Dare To Be – Coming to Shoreline Church April 27

Ladies,

Grab a group of your friends on April 27, and meet me at Shoreline Church-north, for an evening that will be highly impossible to forget!  Dare to Be, is a movement.  It is collaboration. And, it is a revolution. Experience Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill as they inspire you to be all you were created to be!


Set your calendar for this one night event, and I look forward to seeing you there.

Here are the details:
Dare to Be website
Date: April 27
Time: 7 p.m.
Locale: Shoreline Church (north), Austin Texas

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Courage

This is a guest post by Pastor Sam Mata. Pastor Sam is an executive pastor at Shoreline Church in Austin, Texas.  Pastor Sam and his wife, Kelly have been at Shoreline for over 20 years and are campus pastors at Shoreline’s south campus. Shoreline’s Men’s conference, Ignite starts this week.

Several words come to mind when I hear the word “Courage.” I think of words like brave, strong, power, perseverance and battle. As a man, I love these words. I am reminded of movies like “Braveheart,” “Gladiator” and “Rocky.” We see men face the odds that are stacked up against them, we cheer them on as they go into battle and defeat their enemy. There is something that is stirred in us and we can relate somehow to the tension we see on the big screen, except our situations are different. It seems like maybe our battles consist of overdue bills, a struggling marriage, sexual temptation or children not acting right. Courage is needed, none the less, to get through these challenges. Maybe we try to escape by watching these movies, because our heroes win those battles and somehow it means we win ours too. But when the credits roll and the movie ends, we’re still in the same place, nothing has changed. We walk out of the movie theater and back into the same routine of our lives. This is why we need more than a good story.

While we can find encouragement and great sound bites from the dialogue, we need substance, we need something deeper and real for us to pull from that will work in our everyday lives. I wonder if this is why Jesus said “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden… I will give you strength.” Paul said it this way, “your power is made perfect in my weakness,” not in my strength. It is in our weakness that we find strength and power. Jesus told his father in the garden, “not my will, but yours be done.” It is when we surrender that we become Courageous. Courage comes when we surrender to the fact that we need a power source greater than our own efforts. Courage comes when we decide that no matter what, God is still for me, He is still with me, He still loves me and I will get through this. I don’t know how or when, but I will… simply because God promised and I believe him. To me, that is Courage. Surrendering to the fact that I cannot do it alone, in and of myself I don’t have what it takes, but with God all things are possible. He will complete the work that He started, He will be faithful, He will never leave me nor forsake me, His love will never fail and I am more than a Conqueror. It takes Courage to believe God, at His word, especially when I see things in the natural, don’t match up with what I need to see. I’m so glad Jesus found Courage to lay his life down and trust His father. I have life because of that one act of Courage, Heaven is my home and I will never be separated from God because I believe what Jesus did on the cross was enough, once and for all. I have hope, I have joy, I have wisdom, I will never lack anything. The price has been paid so I can have all the Courage I need. So when the story of my life here on earth is over and the credits roll, only one line is needed on the big screen. I want it to say, “He surrendered and found courage.”

It’s Just Coffee . . .

This is a guest post by Cissy Luke. She is my sister and the service producer at Shoreline Church in Austin, Texas.  Cissy loves spending time with her 4 grandchildren, son Derrek and his wife Ruth.  I’m pleased to let you know that you can check out Cissy’s writing (Just Coffee), right here, every month. 

I have had the privilege over the last few years to have robust dialogue with men and women about the complexities of relationships and dating. The statistics for singleness in the United States are staggering.

According to a recent CNN article:

  • There are 96 million people in the United States who have not spouse.
  • Forty-three percent of all Americas are over the age of 18 are single, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • “Single” is defined as adults who have never been married, are divorced or are widowed in the bureau’s America’s Families and Living Arrangements survey of 2009.
  • Of the singletons, 61 percent of them have never said, “I do.”
  • Twenty-four percent are divorced and 15 percent are widowed.

You would think with this many people living a carefree single lifestyle, that they would know how to interact with the opposite sex without fear, mixed feelings and much misunderstanding.

What I have discovered is this is not the case. Often times we leave a well intended, friendly encounter and by the time we get in the car, bus, subway or whatever mode of transport we chose, we have planned a wedding, gotten married, and have made a home with 2.5 kids inside. We have called our girlfriends, family and co-workers to tell them of this sudden life change.

We are traveling around all happy and gay until we call someone like me. This person listens intently. They laugh when you laugh. They cry when you cry…or at least their eyes get moist. Okay, they were probably yawning. The point is, they hear how you’ve met the person who will change your life forever. You are so happy because this is the individual you were most worried about. If they are on your side and rejoicing with you then you must be on your way to marital bliss.

Then the inevitable happens – this friend, this family member, this girlfriend says

“I thought you met for coffee.” You reply “well yes, we had coffee.” She asks “how long did you talk?” And you sheepishly say “oh, about 30 minutes.” She then replies with something you’ve heard her say a million times: “Oh, it was just coffee.”

This statement brings us back to reality – We cancel the wedding plans, the house and stop looking at the book of the most popular baby names. We realize that although the conversation that took place two days ago was good. It was just coffee

Join me here every now & then as we chat about relationships – the good, the bad & the coffee.

Serve Well

This is a guest post by my dear friend Oneka McClellan.  Oneka and her Husband Earl are the lead pastors at Shoreline Dallas.  Oneka has 2 beautiful boys, and can be found turning the pages of the latest fashion magazines.  Be sure to follow Oneka on twitter.

The mark of a good leader is loyal followers.
~Proverbs 14:28

The beauty in leading comes fully alive in the art of serving well. I feel I am the leader I am today because early in the journey I learned to: follow well, honor my leaders, be fiercely loyal, and become an armor-bearer. Now that I am leading Shoreline Dallas, a new church with my husband Earl and our son Parker, it is evident God has blessed us with leaders who serve passionately. I’m so grateful for the serving seeds we planted long before leading our own congregation.

Following is a lost art. My definition of following is having an “ends of the earth” outlook. I will follow my leader to the ends of the earth and I will take their ideas and vision and make them my own. I will do all that I can to help make their dreams a reality. In doing so, what I have found is many of my own dreams have come true as a result of me carrying out the vision of my leader. I am not to be in competition with my leaders. My job is to represent them with excellence and sincerity.

Honoring our leaders is also mission critical. It is important to make them present even when they aren’t present. Like when visiting someone from the church in the hospital I would always say our Pastors send their love. Or when speaking for our pastors or in front of fellow staff or the congregation I would always honor them and make their love for the particular group I was addressing known. It’s important to not try to take the mantle and favor on your leaders’ lives and make it your own. Some insecure leaders may use opportunities given to them by their leaders to exercise their own agenda or to redirect praise to themselves. This is very dangerous territory and opens unhealthy doors. Honoring is not belittling to the one giving the honor. It is showing love and respect for those we humbly serve.

Loyalty is key in serving well. Our leaders have to have confidence in knowing we have their best interests in mind. They have to know when their back is turned we have them covered. When they have a weak moment or shortcoming we protect them and provide an atmosphere where they can let their hair down. In my 15+ years in ministry, I have had people take shots at my leaders. That is not a time for me to agree and air my leader’s dirty laundry. That is the time for me to speak the truth, shut down any lies and protect the character and integrity of my leader. Whenever someone talks ill of one of my leaders to my face, I correct the inaccuracies that are often cited. Since we have the privilege of being on the “inside” of our leader’s lives we see them behind closes doors. We see the sacrifices, the burdens, and the pressures. It’s our job to diffuse those fiery darts that come their way.

Real Life

This is a guest post by Brittany Williamson. I met Brittany a few months ago at a conference I attended in North Carolina.  Brittany will be hosting her very first conference for ladies ages 17-30 on October 1, in the Austin area.  You can follow Brittany on Facebook.

I still remember the nervous way my knees shook as I sat on the edge of my chair during the ceremony. After four intense, long years, graduation had finally come, and I just knew I was on the verge of something big: real life.

Real life meant a career, husband, and babies. It meant a new car, new house, and new responsibilities. Real life would let me sit at the ‘grown up table’ for  Grandma’s Sunday supper and help me fit in at women’s ministry events.

Real life would give me purpose and fulfill my dreams. I thought it would make me complete.

Instead, it let me down.

The career and husband and babies didn’t come. The new car and new house were nowhere in sight. The ‘grown up table’ was still reserved for moms and dads, and women’s ministry events still felt more like reminders of everything I didn’t have than opportunities for fellowship and spiritual growth.

Real life disappointed me, and then it left me empty.

Eventually, God showed me why empty was necessary. Binding my purpose and fulfillment so tightly to ‘real life’ and all that I thought it would bring had blinded me to the blessings of the present. God had bigger plans and possibilities for this season of life than I ever expected, but I almost missed them. It was until emptiness removed those blinders that I finally realized only He could fill me. Only He could make me complete.

Many of us spend our twenties waiting on real life to begin. We waste years longing for the things we think will give us purpose, and when they don’t come in our timing, we feel cheated. But God never intended for us to live a life on hold.

Are you experiencing an in-between season now? Perhaps you’re in between high school and college, or somewhere between single and married. Perhaps you’re married and looking forward to parenting. Maybe you’re just like me and waiting for it all.

Ignite!, an event at Fellowship Church on October 1st, is designed to inspire twenty-somethings to push past the waiting and embrace life in the in-between, to engage them in fellowship with each other, and to ignite their faith in a powerful way. We will hear from Sarah Martin, writer for She Seeks and www.liveitoutblog.com, worship with Emily Cousins, laugh with each other, and drink too much coffee. Most importantly, though, we will celebrate that even in our twenties, God is the only One able to fill us up and make us whole.

We would love for you to join us for this unique and powerful event. Details, directions, and registration are available at www.faithinbetween.com.

I hope to see you there!

Until then, LIVE.