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Sharing the Dream

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I’ve noticed one common trait in couples who thrive in ministry over the long haul: the ability to see themselves as a team who shares a God-given dream. I believe this one factor can actually make or break the ministry God has called you to. Being a team sharing a dream can revitalize a marriage, a family, a local church, and ultimately the Kingdom of God.

 

The word team comes from the Old English and referred to a set of draft animals yoked together.  A more modern definition expands on the concept by adding “a number of people who act together as a group, either in a sport or in order to achieve something.”  Rick defines a team as two or more people who have common goals and also deep communications about those goals.

 

During seminary Rick began to dream of planting a church. It made me anxious to think about planting a church – the part about no money, no building, no members, no security or stability bothered me. Rick asked me to go with him to a church growth conference. It was at that conference that Rick’s heart for church planting began to take root in mine as I caught the vision of reaching unchurched people for Jesus Christ. Eventually, the “sharing the dream and being part of a team” strategy we started the church with began to fade a bit as life circumstances propelled us in different directions.  When we had small children, I was doing my best to keep up with their needs. Their demands often prevented me from being as active in ministry as I desired. As a result, Rick and I felt emotionally distant from each other.  Nothing was actively wrong, but we were like ships passing in the night, each of us busy with our individual responsibilities. I didn’t know much about what was happening in his world, and he didn’t know much about what was happening in mine.  During one of our intense conversations about our mutual frustration, Rick tentatively posed a question he had read in a marriage book: Is it true that the more a woman chooses to make herself a part of her husband’s world the more he will choose to be a part of her world?

 

I was riveted by that question and pondered it for days. I’m not going to wade into a conversation about whose turn it was to make the first move – which of us needed to try to be a part of whose world first.  That kind of me-first thinking can become a distraction and is what dooms too many relationships to disappointment and bitterness.

 

Many times I’ve had to choose between “me first” and “the marriage first”. Rick could easily tell you about the times he has set aside “me first” and put his energy into building our relationship. That’s the mutuality spoken of in Ephesians 5:21-33.  In my less-than-holy moments, though, I’ve found myself holding out for Rick to initiate something in our relationship on my timetable and in the way I want him to do it.  I’ve played that game, and no one wins.  I’m learning to put my energy into what it is I ultimately want – for us to be part of each other’s world.


Ways to Move Toward Being Part of Your Spouse’s World:

  • Ask: “What are the two most influential books you’ve read in the last six months?”
  • Ask: “Is there a sermon, podcast, or article that really touched your heart recently?”
  • Ask: “I’d really like to hear, what are your dreams and hopes for the church in the next six months?”
  • Attend or watch the same conferences together.

 

You and your spouse are each other’s most valuable resource for ministry – more than education and training, more than abilities, more than spiritual gifts, more than anything. You need each other! You are truly better together as a team sharing a dream!

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Say 'Yes' to God

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Following the Women’s Event on January 17, 2019, I’ve been hearing incredibly moving stories of women who really took to heart Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34. Many have chosen to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him – to become dangerously surrendered, seriously disturbed and gloriously ruined for the sake of Jesus. Many of you “did business with God!”

But I’ve also been told of women who almost immediately encountered very hard things – painful challenges to the commitments they had just made – and that might cause some of you to feel anxious or unsettled.

 So let’s review some of the key principles we spoke of together a few weeks ago.

#1 If you’ve recently encountered evil, it didn’t come from God, and it’s not because you made a new surrender of yourself to God. Remember we said that God is GOOD and can be trusted completely.

Psalm 107:1 (NIV) “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

Ps. 145:9 (NLT) “The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.”

He is NOT up in Heaven waiting to squish you like a bug for saying yes to Him. In fact, if anything, he moves in even closer in intimacy, thrilled that one of his children desires to be closer to him.

Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NET Bible) When you call out to me and come to me in prayer, I will hear your prayers. When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the Lord.

#2 You have an enemy who DOES want to discourage you and will fight you at every turn. While God applauds your commitments, Satan hates them. John Eldridge says, “The story of your life is a long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.” Satan is evil – and he brings evil in this world. Beth Moore says, “Evil will come because evil will come” – not because you surrendered any part of yourself to God in a new way. Don’t allow evil and hard times to make you second guess your decisions, or start withholding parts or yourself again in response.

1 Pet. 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

This is one of the reasons why you need to be closely connected to a church, to a small group, and to like-minded Christians. We can support each other through prayer, worship, studying God’s Word and sharing our real lives. Not just the happy, perfect, it’s going well parts, but the struggles, the hurts, the fears, the questions, the doubts, and the thoughts of giving up.

#3 Being seriously disturbed is uncomfortable! That’s kind of the point! Most of us are used to arranging life to be comfortable for us. Being seriously disturbed means you can’t live with the status quo anymore in any area of your life – and that’s going to rock the boat.  It can rock the boat relationally; in your career; in how you spend your time and money; what is important to you now; what you want to talk about; what you value.

We’ve been given so much… and God expects a lot of us in return

Luke 12:48 (TLB) “…Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.”

#4 Becoming gloriously ruined is a process. It comes as a RESULT of the first two commitments. If you make a dangerous surrender of yourself to God and you allow him to seriously disturb you about injustice, evil in the world, and suffering, eventually you will become gloriously ruined. It doesn’t happen in a snap of the fingers or a one-time prayer moment at a women’s event. It becomes a way of life – and that takes time. Over a period of time, you’ll start to see how you’ve changed and you’ll realize you are not the same person you used to be. You’ll become more like Christ!

2 Cor. 3:18 (TLB) But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.

If you’d like further explore any of these topics, please read, Say Yes to God. I wrote it in 2007 after God called me to be a global advocate for people living with HIV&AIDS and for orphans and vulnerable children. I’ve also updated a study guide that goes along with the book to use in a small group study. You can find the book, the study guide, and free 30 days of video devotionals at KayWarren.com/SayYesToGod.

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