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5 Ways to Practice Distraction-Free Worship (For The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Seasons of Life)

We need worship. I am convinced that worship is a gift. God does not rely on our worship to prop up his identity or stroke his ego. His glory is all-sufficient (which is why God is so worthy of our praise)!

In moments of rejoicing or times of anxiety, worship is Gods provisional avenue for us, his kids, to have joy and confidence in these days. The invitation to tell-God-how-good-He-is delivers us from self-centered thinking to freedom and joy. 

Like Peter, we navigate the stormy waves of our souls by keeping our eyes on Jesus. (Matthew 14) 

Worship is the corrective eye-glass that brings His image into focus when our eyes are dimmed and distracted by world-waves: despair, self-entitlement, fear, pride, consumerism, pain, bitterness. 
My family and church are entering a season of great potential for these world-waves to cloud our vision. Knowing these next months will tempt me to lose heart, I must proceed with holy intentionality. 


I have decided to choose worship over worry, to look at the healer instead of the wound, and to bask in his good light that leads rather than wallow in the valley of shadows. Perhaps you’d like to join me? 

Here are some practices to help: 
1. Make It Personal: Sometimes as we worship, we need to re-state a verse, a hymn, a song, or other truth that exposes Gods bigness, faithfulness, or goodness in a relatable way to our own souls. When we allow truth to impact with such intimacy, we respond with worship. 

In the last few years, I have sung the song “Oceans” a hundred times, at least. I have always appreciated the lyrics, however, only recently have I personally unpacked them. To me, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders” was always about travel and missions. As I sang it recently, I realized that it’s less about “missions” and more about meekness. In other words, “I will submit to what you are doing even when I don’t understand. I will not put boundaries on your plan.” 

Contrary to my favorite Instagram accounts, the adventure isn’t in traveling beyond national borders, its in the advent of Jesus presence. When I think about his having come into to my mess to save me, I can’t help the shouts of exuberant gratitude. (Psalm 96 says sing to the Lord a new song!)

2. Go With The Crowd: Recently, Rend Collective delivered a foot stomping worship service that unleashed my inner wild-child [of God]. However, an unthinkable kill-joy snuck in during the concert: a couple who couldn’t be pulled away from their smartphones. They sat directly in front of us, completely disengaged from the atmosphere of joy and adoration. Every 45 seconds their screens changed from Facebook, to candy crush, to email. 

Discouraged and distracted, we abandoned our seats to stand closer to the stage where the audience was more engaged. (Ok, it was loud and rowdy and I loved it.) Turns out, expressed enthusiasm to praise Jesus can be contagious. Some of us need to make a move to be near it. (Practice a page from King Davids story in Samuel 6:12-23)

3. Call for Sanctuary: Some of us need the help of spacial and relational quietness to focus in worship. Sometimes, we embrace awkwardness and pour our offering to Jesus in public, like the woman with the perfume in Luke 7. Other times, we take our cue from Jesus himself and “go away to pray.” To be quiet and alone with God can be uncomfortable; however, to be alone with God is sometimes the only way we can truly be available. He can have our undivided attention when we silence the visual and audible noise. This often takes practice, but is so worth it. I am hoping to champion this habit more effectively in my own life this season. (See Luke 5:16 and Mark 1:35)

4. Clean House: Before we can lavish praise and odes of trust to our God, sometimes we need to first convey our doubt. In Christ, we are free, invited even, to express all the hurt, anger, disappointment, anxiety, exhaustion, weariness, confusion, and bitterness. God has proven he is big enough to handle our negativity. Hiding, swallowing, or denying the junky feelings in our souls not only hinders our worship, it inhibits our intimacy with God. 

Our Father beckons us to put aside the orphan mentality: the notion that I am acceptable as long as I am presentable. I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself griping before the Lord. I then get annoyed with my tempter tantrum, and assume God feels the same way. But I must remember He is my daddy, and I am his girl. I am safe. My honest feelings are welcome. However, I don’t get stuck here. The emptying of my heart makes room for the filling of His joy. What follows is a natural and organic exaltation of my redeemer. (Psalm 31 displays this practice well)

5. Fake It Till You Make It: Say the words out loud. Raise your hands, or get on your knees. Let your actions convince your feelings, rather than your feelings define your actions. The times I am most likely to raise my hands in worship are often the times I feel most distracted or disengaged. Using nonverbal communication to express adoration, desperation, or surrender to Jesus can help liberate my actual feelings or words to agree. Our posture has power. (See Psalm 95:6-7)

Do you practice focused worship? Share your stories ’round the campfire by commenting below. 

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A Faith-Leap for Team Rosty

Today, I am enjoying the view for a quiet moment while the kids sleep. 
I’ll admit, this view can’t be beat. From my front porch or living room window, I get to drink this in every day. Sometimes the fog rolls in over the mountains, tucking the hills in for a slumberous morning. Sometimes the sun bursts in and wakes up every leaf and blade of grass to sing praises with their colors.
And today, I appreciate the view so much more, even in the dull afternoon shade. I am soaking it up because it won’t be mine much longer. We are embarking on another adventure. 

Four years ago, we put shovels into dirt and began to build our home. Two years later, we filled this home with twice the energy a brand new baby provides. This home has been our sanctuary, our place of ministry, and our place to play. 
Tiny fingers learned to crawl on soft carpet here. Toddlers in footsie pajamas have padded through the hallway and ’round and ’round the kitchen wall here. Handprints on windows might as well be a permanent accessory here. A Christmas tree took up way too much space in the living room here. Our pup has indulged on often spilled Cheerios here. Our marriage has blossomed here, as we fell in love with each other all over again when we became parents. Our hearts have sunk low at times here, and overflowed with joy at others here, as we have walked weary roads with young people into the presence of God.  

Our adventure on this boulevard has been filling, exhausting, sanctifying, and exhilarating. Our home has been ground zero for petitioning prayers and party-zone for many BBQ’s. And now it is the launching pad for a new journey. 

God has once again directed our attention toward adoption. We strive to stay in-step with Jesus in this process, not rushing ahead and not dragging our feet. The first step is to find a little bit more space.  

And in the steady motion of obedience, Jesus keeps providing for the big and small things, like…

  • -Planting peace in my heart as we planted a For-Sale sign in our front yard this morning.
  • -Coffee and perspective-bringing conversation brought by a lovely friend.
  • -Just enough light shed on the next life-steps to keep us grasping tight to the hand of our Guide. 

I don’t know how, but my breath comes easy today, with the reminder that He is good. This view and these memories soothe my heart. Only Jesus can redeem what could be a season of anxiety and grasping for control, transforming it into a epoch of blessing through the nearness of His presence.


Thank you, family and friends for your prayers for clarity and dependence on God as we keep walking, and sometimes leaping, in faith. 

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SUP Lovin’

I ❤️ SUP!

In the last year, I have discoveredthat one of my Life-givers is the water. (Lifegiver=a unique visual, companion, or activity that God uses to simultaneously energize and relax you, make you feel more like yourself, and draw you back to joy). 

Be it a brook or the seaside, water is something that just fills me up deep in my soul. 

This summer, thanks to a friend who has graciously introduced me to the sport, I have found a new favorite way to explore this passion. 

Today, stand up paddle boarding gave me some quiet space for my Jesus-focused yoga practice, a unique perspective of perseverance (post downdog failure), and much needed mindfulness of the vast beauty of God and his creation, of which I am a part of.
 I also got to float around with my two-year old son, searching for driftwood. To him, it’s a pirate ship, but to me, it’s a simple gift… 

So here is your campfire check-in for the day: What is your life-giver? 

Find me on Instagram @campfiregrace for more life-giving updates!

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A Send-Off Prayer for a Friend

This is my friend, Christa.She is about to begin a new chapter in her life. 


Our friendship began a short few months ago. In that time she has become a kindred spirit. 

Christa provided a bright spot in a spiritually lonely time in my journey as a new mom. I met her at MOPS. Her presence quickly helped me see God’s faithfulness to see even the small details of my heart’s cry for friendship. 

Our staccato conversations, interrupted by toddler squeals begging for discipline, have become a collective life-giver to my soul. Her kids befriended my kids, and the rare gift of having children of similar age play together blessed me tremendously. 

She helped me re-organize my perspective of motherhood to be more kind and less self-critical. Her own vulnerability became an unexpected balm to my weary spirit. That, and we both find potatoes hilarious. 

And now she is moving to a new city, 6 hours away. With littles in tow, 6 hours might as well be across the country. I will miss her greatly, but I have great hope for all that God has in store for her family. 

As her new chapter begins, I would like to send her off with a heartfelt prayer…
Lord, 

Thank you for friendship. For creating me with a need and desire for it, and for meeting that need, in part, with such a beautiful soul. 

I praise you for the work you have done in her family, for guiding her husband into godly leadership of their home, to build a life that glorifies you. May he always lead with such Christlike direction. 

Father, give them so much joy in this transition. Provide in my friend that Proverbs 31:18 sense “that her gain is good:” that she is a good mom, regardless of a perfectly executed Pinterest project or an epic parenting fail. She is a good mom because You are a good, good Father, who gave us access to perfection through the cross of your Son. 

Protect her children and her marriage. Bind up any force of evil that might influence their life. I pray against any form of depression, anxiety, addiction, manipulation, selfishness, pride, or bitterness that looks for a way to take root in her heart, or the hearts of her husband and sons. Bring each family member friends, mentors, and other life-givers to help each of them flourish in the way You uniquely designed them to. 

And prepare your church in their new city, Lord, to welcome and embrace this lovely family. Ready the hearts of everyone in their neighborhood and nearby parks to be impacted by the enriching joy that this family offers. 

As I trust my friend into Your hands, I trust my own heart to your plans. Your ability to WOW me never fails. As I wait, help me to be a similar life-giving friend to those around me. 

To exemplify such fierce love and devotion.

To drench my surroundings with such hope that spills over from a truth-soaked soul. 

To abundantly bless in all that I do.

By your will, and through your grace I pray,

Amen 

Do you have a friend who could use a similar prayer? Copy the link to share this post through a personal text or message, or tag a friend in social media comments on Facebook or Instagram. 

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How God Calls The EXTROVERT Out Of Her Comfort Zone 

blowing bubbles

Dare. That was point number 5 of the sermon my husband preached this past Sunday: 6 Tips for Entering the Promise Land.

““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

As he spoke about living life abundantly (or living in the promised land), Shane confessed his sometimes-struggle with social anxiety.

  As an introvert, for Shane to be strong and courageous means leaving the security of solitude behind. To open up. To construct conversation instead of walls of comfort. It’s a dare.

However, I am the opposite. Talking with people does not require courage for me. Public speaking comes naturally. Being the center of attention, and using it to point people to Jesus, gives me an absolute thrill.
No. My Dare is something different entirely. Becky’s “strong and courageous” is to embrace the mundanity of motherhood.

  • At home.
  • With the same 2 people.
  • Building blocks instead of conversation.
  • Sounding out consonants instead of discussing complex ideas.
  • Introducing myself to Gigi the Giraffe instead of new people in our community.

Being at home is absolutely, without a doubt, NOT my comfort zone. And yet, it is ABSOLUTELY my calling right now.

I have two gorgeous spaghetti-smeared faces that confirm that calling daily.

Mothers Day 2016

I could let my personal bent as a social-butterfly define how I spend my energy. But that would greatly infringe the opportunity to teach, guide, and play with my kids, where my presence and ATTENTION is paramount.

It’s no secret that the vacating of comfort can drain us. Shane sometimes gets depleted when he extroverts with people all day. I too feel I have nothing left after introverting all day.

Here is the beautiful part:

This draining is good. 

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:30‬

When we don our brave and walk boldly into our calling, especially when that calling clashes with our natural tendencies, we can identify with Christ.

This is how God calls an extrovert out of her comfort-zone: He gives her twins to raise. This task forces me to rely on His grace, guidance, and Presence with me every day. It is sanctifying and redemptive and fulfilling and exhausting.

It is also a unique avenue for gospel-sharing, by reflecting Christ both to my family, and this world.

Christ was the first to deny his personal bent. Although inclined to glory, Lordship, and omnipotence…

“He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”‭‭ (Philippians‬ ‭2:7-8‬)

So we could be saved. 

That He would give me a chance to reflect this comfort-zone denial astounds me.

I still make a weekly effort for heart-care. I get out of the house, meet with people, and dig deep into Scripture. That is just wise emotional health attention.

However, it is the out-of-my-comfort-zone routine and solitude that ushers me further into this abundant life with Christ.

And that, ironically, is a comforting thought.

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Let Easter linger 

  After Easter, we tend to pack away the promises of Lent. We punch the accelerator on our activity-driven lifestyle again. We rush past worship and rest in favor of Spring cleaning and a last ditch effort to get a beach body. 

I am suggesting we let Easter linger for a while. 

Let relief from sin and darkness linger on our souls. 

Let the celebration of Christ is Risen hover in our homes. 

Allow the memory of his sacrifice permeate each meal, as a type of communion. 

Taste the sweetness of Gods acceptance, and savor the flavor of new life! 

Before we take on a spring cleaning or a spring diet or a spring project, let us linger in the true meaning of Spring: new life, given not earned, fully in our grasp. 

Let Easter Linger. 

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Weak Way to Enter 2016

It’s not ideal, ringing in the new year with illness. The flu and a common cold has wreaked havoc on our family beginning in the final hours of 2015, holding us back still 2 days into 2016. 

My great expectations to start a new year with strength and momentum failed miserably. 

But I am realizing something profound: sick days are better backdrops for Gods strength and momentum in 2016. 

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ‭‭

2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬

Failed resolutions, unmet expectations, have already speckled the landscape of 2016 for all of us who:

  • Indulged in the Christmas cookies we swore off for January
  • Didn’t make it to the gym yet
  • Glanced once more at that image-site we know dishonors God
  • Fell back into gossip
  • Sacrificed another hour to Facebook
  • Have yet to clean out that closet
  • Are still haunted by a dusty goal from 2014

Whether it’s the weather or a sickness or a neglected resolution that has made you feel a failure, allow this weakness to do it’s great work in you. This bent helps us to recognize His greatness, His potential, His faithfulness, His getting-everything-right-EVERY-TIME! He offers this perfection to us in Christ. 

Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior get to experience the exchange of our weakness for His Ecxellence in our very identity. And it is when we see our weakness again, it helps us to recognize His greatness, giving us perspective of humility, gratitude, and confidence. 

That’s the SYMOTA I am reaching for this year: His power made perfect in my weakness. 

As a family we ended up spending our sick days reading books, watching movies, and live streaming the Passion Conference. 

 

Rosty Family Worship
 
Instead of getting my house clean for the new year, I watched my toddler son drum his little hands to the beat of songs that magnify Jesus’ power. 

Instead of getting in the work-out I’ve been pining for, I sang and danced alongside the chirps of my 1 year old daughter with the words: FOREVER HE IS GLORIFIED! 

Originally, I had intended to avoid Facebook; but the sick day had me checking “memories” which brought up a picture of us watching the passion conference 1 year ago. God met me in the middle of my weakness, my failure, to draw me to celebrate His strength. I was intent on bitterness, God was intent on being glorified. 

Hallelujah, He is Alive! And because if that, so am I. Happy New Year!

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4 Ways to Keep Engage 24 Going All Year Long

  While the day of Engage 24 in 2015 may be over, the spirit of Engage 24 can endure. The point of this initiative is not to check off a yearly gospel sharing opportunity. The point of Engage 24 is to be a kick off to gospelize each of our lives, and equip and excite us to share our blessed faith more often. 

“Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:18, 20‬ 

While I believe we should always be searching actively for the opportunity to join Gods work of reconciliation, I also understand our humanity and penchant for busyness. If we don’t establish a sense of intentionality into our days, our hectic schedules can often blind us to the needs of the lost.   So, I have listed 4 ways to help us maintain an evangelistic awareness all year long!

1. Keep your engage 24 shirt, (ours say “tell me your story”) an active participant in your regular wardrobe.  

 2. Go on engage 24 “dates”. Jesus sent His disciples two by two. Follow his command by having engage “dates” with your Christian friends. Start by sharing the gospel to each other over coffee or dinner. Unpack how the gospel specifically impacts one another’s lives. 

Then grab soularium and head to the mall. Or use a jar of quarters to buy laundry time for strangers at your local laundromat. Visit the homeless in your area or a local shelter with care packages. Your kindness may open a door for a stranger to ask about the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:15). If not, you get to spend time with a friend (or special someone) of the family of God. 
3. Establish a regular “engage 24” day in your routine. 

Set a side one day every month to prayerful engage your community (the 15th of every month, maybe?). 

Level up to once a week! (like every Thursday). Add in a regular “monk” day as well.  Ask you community group to join you. 

4. Subscribe to my blog and stay updated on tips on sharing your faith and growing as a Christian. 

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Refocus Challenge: Week 1 Review

The 5 Week Refocus Challenge is well underway. Here’s a recap of week 1:

My Thoughts:

What an awesome week of sweet soul searching!

Remembering my identity in Christ was invaluable to begin this process of “getting back to” God’s best for my schedule, my thoughts, and my relationships.

I set up some reminders of my identity in Christ in highly visual spots. My favorite is my current home screen background for my phone (verse from 1 Peter 2:9)

 

 

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Next, I dove deep into my thought-life, schedule, and day to day activities to uncover my true objects of worship. I discovered a few areas I need to refocus by intentionally worshipping God through these activities, instead of using them to worship myself, others, or the almighty to-do-list check marks. Some I need to refocus are:

  • Worrying about followers/views on my blog
  • Time spent on Facebook/Instagram
  • Thinking too much about my size/looks
  • Turning our ministry into a check-list mentality instead of a relationship-based one

God is helping me refocus my worship in these, and other areas. I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to contend with my flesh here. It’s been an emotional and spiritual battle to embrace the power of “re-“.

(Check out my quiz to discover any areas you struggle with idolatry/making much of anything other than God)

These 2 concepts, remembering my identity and refocusing my worship, have been invaluable in this grand return to a cleaner, fuller life, inside and out.

 

From the Campfire Circle:

What!? I have no status reports to share?

It’s true. No hashtags like #5weekrefocuschallenge or @campfiregrace were found in my search, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The idea of walking with friends and family through these changes, as you also strive for a refocus moment, is incredibly encouraging! 

I consider each of you a part of my campfire circle. It’s the place we meet, celebrate, and share with Jesus and each other all that God is doing in us… together. Let us empower one another by sharing the journey of the 5 Week Refocus Challenge.

Join me next week as I strive to reclaim my mornings, and rekindle my prayer life!

Check In:

How has God helped you refocus on him this week?

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Confessions of a Missions Trip Junkie

Adventurous missions“You have been tagged in 39 new photos….”

Facebook notified me of new pictures displayed online, apparently with my face participating somewhere in the frame. My amazing friends and students of our college ministry were spending their Spring Break serving inner city Dallas, Texas. My husband was leading this missions trip, while I stayed home with the kids. For the first time in several years, I was not elbow deep in soup-kitchen meals, clean-up jobs, and VBS planning. Still, they graciously included my name in all the pictures so I could stay updated and add my investment through prayers.

This is new territory for me. Since Highschool, I have spent many years chasing the next adventure for God’s glory. Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Bahamas, Africa and many local excursions never satiated my craving for traveling with the gospel in hand. Each trip has broadened my perspective of the world I live in, the God I serve, and the connection between the two. Traveling has helped me shed the shell of American-Christianity. Exploring new cultures provokes a greater understanding of God’s unconditional love, no longer defined by my environment.

But this year, I stayed behind. Disappointment morphed into delight as I saw the same things happening in me during my time at home. I was able to serve my two beautiful babies with the consistency they thrive with. Participating through prayer for the missions’ participants renewed my understanding of God’s work and the power of a petitioning warrior in the background. Even without the exhilaration, rush, and crazy community of traveling on a missions trip, I still experienced God’s grace and supernatural intervention in my life. That week at home, mundane and regular, was still an adventurous discovery of God’s grace:

  • Learning to mirror God’s faithfulness in the small tasks.
  • Grasping that a faithful day at home is not a small thing, but a very very big adventure pieced together by small moments of frailty and trust.
  • Choosing to see that pushing a stroller during a prayer jog is just as deeply motivating and connecting in my walk with God as driving a van full of students to share the gospel on a beach during Spring break.

Final thoughts:

If you haven’t traveled with the gospel in hand, please go! Take advantage of the life changing experience, whether you are 4 or 40 or 84. Glorify God, expand your perspective, and stretch beyond your limits of what you think God can do in and through you.

However, if you, like me, have become so accustomed to mission trip adventures that your new “out of my comfort zone” is now the act of simple faithfulness at home, get on board! Stay home. Pray hard. Rediscover the beauty, power, and spiritual momentum gained from simplistic faithfulness. Don’t use it as an excuse for disobedience or laziness. Rather leverage your calling for deep gospel change, in your own heart first, then for the hearts of those around you.

Be it a bike or surf board, minivan or missionary airplane, the bed of a truck or my own two feet, God bless the vehicle of adventure and may it ever drive me closer to you.
In faith and faithfulness,
Becky
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