Thursday, December 15, 2011

Embracing Your Season

Cool winds of change are blowing at the Ferguson home as we leave 2011 behind and look forward to 2012. Our lives are filled with a flurry of activity while the entire family pitches in to help get Mark's new business off and running by February 1st. He is opening a frozen custard shop, appropriately named, Fergy's Frozen Custard. The shop will be his second family run business in addition to his "day job" so needless to say, the entire family pitches in.

The ministry just moved our offices into the back of the custard shop building, so I can be closer to home and (since I do the bookkeeping for his companies), more accessible to his growing staff.

In addition, our son is completing his last semester of college this December and is looking forward to managing Mark's companies full-time, beginning in January. And as if that isn't enough change, the Ferguson nest will soon be empty when our daughter graduates from high school in May and heads off to college in the fall.

I must admit, I have mixed emotions about the many changes taking place in my life all at once. But I'm reminded that our lives are comprised of seasons. Change is not only normal, it is God ordained.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:  a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (NIV)
Whether your current season involves heart rending grief or glorious celebrations, give yourself permission to fully embrace your circumstances. When it is time to laugh, I hope you will laugh until you cry. When it's time to embrace, do so with warmth and sincerity. When it is time to speak, may your words be filled with truth and love. When it is time to build, work as one working for the Lord. And when it is time to weep, let the tears unashamedly flow.

I pray you live 2012 to the fullest, embracing each new day and all it offers as you walk closely with the One who ordains seasons for every activity under the heavens.

And... If you are ever in the Cypress, Texas area, stop by for some frozen custard and swing by the ministry office to say hello. Whatever the season, when you arrive, it will be time to embrace.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Live as You Want to be Remembered

Ever wonder what people will say about you at your funeral?

In preparation for a new writing project, I spent the past month studying the life of Moses. The final chapter of his story includes an amazing epitaph, honoring the reluctant, yet powerfully effective leader for the people of Israel.

Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt - to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:10-12 NIV)

Moses was known for His intimate relationship with God and for the mighty works God accomplished through his life. Moses made numerous, costly mistakes in his role as Israel's leader. However, God was ultimately glorified through Moses' humble obedience and authentic leadership.

I can think of no better way to be remembered than as a woman who walked so closely with her Lord that others were able to recognize God's loving kindness and mighty power through the way she lived her life. I'm asking God to show me the changes that I need to make in order to make that epitaph a reality.

What about you? What do you want your epitaph to say? What changes do you need to make in order for that to become a reality? Ask God to give you the strength and courage to make those changes and live each day as you want to be remembered.

Mindy Ferguson

Copyright © 2011 Fruitful Word Ministries, Inc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Removing the Mask of Perfection

At a Bible study this week, my church Women’s Ministry leadership team discussed the importance of being transparent with those to whom we minister. In “Keeping Your Heart for Ministry”, Michael Miller says,

Exposing your weaknesses and failings takes courage and involves risk. When I have hidden my heart from others in the past, I have done so because I was afraid I would be misunderstood or hurt. But a minister with a true heart for the kingdom lives in transparency.

Are you living in transparency? Do you admit when you make a mistake? Are you honest about your disappointments and your fears? Or do you wear a mask of perfection?

If we want others to experience the depth of God’s grace and catch a glimpse of His goodness, mercy and unfailing love, we have to be willing to share the struggles we are facing and the lessons we are learning in our own walk with Christ. Rather than dispensing advice and pretending to have it all together, we need to share how God is working in the midst of our difficulties. You need to be willing to share such intimate things as the way God is sustaining you as you await the return of a prodigal son, or how you are finding peace during a season of loss.

When we try to hide our weaknesses and flaws and give the impression of perfection, aren’t we really attempting to elevate ourselves into the position of Christ, rather than magnifying the transforming work of Christ in our hearts? Let’s remove the masks of perfection. Transparency is risky, but an honest walk with Christ breeds hope, and authenticity, and unity, and transformation.

Mindy Ferguson
Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sitting and Receiving

How’s your quiet time going? An intimidating question, isn’t it?

Early this spring, I have to admit, mine wasn’t going well at all. Between juggling the needs of my children, Women’s Ministry, my husband’s business, and caring for my mother as she battled a serious illness, I often skipped my quiet time all together. Some mornings, I quickly read through a Proverb, but I felt like I had just gone through the motions with no real connection to God.

After about a month of arrow prayers as I rushed from one task to the next, I broke down in tears before the Lord. I missed my connection with Him. I was exhausted and weary and in desperate need of unstructured time with God. I finally put my to-do list aside and I just opened His Word and started slowly reading. I longed to connect with God and sense His presence. I was hungry for His Word and thirsty for His Spirit. As I read, I came across the story of Jesus feeding five thousand (John 6) and I noticed something unique about John’s description of the event.

After Andrew (Peter’s brother) pointed out that there was a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, Jesus said,

Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish (John 6:10-11).

Jesus told the people to sit down. About five thousand sat down on that grassy mountainside, waiting with anticipation to receive what Jesus had for them. And Jesus distributed to those who were seated. As I read and re-read the words, “to those who were seated,” it occurred to me that some of the people on that mountainside chose not to sit down. If you are familiar with the amazing event, you know those five loaves of bread and two fish miraculously fed everyone who was seated with twelve baskets of leftovers to spare.

I asked God why some of the people on that mountainside would choose not to sit down and receive the sustenance that Jesus was offering them. I felt God’s tender conviction wash over me. I realized that I had been just like those men who chose to remain standing or decided they weren’t hungry. I was just like some of them who, perhaps, chose to return to their homes to prepare for the Passover Feast that was quickly approaching. I had been so busy serving and meeting needs, I hadn’t taken time to sit and receive the spiritual food Jesus had for me that would have sustained me and strengthened me and ministered to my weary soul.

Let me ask you again. How’s your quiet time going?

Are you taking time to sit and receive all that Jesus has for you? Believe me, I understand life can get busy. I recongize the demands of your schedule can make setting aside time with our Lord seem difficult. But like me, you cannot effectively minister to others if you do not take the time to sit and receive what Jesus alone can give you. He has more than enough to sustain you with baskets full to spare.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).
I’d love to read your comments. And if you haven’t been sitting and receiving for awhile, I’d welcome the opportunity to pray for you. I’ve been there, my friend.

Mindy Ferguson
Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Serving from the Overflow

As servants of Chirst, we all want our work in ministry to be effective and fruitful. That happens most often when we are operating in the overflow. Colossians 2 outlines four important characteristics of living for Christ that describe what it means to serve from the overflow.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (vs. 6-7 NIV)

1). Have the roots of your being firmly and deeply planted in Christ (AMP).
The word "rooted" figurately means to become stable (Strongs). Our knowledge of God's Word and our relationship with Him need to be such that we are stable and strong. Like a tree, planted by water that sends out its roots by the has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:8).

2). Be continually built up in Chirst.
This is a construction term. As believers in Christ, God is doing a construction project in our lives, continually building us up in Christ. We need to be moldable and pliable in His hands. It is an ongoing process -- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).

3). Be strengthened and established in your faith
This refers to inner strength that comes from walking closely with God through the ups and downs of life. When we do, we don't just know about passages that refer to God as our fortress, sustainer, deliverer, provider, etc. We come to know Him as our fortress, sustainer, deliverer, and provider. First hand knowledge of God.

4). Overflowing with Thankfulness
When our roots are deep in Christ and we stay closely connected, allowing God to mold us and continually do His divine construction project in our hearts; growing to know Him, not just know about Him, our hearts will overflow with gratitude and we will operate from the overflow of a thankful heart. Our love and passion for Christ will be contagious and our ministries will be fruitful, like a tree planted by a stream of water. We'll be serving from the overflow...

-Mindy Ferguson
Copyright 2011 © All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Retreat Theme - Abiding Joy

I'm working on a new retreat theme that will be available for events this fall called "Abiding Joy." The messages are based upon Jesus' words in John 15.

In Verse 5, Jesus said,

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (NKJ)."

The Amplified Version describes abiding as "remaining in vital union with" Jesus.

Are you experiencing the joy that comes from remaining in vital union with Jesus? He is the life-sustaining Vine. And abiding means more than simply having a regular prayer time and being involved in a Bible study. It's a life filled with what I call Abiding Disciplines.

One of those disciplines is Abiding in God's ways. In John 15:9-11, Jesus said:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (emphasis added).

I'm excited about these new messages and the lessons God is impressing upon my heart as I study. I want to live each day in vital union with Jesus. And why is abiding so important? So His joy may be in us and our joy may be complete. He wants us to have abiding joy!

Joyfully studying...

Copyright © 2011, Mindy Ferguson
All Rights Reserved