Before we begin Chapters 4& 5 today, I want to thank our dear friends at the Rise and Shine Women’s Retreat.  Our leadership team was able to travel to Cedar Falls this Fall to see Lysa speak.  This group shares a similar passion for ministering to women, and they did a great job at puttingg together their conference.  The Blog entries that you are seeing were written by Jill from their team.  She did a great job of writing, and was kind enough to give us permissiont o use her online blog summaries!  (And it’s a real treat – I’m not near as entertaining!)  Check them out at http://www.riseandshineretreat.blogspot.com/

Beyond Sunday Morning – Ch. 4

“When I decided to follow Christ, a shift took place in my life that rattled my soul in the best kind of way. I made a commitment to ‘clean up my act’ and ‘study the Bible.’ I had a checklist in my head that contained all the right and wrong things a Christian woman should do. And, boy, did I ever pursue trying to be a good Christian woman!” Lysa TerKeurst from “Becoming More than a Good Bible Study Girl”

Thank you once again for joining us, as we look at Chapter 4, “Beyond Sunday Morning.” Think about those words – beyond…Sunday…morning – they hit home for me! Beyond means lasting longer, going past, so ask yourself this question, “Do you desire your experience at church (worshipping your creator and being filled with His Spirit) to go beyond Sunday morning? I do, but experience tells me that won’t happen naturally!

No, in reality life happens and I’m tempted to blow it before we make it home (and we only live a couple miles from church!!) And the truth is little kids or not, what we receive Sunday morning will not sustain us for the week. Though God uses our Sunday morning experience, He doesn’t want it to – remember He wants a personal relationship with us and that requires spending time with Him!!

Like Lysa says, “we’ll never grow to our full potential unless we jump in and get serious about studying Scripture. There are three things we need to do when we read and study the Bible for ourselves: pray, discover the context, and read the passage phrase by phrase.”

She goes on to share about Paul, a man transformed into a passionate follower of Christ. One who “understood how to get beyond church just being a routine and into living every day totally sold out to God.”

Have you been transformed? How do you take church beyond Sunday morning? If you have children, how do you help your kids move past the “church routine?” Please do share, we can grow together as we hear from one another! Remember you don’t need a blog, simply click on comments and post anonymously – we look forward to hearing from you!

Rise and Shine friends and keep praying, “God, I ask now, and I’ll keep asking, that You give me a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so I can know you better. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened that I may know the hope to which you have called me, the riches of your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power for us who believe. In Jesus name, Amen”

Devotion Time Blues – Ch. 5

“Why is it so important to spend time with Jesus every day?” This is a question Lysa TerKeurst asks in chapter 5 of “Becoming More.” And today I challenge you to ask yourself this question…don’t just read it and quickly move on to the next paragraph, no I encourage you to really think about the answer. I believe if we do that we will be more likely to make the effort to spend time with Him.

Have you answered the question? Chances are your thoughts are a bit different than Lysa’s or mine or anyone else and that’s a good thing, remember Christ wants a personal relationship with YOU!! Now that you’ve formulated your response read on to hear Lysa’s…

“Because He will give us the exact instruction and comfort we need to handle all He sees coming our way–how to act and, even more challenging, how to react in every situation. When I take the time to meet with Jesus each morning, I am prepared to face life with much more peace than if I just rush into my day without Him.”

If I were to guess, I’d say your response was in a way similar to Lysa’s – we know starting our day with Him makes a difference! That is true, but yet why is it something that can be pushed to the side or at times becomes one more thing on our to do list?

Again another question that has endless answers – lack of time, too many interruptions, I can’t get up any earlier, I’m not knowledgeable enough, the excuses go on and on… I have to agree with Lysa, “we underestimate the power made available to us when we spend time with God.” And I love her encouraging words, “Remember, devotions don’t have to be perfect to be powerful and effective. Jesus wants a willing soul to come to HIM!”

Are you struggling with your devotions? Seek Him and He will answer. Have you struggled in the past? Would you share how He has helped you overcome? Remember you don’t need a blog to comment, just do so anonymously! And if your thoughts are longer leave a link to your blog, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

I’ll start…the close of this chapter was very powerful for me as Lysa focused on Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” Her words took me back to when I first heard her share this story nearly two years ago. Days later, her prayer, “teach me your way O Lord” became mine. And as I walked through a miscarriage He did just that. You can read more of my story here.

Friends we want you to know we are praying for each and everyone of you as we prepare for COMPEL 2011! Together let’s move past the devotion time blues so we can RISE and SHINE!! Blessings to you today!