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Legacy

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A Letter to My Pastors

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I want to take a moment to say what I am sure we have all been thinking.

Thank you. Thank you Pastors Rob and Laura for making the sacrifice 30 years ago. Thank you for stepping out in faith when you had no idea what you were doing. Thank you for saying yes to the call of God. Thank you for not quitting when you felt like it. Thank you for believing in the next generation, and then again in the generation after that and now in a new generation. Thank you for paving the way and marking the trail.

As someone who wasn’t even born when Shoreline first began, I can’t imagine a world without it.

In preparing for the celebration of 30 years of ministry in Austin I was looking through some old pictures and I couldn’t help but notice the consistency in the pictures from the last 3 decades. Yes, there have been different buildings, yes there have been different people, yes there have been different styles and haircuts, but one thing stayed the same. The heart. I saw a picture from the late 80s that said “Christian Faith Center, an oasis of love” I saw another picture from the early 90s and on the wall was a banner that read “…because people matter to God” and then I think about what is said every single week here at Shoreline in our creed “I am loved by God”.

For the last 3 decades Shoreline has been a beacon of hope, a community of joy and a place where people meet face to face with the love of God. The faithfulness and consistency of the leaders of Shoreline Church does not go unnoticed.

So many people have their own story about how Pastor Rob and Laura and Shoreline has changed their life, on behalf of us all, I want to say…

THANK YOU!

 

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Crowned for Legacy

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The greatest legacy leaver of all time, Jesus, gave us a great commission to go into all the world and make disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:19). He passed that charge and that baton on to each of us. In all the hats we wear and in all the lanes we run in, we share this common purpose.

We are ambassadors of Christ; love carriers to share the good news of the greatest gift to all mankind.

One of the most impactful passages by Jesus, as he spoke of the future to come as he handed off the baton to us to continue what he started, was this word which alluded to us doing even more than he was able to do in his time on the earth. He said in John 14:12-14,

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus’ goal was for us to do greater things than he had been doing. He spoke more over us than even what we saw him do in the Bible. What a beautiful, selfless legacy to desire that those who followed would walk in more.

Two other examples of great Biblical leaders who set their successors up to walk in greater things, was Elijah and the apostle Paul. Elijah took time to groom and train us Elisha. He mentored him and allowed him to experience the fullness of his ministry while he walked in his role as prophet. He didn’t just place his cloak on Elisha and send him on his way. He groomed him. He taught him what he knew. And in the end, when Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s anointing, God honored that request. I can only imagine God granted it, because he knew Elisha’s character was developed enough and he had the experience under his belt to walk in it wisely. Paul groomed many Christians, but his last letter was written to his son in the faith, Timothy. There he poured out all he knew and all the wisdom imparted to him on his journey of following God, and Timothy continued on in his mission to carry the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles, those outside of the Jewish faith. For both of these great leaders, it was critically important to raise up leaders who would follow in their footsteps and continue their work.

Jesus, Elijah, and Paul all recognized their role in leaving a legacy. They passed the crown to those following them to continue what they began.

Let’s take a closer look at how you too are crowned for legacy:

1.         Who in your life served as a Paul or Elijah and how did their influence help shape who you are today?

2.         Who has God placed around you for you to raise up to do greater things?

3.         How are you intentionally walking that out day to day?

For further reflection:

Take some time this week to write out a letter to someone who has influenced you. Share with them how their time invested in your helped you become the person you are today. If you feel lead, share also how you are continuing their legacy by intentionally passing on some of these same values and principles to those God has placed around you in your world.

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SAFE

Earlier this year my husband went to Africa. We are empty-nesters and are enjoying this season – but when he’s gone… You know how it is – the house decides to come alive and make noises. Every little sound makes me think someone is trying to break in. Of course, it’s just the ice maker, a random bird running into the window, tree branches scrapping the house, or some other oddity. But it produces fear... a sense of feeling unsafe.

Side tangent...

That reminds of when we were first married. We had a cute little starter home with our bedroom on the top floor. One night I awoke from a deep sleep convinced that I saw a strange man staring in the window. I was afraid so I immediately shook Rob and told him about the intruder... to which he astutely replied, “He must be a very tall man!” We both died laughing. To this day, when an unrealistic fear tries to sweep us into it’s grip, one of us repeats this hilarious line.

I said all that to say, so much of what we fear is unrealistic and simply does not EVER happen.

At the same time, there truly are some frightening happenings around the globe, in our neighborhoods, and in our very lives, that produce true founded fear.

Needless to say – fear is pervasive.

When fear captures our hearts, regardless of where it comes from, we have these wonderfully calming promises found in God’s word, to settle things down.

  • Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.
  • 1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear.
  • Psalm 5:3 – What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.
  • Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything. Instead pray about everything.
  • Isaiah 41:10 - Fear not, for I am with you.

And my fave...

Deuteronomy 33:27 – The Eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms, he will drive out your enemy before you, saying, “Destroy him!”

I’m not an avid baseball fan but from time to time I watch the last inning of a game with my hubby. (That’s the most exciting inning for sure and about my sports watching limit.) Anyhow, I find myself holding my breath as a guy hits the ball and starts rounding the bases, while the guys on the other team are trying to throw him out. When he finally slides into the base and the ref yells, “Safe!” is when I breathe a sigh of relief and have that sense that everything is going to be okay!

In a much bigger way, our EVERLASTING, Heavenly Father really – and I mean REALLY has us safe and secure - right smack dab in the middle of his gracious, strong arms. He is G O D! He cares about his kids and is watching out for us every waking second! He neither grows weary, nor tired... and no one is a match for him!

When we have no idea how we will be able to meet our obligations – when our physical bodies are sick or hurting – when our relationships are in trouble – when they are laying people off at our job – when our hearts are broken – when our kids are young and fragile, or older and making their own decisions – when the world around us starts falling apart ...

We can lean on his everlasting arms and rest assured, knowing that we are...

SAFE!

-Laura

 

 

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The Mirror That Matters

20 years ago when I was a young mom, I had no idea that I would have the honor of standing on stage this Mother’s Day with my beautiful daughter, Danielle, and my lovely daughter in luv, Katy! Dreams do come true!

We shared with our church family about their unmatched VALUE to their Creator. In stark contrast, the culture tries to tell us who we are, what we should look like, act like, weigh, and even that we need to have certain things to live a significant life. It encourages us to conform to a particular mirror image. But the problem is, the culture is elusive, it’s always changing. If we try to find our identity there, it will always lead to frustration as we compete and compare ourselves to everything around us. Romans 12:2 (Phillips) - Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold, but let God re-mold your mind from within. We need to let God change us from the inside out!

The culture we live in often gives us the wrong mirror images to look at, but as Danielle shared, “There is a perfect mirror – God’s word - that gives us accurate and wonderful images to believe!”

As a mom, it was breathtaking to hear my daughter share with thousands of people how we need to allow God’s thoughts alone shape us. “His word makes up our mind for us - it tells us who we are – all we have to do is read what he says about us to discover our true identity.” She shared how life can sometimes look and feel like a disaster, that it is messy and hard. But God has a way of turning even the messiest disasters into something beautiful. Psalm 139:44 - I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Only God’s word will consistently tell us how beautiful, valuable, and accepted we are, regardless of the stage of life we are in. We are so very loved by God, but life has a way of making us feel devalued! She shared how when she was a little girl, her older brother Caleb asked to trade her $20 bills for his $1 bills. She gladly did it thinking it was a fun ‘trading game.’ What a stinker he was. “The fact is, when we understand our true worth, we won’t exchange our value for something less!” As she concluded, she encouraged, “You are never too young or old, you’ve never made too bad of a decision, and it’s certainly never too late to start believing the truth of God’s word! When you look to His word to define your value, you will begin to see ‘much less disaster and much more beautiful!’”

Wow! I could not be more proud of my girl! She is brilliant and as authentic as they come!

Then there’s Katy. What an incredible communicator and gift to our personal and church family! She encouraged us to stop comparing ourselves with others because we are each uniquely created. 1 Peter 4:10 – God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. She shared what a huge weight there is in being uniquely created. Unique means = the only one of it’s kind! There is only one YOU... so we need to get better at celebrating who God made us to be, and then championing all the other people around us to be the unique person God created them to be! She bragged on how growing up her mom always praised the special personality and character traits each of her daughters had, so they always knew their individual value and worth. She said, “As we embrace our uniqueness, it empowers us to fulfill the purposes for which God designed us. Don’t ever forget that the world around you needs you to be the best YOU, you can be! ” Concluding her message, she left us with a brilliant thought she and her BFF adopted. They decided their friendship would always have a no compete clause; and that the only time they would look at each other’s mirror would be to lift and lend strength, because... Real queens fix each other’s crowns.

Let that be said of us all – that we embrace the unique person God made us and cheer on everyone else around us!

Father, help us to never let anything or anyone - this culture - the enemy’s lies - or even the unhealthy thoughts we sometimes have about ourselves, stop us from becoming the unique, beautiful reflection of Jesus in our world! Give us eyes to see ourselves the way you see us, so that every part of our lives, even the things we think aren’t so great, become the very things that propel us into our destiny!

Happiest Mother’s Day Ever!

-Laura

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What I Would Tell My 30 Year Old Self...

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

I know you’ve heard that saying numerous times, but it really is a huge waste of time to be concerned about things that just don’t matter all that much. Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done.

In my 30’s, my kids were little so things were always a small disaster, and I so desperately wanted order in my home… for things to look beautiful. My solution: I literally took all of the ‘pretty’ things on my coffee table and the other places that cute little hands could reach, and put those items up high on my fireplace mantel by day. Then by night, as soon as the kids were in bed I put them all back down again… every single day, for years. Looking back, I still can’t believe I did that. Not only was it a time-consuming exercise, but it took up an extremely large and unnecessary amount of brain space to keep up with it all.

That example is minor in comparison to how I felt when my kids spilled things on their clothes or the sofa… or they were seen in public without their hair brushed or wearing mismatched clothes… or they didn’t make the bed just right…or as they grew, and they made blaring mistakes for all to see. Like the time our sons got into a fist fight with each other at school. Great – the pastor’s kids are a mess! Granted, it’s not a bad thing to want your home to feel sane, and your kids to look and act like decent human beings. And depending on your personality, these things probably bother some of you less than others. I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that I’m a first born, ducks in a row, recovering control addict.  But the issue was not so much external as it was internal. The bottom line is, all that focus on the small stuff simply wasn’t important, but it was driving me crazy on the inside.

What helped me change? I’d be lying if I said I finally reached a place where nothing small ever bothered me, but there are a few thoughts that helped:

GRATITUDE

I began thanking God every day that I have kids. And that God uniquely created each one just exactly how they are. When I caught myself complaining about or comparing them to others, I took that as my cue to have a gratitude party! Being thankful for what I had always changed my perspective from negative to positive and helped me let go of those little insignificant things!

1 Thess. 5:16-18 - Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

IT IS WHAT IT IS

I can still hear her now, my friend Jess, calmly saying those words over and over: ‘It is what it is.’ I can’t tell you how many times I felt ruffled by the relentless monotony of parenting, or weary of trying to keep up a perfect home or image of the kids… then those words would come flooding into my mind. I’d tell myself: If the milk spilled – ‘it is what it is - so what?’ If the car got a scratch – ‘it is what it is - who cares?’ If our AC broke again – ‘it is what it is - o well.’ Those words rang in my ears over and over until I finally realized that when I accepted what was – my frantic state of mind calmed down and I was able to see that those seemingly monstrous situations weren’t as big a deal as I originally thought, and they certainly weren’t too much for me and God to handle together.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

It seems like when you’re young, you go from one thing to the next… Always trying to reach that next goal. Hoping, wishing, praying that ‘when’ you get that one thing situated, fixed, or done– ‘then’ you’ll enjoy life more fully. But the fact is… There’s always something else that will need your attention, a new issue to deal with, another problem that demands to be solved. The proverbial arrival of Nirvana will never happen because life is in constant motion. One of the quickest ways to keep the small stuff small is to tune into the moment right in front of you. Relish in that chocolate covered little face, the fork marks in your table, the lovely sunset filtering through your baby’s cries, and the quiet nights as a single person when you thought by now you’d be married. When you stop and live in the moment, the insignificant items slip into the background, and the beautiful & important come alive to satisfy you heart and soul!

Psalm 118:24 – This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Whatever season you find yourself in right now, married or single, your perfect weight or not, working at your dream job or counting down the days to quit, living your ideal life or in the midst of a dark battle… please let go of the silly little things that seem to bug you, there’s a big wide world waiting to surprise you with wonder.

-Laura

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Landscape - Legacy - Ladies - Love

He’s got the whole world in HIS hands.

This morning as I was walking my dog Mellow and praying – this song kept ringing in my mind: He’s got the whole world in his hands... he’s got the little bitty babies in his hands... he’s got you and me sister in his hands... he’s got Ounaminthe, Haiti in his hands... he’s got the whole world in his hands!

BY THE WAY THAT MEANS GOD’S GOT YOU IN HIS HANDS TOO! IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT!

LANDSCAPE

 I am in awe of this gorgeous nation. Breathtaking mountains and refreshing beaches are the panorama of Haiti. Such beautiful people. And a God who loves every single ONE!

LEGACY

It still sends a shock through my system to see my sons name on these buildings...

Then I look into the eyes of the boys and girls – the young men and women growing up at Danita’s Children... immediately peace and joy flood my soul. They are full of: Life.  Laughter. Wholeness. Learning about God’s ways and experiencing the depths of his love! Many feel motivated to continue their education so they can do their part to bring positive change to this impoverished yet lovely country! What more can a mom desire... Caleb’s legacy continues to be etched across the globe. For that I am eternally grateful.

LADIES

WHAT A FANTASTIC 2ND YEAR OF SHINE HAITI! CLOSE TO 900 WOMEN WALKED FOR MILES AND MILES JUST TO COME HEAR THE MESSAGE OF FREEDOM THAT ONLY JESUS CAN PROVIDE!

Two precious women traveled for 4 days even though they were robbed along the journey. My sweet daughter – in - love Katy gave them some of her clothes to wear to the conference! And she preached up a storm on Saturday!

Friday night Danita and I opened the conference. God alone knows the plowing that took place. For we walk by faith!

My girl Danielle, so bravely and eloquently shared her testimony of freedom with these women. I know the seeds planted will take root and blossom for eons of time!

My dear, dear friend Cheryl Luke – what in the world? Her testimony of a painful marriage brought courage for many to reach out and grab freedom! And it was a week filled with training Danita’s team with the Celebrate Recovery curriculum. Years of freedom are on the way!

As always, one of my favorite moments was giving each girl a gift to remember our time together. This year it was a key with the words ‘I AM FREE’ – in Creole ‘Mwen Lib’ May they never forget!

God loves his Haitian daughters! I can only imagine the radical change for good that will take place as they continue to embrace the FREEDOM Jesus brought at Shine Haiti 2017! 

LOVE

When God knits our hearts together with others, it is always because of his grande plan to woo this world into his loving embrace!

UNTIL NEXT YEAR...

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Arrows

Arrows are everywhere right now. They’re in style. They’re cute. In fact, I have an arrow bracelet, a few arrow t-shirts and bags, a beautiful arrow painting, and an arrow tattoo.

Arrows might be vogue, but they are also very meaningful to me. They indicate direction, placement — they point the way.

Webster’s defines an arrow as: a slender, straight, generally pointed missile or weapon, designed to be shot at a specific target.

So, arrows also have a targeted purpose. However, in this day and age, we rarely use arrows anymore. Unless we are members of an archery club, or live in the bush and need them for survival, there’s just no need for them. None the less - arrows carry important significance for me. Here’s why.

As many of you know, our 17 yr. old son Caleb was instantly relocated to Heaven, after a car accident on July 14, 2009.

It absolutely was and still is beyond our belief.  Our hearts have a hole the size of Texas, and the pain is still very raw and real. Yet, we are basking in the unchanging love of God and depending on Him as we move forward to carry out His purposes.

Shortly after the accident, I was roaming through the house, as we girls do, and Rob was watching the movie ‘Prince Caspian’ on TV – I passed by the room at the very moment Susan, the oldest Chronicles of Narnia chick, was shooting her quiver full of arrows at the enemies surrounding them. She was shooting them so quickly, one right after the other, successfully contributing to the destruction of the enemy.

Susan had been given this quiver full of arrows, as a gift, from Aslan (the God figure) in the previous movie. These gifts were meant to be used as tools to help in times of need. The beautiful cinematography of that scene is forever etched in my mind. I watched as hundreds of arrows went flying through the sky in slow motion. As I saw that picture, all I could think of was the verses in Psalm 127:3-5:

 “As arrows are in the hand of the Lord, so are one’s children in their youth. Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them… for because of them, your enemies don’t stand a chance against you.”

My heart skipped a beat. Outraged, I literally yelled out to God, “But I have one less arrow God – my legacy – an arrow that I just knew was going to go far, is gone now – He was such a strong leader – I hate this!!” But the sweet Holy Spirit immediately reminded me of a few things. Some of the thoughts He shared were meant to personally help heal and encourage my broken heart and other thoughts were meant for the encouragement of those He knew I would be ministering to.

First, He reminded me that we are eternal beings.

We don’t end life when we leave this planet. God reassured me that Caleb was safe in Heaven and that he wasn’t just sitting around on a cloud somewhere. His earthly destiny was over for now, but Caleb is continuing his eternal destiny and will ever increase in his strengths there in Heaven, so by the time I get there, he will be leading in powerful ways beyond my imagination. What a comfort that was.

Second, He reminded me He has given me many arrows.

No just of birthright, but in our church and beyond, that I have been given the privilege and opportunity to pour into. There are young people and others who are targeted to destroy the enemy’s work for generations to come that will continue my legacy and His work.

Those words are powerfully imprinted on my heart and encourage me on this journey almost every day, because it is my greatest desire and passion to see this next generation go farther than ours, and carry the love, grace and ways of God to their generation!

And finally, God reminded me, that every single one of us, as His children, are His arrows.

Isaiah 49:2-3 says: 

“In the shadow of His hand He hid me; He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver."

He said, “You’re my dear servant, through whom I will SHINE.” Wow! God has a specific destiny and purpose for which He created each of us – we are His kids – HIS ARROWS!!

As I mentioned earlier, there are several purposes for arrows, but typically, they are used for hunting & combat… to destroy an enemy. So, He, as the Creator and Chief Archer, is shaping and forming us into the arrows He desires.

He is positioning and setting our course, to be a part of the solution to hunt down & destroy the works of the enemy; every injustice that we see affecting and devastating the precious people in our beautiful world that He so dearly loves and died for.

God designed us to SHINE His light in the darkness that is destroying so many lives.

Bottom line – we are God’s arrows! He has carefully placed us in His quiver (His hands and heart) and He is strategically aiming us directly into the souls of humanity that so desperately need God’s love and grace. The good news is – He will SHINE through us no matter how broken or wobbly our arrows (lives) feel.

I often ‘feel’ incapable and inadequate to be used in strategic ways, yet even in my brokenness –He chooses to use me to help another thirsty, wounded soul.

Through these blogs, my intention is to simply share my life with you. And prayerfully, you will grab a thought or two from my story (& the stories of a few of my friends) that will give you the courage to surrender your life to God’s shaping, so that you will become the polished and strategic arrow He’s uniquely crafting you to be for His purposes and honor!

Concealed in His Quiver,

- Laura

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From My Heart to Yours

I’m not sure when it happened – but the day came, somewhere in my late 30s, when I realized this life is not about me. #gasp

I was innocent enough, I think. Raising three small children, working full time at the church, doing my best to take care of myself, and enjoying a wonderful marriage. But I could barely keep my head above water, much less come to grips with the daunting fact that I was leaving an imprint on this world – one way or another, like it or not!

I’ll never forget when it dawned on me, "I want to do this life and ministry thing well so others can continue to carry God’s LOVE, GRACE, and LEGACY forward for generations to come."

That passion has remained to this day!

I certainly don’t feel like I’ve done it all right, and like most of you, I question myself on many occasions.

At the same time, through 30 marvelous, yet also bumpy years of married life, raising kids, helping to lead a wonderful church, living a healthy lifestyle, grief and loss, developing strong friendships, kicking around fashion fads as a hobby, and walking with my sweet, sweet JESUS – I do feel like there are a few things I’ve learned the hard way, that might make your life a little less stressful, and a whole lot easier to navigate and enjoy.

That's what Sisterhood is for right?!

I pray something shared in this new and fresh space will resonate and bring solution & life to a particular situation you’re facing. #we'reallinthistogether

My heart's desire is that you live in a fully surrendered, dependent, love relationship with the ONE who LOVES you so much.

That you enjoy every relationship you’ve been gifted and you embrace the gracious gift you are to this world. But mostly, that you live to give your life away, so the many watching you will be touched with eternity.

Let’s have some fun! Talk back in the comments below. 

All my love, prayers, and devotion,

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