I learned something from my dog, Rivers, this morning…well, really from God but through my dog.  We were out on our morning walk and I kept doing as I always do, nudging her to keep walking and she did as she always does, kept right on sniffing areas for way too long in my opinion!  This time, though, I was reminded of the fact that she hadn’t been out on a walk for several days due to rain so I was trying to be a little more sympathetic and give her a few more seconds of sniffing pleasure.
 
That’s when it happened…I felt my Lord saying to me, “Why the rush? Rivers isn’t rushing and what do you have pressing that requires so much rushing through this time?  Enjoy this.”
 
WOW!  How many times do I have to be reminded to just stop rushing?!  I KNOW this but I don’t act on it.  I know that there are not people that say on their death beds that they wished they had rushed through life just a little more.  NO…truth be told we probably all need to stop rushing through life and “stop to smell the roses” (to use an old adage).  img_0627
 
Sometimes, too, we will be able to hear the Lord speaking a little more clearly.  As I was just reminded at beachCHURCH this past Sunday through our pastor, Todd, God doesn’t speak with a loud, thunderous voice.  He speaks in a gentle whisper.
 
Thank You, Lord, for using Rivers to show me how to enjoy moments You give us.  Thank You for helping me to see that time already flies so fast that I don’t need to miss it.  Help us all to let up on the leash just a little bit and allow You to speak into our busyness, allow You to help us enjoy life just a little more.  Thank You for loving us even when we’re rushing and loving us too much to let us stay content in the rat race.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Wonderful evening in Lyndale, TX
Wonderful evening in Lyndale, TX

We had a great experience during our first ever ‘House Concert’ tour!  Taking us as far west as Texas and as far north as Pennsylvania, with stops along the way in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana & Mississippi.   A very big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who hosted us in your home – or church!  We are grateful for your hospitality and support!  These concerts were filled with warm moments of worship along with great fellowship and a whole lot of laughs and fun!  Your response to this tour blew us away!

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!
We told you from the beginning that we had a crazy idea…  Well, you’ve asked and we are going to do it again!  We had such a wonderful time this Fall that we are announcing a Spring House Concert Tour – Remember, these concerts can be inside your home or in your backyard!  All you have to do is invite some friends and maybe supply some snacks!  These dates will fill up quickly so let us know if you’re interested and we can send you a PDF file that will give you all the details for you to host an event like this!  Email us at kristi@rkpraise.net or call us at 843-446-2983.

Here’s a look back at our Fall tour!  Enjoy!

 

 


REST

Rest.  What a seemingly simple word.  It is only four letters.  But, oh, the implications it can have on a life that actually does it!
My husband, Russell, will often say to me, “Sit down…rest.”  There’s that word again.  It’s sometimes, (I’m being a little too easy on myself), it’s often difficult for me to sit down and rest.  We homeschool our children, Will and Sidney, and this year is the first of many years to come of a lot more to do.  Me and our 2 amazing kidsWill is in eighth grade and Sidney is in third grade.  Their workloads are only increasing from here.  So, as I write this, I am looking back on yesterday – a Saturday that we were actually home and not out on the road doing ministry.  I had a terrible day because I couldn’t seem to rest. There’s that word again!
Saturdays, in my mind, were meant for catching up on the things you couldn’t get done during the week.  Well, because I homeschool, I had laundry, tons of emails to go through and send, and just the normal cleaning.  What I needed more than anything, though, was to rest.  There’s that…you get the picture.
Jesus had a few things to say about resting.  He tells us to come to Him, all who are weary and burdened and He will give us rest.  He says our souls will find rest.  He told His apostles to come away to a quiet and desolate place and rest a while because there were so many people needing them that they hadn’t even had a chance to eat!  We are to “be still and know that He is God.”  We are to rest.
I have to realize…it’s okay to rest.  Our bodies are designed to rest.  We can’t function properly without it.  Sometimes we just need a day, or even a few hours, doing things that instill joy into our lives:  playing games with our kids, watching a movie, or just napping or taking a long bath.  Maybe you haven’t just sat quietly and waited for the Lord to speak.  Tell yourself, “It’s okay to rest!”  Say it with me, “It’s okay to rest!”  One more time, “It’s okay to rest!”
Now, I wonder if your family will notice?  I think they will.  I think mine will.  When we’re rested, we can hear The Holy Spirit’s voice louder, easier. We can feel the joy that He intended for us.  I think our Heavenly Father will smile as we take time rest.
Now, can you count how many times I used the word REST?  Oh stop it…go rest!!
Kristi 🙂 

I recently received an email that took me by surprise in a very good way…IMG_0058

“Greetings from Canada. Last spring, my wife and kids were vacationing in Myrtle Beach and arrived very late, and somewhat dejected, one Sunday morning just in time to hear the sermon and your singing of “Hope Now” at Beach Church.

We had just left another church across town where we were turned away at the door because our kids did not want to go to the kids’ ministry. Weird experience. In any case, your singing that day was a welcome healing balm for my family. And I just soaked in the presence of our God as you sang. Thank-you for being His instrument.

I’ve had other such spiritual experiences at churches far away, often without giving thanks to the people involved. I want to change that. To our God all our praise is due, but his hands and feet need a pat on the back every now and then too, for being open to his moving.

So thank-you, and God Bless. We serve such a great God.

Barry – from Canada”

You never know what people are going through. So whatever you do, however you serve, remember that God can use you as a tool in His hands – to breathe hope, peace, love, and healing into someone’s life. People everywhere need to know the Hope that is Christ. Today, let Him use you in His most capable hands to do what only He can do in the lives of others. Who knows, someone from another country, or from the next cubicle, just might need His touch through you.

I was just watching a video from Paul Baloche.  He recently released a new CD and the title song is awesome!  In the video, he is in a urban area, singing, oddly enough, into a red SOLO cup.  The cup is attached to a string and he goes across the city, in various areas, placing other SOLO cups, also attached to strings, where people will walk by.

I watched as numerous people, each wearing headphones, walked by these cups, not noticing the ‘sound’ coming from them that the singer was singing.  Immediately I thought, “They are so plugged in they can’t hear.”  I thought about our fairly recent visit to South Korea and how plugged in they were – a culture that barely talked on the subway, where everyone, and I mean everyone, had an iPhone or some other smart device.  I thought, then, that they were a plugged-in society, not noticing much of anything or anyone around them.  Then it dawned on me…Are they plugged in or are they tuned out?  Are they missing out on things?  Are we missing out on some things…maybe something God is trying to say?

Maybe we, also, are tuned out.  Maybe we need to tune in and plug in to our real Source…of strength, of hope, of grace.

I want people to look at my life and say…

She sure is tuned in!

How about you?

A couple of Easters ago, our church was in a series called ARISE.  During this series, the idea for the song ‘Arise’ developed as I reflected on what Jesus has done for us.  So today, as we  celebrate Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and death, remember this…  Isn’t it amazing that the same power that raised Christ from the dead can live in us!

Here’s a look at ‘Arise’…

Happy Easter!
Russell and Kristi

‘Arise’ from the album Heart Revolution, is available on iTunes.