Embrace Grace Baby Shower – Semester #12

Spring 2014 Shower Donate2If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area, join us at Gateway Church – North Fort Worth campus for a baby shower honoring 60 girls that chose LIFE! We would love for you to cheer a girl on and watch her open her gifts. It will be a night you will never forget! All the gifts have been covered by the body of Christ so no need to bring anything – just your arms for hugging and your cute face for smiling (which will be easy to do)!

Gateway Church – N. Fort Worth Campus

4209 Basswood Blvd • Fort Worth, TX 76137

7:00 pm – 8:45 pm

Come see what Embrace Grace is about – being pro-love in action! 

Written by Amy Ford

Carried Away

shutterstock_157298600The wind is picking up. God is saying to get carried away!
God really has been opening doors today. Some really cool things have happened for me and a few of my friends. Did you step out of your comfort zone today? If you did… Don’t just take one step outside of your comfort zone. You don’t want to get comfortable there. Take off running! Let yourself get carried away.
Ask God to show you what that looks like for you. Maybe it’s time to start that group He’s been prompting you to do. Maybe it’s reaching out to people and saying I don’t just want to be your friend… I want to be your best friend. Maybe you’ll forgive someone and ask for forgiveness in return. Maybe it’s praying out loud or with strangers. Or, maybe you’ll finally give up that one thing that you know is keeping you from knowing God more.
Whatever it is, don’t just do it a little,  get carried away. People may say, “I think you’re getting a little carried away with this.” GOOD! Doors are open in the natural and in the supernatural! It’s time to get excited. It’s time to get carried away.
God is at work. Whatever you’re imagining is just outside of your comfort zone isn’t nearly as awesome as what God has in mind for you. Just look at what he did on the cross. 
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. {Ephesians 3:20 NLT}
Written by Crissy Terrell  

Leftovers

shutterstock_145297363Abundance is at the very heart of who I am. Come to Me in joyful expectation of receiving all you need and sometimes much more! I delight in showering blessings on My beloved children. Come to Me with open hands and heart, ready to receive all I have for you. – Jesus Calling (March 23rd devotion)

I opened my Jesus Calling devotion today and was filled with such an awareness of the abundance that so freely flows from God. An Overflowing Abundance. The scriptures at the bottom of each daily devotion is like a treasure map leading to goodness that is sure to follow. As my eyes glanced down to see the scripture reference; I picked up my iPhone and opened the bible (app) and hit the search bar to enter the book of John. Then picked chapter 6. And scrolled down to verses 12-13. As my eyes began to read the words; my lips began to speak the words; my heart began to receive the words… Something extraordinary began to occur.

The word LEFTOVERS began to ring over and over in my head.

 When the people had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the leftovers so nothing is wasted.” They went to work and filled twelve large baskets with leftovers from the five barley loaves. {John 6:12-13 MSG}

Leftovers can take up a bad wrap in our home. My hubby grew up in a really big family. He had 7 sisters and he was the only boy. I always tease him that he was fully trained when I met him. After living with 7 sisters, he knew better than to leave the toilet seat up and many other little tips that his sisters, lets just say taught him well.

His mom is an amazing cook. He remembers how she would prepare meals and the family would sit around and discuss their day together. When they were younger, each week his Mom and Dad picked a day where everyone raided the fridge and pulled out all the leftovers and spread them out on the island for everyone to pick from. This is not my hubby’s favorite memory of going through, rummaging around and picking up leftovers from the tupperware containers. No, not so much. There was nothing wrong with the food that had been saved from the meals that had been prepared. They were tasty and sometimes even better the next day. Something about those times with his sisters gathering around picking through the leftovers left a bad aftertaste in my hubby’s memory.

Now please do not misunderstand. We do eat leftovers in our home. And we love leftovers! Just the mention of that word makes my hubby squirm just a bit.

This word began to stir in my spirit and have been pondering it the last few days. I keep returning back to it and feel there is a now word that God would love to speak through this. So I dive into the chapter and begin to dig deeper the passages leading up to John 6:12-13. Imagine the scene…

Bread and Fish for ALL

After this, Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A huge crowd followed him, attracted by the miracles they had seen him do… Jesus looked out and saw that a large crowd had arrived, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread to feed these people?” One of the disciples— said, “There’s a little boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But that’s a drop in the bucket for a crowd like this.”

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” There was a nice carpet of green grass in this place. They sat down, about five thousand of them. Then Jesus took the bread and, having given thanks, gave it to those who were seated. He did the same with the fish. All ate as much as they wanted. {John 1:6-11 MSG} paraphrase

John 6:26 reads, “Jesus answered ‘You’ve come looking for me not because you saw God in my actions but because I fed you, filled your stomachs- and for free.'”

I wish I could have been sitting there on that carpet of green grass and witnessed the miracle of Jesus multiplying the bread and fish for all. He fed thousands of men and their families and then to have leftovers..12 basket-fulls… That gives me so much hope. This gives the word leftovers a whole new meaning.

Could you use some leftovers in your life? Not necessarily literal food leftovers… Lots of miracles that have already been given and just waiting for you to reach out and accept them. Me too! I see a big field of people, just sitting around with their hands lifted up, ready to receive.

Are you ready for your leftovers?

…to be continued…

 Written by Salina Duffy

A Leaders Heart

 

shutterstock_170793764My life is changing right before my very eyes! Embrace Grace is a snapshot and training ground for the greatness that God has placed in me.

As I study my lesson each week I can’t help but feel like I’m preparing my Sermon! When I lead our Embrace Grace group it happens to be on Sunday evenings! To even say this out loud with confidence is God stretching himself out within me! I think about how great of an honor it is  to be a part of this awesome ministry, Embrace Grace. Then The Lord whispers sweet everything’s in my ear and into my heart letting me know that I’m like Joshua spying out the land that I will soon enter!!!!! I just know that it is truly the definition of He will exceed all expectations and all of your plans because what God has in store can’t be anything but pre planned!!!

As our creator he has sculpted us and has sent the tools and people to equip us perfectly or should I say, pull out what has already been placed there! I say this to say that God’s word is a double-edged sword! Each week God is not only moving in the lives of our blooms but our leaders are receiving their breakthroughs and at the very least witnessing miracles and soaking in the presence of The Lord. I thank them each week for sowing into Embrace Grace because face it, time is precious and they could be doing so many things. It’s an honor to have each of them there.

While your Embracing Grace, take a second to Embrace wherever you are in your process. There is something to learn from each and every struggle, success and season in your life. I like to think that all news is good news because either way you are learning critical things whether it’s what not to do or what your purpose is. Sometimes our greatest struggles are the very thing that God can and will use to deliver someone else.

I remember in school learning about the Indians and how they didn’t waste any part of the prey they hunted. They used the fat, bones, skin and every piece of meat! Yuck! I believe that God does the same, that’s what the Bible means by ALL things work together for those who love The Lord, even the yucky things! He has given you the keys to unlock your skills, prosperity and your purpose. BUT listening to his instructions is the gas in the car that takes you to your destiny. You may have the key but without gas you won’t move very far or very quick.  Through it all keep your eye on the prize, His name is Jesus and you can’t even fathom what he has you training for!

Written by Stephanie Cozzolino, leader of EG in Saginaw, Michigan

 

A Heart Revealed

shutterstock_131863598

There are days when I wake up 25 minutes late and wake up my grumpy kindergartner who went to bed 2 hours later than his bedtime. While the baby fusses, and the 2 year old makes a mess, I dig clothes out of the huge pile of laundry that’s been sitting on my couch for 5 days.

Nobody wants to eat the waffle that just popped out of the toaster and my husband already left for work so I have no one to gripe at. As we walk out the door I yell, “Stop arguing! I can’t deal with that today!”

Today was that day.  The afternoon didn’t go any smoother. My coffee never kicked in and I never got any makeup on. My attitude was stinky and I was just happy to make it to bath time. Dinner was short and my temper was shorter.

Today was the day I realized that I’m not the mom I always thought I would be. 

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. {1 Peter 1:7, 8 NLT}

When we’re tested by trials, our heart is revealed. On days like today, I am forced to take a Grace-Filled inventory of my faith.

It’s not about me …. That was my reminder today. These little people aren’t on this earth to make my life easier or make me a happier person. They are here to fulfill a calling that will grow God’s kingdom. It’s my job to listen for creative ways to nurture their callings and pray for their callings to be revealed to them early on. It sounds beautiful but it’s not easy.

Tomorrow, I’ll remind myself to slow down. I’ll pray. I’ll listen. I’ll open my Bible (app) and digest the words of my powerful Father who has all of the answers.

Tomorrow, when the wind brushes my cheek, I won’t complain that it’s messing up my hair. 

Written by Crissy Terrell

Blessed To Be A Part

shutterstock_168186230A few weeks ago I felt an impression on my heart to reach out to the owners of www.embracegrace.com and www.embracegrace.org. (We already own http://www.iembracegrace.com and .org) 

I discovered embracegrace.com was owned by a church in Scottsdale, AZ.  I researched the leaders of this church, emailed them and followed up with phone calls.  In my initial request I was curious if they would be interested in selling the URL to me for the benefit of Embrace Grace.  I explained to them what Embrace Grace was and what they were doing for the Kingdom.  After about a week I was told they would meet about it get back to me.

During that waiting period I reached out to the owner of embracegrace.org.  He was an individual who had originally purchased both embracegrace.com and embracegrace.org. He sold embracegrace.com to the church in Scottsdale several years ago for a church wide initiative they were doing.  I was curious after hearing this if I would hear back from the church in Scottsdale since they actively sought out the URL and purchased it from this gentleman.

My initial contact with the owner of embracegrace.org I also asked if he would be willing to sell the URL to me for the benefit of Embrace Grace.  I showed him some links, videos and explained what Embrace Grace was all about.  He told me he was not interested in selling the URL because he had future plans with the site.  I thanked him for his time and mentioned if he ever reconsidered to please let me know.

A few days had past and the church in Scottsdale, AZ emailed me and said “We will give you the URL embracegrace.com.  No charge”  What?  Are you kidding me? They sought out this URL and paid money to a man and now they are just going to hand it over? Wow…I was overwhelmed with emotion simply because it had only been a couple weeks prior that I felt a prompting in my spirit to reach out to these folks.  Thank you Lord for using me!

What happened next was incredible.  I got a message from the man that owned embracegrace.org and he told me that he had reconsidered and would like to sell me the URL.  I couldn’t believe it.  Just a few days ago he said, “I’m not going to sell it…I have future plans for that site.”  I was again feeling like this is God moving so I need to negotiate a deal with this man and wrap this up.  He wanted to meet that day but my schedule was slammed so I suggested we both take the weekend to pray about a price and lets visit the next Monday.  He agreed that was a good idea and so we both left it at that.

Monday we decided to video chat.  I was anxious to see what he was willing to sell it at because when I first prayed about it I felt like God was telling me he was going to give it to us.  I brushed that off thinking, “no way…he said he wasn’t going to sell it and now he wants the money for a new computer” (something he told me before the weekend began). He said, “Shortly after I walked away from computer and prayed about it I was walking across the living room floor and I heard God tell me to ‘GIVE IT TO THEM.’  So..thats what I’m going to do.  I need a new computer but God said he would take care of it for me.”  I WAS FLOORED!  He also said, “But wait…theres more.  I’m also going to give you the URL www.youtube.com/embracegrace.”  Again…FLOORED!  I thanked him and told him I know God would bless him for this and I’m so thankful I got to be a small part in the process where GOD gave Embrace Grace these gifts.  We got to know each other a bit (great guy) and had a few laughs.  I enjoyed his company and could tell we would be friends if he lived nearby just based on our personalities.

He was so blessed when I told him that the church in Scottsdale had just reached out to me and given Embrace Grace the .com site.  It had come full circle for him and I know he was blessed by that.  He loves what Embrace Grace is doing and looks forward to seeing it in more churches across the globe.

I wanted to share this experience with each of you reading to encourage you to HEAR – BELIEVE – OBEY what Father is speaking into your heart.  When we align ourselves with His plan…we are blessed to be a part.  I love to hear His voice.  His promptings.  His love.  Isn’t He good?  Isn’t He lovely?  I must say…this experience increased my faith and made me fall more in love with Him. God say’s YES!

Written by Ryan Ford (Amy’s Hubby)

She

shutterstock_142613923This may sound strange, but over the past year I have begged God for a meek and feeble request that he might cause me to fall in love with myself. Not in an arrogant and self-righteous manner, but from an attitude of humility, to view myself from His gaze: by His grace. To love myself with each breath, breathing in simultaneously through one nostril awareness of who I am without Jesus: insufficient, depraved and desperate, and through the other who I am with Him: perfected, loved and redeemed. Both are significant to my existence as a follower of Christ, for me to be known accurately, and to be loved wholly.

What follows describes She— the “person” in all of us that we are ashamed of. My hope for this post is that you will find your identity in Jesus and allow Him to shape the “she” in you. Its not an overnight process, but it is a process that every believer should go through. I pray that you will see who you are without Jesus and who you are with Jesus!

She likes to think she knows who she is. Her answer is sure when she feels loved by God. Self-acceptance is relatively easy when her life is together and support systems are in place. At times, she may even claim that she is coming to love herself. When she is strong, on top, and in control, her sense of control crystalizes. But what happens when she no longer feels loved? When her sin is exposed and her failures are highlighted? What happens when her fears come true and her dreams shatter?

As the pretender, she is a compromiser to her true self: insecure in her own skin and using others for how she might win. She adapts to each evolving situation and as a result she doesn’t have a personality of her own. Her identity comes from meeting the needs of others and performing with excellence. Success to her is people liking and approving of her. Failure is being rejected.

Because of her suffocating need to please others, she cannot say no with the same confidence with which she says yes. Motivated by the fear of not living up to others expectations, she overextends herself in projects, people, and programs. Living out of her creates a compulsive desire to present a perfect image to the public so that everybody will admire her yet she will still remain unknown. Her life becomes a perpetual roller-coaster ride of delight and depression. She is preoccupied with her weight and often grieved by the scale. The reflection of her awkward body shape, her puffy hair, and her freckled face in the mirror kidnaps her attention away from the voice of Jesus. It temporarily robs her of the Truth of His Word and she then becomes obedient to the whisper of lies. The amount of time, energy and thought she devotes to acquiring and maintaining the “perfect” image is quite staggering.

She assumes the passive role in relationships, snuffs out her creative thinking, denies her real feelings, and allows herself to be intimidated by others. Preferring to be plain, she blends in– there is less of her to reject that way. She wants only to be safe, to fit in, to be accepted, to be liked. Out of the fear of rejection, she avoids direct speech; she hedges, waffles, and remains silent. She is devoted to a life in the shadows. To her, silence is safer.

She is in me, in all of us. She is a vital part of our total self, but she must be called out of hiding, be accepted and embraced. The art of gentleness towards her leads me to be gentle with others. The hatred I have towards her, the pretender in me, is actually self-hatred. However, God liberates me from self-condemnation with graciousness and an understanding of human weakness that only He can exhibit. He is the one who saves us from her— from ourselves. His name is freedom. His Word is freedom.

Jesus discloses God’s true feelings towards me in the life He lived when He dwelt among us. The understanding and compassion He offered those He encountered then, He also offers you and me.

Naturally, she will forever be in us. I wouldn’t want her to go away. She is a part of me; a part of you; however, she shouldn’t control us. She might get frazzled at times, and start to act out. But the longer we spend time in the presence of Jesus, the less adoration she will need because she will have discovered that HE is enough. In His presence, she will delight in the discovery of what is means to live by grace and not by performance. And she will truly know who she is in Him: loved, redeemed, and His righteousness.

Written by Meredith Nichols