by Live Original | Mar 23, 2020 | Life Advice, Sisterhood |
We don’t need to say it, we all know these are interesting days. In a time where we are being asked to distance ourselves and stay home, we are all learning how to still find community. As we try to connect during these days, we thought we’d send a few encouraging ways you can use the virtual world for the good & stay connected.
Hebrews 10:25 – Do not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
This week, Louie Giglio posted a graphic which said, “The Church has left the building”. We couldn’t have stated it better. Parking lots will be empty this week, youth groups won’t be meeting for a while and we do not know when the doors will open again. However, we do know that we are still called to gather. Can we encourage you to tune into your churches’ services if they are doing online gatherings? It might feel awkward to sing in your house alone or with a few family members – but how special is it to know that individuals across your city are doing the same? You are not alone! How comforting to know that The Body is still alive and active, even with the doors closed at your church? It’s a privilege to be a part of The Church during this time in history and I hope that when we do gather together again in our church buildings, we will be stronger than ever because of what has happened in our own homes.
If your home church doesn’t have an online service, here are a few we recommend:
Christ Church, Passion City Church, Church of the City Franklin, Cross Point Church
Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Amidst the mass amount of hardship that is happening, we still have people around us celebrating birthdays, births, anniversaries etc. Just as much as we want to be there for those struggling, we also need to practice the discipline of celebration during this time.
This week was a dear friends birthday. We got creative and celebrated her via a “Virtual Birthday Party”. We all gathered over a Zoom video chat in our PJ’s. We shared original birthday poems to make her laugh and encourage her. We sipped our coffee together and sent her virtual gifts— like e-books and online gift cards.
We still have much to celebrate during these days. It might take some creativity, but hey, we will all remember, “that year when we had those “unique” celebrations”.
Hebrews 3:13 – But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (ESV)
Do you know anyone who could use some encouragement? Um, probably most of us! How cool would it be if we went on “Encouragement Rants”? Let me explain— set your timer on your phone for 10 minutes and scroll your address book on your phone. Focus your mind on others. Take some time to send a few texts to those who you know might need a positive word in this time. Perhaps it’s someone who you know who lives alone, an older person who hasn’t left their home in weeks, someone who is sick, or someone you just haven’t talked to in a while. I think we would all be surprised with how much encouragement we can spread in just 10 minutes.
Psalm 1:3 Blessed is the one.. whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
We never thought we would be so pumped to tune into an Instagram live – however, we have been following along with a friend who is doing an 8AM CST Instagram Live (shout out to Alex Seeley). Each morning she does little devotional and it has been the most wonderful way to start the day, with connection to other believers. This is a great time to dive into the Word of God alone during your own quiet times but it could also be a great time to study the word together. Host a morning devotional once a week on IG Live, start a group text thread with your small group and discuss a topic or question, or check out our LO Fam online community which has a variety of workshops and studies to dive into online.
James 5:16b… pray for one another, that you may be healed.
Here’s a unique idea! Have you overcome a struggle in a specific area that you might be able to support another person in during this time? Many people find comfort in gathering together in small groups to encourage one another in specific areas, but are not able to gather in person right now. Is there way that you might be able to host a small group online during this time of isolation? Perhaps you could lead a 30-minute prayer time together online or be an accountability partner to someone you know who might need it during this season. Perhaps you’ve wrestled with anxiety, an eating disorder, grief, or another life controlling issue and could be support to those who need it now in their own recovery. Perhaps you are a mom at home who just needs the support of other moms who can share parenting ideas and tips.
If you are looking for a way to host a private gathering /small group online, we recommend checking out a convenient, free video conferencing website like Zoom.
HAVE FUN. BE KIND!
Proverbs 17:22- A cheerful heart is good medicine
Random Acts of Kindness! Perhaps, if you’re able, anonymously send someone some flowers, a book, some donuts!
Hidden Talent Challenge— can you juggle, tap dance, balance books on your head? Do you have unique ideas on how to pass time, funny cat videos, silly videos of your quarantined family? Send them out!
We all could use a good laugh these days. Sometimes the virtual world can be a dark place, so let’s shine a little light in it during this time and have some fun!
Want more encouragement from Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @legitsadierob and @liveoriginal.
by Korie Robertson | Mar 20, 2020 | Life Advice, Motherhood |
Leading your Family with Faith Over Fear
“Most young kids will remember how their family home felt during the coronavirus panic more than anything specific about the virus.”
I saw this quote the other day and can’t find who to attribute it to, but have been thinking about it ever since. I don’t think it applies just to young kids, though. The truth is, parents, our children of all ages are watching and will learn more from how we act and react in difficult circumstances than from the things we say and do when everything is going good in life. For better or worse, your kids will follow your lead. I pray we lead with faith over fear.
A few thoughts on how to do that:
Focus on the here and now…This is one of those moments when we don’t really know what’s to come. I’ve found myself spending time and energy speculating on what this is going to do to our world, how it will change us…I know it’s going to have some consequences that will be with us for a while. But here’s the thing, worrying will not change a single outcome so let’s not give in to it! Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and those around you, today, here and now and tomorrow simply do that again. Take some time to read Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. He ends with this advice, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to practice this principle.
Keep the important things the same…Our kids have always said that the most important thing we did as a family when the Duck Dynasty phenomenon happened and life was crazy all around us is that they saw us stay the same. Our kids need to know that if everything else is changing or even seems to be crumbling around us, mom and dad are stable and our home is a safe place. Not that you’re going to be perfect, but that you’re going to be there! Our children thrive when they feel secure. We can do that by creating some consistency in our homes during this time; eat dinner together around the table each night, set a designated time to read a book together or have a devotional. My parents always told me and we’ve always told our kids that if we lose everything, we will still be the same, because the root of who we are is so much deeper than what we have or don’t have. The important things can never be taken away from us. Our kids need to know this and see it in how we act and react when the world feels uncertain.
Connect them to something greater than themselves or their problems… It’s hard to worry about yourself when you are doing something for someone else. Cook a meal and leave it on a neighbor’s doorstep, write an old fashioned letter, send someone flowers, FaceTime friends across the country or across the street. Talk to your kids and explain that the reason we are staying home is for the good of those who are at risk and that by all working together we can defeat this thing. And most importantly, connect them to God. He’s got this. He’s greater than any disease or problem this world can throw at us. Focus on this verse below from James 1:17. Read it together and talk about what it means to them and then spend some time in prayer and cast all your worries on the God who never changes.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
And last but not least have fun…Coronavirus quarantine can’t stop that! Play family games, dance in your kitchen, learn a song on the piano, a new skill on YouTube, sing, paint, draw, create, pop some popcorn and watch a funny movie, pitch a tent in the living room. Make a bucket list of things you can do in and around your home, write it on poster board and hang it where everyone can see. I know that many are experiencing some really hard times, and life is not all fun and games, but I also know that fun and games can make the hard times a little bit better. Don’t let these trials steal your joy! “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-5,17
We’re all in this together! Stay healthy friends, body, mind and spirit!
Korie Robertson is a New York Times bestselling author and speaker who is passionate about motherhood. Korie (K-Swaggy) is a mom to Sadie — and five other amazing kids. In her free time, you’ll find her playing tennis, drinking coffee and spending time with her kids and grand babies.
Follow Korie on Instagram @bosshogswife
by Live Original | Mar 17, 2020 | Life Advice |
“These are weird times.”
“Nobody alive has ever experienced anything like this.”
“Should we be scared or are people just over-reacting?”
These are a few things each of us have probably said in a conversation or overheard a hundred times over the past few weeks, and especially over the past few days. The impact that the coronavirus is having in the world is unprecedented. It has consumed every conversation, shut down some of our favorite restaurants, affected the economy, forced churches and sporting events to be cancelled, and has created mass hysteria over… toilet paper.
How is this affecting our country? The CDC has recommended as of March 15th that all gatherings of 50 people or more be cancelled or postponed over the next 8 weeks. And the following day on March 16th, the President recommended no groups over 10 should gather, even in homes.
This means that this past Sunday millions of people, instead of attending their local churches in person, joined online for pre-recorded sermons in their homes, desperate for truth and connection. The church was scattered and instead of being in auditoriums, they were found around TV’s, in circles on couches, trying to adjust to something that is appearing to be our new norm, at least for the next few months.
The reality is, these are weird times. No, we have never seen this in our lifetime. And whether people are over-reacting or not, people are afraid. Uncertainty is a feasting ground for the enemy to instill fear and kill peace in God’s people.
But Jesus is the keeper of peace. And peace is a promise He keeps.
So in a time of so much uncertainty, how are the people of God to respond? In a time where “social distancing” is encouraged (for good reason), how does the Kingdom of God reach beyond the social distance through prayers, radical love, and small gatherings?
A look at the early church…
In today’s western church culture of big auditoriums, blaring speakers, and moving lights, we are tempted to believe it has always been this way. That this is the best way for God’s kingdom move forward and people to come to know Jesus. If we look at the early church, the first church established after Jesus, we see something different that should offer us hope in this confusing and unprecedented time.
“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, and to sharing in meals(including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.”
This is immediately following the day of Pentecost (when the Holy Spirit filled believers) when Peter preached a sermon that 3,000 people chose to put their faith in Jesus. These 3,000 people needed to learn what it looked like to be a Jesus follower, and the model they chose, looks really similar to the model we are being forced into today.
There are 4 things the early church did constantly that I believe God is trying to bring his church and his people back to:
1. Devoted to apostles’ teaching
With the current digital age we live in, solid Bible teaching is not hard to find. Between podcasts, church sermons, and IGTV there is an abundance of teachings to listen to. Though “apostles’ teaching” is not just listening to a good sermon, it is also being taught by the apostles’ firsthand. In other words, the Bible. In a time where we are basically being encouraged to not leave our house, friends, can we determine to not waste our time with distractions and just watching Netflix, but instead, DEVOTE ourselves to reading God’s word?
What would it look like if we gathered all around the country in groups of 10 to worship, open God’s word together, and pray? Small settings can feel unnatural and exposing when we are used to worshipping with thousands, but do not miss out on this opportunity to be seen and loved right where you’re at. Lean into this precious time by gathering a few friends and worshipping together! The early church did it, so can we. We encourage you not to isolate yourself during this time –
Call people. They may really need you.
Post words of life on your social media as you feel called. People are scrolling for hope right now.
Gather together if you can. For we were created for connection.
Continue to create. The world needs your gifts.
Write letters. Sweet words are honey for the soul.
Don’t stop singing. Your voice is an echo for God’s abundant hope.
Pray together. For where two or three are gathered together, God is there.
3. Sharing in meals
Not many of our churches probably still practice the Lord’s Supper (communion) weekly. The early church took every opportunity for communion because it served as a reminder of what Jesus had accomplished for them on the cross and establishing a new covenant. Try leaning into a time of communion/reminder this week. (Matt. 26:26-29)
If the Coronavirus has taught humanity one thing it should be this: we are not in control. And friends, let me tell you, that is a good thing. We are fragile, weak, dependent beings who need a really BIG God. Thankfully, we have one.
In times of so much uncertainty and fear, our first response should not be to intake more information from the news or social media, it should be to pray. And here’s some free advice, don’t overcomplicate prayer. Pray for more faith, health, your family, pastors, government officials. And above all, pray for God to give you a deeper desire for his Word.
The important thing to know about these 4 ways of life is that EVERY believer practiced them, not just those on a church staff. The western church model at times can allow for Christians to slip into a “consumer” mindset. I will show up 10 minutes late, sit in the back of the auditorium for worship, laugh a few times at a really gifted communicator, then jet for the car not to get caught in parking lot traffic.
God never intended for church to be a place for entertainment and amusement.
The church gathering was never meant to satisfy your desires, rather it was meant to form your desires for Christ that go on to transform your life, your circle, and the world.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” Matt 5:6
We don’t fully know the mind of God so we cannot confidently say what he is up to in this time. What we can cling to though is that small gatherings in homes is the way the church started and it is the way that God ultimately began to reach his people for his glory. We can be small, and He can can still be big.
Friends, it is time to be the church. It is time to fight fear with faith in a God who is unwavering. God is the, “alpha and the omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Rev. 1:8.
Want more encouragement from Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @legitsadierob and @liveoriginal.
by Live Original | Mar 12, 2020 | Life Advice |
After reading through Proverbs 14, we are inspired and encouraged to be the type of women that God calls us to be.
Proverbs 14 compares and contrasts the wise with the foolish. As women of God, we have influence on other people’s lives. Yes, every single one of us has influence on this world in some way or another. We want to steward our influence and energy in positive and wise ways, and Proverbs 14 is a great guide to help us do so!
Want to start from the beginning? Start with Proverbs 1 HERE.
Let’s get started!
Verse 1: Every wise woman encourages and builds up her family, but a foolish woman over time will tear it down by her own actions.
When reading this at first glance, some of us may think it doesn’t apply to us. We may be thinking this only applies to women who are married with children, and yes it does apply to them, but it applies to ALL women. Like we said before, you have influence in one way or another. Your “family” in this this verse could be your roommate, friends, teammates, it could really be anyone you have any sort of connection with. Your family is your people.
Let’s be real, no one wants to “tear down” their people or would ever intentionally do so. But if we are not careful with what we say or do, we can hurt people easier than we think. So how do we avoid this?
Solomon says the key is being wise. And how do we know we are being wise? By diving into the word and listening to what God says. Bringing every situation to Him first before seeking answers in other people or things. Proverbs 14 lays it out beautifully for us.
Verse 3: The words of a proud fool will all come back to haunt him. But the words of the wise will become a shield of protection around them.
Our words are so important. In verse 3 we see that our words can become a “shield of protection,” if we are wise with what we are saying. This can be a simple as thinking before we speak and being the security check point for what is coming out of our mouths.
On the other hand, we can tear people down so easily with our words if we choose to be foolish and careless with what we are saying. It is easy to get lost in a moment and say things that we may not even mean. We can get caught up in gossip or putting others down to make ourselves feel better, but we need to remind ourselves that our words have POWER and we have influence. So, let’s choose our words wisely and build each other up by speaking truth and life.
Verse 7-8: The words of the wise are like weapons of knowledge. If you need wise counsel, stay away from the fool. For the wisdom of the wise will keep life on the right track, while the fool only deceives himself and refuses to face reality.
In verse 7 and 8 we see Solomon talking about words and counsel. He calls wise words “weapons of knowledge.” Sometimes it is hard to discern what is wise and what is foolish, but the best way to test this when someone gives you advice is to check it with what the Bible says. If you have someone speaking into your life, the words should be rooted in Biblical truth, which will ultimately put you on the right path, rather than blindly following words that come from someone who may just be inserting their opinion rather than trying to lead in what God says about a situation.
Verse 12-13: You can rationalize it all you want, and justify the path of error you have chosen,
but you’ll find out in the end that you took the road to destruction. Superficial laughter can hide a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the pain resurfaces.
This part of the verse really made us reflect. How often do we rationalize sin? ALL THE TIME. It is second nature for some of us to tell ourselves that what we’re doing is not that bad, or we look to our neighbors and compare our sin to theirs to make us feel better about what we have done wrong. This leads to destruction. In reality, we’re all sinners and we are all undeserving of God’s grace, but we are given grace anyway!
Instead of justifying our sin, and brushing it off, we can actually bring those burdens to God and He says that He will make our burdens light! We can come to Him in surrender and experience freedom by admitting that we need a Savior.
Verse 13 talks about “superficial laughter” and how it can “hide a heavy heart.” We think this is very relatable to today. In order to make light of hard circumstances, some of us will just laugh and make jokes, when in reality, the pain of that hurt won’t go away. Addressing the problem and admitting the pain shows strength and is a sign of a wise woman. Bringing that heavy heart to God will allow for healing, rather than just laughing things off to hide the pain.
Verse 26-27: Confidence and strength flood the hearts of the lovers of God who live in awe of him, and their devotion provides their children with a place of shelter and security. To worship God in wonder and awe opens a fountain of life within you, empowering you to escape death’s domain.
Wow, so many good things to unpack in those verses. First off, we all crave inner confidence and strength, don’t we? This verse said that confidence and strength will “flood our hearts” when we love God and are in awe of Him. When we choose to seek God, we get to experience the confidence, strength, and LIFE. When we worship God, it opens “a fountain of life”. This is real joy and freedom! When we choose Him, we are no longer slaves to death, but we get to experience life and life in abundance while knowing that we get to spend an eternity with our Savior! How cool is that?!
Verse 29-30: When your heart overflows with understanding, you’ll be very slow to get angry. But if you have a quick temper, your impatience will be quickly seen by all. A tender, tranquil heart will make you healthy, but jealousy can make you sick.”
In verses 29 and 30, Solomon addresses anger, patience and jealousy. Three topics that a lot of us can relate to on a daily basis. Being understanding for others is the first step to not getting angry. It is so hard when we have blinders’ on and can’t see something from another person’s perspective, and it causes us to get angry. But if we try and put ourselves in their shoes, we will be slow to anger and learn to become more patient with those who may act or think differently than us.
Solomon talks about jealousy and how it can actually cause you to be “sick.” We think King Solomon is addressing anxiety here. One of the key factors of anxiety is comparing everyone else’s lives to our and then becoming jealous of what others have. This could not ring more true today. We are constantly looking at other’s highlight reels of their lives and wishing ours looked the same, and it causes us to be sick. But if we choose to look inward and focus on our own lives and our own personal walk with Jesus, it will slowly begin to heal our hearts and we can become healthy.
We want to end on this note. This chapter of Proverbs is packed with truth about positive ways to live our lives and to be “wise.” Some of us may read this chapter and think, “Wow I feel really like the foolish one.” But that is the beauty of the Gospel. No matter how foolish, messed up, or wrong we may be, we are given GRACE and can become wise by listening to what God has to say to us. He is not keeping a record of everything we have done wrong and thinking we are foolish. He sees us as His children and wants to give us the best fatherly advice that He can give. He wants to see us full of life and joy! We are given access to the BEST life advice from a Heavenly Father that loves us. We can have peace knowing that He always has our best interest at heart.
Want more from Sadie and Live Original? Follow us on Instagram @Liveoriginal
by Kara Lawler | Mar 5, 2020 | Life Advice |
When I was 20, I studied abroad in Manchester, England. Back then, I knew myself in ways I ended up forgetting over the years as I shuffled to prove myself worthy with my schedules, my lists, my incessant desire to be taken seriously by what I could do instead of who God made me. By my mid 20’s, as a new wife and teacher, I piled things up high in my own arms, and as the things piled higher, they blocked my vision: I lost sight of what mattered, of the everyday kind of beauty I once knew, of the realization that God doesn’t need us to prove anything to anyone. That’s just it: God doesn’t need us to prove ourselves worthy because he already told us we are. Instead, maybe we are to relish in the here and now, noticing the everyday kind of holy moments, those observations becoming small prayers, the noticing showing the trust that he’s made us to be, not strive, and that right where we are is where he wants us to be.
Once, on a particularly overwhelming day, 20 years after studying aboard in England and setting up this life of marriage, a teaching career, and motherhood, my son, Matt, asked me if I liked architecture. We were in the car and night had fallen all around us, indigo over mountains. The question took me off guard, there in the ordinariness of the car, at the steering wheel. Maggie, my daughter, had fallen asleep and her faint snore filled the warm air, the heat on from a winter chill that still lingered. I felt overwhelmed at the things left undone from the day and while his question was just a question, it was one that made tears spring to my eyes. Yes, my boy, I love architecture.
I once had spent a day in Manchester, England, simply walking around the city, looking at the beauty and intricacy of the buildings. I had forgotten about the day completely until he asked me the question, but the memories came back: the buildings with their brownish red clay, the arches, the gargoyles, me as I was then–the girl with the notebook and camera, taking it all in, a world opened to me as I followed my professor, taking notes.
That night, in the car on the ride home, I wiped back tears that my son couldn’t see, because for a minute, I worried I had left my love of architecture and that I’d lost myself there in the Used to Be. Back then, when there was no shuffle for approval, no long lists of things needing to be done. The Used to Be, where I wasn’t overextended, when my mouth didn’t say yes while my heart screamed no. The Used to Be, where I wandered and looked at architecture.
My thoughts of the Used to Be abated as my son talked about his newfound love of architecture, as my daughter snored, as I watched the stars appear in the ever-darkening sky. In the car that evening, it was like God reached down and touched me on the shoulder, calling me from my momentary trip to the past right back to the Here and Now, right where I’m to be.
Momentarily, that night, I’d lost my way and I’d stumbled under my list of things left undone. This shuffle for approval I promised to myself that I’d abandoned but didn’t—adding things to an already full plate, trying to manage all the thingswhen really, the pressure of them was managing me, changing me, forging me into a version of myself I no longer liked, keeping me from the noticing. All of that kept me from seeing what really mattered in my here and now life, that kept me from living that used to be life in the here and now way.
In order to live my right-now life, I’ve made some tough decisions, unclenched my fists, let go of some ideals. I’ve walked away from committees, boards, people, and plans all in order to focus on my one real and now life because the weight of all of that was keeping me from seeing the beauty in the life I was leading.
And that’s what happens: as we pile our arms high with things we need to do, as we shuffle for approval and add way too much busy, we forget about the glory. When we keep our eyes on our lists, rush through our lives–wearing our busy schedules proudly, like some sort of proof that we are worthy–we discount God’s simple glory and the worthiness he’s already breathed into us. Friends, we must not lose sight of the everywhere holy type of beauty that levels us, sees us through, reminds us of the joy of an ordinary life, of the worthiness we already have.
I’ve opened my hands and let things drop; I’ve stopped wearing a schedule like a prize ribbon; I’ve remembered the beauty of this right now life. And now, that feels like crisp air and looks like the steam from the mouths of warm bodies laughing at the end of the day. It is heart-shaped swirls in my cappuccino cup on a cold winter evening, tiny hands grabbing mine, larger ones moving a piece of hair from my face, muddy dog paws, and an ordinary but extraordinary night sky, life unfolding—right there in that right-now life, holy enough right then, right there—in the car, two children I prayed for in the backseat-, right here, right now, right where I’m to be. And if I can do it, you can too. Join me.
Kara Lawler is the author of Everywhere Holy: Seeing Beauty, Remembering Your Identity, and Finding God Right Where You Are (Thomas Nelson) For more information visit www.karalawler.com.