Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Today’s blog post is for the women of Greenbriar Church who were not able to travel with us to Louisville, KY for the Deeper Still Conference. This particular conference was the very last one in the FIVE YEAR run of conferences. If you never had the opportunity to attend one let me paint the picture for you. Attenders always arrived on Friday night greeted by 8,000 to 17,000 of your closest girlfriends from across the country. There is nothing like waiting for the doors to open with that many sisters in Christ. I promise you…the numbers are no exaggeration! Upon finally entering the venue there was no mistaking the energized atmosphere! From music to booths set up by the LifeWay Women’s Team, there was always something to keep your attention…and it wasn't just fluff! It was all relevant to Christian Women. Finally, the 5-minute countdown would begin and spirit-filled worship would commence. And then…about 20 minutes later the first of three anointed and powerful speakers would take her place on the stage, bringing God’s word to a sea of hungry women. Then, the process repeated itself the very next day. I’ve never been to an event with these speakers that I haven’t heard clearly from God about how to apply their messages to my life. Over the next 3 posts, I will attempt to share with you what they brought to us. First up, KAYE ARTHUR. {All words in parenthesis are my thoughts.}

Kay began her teaching time with this statement: “400 women were asked, ‘Have you ever doubted God’s love?’ Seventy-five percent said, ‘Yes.’” She went on to share that when those women were asked why they doubted God’s love, the reasons included sexual abuse, feelings of guilt, rejection by others, experiencing a loss, because God doesn't answer my prayers, because I feel unworthy based on my past.

Then she turned the question to us…Have YOU ever doubted God’s love because He isn't performing as you expected? {ouch} How secure and confident are you in the Lord? Are you sure of His unconditional love…how He knows all about you and loves you anyway?

Sometimes, we make the mistake of thinking that God loves us because we are lovable but Romans 5:6-8 tells us differently. Scripture tells us that Jesus died for us while we were helpless {we couldn’t save ourselves} and ungodly {we aren’t good enough to save ourselves}. There’s no mistaking that we aren’t loveable. The solution was found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and through His sacrifice God lavished love on us {I John 3:1}

Kaye spent the next 20 minutes or so giving a very detailed description of the physical suffering of Jesus Christ as He bore our sin and appeased God’s wrath. The scripture she clung to for the majority of the time was Isaiah 52:14 through Isaiah 53. The picture she painted hurt my heart.
John 1:11 tells us that Jesus came to His own but they did not receive Him but to all that did, He gave them the right to become children of God…and then into verse 13 she commentated, “Salvation…not because of your family name, not because someone willed you and not because YOU decided…it was because HE did {decided}.” {Ephesians 1:3-10}

1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” She posed the next question: “How are you living in light of His return?” And then, she spent the remainder of her time taking a hard look at what separates true children of God from those who are not…including those who think they are children but have been deceived. I will give you the scriptures she referenced as well as her commentary.

1 John 3:3 “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Is sin in my life causing me to doubt God’s love? If we have habitual sin in our lives (same sin, time and time again) we should examine our salvation because of this…

1 John 3:6, “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him.” If the power of sin hasn’t been destroyed then you aren’t born again.

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” No child of God practices sin because Jesus, God’s seed, dwells in him.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” If there is no change {in your life} then you aren’t a child of God.

1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” Those who are not of God are obvious. {It should be noted that “doing right” does not refer to man’s moral code. The Greek word is dikaiosune and means, “the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved by God.” } {Loving your brother is further expressed through verse 16.}

{So, what about those who profess to be of God?} In John 8:41 the Pharisees said, “We are not illegitimate children…the only Father we have is God Himself!” To this, Jesus replied, “If God were your Father, you would live me, for I come from God and now am here. I have not come on my own, but He sent me.” The message is clear: If a person doesn’t love JESUS, they do not love God.

Romans 5:5, “…God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” We are only able to love because of His love in us through the Holy Spirit {which produces the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22…go check them out.}

1 John 4:16, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

Kay’s purpose, I am convinced, was not to scare the women who were at this conference. But in our culture…a world filled with no absolute truth and a “love wins” mentality, she had to draw the line in the sand using the pure word of God. It wasn’t an easy message to hear but Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” At the end of it all, God’s Word divides those who are in Him and those who are not. It’s clear.

My prayer is that whoever may come across this lonely, little blog of mine will examine themselves using the mirror of scripture. If you have any questions I would love to speak with you. You may email me at Mandy@GreenbriarChurch.net.

Friday, July 1, 2011


I decided that my blog has been sort of serious and heavy for the past week and a half so, it's time to add some fun stuff! At the beginning of June, I loaded up a van with five other women and we began a 12 hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky for the last Deeper Still conference with Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Priscilla Shirer. We had the best time and made so many memories...and even a few new friends. Here are just a few snapshots taken by my friend, Jaye Bice and myself. (Mine are the really blurry ones :))

This is me and Jaye, our pastor's wife. Jaye and I first met at the wedding of Johnny & Jill Schroeder, where I was the wedding planner. Little did I know then that her husband, Tim, had been praying about asking me to come on staff at Greenbriar Church. She later told me that she was watching me like a hawk to see if I was someone she could do life with...as we all know, when you are in ministry with a group of people, you see them a lot more than you see your own family! A few months after the wedding it was Jaye who called me to ask us over for dinner. The rest is history. I came on staff...and in the process I gained this wonderful woman as a best friend. She supports me in every area of my ministries at Greenbriar. She loves my family...especially my children. She intercedes for us. She allows me (expects me) to be 100% myself. We laugh together (a lot)...we cry together. We get along tremendously well on trips (even when our husbands come along). I've said it before but she's the friend that feels like she's been in my life since birth but in reality it's only been a few months short of two years. Anyway, sorry to ramble...I just wanted gab a little about her!

These are the brave women who made the trip. We overcame a hotel with no air, 2 bugs in our bed, a sack full of vendor hotdogs, one bathroom/one sink for all us, a flat tire on the way home and when we all were starving and tried to find food, the only exit available was one where everything had been taken out by a tornado. (THAT scenario made us think twice about complaining!) In spite of all the minor irritations...we had a BLAST!

I realize something is a little *ahem*...off...in this picture. Jaye is always behind the camera (even though this was my camera) so I had to superimpose her...rather sloppily, I might add. This was our dinner on the Ohio River at a place called "Rocky's". It was better during my first trip to Louisville but after 12 hours of drive time I think we were all just ready for bed!

We had a little time to kill on Friday morning so we headed to Churchill Downs! The store manager was gracious enough to let us use some official hats to record a welcome video to send back home for church that Sunday. I LOVED THE HATS! I thought about buying mine but with a price tag of $550.00, I decided to put it back! The pic of me hugging that sweet girl is Ivy...she glows. Literally, she does. She loves Jesus and helps the needy. That is her in a nutshell.

The pink hat is Katy, the person I mentor. I LOVE this hat on her...it was perfect! I think her picture should be on a Kentucky Derby ad! The other lovely lady is Sharon. I think she and Katy called ahead about hat colors because they matched their outfits! So cute!

This is us (minus our photographer). I love this picture because of Katy.
She's going to kill me. :)

This first picture is from Deeper Still December 2010. At first glance, it appears that I am choking my dear friend, but if you look closer you will see that she has a complex about her neck being too skinny (is there really such a thing?) and asked me to use the scarf to cover it up. This picture perpetuated the false assumption that I am aggressive...so in keeping with Deeper Still trips I decided to choke Ivy in front of the Actors Theatre! As you can tell though, I actually love her to pieces!

And at the end of the last day, we gained two new friends from the conference. The had flown in from Panama City Beach and needed a ride to dinner. So, our 6 turned into 8! We loved meeting them and still keep up with them on Twitter!

I cannot wait for the next trip! Girls trips are so much fun...I think boys miss out on so much! I'm not sure when the next road trip will be but I sure hope you are part of it! Until next time....

***Will post more about the content of the Deeper Still Conference in a few days! It's GREAT stuff! So thankful for these women of God who bring the WORD without apology!