Monday, June 29, 2015

Lasting Ministry

Recently my husband and I were back “home” in TN with my family.  While there I was discussing my parent’s church with my mom.  She mentioned how it was still doing really well.  Now, if you have followed my blog,  you will know that, nine months ago, their pastor passed away from cancer.

It had been a horrible shock to the congregation, yet it brought everyone closer together and closer to God. The amazing thing about it all, was that the people still went about their ministries and still did what they were previously doing.  Why? .…because Pastor Tom pointed them to Jesus.

You see Pastor Tom was an encourager.  People would have burdens for particular areas of ministry and he would encourage them in it.  He didn’t micro-manage what they did, and he didn’t make it so that they depended on him. In fact, all sorts of people have ministries inside and outside the church--in the prison and to the homeless, bus routes to poor neighborhoods and so on, not because it is organized by the church, but because they simply have a burden to do so. 

…and so a year later, those ministries are still going on and doing well.

The late Pastor Tom pointed them in the right direction (toward dependence on God) and they went and "did".

So mentors, teachers, parents, and friends, what can we learn from this man?

Don’t just spoon-feed them the Word, teach them how to feed themselves.  Teach them how to study the Bible

Encourage them in their burdens. Give them direction if need it but allow them to do the work.  Encourage them to take steps and then step back.

Pray! They will need a lot of direction, but not always from you. They need to learn how to hear from God--pray that they will.

Point them to Him, teach them to take those first few steps, and then back up.

You may be an amazing woman of God, but you will not always be around. The only One that will ALWAYS be around is God.  So give "Him" to those you mentor.

Think, you may not be here in a few months.  What then?  Can they live without you?  Can they have a thriving relationship with God without you?

One last story, before I close:  I remember working as a camp counselor at The Wilds.  I would have campers come to me with so many different issues.  I dealt with everything from bitterness to cutting to sexual sins to gossip.  If you can name it, I probably had to counsel someone through it.  

When I first started working with these girls, I would try to pin-point each problem and give them specific verses for each problem, but, later on, I realized something really important.  I realized that, yes, I needed to give verses and encouragement to help guide them through their issues, but, more then that, I needed to lead them into feeding themselves a daily diet of the Bible.

You see, after they left the camp and left me, they would have those exact verses that I gave them, but they couldn’t come to me every time they had a NEW issue.  They needed more than a few verses: they needed all the Scriptures.  They needed a daily relationship with God. They needed to have His help in every situation, small or great.  If I was no longer with them, they would have Jesus and His Word.

So. let's point people to the Bible.  Give them the Living Bread.  Teach them how to read the Bible.  Teach them how to feed themselves.  Encourage their burdens, point them in the right direction and then let God manage it.

We are dispensable but God isn’t. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, June 26, 2015

God's Handiwork

Sitting in my parents' sun room is one of the most relaxing things you can do. During the day, you can enjoy watching birds flying around as you look out over the beautiful gardens. Then at night you can watch fireflies dancing around giving off just a bit of night time magic. 

I am like a child, I LOVE fireflies. I think they are one of the most beautiful created beings ever.  "A" and I would go take walks at night through the gardens and spy on them.  "A" would yell out "I saw it!" every time they lit up. 

My parents, mainly my mom, know how to take a little bit of dirt, a seed and some water and turn it into a beautiful garden. Her back yard looks like an English garden. She has covered arbors, beautiful flowers and yummy produce all in one. 

It's like a sanctuary in this crazy busy world. It's the perfect place to de-stress, take a walk, sit on a bench, enjoy the beauty. I know my mom takes her Bible and reads in a little secret garden in her woods. It's just amazing. 

What is more amazing is that God created the seeds to produce these flowers. He created fireflies to send out signals to attract their mate. He created us to dig and plant and create. 

I know life is nuts, I know that we feel we must "do" and "be" and go and produce, but let me encourage you to sit, relax and be quiet.  Watch the birds, listen to creation.  Slip out at night, look at the stars, and catch a firefly. 

Psalms 19:2 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."

Pinterest shows us pictures of beauty but if you want the real deal, turn it off, go outside, take a walk and enjoy God's creation. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

DIY Frosted Vase

Every year for Mother's Day, our church passes out flowers to the women in our church.  This year I decided to have our children's program make vases for their moms. 

I brought all sorts of "fun" stickers, tape, and ribbon for them to decorate their vases. I  also gave them an option to "frost" a message on their vases.  This was definitely a favorite with the kids and the moms who received them. 

It was super easy. This is what we did:

What you need:
  1. Vases (I bought large circular vases so that the kids have lots of room to write)
  2. Letter Stickers
  3. Frosted-Glass Spray Paint
  4. Old Card Board
What we did:
  1. First I had the kids spell out a message on their vases with tape or stickers.
  2. Then we took the vases outdoors.
  3. We placed the vases upside down.
  4. Then we sprayed the vases completely with the frosted glass spray paint.
  5. We waited for about 30 minutes. 
  6. When the paint was dry we peeled the stickers off
  7. Voila' 
I only have pictures of the trial vases, but I wish you could have see the adorable vases they made.  My favorite was one that said "Marvel Mom" on one side and "Supermom" on the other.  They all did a great job. These are personal yet easy to make. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, June 22, 2015


Our culture teaches self-indulgence.  If you want it,  you either work hard for it, steal it, manipulate to get it, or max out a credit card and get it.  We are taught that everyone is entitled to "have" and that no one should have to go without.

If you are taught self-control, self-control is very much about self-controlling.  I personally like the word “temperance” better because it is Holy-Spirit-based.  REAL “self”-control is actually giving up self for the Savior.

It is the fruit of a life that is saturated with God.

We see so many characters that had self-control and those who didn’t.  Two extreme examples would be Samson and Daniel.

Samson indulged himself with women while Daniel indulged himself with God.  If you read Judges 16 & Daniel 1, you see can see how the difference affected their lives.

Overcame enemy
Enemy overcame him
Gave up food
Ate forbidden food
Carried about what God thought
Carried about what a woman thought
Servant of God
Servant of self/pleasure
Died with respect
Died without respect

If we don’t learn from these two men, we will end up living the life of Samson.   Let's ask ourselves a few of these questions:

What do I struggle with?

Am I saturated with God and His Word?

Am I praying to be Spirit led?

Have I been walking in the flesh or in God?

Who is winning right now?

Who is my master?

The Bible so clearly talks about the importance of cutting out sin in our lives.

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.       Matthew 5:29-30

What needs to be cut out of my life? - Rejoicing in the Present

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Ministry Cycle

Working in a ministry can be exciting and it can be exhausting.  When someone gets saved, your heart fills with joy and when someone walks away from the faith, it can feel like lead. 

You often see more negative outcomes then positive, which can really affect you. It is the ONE job that when you fail at it, you aren't just affecting peoples lives but their eternities. 

It can be very heavy.  I know that personally I can get burnt out. I have to constantly walk in the Spirit, so as not to get depressed or upset.

BUT there are some really great stories that you get to experience. You get to see God working in lives and His hand leading and directing, like He did so many times in the Bible.

One such story in which God's hand has clearly directed concerns a very close friend of mine. She and her husband move every so many years. 

Her dad is a pastor of a small church in TX. When she moved to our area, she tried out our church since we weren't far away. We hit it off fairly quickly. Her kids got involved in our children's program, she played the piano a few times for our church and her family got involved in some of our ministries. 

When she moved, it was hard to see her go but I told her of a friend's Bible-preaching church in her new area and she promised to try it out. We started talking every week on the phone and still do to this day.

After she moved up north, she tried out my friend's church and fell in love.  She once again involved herself in the church, even helping out with their public-school outreaches, VBS and so on. 

Recently she moved back to her home area, due to her husband's job. She has been able to take all that she learned and is starting a children's program in  her home church. It sounds like she is already getting off to a GREAT start.

Just in the last couple weeks a little girl received Jesus as her Savior. The next week the little girl's dad and her were baptized and the whole family was able to join the church. 

It's been about 4 years since my friend came and left. 

She told me recently that she believes that God took her through these churches so that she could learn, grow and then take it back and start a ministry there at home.

Now she will be starting her own cycle. She will reach into the lives of people, touching them and giving them Jesus.  She will see them grow and reach others.  I pray that it will start many other godly cycles. 

So, now, my sweet friend, who is burnt out and ready to give up.  Keep going! It may be years, it may be months before you see the seed you've planted take root and spring forth.  Hang in there and remember what Paul said...

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase." I Corinthians 3:6 - Rejoicing in the Present

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Judge Not

As I recently confessed, I am a people watcher.  I would LOVE to hear their stories, but I usually don't get that pleasure.  Sometimes, I think I know their story, but 99% of the time, I have NO clue.  In plain terms, I am simply judging the "book" by its cover.

God warns us about judging in multiple chapters throughout the New Testament; however we will look at Romans 2:1-4.

"Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Did your momma ever tell you this?-- "that is inexcusable, young lady." It's almost like God is talking to a child here. "Your judging is inexcusable!"  God condemns judging. "Judge not lest ye be judged!"  Don't even go there!

2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.
3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?

I don't know the whole story.  I don't know why they did what they did.  I don't know what happened before they got to work today.  I don't know if their heart is heavy, if they just lost someone or if they were up all night.  I don't know what happened in their childhood.  I don't know the whole truth; only God does.  So, let Him be the judge. 

4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Let Him be the judge because He has the long suffering approach that we need. "  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"   God was patient with me to bring me to repentance.  I need also to be long-suffering with others. 

Last thought:
There is a consequence for judging that I have to think about. When I judge others, I cause God to be harder on me. 

I love what David says in 2 Samuel 24:14   "And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great: and let me not fall into the hand of man."

We need to live a life of truth bathed in mercy and love. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


As I was washing up the other day, I noticed a lot more spider-veins.  :(  It's like they are taking over.

Uggh... this getting-older stuff isn't that much fun. Whatever outer beauty I may have had, it's going, going...GONE!  hahahahaha.

I am not writing this post for people to comment  "No, Joy, you are pretty."  Please don't.  I am writing this because something hit me.

The point is this.  It helps me to realize more and more that beauty IS fleeting.  Just like The Word says.

I sat for a few minutes and thought this:  "I'm so glad that I'm not a "rare beauty" because, if I was, this aging process would be very hard."

You see, I can still be and feel beautiful because of WHO Jesus has made of me, NOT because of what I look like.  Through my attitude and love for others, I can be as beautiful as I want to be.

So, ladies, put those mirrors away.  :-) ...get in the Word, find out what God says about beauty and be beautiful.  You don't need surgery, you don't need a new hairstyle or a pound of make-up.  You simply need the Holy Spirit  ("the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." - Galatians 5:22-23)


1 Peter 3:3-4 - "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Prov 31:30 - "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."

Last Thought...
Do you know what is TRULY beautiful?  Holiness...
I Chronicles 16:29; 20:21; Psalms 29:2; 96:9 
*Take some time to study Holiness and those verses and apply that to your life.*

You might be in your physical prime.  You might be a few years past that, but you can always at your Spiritual PRIME regarding true beauty - Rejoicing in the Present. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Father's Day Video

Take the tie back and put that mug down--here is something for your dads that I think they will enjoy:

For Father's Day (and many other occasions), I make a video for the dads, to play at our church that Sunday.  I interview the kids, ask them silly questions, collect pictures and make a video.

I started making these videos, when I was in college and,  of course, this carried over into our ministry at the church where we work.

Later on, I started Journeys By Joy though I am still enjoying making these videos as a ministry to our church. 

You can also do this just for your child/children or to give to their dad as well. It doesn't have to be for a large function.  However, if you do it with a church, make sure you get permission first from the moms to videotape their kids.

There are so many different video themes you can use. Here are a few:

  • Cardboard Testimonies:  Have the children write down their favorite things about their dad on large pieces of cardboard and video-tape that.
  • Letter to Dads: You can have the child write a sweet letter to their dad and video-tape them reading it. 
  • Imitation: You can have your child act like his daddy. This can be sweet and funny.
  • Interview Questions: You can have a list of questions to ask your child and video-tape the interview
  • Favorites: You can video tape the children telling their favorite things about their dads
  • A Day in Dad's Shoes:  Have your child describe their dad's day.  If you have several kids from one family, you can cut and edit the "day" adding in all of what they think their daddy does.
There are so many options, but this really touches dads' hearts.  I remember looking around during the video last year, and catching a few "tears." Below is the video for this year.

 Unfortunately, I had to go out of town and only had a short time to throw this together.  It's not as good as it could be, but you've got to love the kiddos. 

I would have changed the background and made it cuter but it was very last minute.  I hope you enjoy!  If you make one, feel free to leave a comment below.

Friday, June 5, 2015

DIY Burlap Wreath

I love those adorable mesh wreaths that everyone is making, so I just had to make one myself.   I wanted mine to be burlap, though, so this is what I did:

I collected my supplies:

  1. Red and tan burlap
  2. Burlap and lace ribbon
  3. Scissors
  4. Metal wreath form w/ green wire deco

Because I didn’t like the green on the deco wires, I spray painted them white to tone down the bright green.

Then I started bunching the red burlap, tying them, bunching tying… until I went totally around two times (inside loop and out).


I did this again with the tan burlap, filling in the gaps.

Next, I looped the lacy burlap in and out of the other burlap around the outer circle, and then made and attached a bow.


For more information, click on this youtube link to give you more of a visual.