THRiVE 2018 ~Reflections~ In the Light of the World


Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world.

Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,

but will have the light of life.”  John 4:8D75_4368

What a joy and privilege it was to gather with you!  THRiVE 2018 was such a blast! We worshiped the God we love and learned more about Him. We found our stories and journeys have a consistent thread… The Light of the World.  As multiple generations gathered together, many 3 generation families!- it’s electrifying to acknowledge that THE Light of the World lives and shines in all those who call Him LORD.  In Him, we draw our strength for each new day.

May He continually remind you of these truths from THRiVE 2018:




Child of God~

You have a “little” light and you can let it SHINE.
shine your light
You no longer walk in darkness-You walk in the Light!  Live in the light!
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Isaiah 9:2
You know this truth-
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5
You can SHINE your light in the presence of your enemies.
Wow!  Didn’t God use Gracia’s story to teach us all!




You will see how He provides Light for you along your journey if you keep looking for Him. Keep your eyes wide open for the “glow leaves”. 


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105
You are His unfinished masterpiece and He will continue His work in you…  Phil 1:6 
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10



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You shine bright because the Light of the World is in you.  


Polish. Chip. Chisel.  God is working in your life.  He will continue this work until He calls us home.  All of the chisel, chip and polish is for the purpose of becoming a masterpiece that carries The Light of the World! Give Him access to your whole life.  Let Him do His work in you.

You have a gift that has been given to you by the Holy Spirit. 
Have you waved your white flag of surrender as Paige shared and put fear in its place?  
 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, 
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6
You have sisters around the world who know Jesus and who need our prayers.  
Remember the source of strength Francine inspired us to have in life’s difficulties?  It’s the same strength she possessed while being held captive- Christ in you- Colossians 1:27.
You can saturate yourself with scripture daily just as you did in the 360 prayer room.  



He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Psalm 107:20
You can sing in the morning, when you rise… Give Me Jesus!  



Instead of things this world tries to offer, whisper… Give Me Jesus, Give Me Jesus.  
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Psalm 143:8
Ladies, it was pure joy gathering with you! Shine your light!  You are precious in His sight.  

Until next time… THRiVE 2019 For Great is Your Faithfulness

Psalm 143:8

P.S.  I love hearing from you!  Your life stories inspire all that we do at THRiVE!

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THRiVE Gathering 2018 In The Light of the World

Join us for THRiVE 2018!

In the Light of the World John 12:8

To register: Click here

or call 513-254-0318

or email

Please join us for a time to worship, fellowship and renew.  $15 per guest

What is the THRiVE Gathering? It’s time set aside for women to be intentional about worship and hearing from God’s word.

Read previous posts and pictures from last year’s gathering.



5:45 Doors open for appetizers
6:30 Opening session 1
8:15 Dessert break
8:30-9:30 session 2


8:30 Doors open for continental breakfast
9:00 Session 3
10:30 Break
10:45-12:00 Session 4

West Chester Nazarene Church-
7951 Tylersville Road, West Chester, Ohio 45069

Inspiring speakers including

Gracia Burhman

New York’s best time selling author of In The Presence of My Enemies.

Gracia resides in Rose Hill, Kansas. Her unique story and the captivating way she tells it makes Gracia a popular speaker for churches, conferences, and schools. As Gracia travels throughout the country, she talks about the spiritual lessons she learned during her captivity and how God has blessed her and her family since Martin’s death.

If you ask Gracia about life these days, she will say, “the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.”








Paige Graves will be joining our speaker team this year.  She’s a wife to Michael and mother to 3 beautiful children.  Paige is a former high school business teacher and now stay at home mom while serving as the women’s ministry director at the Springdale Nazarene Church in Springdale, Ohio.

Paige will be sharing her journey of THRiViNG in The Light of the World.


You won’t want to miss all our other special panel guests sharing their stories of THRiViNG in The Light of The World.

Music: Amy Mahaffey and band~  Follow this MUSIC PLAYLIST before you even arrive by clicking here and get your heart ready.

Hotel:  Rooms are available at our group rate.  Tell them you are with the THRiVE: Gathering.

AC Hotel at the all new Liberty Center  AC website

$139.00 nightly  group rate/ double queen beds

Just 2 miles from the church

7505 Gibson Street   Liberty Township, OH 45069   T 513-759-6500

Places to eat and shop at the Liberty Center 

Four Points by Sheraton Cincinnati North

$85.00 nightly per group rate/ double or queen queen beds

Tell them you are with THRiVE to get this low rate!

Just 1 mile from the church and .5 from Liberty Center

7500 Tylers Place Boulevard
West Chester, OH 45069
T 513-777-1101
F 513-777-6369

Questions? Contact Kalyn Vogelmann


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No Swerving from the God Who Sees Us and Is With Us

I love to meditate on the names of God. Each of the many names of God mentioned in scripture is given to us to help us more intimately hold onto who God is. They reveal something about His character. Who is this God we hold onto?

Throughout Advent, two such names kept coming to mind. One is El Roi, which means The God Who Sees Me. Genesis 16:13  The other is Immanuel, meaning God With Us. Isaiah 7:14

As I ponder these precious names I can’t help but notice how beautifully they work together. God has placed the two on my mind to say something specific, and it’s for all of us!

El Roi was the name attributed to God by Hagar Genesis 16. She was a lowly servant living a nightmare. When she was at her lowest, alone in the scorching desert, God reached out to her. Imagine her awe! The God of Creation, the God who had promised her master Abraham he would have an heir, the God who knew her circumstances without her sharing a mere detail… the Living God cared about what she was going through and He showed up to talk to her!

Her response was to name him El Roi: The God Who Sees Me.

While thinking about that moment, and reflecting on the many times I have called upon his name and been awed to sense that God sees me, it struck me that when God saw Hagar, he also chose to show up and spend time with her.  He didn’t send her a message through a natural phenomena or through a prophet.  He came Himself.  Her sorrow did not repel him.  He spoke to her.  He listened to her.  He heard her and she knew he was the one true God.

He was El Roi, The God Who Saw Her, but He was also Immanuel Matthew 1:23, God with her!

Dear one, God is the same yesterday, today, and always. His character is steadfast.

When you are at your lowest, He is the God who sees you: El Roi! And, He is the God who is with you, Immanuel!

When you are at your highest, He is El Roi and He is Immanuel.

When nothing makes sense in your world, He is El Roi and He is Immanuel.

When your heart overflows with joy, He is El Rio and He is Immanuel.

When you lose sight of who you are, He is El Roi and He is Immanuel.

When you answer His call upon your life, He is El Rio and He is Immanuel.

When you are lonely, He is El Roi and He is Immanuel.

When you walk into uncharted territory, He is El Rio and He is Immanuel.

When you cannot get a moment alone, He is El Roi and He is Immanuel.

Whatever your circumstances, He sees you and He is with you.

Christmas was just a few days ago and now we sit anticipating all the new the new year may bring us.  There are new joys to be found, new adventures, along with the possibility of-because we live this side of eternity-new heartbreak.  Still, let’s “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

I don’t want to swerve an inch and miss one single faithful promise of God.

NO SWERVING in 2018!

He is the HOPE that we have. He is the HOPE that makes not swerving possible and worth it!

Don’t allow others to determine what swerving looks like.  Always go to His word to find divine directions to follow the straight and narrow path. There is supreme joy and peace that come from living a life without swerving from the HOPE that is “trustworthy and an anchor for our souls.”  Hebrews 6:19

It seems Hagar started swerving and was unable to find hope.  But instead of staying on that downward path she called out to the Lord-the God who sees her- and HOPE found Hagar.

We celebrate that God sees us.

God chose to be with us.  Immanuel has come.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:19

I pray that you are able to find moments of peace and calm in the new year. Soak in all of the abundant blessings around you. Praise the God who sees you just as you are day in and day out and chooses to be with you! And NO SWERVING!!!

You are so loved and cherished.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Join us for THRiVE 2018 and discover afresh another marvelous name of God-

The Light of the World. John 8:12



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THRiVE 2017 Reminisce

Thank you for joining us for THRiVE 2017 In Jesus’ Name!  What a privilege it was to worship and fellowship with such a beautiful group of amazing women like you!  My soul has rejoiced with you as I have read your messages and emails sharing ways God spoke and moved among you.  Prayers for you have not stopped and I anxiously await the time we can join together again.

We were blessed by those who shared the powerful, unchanging, unwavering word of the Lord.  Here are few words we heard:

  • What a beautiful name it is-  the name of Jesus. What a powerful name it is- What a wonderful name it is- nothing compares to this- the name of Jesus
  • If you are going to do this, you do it  “In Jesus’ Name.
  • Our Father who is in heaven… We have the privilege of calling him Abba Father.
  • He is a good, good father in the storms of life, in the victories of life… He is Abba and his love for us is without condition.
  • I call him Prince of Peace, I call him ABBA Father, I call him Friend, I call him Promise Keeper
  • I AM who I AM has sent you.  Everything we need from God is wrapped up in “I AM”.  The gap between our calling and our obedience is where we trust that He is all we need.
  • God is “The Place”.  Where can I go from his presence?  There’s no home like Place.
  • There’s not a place you go he has not already been.
  • What does he ask you to do “By faith in the name of Jesus?”   Whatever it is…  do it in “The Name of the LORD.”

Thank you, again, for joining us.

The secret to THRiVing is this: Christ in you, the hope of glory! Colossians 1:27

Looking forward to seeing you at THRiVE 2018 In The Light of the World

January 19-20, 2018



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THRIVE: Gathering 2016 ~ Thank you!

imageThe Thrive Gathering at West Chester didn’t have to try hard to live up to its title. As Kalyn Vogelmann shared: “to thrive is to grow or develop vigorously; to flourish” from Colossians 1:27 “the secret (to thriving) is this, Christ in you, the hope of glory” – and these ladies weren’t going to let a simple oncoming January blizzard stop them.









Each person who filled the room that weekend achieved growth in their thriving relationship with Christ and with each other. The simple acts of listening to the speakers, praying for each other, and fellowshipping together over wonderful food always goes further than expected.


While Katie Beehn shared her testimony there was no doubt that the Holy Spirit dwells in her heart.  You never know what God will do when you totally surrender to his Lordship. Her sold-out love for the Lord was so evident for all to see and hear.  Katie’s story was inspiring and a few gals are already planning their own trips to Haiti to experience for themselves what happens when we “Rise up and let Christ shine on you!” Ephesians 5:14

The panel of guests words hit many of us right at home- Dovie Hudson’s words of wisdom- Don’t try to “sit on the back row and look dumb”. God could be leading you into the reciprocal blessing of mentoring dozens of young women looking for Him at critical times in their faith journey.

Lisa Van Nest and the Food2GO ministry – “God has shown me that He is always faithful. I was afraid…afraid of failure…afraid of inadequacy…afraid of disappointment. Despite those fears, God reminded me that He will provide what I need and all I need to do is trust Him for it. Those fears still creep in from time to time, but when I see the blessings that come from this ministry and hear of the impact it is having in the community, those fears are replaced with joy, satisfaction and excitement.”


“Anybody here who’s found him faithful? Anybody here who knows he’s able? Say Amen” Finding Favour





Straight away the tables’ gorgeous centerpieces, which absolutely embodied the theme of thrive, also tied in with Saturday’s first speaker, Tami Conrad, and her lesson on the Parable of the Soils. She exuberantly shared the same story we’ve heard since children’s church but revived it such in a relatable way. Tami shared stories of the tendencies we all share of being a seed thrown onto beaten, rocky, and thorny soil when all we desire is to be the good plant in good soil. Whether we are guarding, or being led by emotion, or letting our to-do list strangle us, we must instead strive not just to hear the word of God, but to understand it.









Beautiful Things- Sand Art by one of our Thrive participants

Dara Laforest also spoke that morning, filling in for an out-of-state speaker who was unfortunately snowed in. She was originally going to speak for a few minutes and sing a song, but Dara not only filled in – she thrived. She went above and beyond, sharing her story, her sorrows, her struggles, and her continuing joys. She shared her proven knowledge of how the world may abandon you, but God won’t. God can be the love of your life, if you let him.



The amazing words of these speakers weren’t the only beautiful voices heard, as a talented band of three led worship – though they weren’t the only ones unafraid to sing. The entire gathering didn’t let a word go unsung, even overpowering the microphone at times with their music. These acts which spill joyfully over the line of expectancy is what made this gathering memorable, life-changing, and gives the best examples of thriving.

Remember…. Who’s your King? That’s my King!

Co- Written by Janae Kammer and Kalyn Vogelmann

Thank you, Janae!

Thank you for joining us for THRIVE 2016.  You were a beautiful sight!

If you would like to stay connected with THRIVE, sign up for our email notifications.  Stay tuned for THRIVE: Gathering 2017 …in Jesus’ Name

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Food2Go ~a ministry of Living Hope Church to Centerville School Children



Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Imagine you’ve come home after a long day: your feet are tired from being constricted in shoes and your posture is already collapsing before you even see the beloved couch. But don’t worry, it’s the weekend. You have no outside responsibilities for the next few days, so you might as well just lock yourself inside and relax until Monday cometh. Your stomach now grumbles to remind you of the timely distance between now and your last lunch break (if your workplace’s generous donut splurge counts as lunch). Still dreaming of the legendary Krispy Kreme, you stumble into the kitchen to find –
You check the fridge.
Long forgotten corners of the pantry?
I’m not even talking about the “Uuugh, Moooooom, there’s nothing to eeeeeeat” type of empty. You feel hungry enough to where you’d gladly eat any can of straight spaghetti sauce if only you could find it. But you can’t just go to the store to buy some food – you locked yourself in for the weekend, remember? Not that you’d really have the money to buy food anyway. I guess you’ll have to buckle down and wait for those donuts at work on Monday.
In a sense, this is what is happening to kids all over Centerville during the weekend. Many kids who go to Centerville City Schools end up going home for the weekend without any food. They often live in tough situations that result in little-to-no money for food – sometimes the only real meal they get is the free lunch at school. This is where the Food2Go program comes in.
Lisa Van Nest, the current coordinator for Food2Go, shares the concept of this program and how she became a part of it:

What is Food2Go?

Food2Go is a backpack program for the Centerville City Schools that began through a couple of individuals from Living Hope Church who saw a need to feed children who are at risk of not having enough food to eat on the weekends. Since its beginning in 2007-2008, the program has gone from feeding 40+ children each week to over 160 children this school year. There were nearly 200 children served by the end of last school year. There are 28-30 volunteers involved in the program who purchase the specified food items, inventory, pack and deliver the food to the schools each week. We also partner with Elk Enterprize which is the work/study program for special needs students at the High School who inventory and pack the individual food bags, thereby receiving valuable career and life training in the process.


How did I become involved?
Just before the holidays last year (2014), I had heard that the Food2Go ministry was struggling financially and there was some concern that Living Hope would no longer be able to support the program. That struck a chord with me–I thought that this was too important a ministry for it to not be able to continue. At the time, I had no involvement with the program and didn’t really know much about how it operated, so I didn’t really give it any more consideration, especially with the onset of the holidays and all the busyness that comes with the season.

UNTIL, the first of the year came around and I received a call from my pastor, Jon Gibson, who wanted to talk to me about Food2Go. I was reluctant–no, afraid of what that meant, so I did not return his call. The following weekend was the District Women’s Gathering, which I attended by myself. As I sat through the sessions listening to each woman on the discussion panel share their testimony of how God called them to start their ministry, I felt God poking at my heart. imageThen, I heard one of the women say, “God is speaking to one of you out there and if he’s asking you to do something, then you better do it!” It was as if God had said it directly to me and it could not have been more clear. It was confirmation for me, that God was calling me to get involved with Food2Go. So, I returned Jon’s call and as it turned out, the director of Food2Go was stepping down, and a new coordinator was needed. After meeting with Jon and the director to learn more about the role, I knew this was what God was calling me to and I couldn’t say no.

I am now in my first year of directing Food2Go and it has been a learning process. The ministry is still having a few struggles financially, but it is improving and people have stepped up to either volunteer or support it financially. We have another church, Normandy UMC, who partners with us by providing some of the food which is about 1/3 of the total cost. We have also received grants from a couple of local organizations.


What has God shown you?

God has shown me that He is always faithful. I was afraid…afraid of failure…afraid of inadequacy…afraid of disappointment. Despite those fears, God reminded me that He will provide what I need and all I need to do is trust Him for it. Those fears still creep in from time to time, but when I see the blessings that come from this ministry and hear of the impact it is having in the community, those fears are replaced with joy, satisfaction and excitement. The relationships I have formed with not only the volunteers, but school counselors and teachers, have been a blessing I didn’t even foresee. It is a pleasure to work with such a wonderful team, who all share the passion for helping children in need.

I am grateful that God spoke to me the way that He did. Through the obedience of those women He called to ministry and through the opportunity of hearing those women share their stories, I now have the opportunity to share my story. That is my heart’s desire: to be a part of God’s story!


If God is poking your own heart about helping with Food2Go, you can go to their Facebook page for more information and contacts: Food-2-Go

article by Lisa Van Nest and Janae Kammer

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Secrets to Thriving By Elaine Mahaffey


Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ Matthew 1:23

Immanuel…God with us. This four syllable biblical word describing the baby Jesus is a staple for Christmas carols, sermons, and cards. I have probably heard the word Immanuel numerous times every Christmas season of my life, yet until recently I have probably not understood it’s depth of meaning.
​Somehow grasping for hope causes us to search for meaning…the meaning of life, the meaning of death. In the midst of Stage IV metastatic carcinoma, what does “God with me” mean? As a Christ-follower, faith assures me that He is WITH me, in the good times and the bad times, in sickness and in health, in celebration and in defeat. But exactly what does WITH mean? Perhaps the WITH of God explains the peace I have felt in the midst of cancer treatment. Or does the WITH of God answer the unexplainable joy, or the unwavering hope that God is in control of my life? His WITH for me means His very nature permeates my thoughts and reactions when I am scared of hearing scan results, or when the pain of the tumor in my leg reminds me that I am living with cancer. The “with” of God enables me to not only survive this time of my life, but even to thrive during this time.
​God often reminds me that He is Immanuel to me. He is with me and is in control of everything. Ten years ago, I received a Christmas cactus as a gift. I parked it in our master bathroom where I would remember to water it (even cacti need some water!). The cactus sits all year looking rather nondescript. In fact, it’s rather ugly. But every year in late November or early December, beautiful amazing red flowers appear.

I remember four years ago when I was going through my first breast cancer. I glanced at the beautiful cactus one day and made the comment to Bob, “How does that plant know it is December!” Immediately the Lord reminded me that He is Sovereign over everything. He tells the Christmas cactus that it’s time to bloom! So why would I have to worry about ANYTHING.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
​​​​​​Matthew 6:25-34
I can thrive in the cancer battle because He is Sovereign Immanuel. The “with” of God knows and orchestrates every day of my life.
​I also thrive because of encouragement of family, friends, and even those people I hardly know. Encouragement is powerful and fuels strength to fight. It comes in many forms…through cards, promises of prayers being offered, surprise gifts of blouses that will fit my arm plagued with lymphedema, or even through my grandchildren. Every now and then God surprises me with unexpected encouragement. I smile as I think of a recent gift:
My morning began as usual. On Tuesday mornings Tucker arrives around 8:30 and then we head out to Ladies Bible Study around 9:15. This morning was like any other…nothing out of the ordinary. Until I changed his diaper. As I leaned over him to complete the task, Tucker looked up at me, and in his innocent, charming toddler voice, said, “Grammy, you look like a princess!”
You can imagine how shocked I was to hear those words. In these cancer-laden, chemo-driven days, I often don’t feel like a princess. I limp. I have one arm almost twice the size of the other. I have gained weight due to steroid infusions and increased appetite. My “princess” days seem to be over. One of my fears in my reoccurrence of cancer has been that my grandchildren may not remember their Grammy as vibrant and full of life, but chemo-destroyed, old, sickly. I try as hard as possible to seem as normal as possible in the abnormal.
Tucker made my day that day. I realize that the comment was probably spurred on by the “princess-type” sleeves of my new blouse, but I can always fantasize that he really saw his grandmother with the blind eyes of love and not the clouded eyes of the world.
​​“…but let us encourage one another…” 1 Thessalonians 4:18
That we would all live this way.
​​Encouragement feeds thriving.
To more than survive in life’s most difficult challenges, I believe we must experience the “with of God,” being thankful for any encouragement He sends our way. People encourage me, but the Word of God, His Son Who made His dwelling among us, and the Holy Spirit encourage me even more. I could not live in peace, joy, and hope without this assurance. I love the theme for our upcoming women’s renewal event. I hope I am living testimony to the truth of God’s Word:
God has made known to us the secret to THRIVING… “That secret truth, which is for all people, is that Christ lives in you, the hope of glory.”​​Colossians 1:27
I want to thrive in the midst of cancer…not just survive…that He may be glorified!


Elaine Mahaffey

A previous and most excellent post by Elaine about her diagnosis of bone cancer: When What’s New is Hard 

Click here to find out more about THRIVE:Gathering 2016 where Elaine has been a featured speaker.

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