August 25, 2015

Love Your Neighbor Giveaway with Amy Lively

How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird

I met Amy Lively at She Speaks many years ago. She attended my session on “How to Start a Neighborhood Bible Study.” At the end of my teaching, Amy approached me, eyes gleaming, barely able to contain her enthusiasm. She explained how she felt that same nudge. She knew God was calling her to step out in faith … to invite. To do a new thing in her neighborhood.

Well, thank goodness Amy obeyed. Because the Lord has taken Amy’s passion, obedience and her very first invitation and transformed them into an amazing book, “How to Love Your Neighbor without Being Weird,” and an international ministry. To learn more about her book and her ministry, click here.


Today, Amy and I not only want to share a bit of her story with you, but we are praying that today’s message will encourage and equip YOU to step out in faith and do the same!

Amy has generously offered to give away a gift package to help you do just that! So in the comments below share who you would invite and/or how you would use her gift in your neighborhood.

Here is a bit more of Amy’s story …

Have you ever thought, “I want to love my neighbor, but I don’t know how”? How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird by Amy Lively is packed with practical, adaptable tips and tools for introverts or extroverts, and people who live in big cities or small villages. If you want to get rid of the guilt about disobeying Christ’s #2 command to love our neighbor but don’t want to alienate or offend your neighbors in the process, this book is for you.

Amy wasn’t always a good neighbor – in fact, she says she wasn’t always even a good believer. In Chapter One she tells her story of running from God for 20 years before natural relationships with godly women changed her spiritual destiny—and this happened outside of church, at coffee shops and playgrounds. Once Amy returned to the Lord, however, it was as if Jesus was locked inside her house! She lived in her neighborhood for seven years before she attempted to get to know her neighbors, and even this was done kicking and screaming. She fought the Lord for a long time before finally inviting 89 neighbors over for coffee. This gathering of women in homes became an international ministry called The Neighborhood Café, and this book was also an outcome of her experience in her own neighborhood.

The Neighborhood Cafe

You may be asking, “Isn’t it ‘loving my neighbor’ when I support world missions or witness to my hairdresser?” Yes, it is… but we have globalized the definition of neighbor to include everyone in the whole wide world, conveniently excluding the people who live right next door—the ones who can reject us. Jesus had a different way of loving His neighbor. He simply sat down with His neighbors at their tables, in their homes, and they did life together.

Loving our neighbor means investing in relationships – it’s sometimes messy, but it’s always meaningful.

If you’re struggling to build relationships with your neighbors based solely on religion, How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird teaches you six other areas where you can interact and engage with your neighbors: family, government, education, business, arts and entertainment, media. Along with religion, these seven areas have shaped every culture in every generation, and they are active forces in your community today. These areas impact the people living around you, and the influence of the Gospel is desperately needed in each area.

Amy's Giveaway


God knew what sociologists and archaeologists have also figured out: your entire community is safer, stronger, wealthier – and even lives longer! – when neighbors know each other’s names and are involved in each other’s lives. And on a spiritual level, loving our neighbors blesses us even more than it does them. You’ll never lean on God more or see Him more clearly than when you obey His #2 command.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win Amy’s BIG giveaway to help YOU invite your neighbors to get to know Jesus. Her BIG Giveaway includes:

  • 2 MUGS Adorable “Love Your Neighbor” mugs, one for you, one for your neighbor!
  • 10 CARDS to ask your neighbor over for coffee, board games, BBQ – you name it! Invite one neighbor or the whole block, whatever works.
  • 2 COFFEES Single-serve Columbian coffees.
  • 2 COASTERS to put under your steaming mugs.
  • 1 BOOK A signed copy of Amy’s book, How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird.

I’ll announce the winner Friday in my next blog post.


August 20, 2015

Prayer for our Children and our Schools

Each year as children and teachers head back to school, my heart turns toward prayer. Please join me in storming the gates of heaven on behalf of our precious children and their teachers!



Heavenly Father,

We pray the Armor of God over our children and their teachers:  the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the shield of faith, the belt of truth, and the shoes of the gospel of peace.

Father, plant Your love, Your presence, and Your Word deep within their hearts.  May Your Word reach into the marrow of their bones and ignite a passion that is unquenchable.  Cause them to love You with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and let NOTHING override that passion.

Father, as they spend their days at school, let them be set apart.  May they be light in darkness, joy in sadness, peace in discontent, and order in chaos.  Let their character and integrity shine forth like the sun!

In their schools, Father, we pray that Your Word and the fear of the Lord would be the basis of wisdom and instruction.  Father, we ask that You take our prayers and blanket each school, placing them under the shadow of Your wing.

For those teachers that believe in You, strengthen them and uphold them with Your mighty right hand.  Father, give them an extra measure of wisdom, knowledge, and revelation to excel as teachers and shine in darkness.  Provide them with opportunities to share their faith with faculty, staff, and administration and give them the courage to do it.

We pray for every level of administration.  We pray for wisdom beyond comprehension as they make decisions for the schools and school systems.  We pray divine direction.  We pray that You would direct the steps of those making decisions for our children.  Make Your way clear and place those who walk with You in places of authority and decision-making.  Bless their efforts.  Give them favor.

Through Young Life, church youth groups, and other student ministries, use leaders and students to sweep each school with revival and evangelism.  Guide, bless, and empower the leaders and students through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Go before them and open doors.  Father, we boldly ask for many to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and yield their lives to Christ.

Father, as we end our time in prayer, we boldly as that You would grow each of our children in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man.  Thank You in advance for all You will do in and through our prayers.  We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ our Lord!

Please leave a prayer request for any child,  teacher, leader, or school who is on your heart today. And if you leave a comment, let’s knit our prayers together by praying for the prayer request in the comment above yours.

And if you would like a FREE copy of a similar prayer I wrote a few years ago for our children and their schools, please click here. Feel free to share it with neighbors and friends.

***** Winner of Breaking Up with Perfect by Amy Carroll is Jessica who posted August 18th at 4:00 a.m.

Please send your full name and mailing address to my e-mail at so that we can send you your book!*****

*****To find winners of Invisible by Jennifer Rothschild, visit the end of the comments in my August 11th giveaway post*****

Standing together with you in prayer,

May 26, 2015

There’s Power in Praying God’s Word w/ Giveaway


Praying God’s Word has completely transformed my prayer life. Over the years, I have witnessed specific and powerful answers to prayer. Why? Because when we pray God’s Word back to Him, He must honor it. True to His character, He cannot go back on His Word.

(Be sure to read through to the end to sign up to receive my FREE 5 Day Devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life” and to leave a comment for a chance to enter our giveaway!)


Think about these two questions:

Mom, can I have a piece of candy?

Mom, remember yesterday you promised me a piece of candy? May I have it now, please?

Which statement resonates more strongly in your heart (especially as a parent) … the one in which your child simply asks for a piece of candy, or the one in which your child reminds you of your promise? The latter, of course. When we pray God’s Word back to Him, we’re reminding Him of His promises.

It’s important to realize that God honoring His Word doesn’t always result in a “yes” to our prayers, but we can be assured that His answer will be in line with His Word and true to His character.

When teaching His disciples about abiding and prayer, Jesus spoke these words from John 15:7,

“If you remain in me and my Words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”

The key to powerful and effective prayer is knowing and praying God’s Word.

Today I want to share with you how I started praying God’s Word.

First, I thought of something that was weighing heavily on my heart. I then opened my Bible and prayed this prayer: “Father, open the eyes of my heart so I can see what You have to speak into my life about this topic.”

Second, I turned to the concordance at the back of my Bible. A concordance sorts Scripture by topics (fear, worry, peace, forgiveness, anger, peace, joy). If your Bible does not have one, you can do a Google search asking “Scriptures on _________.” I then searched for my topic, chose a few verses and wrote them down. I asked God for ears to hear and a heart to receive what He wanted to speak to me.

Finally, I wrote each verse on a piece of paper and personalized them. I’ll share an example of this below.

At that time, I desperately wanted to pray for my 2 children, Lauren and Bo. But I struggled with exactly how to pray. I thought about what was on my heart for them and found Scriptures addressing those issues.

I started with baby steps and selected a few verses …

Lord, please hide Your Word in Lauren’s heart so her desire is to please You and obey You in all she says and does.(Psalm 119:11)

Help Bo trust in You with all His heart and lean not on his own understanding and to acknowledge You in all his ways.(Proverbs 3:5-6)

Remind Lauren when she feels discouraged and like she cannot accomplish what is set before her that she can do all things through You who strengthens her.(Philippians 4:13)

Clothe Bo in humility and teach him to put others first. (Ephesians 4:2, Luke 18:14)

Grow Lauren and Bo in wisdom, stature, and favor with You and with man.(Luke 2:52, Daniel 1)

Another example. If you struggle with worry, look up the words anxious, worry or peace in the concordance  and read through the verses you find. I found Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (NLT). Then write your prayer.

Your prayer could read like this:

Father, I have so much on my mind right now. I cannot even sleep at night. I feel so anxious. Your Word asks me to pray about everything. So right now, Father, I am coming to You with my worries, especially___________. Father, I thank You that You are in control of all things. I want to experience Your peace. So right now I am giving all of my worries to You claiming Your promise that in doing this, Your peace, the peace that passes all understanding, will guard my heart and mind. I thank You that I will be filled with Your peace from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I trust You for this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

I trust the Lord brought you here to answer the cry of your heart to pray more effectively. And I would LOVE to hear what verses God speaks to you and/or the prayers He leads you to pray as you seek to pray God’s Word back to Him. Leave a comment today and share the verses or prayers. I will choose two names to win!

One winner will recive a signed copy  Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life, and

Book Cover

the other a copy of Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story. I will announce the winner this weekend!

Hidden_Joy_Cover_Graphic (1)


Click here to sign up for my FREE 5 Day Devotional, “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life.”