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Should We Be Singing "O Come Let Us Adore Him"?

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I love the Advent season at church, as we sing many beloved Christmas hymns throughout the service. This past Sunday, we sang a collective favorite among our church family - O Come Let Us Adore Him. People sang with such gusto, myself included, and it felt so real, so hopeful.

But, really, I’ve got to stop singing that hymn.

Really, we probably all should. We sing it with enthusiasm, but so many of us are doing the opposite of what we’re singing. 

We’re belting out a desire, through the lyrics, to come joyful and with a hope to behold Him.  A hope to see glory in the highest ready to greet Jesus this morning.

BUT.

For me, so much of what I am declaring in that hymn is just not how I live my life. I’m singing something that isn’t playing out on a daily level.  I fail to Come and Adore him with so many things...

Do I come to Jesus with my schedule? What about my hopes in the new year? Do I come to Him before calling my friends for advice, before gossiping to my friends about a funny misunderstanding with a mutual acquaintance? Before posting something on Instagram?

Do I adore Jesus with my money? With my plans? What about with my to-do list? Do I adore Him with the way I interact with people I don’t like very much? What about in the way I recount the tedious mundane details of raising a toddler to my friends? In my free time - what do I do when I have 15 minutes of free time? Do I adore Jesus in any of it?

Am I ready to “greet" Jesus today? What about when we find out a friend’s surgery doesn’t go as planned? When a loved one has lost hope? Do I plan to greet Jesus today when dreams I have been praying over just aren’t being answered? Do I come joyful when life isn’t going the way I planned?

These are all things I can attest to in the past month - things I have done or feelings I have had. I go around this season singing a hymn with angst, as really no truth of the lyrics can be seen in so many details of my day-to-day life.

This season, I don’t want to just sing these lyrics flippantly, and then move on with my daily tasks.  God is calling me today to Come. Adore. Greet Jesus. Come Joyful. Behold Him. Today, I have grace to try again. Grace to start fresh this season. Grace to start over.

Am I willing, today, to Come and Adore? 

Are you?

Is this the year when what we are singing is really going to play out in our lives?  Is this the year that we will Come to Jesus with our schedules, to-do lists, conversations, use of social media, future, hopes (even the unfulfilled ones)?  Is this the year we will Adore Him, even when things are spiraling out of control these last few days until Christmas?

Are you willing to Come and Adore Him this season? To Come and Adore Him today?

Then, just maybe, we can sing O Come Let Us Adore Him with true hearts, beholding Him and greeting Him joyfully each day.

What can you do to Come and Adore Him today? In what do you need Grace to start fresh again?

Posted in Adore Him, Advent, Christmas

Glowing Back with Mocha Club

Posted on December 08, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

When the idea for Glowing Local was still just a bunch of ideas on paper, I didn’t know much for certain, but I knew I had two big goals: to point people to the Lord, and to give away part of the profits to people who were in need. I saw the start of Glowing Local as a way for our family to be more generous, really laying the profits of Glowing Local before the Lord, to do what He saw fit. I hoped that the idea of giving would be ingrained in the philosophy of what Glowing Local was all about, living out Matthew 25 - to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, help the needy.

Mocha Club really hits a spot in me with their mission of “giving up a few mochas a month.” When I look at my budget, things can feel really tight.  How can I give more money, when we’re already pressed thin?  But, when you think of it in terms of small purchases, like mochas, well I always seem to have a few extra bucks for those. Genius.

I was really drawn to Mocha Club’s Orphan Care work, as I have worked with children for many years. Mocha Club is making tangible differences in the lives of children in Kauma, Malawi in Africa. Because Mocha Club has funded clean water in the city, children don’t get sick as often, allowing them to attend school, which opens a world of opportunity to them. Because Mocha Club helps feed these children, when they attend school, they can pay attention, as hungry kids really can't learn.

By partnering with Mocha Club, a portion of every purchase from Glowing Local goes straight to Mocha Club, to fund the Orphan Care work in Kauma. Your purchase is providing hope and a future. Your purchase is meeting a need for a child in great poverty across the globe.

If you don’t already support Mocha Club through their monthly giving, you should….today!  What a great way to start the new year; commit today to give up a few mochas each month to give desperate children hope and a future.  

Won’t you join Mocha Club in this great mission?

Posted in Giving Back, Glowing Back, Mocha Club

Best Friend Friday #2 - Organizations that Give Back

Posted on December 05, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

If you were my best friend, and we were sharing a cup of tea on my dog-haired covered couch, I’d want you to know about these awesome organizations that give part of their profits to those in need:

• Better Life Bags – I just love this company, and love the heart of Rebecca who started it. Better Life Bags employs people that otherwise would not have jobs, and also gives a portion of their profits to help local neighbors in need. I was lucky enough to take an Influence Network class with her last month (excellent!), and she also has a great newsletter for small business owners (check out the link on the sidebar of her blog).
• The Root Collective - some of my favorite new shoes, and a wonderful organization that has been blowing up on social media. They give 10% of their profits to support artisans in marginalized communities. And the coolest part?  At checkout, you get to choose which of three charity organizations you want your purchase to support.
• 31 Bits - an amazing company that creates a lot of beautiful jewelry, and some other really cool stuff too. I love the mission of 31 Bits: using fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty.  How cool is that? Plus, their jewelry is just to die for!
• FashionABLE - I wear a LOT of their scarves in the winter, and get compliments on them all.the.time. FashionABLE works with women in Africa, helping to provide lasting opportunities and jobs, working to overcome poverty through sustainable business. 

    What organizations do you love that give back? 

     

    Posted in Best Friend Friday, Giving Back

    How to Pray Scripture

    Posted on December 03, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

    Prayer is a mystery to me. My mind goes in continual circles of, “God is my friend and I’ll just chat with him,” to “this is really overwhelming and I have no idea what to say!” The mix of talking to Him about everything and having reverent awe of Him seem to war out in my prayer life.

    My perfectionist personality also wants to align my prayers in a nice check-list order, working through an acronym, balancing the friend vs. holy aspects of God equally, so I can mark off a prewritten list of prayer to-dos in an orderly fashion. A nice, neat, check-able way of praying. 

    And as this internal perfectionism rages in my brain, I think I often forget what is right there in front of me - God’s Word. I forget about the power that I have available to me. I try to figure out many different ways "to pray correctly”, when God’s spoken Word is printed clearly for me to use every time I sit down to pray. 

    As Paul Miller says in A Praying Life, I have the ability to “put the Word to work,” to use His already pre-printed, God-ordained, spoken Word as a way to genuinely pray.

    So how do I “put the Word to work”?  Here’s an example of how I pray Scripture using the Praying for your Husband journal:

    A few weeks ago, I was working through the Workplace week of prayer in the journal.  One of the verses listed to pray over my husband is Psalm 91:51: When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

    I read the verse, and then change it into a prayer for my husband:

    Dear Lord, may my husband call to you as his rescuer when he feels drudgery in his work. Be with him in days of trouble, in days that feel like they will never end. This week especially, help him to find honor in you, even when phone calls from certain customers make him feel dejected. Answer him Lord, that you will draw near and be real. Amen.

    So, I essentially turn a Scripture verse into a prayer for my husband, "putting the Word to work."

    When Brooke McGlothlin was trying to figure out how to pray for her sons, she says, “the only logical place I knew to turn was to the Bible. If the Bible is God’s Word…it seemed logical to pray God’s Word back to Him, asking him to accomplish it” in the lives of those we pray over.

    Praying scripture is powerful. It is not only God’s Word put to work, but it also keeps me from praying my agenda, fitting prayer into my perfectionism, and making prayer something I must “do right”, instead of something I do out of love.

    I want prayer to be a way I am glowing love into those dear to me, those in my local community, my local story.

    Do you pray Scripture?  If so, any pointers or tips on how it has helped you?

     

    Posted in Praying for Your Husband Journal, Praying Scripture, Resources

    What's Been Going On and December Goals

    Posted on December 01, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 2 Comments

    Well, to say a lot has been going on around here would be an understatement. November really kicked off the start of Glowing Local – a dream in the works for over a year. Here’s an overview of the big things that happened in November:

    • Launched Glowing Local! 
    • Shipped out our first Praying for Your Husband journals
    • Read quite a few good books
    • Set up an Etsy store
    • Took my 93 year old grandma to the Clemson/Carolina game
    • Had the horror of having to “craft” for a preschool Thanksgiving party
    • Used this recipe to make meals for 7 different friends who had babies this past month
    • Loved listening to this Jamie Ivey podcast after getting involved with the new orphan care ministry at church
    • Made this free holiday printable to stay praying this month
    • Sucked into this and loving it
    • Also enjoyed this podcast with Crystal Stine, especially her sentiment that online community revolves around the idea of “what can I do to bless someone” not “what can they do for me.”

        For December, I’m hoping to:

        • Ship lots more journals in time for Christmas
        • Figure out a store newsletter
        • Design a new product!
        • Make a few book lists, including favorite reads in 2014
        • Can’t wait for Lesson and Carols (if you’re local, come!)
        • Attend the Indie Craft Parade Holiday Fair (bet you want to be on my Christmas giving list)
        • Have baby showers for 4 different babies. Really enjoyed these funny baby shower gift ideas

            What do you have planned this month?

            Posted in Goals, What's Been Going On

            What I've Been Reading - November 2014

            Posted on November 28, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

            I love to read. LOVE.TO.READ. I read lots of books each year (you can check out the books I have read on the blog, or if you’re more visual, see them on Pinterest). November was an exceptionally good month of great books!

            Among the Gods by Lynn Austin • What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty • War Brides by Helen Bryan • The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay • Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp • The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau • Less Doing More Living by Ari Meisel • Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker • Enough by Kate Conner • Not By Sight by Jon Bloom • A Place at the Table by Chris Seay • Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan • One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (reread)

            2 quick, easy reading books:

            What Alice Forgot (not pictured - already loaned it out!): I read this quickly…just couldn’t put it down. Makes you think about who you want to be and how you are living your life.

            Sea of Tranquility: One of the BEST books I have read in a while. It will definitely make the list of favorite books in 2014.  Finished it in 48 hours while visiting with the in-laws (that says a lot!) And, when I finished it, I wanted to pick it up and read it again. Great thoughts and ideas on who you are, what you hide, and about hope that can be found in surprising places. 

            2 great books, making you want to do something:

            Interrupted: I have loved Jen Hatmaker’s other books and excited to pick this one up. Real gut check on what parts of the Bible I am actually living and what parts I am overlooking. 

            A Place at the Table: This is to be read over 40 days, while choosing to eat like the poor, so you will think about and remember those in great need. The Scripture verses and short chapters were convicting.

            Great series:

            Among the Gods (read it on the Kindle, so not pictured): I finished up this last book in Lynn Austin’s God and Kings series.  I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction, but this series was excellent. Had me searching in the Old Testament to find the people re-told throughout her fiction series.  

            Most surprising read:

            Not By Sight: If I was choosing books by their cover, I wouldn’t have picked this up. But, I loved this book!  It brought many of the gospel stories to light in new ways.  

            What have you been reading this month?

             

            Posted in Books, What I've Been Reading

            How to Use your Praying for Your Husband journal

            Posted on November 24, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

            Our new Praying for your Husband journal launched last week - it’s been an exciting week over here! 

            I want the Praying for Your Husband journal to be something that draws you to Jesus, that points you to his character, and that puts you on a mission of praying daily (and obsessively!) for your husband.  I don’t want it to be something that becomes overwhelming, or that you use for a week and then sits on a shelf, or that you tear to pieces and use to start a fire in the upcoming cold months because you just don’t know how to use it.

            So, here are the ways I use my Praying for Your Husband journal:

            1. Start each week with prayer. I usually do this on Sunday afternoon or Monday morning when I am doing my quiet time. Each week has a specific topic you will be praying about (such as Work, Prayer Life, Eternal Perspective, etc.). I see what overall theme I am going to be praying over my husband that week, and I just ask God to show me what he wants me to pray, to teach me how to pray for that overall theme, and to really move in my husband’s life that week.

            2. Read over the Scripture verses and the Ideas of Things to Pray For.  There are 2 pre-printed sections in the journal - a list of Scriptures (one for each day of the week) and a list of Things to Pray For. I do a big read through of all the Scripture pertaining to that week, and I usually put a star next to any verses that really stand out. I read over the Ideas of Things to Pray For section as well, and underline, star, or highlight ones that jump out at me.

            3. Write in Specific Needs for the week. There is a blank section for you to write down specific needs for the week. I write down anything I want to pray for my husband…some of the things pertain to the overall theme I am praying for, and some are just things I know he has going on (i.e. project a work, leading his bible study’s discussion time, upcoming visit with family).

            4. Use the Journal each day during your Quiet Time to pray for your husband. The journal is set up so you have a different verse to pray each day. When I use my journal, I use the scripture as a basis to formulate my prayers. I then pray some of the Ideas of Things to Pray For, asking God to formulate these qualities in his life. I end by praying for the Specific Needs, asking God to work in these areas in my husband’s life. 

            5. Write out a prayer for your husband.  There is a final section each week to write out your own prayer for your husband. I usually do this at the end of the week, a kind of summary prayer of the main things I have been praying; however, you can do this at the beginning of the week too, and use it as a guide for your prayer time all week long.

            6. Add any answered prayers to the God Working section at the back of the journal. As I see God answer prayers, I make sure to record them in the God Working portion at the end of the journal.  I go back through my journal about once every month, reading over all the prayer requests from each week, to see what new answers God has miraculously done.

            Feel like too much?  Don’t get overwhelmed. The journal is a guide to point you to Jesus and draw your heart closer to him in prayer. If it overwhelms you, or becomes too much, just choose one bible verse and focus on that all week, instead of feeling like you are getting behind.

            Have any tips you’d share with others about using your Praying for Your Husband journal?  Share below!

            Posted in Journal, Praying for Your Husband Journal, Resources