Devotionals, Home, Uncategorized, Writer's Spot

Faithfulness

Faithfulness

November 6, 2018kalynv732015Edit”Faithfulness”

This was a morning I should have been catching some extra zzzz’s, but instead my mind was rolling with thoughts of thriving women, girls, and teens.  My mind was envisioning worship at THRiVE and the drawing of women into His presence. That’s when it happened…again.  He reminded me of His Faithfulness in the midst of my how to’s and my what if’s.

Great is your faithfulness, oh God, my Father, morning by morning new mercies I see.  All I have needed your thy hand hath provided.  Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.… little, old, undeserving me.  Thomas Chisholm 1923

Very early that morning, not yet out of bed, I had my first thoughts and conversation with the Lord. While praying about THRiVE, my mind wandered through my trip last month to Haiti. It was on that trip where I witnessed the most spiritually powerful displays of God’s faithfulness.

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And with that thought, my eyes popped wide open, my head still on my pillow – Lord, that moment in Haiti – that was yet another mighty display of your FAITHFULNESS.

The experience in Haiti of being an eyewitness to His overwhelming, saving power has NOT faded one bit – I’ll never be the same.  I’ve written to the Lord about it often in my prayers, proclaiming His sovereignty. Yet, it wasn’t until that morning that the connection to my summer prayer and this experience had finally been realized. He whispered it to me in the early morning hours: Kalyn, this was a continuation of the prayer, the seeing of the miracles of my faithfulness you requested of me in early summer.

He did it, and He has been giving me gifts and glimpses of His Faithfulness since that prayer. The gifts of His faithfulness are not new, rather, it’s my awareness that is new and refreshed. It’s not that God has increased His faithfulness to me, but He’s renewed the gift of awareness to His faithfulness.  That is a good, good gift.

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…for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

These gifts and glimpses are always here for us, morning by morning!

So, today, while praying for THRiVE, listening to the Lord’s leadings,andthinking of Haiti (a woman’s mind is so wonderfully complex!), that moment on my patio on June 1stcame to me.  I remembered the beginning of the summer when I sat on my patio, revisiting a conversation the Lord and I have had on more than one occasion. The topic was Faithfulness.  On that relaxing summer evening, I wrote in my journal:

“As I sit in summer in the cool of the evening on my patio.  I read your words to me through the scriptures.  FAITHFULNESS- Great is your faithfulness.  This quote from the book Daring to Hope that I have been reading jumps off the page in light of the theme for THRiVE 2019.

‘Though we tremble and feel uncertain, courage means we press into a God who is certain, sure, steady= FAITHFUL! He lifts our heads.

 And His unfailing love and comfort become our courage and our hope.’

Faithfulness–God show me your faithful ways in my life, big and small.  God open my eyes to your miracles and goodness.  Open my heart to all of your faithfulness.  Yours to me and mine to you.  Oh, how I want to truly know, see and believe in ALL of your faithful ways.  Drive the dark of doubt away.  I confess to see slivers (and maybe more) of non-belief in your faithfulness at times.  (This was hard to confess.)  This year, all the way to THRiVE 2019, please bestow upon me a solid rock belief in “Great is your Faithfulness.” Here tonight on my patio, birds chirping, crickets singing, sun going down, I sense you and I hear you say – Ask me, ask me now, courageously ask me. Ask me to show you the ways I’m faithful and courageously ask me to show you the gaps in your faithfulness towards Me (ouch).” 

So, from that moment on all summer collections of God’s faithfulness filled my journal.  But this morning it strikes me as so very, very odd that one of the most amazing ways He displayed His faithfulness to me during this time, “all the way to THRiVE,” had not yet been recognized as an answer to this prayer on June 1st. “God showing me His faithful ways and… God opening my eyes to his miracles and goodness, seeing and truly believing His faithfulness.” I admit that my enthusiasm for seeing and recording His faithfulness to me had waned.  Yet, His enthusiasm towards me had not!  Thank you, my Faithful Father!

Stop.  Grasp that kind of love and grace.  I let that knowledge wash over me.  I shake my head. God, you are indeed loyal, constant, unswerving and devoted = FAITHFUL.

The patience of God overcomes me today.  He is always faithful, and still we miss it. Yet, in His patience and grace, when we ask, according to His word, He answers.

Hosea 6 3

Even as I type these thoughts “acknowledging the Lord, pressing on to acknowledge him” (Hosea 6:3), Realizing the truth of His word that as we press on to know Him, “He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of the dawn,”this glorious autumn sunrise came bursting through my windows and I had to capture it!  His faithfulness is as certain as the morning sunrise!

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THRiVE: For Great is Thy Faithfulness

Morning by morning new mercies I see…this morning the beauty of your unfailing love covers me.

He is faithful to speak to me when I speak to Him!  And I recognize that some of my wondering and some of my thoughts and actions do not always display a solid rock belief in the FAITHFULNESS of God, but isn’t He worthy of me displaying my belief in His faithfulness?  HE is worth it- He is worthy of my Believing! There are so many things I do not know, and so many things I cannot explain; for God is not explainable. But, oh, He is FAITHFUL, so very FAITHFUL!

THRiVE,

Kalyn

 

Events, Home, Uncategorized

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.

 

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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.

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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.”

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

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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.

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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.

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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

Home, Uncategorized, Women in Ministry Highlights

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

 

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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 –
Nothing.
You check the fridge.
Freezer?
Long forgotten corners of the pantry?
Empty.
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.

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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.

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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!

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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

Devotionals, Writer's Spot

Secrets to Thriving By Elaine Mahaffey

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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.

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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!

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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.