Book Worth Reading

I rarely have chances to read these days, so when I do, I am choosy.  After reading Michael Cheshire’s first book, “How to Knock Over a 7-Eleven and Other Ministry Training,” I thought– this guy is hilarious and so blunt.  And I loved it.

When I saw that he had written another book, I bought the e-version and decided to open it up one night after an exhausting ministry day.

Why we eat our own

I was floored.  This man was writing down everything that I’d been thinking of the “Church”… I mean, everything.  Here’s a quote:

For far too long, while we have been waging a war within our own foxholes, the real enemy has had the run of the place. He has been unchallenged because Christ’s army is too wounded from friendly fire to even crawl to the battlefield for the real fight. And an enemy who is unopposed is no longer your enemy. He has actually become your ruler.

Cheshire, Michael (2013-06-19). Why We Eat Our Own (Kindle Locations 293-296). First Punch Press. Kindle Edition.

You need to read this.  It’s good.  And it hit me square between the eyes.

 

Here’s a link to buy yourself a copy.  Enjoy!

Why We Eat Our Own

 

hope.

I recently discovered an amazing blog of a fellow church planter’s wife who seemed to echo my thoughts and emotions completely.  Her name is Christine Hoover and you can find her blog at www.gracecoversme.com.  It completely spoke to my heart and maybe it will speak to yours as well!  (Us CPW’s need to stick together!  We need all the help we can get!  LOL.)

I left her a comment after one of her blogs and then realized… I need to copy this onto my own.  I think it may give you another glimpse in who I am… and who I am becoming through this process.

My Comment:

“…We seem to be running after God’s leading at this point, as He seems to always be ahead of us, paving the way. I recently started blogging about my experience in order to get all my “crazy” thoughts out of my head and onto paper (in a sense.) I did not realize how physically exhausting this (church planting) would be… or how emotional I would become! We have had many trials already, and are still being hit by the enemy, but we are clinging to Him… and as of right now, I’m beginning to feel like I have fallen on my face and can’t catch my breath. I’ve begun reading through your posts, and it’s like reading my exact thoughts and emotions. I don’t believe I’ve ever grown as much in my relationship with Christ than I have in the past two years through this experience. I keep clinging to the verses in Psalm 18:16-24:

16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

20-24 God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before him.
When I got my act together,
he gave me a fresh start.
Now I’m alert to God’s ways;
I don’t take God for granted.
Every day I review the ways he works;
I try not to miss a trick.
I feel put back together,
and I’m watching my step.
God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

I am not completely healed yet… and I know that more wounds will come as the Church advances… but I have hope. 🙂

Silly Tongues

My jaw dropped.  My heart raced.  My face flushed.  I was being called out in front of an entire classroom full of my teenage, female peers.  I was an accomplice in a hurtful display of gossip and treachery- and I was caught.  I found myself, tears pouring down my face while burning a hole into the desk under my hands.  Some friends of mine were angry with another friend and wrote out a very nasty note to her.  They then asked me to re-write it for them- so that the girl would not know who had written it out.  (Not my smartest moment…as I agreed to do it for them during a movie in Mr. Essink’s darkened English classroom…agh!)

There I sat.  Disapproving glares and stares from those who were innocent burning through my body.  I felt their eyes everywhere as I admitted to my guilt.  My coach, who I greatly respected, voiced his disappointment in us, but mostly in me.  He had never expected this behavior from me, as I was  “a good Christian girl…” Those words rang through my head for YEARS.

I have asked for forgiveness for my past crime.  But, THE PAIN! …the pain I inflicted upon my friend, still haunts me.  I was terrible.  And still, even as I acknowledge my past, I still find myself tempted and have succumbed to gossip since then.  Will I ever learn to keep my mouth in check? (And for some comic relief… I am now revealing a photo of myself and an amazing friend in high school… yes– this did happen!)

Image

Yes… facial masks and African instruments… uh-huh.

We, as women, do not generally have control of our tongues.  But, I wonder… is it our tongues that need the change—or is it our minds?

Are we complaining when we unleash our words?

Do we believe that we are not being treated fairly or that we are not receiving enough credit?

Do we think we are “above” something?

Did someone hurt our feelings— (how DARE they?!?)

Do we not agree with something (no matter how ridiculous it appears to others?)

Do we believe that we can do better?

Do we want to be the first to share some new SHOCKING news?

And yet, all of these reasons comes back to… wait for it… PRIDE.  I admit it.  I am prideful.  Because when it comes to gossip—it’s all about “me.”

If everything is about “me,” then do we truly love others as Christ called us to do?

James 3:7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

13-16 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.

17-18 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.

A Little Dog Hair in my Mouth

Seriously.  What did I sign up for?” I asked myself, as I tend to talk to myself quite a bit these days.  At that very moment, I was lying face down in our living room, more than likely having Dutch’s (our Husky) dog hair tickling my nose.  I had nowhere else to turn it seemed.  And then the Holy Spirit whispered, “I am still here, Megan.”  I don’t know why but he always calls me by my full first name… not the shortened version that my husband, parents, brothers and friends call me.

It was the middle of September.  We had pre-launched our church (a tester version of our grand opening) only weeks before and we were soon actually launching our first “official” Sunday in the building.  God had been going before us, paving the way, and it seemed that we were sprinting trying to keep up with Him.  Our team was solid, a building was provided (in fact- two locations connected by a staircase), funding from a church planting organization, a state church planting network, several churches and even individual donors and most importantly, we were seeing God MOVE in the hearts of people around us.  We began to look for God’s provision in everything!  And we kept seeing it!

We spent months cleaning, painting and remodeling the two locations (one was a former Republican headquarters… and the larger location… a warehouse that had been used as a dog boarding facility- yes, the smell was horrendous!)   Churches sent teams to help paint and scour the place… it looked like an entirely new building.  (The disgusting smell of dog feces was gone!) A young woman stepped up to take the children’s ministry position.  A worship leader came out of the woodwork and was able to take some responsibility off my plate.  A drummer was found (this was indeed important!)  Two of my Stud-Muffin’s friends from college moved their families down to help us plant the church.  God was providing right and left and we were desperately trying to keep up.  (Did I mention that already?)

But then doubt crept into our team.  Sickness cropped up and people became discouraged.  Fears ran amuck and soon there was disillusionment and dysfunction creeping in to what God had provided.  It sickened me.  I watched my husband handle each situation with grace and patience.  (This man amazes me!  How was I so lucky?)

And then I found myself, face in the hairy carpet, panic in my heart and tears in my eyes.  I was SICK of people allowing Satan to coddle their fears.  I had one team member say to me, “This is so hard for me… this (gestures to the God-given building that was on its way to being habitable) is so not me.”  That was only the first of the comments that were made to my husband and I.  Soon, one of our dear team members became disillusioned and disheartened and bowed out of her position and our church.  I felt like our team was becoming rancid.  I realized that I was beginning to listen to Satan’s lies and was becoming hardened to what God had created in our church.  And then the Holy Spirit reminded me of something.

Jesus came to our world in the dirtiest of conditions.  The men who followed him and became his disciples were smelly and used to hard work.  They travelled far to follow Him.  And then when He was gone, there was even more work to do.  Our church is based around the John 10:10 verse, “The thief has come to kill, steal and destroy.  But I have come to have life and have it to the full!”

I laid in that carpet, my boys playing ninjas in the next room, and wept.  I had forgotten why God desired this church, here, in this town, at this time.  To reach others.  It was not about me.  It was not about my team.  It was REALLY not about the building.  It was about bringing those who do not know Jesus into a relationship with Him.  THAT is why my husband began praying years ago for God to lead him wherever God could use him.  THAT is why I had followed my husband, and ultimately my God all over the country.  THAT is the only reason.

Today, our team has banded together.  We are stronger.  We have become a family.  We are on the way to full trust and reliance on each other.  It is beautiful.  And that day I laid facedown in the carpet is just another notch in my proverbial belt in church planting.  I have a feeling…. it won’t be the last time!  🙂

IMG_1823 Dutch, with his bow tie!

Who is the Planter’s Wife?

Hey!

So… here’s a smidge about me.  Meg Brown: stay at home mom to THREE! wonderfully, energetic boys and wife to a Stud-Muffin of a man (also known as Michael) who has been called to plant a church in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Our life is CRAZY and it never stops.  I sometimes long for peace, quiet, and a simpler farmer’s life… but then I am jolted back to reality with the scream of one of my precious boys in the next room.  My daily struggles are: keeping up with the laundry (wait- did I say keeping up?  I meant to say “attempting to keep up” and yet never getting there!), keeping the sanity in our home, and most importanty, growing in my walk with Christ.  (He is definitely my hero!)  Without Him, I would be nothing.  Literally.  Probably just a shell of a person scraping by.

For years, I have found myself journaling down my thoughts and feelings.  Only recently have I felt that the words that I have written down could be of much use to others.

To make a very long story short, my husband was called by God to be a minister at age 16 (this was a huge leap for him as he was originally set to take over his father’s business in the banking world.)  He stayed faithful though and pursued ministry.  After graduating from a bible college, we began our marriage and the process of experiencing three different ministries in three different states.  At the back of our minds however, church planting was always shadowing us.  Looking back, we can see God’s hand in preparing us for planting… even if it didn’t make sense at the time.  After my husband took a job in the corporate world, he felt God’s hand showing him the need for a plant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

We entered into the church-planting world with expectations of hardship as well as stories of endurance from those who had planted before us.  At the time, we had the support of a team who was planting with us, several churches who were backing us (local and out of state), a church planting organization who offered support, coaching and assessments, and family who became our personal cheering squad.  Prayer teams were assembled, the mission, vision and name of the church was created, and we attended a week-long assessment through the church planting organization (in order to make sure we could actually “handle” planting a church.)

We knew from friends/acquaintances who had planted that it was hard work.  That it would be grueling at times, but always worth it.  We had seen marriages put through the ringer (even divorces), church plants divide and die, and stalemate plants never grow.  But we had yet to understand and fully live as a church planting family.  And then it started (no- not the plant… just the crazy prep leading up to the plant!) and my life has not stopped since. The plant is now in full swing… as are our lives.

This blog is going to be dedicated (with an occasional side note) to fellow planter’s wives and the life lessons I have learned as a church planter’s wife.  It will be hard… raw… exhausting… but I will be as transparent as I can be.  I hope in some way, my words will help another planter’s wife in some way to find hope… healing… and perseverance.