessed to host a Stella & Dot Jewelry Party as a fundraiser for the church Preacherman and I will be launching in 2015.  Generally, hosting parties is slightly outside of my comfort zone, but I was excited to welcome some new friends into our home and to invite them to help us launch Higher Definition Church.

I’m excited to extend that same invitation to you.  Until January 8, 2015, you can shop the online trunk show, and a portion of the sales will be donated to Higher Definition Church.  While it may be a little late for Christmas shopping, it’s a great opportunity to get an early start for Valentine’s Day!  Also, if you know someone who has a birthday early into the new year (like my mom, who has a birthday on New Year’s Day), you can go ahead and knock out that present as well!  There are a ton of pieces I love- scarfs, necklaces, bracelets, bags– I wish I could make it all mine!

I’m so grateful for Laura, the Stella & Dot stylist (who is also a member of our launch team), for offering to put this together for our church!

Peace and Blessings!


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Giving Tuesday: Higher Definition Church

As we round out this “weekend” of shopping and spending (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday), we arrive on “Giving Tuesday” which is a global celebration of giving back.

On this “Giving Tuesday”, I ask that you consider donating to Higher Definition Church, the church plant that Preacherman and I, with our team, will launch in March 2015.  Your generous donation will help us to impact lives for the Kingdom of God across the city of Jacksonville, as we teach that there is no greater definition that one can have than being a child of God.

You may donate online here.  We are so excited about how God is working and the lives that will be changed as a result of His work in us and through us.

Peace and Blessings!


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31- I Know A God

And just like that, another year has passed.  Today, I turn 31.

I don’t really know what to do with 31.  I think that after 25, you just have the big celebrations for the years that are multiples of 5.  So…that means I have a few years to get ready for 35.

But what do I do with 31?

I feel really blessed and really grateful.  That has everything and nothing to do with my birthday at the same time.  But as I reflect on this year, what it has meant for Preacherman and our family, I think of this song, written by our friend Jordan.  Here are the lyrics:

“I just wanna sing about His glory.  I just wanna speak to you about how mighty He is.  I just wanna praise Him because He’s worthy.  I just want to live according to His will…Words can’t express my God and His ways. I give You all of the glory and praise.  Your name above all other names.  Your name above all names.  I know a God who reigns over everything, won’t change when everything around me does.  My faithful God loves me more than anything when I haven’t done anything to deserve His love…”

If there’s anything that I’m confident in, it is that I know this God of whom my friend sings so beautifully and passionately.  And I’m so grateful for His steadfast love and faithfulness.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

A Birthday Request:  This year will be huge for Preacherman and our family, as we prepare to launch Higher Definition Church.  We are committed to changing lives and hearts for God across the city of Jacksonville, but we need your help!  Please remember us in prayer as we branch out to do the work that we have been called to do.  Please also consider donating to help us meet our fundraising goal!  We are extremely grateful for your love and support!


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Book Review: The God-First Life

Every now and then, I read a book and it’s just like “Wow”.  That’s the feeling I had after completing Stovall Weems’ latest book “The God-First Life.”

I have been all too guilty of putting things, desires, and aspirations in a higher place than God, hoping that because God loves me, He will bless those things, desires, and aspirations.  In his book, Weems breaks down that logic with biblical truths, focusing on this verse:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The book addresses important concepts that are sometimes overlooked as well, such as the value of having a strong community around you, understanding your place in God’s family, and how to gain freedom from your past so that you can move forward.

I loved that this book was not overly complicated or heavily weighted with theological ideas.  Not to say that those are bad, but sometimes what I need most is a simple reminder of what is most important.  As I transition into a new season, and become even more busy with church-planting activities, my job, and my dissertation, I can see myself referring back to the simple truths that Weems presents in this book.

I would recommend this for those who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ in a simple, non-complicated way.  Though I received this book for free, I have already purchased two additional copies to gift to others because I believe that the message is important and timely.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


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One Step Closer: Higher Definition Church

I’ve been waiting all year to write this post, and I’m so excited to finally do so!

Last July, under the direction of God, Preacherman and I packed our belongings and moved to Jacksonville, Florida to fully the pursue the calling that He has given us: planting a church.

Since we’ve been here, we’ve been working and wrestling, praying and believing, and slowly making progress towards that goal.  While we are still a ways out from our launch date in 2015, we have our website set up!

This morning, Preacherman shared these thoughts on his blog, which explain the essence of Higher Definition Church:

If there is anything on earth that I want to be remembered for, it is that I did my best to show people the truth of who God is and the truth of who they are in Him. With that mind, within the next year, I’ll be leading a team in the launch of Higher Definition Church, here in Jacksonville, Florida! I’ve been told that sharing your vision is a way to make you accountable for it, so here I sit, typing away at the computer in my home, sharing with you that God has sold me on a vision to live a life based on a higher definition…God’s design for our lives.

God allowed me to try and live a life in which I prided myself in my accomplishments, economic status, relationships, organizational affiliations, and many other things. He allowed me to do so in a way that showed me that everything in life that we think makes us who we are is insufficient and unnecessary. He showed me that when all those things failed to provide me with enough validation or foundation in life, that He was still there, and He was more than enough!

So, God’s plan for my life is to share that message…to share that embracing how God defines us is the most fulfilling choice a person can make. But I can’t stop there; the mission is to teach the truth, develop people’s understanding and application of it, and release them to do the same. In other words, “be fruitful and multiply”. That is exactly what I intend to do, with God as my strength and my witness. Higher Definition Church will be used to bring life to the First Coast and beyond.

Please check out www.hdjax.com to learn more about the vision and how you can help!  We appreciate your prayers and support!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!