What Will You Share? (Lindsey)

On an unsuspecting fall day in 2012, my good friend Elizabeth shared with me the mystical gift of beer bread. After working hard to make other breads from scratch, I was so relieved to learn of one that technically only required sugar, flour, and a bottle of beer; no kneading & not much measuring. Since I learned of it, I delight in making it for others. It’s so easy and I love sharing the recipe (see recipe below).
Elizabeth and I grew up in the same church, love 90’s music, baking, and crafting. I was so grateful to my friend Elizabeth for sharing that recipe with me. Because she shares many of my interests, I knew that if she was excited about it, I’d probably like it too.
Elizabeth is not only a great baker; she is also a role model for me in telling people about Jesus. She tends to look for every opportunity to talk about how Jesus has changed her life and made it better; how He has made it more fulfilling.
On an unsuspecting day many falls ago, there was a woman who encountered Jesus and was told about a gift even greater than beer bread.
In John 4:10-13, Jesus told the woman that God has a gift for her and that His gift will satisfy her. She would finally find contentment with what God gave her.
And she did.
God’s gift was so satisfying and exciting that John 4:39-42 tells us that, “Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”
The woman had a specific sphere of influence that didn’t need to be told in a persuasive way or with eloquent language. Her village needed to be pointed to Jesus and invited to know Him.
Elizabeth told me about the recipe. I looked it up and found out everything she had said was true. The Gospel offers a similar guarantee of satisfaction to all who receive it.
Often we are hesitant to share the most beautiful part of our lives. We forget that the Gospel is for everyone. Too commonly, we imagine that the Gospel somehow fits in our own lives in a unique way and that it wouldn’t make sense to just anyone.
Maybe not everyone would be as excited to receive a new recipe as I would but a drowning person is happy to be thrown a life preserver. While it is not for us to decide who is worthy of the life preserver or to whom we “feel comfortable” throwing one, we do have a natural sphere of influence and that is not by mistake.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8 Paul writes that he and others did not only share the gospel but they also shared their own lives. We all have our own villages to point to Jesus. We are messengers who are blessed with the roles of pointing people to Jesus in the scriptures and delighting in the results.
Honey Beer Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey or agave nectar
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 4 Tbsp. (half stick) butter, melted (**You can double this if you’d like**)

Method

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x 5x 3-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer and honey into the dry ingredients until just mixed. (I recommend popping your honey in the microwave for a few seconds beforehand to make it easier to stir in!)
Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter. (Use a pastry brush to spread it around if you’d like.)
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick/knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve immediately.

{Contentment & God’s Word} (Heather)

These last few weeks have admittedly been hard to really feel connected with God through His Word. It’s usually the most natural way for me to relate to God because I love to read. But so much is happening right now, and I too often let my circumstances rule my life. One thing that has been encouraging to me is the Psalms reading plan our church is doing together this year. Each week we read and think through a selected Psalm. This past week we read Psalm 19, and a few verses really stuck out to me.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the just decrees of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:7-9

I particularly love verses 7 and 8. It’s so easy for me to believe that other things will bring contentment. I often think if I can just get to a place where I am ready for the baby to come or more financially stable or [whatever is on my mind that day], then I’ll really be satisfied.

We all have those things that we think will really fulfill us—dating someone, marriage, having a baby, finishing college, maybe even just getting through this week. (Fill in your list here!) These are all good things, but the truth is that only Jesus can really revive our souls and cause our hearts to rejoice. Those other things can never hold the weight of fulfilling us because they were never meant to do so.

Knowing Jesus is real contentment whatever our circumstances may be. There’s so much peace in knowing that our lives don’t need to be dictated by what’s going on around us. We can rejoice that our Creator and Savior came to save us and He has made a way for us to know Him.

I’m praying that you will take some time today and let the Word of the Lord revive your soul.

“Open Up” by The Brilliance (Laura)

I love music. I have it on all the time. Being able to play it on my phone, put it in my back pocket and have it follow me around the house is as close as I can get to my dream of a permanent soundtrack for my life. I especially enjoy when I find a song that is also a prayer as I sing. I find these songs engage both my head and my heart while allowing me to pray without ceasing! So as you start your week, please enjoy this song. It is prayer I have for my life and all of yours—Father, make us an instrument of your peace!
You heard the cry of our hearts
And You came down
Freely You gave us Your love
Showing us how

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

All that we do without love
It means nothing
Grant us the courage to give
As You’re calling

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is
May we love, as You love
(As only You can love, oh God)
May we love, as You love
May we love, as You love