Tag Archives: Kelly Minter

More First Year Reflections

I spent the morning at Middle School Schedule pickup.  It was an amazing reminder of how far God has brought me in the last year.  This time last year, two somewhat timid middle schoolers and their very nervous mom stood in long lines and filled out forms, knowing no one, missing old friends and unsure of what our new community and new school would hold.

Today we spent the entire morning at the school confidently talking to other nervous parents and new students about their schedules and what a great experience the last year had been for us.

As I continue to reflect back on this last year, I see God’s hand working in our lives almost everywhere.  My goal this year is to continue to remain disciplined to staying as close to God as possible.  But even the simple distractions of everyday life can pull me away from that.  The house is not clean enough, the bills need to be paid, pick up the drycleaning and the kids and make sure dinner is planned. My personal goal of training for a half marathon has required hours a week of walking and running.  And then there is social networking (which I really need to give up this year) and blogging, which I love.  It is my creative outlet.

The fun part about blogging is that I have absolutely no idea who reads what I write.  I don’t pay for the sophisticated tracking programs, so my blog stats just come in the form of numbers.  40 views.  That means 40 page views, not even unique visits.  Occasionally, someone will send comment or a note and it usually surprises me to find out who is actually reading what I write.  I was also surprised to look back on my year to find out I had posted almost 50 blogs since last August.  Granted some of them were just reposts of the good writing of others, but it has been a rewarding experience to write through all the things that God is doing in my life.  And my prayer is that He also uses this blog to touch the lives of others along the way.

This past year I’ve read some great books:

Character Makeover by Katie Brazelton

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

Primal:  A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would by Pete Wilson

Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

The Real Deal: Becoming More Authentic in Life and Leadership by Dan Webster

For someone who has not picked up a book for pleasure reading since college, I have really enjoyed the renewed love of reading God has given me this year.

As for the next year, I want to leave it flexible enough to be open to what God holds.  And for those of you who know about my addiction to volunteering, I have done better in Florida.  I am serving as president of the Band Parents Organization as well as teaching at church (an 8th girls Lifegroup (otherwise known as Sunday School) and a class of 3 year olds on Sunday mornings).  Luckily, our church has 7 services, so teaching 2 hours still give me a chance to attend any one of the other 5 and not working 40-60 hours a week, gives me plenty of time to rest up.

My books on the “to read” list for this year include:

Love at Last Sight: Thirty Days to Grow and Deepen Your Closest Relationships by Kerry and Chris Shook

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible by Steve Furtick

Water into Wine: Hope for the Miraculous in the Struggle of the Mundane by Kelly Minter

At least one other Francine Rivers novel

At least one book by Andy Stanley

Increasing Your Personal Impact by Dan Webster

I have a few other personal goals for the year that involve spending time with my family traveling, continuing to enjoy my long walks/runs, yoga classes and making it to Costa Rica at least three times this year to help support the work of the Brook Ministries (http://www.thebrookministries.org/).  I just love the work that they are doing for pastors in both the US and South America.

This year has been a year of regaining perspective.  Sometimes we work so hard and so long (often driven by the examples we’ve had set for us by others for most of our lives) that we lose perspective of the life that God has for us.  It has been such a blessing to have this last year to regain at least some of that perspective.  I imagine that it will take many more years of focused time with God to get even close to where He wants me to be, but I have to admit that it has been an enriching journey.

Frisco has been tough to let go of.  Much tougher than I anticipated.  I loved my life and my friends in Texas and often when old work or community projects surface that I was incredibly passionate about, I get pretty emotional about not being able to be there to help “steer the ship.”  But I am learning (slowly) that I need to let go of the old and trust that God is in control and He is much more capable then I am of taking care of all the projects and friends that He gave me such a heart for in the first place.

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Ruth: Love, Loss and Legacy — by Kelly Minter

I just finished this Bible Study and it was an awesome one!  There were a few quotes that I had saved on my computer to blog about, but I never got to them.  But I didn’t want to lose these thoughts, so I share them below as thoughts for your morning.

Obedience to God is often wrought with a slew of obstacles that persuade us to change our minds.  I used to think that my choice to obey in any given situation was a one-time decision, but now I realize that obedience might mean having to make that same choice several times a week, a month or a year.   – Kelly Minter, Ruth, p. 24

I don’t think that Ruth’s or Joseph’s determined obedience had much to do with will power at all, and to think so only encourages us to live by our own strength and self-righteousness.

(In these stories] we simply cannot miss the fact that …obedience stems from their commitment to God.  This is an enormous truth that will sustain us through times of temptation and trial that urge us to forsake the path that we are on.  We won’t be able to last if our motivation is based on anything but our relationship with God.  …only a love for Christ will sustain a long term commitment to obedience.  Kelly Minter, Ruth, p.25

For more information on this Bible Study as well as Kelly’s other works, please visit her website.  (http://www.kellyminter.com)

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Giving our lives

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:24

I’m deep into Kelly Minter’s new Bible Study of Ruth.  Kelly does a wonderful job of comparing Boaz and his sacrifice for Ruth to God and his sacrifice for us.  On page 132 of her the Bible Study book, Ruth: Loss, Love and Legacy, she shares this thought.

You may be laying your life down for your children or maybe for your husband. Perhaps you’re about to get married or enter an altogether new level of self-sacrifice.  Or maybe you’re single and you’re giving your life to friendships, family and ministries.  Maybe you’ve been asked to take care of your parents, or you’ve taken in a family member or you’ve adopted a child.  All I know is that laying down our lives for others, for the sake of Jesus, is never wasted.  No matter how quiet, how humble, how thankless, God is making a name for you — one that will last an eternity.

Prayer, Father today may we be more concerned with pleasing you than pleasing ourselves or others around us.  May we focus on your small still voice instead of the other voices that tend to be screaming for our attention and affection.  May we lay it all down, for the heart of Heaven!  (from “More of Him, Less of Me,” a blog posting by Dan Gould)

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No Other Gods: Women’s Conference at CBG

Monday night was my first Women’s Conference at Church by the Glades.  The speaker was Kelly Minter, who had a recently published Bible Study and book called “No Other Gods:  Confronting our Modern-Day Idols.”  On Monday night, Kelly spent about an hour sharing the story of Leah and Rachel from Genesis 29 and 30.  I’ve grown up in church and heard this story more times than I can remember, but always told from Jacob’s perspective.  Kelly shared this story from the perspective of Leah and Rachel.  As the Bible tells us, Jacob wanted to marry Rachel and agreed to work for her father for 7 years for the right to do so.  When the time came for the marriage, dad “slipped in” Leah (the older and probably less beautiful daughter) as the bride.  When Jacob discovered the switch, he was already married to Leah, so feeling cheated he goes back to their father and makes another appeal for Rachel.  Dad says ok, in exchange for another 7 years of labor, he can have both Leah and Rachel.

As the Bible says, Rachel was clearly the more desired wife by Jacob.  But her womb was barren and she was unable to produce children.   Leah on the other hand, had no problem.  The Bible spells it out like this:

When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. (29:31)

After giving birth to Jacob’s first son, Leah says:  The Lord has noticed my misery, now surely my husband will love me. (29:32)

And she gave birth to a second and a third son and Leah said:  “…surely my husband will feel affection for me since I have given him three sons. (29:34)

The story continues on until Leah eventually gives birth to 6 sons and after the last one, she says:  “…surely my husband will treat me with respect.” (30:20)

While Leah was Jacob’s first wife as the story goes, she was not loved by him.  And as her life continued and her hopes for love were not fulfilled, her expectations decreased each time.  Her final hope was that her husband would at least treat her with respect.  How often do we down grade our expectations with the hopes of getting at least something of what we want?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rachel was truly loved by Jacob, but she was barren and did not conceive children, which made her very angry.  Her words to Jacob in Chapter 30, verse 1 are “Give me children, or I’ll die!”  And when this does not work, she gives her handmaiden to Jacob to conceive children, so that through her handmaiden she could have a family, too.  (30:4)   As the story continues on, Rachel sees her handmaiden’s children as her own and thus God has given her the family that she has always wanted.

Kelly draws some interesting perspectives here in relation to our study on things we worship.  Things or people or relationships that become our “gods.”  What is it that we treasure so much, that it becomes so important in our lives that it gets in the way of our relationship with the one true God?

For Leah, it was Jacob’s love and affection.  Something she didn’t have and may have never obtained.  You can see her desperation for it throughout the story in Genesis 29 and 30.  No matter how hard she worked or how many children she produced for him, at the end, she was merely hoping to obtain his “respect.”  What she failed to realize is that God’s love and affection for her was more than Jacob’s love could ever give her, but for Leah, she was so focused on Jacob (and earthly love) that she was too blind to see the love God had for her.

For Rachel, it was a family.  She already had what Leah longed for…the affection of her husband.  But the “idol” that she “worshipped” was the desire to have a family, her own children.  And when she could not produce a child of her own, she decided to alter God’s plan and provide her handmaiden to produce a family for her.

This point that Kelly made really brought things home for me.  How often does God ask us to wait, or tell us no to something that is not in His plan for our lives? And how often do we use our personal resources to alter the course of that plan and obtain it anyway?  What idols/things/desires are in my life, that are keeping me from the perfect will of God?

Maybe it’s the perfect house, or the perfect job or the perfect relationship with someone who we might consider the perfect person.  But what if God has a different and better plan?  Are we willing to set aside our desires to trust His better plan for us?  Or will we charge ahead with our own skills and resources to fulfill the desires of our hearts?

Kelly brought us to Matthew to see the end of Rachel and Leah’s story.  The lineage of Jesus as found in Matthew 1:1 came through the line of Judah (the son of Leah).  While Jacob’s desire and love may have been for Rachel, God used Leah’s marriage to Jacob to give birth to Judah and as you read through Matthew 1, an ancestor of Jesus.  While it may not have been Jacob’s plan, his marriage to Leah may have been God’s perfect plan after all.

Note:  These thoughts and views are my reflections (and remembrances) of Kelly’s time with us and how God used her words in my life.  If you’d like to find more out about Kelly’s ministry, please go to her website at: http://www.kellyminter.com/

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