I Love Proverbs 31 Ministries!

One of the things I love best about my job at Proverbs 31 Ministries is getting to see first hand the work God does in transforming lives through this ministry. It’s absolutely crazy amazing. And it happens everyday. Check out this video~

Join us on the front lines! from Proverbs 31 Ministries on Vimeo.

I love that video so much because I can relate. I was once, and really still am, a woman who receives much from Proverbs 31 Ministries.

It was eighteen years ago when I first learned about Proverbs 31. My 2nd child had just been born and even though I had a wonderful family and friends, I was lonely. I felt very inadequate as a wife and mom. Proverbs 31 Ministries became my mentor in walking with me daily, guiding and teaching me what a personal relationship with Jesus looked like. I learned how to bring my faith to life for myself and in the lives of my family. I can’t believe I get to be a part of that today. Not only do I work at Proverbs 31 Ministries, but I’m also a monthly partner. I don’t have to give money to this ministry, I GET TO give money to this ministry. And by doing so, I’ve become a small part of bringing God’s peace, purpose, and perspective to the lives of women all across the world. Proverbs 31 Ministries changed my life. My family and I will forever be grateful to God and P31.

Maybe you too have been blessed by Proverbs 31 Ministries.  If so, would you consider joining us? Below are ways you can be a part of all God is doing through P31.

1. Prayer. This is the best thing anyone can do for our ministry. Would you pray for Proverbs 31 Ministries?

  • Pray right now.
  • Pray once a week. (Hey, that’s 52 times a year!)
  • Pray daily.

2. Giving. We are able to do what we do at Proverbs 31 because of the financial gifts God has provided through people like you.  No amount is too small or too big. One dollar helps! When I look at what this community did through Dove’s Nest during our Yes to God study (you all gave over $28,000!!!) all through the combination of small and large gifts, I am still blown away! Never underestimate what God can do through our gifts. Online Bible Studies are possible for FREE to all of us because there are people out there giving to financially support this ministry!

3. Volunteer.

  • Do you live in the Charlotte, NC area?  We need regular volunteers we can count on. Email nicki@proverbs31.org if you can help!

4. Encourage. Ministry can be difficult at times. Our office is always grateful when we hear from our P31 community.

  • Send a card to the P31 office. 630 Team Rd. Suite 100, Charlotte, NC  28105
  • Email a prayer to the P31 office. prayer@proverbs31.org
  • Let us know how P31 has impacted your life. Click here to tell us your story.

 

Thank you so much for being a part of this OBS community. I love y’all dearly!

Here in the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. One of the things I’m most thankful for is you. That’s the truth.

Thank you so much for your support! We need you and we truly love our community of women from all over the world. You are a big blessing to me personally and to our entire team and staff.

 

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1,2,3…BOOTY CAMP!

Do you know what a burpee is?  Until January of this year I did not.

I was on stage with Lysa TerKeurst filming her live webcast for Made to Crave. She asked me to join her so I could talk about the Online Bible Study I was leading for Made to Crave. That was my only reason for being there. Until…

Lysa had a group of people from her boot camp join her for the Made to Crave Challenge. They were challenged to select one healthy change in their lives and make it a discipline for the next six weeks. She asked them, they answered, then she turned the microphone on me. “Melissa, what is your healthy change?” she asked.  “Uhhhh, well I am going to make exercising consistently part of my routine again.”  To which Lysa replied with way too much excitement, “PERFECT! You can join us for boot camp three days a week. You will won’t you?”

Ok, now remember I’m not only caught on the spot, but we are also on LIVE webcast! No retakes or do overs. What else could I say except,  “Sure, I’d love to.”  “Great! We will see you Wednesday and report your progress in a few weeks!”

What in the world had I gotten myself into?

Let me tell you a little about our Body by Buck boot camp.

*It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done in my life. It changes each time, plenty of variety, hard core, using every muscle in your body, and pushing to the extreme with all kinds of equipment, your own body weight, and cardio to the max. The first time I went, I was exhausted after the first ten minutes and Lysa looked at me and said, “That was just the warm up.” That should have clued me in.

*It’s the most encouraging workout I’ve ever done. Buck and Kelly (our trainers) push us hard, but they are so motivating, encouraging, sweet, and helpful. The others in the class cheer each other on so there is no quitting. Just when you think you can take no more, Kristi will shout from the other side of the room, “Come on Melissa, you can do it…you can do anything for 15 seconds…we got this!”

*It’s early in the morning. It starts at 5:30 am. That’s all I’ll say about that.

*It’s something I thought I’d do for a little bit, to fulfill my commitment to Lysa, then quit. No way. I’m in it for the long haul. It has become an important part of my life: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. And because I know there’s a group waiting on me to show up, I’m going to go. When someone isn’t there, we really miss them.

*I’ve seen improvement in my performance. I still feel like I’m going to die with each workout. During the workout, I admit, I have said the words, “I can’t do this.”  But I have found out that I can. And I’m much better than I was 4 months ago.

*There are all shapes and sizes in our class. Anyone can do boot camp. There are modifications for each exercise. No excuses. I injured my knee falling off of my high heels a few weeks ago. My first thought was, “Oh, now I can’t do boot camp.” WRONG. Modifications were made, I worked out just as hard, and now my knee is all back to normal. (no comment about the falling off high heels please)

*Our least favorite word in boot camp is burpee. Burpees don’t look so hard to watch someone else do them. Take my word for it. They are hard. Try for yourself. (If you can’t see the video below, click here.)

The only difference between my burpee and this girl in the video is I don’t do that split jump, I just jump straight up. Also, I go all the way to the ground on my belly when I go down. Push up occasionally. Go ahead and try them. Have fun 🙂

*Our favorite words in boot camp are “1,2,3…BOOTY CAMP!” Because that signifies the end of class. That’s the call that says, “we did it!”  “we rock!”   “we are changing our bodies!”  “we are strong and healthy!”

Are you doing anything to keep yourself fit?

I can’t help you much with the nutrition or exercise, but I can help you stay spiritually  fit in God’s Word. I’d love for you to join me for our next Online Bible Study, I Used to Be So Organized. The study begins June 3rd and all you need to participate is the book and internet access. Sign up information can be found here. It’s going to be a great, fun, and practical study filled with discussion, application, and the Word of God. I hope you will join us!

We have two give aways going on. Give Away #1 has a winner. Congratulations Frieda! You commented on my blog and Taylor Koziarz’ blog and was randomly selected to win a copy of our next Online Bible Studies book, I Used to Be So Organized. I emailed you, so check for details.

Give Away #2 is a biggie and you still have time to enter. Sign up for the Online Study, I Used to Be So Organized by Wednesday at midnight and you will be entered to win an Organized Gift Pack containing our study book, journal, pen, highlighters, post it notes, daytimer, and items to help keep you organized. Sign up information can be found here.

Many of you did Made to Crave with me either this year or last year. How are you doing with the changes you made in your life as a result of that message? Eating healthier?  Taking care of your body? Staying in God’s Word? Please share in the comment section of this blog, your one healthy choice or what you are doing to keep fit physically and spiritually. I’ll share mine too!

We Got Da Powahhh! (My MTC gals know exactly what that means!)

Love y’all!

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Made to Live

“Whether we’re on the path toward victory or defeat is determined by the very next choice we make. Not the choices from yesterday. Not the choices five minutes ago. The next choice. Our very next choice. May it be that of an overcomer. An overcomer made to crave God alone.”

Those are the final thoughts Lysa TerKeurst leaves us with in her book Made to Crave.

Many of us began our Made to Crave journey with high expectations and high hopes. We were empowered that first week and even sang about it:  I Got Da Powah!   One of the reasons so many women signed up for the Made to Crave Bible study is because they were looking for freedom from our current craving (most of us food) and more of the desire to crave God. Let’s face it. It sounds good but it’s easier said than done. What I loved most about Made to Crave is that author, Lysa TerKeurst agrees with us. She was so open and honest, often sharing what seemed an embarrassing or unthinkable story. But truly it’s her honesty with this issue that is so helpful. Instead of our main goal being to weigh our ideal goal weight or become our ideal dress size, our goal is peace.

Made to Crave is a great launching pad. We know we were made to crave God. Now we have amazing verses and go to scripts (all provided in the book) to equip us when we forget that.  I pray you will not look at this as an ending to a study, but more as a part of your life journey. Take the nuggets of Truth and apply them to your life, take them with you. God’s Word never expires. The book, Made to Crave may go on the shelf, but the Bible should remain in your heart, visible in your life, easy to get a hold of. The Bible has life giving principles and truths for our lives because we were made to live. Live for Him.

As you move from this study to your next step (personal study, group study, whatever it may be), remember Lysa’s final words, “Whether we’re on the path toward victory or defeat is determined by the very next choice we make.”  What’s your next choice going to be?  You were made to live, so make sure you live well. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.

In John 10:10 Jesus says, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

As we move forward, may we remember…think about our next choice (don’t let that thief steal your joy by reminding you of the last bad one) and live your life well, to the full!

I love you ladies! I wish I could personally sit with each of you and get to know you. Your comments, encouragement, and prayers have been the highlights of many days. You have blessed me and blessed each other with your love and support here on this blog. What you say matters and I appreciate and read every single comment. Love you!

If I can help, assist, or pray for you ever, please email or call me at the P31 office. I consider you my friends and I’ve such a great time doing Made to Crave with you!

God Bless you all!

 

 

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Well, Here We Are…

I cannot believe it!  I am both sad and happy that we are here.  We are wrapping up our last week of an amazing, life-changing study~ Made to Crave.

How are doing on this last week?  I have prayed for you and no matter where you are on this journey, I want you to thank God. No matter what’s happened or not happened. Thank Him, praise Him, allow Him to use what you’ve learned, allow Him to use your successes, struggles, and even failures. One of my favorite books in the Bible is Romans. Specifically Chapter 8, where we are told there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and God can work it all for good. And yes that was highly paraphrased by me!  Look it up for yourself  🙂   Smiles!

Speaking of smiles I have a few to share with you.

1. The winner of The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett is  Gerri, who posted her comment February 28 at 7:44 pm. Yay Gerri!  Email me your address girl and I will send you this fabulous book!

2. If anyone is interested in purchasing The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett  visit TheCauseWithinYou.com.

3. Everyone is invited to listen to the last conference call. If you’ve never been a part of the conference call series, you can hear for yourself what you’ve been missing! https://www.freeconferencecallhd.com/playback.html?n=886065-17-65-67111126-17-65-67-17-65-6736844110-17-65-67-17-65-6742-17-65-67;1NDc2ODk2Nzc=1

4.  Our next online Bible study will not disappoint. A few OBS team members have already begun reading An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell. They said they can’t believe how it is EXACTLY what they needed. I know I tell you every time that the book we are studying is life changing. It’s true. I don’t select books that I don’t believe guide and direct you straight to Jesus and the Bible. They are life changing if we are open to change.  Sign up for our next study and get your book today. The study starts in 3 weeks. Sign up in the right column of this blog. Order your book wherever books are sold or from us at Proverbs 31 Ministries.  Sign up for the conference call series here.

5. Remember Sarah Rose’s message from last Friday’s blog post?  Well she’s done it again. She shared with me from her personal blog and has given me permission to share with you. May you be as on fire and enthusiastic as I was after reading her message.  Here it is:

 

Good Morning!
And I MEAN IT!!! GOOOOOOD MORNING! 
Today, I hit 25 lbs lost.  That’s about 1/10 of what I have to lose in total.  That’s still 13 lbs above my 10% goal.  That’s still 35 lbs above my first major goal…but HELLO!!! I LOST 25 lbs!
I could choose at this point to think about how far I have to go.  And in someways, its very beneficial to look forward.  But, for the next few minutes I’m reflecting over the last 25 lbs.  It’s taken me 2 months, which for someone in the 300’s is actually sort of slow.  I’ve cried more times than I would like to admit over not having a food of my choice.  I’ve laid in bed listening to my tummy churn with hunger.  I’ve been battling my body adjusting to life wthout all my fried “friends.”  But, in reality, the last two months have not been all misery.
In the middle of my bad attitude spells, and my feeling like I would die without a piece of chocolate pudding cake (I didn’t eat it and I’m still alive!), I’ve been studying Made to Crave again.  This time, I’ve been studying it as part of an online group of over 9000 woman. Lead by a woman I have to come to love and respect, Melissa Taylor.  And, in the Made to Crave study, I have found tidbits that I will hold on to the rest of my battle with food, which, lets face it, will probably be the rest of my life.
The biggest thing I have learned is a quote I’m going to borrow from Lysa Terkerst.  It’s called a go-to script to help us replace our former thought that have entangled us and tripped us up.  Ok, everyone, listen up to this:
STRUGGLING WITH MY WEIGHT ISN’T GOD’S MEAN CURSE ON ME, BUT AN OUTSIDE INDICATION THAT INTERNAL CHANGES ARE NEEDED FOR ME TO FUNCTION AND FEEL WELL!!!!  (from the book Made to Crave)
Do you get that?  God’s not being mean to us “fatties!”  He’s reminding us of our need for him.  I took that thought, and my intense cravings as prompts to pray.  My pounds lost have been significant, but the spiritual side of me, the part that controls my thoughts has grown so much more than I could have ever dreamed.
I am not joking when I say that I currently wake up craving God’s word.  Not breakfast.  And this doesn’t mean that I’m perfect, or somehow have it all together.  It’s just where I am.  I still struggle with sin, cravings, desires, etc, every single day.  But, I just can’t wait to open up the Word of God and see what He has for me every single day! It’s exciting, as I am finding that the Bible is really strength for this battle!  Who would have “thunk” it?!?!
I know lots of people are thinking I’ve overspiritualizing things.  And that is ok for them to think that.  Two months ago, I would have said the same thing.  But, I know in my heart of hearts, for me to come back here in a few months and claim victory for losing 50 lbs, it’s only going to be if I’m centered in the Word and right thinking.
I just want to praise God for creating people like Lysa TerKeurst and Melissa Taylor.  I want to praise God for my husband, who holds me when I cry over cake, and my kids who tell me every day how pretty I am (me! their 335 lb momma!).  I also want to praise God for my accountability partner, Mary Beth.  She puts up with more than any one human being should have to…reading all my journal posts, and answering nighttime phone calls, and helping me meal plan when I’m just not strong enough.  I have friends like Robin, Lareina, Adriane, and so many others that are constantly cheering me on.  And my friend Brandy who graciously agreed to be my MOPS food police!  I LOVE IT!!!!  And my parents (all of them, my mother in law too!!!) have cheered me on more than ever this time.  Oh, and there’s my First Place For Health peeps….I think this list could go on and on and on!!!!!!  JUST PRAISE GOD FOR HIS PROVISION!!!!!
God bless you Sarah Rose!  You have blessed and encouraged me as well as many others!
Y’all have a great weekend! I will post my closing MTC message over the weekend.
Love and Blessings!

 

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Dream Center Reflections: Pastor Matthew Barnett

Yesterday, I introduced you to a place that is dear to my heart, The LA Dream Center. If you missed my post about the Dream Center and Skid Row yesterday, please click here.

The Dream Center is a beacon of hope for homeless families, addicts, abused women and children, victims of human trafficking, teen runaways, and many others who are filled with brokenness. Matthew Barnett discovered the cause he was made for when he relinquished his dreams of success and began listening for God’s dream for his life instead. When he sensed God was calling him to serve the poor and powerless, he co-founded (with his father, Tommy Barnett) the Dream Center in Los Angeles, CA.

I had the honor of going on a missions trip to the LA Dream Center with Lysa TerKeurst and the staff of Proverbs 31 Ministries in August, 2011. It was one of the most amazing weeks of my life. While there, I had the privilege to serve on Skid Row, Adopt a Block, sorting clothes for the homeless, and packing trucks full of food to be delivered throughout Los Angeles communities in need. I also had the life changing experience of witnessing the various programs throughout the Dream Center for those who reside there and in the community. Testimony after testimony credited God, Pastor Matthew, and the Dream Center for restoring their lives and giving them hope. This only scratches the surface of what all the Dream Center does.

Meeting Pastor Matthew was quite an experience. I’m not sure what I expected, but I knew he was a very important man. I guess I expected him to be in his office working, planning, meeting, researching, and probably just very busy. I’m sure he has his days where this may be the case, but I was extremely impressed by the fact that this man knew every name of every person at the Dream Center. Not only did he know their name, but he knew their story. He walked around and visited with the people. And he was so enthusiastic. You could tell that he was so excited for each person there. He loved them and they loved him too. It was pure and genuine. I have not seen anything like it before. He had a smile on his face, enthusiasm that was contagious, and a huge heart for all people and God.

There were no presentations set up for us to listen to testimonies or stories from the Dream Center. Instead, while serving or working in a certain area, Pastor Matthew would happen to walk in and just pull someone from the Discipleship program or another program aside and say, “Hey, Tom, tell these ladies your story. Tell them where you were one year ago.”  And Tom would tell us. This happened all week long. We heard from folks who had been there just a few weeks, to those who had been in the program a year and then decided to stay and give back. Lives given hope. Lives where people found a place to belong. Lives changed forever because one man believed in the poor and powerless and took a bold leap of faith in founding the Dream Center. And once these people feel like they belong somewhere, they begin to believe…in themselves and God.

Matthew Barnett did not just found the Dream Center. He is also the senior pastor of the historic Angelus Temple. The Dream Center’s ministries reach 30,000 people each week through its multiple church services and more than 200 need-centered ministries.

The Dream Center’s record of success has led to the launch of over 100 independent Dream Centers nationally, as well as internationally.

In Pastor Matthew’s NY Times best selling book, The Cause Within You: Finding The One Great Thing You Were Created To Do In This World, you are shown how to recognize the unique gifts and opportunities God has placed in your life. When you discover and commit to your personal cause, you’ll find that God is right there beside you—ready and willing to partner with you in amazing ways. The cover of his book features real people from the Dream Center. I know this because I met many of them.

It is my privilege and honor to have Pastor Matthew Barnett as a part of our MTC Conference Call Series. If anyone knows about cravings, discipline, changing your life, and believing in dreams, it’s him. If you would still like to sign up for the calls you can do that here.  You will be sent links to listen to the first 2 calls that have already taken place plus the number and code to be a part of our next 2 calls (Matthew Barnett and Lysa TerKeurst).

Jennifer Davidson won the give away of Matthew Barnett’s book yesterday. I’m giving another one away today. Leave a comment on my blog today about the cause within you. Do you have a cause? Are you searching for one? Please share your thoughts.

Hope each of you have an amazing Tuesday and are enjoying our last week of study.

Stay COURAGEOUS!

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