As the entire world is being held hostage by this terrible virus, we began praying and brainstorming about how we could connect with people to share the Hope of Christ through music and encouragement while being stuck in our homes. We felt that the best way to make that coneection was through social media, and so… We launched a Facebook Live Event that happens three nights a week for the foreseeable future! Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – 7pm Eastern time! The response has been fantastic! We could all use some encouragement through this season of uncertainty and seclusion. Our hope is in Christ alone! Please join us and invite some friends. You can even host a watch party through your Facebook page! You can find our live videos here… You can even watch previous episodes and you can share those as well! Be sure to like the Russell and Kristi Facebook page to get all the updates concerning the Livestream.
We hope to see you soon! Russell and Kristi
1 Peter 5:7 “Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you.”
2019 has been an ongoing celebration of milestones. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in October! 2019 also marks the 20th year of full-time ministry for our duo. So, to add to the celebrations, the release of our first ever Christmas album – ‘LOVE IS HERE’ – happened on December 1st!
‘Love Is Here’ is a collection of Christmas songs both old and new. The title track – Love is Here – is an original written by Russell and clearly shares the wonder of Christmas and the reasons to celebrate the wondrous gift of Emmanuel, God with us!
In addition to the album, we set out on a Christmas tour. The ‘Love is Here’ tour made stops in… Houston, TX Katy, TX Lindale, TX Texarkana, TX Fort Smith, AR Van Buren, AR Myrtle Beach, SC Murrells Inlet, SC
Every stop on our tour was an opportunity to share the Hope we have in Christ – The Prince of Peace coming as a child to save the world! Wow! Aren’t we thankful for Heaven’s Perfect Gift – JESUS!
How many times do we think, “I have to look good, or do that well, or act the part?” How many times have we compared ourselves to others and wished so badly that we had it altogether like they did? I’m sure your answer is the same as mine…MANY TIMES! I even want to look good and look like I have it together when I’m out on the farm jogging. I’ll think, “Am I jogging enough? If anybody can see me are they impressed that I just ran that fast or that far??” Granted, my jogging is more like walk/jog right now but I still want the approval of others. It’s been out there on the farm when I’ve had to say, many times, “God, You are my Audience of ONE! YOU are my Audience of ONE!” He is! He’s the One we should seek to impress. Did you know, though…HE LOVES US WHEN WE’RE AT OUR WORST…and He doesn’t love us any more at our best! He LOVES us. HE LOVES YOU! He IS love. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love.” Also, 1 John 4:16 says, “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 them.”
See…God loves us even when others might not. God delights in us, even when everybody around us is rolling their eyes. God sees us, even when we’re out on the farm, or in the gym, or at the desk, or wherever we are and is overcome with love for us. We don’t have to earn it. We couldn’t if we tried. He “demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Whatever stage you’re on, or field you’re running on, or path you’re forging, know this…Our Audience is an Audience of One…THE AUDIENCE OF ONE…Jesus Christ…the One you don’t have to impress. He loves you and me, just the way we are and loves us too much to leave us there. He wants to make beauty out of the ashes we’ve created during our lives. He will if we let Him. Let’s do it. Are you ready??
What’s that one thing you believe God put you on earth to do? Have you ever thought about it? What’s the one thing you believe every part of you has been created, crafted, uniquely woven to do while you’re on this earth? You might be thinking…”Those are pretty hard and deep questions, too hard for me to figure out.” I understand! They ARE hard and deep and sometimes feel like they could have so many different answers.
As I type this, I am praying that God would just pour His wisdom through these words and say what He wants to say…
We’re all created in His image. God came among us as Jesus Christ and showed us how to live. He probably had everybody pulling Him in so many directions; yet He had a purpose…to do the will of His Father.
We all have a purpose…to do the will of our Father. We have each been crafted with unique talents, gifts, personalities, likes and dislikes to be used for bringing praise to our Creator and Savior. Everything we do should point other people to Christ.
Have you ever noticed how busy we all get??? Sure you have and sure you are! We are ALL busy, and busy at many (many, many) good things. Let’s look back on Jesus’ life. He had many people asking Him for things. After all, they had God in the flesh walking among them. We probably all would have been asking Him for things! Jesus, however, concentrated on what He was here for, knowing that He had created people to be able to do His work with His help and the help of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus kept looking to God the Father and kept His focus on doing His will. Jesus wasn’t here on earth by accident and neither are we. Jesus had a purpose for being here and so do we. He created us that way…WITH A PURPOSE…with HIS purpose.
If you don’t know what that is, ask Him. If you don’t know HIM, ask Him to make Himself known to you. He DOES have a purpose for your life and mine. The way He made you is different than how He made your brother, or sister, or neighbor, or ___________ (you fill in the blank).
I believe that over a lifespan, you will do many things that work together to become the ‘one thing’ He created you for. After all, we change during different seasons of life. We grow, mature, slip, get back up. One thing remains, though. God has a purpose for your life. Don’t ever forget that. He wants to use each of us to touch people’s lives. Maybe you love to sing (like I do). God may use you to sing a song that will speak His life into a person’s life for the very first time and they realize God loves them and has a purpose for their life. Maybe you like to draw, run, build things, play golf, work on engines! Whatever it is, He can use it if you give it to Him and surrender control.
He died for you. You’re special to Him. He will help you figure it out. He will help you as you surrender all the good stuff for His best. Why not let Him?
Pray with me…Lord, please help me to give you every part of me, I mean EVERY part. Help me to know without a doubt that You created me intentionally, with a purpose, to bring honor and glory to You. Help me allow You to do what only You can do in and through me. Please make clearer and clearer the path You have for me and help me trust You, especially on days and seasons when the path gets hard to see. Thank You, in advance, that You’re going to do amazing things in and through me because You created me that way…to honor You. You’re a good God and I love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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).
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.
The other day I was getting ready in our bathroom and I “felt” the Lord speak to me…
I have always been a person who wanted to do things ‘by myself.’ My family always kidded me, “Oh don’t try to help Kristi open that jar. She wants to do it by herself!” It’s true. I wanted to open the jar, the can, the whatever, by myself. I guess, in this way, I wanted to be independent. I wanted to feel the accomplishment. I wanted to be proud of what I could do alone. I’ve always looked as this personality trait as a plus, something I was kinda proud of, something that meant I would always give everything to try my best. I still think it can be a positive trait; however, as I felt God speak to me the other day, I started to think of it in a different way…
I have a daughter who is the same as I was (am) in this. Sidney wants to do everything ‘by herself.’ She wants to be independent when she wants to be independent, if you know what I mean. I’ve told her many times over the years that she’s just like me. Lately, though, I have seen Sidney not wanting to ask for help, even from the Lord. She seems to think she doesn’t need to ask for help.
Maybe I was thinking about this the other day or maybe God just needed to tell me while I was in one place doing one thing, brushing my teeth. He impressed on my heart that even though I’d always wanted to do things myself, He never created us to be alone. He created us to be in community, to need others…most importantly, to need Him.
WOW! I had never thought of my need to do things ‘by myself’ as a form of pride…until then. I had never thought of my need to not ask for help as something that was keeping me from allowing others the privilege of helping someone…until then. Until then, I had prided myself in the fact that I had always wanted to do things, sometimes over and over again, with no one’s help, mind you! God spoke, though. He told me it’s okay for me, and Sidney, and you, to want to try to do things on our own. It’s okay to even try to do them over and over again, as long as we know that we know that we know we need others, most importantly, our Lord and Savior, to help when we struggle.
We were not made to be alone. In Genesis 2, God even said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”