Posts Tagged ‘The Lewis House’

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!

Read Full Post »

So, here I sit, pondering bravery.  What does it truly mean to be brave?  I have greatly enjoyed reading every devotional from those who have shared.  As I read them, I say all too often, “yep, me too.”  There always seems to be a little nugget I take away.  Morning after morning, I sit here, listening to my children clicking away on their computers while they work on school.  I listen to my mom busily cleaning.  I listen to the giggles of Nisa Faith and her daddy playing, and I ask myself once again, “What does it mean to be brave?  Who are my heroes of faith?”  Each day has been a different answer, and a different way their actions were brave.  But when I look at each one, one thing I see they have in common.  They are human.  Yep, that’s it.  They are imperfect humans.  [Well, I can do that, correctly? :)]
Today, I think of Beth Moore.  If you have never heard or read her story about the hairbrush, it truly is one you should Google. (I will also post it in the FB BGB group).  It is an amazing act of bravery.  But what I love the most about the story is how incredibly human she was in it.  I think so often, we raise people up much higher than they should be.  Many times, I have felt people do that to me.  We look up to them and he/she seems to have it all together.  Wanna know something?  No one truly has it all together.  We are all walking a road.  No one walks their roads perfectly.  None, but Jesus.

 

I shared in my last blog about my struggle with fear.  Paralyzing fear at times that robbed me of peace.  As I read my own words, something hit me… flashes of brave moments throughout my life came pouring through.  Girls, I think it is time to stop getting hung up by our human moments.  We need to start looking through God glasses and start accepting what He says we are. So many of us can go through this long list of how we are not brave,  but being brave doesn’t mean we don’t have fear.  We are brave while being afraid and doing “it” anyway.

 

Last February, I had gone through one of my most difficult rounds of chemo.  I was extremely sick, truly wondering if I would live to see another day. Would my husband ever kiss my forehead? Would I have another deep talk with my teenagers? Would I be here to kiss the hurt away for my preteen? Would my newborn baby have me as her mother?  I remember lying in bed, crying out in my heart for God to help me.  I thought about Jesus calming the sea in Mark: “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Mark 4:37-39

 

I begged God to calm my sea… then I remembered another story… much like this one only with a twist: Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them:“Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Matthew 14:22-32

 

Did you see it? Jesus called Peter out of the boat with the waves crashing around him. Jesus did not calm the sea first. When they climbed back into the boat; that is when the wind died down.  Jesus touched my heart saying I am the God who will calm your sea, but I am also the God who will have you step out in your storm.  This was a moment that Jesus encouraged my heart to be brave.  He may calm your storm or He may call you out of the boat with the waves crashing around you, but regardless, He is always there to catch you.

 

Allana Guidry: Urban Missionary at The Lewis House in Toledo, Ohio. Attends Compelled Church.  Three Passions:  Teaching children praise dance, Teen Outreach and sharing the Truth about God’s love for us with all who will listen.  (Facebook)

Read Full Post »

This is our first Newsletter since the closing of The Lewis House.  Below is a link to the PDF version with live links for donations and contacts.

GuidryOH4-14

 

GuidryOH4-14AGuidryOH4-14B

 

Read Full Post »

Change is a part of the Christian walk.  Some change is sudden and some change comes slowly.  Last Friday our whole world changed but our hearts did not.  As The Lewis House website is no more I wanted to post this here.  The Lewis House is gone, a sudden death, and our lives have been turned upside down since this was recorded but our heart of ministry continues unchanged, building the Kingdom of God one relationship at a time…

 

 

Read Full Post »

I have been looking over my posts over the past couple of years and a couple of them stand out so I thought that I would throw them out there again. This post has become so much more meaningful over the past year as Allana and I have walked through the storm of Leukemia and a bone marrow transplant.  It also connects nicely with my series on perseverance because at its core persevering as a Christian IS walking in the miraculous.  When we truly “remain under” Christ Jesus as the covering for our lives the miraculous is bound to show its face.  “Open the eyes of my heart Lord” the popular song refrains.  Open my eyes to see Your miraculous hand in and around my life everyday!

 

Walking in the Miraculous

“So then does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:5

Perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of this new life that God has called me to at The Lewis House is one that I should have had in my Christian life regardless of my profession.  It is one that I am still learning to embrace because (unlike my beautiful wife) I am a bit too logical in my make up and a big part of me want to live on the basis of logical observation instead of spiritual expectation.  God is teaching me to walk in the miraculous.

When we truly hear the Gospel with faith there should be an expectation of the miraculous.  It is part of the package.  This is not a mystical toy store or the ability to bend God’s power to our will for our happiness.  It is simply expecting God to act in my life and then walking out my faith and getting to watch Him moving and working in an around me.  The cool thing is that the miraculous looks a little different every time.  I think that one of the mistake that we often make is when something miraculous happens in our lives we run around expecting that very same thing to happen over and over or even just one more time.  This may be in part to our desire to control the miraculous.  Humanity has always had an inherent fear of the things that we cannot control.  Better to have a god who responds to our requests exactly the same way all of the time, speaking into our lives in the ways that we want Him too (as opposed to in ways that sanctify us, ever conforming us closer and closer to the mind of Christ).

The author of Hebrews reveals the purpose of the miraculous.  “…how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”  Hebrews 2:3-4  It confirms to us our salvation.  This approximates Paul’s statement in Galatians that we already looked.

The other amazing thing is that God will not be put in a box.  Sometimes we mistake the fact that he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow for the fact that we will be able to manipulate and predict his actions in our lives.  This error is revealed in Isaiah, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways, My ways,’ declares the Lord.  ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways And my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9  Does this mean that we just drift along being pushed here and there by a capricious God?  Not at all!  We cry out our needs, concerns, suffering and desires to God and the open our spiritual eyes wide and watch Him work.  It will be amazing, and often in ways that we least expect.

Read Full Post »

What a wonderful week!  It started off a little rough, Nisa was not feeling well but she came around just in time for us to make the trip to the Assembly of God Fine Arts Festival for the Michigan District held in Lansing.  While it was great to be able to watch so many teens on fire for God and sharing their talents, it was even more wonderful to see Allana blossom this week.  It was really about two weeks ago that she seemed to make a real breakthrough but she really shined this weekend.  Even after the busy two days of Fine Arts she was up and ready to go to hear Dustin Reed bring a great word at Compelled Church and then share a wonderful evening of fellowship and vision with CityLight Church!  I am so thankful for God’s miraculous hand in all the events of the past year and a half.  I am so thankful for God’s gift of Perseverance during this difficult time in our lives.  However as we look at this Biblical concept a little more closely it becomes clear that God does not just provide Perseverance for the tough times.  This gift needs to be a core characteristic of every Christian.

Peter in his second recorded epistle links this quality to our participation in the divine nature of God!  Everyone appreciates getting gifts but how special it is when one receives a gift that extends from the very nature of the giver.  So many gifts are gifts of obligation but when the gift proceeds from the heart and represents the very being of the giver it becomes that much more special.

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord ; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:2-7, the bold is mine)  

Even more important this gift is one that is critical to the transformation process that Life in Christ Jesus brings.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

But we all, with unveiled facebeholding as in a mirror the glory of theLord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to gloryjust as from the Lord, the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 3:18

It is only when we persevere, remaining “under” Jesus Christ that the wonderful transformation into His Spiritual image can take place.  While it is a gift from God perseverance also requires intentionality from the recipient.  It is a gift that only functions when the recipient is fully focused on the giver.  Kyle Idleman tells us that idols are created when gifts from God become more important than the giver (gods at war).  This is what happens when perseverance becomes completely focused on the events of our life (usually the negative ones) and not on Jesus Christ.

For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.  Psalm 63:7

Don’t wait for disaster to strike to rest in the shadow of His wings.  The more we remain there, the more we will experience the joy of true perseverance.

 

Read Full Post »

“Now may the God who gives Perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus”

 Romans 15:5

I have been thinking a lot about perseverance lately.  I had the privilege of being a guest of YESFM and Tommy Briggs to share a week of devotionals called The Morning Munch.  This word perseverance kept rolling through my mind as I looked to prepare for this time of sharing.  After this year of walking with Allana through the treatment protocols for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia it seemed like an appropriate topic.  After all the keynote verses about perseverance that we all know are found in Romans 5.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.  And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Unfortunately it seems that too often an exploration of perseverance stops with this idea of suffering and that they are forever linked as cause and effect.  This important quality of Life in Christ deserves a closer look.  The Bible has a lot to say about perseverance.  The word most often translated as perseverance, endurance or steadfastness is the Greek word Hupomone.  As with so many Greek words (and English too I might add) it is a combination of two roots, Upo and Meno.

UPO- about, under

MENO- abide, remain, stay, continue to be, survive, held or kept continually

Breaking it down and putting it back together again brings us to this idea of remaining under or about something.  Often it seems that this idea is taken to mean remaining under the problems and trials that life brings.  When asked about a trial going on in one’s life “We are persevering!” seems the easy answer.  We may not use that word anymore but when we distill down all the answers we give and all the advice that is coming in it comes down to abiding under the trial until its end.  The problem with this view of perseverance is that it is focused on the trial, the trouble, the problem, not on our amazing God who is the ultimate solution.  Hupomone  is not about “super-moaning” through life as we bounce from trial to trial.  Biblical perseverance encompasses Romans 8:37 “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through him who loved us.”

The source of perseverance tells us a lot about it’s characteristics.  Our title verse makes it clear where perseverance come’s from.

Now may the God who gives perseverance…”

Biblical perseverance is first and foremost a gift from God.  This is one of those gifts that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:11

“If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him.”

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »