I learned something from my dog, Rivers, this morning…well, really from God but through my dog.  We were out on our morning walk and I kept doing as I always do, nudging her to keep walking and she did as she always does, kept right on sniffing areas for way too long in my opinion!  This time, though, I was reminded of the fact that she hadn’t been out on a walk for several days due to rain so I was trying to be a little more sympathetic and give her a few more seconds of sniffing pleasure.
 
That’s when it happened…I felt my Lord saying to me, “Why the rush? Rivers isn’t rushing and what do you have pressing that requires so much rushing through this time?  Enjoy this.”
 
WOW!  How many times do I have to be reminded to just stop rushing?!  I KNOW this but I don’t act on it.  I know that there are not people that say on their death beds that they wished they had rushed through life just a little more.  NO…truth be told we probably all need to stop rushing through life and “stop to smell the roses” (to use an old adage).  img_0627
 
Sometimes, too, we will be able to hear the Lord speaking a little more clearly.  As I was just reminded at beachCHURCH this past Sunday through our pastor, Todd, God doesn’t speak with a loud, thunderous voice.  He speaks in a gentle whisper.
 
Thank You, Lord, for using Rivers to show me how to enjoy moments You give us.  Thank You for helping me to see that time already flies so fast that I don’t need to miss it.  Help us all to let up on the leash just a little bit and allow You to speak into our busyness, allow You to help us enjoy life just a little more.  Thank You for loving us even when we’re rushing and loving us too much to let us stay content in the rat race.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

The other day I was getting ready in our bathroom and I “felt” the Lord speak to me…

I have always been a person who wanted to do things ‘by myself.’  My family always kidded me, “Oh don’t try to help Kristi open that jar.  She wants to do it by herself!”  It’s true.  I wanted to open the jar, the can, the whatever, by myself.  I guess, in this way, I wanted to be independent.  I wanted to feel the accomplishment.  I wanted to be proud of what I could do alone.  I’ve always looked as this personality trait as a plus, something I was kinda proud of, something that meant I would always give everything to try my best.  I still think it can be a positive trait; however, as I felt God speak to me the other day, I started to think of it in a different way…

I have a daughter who is the same as I was (am) in this.  Sidney wants to do everything ‘by herself.’  She wants to be independent when she wants to be independent, if you know what I mean.  I’ve told her many times over the years that she’s just like me.  Lately, though, I have seen Sidney not wanting to ask for help, even from the Lord.  She seems to think she doesn’t need to ask for help.
Maybe I was thinking about this the other day or maybe God just needed to tell me while I was in one place doing one thing, brushing my teeth.  He impressed on my heart that even though I’d always wanted to do things myself, He never created us to be alone.  He created us to be in community, to need others…most importantly, to need Him.
WOW!  I had never thought of my need to do things ‘by myself’ as a form of pride…until then.  I had never thought of my need to not ask for help as something that was keeping me from allowing others the privilege of helping someone…until then.  Until then, I had prided myself in the fact that I had always wanted to do things, sometimes over and over again, with no one’s help, mind you!  God spoke, though.  He told me it’s okay for me, and Sidney, and you, to want to try to do things on our own.  It’s okay to even try to do them over and over again, as long as we know that we know that we know we need others, most importantly, our Lord and Savior, to help when we struggle.
We were not made to be alone.  In Genesis 2, God even said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”
We were not made to be alone.
We need each other.
Let’s help each other.
Let’s let others help us.


REST

Rest.  What a seemingly simple word.  It is only four letters.  But, oh, the implications it can have on a life that actually does it!
My husband, Russell, will often say to me, “Sit down…rest.”  There’s that word again.  It’s sometimes, (I’m being a little too easy on myself), it’s often difficult for me to sit down and rest.  We homeschool our children, Will and Sidney, and this year is the first of many years to come of a lot more to do.  Me and our 2 amazing kidsWill is in eighth grade and Sidney is in third grade.  Their workloads are only increasing from here.  So, as I write this, I am looking back on yesterday – a Saturday that we were actually home and not out on the road doing ministry.  I had a terrible day because I couldn’t seem to rest. There’s that word again!
Saturdays, in my mind, were meant for catching up on the things you couldn’t get done during the week.  Well, because I homeschool, I had laundry, tons of emails to go through and send, and just the normal cleaning.  What I needed more than anything, though, was to rest.  There’s that…you get the picture.
Jesus had a few things to say about resting.  He tells us to come to Him, all who are weary and burdened and He will give us rest.  He says our souls will find rest.  He told His apostles to come away to a quiet and desolate place and rest a while because there were so many people needing them that they hadn’t even had a chance to eat!  We are to “be still and know that He is God.”  We are to rest.
I have to realize…it’s okay to rest.  Our bodies are designed to rest.  We can’t function properly without it.  Sometimes we just need a day, or even a few hours, doing things that instill joy into our lives:  playing games with our kids, watching a movie, or just napping or taking a long bath.  Maybe you haven’t just sat quietly and waited for the Lord to speak.  Tell yourself, “It’s okay to rest!”  Say it with me, “It’s okay to rest!”  One more time, “It’s okay to rest!”
Now, I wonder if your family will notice?  I think they will.  I think mine will.  When we’re rested, we can hear The Holy Spirit’s voice louder, easier. We can feel the joy that He intended for us.  I think our Heavenly Father will smile as we take time rest.
Now, can you count how many times I used the word REST?  Oh stop it…go rest!!
Kristi 🙂 

The End or the Beginning?

I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the school year.  As a homeschool family, school is just a part of our lives…everyday, all day, we’re thinking of ways this or that can be educational.  When you think of it, everything can somehow turn into a learning experience. That’s one of the cool things about traveling like we do with our music ministry.  We can take the kids with us on a lot of the trips and they get to learn on the go…

Ft. Caswell Conference Center - Oak Island, NC

More than a chance to learn on the go is the opportunity to spend so much time with our kids.  They grow up so fast – we all know.  Homeschooling has given us a chance to connect on a different level.  As parents, we are their first teachers.  We teach them how to walk, talk, and be with others.  We hope they see in us Christ’s love.  We teach them how to show that love to each other and hopefully, as they grow, they will show it to those around them, even those who are much different than they are.
As I said earlier, I can’t believe the end of this year is almost here.  I’ll have an eighth grader and a third grader!  How did that happen!!  I’ll be glad it’s over but also, I’ll be a little sad.  I really enjoy schooling our children – as aggravating as it can get sometimes.  I enjoy seeing them learn and ‘get it’ for the first time.  I enjoy seeing Will, our oldest, teach Sidney, his younger sister – being so patient with her.  There are many things I love that I’ll miss for a while.  But the good thing is…we’re always learning and we’re always teaching.
So even though the school year is coming to an end and summer’s getting ready to begin, school – or learning – will continue, hopefully, for a lifetime!

I recently received an email that took me by surprise in a very good way…IMG_0058

“Greetings from Canada. Last spring, my wife and kids were vacationing in Myrtle Beach and arrived very late, and somewhat dejected, one Sunday morning just in time to hear the sermon and your singing of “Hope Now” at Beach Church.

We had just left another church across town where we were turned away at the door because our kids did not want to go to the kids’ ministry. Weird experience. In any case, your singing that day was a welcome healing balm for my family. And I just soaked in the presence of our God as you sang. Thank-you for being His instrument.

I’ve had other such spiritual experiences at churches far away, often without giving thanks to the people involved. I want to change that. To our God all our praise is due, but his hands and feet need a pat on the back every now and then too, for being open to his moving.

So thank-you, and God Bless. We serve such a great God.

Barry – from Canada”

You never know what people are going through. So whatever you do, however you serve, remember that God can use you as a tool in His hands – to breathe hope, peace, love, and healing into someone’s life. People everywhere need to know the Hope that is Christ. Today, let Him use you in His most capable hands to do what only He can do in the lives of others. Who knows, someone from another country, or from the next cubicle, just might need His touch through you.

Russell and Kristi unleash their sixth studio album, No Other Name, today – April 30th 2013!thumb

For their sixth studio album, Russell and Kristi have invested more of themselves into this project than any one preceding – and it shows. Described as “the best album yet,” No Other Name has a feel of definite worship and awe of our Creator.  Each song in the collection was carefully crafted or selected around the central theme of worship for the creator God of the universe. From beginning to end, the album examines our purpose for living – to worship God – and the many facets of God and his unending love.

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This highly anticipated album was sparked by the popularity of the previously recorded song ‘No Other Name’. A last minute addition to the 2009 release, ‘Heart Revolution’, ‘No Other Name’ quickly became a favorite at every event where Russell and Kristi led worship.

IMG_0709The entire project was recorded in the couple’s home studio, warmly nicknamed “The Swamp,” and was produced and engineered by Russell.The duo enlisted the support of their band – Mark Stanley (guitars), Doug Sturgill (bass) and James Poindexter (drums).

Russell and Kristi continue to travel sharing their music and the Hope of Christ as they lead people in worship. Their goal is to encourage the Church (God’s vehicle for redemption through Jesus Christ) and to make Him known. They have shared the stage with dozens of today’s top Christian artists and they share the conviction that God has put them together to share Christ with others through music. Russell and Kristi have also recently founded Adore Marriage, a non-profit organization to strengthen and encourage marriages and families. Get to know them for yourself and you will see that they are a match made in heaven, through their music, their marriage and their ministry.

You can find R&K’s new CD at any of the following:
www.russellandkristi.com
iTunes
GooglePlay
Amazon
CdBaby