Tag Archives: Kyle Idleman

Let’s Add a Side of Grace for Thanksgiving… (With help from Kyle Idleman – Part 1 of 2)

Friends!  Readying for Turkey Day? Are you cooking or dining out?  What kind of attitude are you sportin’ to go with that?

For years and years and years, our wee family traveled to Owensboro, Kentucky, where my Aunt whom I’m named for, produced the largest Thanksgiving feast I can recall.  Cousins traveled from afar and we mimicked the children’s book, The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant.

Years later, my cousins in Florida hosted Thanksgiving. Those were some wonderful memory making years of traveling with the boys, Woody eating sand during his first trip to the beach, John Jr. saying we’d better stop for gas when he’d slept the entire night, and Gordy waking but not crying, going right back to sleep provided he could hold a ball of any kind. We could pack a station wagon better than the Beverly Hillbillies.

A few more years rolled by and we found ourselves hosting Thanksgiving in Louisville.  Can’t say I had the best attitude…Juggling teenagers and multiple houseguests wasn’t my strong suit.  One afternoon John came out into the hallway and proclaimed, “We’re running a hotel.”  Had I written a sequel to Cynthia’s book, it would’ve been, The Relatives Came and Stayed and Stayed…

One funny memory after the other accumulated. Our lesson in that season was a novel idea:  BE THANKFUL DURING THANKSGIVING

Best quote ever came from my Uncle Bruno, God rest his soul.  Upon his departure, he’d say, “You worry, I’ll be back!”

So, as Thanksgiving is upon us, (Praise the Lord my in-laws have been hosting Thanksgiving the past few years, so we just show up!) let’s look at a couple of excellent authors’ books on grace, one per week to help us add a side of grace to our Thanksgiving meal.

First up, is a fab book by Kyle Idleman called Grace is Greater—God’s Plan to Overcome Your Past, Redeem Your Pain, and Rewrite Your Story.

Kyle writes just like he talks in a fun, easy way, making you feel like you’re sitting down to a cup of coffee with him.  His humor dotted throughout the book will keep you laughing while his teaching points will move you. (Killer funny footnotes!)

This book was inspired from a Scripture that one day hit Kyle between the eyes:

Kyle shows us that “when we miss grace, things become toxic.”

He says, “My prayer is that you won’t miss grace but rather will powerfully experience the grace effect in your life—and no matter what you’ve done, no matter what’s been done to you, you will personally experience the truth that grace is greater…”

The book’s divided into three parts:  Grace is greater than your mistakes, your hurts, and your circumstances.  Kyle covers any possible scenario you may be experiencing.  If you’re thinking, “Yeah, but you don’t understand my life right now.”  Maybe so, but God does and Kyle will prove it to you.

He explores all the uglies:

Guilt (my challenge du jour),
Brokenness,
Regrets,
Wounds,
Bitterness,
Vengeance,
Resentment,
Disappointments,
Weakness and
Despair.

Quite the shopping list!

Kyle’s honesty is refreshing and reassuring, reminding us none of us are perfect.  He shows us example after example of grace, opening our eyes to see people as Jesus sees them. He says, “I’ll say it in a way that might make you more uncomfortable: the litmus test for the reality of grace you’ve received from God is the extent to which you give grace and offer forgiveness to the person who’s hurt you the most and deserves it the least.”  OUCH!  We’d better re-read that for a minute…

Another way to look at this comes from Kyle’s friend, pastor Pete Wilson.  He says, “What you inhale is what you will exhale…If you’re intentional to inhale God’s grace and forgiveness, you will also exhale it in your relationships. But if you’re breathing in anger and rage, you’re going to breathe it out in your relationships.”

In reading the many wonderful endorsements of Kyle’s book, I laughed at one gal who said she was at first skeptical about another book on grace.  I was with her there.  In fact, my all-time favorite book on grace is by my dear friend, Liz Curtis Higgs:  Embrace Grace—Welcome to the Forgiven Life.

But wait for this:  Liz happens to be one of Kyle’s endorsers! She says, “…Grace is Greater is practical and inspirational, providing a clear path to freedom through God’s amazing gift of grace. I loved it!”  Friends, this is HUGE not only coming from Liz, but I maintain grace is one of the most difficult subjects to articulate.

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and snag a copy of Grace is Greater before Thanksgiving and before those relatives roll in!  Bravo to Kyle.

‘Til next time~!

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Navy is the New Black…(Part 2 of 2 from Grace-Filled Marriage—The Missing Piece. The Place to Start. by Dr. Tim and Darcy Kimmel)

It’s Wedding Day! Beautiful September weather in the heart of the Bluegrass of Kentucky, found us all readying for our middle son’s wedding. You’d be hard pressed to find any prettier location this time of year…

Kentucky Horse Ranch

It was September 27th. This was going to be Lauren and Gordy’s BEST DAY EVER... We were all about to meet at the reception venue to be “transformed”…

Major project for yours truly. But for this Mom of all boys, a day like today was Heaven on earth.

Lauren and her Mom, Pam, graciously invited me to join the bridesmaids for brunch, make-up and hairdos. The bridesmaids were in their pink, monogrammed robes getting gussied up. Fascinating fun is the only way to describe it.

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Once I was literally made over (!!!), I headed back to the hotel where my dear friend, Meredith, awaited. She’d just driven in from Nashville. We walked across the street for a bite to eat.  John was out riding his bicycle and scoping out the Harley store, of all things

We all agreed to meet up around three o’clock to dress and head to the church at four o’clock. As is our predictable routine, we ran late, and started scrambling….

Wedding blunders began:

Only three of four tuxedo studs were in John’s box. Bit of a challenge as we were in Lexington, while perhaps the wayward stud was still in our home in Louisville, seventy-five miles away.

John’s bowtie stubbornly refused to stay on.

Bow Tie With Clipping Path

One hook on my dress was problematic.

My Grandmother’s pearls hung askew.

And you can guess, the blasted clock kept ticking…

John quickly threw on his jacket and off we raced to the church while I hummed, “Just Get Me to the Church on Time….”

tates creek

Once there, Lauren’s wedding coordinator helped secure John’s bowtie, and boutonnieres, bouquets, and bridal party were all in place. Guests were already arriving and before we knew it, we were marching down the aisle…

Will Witherington, one of Gordy and Lauren’s preachers, performed the wedding ceremony. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Will weeps and trembles over God’s Word. Sincerely. He makes his passion and zeal for the Word contagious. It was a moment in time you desperately wanted to freeze.

Bible With A Burning Candle

(Sidebar: I believe Will is a nicer version of Francis Chan. Hold on, we’ll be taught by Francis next week. Just you wait….)

Four thousand, seven hundred pictures posed for later (Kidding, sorta!!!), John and Meredith and I headed out to the parking lot to go to the Reception. Sun still brightly shining, something made me look over at John.

Group 2

As if a light switch of horrific realization flipped on, I blurted out, “Oh my word! You’re wearing your navy blazer!”

John said, “Oh, no! We’ve got to go back to the hotel and get my tux jacket!!! How in the world did that happen???”

I know now, I should have inspected John before we walked out of the hotel. I was too consumed with my own issues. Go figure.

We have since howled over this, laughing ‘til we cried. Only three people that we know of knew of the mysterious switcheroo. John graciously decided two important facts:

1 – Most people weren’t looking at us, they were focused on Lauren and Gordy. Rightly so.

2 – The navy blazer was already a lifesaver the night before for John Jr. He’d forgotten to bring one and needed it for the Rehearsal Dinner. So, we mustn’t blast the blazer. (LOL)

Thanks to my fashionista friends, I’ve been hearing “Navy is the new black.” Perhaps John was stylin’ and didn’t even know it.

His gracious reaction is a great segue way into finishing up our discussion of Grace Filled Marriage: The Missing Piece, the Place to Start by Dr. Tim Kimmel and his wife Darcy. (If you missed last week’s Part One, please click here.)

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Tim says, “In the bigger picture, some points of contention aren’t worth making into a major issue.”

Proverbs 19:11 says:

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (ESV) John overlooked my overlooking the navy blazer with black tuxedo pants. We call this giving each other a “grace card”.

Part Two of the Kimmel’s book addresses what grace looks like in a marriage. Tim and Darcy give us three things that grace gives us:

“Grace gives you:

         a Secure Love 

                   a Significant Purpose

                             and a Strong Hope…”

As well as two things grace frees us from:

“Grace frees us…

                   …to be Different and Vulnerable

                            …to be Candid and Make Mistakes. “ (Such as our wedding blunder….)

I can’t begin to express the plethora of pearls that are in this book. One of many favorite parts has to do with the freedom to be candid.

Tim says, “Communication is vital to a marriage relationshipA grace-filled spouse wants to communicate clearly and deeply with their mate, but not pummel their heart in the process.”

He goes on to define “candid” as “honesty drenched in grace.”

Playing In The Rain

Don’t you want to be drenched in grace???

Tim reminds us of Paul’s “rules for fighting fair” from Ephesians 4:25-32, especially from verse 29:

Ephesians 4 29

Many times, I know in my heart I shouldn’t say something before I ever say it. Unfortunately my stubbornness sometimes wins out, benefitting no one. And that prayer I should have said, before I blurted out that awful thing, hangs over my head.

If you’re struggling with something in your marriage, pray about it first. In the section on “Maintaining a Climate of Candor”, Tim offers, “God does indeed have an ‘Always Open’ sign. He assumes an approachable posture that is saturated with grace.”

Set of glowing neon OPEN signs. Vector.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Straight from scripture Tim teaches:

God has chosen marriage as his highest example to the world of His creation.

He wanted something that could weather the extreme demands of reckless culture and endure the radical attacks of the forces of evil.

Marriage was his first thought when he made man, and it will mark the final celebration of humankind’s journey when we finally join the Lord Jesus for the grand marriage reception with Jesus in heaven.”

Group pic

(CONGRATULATIONS again, Lauren and Gordy!  What a picture-perfect, blessed Wedding Day you had…)

Then, as if that isn’t enough in Grace-Filled Marriage, Tim issues a supreme challenge to all of us:

God needs the two of you to be a benchmark for His glory.

Your marriage is too important.

You’re too important.

And God’s glory….

                            is

                                 worth

                                          it

                                                all.”

Perfect sunrise on the sea, with radiant rays of sun over a warm

If you’d like to hear more on marriage, our ministers, Dave Stone and Kyle Idleman recently preached an excellent, 6-part series on marriage called “Awaken Love.” Kyle recommended Grace-Filled Marriage in the last sermon. Go to: www.southeastchristian.org

Amen and amen.

‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to one of my long-time friends, Meredith Myers. She’s been burnin’ up I-65 to attend our boys’ weddings. We met in elementary school when we moved in across the street from each other and she’s been a sister I’ve never had ever since. Love you “Madge”!!!)

Eliz and madge

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Only Five Days ’til You Can Seize the Opportunity to Hear Kyle Idleman at Book Club on January 27th! Men and Women Are Welcome!

Only five more days ’til we have the awesome opportunity to meet and hear from pastor and author Kyle Idleman! Kyle’s coming to Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) on Monday, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  MUMC is located at 11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, Ky 40299. Please RSVP to Kelly or Nancy at 245-8839. (For more information, click here.)

idleman

If you live anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky, grab a friend and come join us!  While we normally just have “hen parties” at Book Club, this meeting is open to men and women.  I’m bringing John, my better half, because he always loves to hear Kyle speak.

Kyle will be speaking on one of his books, “Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart“.  You’ll also have the chance to ask him questions.  (He  has a new book due out in March.  I’m hoping we can find out more from him about it too!)

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One of many Scriptures Kyle cites in Gods at War is Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  Kyle suggests, “I want you to examine your heart to find out where your allegiance lies and where your glory goes…Because everything flows from it, your heart is the frontline for the gods at war.”

Friends, this will be a spectacular evening!  Just when you think perhaps this may not apply to you, Kyle will show you this is indeed for everyone.  Case in point: The  chapter “god of me” made me think, “Nah, I don’t need to read this one…” , altho’ I  did, and well, I s’pose the fact that John says if I had a website, it’d be:  www.neverwrong.com.   Alrighty then…perhaps a wee bit of pride could be a wee bit of a problem.  Now stop that laughin’….

Hope to see you Monday the 27th!  Spread the word!!!

Mega prayer request:  Please pray for Kurt Sauder and his family.  Our dear friend and Bible study teacher, writer, mentor, Kristen Sauder, went to be with Jesus this morning.  God Bless her and her family.  Let’s pray for her sweet children and husband.  You may find out more information on her website:  www.furtherstillministries.org

‘Til next time!

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GREAT NEWS! Come Hear Kyle Idleman at Book Club on January 27th! Men and Women Are Welcome!

Only two weeks ’til we have the awesome opportunity to meet and hear from pastor and author Kyle Idleman! Kyle’s coming to Branches Book Club at Middletown United Methodist Church (MUMC) on Monday, January 27th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.  MUMC is located at 11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, Ky 40299. Please RSVP to Kelly or Nancy at 245-8839. (For more information, click here.)

idleman

If you live anywhere near Louisville, Kentucky, grab a friend and come join us!  While we normally just have hen parties at Book Club, this meeting is open to men and women.  I’m bringing John, my better half, because he always loves to hear Kyle speak.

Kyle will be speaking on one of his books, “Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart“.  You’ll also have the chance to ask him questions.  (He  has a new book due out in March.  I’m hoping we can find out more from him about it too!)

318842

One of many Scriptures Kyle cites in Gods at War is Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  Kyle suggests, “I want you to examine your heart to find out where your allegiance lies and where your glory goes…Because everything flows from it, your heart is the frontline for the gods at war.”

Friends, this will be a spectacular evening!  Just when you think perhaps this may not apply to you, Kyle will show you this is indeed for everyone.  Case in point: The  chapter “god of me” made me think, “Nah, don’t need to read this one…” , altho’ I  did, and well, I s’pose the fact that John says if I had a website, it’d be:  www.neverwrong.com.   Alrighty then…perhaps a wee bit of pride could be a wee bit of a problem.  Now stop that laughin’….

Hope to see you Monday the 27th!  Spread the word!!!

‘Til next time!

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Slaying Dragons at Deals Gap—Figuratively and Literally (Part 1 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

This week we are going to do some dragon slayin’…but first, you must hear of a most unique Dragon.  Anybody ever slayed The Dragon over in the Smokies?  Most slayers ride motorcycles.

Allow me to enlighten you on Deals Gap and its’ Motorcycle Resort. (www.dealsgap.com)  The website boasts, “You’ll find us nestled deep in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.  We’re also known as the home of ‘the Dragon’.

It’s called ‘The Dragon’ because it boasts some of the most technical and challenging roads in the country.  It includes three hundred and eighteen curves in eleven miles.”

Riders who slay it, ride it again and again. My husband, John, has ridden it many times with many friends, including our oldest son, John Jr.

My favorite story involves one of John’s dear friends, who’s now in Heaven (not from having slain the Dragon I’m happy to report!), named Dick Richard.  Dick was a tough old bird.  Very reserved and serious, time spent with him was always interesting.

John and Dick took several trips on their Harleys to the Smokies.  John recalls their first trip to the Dragon as a remarkable sight to behold. Immediately after he and Dick successfully slayed the dragon, on their very loud Harleys, with helmets on, he heard the loudest whoopin’-and-hollerin’ coming from Dick’s direction.

To John’s astonishment, it wasn’t just coming from Dick’s direction, he realized it was coming from Dick!  He was like a little kid going down a slide for the first time. Completely out of character from his usual stoic temperament.

john and dick

Once on a romantic fall getaway to Snowbird Mountain Lodge, in Robbinsville, NC, John realized we could get there via the Dragon.  Now to be honest, curiosity killed the cat, so I really wanted to see it.  BUT….once we reached it and began traveling the eleven miles, negotiating the three hundred and eighteen curves, the strangest thing happened.  We also began seeing ambulances (yes, plural) and a truck hanging off of a cliff.  I began gripping my pillow in my lap with white knuckles and partially hyperventilating.

At one of the many overlooks John sweetly inquired, “Would you like to get out and see the breathtaking view?”  To which I nastily snapped, “No!  I want to get OFF this thing ASAP!!!”

After what seemed like three hundred thousand turns vs. only three hundred and eighteen, we arrived at the bottom.  Hey, and I’m pretty proud to say I slayed the dragon with John driving, while riding in a Honda Accord with four wheels and not two. Alrighty then.

Eliz and John

I’d not considered what could happen to the overconfident ones who rode a little too fast to make the curves. Yikes. Deals Gap’s website also boasts their “Rescue Squad has committed to posting a rescue truck on The Dragon every Saturday and Sunday (Makes one wonder about Monday thru’ Friday???).”

Go back to the Deals Gap website (www.dealsgap.com) and click on “Ride on the Dragon” to see these curves.  If you like it, make the trip!

Because so many of us tend to be fearful, we’re going to spend the next few posts slaying our dragons of fear.  I recently read a wonderful book by Debora M. Coty called Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries. Debora doles out Scripture to bust up fear and boost our faith with laugh out loud humor.

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Before we get into her book, (look for that in parts Two thru’ Five), we’ve got more dragons to slay.  While the Deals Gap Dragon is a crazy one to know about, after hearing Kyle Idleman’s sermon, “Seeing Clearly” from Revelation 12-18, at Southeast Christian Church, (You can go onto Southeast’s website and watch this powerful sermon.  www.southeastchristian.org ) we must be aware of the Dragon in Scripture. He’s prowling now as he was then and we must recognize him.

Kyle taught us about three characters in this passage of Revelation:  a pregnant woman, the child she births, and a red Dragon. This fire-breathing buster is better known as Satan the Devil, the Accuser, the Father of Lies.

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Kyle’s eye-opening teaching came straight out of the Bible. Best part?  He gave us the theme of these seven chapters:  The Devil is Defeated.

Worst part?  Satan’s mad and he’s after us.  Revelation 12:7-12 shows us he’s “enraged and is waging war against us” (NIV).  The Message says he’s “helpless with rage”.

How do we know that?  Look at verse 17, the Devil is after “the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.” (MSG)  Christian brothers and sisters, this would be us!

My Life Application Bible implores, “We must make certain not to lose the battle for our own souls.  Don’t waver in your commitment to Christ.  A great spiritual battle is being fought, and there is no time for indecision.”

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Can you feel this sense of urgency?  Revelation 13:10b in the ESV says, “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  The Message says, “Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.”

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My Life Application Bible enlightens, “Don’t fall into Satan’s trap and turn away from God when hard times come.  Instead, use those tough times as opportunities for growth.”

Chris Tomlin has a great song out called “Whom Shall I Fear”.  Part of the lyrics come from Isaiah 54:5.  The Message calls our God the “God of Angel Armies”.  Look at the chorus with me:

“I know who goes before me.

I know who stands behind.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.

The One who reigns forever.

He is a friend of mine.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.”

There are several YouTube videos of Chris singing the song and of him telling the story of how it came about. (These are worth your time, especially to see the entire lyrics.) He tells of his friend, Ed Cash, with whom he wrote the song and how they focused on equipping fellow believers to sing this song of faith to God, knowing that whatever comes against us, we’re to remember God is on our side, as well as His army of angels.

He cited Second Kings Chapter Six where the prophet Elisha in verse 16 tells his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than who are with them.”  Then he prayed and “The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (ESV)

Revelation 12:11 reminds us how the dragon is defeated:  “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”  By Jesus’ crucifixion and the power of His resurrection, and by our witness, we win.

Next time you’re fearful, remind yourself of your faith, dive into Scripture, and don’t forget:  “The Devil is Defeated”!  “The God of angel armies is always by your side!”

 

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‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my dear, talented friend Kay Richard.  We were neighbors for six years and she and Dick sooo blessed our lives.  John cannot even speak of Dick without recounting their fun riding days.  Kay’s talent of flower arranging has spread beauty at many a party.  Love to you and your family, Kay!  And we will celebrate your belated birthday soon! Hugs across town!)

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

  

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