Posted in November 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Consumer Blues Kill Holiday Cheer”

It’s that time of year again, boys and girls! The time when we pull out our credit cards and buy happiness. The more you spend the happier you are! Right?
If that doesn’t ring true to you, you’ve come to the right place! This week we are talking about how consumerism has got us down this holiday season.

Listen to the full episode here!

Ideas to make holiday cheer when your pockets are (mostly) empty:

  1. Remember the abundance you already have. Listen, this one is probably the hardest on the list because it’s so easy to start feeling like everyone else has so much more than you do. The fact is, chances are super good that if you can listen to this podcast or see this blog post, you probably have your basic needs being met. True, you may not have anything grand, but you have more than any number of other people. Again…this isn’t easy, but remember what you deserve: that’s right, death. So, yay! You’re alive and that’s pretty darn awesome!
  2. Look at Christmas through the eyes of a child. Remember when you were little and a week before Christmas break you’d look out the window while sitting in 6th period Science to see snow falling? You know that feeling you got? The anticipation and excitement of forts and snowmen to build, snowballs to throw and hot chocolate to drink all played havoc on any kid actually getting anything done in school. Let that kind of awe and wonder drive you this holiday season. If you can’t find it on your own, spend time with a little kid. Look at Christmas lights. Visit Santa.
  3. Focus on sharing moments with people rather than gifts. Take a walk in the snow. Fix up mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows and candy canes then pile your family into the car, turn on the Christmas music and drive around to look at lights. Bake something new. Make homemade gifts…using only what you have on hand. Read Christmas stories. Watch all the Christmas movies. Take advantage of your local library. But be sure to do it all with people you love. Create memories that maybe don’t need to be shared on Instagram.
  4. Find a way to serve or give to others less fortunate than you. Let’s face it, there’s a super great chance that there are people in this world that would give anything to have as much as we have. Let’s spend some time brainstorming with our loved ones to find a way to give to someone who otherwise might get nothing. Giving truly is better than receiving.
  5. Never forget Christ in Christmas. The gift of a savior who was perfect in every way, but would lay down His life to be a sacrifice and then raise from the dead so that we could have an everlasting and intimate relationship with the God of the universe is the BEST possible gift we could ever receive.

There are any number of other ways you may find to keep your heart and head focused, not on what you lack, but on all that you have this holiday season. Please go to our Facebook group and share your ideas with others so we may all be encouraged!

Come check us out on Instagram and Pinterest

And in the meantime, Happy Holidays, guys! Let’s get this season rolling!

Posted in November 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Jesus, Politics and A Christian Response”

The election is over. Our witness is not.

Tune in this week to hear us talk about how we, as Christ followers, can navigate this political environment we live in.

Jesus didn’t spend His time fighting the government systems that were in play while He walked this earth, so why do we feel so compelled to? Is that the best way to carry out the Great Commission? What if we’re going about this all wrong?

The election may be over, but no matter how you voted I think we can all agree that the hostility that is brewing on both sides of the political fence is going to continue to affect us all. It’s vital that we consider wisely how we carry ourselves through this time.

Your message is showing. Make sure Jesus is in it.

Posted in October 2018, Podcast Show Notes, Uncategorized

Amazing Grace: One Woman’s Story of Redemption, Identity and Showing Up

After a week off for a vacation, we are pleased to introduce you to our friend, Trinity Pratt, who was a co-speaker at a recent women’s retreat with Brandy.

Trinity has an amazing story of God’s grace and redemptive work. After years of physical and sexual abuse, neglect and the trauma that resulted, including a trip to the “looney bin,” Trinity shares how she came to meet Jesus and how He has relentlessly pursued her throughout her life.

This was recorded live at the women’s retreat in September 2018 in Silver Falls, Oregon.

Listen in as Trinity shares her incredible journey with God and encourages us to combat the enemy’s lies with God’s unshakable truths. She will inspire you to “just show up” and let God use you right where you are.

Content warning: There is talk of sexual abuse, physical abuse, addiction, child neglect, and suicide. While it is non-graphic, it may be disturbing for some listeners.

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Contact Us: 

Website
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Email us – We want to hear your questions, suggestions, topic ideas, prayer requests, praises and your own testimonies. You may even be asked to be a guest on our show!

Check out this episode!

Posted in August 2018, Podcast Show Notes

Show Notes: “Lessons from the Road Trips We Took”

Hey y’all! This week is our final episode in the summer mini-series we’ve been doing called “Lessons from the Road.”

Listen to the full episode here

What better way to finish it off than with a road trip with our favorite listeners?

Admittedly, the audio isn’t perfect in this episode, but we had a fun time driving to a local hot-spot, Dodge Park where we got out and sat by the river while we talked about road trips we’ve both taken recently and the lessons we each learned.

Where Brandy went:

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St. Ignatius Mission, Montana: Link here

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Youth With A Mission; Lakeside, Montana Link here

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The Montana Vortex and House of Mystery Link here

 

Matt and I would encourage you all to check out the links to these locations and if you’re ever able to get to these destinations, be sure to let us know what you think!

 

Where Matt went:

Ashland

Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Ashland, Oregon Link here

Lithia Park

Lithia Park; Ashland, Oregon Link here

 

More pictures of Brandy’s trip can be found here and in upcoming posts, as well as on our social media links.

Speaking of which…you can find us on FacebookPinterest, Instagram

You can also email us your show suggestions, questions, prayer requests, or road trip stories.

Be sure to join us next week as we kick off Season 2 with bang! We’re jumping right into the deep waters, so stay tuned and share with a friend!

Intro and Outro Music: “The Long Road Home” Written by Brandy J. Goebel, Arrangement by James Swanson, Performed by James Page. Copyright 2018.

Posted in June 2018, podcast

When We Become the Church

“…be of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit,
intent on one purpose.”
– Philippians 2:2

It’s never easy, is it, coming to others to ask for help?

What will they think if they know my need is this great? Will their opinion change once they know just how dark my heart and thoughts can be? Or, will they think I’m silly; wasting their time with my needs which seem so insignificant?

I’ve had these thoughts on more than one occasion. Yet, at every turn I am amazed by the response I’m met with when I take a deep breath and share my heart.

Sometimes it’s a prayer need, sometimes a thought I’ve been mulling over for days and need to talk through. Other times it’s a sin that I keep finding myself struggling with. Often it’s the critical thoughts that tend to take up residence in my head, shoving aside God’s words of truth and bring me to tears and of guilt, shame, fear and overwhelm.

Consistently though, God has met me in those places of need as I’ve turned to someone at church and bared my burden. I’m met with encouraging words, reminders of God’s promises and faithfulness, prayer and often a hug.

Likewise, I’ve been met with gratitude for my willingness to be vulnerable and broken in front of others. Because, honestly, that’s just not a thing you see all the time.

These kinds of relationships are born in and grown through fellowship in and around church.

Three years ago, our little congregation of less than 50 merged with another local small church. A majority of church merges fail. Ours has been a story of success. And in that place, I’ve gotten to know a whole new group of people; people I’d never have met otherwise.

Some are well into their grandparenting years, enjoying traveling the world. Others are just starting out, eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first baby. And there’s everyone in between. We’ve got nerds, geeks, intellectuals, blue collar, white collar, scrubs, lab coats, graduation caps, Bermuda shorts and button downs with a tie. And every single one of those people has impacted me, whether they know it or not.

You see, going to church is really good. You learn a lot about God. You sing some good songs full of good words and truths. You hear things that encourage you and maybe even challenge you.

But being the church…that’s even better.

Because then you get to rub elbows with people who are just like you and nothing like you at all. You get to see the vast array of people who God calls His own. Sometimes things get a little messy, but hopefully, as Christ stays the focus, even the messy is made clean again.

Being the church you can speak into one another’s lives. You can experience that ‘iron sharpening iron’ accountability and growth that’s talked about in Proverbs 27:17. You become invested in something that is so much bigger than yourself and it reminds you just how incredibly generous our God is.

Going to church is really good. Being the church is the best.

What about you? Do you just go to church on Sunday, letting the message slough off you as you walk out to your car, while the music fades in the background? Or do you take the church with you, presenting Christ to a broken and hurting land, recognizing that left on your own, you’d be just as broken, too?

The choice is yours.

 

 

[Photo by Ingo Joseph from Pexels]

 

Posted in May 2018, podcast

Healing Happens at Church: A Lesson on the Importance of Corporate Worship

It had been years since I’d stepped into a church. If not literally, then certainly in my heart. I’d been apart from God for a long time, rejecting Him and His word at every turn. Living life on my terms was way more fun.

Until it wasn’t.

When my lies finally caught up with me, I could see my surroundings more clearly. I hadn’t been living large, I wasn’t in control and all my feelings of grandiosity and self-assurance were just a facade for the absolute fear I felt. Fear of being found out, fear of my own depravity, fear of who I’d become and fear of the dark and lonely pit I found myself in.

But there I was. At the threshold of a new start. Beyond those double doors was a world that I’d known and grown up in but somehow seemed foreign and frightening.

Church.

It was a new church. A big church. One where I could get lost in the crowd. I didn’t want to be seen, even by strangers. I was certain that my sin was palpable; that by merely looking at me, people would know immediately that I was among the worst of the worst. In Old Testament times, I’d be stoned to death for my sin. And though it was 2010 AD, I was pretty sure, the response I’d get from others wouldn’t be far from that Old Testament notion.

Beyond that, what would God do to me, a sinner, a harlot stepping foot onto holy ground? His holy ground. I’d never heard of anyone getting struck down by lightning for walking into a church, but it seemed possible.

With a deep breath and holding the hand of my daughter, I walked in, my husband and son by my side. No lightning. Not even the rumble of thunder in the distance. So far, so good.

My daughter, upset by the fact that we weren’t going to be returning to our old church, the only one she’d known, had been given the important job of choosing our seats. Somewhere in the back seemed good. That way, I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with anyone and we could leave the second the service was done.

Nope. My sweet baby angel decided that we needed to be front and center. And I do mean front. And center.

With a little coaxing, we managed to get her to move one row back. So now we were second front and center. Right in everybody’s line of sight. And I mean everybody.

Thousands of people come to this church every week. They had no less than 5 pastors on staff at the time, in addition to the worship pastor and the youth pastor. And there I was, with my sin oozing out of me, right where everyone could see and point and judge and either feel pity for or be repulsed by me. But my daughter wouldn’t budge. We were not moving seats when I’d already made her move to a new church.

Okay. If sitting there would make my daughter feel better about life, I’d do it. I’d just keep my head down and try not to draw attention our way.

Then the music started. Piano, guitar, the rhythm of the drums. It all came together into a beautiful melody of praise, making much of Christ and His great love for us, sinners through and through.

I don’t remember what songs we sang. I didn’t know most of them. What I do remember is the worship pastor, sitting at the piano and looking at me as he sang about a God who loves his people, who calls us His sons and daughters. He sang about God’s goodness and glory, his redemption, and grace. And it seemed to me, his eyes never left my face as the tears streamed down my cheeks.

The house lights were low, the stage lights bright. It’s entirely possible that he didn’t see me at all, but everything about that moment pierced my heart and dropped me to my knees.

I was a wretch. I was broken. I’d hurt the people I loved the most and lied to them for years. I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. But here was this man I didn’t know, singing God’s word over me, assuring me of His love and forgiveness.

And I began to heal.

Every week we returned to those same seats. Every week we sang and praised God. Every week my husband and I cried out to God asking for His grace to wash over us and to heal our brokenness and save our marriage. Every. Single. Week.

And He did.

God met us right there. He met us in song and in the teaching. He met us in the people we started to meet. He met me at the Bible studies and recovery groups I attended. He met me in the kindness of a stranger offering words of encouragement. He healed us. He restored us. He turned our ashes into garlands of praise and redeemed our days.

And it all started with a small step. It didn’t take much to get my foot over the threshold of that church, and yet, it took everything. It required that I admit that without God, I am a mess. I can’t do life apart from the Creator of life. I need Him desperately, especially when I think I don’t need Him at all. Left to my own devices I will wreck havoc on myself and everyone in my path. But with God, anything is possible.

He can even take a broken, messed up, guilt-ridden sinner like me and create something new.

Go to church, Beloved. You need it. Trust me.
-Brandy

Posted in April 2018, Uncategorized

The Unlikeliest of Friends

Do you all remember the song, “Looking for Love (In All the Wrong Places)” by Johnny Lee? Probably not, if you’re younger than 40, but it’s likely that you’ve heard the phrase, none-the-less. I remember crooning that song in my childhood, not understanding any of the lyrics until I was a little older.

That being said, here I am, in my mid-40’s now and that phrase is running through my mind, but not for reasons you might expect. You see, a weird thing happened this week.

Let me back up…

So…I’m a Christian. I think that’s pretty well established. But here’s something you probably didn’t know about me – I dig true crime. Now, before you gasp, let me assure you – I do not endorse or support crime of any kind. But, man…give me a good, old fashioned, real-life ‘who-dun-it’ and I’m hooked. I like to consider the psychology of a killer. What makes them tick? Is it nature or nurture? (The answer, by the way – Both.) I like to think about how I would respond if I were ever in a life or death situation because I think it’s important to be prepared and aware that bad things happen to good people.

Likewise, I recognize that we are all just one choice away from becoming the very thing we hate or fear. There, but the grace of God, go I.

So, now that you know that part of me dear reader, it may not come as a surprise that I also listen to true crime podcasts. True crime, it turns out, is kind of a hot topic right now. I’m not entirely sure why it’s become the thing that everyone wants to listen to, but there you have it. Needless to say, there are at least a billion podcasts on the subject right now.

There is one in particular that has been around for a while that I really enjoy. Mind you, the subject matter isn’t especially light and fluffy and, to be sure, the women who host it aren’t exactly reverential. Sometimes their fans get a little…over exuberant, in my opinion, but it’s in this ‘fandom’ that the weird thing happened. And it makes me so happy.

A woman in the fandom decided to create a Facebook group that is for both fans of the podcast and also Christian. Within the first day over 500 people had joined this subgroup. Immediately, people began sharing who they are. We introduced ourselves, like we were members of a 12-step program. “Hi, I’m Brandy. I’m a Christian and I like true crime.” “Hi, Brandy!” It was weird – truly.

But also super cool because just as quickly, people began sharing their prayer needs or praising God for amazing things He’d recently done in their lives. A university student asked if anyone had any good suggestions for Bible study materials for the student on the go. People were praying for each other. Literally. Friendships were formed.

It’s become my favorite thing on Facebook right now, especially in light of all the political turmoil that’s consumed us the past year and a half. Here, on this platform that is so full of either vitriol or shallow memes, there has grown this little group of like-minded people from all over the world that can just as easily talk about the latest tragedy that’s struck their hometown (and ask for prayers over it) as they will praise God because He proved faithful again.

It’s an unlikely place to find a safe corner, is it not, in the middle of a bunch of people who like true crime?

I don’t know where your circumstance find you, friend. Maybe you’re in a job that is dragging you down, surrounded by people who seemingly only care about the bottom line and not a lick about your soul. Maybe you’re a student in an environment that is hostile and runs rampant with the minimization of sin. Or maybe you’re like me, a stay at home mom who’s social life is lived mostly online because that’s just the season of life you’re in right now. But let this encourage you – wherever you are, whatever you do and with whomever is beside you, you have the ability to be a bright light.

Go ahead, reach out to our cubicle mate and share a bit of yourself with them. I bet they feel a little lost in the shuffle, too. Start a conversation with that girl in your Science Lab who always wears the best nerd shirts. Chances are she’s got a great sense of humor. When your “friend” on social media posts something about needing prayer, take the time to actually write your prayer out right then. Trust me, even if they don’t believe in the power of prayer, if they’re asking you to do it and then you do…they will thank you.

Or hey…find a group of people who like something you like and find out how many of them also love Jesus. You may just be surprised. Friends can be found in the unlikeliest of place, it seems.

Peace….(and ssdgm) – Brandy