Posts Tagged ‘Ministry’

This Update appears permanently on the “What’s up with the Guidry’s Page”

May 2016 Update

So what have the Guidry’s been up to??

This has been a year of returning to ministry!  God has blessed Allana with a relatively smooth recovery.  We are learning to work with a new “normal”.  She does get frustrated that she cannot do many of the things that she used to do, or at least at the pace and in the volume that she was used to pre-Leukemia.  Summer of 2015 Allana and Sami helped run a summer program for the children of Five Points at Calvary United Methodist church along with Pastor Elizabeth Rand.  Pastor Rand has become a wonderful partner in ministry.  We ran two more ministry sessions at Calvary for children in the YMCA daycare hosted there.  The first was a Christmas play.  It was such a blessing to watch most of children participating go from absolutely unaware of the truth of Christmas to experts on the story of the birth of the Savior of the world.  It was 10 weeks of scripture, fellowship, music and just loving on the children.  The second session was a pantomime survey of the teachings of Jesus.  Originally set in 6 vignettes of His life we doubled the number of children participating in the weekly program.  Even though many of them did not take part in the actual performance it was wonderful to expand their knowledge of Jesus Christ and repeat time after time the Gospel message right through the resurrection.  Sadly this will be our last program at Calvary United Methodist.  The church will be closing in June.  Pray for us as we pursue new partnerships to continue instilling the Gospel in the hearts and minds of the children of Toledo.

Allana’s Facebook ministry for women, True Beauty has continued to grow.  It now consists of 3 groups and 60 women.  Late in 2015 Allana led the women through a 90 day spiritual, emotional and physical challenge/devotional series.  Allana was blessed with several opportunities for face to face meetings with some of the ladies.  A new addition is a group that focuses on the greater Toledo area.  The True Beauty website launched in April and in July True Beauty is holding their first Women’s Conference, Never Alone.  It will be at the Toledo Campus of Compelled Church in Holland Ohio on McCord Rd.  We are very excited about all that God is doing in the lives of True Beauty women.

Cherry Street Mission Ministries continues to be the main focus of Sam’s time.  He moved from part-time to full-time in the summer of 2015.  His work on events has given him the opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life and all Christian faith traditions.  It has been an exciting time as Cherry Street is in a time of rapid change and development.  Keep Sam, the leadership, the staff and the guests of Cherry Street in prayer as God leads them into a new tradition of growth and discipleship.

The children are all growing like weeds.  Sami if finishing up her freshman year in high school and is the tallest in the family.  She is looking forward to a summer mission trip and to Senior High Camp.  Robert returns from Korea in August much to the relief of his fiancé and will be stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.  Chayla is our quiet one.  She is a rabid reader and enjoys time online with her horse-loving friends.  We are looking forward to being grand parents for a second time as my oldest John and his wife Julie are expecting their second child in October.

Goals for this year are to incorporate and attain non-profit status for Fan Into Flame Ministries.  Under the Fan Into Flame umbrella True Beauty, a men’s ministry (potentially called Hupomone Men) and our work with children.  The common thread in all of these is that we seek to have those we serve fulfill 2 Timothy 1:6 in their lives.

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This is from Allana’s Blog.  The link is on this page but I thought I would copy it here because this content is awesome even outside of the framework of what she is doing with True Beauty.

I did want to spin it a little bit for those of you who are ministry leaders.  I think sometimes Church and Ministry leadership push people into weariness because there are spots to fill and initiatives to undertake.  Brothers and sisters in Christ who fall into one of these categories get pushed or even just “encouraged” into taking on ministry that they shouldn’t.  Are spots being filled in ministry done with a “sigh of relief” or with real prayerful consideration.  There is NO position worth filling at the cost of a person’s Spiritual Health and relationship with God!

Blessings,

Sam

Saying that you are weary in ministry almost sound taboo! But, let’s face it; I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t become weary in ministry at one time or another. If you are in ministry and this has never happened to you, I would love to know your secret, as I have also faced this weariness.


Looking back over my life, I see a few different reasons why I became weary. I also see my flaw of giving up and what I should have done differently. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes, or perhaps you have faced the same types of things happening in your own life and it may help you know what to do from here.


1. Drained from insecurity


October 2003, we got connected with a young couple who was planting a church in Pontiac, Michigan. After a couple weeks, Bobby approached me and asked if I would lead worship for the church. I accepted; however, we didn’t have a band, and I didn’t know how to play an instrument, so I sang with a CD. At first it was really no big deal. There were less than 10 of us in the church, so for me it was like singing at my mom’s bible studies. As the church grew, however; so did my insecurity. I had an okay voice, I could usually sing on key, but I wasn’t professionally trained. I seriously started doubting myself. A lot of it came when I sang for a little while with a woman who was a serious power house singer. She wanted and felt that she should be the worship leader, because she had been musically trained. Bobby felt that I needed to stay as the worship leader, because I had a heart for worship. I will never forgot what he said, “Having a heart for worship outshines talent any day.” I tried to take courage in his words, but when the woman left the church because of it, my heart sank. As we added more and more people to the worship team, I felt smaller and smaller. I literally cried all the way to church begging God to help me to just focus on Him through worship. But, then I would cry all the way home, because of all the flaws in myself that I could see. It was pure torture! I was a mess. I was so insecure and overly sensitive that I let everything rock my boat, and if someone else didn’t do it I would stand in my own canoe and rock it myself. I left hurt and completely empty.


I am once again singing on our worship team. My first week back I was extremely insecure, but God is showing me something: a heart of worship truly is what He wants. If God is calling you to something that challenges your insecurity, just rest at His feet. He will give you what you need. I no longer dread singing; in fact, I enjoy it and can’t wait until the next month when I get to sing again. God is good!


2. Drained because you are in ministry for the wrong reasons
There have been many times that I have gotten busy in ministry that uplifts me. I feel the rush of acceptance when people compliment what I have done or am doing. I pour my time and energy in places that I feel encouragement. I will be transparent with you, there are times that I will pour into friends and others who need me because I don’t feel needed, wanted, accepted, or appreciated at home. Why did I love to greet? Because you get to smile at someone and usually have them smile back at you. It’s rewarding. Doing laundry, doing dishes, and cleaning the bathroom are not really rewarding. They are repeat-it jobs. The result is as soon as you clean it, someone will need those jobs to be done again within moments. These house chores can make you feel weary. “Ugh, Nisa, I just put all those blocks away a second ago.” “Robert, I just mopped the floor, don’t walk in here with your muddy shoes.” Oh yeah, I’m a mom. We cannot push our family to the side because we don’t feel rewarded there. We cannot strive to do more for an away from the home type of ministry than we do at home because we get rewarded by feeling accepted and appreciated. Our ministry starts in the home. And we need to stop seeing doing the dishes, laundry, or the vacuuming as a drag, but as something God has called us to do. Last week I talked a little bit of Martha and how sometimes the dishes can wait while we need to snuggle our child instead. However, there needs to be a balance there. Those of us who are moms and wives are called to be homemakers. Snuggling with your baby is important, but you can’t just do that all day. I learned a very valuable lesson. It was about four years into our marriage and we went to a church where they were talking about marriage. I will never forget what the pastor said, “You need to hear how your partner says, ‘I love you,’ and you need to learn how to say, ‘I love you,’ in a way that your partner can hear it. One is as important as the other.” I left that message completely changed as a wife. I learned that Sam working so hard is his way of saying, “I love you,” when I use to read it as, “I can’t stand being home with you. I would rather be at work.” And I realized that Sam hears, “I love you,” when I take the time to cook a good meal and make sure the house is tidied up when he walks in the door. Do I ever get drained from pouring myself at home? Of course! I human and am, therefore, selfish! I would rather hang out on FB than make sure Nisa’s toys are picked up for the hundredth time that day. But, I am finding it easier to experience joy in what God has called me to do, and being okay with receiving HIS acceptance instead of needing it from someone else. This is huge!


3. Drained from pouring out in too many places


All of these go hand in hand for me. When I feel insecure, I jump into any ministry that I am certain that I can get a pat on the back. I also typically throw myself into way too many places of ministry. Sometimes when I am running away from my chaos, I find that I become too busy. Seems like an oxymoron, but it’s true for me. In 2010, I was dealing with my anger with God over everything I had lost, but I was also dealing with resurfacing memories of pain and abuse that I hadn’t yet healed from. I felt overloaded inside. So, I got involved in everything. By the time that 2011 came around we were busy every single day. On Monday Nights, Sam and I were youth leaders, so we drove Emily, Robert, two other friends, and ourselves 30 minutes to church for youth group. We stayed late and helped set the church back up, causing us to not get back home until almost 10:00 p.m. On Tuesday nights, we drove almost an hour to The Lewis House to go to their prayer nights around the community. On Wednesday nights, we drove the 30 minutes for shine practice and church that night. On Thursday nights, we drove the hour to The Lewis House for their community dinner outreach. On Friday nights, we drove back to The Lewis House for their church service, where we watched the kids of those who came to the service. On Saturday nights, we drove the 30 minutes to church for their Saturday night service. At this point, I was leading children’s worship almost every Saturday night. For many Sunday mornings during 2011, I led children’s worship for two services. We were also leading the youth group Outreach program and filling in when needed. Once a month, we were greeters and I was on the adult worship team. Having my fingers in too many areas of ministry, I was beyond weary. It was a lot. By the end of 2011, we had moved into The Lewis House, and had dropped a lot of the extra ministries at church. I also gave myself time to heal during this time from what I had been through emotionally over the previous two years.


4. Drained from doing things you aren’t really called to do


I am finding it is very important to make sure you are being called to a ministry before just stepping into it. I am currently in this position. I have become very weary of where I have been placed, because I neglected to ask God if this particular ministry opportunity is for me. I wanted to be back in ministry, reaching out, to be back doing what I was doing before, or at least getting started there. I jumped back into being a “yes” person, and I really need to stop saying yes before taking time to pray about it. You know, sometimes I find that my prayer is, “Lord, if I am supposed to do this, please open the door.” Sigh, I am finding that sometimes that door opens, but I still am not supposed to walk through it. So here I am learning this lesson again. This goes with everything in life, not just ministry. I believe our society is becoming increasingly busy with life; school, work, church, kid, and family obligations. When does it end? Take a look at your calendar. Does it overwhelm you? What can you cut out? As we have been decluttering our houses, I think it is also time to start decluttering our lives. I am thankful for George and Sarah Williams, the directors of The Lewis House, (when it was still going). They made us commit to having one day off from ministry to spend with our family, and to having one date night every other week. They went so far as to giving us date night cards so that we could do that. Let’s not just be constant “yes” people. What time are we stealing from our families? Are we not protecting them by allowing them to fill up their calendars too? Do some soul searching with God.


5. Drained from fighting God’s plans


This is my recent lesson.
When The Lewis House closed April 2014, my heart was broken. I was just starting to feel better and I was ready to get back to it. I missed interacting with our neighborhood, ministering with kids at the after school program we ran, dancing with the girls that would come two days a week, and randomly inviting our neighbors to dinner. I was ready, or, at least I felt I was ready. When Sam and I prayed for months for direction and God having had lain on our hearts that we were supposed to move again, I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to close this chapter of my heartbeat. It still brings me to tears when thinking about it.


I felt guilty for being so sad. God moved us to a beautiful home that was small, but much easier to take care of, and yet my heart felt weary. I was longing for the past and becoming angry about my present. But, I realized God needs me exactly where I am right now. I’m not out of ministry, it just looks different. I thought I was becoming weary because I wasn’t doing what I wanted to, but really I was becoming weary because I was not accepting what God had called me to do.


Oh, it is a learning curve for me! I struggle with saying no to the things that I want to do. But, I am finding that as I let go of my insecurity and find my security at His feet, I am no longer weary. My weariness vanishes when: I don’t jump into anything because I need man’s approval, but thrive on what God is saying to my heart; when I keep my calendar as empty as possible and focus on what is truly important; and when I really pray about what I am supposed to be involved in, instead of just jumping into things because they sound good. I don’t grow tired. I am able to serve my family, which is my very first place of ministry. And, most importantly, when you pour yourself into God’s word, dwell in His presence, and focus on His truths you are continuously being renewed!

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Yes FM Morning Munch

January 6th

Audio File 

Fan Into Flame, Fire Building

 

It is the sixth day of January, the year is no longer quite new.  If the statistics mean anything New Year’s resolutions are already beginning to fall by the wayside.  Yesterday we talked about Paul’s New Year’s resolution for Timothy.  “Fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”   I believe two things about this statement: 1. Paul was bringing Timothy back to the moment of his conversion, to the moment when he first felt that overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in his life 2. The frustrations and struggles of this new church’s leader reflected a larger struggle within the church itself.  This is the same church that Jesus himself would address through the Apostle John in Revelation

 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:4-5)

The language is different but the message is the same.  That intimate, powerful burning relationship that you had with the Holy Spirit at the beginning of your walk with God, rekindle that flame.  And why do we want to rekindle that flame, because it is the flame of a Spirit of Power, a Spirit of Love a Spirit of Self-discipline.  It is the Spirit that dwells in those who have been adopted as sons and daughters of the Living God.  It is the Spirit that came upon the Judges of Israel fulfilling the promises of God.  Othniel, Sampson and Gideon all defended Israel by its power against overwhelming odds.  Gideon is one of my favorite stories in Judges.  Here is a man that was hiding in a pit when God spoke to him but when the Spirit of the Lord came upon him he (somewhat reluctantly) kindled that spark into a flame that would save his people and do it in such a way that God’s hand in it could be seen by all.  As wonderful and amazing as all of those stories are, the really thrilling thing for us as brothers and sisters in Christ is that it is no longer a matter of the Spirit coming upon us, God has given us this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit entering into us as a an ever present source of power, love and self-discipline.

Paul, always the systematic writer, doesn’t just leave us hanging with this call to rekindle God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Join me as over the next few days we take a look at Paul’s Guide to Spiritual Fire Building in difficult times.

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Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.  God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 John 4:7-12

 

Someone that I have come to know a little and respect a lot recently said this to me. “You don’t know how to be well loved.”  As I absorbed this statement its truth resounded, echoing in my heart and mind.  Some time has passed since this discussion and the Holy Spirit has brought this statement to me again and again.  That gently nagging voice in my heart that tells me it is time to “grow up  in every way into Him” (Ephesians 4:15) a little more.

Our Christian world is full of songs, sermons and teaching that God loves us and that we should love others.  However many of us miss the corollary that should be implicit and perhaps explicit in the consideration of God’s love.  Not only must we learn and be transformed into creatures that love well.  We must also learn and be transformed into creatures that are well-loved.  One might think that this is easy and requires no effort but the reality is that this may be even more difficult than loving others.  It requires a tremendous amount of vulnerability.  In fact it requires complete vulnerability to God.  Absolute surrender is integral to the competency of being well-loved.  It is amazing how tightly we will hold on to compartments of our life, locking them away from God’s loving and merciful view.  Given this propensity to wall God out it ceases to be amazing that we keep His people, those called to love us as He does, at arm’s length.  We deal in platitudes.  We segregate our lives.  Love me in the sanctuary, pray for me there, lay hands on me, pat my back and say “love ya brother”, but don’t reach into my life; into my real need.

Satan whispers in our ear that being well-loved is just being needy, being weak.  He whispers that we don’t deserve it anyways, that we must strive harder, do more, be better before we can open ourselves up to being well-loved.  Some of us just have absolutely no idea what  being well-loved means.  As I considered this topic I felt drawn to two biblical characters, Peter and John.  Peter loved well, he loved with passion, with energy, with action.  Peter believed in his love for Jesus more than he believed in Jesus’ (hence God’s) love for him.  Don’t get me wrong, Peter’s passionate love for Jesus is a great example to us all and even though it landed Peter in hot water more than once it also energized him to Spiritual insight and action when others were frozen in fear or indecision.

It always puzzled me that John referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved.  It seems a little egotistical as a major theme in the Gospel.  What is the message?  Did Jesus play favorites?  Does God love some of us more than others?  I think that this lesson of learning to be well-loved is a framework that we can set over this idiosyncrasy of John’s Gospel and draw a real Spiritual lesson.  John understood what it meant to be well-loved first by God and by his brother’s and sisters in Christ.  “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us”.  “Beloved since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another”.  I find it no coincidence that the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, the disciple who understood and practiced being well-loved was at the foot of the Cross with Mary the Mother of Jesus, while the other disciples were cowering in fear.  “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”  1 John 4:18

Teleios, the Greek word translated “perfect” here actually has the connotation of complete, mature or full-grown.  The person who understands Teleios love understands how to be well-loved, first by God and then by brothers and sisters in Christ.  It is out of this understanding that loving well grows into it fullness and the circle of Teleios love is complete.  I am here to tell you that the Spiritual discipline (and I believe it is exactly that) of being well-loved is not easy.  The chasms of pride and entitlement drop off on each side of this narrow path.  It is only through the transforming, maturing power of the Holy Spirit (often working through the words and deeds of God’s people) that we can walk the trail of being well-loved.

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1 Chronicles 28:20
Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act ; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.

 

God is moving in the lives of the Guidry Family!  Allana is regaining her strength.  God’s healing touch has been so apparent in this process.  Even as the little things come and go attempting to distract us from His Call on our lives the Holy Spirit speaks in so many ways.  We are on the brink of big changes.  Being the A type personality that I am, I would much prefer to plan out and know exactly what those changes will entail but I have found that this is not God’s plan for my life.

Solomon was also facing big changes.  David was nearing the end of his life.  One might think that Solomon was super excited about becoming king…maybe you should go back and read about the events that occurred throughout his childhood.  On top of the great responsibility (and danger) that came with being King of Israel, his father was publicly saddling him with the monumental task of building the Temple, complete with design plans direct from God.  God was moving in Solomon’s life.  David knew the waves that are created when God moves and so he gives this fatherly advice to his son, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God is with you.  He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished.”

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.  Just as the word of the Lord to David gave Solomon the blueprint, the guide to building His temple, Scripture provides us the guide for the work that He has given us.  “Be strong and courageous”, why do we need this advice?  Because though we have the guide the details and the work in progress.  The storms of life, the shortages of supplies, the delays, as Solomon performed his service of the house of the Lord I am sure that he experienced all of these. “for the LORD God, my God is with you.  He will not fail you nor forsake you…”  This is the assurance of success.  This is the assurance that ” I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)

Pray for us.

God is moving.  The path He is moving us on is not entirely clear yet but he has been calling us to specifically to Strength and Courage and to the service of His House.  We are so blessed by all of you who have supported us in so many ways.  As God moves His ministry for us forward we look forward to partnering with all of you until “the service of the house of the LORD is finished.”

Blessings,

Sam

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What an amazing day this was!

Learning To Fly

Welcome to our life party 🙂

Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with us – make sure to watch the videos, who knows.. you may see yourself

To others who want the full experience, hopefully this will help you get a feel for what our celebration was all about. I want to encourage you to watch every video in the order they are posted… they build on each other to show our life and our journey through the great, through the trails… Thank you for taking the time to share in our day even from your personal computer ❤

Those who don’t have the time to walk through this day with us, you can just view the pictures as you scroll down.

Life Party Getting Ready Set up, worship practice and getting ready for The Life Party to begin

Everyone Watching The Amazed Video (which is below) – Sam and I…

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The Long Haul

I wanted to first thank God for providing the wonderful opportunity to speak at The Patient Experience Summit hosted by The Cleveland Clinic last week.  It was an amazing event in so many ways.  It did throw us back a week on our look at Daniel as a Hupomone man but we will pick it today.  Click here if you want to go back and read the first post in this series.

What are the characteristics of someone who stays in it for the long haul with God?  Specifically what can we see in Daniel’s life that contributed to the fact that he outlasted kings and empires?  The first thing that we are going to look at is hope.  Even though the word is never used in the text of Daniel, his hope in God shine’s through.  Consider this prayer of thanks after God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in chapter 2:

20Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs ; He removes kings and establishes kings ; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.  “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things ; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him.  “To You, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For You have given me wisdom and power ; Even now You have made known to me what we requested of You, For You have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Daniel makes it clear to Nebuchadnezzar who is the revealer of mysteries, not Daniel, but God.  “However there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days.” Daniel 2:28  This must have seemed very strange to the king who was used to all of his wise men, magicians and sorcerers trumpeting their own skills of wisdom and divination.  Here was a young man who gave all the credit to his God.  Daniel not only held God as his personal hope, he proclaimed God to be the hope of all men.  Daniel stood with Peter in his faith and hope.  “…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”  1 Peter 3:15  Daniel’s gentleness and reverence in the proclamation of his hope is perhaps without parallel in Scripture.  There is no sense of derision or haughtiness in any of his dealings with his pagan bosses.  He is a great example to us in all of our dealings with both our fellow believers and those who have not found Jesus as their Lord and Savior.    Consider Daniel’s plea with Nebuchadnezzar to change his ways, “Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you:  break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.”  Daniel 4:27  The fact that the king did not accept Daniel’s plea is irrelevant to Daniel’s faith.  Daniel acted on the hope that was within him.  The seed of truth planted, God acts and in the end the king proclaims, “Now I Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride” Daniel 4:37

It is with this hope that Daniel walked bravely into the lion’s den.  It is a hope that he shared with his friends who walked bravely into the furnace.  It is a hope manifested both in the miraculous and the mundane.  It is a hope that does not rely on events or circumstances, “If it be so, our god whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.  But eve if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”  Daniel 3:17-18.  Paul held this hope even as he walked a path that he knew led to death, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul walked the Hupomone path to martyrdom, giving his life.  Daniel also walked the Hupomone path giving his life for the hope that he held in God.  In human terms they had very different ends but before God each of them lived the life of perseverance that He seeks for all who call on His name.

 

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