Archive | March 2015

Inside Out

So excited to announce a new event: a five-week bible study on what it means to live as a new creation!  I lived most of my life as a slightly frustrated Christ-follower, feeling a great disconnect between who I was and who I was supposed to be.  This study is the result of months of seeking Him through His word so that I could connect the dots and discover who I am in Christ and what that means in my everyday life.  God’s greatest desire is that we come to know Who He is and who He made us through the precious sacrifice of His Son.

For more information click on the “Events” tab on the website http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

I’d love for you to join us!!

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The sweet spot

 

I like sports.  While I don’t follow much anymore other than our son’s baseball and granddaughter’s soccer teams, I do enjoy a good game.  My favorite is basketball.  I love the fast pace of the game and the incredible athleticism of the really good players.  There are many good players that have a particular place on the court from which the shot will most surely be successful.  It’s actually pretty amazing to watch them time after time hit the goal from that place.  It’s the sweet spot.  They know that if they can position themselves in the sweet spot, they will score.  Nothing builds a player’s confidence like hitting the goal over and over, so even in practice they will repeatedly shoot from that spot.  The team will work to get that player to the right spot because they know they all benefit.

The player loves the sweet spot. They love the game, they love the challenge, they love the other opportunities to participate in the play, but nothing compares to the sweet spot.  From this spot the shot is effortless and almost impossible to miss.  It feels as easy and natural as breathing.  The player has no doubts or fears of failure, even when the occasional miss occurs.  They still know it’s their spot.

We each have a sweet spot.  When we are there, things just seem to fall into place.  We are at our best doing what brings the deepest sense of fulfillment.  We are doing what we were destined to do.  We participate in many things in our lives that we do well and which bring a great sense of satisfaction, but nothing compares to the sweet spot.

Have you found your sweet spot?

God created each of us uniquely designed for His purposes.  He gave us differing talents and abilities and gifts in order to live full lives enjoying Him and positively affecting the lives of those around us.  So why do we struggle so in trying to find what He has for us?

Many of us have wandered through this world as His children without ever discovering what we have inherited from our Father.  Never knowing what He placed in us before we were ever born that would equip us to reach our greatest potential and find our deepest fulfillment this side of heaven.  Never learning how our personalities and temperaments come together with our gifts and talents to produce a full life and effective service.  Always feeling that something is missing.  Always searching for greater satisfaction.

Still unclear what I’m talking about?  Let me give you my story to help you understand…

There were two studies which played vital roles in discovering and accepting who I was:  Temperaments/Personalities and Spiritual Gifts.   In studying the four basic temperaments I learned why I am so direct, even to the point of being rude if I’m not careful.  Why I am often bossy and take charge even when not asked to do so. Why I am a hard worker with high, perfectionist expectations which can make it hard for others, and myself, to meet my standards.

Left with only that information, I would want to crawl in a hole and become a hermit in order to protect the general public!!  But the mentors I had helped to complete this study by showing me how to temper my God-given personality in order to become mature and developed, turning what could be weaknesses into great strengths.  Looking at it that way, I have endeavored to become a woman who is known to tell the truth, but with love; one willing to step up when leadership is needed; able to take on great tasks and complete them; and to relax my unrealistic expectations so that encouragement can flow in whatever is being undertaken.

In studying Romans 12 the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I have the gift of exhortation – the desire and ability to influence by words or advice; to strongly urge action.  Even before the study, I knew I had this compulsion to encourage people to go for more, especially when it concerned the things of God.  This gift has been in development for over 30 years now through many a bible study and Sunday school class I’ve taught.  God even led me into a professional sales career which provided more formal training as a speaker.  Getting a paycheck for doing what comes naturally and gives a great sense of fulfillment – THAT’s a sweet spot!!  Now I speak at retreats, bible studies, conferences – anywhere I am invited!!  And guess what I do?  Encourage others to go deeper in their spiritual lives, to be passionate about their relationship with God.

Last weekend was a great example.  When I spoke on Saturday to the precious ladies who braved the rain storms to be there, it was effortless.  It was like breathing.  I deviated from our workbook considerably, but knowing that God has developed this gift in me and that He will use it however He desires, there was no fear of failure, no worries that I would do the wrong thing.  At the end of the day I was satisfied and that deep sense of fulfillment washed over me, the confidence that I had done just what He wanted.  Was it perfect?  Not hardly.  (Let’s start with the fact that I had neglected to pack my belt and had to pull on my jeans all throughout the day….)  But I was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.  The sweet spot.

You must take the time with your Father to discover what He’s given you and yield to His plans of how He wants to lead and direct you.  Learn who you are, who He made you, how he gifted you and watch what happens.  You’ll find yourself more deeply fulfilled than you ever imagined.  Why am I writing this today?  Because if I can help you get in the right position, we all benefit.  You’ll be empowered, doing the very thing you were destined for, and we will be blessed by it.  Find your sweet spot.

 

The sweet spot” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

 

 

Two things

If you’ve been following the last few posts, you know that I’ve been cleaning house.  Literally and metaphorically. I’ve cleaned the mess in the corner that had been piling up, unboxed my framed photographs and hung them on the wall, and filled my Jeep to the max with things to donate to a local ministry/resale center; someone else can use the things I no longer need.  I’ve rearranged furniture and done the usual weekly household cleaning and despite the time it took and the sore muscles it produced, it feels good to have a clean house.  Things are simple again.

I shared with the ladies mentioned yesterday of a time when I was overwhelmed spiritually, frustrated that things were not going well and with all the knowledge I thought I had about God and Jesus and being a Christian, nothing seemed to be having an effect on my immediate circumstances.  There seemed to be a great chasm between all my knowledge and the application of those things in my life.  And I remember crying out to God…

What’s wrong?  I’ve been in church all my life, learned the bible stories, memorized the verses, attended the studies.  I’ve been faithful to serve.  But look at me!  My life’s a mess and somehow none of the stuff I’ve learned seems to make a difference.  I can’t seem to do any of it right any more.  It’s too much!”

Set it aside.  All that you know.”  He answered.

“What??  That can’t be right.”

I have two things I want you to do.  Can you do two things?

“But Lord, look at all the things I should be doing!  I should be studying more and praying more and teaching more and serving more and…”

Can you do two things?”  He patiently asked again.

“Yes, Lord, I can do two things.”

Number 1:  Love me.  Can you do that?

“Yes, of course, Lord!”

Number 2:  Tell others that I love them, too.  Can you do that?

With peace beginning to settle over me, I gladly answered “Yes, yes, Lord, I can do that!”

Kay, if you will do those two things, even if you never do anything else, I will welcome you in and say “Well done, My good and faithful servant*.

My heart melted with relief as I felt I fell into His arms, the heavy burden of living a good, Christian life that I was trying to carry was just made so simple that I was sure I could do it.  His mission for me had become easy and light**.  Since that time many years ago, I’ve gotten rid of some things I was taught about Him, kept some things, and accumulated more things.  My desire to know Him more is insatiable and if I’m not careful, I become over-committed and over-involved, and find myself too busy to do the basics.  However, in all of my seeking and learning, when the activity and accumulation become distractions, He gently reminds me:  “Keep it simple.  Two things.”

So if you are looking to simplify this Christian life and still know that He is pleased, love Him and tell others that He loves them, too.  Everything else can wait and will find its right place in your life.  And one day He will welcome you in, saying “Well done!”

*Matthew 25:21

**Matthew 11:30

 

Two things” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

Her again

I had the privilege of spending this past Saturday with a wonderful group of ladies in the Brenham, Texas area.  We spent the day together seeking Him and the balance He desires in our lives.  I know it’s wrong to talk about someone, particularly when we look at their lives and judge them, but we talked about her again. You know her, too, if you’ve been in church for much time at all, especially if you’ve studied anything about what it means to be a godly woman.  She is the woman of the bible that we love to hate…

*The Proverbs 31 woman:

o She does her husband only good as long as there is life within her.
o She shops for the materials for her work.
o She shops for the groceries.
o She rises while it’s still night to prepare her household for the day.
o She manages servants and delegates the chores.
o She’s prudent in accepting more responsibilities, not neglecting her current duties.
o She manages so well that with the time and strength she has left over, she gardens.
o She stays fit – spiritually, mentally, and physically.
o She assesses her work to see its value before God.
o She prays continually for her household, especially through times of trouble.
o She sews.
o She gives to the poor according to their need – body, mind, or spirit.
o She’s prepared her family for inclement weather by making them warm clothes.
o She decorates her house with homemade cushions, coverlets and tapestries.
o She wears nice clothes.
o She’s in sales – she makes garments and “leads others to buy them”.
o She delivers the garments she’s made.
o She’s happy about the future, knowing that her family is in readiness for it.
o She speaks in wisdom.
o She speaks in kindness.
o She isn’t idle.
o She doesn’t gossip.
o She is content.
o She doesn’t engage in self-pity.
o She reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord.

Seriously, God?? She’s described as virtuous, noble, capable, and excellent. These are not typically the words that come to our minds when we think of ourselves. If we are not guarding our hearts, the enemy will use these words to condemn us, to cause us to see an image that is acceptable to God but impossible for us to achieve. Impossible goals defeat us immediately and blind us to our potential to be all that God has called us to be.

The key to this woman’s success is in the last attribute listed: She reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord. She recognizes and acknowledges that she is incapable of accomplishing anything without Him. He directs her steps. He leads her as she listens to Him. Everything she was able to do began with her worship. This is the foundation for every area of our lives.

I believe that the list above was a culmination of all the many accomplishments this wonderful woman had achieved over her lifetime.  Not in one week, one month, or even one year.  That it was written not as a checklist against which we are to measure our abilities, but a testimony of what God can do with a woman who worships.

We seek to please Him with our lives, to be used by Him for His glory, to have an impact on our world. Yet we find ourselves struggling to know His will for us.  It is found in our worship.  Not the corporate worship we experience when we gather together but rather in that still, alone time with Him when He is our sole focus.  It is here that His will becomes clear.  His only desire is that we simply do what He tells us to do.  Nothing more impresses Him.  Nothing less satisfies Him.  It is here that we find the strength to step out into the unknown with the confidence that He is directing our steps.  It is here that we hear Him and truly discover our purpose: to know Him.

*An excerpt from “unCluttered” A Workshop of Order and Balance by Kay Stinnett

Her again” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

But why?

Any parent or grandparent vividly remembers this stage of their child’s or grandchild’s life – the incessant asking of the same question over and over and over:  “But why?”  Rarely was a simple answer sufficient for such a child.  One answer seemed only to fuel the fire to know more, even when their maturity level had not caught up with their insatiable curiosity.  Most of us reach the point of exasperation after a while and simply answer “because I said so” or “you won’t understand” or perhaps, as my husband did when his children were young, “no more questions after lunch”.  Our adult patience wears out long before we exhaust our knowledge of the matters that concern little ones.

My thoughts today piggy back those of yesterday as I clean what remains in my messy spiritual corner.  In the rummaging through various things I’ve collected, I’ve come across this notion that we should not ask God “why?”  My mind immediately goes to Isaiah 55:8…

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.

As God’s ways are so infinitely above our own, it must be that we can never understand.  I believe that to be true about many, many things, for we will be learning who He is and of His ways throughout all eternity.  But I also believe He is a big enough God that our questions do not frustrate and exasperate Him and that He desires to answer them even now, before heaven.  Some of the answers we may not fully understand as our maturity has not caught up with our curiosity.  But He speaks.  He answers.  He gives understanding at the right time.  Psalm 119 is replete with David’s desire to learn God’s ways and his confident expectation that God would grant his requests!

I lived many years of my life knowing that He lived in me, but in reality He was a resident stranger.  I was a child who lived in the constant presence of my Father, believing that to ask Him “why” He did or did not do anything was to insult His sovereignty, and that even if I did ask and He answered, I would not understand.  How this grieved His heart!

Jesus changed forever the relationship man could have with God.  He chose to dwell in us, not to be in hiding but to be known.  Paul wrote to the church of Ephesus his desire and prayer…

…that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God – may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!    Ephesians 3:19b

…and to the Corinthians…

…But we have the mind of Christ and do hold the thoughts of His heart.  1 Corinthians 2:16b

He chose not only to indwell me but to make it possible for me to experience a rich measure of His presence – so that I can be wholly filled with Him!  The more I set my mind on Him, the more the more attuned I become to His voice.  I consider Him in all my ways, give Him all my efforts and He directs my thoughts to line up with His.  Then comes understanding.  I have been invited to come before Him boldly, fearlessly, and ask.  I can ask all the “why” questions I want with a great expectation that He will answer me.  And don’t have to stop at lunch time.     🙂

 

But why?” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com

 

 

 

The mess in the corner

The new house is about 85% in order.  I’ve gotten most things in place, see some things that I plan to rearrange, and have a few things that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with yet.  Those things are stacked in a corner.  Funny thing about these kinds of stacks, they seem to take on a life of their own.  They grow. Whatever I come across that I don’t know what to do with right at that moment goes into the stack in the corner.  What started out as a few boxes neatly organized and awaiting my attention has turned into a bit of a mess.  For the most part, I already know what the boxes contain.  However, I’m sure there will also be discovery of things long forgotten.  And while I haven’t yet tackled the time-consuming project this will surely be, I am already mentally re-evaluating the importance of the things that are there and making my lists of what I will keep and what I will not.

I dislike things being messy.  It frustrates me.  I like neatness and order along with sunshine and rainbows, none of which are indefinitely sustainable.  Sigh.  And while we are basically settled in, the reality is that these things are just not the priority.  Other things need my attention more.  I will get to this mess sooner or later and when I do I will keep some things, store some things, and very likely toss some things in the trash.  I most likely will struggle with some of this process, desiring to hold to things simply because I’ve had them so long even though I have no place for them now.   Things that once seemed so very important to keep may be the very things I need to get rid of.  It’s a new season in my life and my perspective on quite a few things has changed.

As Christians we tend to think that the “mess” we may have in the corners of our lives is usually a sin problem.  No doubt, sin does tend to take on a life of its own when not cleaned up.  But what do we do when the mess in the corner is our spiritual lives?  Perhaps the doctrines and theology and teachings and sermons that we’ve heard  through the years of attending multitudes of church services and bible studies and Sunday schools and revivals have accumulated and we’ve been diligent to hang on to every one of them until one day we realize that we’ve got a stack of spiritual stuff that clutters our souls and has become quite a mess and a source of frustration.

There have been times in my life when I had to take everything I thought I knew about God and what it meant to be a Christian and put them aside.  As a whole, it all just looked like a big mess.  Knowing that I would come back to them and examine each one to determine if it was a keeper or something that needed to be tossed, it was time to get my priorities straight.  I had lost sight of the simplicity of this love relationship with my Father and the accumulation of things I thought I knew or believed I was supposed to “do” had become more important than He.

I have spent a lifetime with a great number of wonderfully godly people.  Pastors and teachers, leaders, mentors, and friends who influenced my life and stirred my passion to pursue Him more.  They endeavored to impart to me the wisdom and knowledge gleaned from their years as a Christ-follower.  They gave to me the best they knew how.  But that doesn’t mean it was all right for me, especially these many years later.  I’m not talking about rejecting the truth that lay at the foundation of their beliefs, but rather the way that truth was and is to be lived out in my own personal relationship with God.

It can be an uncomfortable process, this spiritual house cleaning, but perhaps it’s time.  Maybe you, too, have felt the frustration of not knowing what to do with all that you have learned.  This frustration can be a prompt to examine our beliefs one by one and see if we truly know what we believe and why we believe it.  To weigh and measure each thing by His word and if it holds up as truth, to find the right place for it in this temple we are made to be, this house of Grace.

 

Holding on

While not an avid swimmer, I enjoy the water.  I swim well enough to be unafraid of drowning, but should you be the one who is need of assistance to prevent that very thing, it is likely we will go down together despite the valiant effort I will surely make to save you.  Through the years “going swimming” primarily has been a combination of food, friends, tanning lotion (before the days of sunblock…), and horseplay that has taken place near a pool or natural body of water.  Living in the country, we were more often at a pond or the river with a small boat and various flotation devices that could be pulled behind said boat.

My first experience at riding a tube behind the boat was both exhilarating and frightening.  Now, this was not what you may have in mind as one of the nice, decorative tubes purchased nowadays for such adventures – you know, the ones with handles to grip and a safety “bottom” in the tube.  No.  This was an actual inner tube formerly used in an actual tire that at sometime had been on an actual vehicle.  There were no handles and there was most certainly a hole all the way through, just like a donut.  We tied a rope around the tube, slipped our hands around the rope and took off, employing the use of every muscle in our bodies toward the effort to keep balanced on the tube.  Like I said, it was great fun!!

And yes, it was fun, until a few minutes into my first gleeful ride I realized that I could not pull my hands out no matter how hard I tried. Once the rope grew taut, it had pinned my hands between it and the tube, my knuckles sunk deep into the rubber.  Keeping my balance atop the tube went from a fun challenge to becoming necessary for my survival.  I will never forget the fear that gripped me when I realized I was bound to this tube for the duration of the ride, no one in the boat able to hear my panicked screams that it was time to stop.  The only good thing about the remaining minutes of this treacherous skimming of the waters was that by the time it ended, I had devised just the right handle that we would use for all future rides.  One that would allow us to let go at any time.  As soon as installed, the tube once again became something to be enjoyed rather than feared.

I graduated from the inner tube to the knee board and we purchased the right kind of rope, one with a handle on the end. The rope was exactly what we needed.  I loved the jumps, the speed, and especially the turns when I would go wide and fast.  I had more than a few spills with these thrills, but never any that left me injured.  I never really worried about getting hurt and took a few chances in trying new things, knowing all the while that I could let go of the rope whenever I wanted.

I was always perplexed by those this simple truth seemed to escape.  I watched numerous people as they began to learn to knee board or ski, and was continually dumbfounded by those who would tumble into the water and refuse to let go of the rope.  Ok, maybe dumbfounded isn’t the correct word as I’m quite sure I let loose a good laugh a time or two and ridiculed those who were my friends more than a few times.  All in good fun, of course.  But it seems so simple: Let go of the rope before the boat drowns you in its wake.

Perhaps my first tubing experience is what seared this truth in my brain, and others may not have had such an effective lesson in what to do when you take a tumble in the water.  I suppose the rope provides a certain security.  But one would think that letting go would be automatic.  Let go of the thing that is pulling you down and making it difficult to breathe.  Loose your hands from the thing that is causing you to strain every muscle just to hold on.  Let go.

Alas, I find that this is me.  How many times in life have I struggled to hold on to the very thing that was dragging me down?  How many times have I found myself struggling to breathe, frustrated that things aren’t working like they are supposed to, or like the did in the past?  Just like those newbies to the water sports, I’ve been a slow learner in this learning to let go.

 

Holding on” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com