Category Archives: Mixtape Series

Mixtape: Note to Self

Lori Wilhite 2This weekend I got caught in the lobby. I probably don’t need to say much more than that. We all get caught in the lobby … or the parking lot … or the hallway … or the church bathroom … at one point or another. Maybe you got caught this weekend.

There have been plenty of times that I escalated a situation rather than diffusing it when I got caught. I’ve gotten defensive. I’ve gotten hurt. I’ve flat out gotten angry before. Maybe you have too.

But every once in a while, by some miracle, I manage to make things better. Whew. So, I’m writing this little post to myself to help remember how much better these situations can end when I handle myself in a better way. While I can’t be responsible for someone else’s response, I most certainly am responsible for mine.

So …

Dear self,

When you get caught in the lobby and you can literally feel the frustration and anger pouring off of someone, remember these things, and maybe, just maybe, they might help diffuse the situation a bit.

  1. Use your super sweet voice. You know you’ve got one. Yes, you hear pretty regularly that you are intimidating. Well, a frustrated, angry person who is also intimidated is not a good combo. So whip out your super sweet voice, and if you can drop in your good ol’ Texas accent from yesteryear – all the better.
  2. An arm pat goes a long way. It is harder to be mad at someone who gently pats your arm. In fact, it might make them feel a little more connected to you. And might make them feel like you — gasp — care about them. And since you do care, it is good for them to feel that way.
  3. Gently but firmly remind them of our mission and our purpose. “You know it is never our desire to hurt or upset you. Our heart is to make sure that we are connecting the unconnected to Christ and helping them grow to full devotion. You know how much we love people – you and the others we are trying to reach as well.” All good things to say.
  4. Connect them with someone who can follow up and follow through. Don’t just calm them down and walk away, Lori. This is what you are tempted to do so often! Make sure to get them connected with a staff member who can help them meet whatever need they have going on.
  5. And don’t forget to smile. The. Whole. Time. No matter what. Smile. Even if you are biting the inside of your cheek a little.

Ok ladies, what other advice do you have for me? What are other good things to keep in mind when you are trying to diffuse the situation when you get caught?

(originally posted August 27, 2012) 

Mixtape: Pleasing vs Trusting

Brandi WilsonOne of the struggles I’ve faced over the years has been my tendency to work very hard at pleasing God, rather than simply trusting Him.

The first time I found myself facing this dilemma was when I was just 21 years old. I was engaged to this cute boy who told me God was calling him to plant a church in rural Kentucky. As I processed what that looked like in my life, I became very aware that in order for me to flourish I had to make sure I was trusting God. I spent a number of years “doing” what I thought I needed to do in order to be a good Christian girl. But then I found myself at a crisis of belief and realized I wasn’t called to please God. I was supposed to trust Him. God’s invitation for me to work with Him led me to act out of faith – to fully trust.

Pleasing God was about working on my sin so I could have an intimate relationship with God. Sounds super spiritual, huh? Sell out, shape up, work on… but it led to self-sufficiency, guilt, hypocrisy and exhaustion. It left me confused and directionless.

I couldn’t go into that church plant because I trusted my future husband. I couldn’t plant a church because I trusted our launch team. I could only move forward by trusting God. What a lesson that was to learn!

Over the years I’ve come to realize that pleasing God is actually a by-product of trusting God.

You must make sure you’re trusting God with your sin. Trusting Him with your doubt. Trusting Him with your finances. Trusting Him with your marriage. Fully living out who God says you are. This path seems far less heroic.

Sometimes it means just stopping and saying , “God I don’t know where You’re going, but I will trust You. I don’t know where You are going to move us, but I will trust You. I don’t know if I’m talented enough, but I will trust You.”

Jesus is your rock and fortress. Lean into this truth as you step out on faith and TRUST Him.

Anyone else face the battle of pleasing God vs. trusting God?

(originally posted October 2, 2012)

Mixtape: Tuning

Jenni ClayvilleAs a worship leader, part of my job is to make sure all our equipment works. The sound speakers need to be plugged in properly so the music and all those speaking can be heard with appropriate amplification. The sound board has to be tuned and working so that all the musical instruments can be equalized to create the most perfect blend in sound. All the musical instruments need to be in tune and all the musicians have to be practiced to play as ONE band.

We prepare ourselves. I practice over and over again so that all the songs and transitions are seamless and without disruption. We work our backsides off to avoid mistakes. We equip ourselves to the fullest so that we are not caught off guard. But more often than not, I find myself tuning and RE-tuning my guitar.

I don’t mean for it to go out of tune, but the change in weather can tighten or loosen my strings. Just strumming it consistently stretches the strings and bends them so notes aren’t quite as they should be. Sometimes… a string breaks. So, to avoid this, I pay careful attention to my instrument, change my strings and tune often.

So, why don’t we do this for our marriages?

In the same way I resource and equip my teams to run a seamless service, we MUST resource and equip our marriages so they don’t fail.

Many of our marriages are fine, so why would we mess with something that’s not broken? And… that’s the problem. We are so busy getting caught up in the mundane that we forget to be intentional about our marriage. It’s not broken. But if I leave my guitar to play week after week without tuning it, eventually my guitar will not sound good to anyone and my strings WILL break. In fact, it would ruin the sound of the whole band.

The better your marriage is, the more reason to intentionally keep it IN tune.

And if you’re like me – being out of tune doesn’t mean you get thrown out. You just take the time to tune up again.

Tell us… what do YOU do to keep your marriage tuned? Let’s share some ideas with each other.

(originally posted January 16, 2013)

Mixtape: Ministry Monster

Tiffany CooperMonsters! Children have dreams about them hiding in closets and the entertainment industry earns millions preying on society’s fears simply because we allow our minds to believe in the possibility of the creature in the closet. (I know this because my youngest often turns on his bedroom light in the middle of the night for fear of the unknown.)

Unfortunately, if we’re not careful, we sometimes allow ministry to prey on us and a ministry monster is created. Instead of having a outlook of hope and faith, we let the challenges of ministry overwhelm us, leaving us with negative feelings and fears.

Just like a child grows to realize monsters are created in their imagination, we too can defeat the creation of the ministry monster. Here are a few suggestions:

  • KNOW and ACCEPT that YOU can’t do it all. You are one person, and you alone will not solve all the problems in your sphere of life. Do what you can, nothing more, and say to yourself, “I’ve done the best I could today.”
  • Set realistic boundaries. Life in the ministry is unique from many other schedules. STILL, I encourage you to create time to STOP and refuel yourself from all you give out each day. BE REALISTIC about your schedule. BE PROACTIVE about carving out time. BE COMMITTED to following through! Most importantly, seek the Lord for strength, wisdom, and rest.
  • Be honest and let go of things that are draining you in a negative way. Many times there is another solution to a need if we take the time to analyze and think about it. The solution may come immediately or through a process of transition. You may be investing a great deal in an area of ministry because there is a need, not because you feel passionate about it. I celebrate you for that! Stay faithful in your season while searching for a solution.
  • Keep your spouse and friends accountable and vice versa. My husband is super great at letting me know when he thinks I am doing too much. He notices when I’ve let too many things on my plate, when I feel overwhelmed and when I fail to give myself time to refuel. We keep one another in check in regards to the personal health.
  • Have fun! I like to think that monsters have a hard time surviving in an atmosphere of fun. The more you ENJOY LIFE, the more you’ll ENJOY MINISTRY!!! And, the more you ENJOY MINISTRY, the more you’ll enjoy LIFE!!!

We want to hear from you! What are other ways we can prevent the monster of ministry from creeping into our lives? Thoughts?

(originally published on September 19, 2013)

Mixtape: Oh Yes You Can

Cindy BealI’m realizing every day just how many women need hope.

When someone brings up pornography or infidelity around these parts in Oklahoma, a lot of my friends say, “You should read Cindy Beall’s book.”

Because you see, I have a file.

My file is 11 years old. It’s got information in there that will make your head spin but will most certainly bring you unspeakable joy. My file is thick and gets thicker by the day with each story I hear and with each step I take. My file is a little tattered but is holding together fairly nicely because of the holy adhesive used to secure the frayed edges.

I’ve got a file.

My all-time favorite Bible teacher, Beth Moore, was speaking one time about a situation in which she was asked to participate.  As she was preparing to go and minister, she told God, “But I don’t have a file on this!” Beth Moore had never walked the road of those to whom she was about to minister. She did not have a file.

You may not have a file about something through which a woman in your congregation is enduring. But let me tell you what you do have. The Holy Spirit.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Eph. 1:13-14

As a Christ follower, you have the Holy Spirit inside of you ready and willing to lead you down the path that you don’t think you have any business traveling. Because my friend, at this moment in time, God has placed you in a woman’s life for the crisis she is facing. You are someone she looks to, someone she has sought out for help. Don’t pawn her off because of fear.

Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “be filled with the Spirit.” As we yield our lives to Him and allow Him to come in, he will become our file. God absolutely allows us to use our past hurts to help others. But, don’t sell yourself short on how God can and will use you. And don’t forget, my fellow pastor’s wife and friend in ministry, that according to 2 Peter 1:3, His divine power has given you everything you need for life and godliness. Last time I checked, everything meant everything.

With that being said, I know some of you need for me to put some hands and feet to this. So, here are a few tips when handling situations that you may not feel equipped to handle:

  • Pray. I know that sounds very cliche. But every single time I meet with a woman, I pray and ask God to give me the words. All these years later, I still need to be led by His Spirit.
  • Don’t expect to fix them. You can’t fix someone’s broken heart. That’s God’s job. But as you pray throughout the meeting, God will give you the exact words or verses to share. I promise.
  • Be honest. If you don’t know what to say or why this is happening just say it. So much of the time people just need to know that someone cares enough to listen.
  • Less Words. Don’t tell them you know how they feel even if you think you know how they feels. Feelings are unique to each person. If you want to identify with them on some level say, “This is how I felt when…” And if they say, “Yes, I feel that way!” then great. They said it. Not you.
  • Give hope away. To encourage someone means to give them a courage transplant so give them some of yours. Don’t say, “Everything will be okay.” They can’t see that yet. You know that Romans 8:28 is true, but they may not due to being in a place of despair. Find something to lift their spirits…a book that might help their situation, a conference that might bless them. Whatever God places on your heart, offer it to her.

Whew. That’s a lot of information today, huh? Thanks for sticking around.

How do you typically respond when someone comes to you about a situation you’re not familiar with?

(originally posted on February 6, 2013)