Friday, December 10, 2010


Last year God began working in my heart about how Christmas is celebrated in our family. I took a mental inventory of all the traditions we followed: presents, Santa Claus, Christmas tree, nativity scene, Christmas cards, parties, food, 24/7 Christmas movies on name it, we were a part of it. Then, almost audibly, God asked me what separated my family’s celebration of Christmas from the celebrations of those who refuse to acknowledge Christ. Wow!

Needless to say I began to meditate on what I could do in my home to shift our focus back to Jesus Christ. One of the changes I made was actually an addition. I love to study the names of God – their meaning and the context they are used in scripture. Scott and I looked at the list of our favorite names of God, narrowed it down to twenty, or so, and I set out to make an ornament for each name. I sought out a new tree for my foyer, added rich fabric ribbon, a regal star on the top and added our new ornaments. With each name I added to the tree I turned my heart in praise to Christ for the ways He has personally been those things to me. For instance, my favorite name is El Roi, “the God Who sees me”. I am reminded that in the times I feel insignificant or ignored, God isn’t unaware of me. His eyes have me right in their sight! Our “Messiah” tree reminds us daily of the faithfulness of our God each time we arrive to or depart from our home.

After Scott’s mom passed away someone suggested to us that we light a candle during family events to remember her. That suggestion took root in my heart and caused me to set aside one particular candle for this purpose. This year I have applied that idea to Christmas. We added two candles to our mantle and one as a focal point of the nativity scene. When the candles are lit, they are a visual reminder that with the birth of Christ, the Light of the World came to dwell among us. It focuses our hearts.

One other way we are focusing our hearts this year is in the area of gifts. I believe Christmas should be celebrated BIG – decorations and all! We make birthday parties a big deal in our culture and my opinion is that Christ is worthy of the best party of all. I’ve heard a lot of religious objections lately about shopping, decorating and listening to Christmas music. I think that is throwing the baby out with the bath water. The Kavanaughs are choosing to refocus. We give gifts to others to bless them. This year, the very first gift we give will be a tangible gift to Christ. Our family will feed the homeless on Christmas Eve before we ever partake of a celebration in our comfortable home with all the provisions we could need or want. Will we give gifts to our children, family and friends? YES! Noelle Piper says, “God’s generosity is shown through God’s people". We will show generosity to others, but first and foremost we will show generosity to Christ who spared nothing to show generosity to us.

Those are just three things that help our family focus on Christ during the time of year when the world wants us to be too busy or too materialistic to focus on and honor Him. For more ideas and inspiration I recommend reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noelle Piper. You will learn more ways you can help focus your family during Christmas including advent candles and advent calendars. This book goes beyond Christmas to daily traditions that will have a positive impact on your family’s spiritual growth. You can download the book for free at

Friday, September 3, 2010


Life has been hectic lately. That's really the understatement of the century. In the past two months I have felt every emotion possible. There have been very joyful times when I've seen God do something I honestly thought He never would; there have been fun times, in new places, with new friends who feel like they have been around forever; there have been times my heart was ripped from chest leaving me feeling that I would die from the pain; there have been very honest moments between God and me. MANY things in the past two months...and each time God proved to be my faithful warrior, comforter, defender, shield, protector.

Things have settled down for the time being and for the first time in SEVEN years, Scott and I are getting away for our 13th anniversary. Just two chairs, two beach blankets, two for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Two.

We went to the beach on our honeymoon...gosh, we were so young! We were also so poor! Children were not even on the radar and yet, looking back it feels as if they've always been with us. God has blessed us beyond measure...and looking back, I would do it all over again!


Thursday, June 3, 2010


Have you ever had a decision to make when the situation was completely in the gray area? Situations where scripture is silent? Our ladies group is currently going through Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible Study. The second week of this study focuses on five primary benefits of being free in Christ. As I was looking over my notes preparing for class I realized that these are not only benefits of being free, but if you make them into a grid in which you filter every decision you face, they become safe guards to keep you from stepping into bondage. Here are the benefits and the question you can ask yourself before making a decision.

Benefit #1 is to know God and believe Him. If I do this thing, will it result in me knowing God more? Will I grow more intimately to Him through this?

Benefit #2 is to glorify God. If I do/say this thing that will be seen/heard by others, will they be even more convinced of my Savior or will they believe me to be a hypocrite?

Benefit #3 is to find satisfaction in God. Will this thing cause me to continue to seek God or will it make me seek things that the world says is satisfying (money, better house, nicer car, etc).

Benefit #4 is to experience God’s peace. Will this thing cause any chaos to sneak into my life?

Benefit #5 is to enjoy God’s presence. Will this thing take my focus away from God in any way?

Let me give you an example of running a simple decision through this grid. I love movies – all types, as long as it is well made. I think there are many, many movies that lie in the gray area. There are some, however, that even though they are more appealing than a flame is to a moth, they will burn you if you get too close. Run the movie through the grid of the benefits.

Will the movie cause you to know God and believe Him more? Some answers will be neither here nor there on this one. We could say that unless the movie is faith-based there is no way it would cause someone to know God more. There could be a tendency to become legalistic (which is bondage in itself) so we have to be careful.

By seeing this movie will I glorify God? This is the question in our grid that will be the deciding question. There is NO WAY, let me repeat that, NO WAY that a believer can take part of movies with naked actors/actresses in sex scenes. If you can scripturally prove me wrong I would encourage you to comment or email me. There’s definitely no way to be seen in that atmosphere and have any credibility to share Christ with someone who sees you.

Will this movie increase my satisfaction in God? Will I be able to look at the actresses and not compare myself with their appearance? Will I become dissatisfied with my husband based on the male characters? Don’t laugh…I’ve heard too many grown women talk about Edward and Jacob as if they are real! No real man stands a chance!

Will this movie cause me to experience God’s peace? A few years ago, I went to see a movie with a friend. I had a check in my spirit, but I ignored it. I left the movie theater feeling as if I had cheated on God. I was truly brokenhearted. I asked God to forgive me and I truly believe He did. But you know what; Satan ripped me to shreds for three whole weeks. Think ahead…will there be any room for Satan to creep in and condemn you? If so, trust me, it is not worth it!

Will I be able to enjoy God’s presence? The Holy Spirit dwells inside of each believer. So many times we need to ask ourselves if we should be ashamed of the places we take Him.

This was a difficult blog for me to write…mainly because I’m so far from having it all together. But I’ve made some dumb decisions in my thirty-two years of life and I have learned the hard way from them. God currently has me in a different place in life. He has required me to step it up and in some cases give things up. And I’m okay with that because he has placed in me a passion to declare His name and I want to walk in a manner that’s worthy of that calling. So, my prayer is that somehow God will take the ramblings and use them to encourage someone who is in the gray.
2 Corinthians 5 & 6

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I've listened to more sermons on leaving a strong legacy more times than I can possibly recall. I always leave feeling inspired thinking of the generations to come after me. I guess in my mind I didn't realize how soon the legacy would begin to form...and form it has!

I am a singer. I have been a singer since the age of seven when I debuted at Ed's Truck Stop :) in Poulan, GA. I remember what I sang. I remember what I wore. I remember the euphoric feeling when it was all over...the song wasn't the only thing that was over. I was done...ruined for anything but music for the rest of my life. I left that tiny stage that night knowing that singing would forever be a part of who I would be.

While God has definitely shifted my focus for a while, I was mostly right. I can't think of a time that I have not been singing. It provides me a unique way to express to God what is in my heart. I love lyrics that are rich with descriptions of our love of Christ. Harmonies that unite together resulting in the richest of sounds. I'm telling is just in me!

Singing is one thing. Being an authentic worshipper while leading others is another. It took me some time and painful bumps in the road for me to learn and display the difference. Leading with any sin in your matter how "big" or "small" is hypocritical and harmful to the body of Christ. Leading in worship is one of the biggest responsibilities right under the pastor. I can't think of any other position where the move from spiritual to fleshly can be such a slow fade. I've walked that road and I don't plan on ever going that way again.

This legacy came upon me with overwhelming speed. My youngest daughter, who is gifted in several ways artistically, was asked to help lead worship with our friend, TJ. He wanted to publicly affirm her gift so that she would be motivated at an early age to pursue God in this area. I was happy for Emily. I thought about how much fun she would have and the sense of accomplishment she would experience when she was done....

Then it hit me! As we were singing the first song waiting on Em to go up next it hit me that I had to help her begin this pursuit well. I had to pass on a legacy of being a worship who should be, by all accounts, "invisible" while at the same time pointing others to Christ in worship. No room for pride. No room for self. I leaned over to my sweet, little Em and prayed a blessing over her so that she could hear. I pray that my requests to God on her behalf took root deep in her heart. After I was done I shared a few things with her...and then she took her place.
I cried. I cried not only because I was a proud Mom and that's just what we're supposed to do. I cried because my little eight year old daughter was leading ME and her DADDY in worship! I cannot describe the feeling. Who would have thought that "full circle" would come so soon? I cried because I know her worship was authentic. I see it in her life daily. I cried as she sang words so rich with truth and I begged God to plant them so deep in her heart that they would ruin her for anything else but HIM!!!!

I'm not sure what God has planned for Emily. Her life was unique even while she was in the womb. She lives a life of uniqueness each day based on what God has willed for her so far. This I know...I will work hard on the legacy!

***Photos by Jaye Bice (

Monday, May 17, 2010


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about city transformation. I’ve been paying more attention than usual to my surroundings as I drive through town. I’ve noticed a lot more homeless people which has resulted in the give away of three hot fast-food breakfasts that I had purchased for my convenience and a stash of ready-to-eat military meals in my backseat. I’ve listened to people more and asked questions about their lives resulting in an opportunity to pray for a favorite waitress who has just learned she has cancer. I have to be honest – the more I watch and listen the more I have the tendency to become overwhelmed by the task that lies ahead.

This weekend I did something I never do – I went to the movies with a few girlfriends. The movie was Letters to Juliet and while my cohorts left with hearts full of romance, I left with inspiration. I won’t spoil the movie for you but obviously a letter was involved. The letter contained my inspiration: “"What ,and If." Those two words standing alone are basically harmless, but link them together and those two words possess great power. What if?”

I’ve internalized that quote from the movie since Friday night. What if our church pleaded with God each week (consistently) to transform Albany? What if each one of us rolled up our sleeves and committed to a volunteer area within our church in order to be prepared each week for the people we are asking God to bring? What if each of us woke up each day with the sole mindset of bringing God all the glory we possibly can? The momentum of unity alone would propel us upward. It’s inspiring, isn’t it?

Let’s look at it another way. What if we don’t give our tithes and offerings so that ministry can take place week-to-week? What if we come to church to sing a few songs, hear a good message and go back to our comfortable lives? What if we leave the outcome of our city to the elected officials? What if we just concentrate on ourselves and “mind our own business”? I don’t have to look too far back into church history to tell you that we would be one dead church in one dying city!

I don’t know about you but I’m choosing the first set of “what ifs”! It’s a HUGE task, I know. It can only be accomplished through prayer, faith and action. What is your action plan? Do you have a place of service? Are you coming to IMPACT on Sunday mornings? Do you give your tithe regularly? If you haven’t been doing these things there is good news! You can start fresh TODAY! If you need help, let us know. We can help you get started.

You don’t want to miss out on what God is going to do!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I was born into ministry. My father, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, began his ministry in his early 20’s and is still going at it today. I can remember going to his office after school…nosing around in all that he had going on. I looked through Bible studies. But not just the member book but the leader guide. I always thought the leader guide suited me. ;) I watched everything from how he laid out a newsletter (at that time is was the scissors and glue method) to how he produced a musical. It’s all in my DNA.

Fast forward *ahem* many years to my first full time ministry job as an assistant. Steve was my boss and assimilation was our main focus. Before this point in my life I had never even heard the word assimilation. I learned a lot from Steve about this big word with a simple mission: helping people plug into a church. I watched at Steve built relationships with people out of genuine care and concern. Then, he integrated them into the lives of other solid members…resulting in relationships being built. Other natural steps in the process followed that…connection to Sunday school classes, service areas and ultimately to the church body. He was a natural.

My second boss at the same church was Stephen. I have volumes of notebooks containing what I learned from him but one thing has become part of my nature. No one could tell Stephen that something couldn’t be done. “It’s not possible” was never a phrase that existed in his vocabulary. While this started out as a huge frustration for me, ultimately, I bought into that mindset...and it’s one I live by. If God has put a dream in your heart…no matter how big or impossible it seems…He will make it happen. Stephen also taught me to dream BIG. It doesn’t take a lot of “guts” to be status quo…but when you want to be someone who shakes the status quo for the cause of Christ, dreaming big is a necessity. (By the way…so are “guts”) ;)

Fast forward again to September ’09. I remember calling my friend, Tracy, one afternoon to share my heart. I ended the conversation with this statement: “Tracy, mark my words…God is about to shake up the Kavanaughs. I don’t know specifics but I know its coming.” There were a few events that occurred after that conversation that gave me a small peak into what the shake up was going to be and in November God made it crystal clear – He was calling me to another church to oversee Assimilation, Prayer Ministry (also a previous area I worked in with a church body that is characterized by their discipline in intercession) and Women’s Ministry (God changed this woman’s heart and I’ve has a passion for helping women grow ever since). God had taken my passions and training and compiled them into one position. I was floored. I was blessed.

I’ve been on the job since January 1 and all I can say is it has been one wild and crazy ride so far! We have kicked off our prayer ministry. We are in the process of building the framework for assimilation. We are kicking off small groups AND the women’s ministry in just a few short weeks. My heart is FULL!!!!

Allow me one more paragraph or two to tell about our small groups. We will have three main groups: Men, Women and one group that fits everyone. Out of each of these main groups we will created 4 or 5 missional subgroups whose main purpose is to do missions in our community. We want to shake this city up with the love of Christ by living out authentic, godly lives. This means we must grow in the Word and serve. Small groups accomplishes both!
So, if you do not have a church home…you are officially invited to Greenbriar Church. If you are a woman who is seeking to connect with other Christian women through Bible study and service…join me on March 24 as we kick off Transformed…Greenbriar Women.

Thanks for allowing me to tell my story and where we are as a family. By the way, Scott Kavanaugh is in his zone as well. He is now the Service Production Director which means he is responsible for making sure everything goes well for services. Now, those who really know him will know this is his sweet spot. I'm glad he has found his sweet spot in ministry! I love him tremendously! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010


Greenbriar Church staff meetings. There really is no way to describe them. I am the only female in a room full of males. Needless to say, things can become pretty comical! (And most of the time they are laughing but I’m clueless.) I love our time together for many reasons…obviously, laughter is one of them. Another reason is that my family “does life” with these guys and their families…that results in a special bond that doesn’t always happen among church staff. We care for one another. We encourage one another. We teach one another. We hold each other accountable.

Which brings me to today’s staff meeting. Johnny, our College Minister, brought the devotional. To sum it all up it was about the necessity of abiding in Jesus Christ (the Vine) and bearing our own fruit instead of living on the fruit that someone else gets from abiding in Him. The main way we depend on the fruit of others to satisfy us is in the area of Bible study. So often we hear a sermon or lesson that someone else has prepared and we try to live off that instead of going to the Word on our own to see what God has specifically for us. Johnny gave everyone an index card and instructed us to begin writing all of the scriptures we knew…verbatim, with references. Talk about convicting!!!! My poor, pathetic card!

I can find any scripture in the Bible that I need. I’m not talking about going to the concordance. I mean that I know the vicinity of what I’m looking for and can dig for it. BUT, that is not good enough!!!! As we were talking about Johnny’s challenge, I recalled all of the times I have wondered what would happen if the Bible was outlawed in America. What if I had no tangible copy in my hand? I shudder to think about it.

Needless to say, today, I have been convicted. And, today, I must begin doing something about it. My plan? I am adding daily scripture memorization to my Personal Growth Plan. I am beginning tomorrow with the book of James. My goal is to really get it into my heart…not just my head. Anyone up for the challenge?