15 posts categorized "Gifts & Giving"

Serving: What If the Church Looks at us Differently?

Hi SUM family, Ann here and we're currently in our series on Serving God while Spiritually Single. Part One is here: Let's wash feet

Serving God when Spiritually Single: Part One

Today I want to talk about how we cope when the church looks at us differently. Does it affect our opportunity to serve?

I decided to look at this because one of our SUMites recently shared that's how she feels. She said something along the lines of: "Sometimes I feel the leaders might look at me and think there's something wrong with my life because my husband isn't believing. That might make them less likely to trust me or think of me as an obvious person to serve."

Have any of you have found that?

In my experience it's certainly been harder to build social connections and trust at church, at the very least. Because my husband isn't there it takes longer for people to know me. 

That said, there's a tremendous truth here that is rather exciting: God overrides these things if he really wants you to serve in a particular area.

I experienced that in a personal way recently. Many of you know my church closed last year, and then I followed the Holy Spirit's lead in moving to a new church. The old church was mostly made up of families. The new church is mostly in their twenties. Sometimes I feel very old in this new place!

One day while back in the old church, God stirred my heart that I was to start preaching there. "Yikes, that's bold of me I thought" ((laughing)). That's not the sort of thing you put yourself forward for easily, so I didn't mention it to anybody. But, one day the leader of the preaching team came running after me as I was leaving church. "Ann, would you like to give the sermon next week?" My mouth dropped open. 

God opened that guy's heart to my desire to serve; and that's how it goes: God gives us a stirring, and then it kind of happens.

Well, I really enjoyed that season of preaching in that church. But, you know, Bryce never attended once, and I stood up there alone each time. It was tough almost as much as it was rewarding. That seems to be the nature of service, at times.

I then moved to the new church, and God said to me "Ann, now I want you to be a passenger, not a driver."  In other words, he was asking me to step back and be a behind-the-scenes support. Meanwhile, my son Miles (age 16) signed himself up for the 7:30am set-up team on a Sunday, and that's what he and I now do once a month. That too feels 'meant to be', as God also said to me "I just want you to talk to people." While setting up, that's what I do.

Now, back to our SUMite sister's comment: Yes, in my new church I'm experiencing a little of what she said. It's been difficult to get to know people. I'm looked at a little differently too, as I don't fit the mold. It's ok -- God's breath on my life has shown me where he wants me.

Overall, though, I think the following quote captures how we must walk this. It's from Dineen, our past leader, and I just happened across it yesterday. She said:

"Don’t confuse your calling or ministry or service as who you are. Those are things you do. They come from your identity in Christ. All that we do to serve must be held loosely because we really don’t know the full picture of where God plans to take us next."

A hearty amen to that. So, let's seize the adventure of where God wants to take us next. Who knows, huh! All we know is that we must do this:

Through love, serve one another (Galatians 5:13, NKJV), and --

.. in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (Romans 12:10-11, NKJV) 

Now your turn: What's your favorite area to serve in at the moment? And have you found it looks different in different seasons?


God, Where Do You Want Me To Serve?

My friends, Let's wash feet

Today I want us to roll up our sleeves and thing about whose feet we're to wash and how! Yes, we're launching into a series on serving God while spiritually single.

I say 'washing feet' because when we serve the church, our family, or people outside the church that's exactly what we're doing: Putting ourselves aside, like Jesus did, to show love to others.

As Jesus said --

If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet (John 13:14, NKJV).

Now, I reckon for us -- The church of the unequally yoked -- God has an absolute array of things for us to be doing. What's more, the good works he prepared you for will look completely different to the good works he prepared others for. It's exciting to find out these things.

And, God equips us. For example, God might have allowed you to walk through a particular life experience so that you can later help others, or he might have given you a particular talent or area of knowledge for others' sake. OR, he might have given you a heart for a particular issue or group of people.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

But now to the elephant in the room: It is truly difficult to serve God when our spouse is not by our side in it. Their attitude to it will impact our choices and ease there, and it's a fine balance. We'll talk about that in a later post.

Ultimately, though, nothing can stop the fact that a Christian will want to serve, and will serve. When I look at my own faith life it has three areas to which I give my heart: Faith time

(1) My personal relationship with God

(2) Washing my family's feet

(3) Washing others' feet

Those three things take up much of my energy. They are like segments of a pie.

If I was to prioritize them I would put my personal relationship with God at the top; everything flows from that. Then, I would put my family and, third, serving others. But I would never not do something to serve others outside my home - however tiny. And, that's the thing: Tiny things can be big in Kingdom terms, because often tiny things are a gesture of the heart.

'Tiny', or 'low key' service towards others can be very simple, like deciding you're going to check in on people who are house-bound, or being a deliberate and regular encourager to others.

This might look quite different to the kind of service within church that's more visible. We might look at the guitar-player at the front or the kids-church volunteer and think because we're not doing something like that we're not serving. 

But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-13, NKJV)

I love that verse, and it empowers me to turn up to church and do the quiet things too, like make sure the toilets look clean, or talk to a new person and make them feel like they're valued. That's the sort of stuff nobody notices but God. 

Washing others' feet, then, is fabulously diverse and our task is to understand where God wants our energy. I went through a season, for example, where I baked cakes and biscuits for the Sunday service. Now, (in a different church) I pray a lot for my church behind the scenes and that's where my time goes. These sorts of things we do out of a fervent love for others.

And above all things have fervent love for one another (1 Peter 4:8, NKJV)

With all that in mind, then, how about we do an exercise? 

Sit with God with a blank piece of paper and pen, and ask him what are the good works he has equipped you uniquely to be doing, and where does he want your 'serving energy'? Be prepared to think outside the box, and hear outside the box!

I'd love to hear your responses in the comments if you feel like sharing.

And .. See you next time!

Ann


Play with the Father -- Fasting, Day Three

Hello my fellow fasting squad! Fast and pray 2022

How are you doing? I am thinking of you all as I potter around the house.

As I write, it's day three here. So far I've had no food for the past three days. I'm pretty woolly-headed, on 'go-slow' mode. And, it's just been a gentle time with God so far. 

Yesterday I wrote about the wilderness. Well, today I want to look at something that can be experienced within our wilderness: The playful love of the Father. And I want to tell you a lovely story from last year's fast.

One morning in July 2019 I woke with a four-digit code in my head. I grabbed my phone and wrote it down. 

A year later, July 2020, I woke with a picture in my head of a wicker basket, the size and shape of a Glory Box or trunk. Again, I wrote it down.

We then came to our community fast, January 2021. The week before, I was walking with oldest son, Travis, and I said, "You know, one thing I've always wanted is a one-person teapot, I really want one of those.." at which he laughed.

The fast rolled around and on day two I was out with my boys. We came home, and there waiting for us was a big box by the front door. It was a gift from several family members in England who had clubbed together to send us something really special. It had been due to arrive before Christmas, but was late; hence its arrival on this first week of January, and my fasting week -- Perfect timing.

The boys and I carted the box into the living room and excitement hit. Forgetting my hunger completely, I started ripping open the box, with straw flying. I cried, "No no no, I get to open it!" as the boys' hands were competing with mine to get a first look. We eventually pulled apart the cardboard to discover a glorious wicker basket, the size and shape of a glory box, a trunk! 

"Ohhh, it's the wicker basket I saw," I thought to myself.

This basket was a very big food hamper from a specialty food store in London. I love food. Not only that, the last four digits of the courier code for its delivery were the same four digits I'd woken up with back in July 2019! I knew that because I'd received a text about the package already. Those four digits had remained meaningful to me and that text had given me an inkling God was in this.

That's not all, though. I then got to open the wicker trunk, and lo and behold the first item I pulled out was ........ A one-person teapot!!

Well, by this time I had truly forgotten wilderness hunger.

The items continued to come as we dived into the trunk with our hands. There in the Glory Box were tin and cardboard packages, all containing food-related goodies. It was exquisite stuff and I was in heaven. But the final moment came when I laid out all the pieces on our piano and realized the packaging was all co-ordinated in the same colors of my special journals in which I write words from God: Fuschia pink and duck-egg blue.

"The boxes are the same color as my journals!!!!" I shouted. I was beside myself. What a gift. 

The boys were so amused they grabbed a phone, took a photo, and then roared with laughter when they took a look ... It's a funny photo, and I hope it gives you a giggle. Yep, I was excited. Ann joy

That day the Father played with me and loved me. Perhaps he was even saying "You gave up food for me. Now see my heart for you."

Oh friends, today I've been reflecting on how tremendous God is. And with that in mind I want to end with an idea. I did this today myself:

Take a moment to quietly sit with the Father along with a paper and pen, and dream with him. Write a list of your dreams for your life, sitting consciously in his presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you write this list. And include your family and home in those dreams -- Well, I know you will as that is top of our minds. Keep the list somewhere special for years to come.

That's all for today. What's happened so far in your fast, and how has your day been?

Ann


Give AND RECEIVE!

Giving TuesdayMy friends, Lynn Donovan here.

I pray you found kindness here. I continue to pray that you discover more about our Father and his love for family and marriage in this church without walls on the web. 

On Giving Tuesday take a minute and ask the Lord, what should I give to help this ministry stay on the web another year?

It takes about $6K to keep all the parts moving in our ministry annually. Ann and I can't fund this alone. But we can provide value to your giving.

So, I'm offering a couple of things. Mentioned yesterday:

Offer Number One: For any donation over US$35 or any recurring donation of $5 or more, we'll give you free admission to six classes that I will be teaching in January via Zoom.

We'll advertise more about these six classes soon, but we're excited about them as they'll be a great opportunity for us to come together online a little more in person. The classes themselves will be a weekly live teaching on Zoom on a variety of topics including spiritual gifts, intimacy with God, understanding the occult, walking in your authority in Christ, and more. We'll be building on the concepts in the book Marching Around Jericho, and delving a little deeper into some of those things. It should be good.

Offer Number Two: I will teach a 2 1/2 seminar on the End-Times Church. This will be on January 20, 2022 at 11 am Pacific. Via Zoom. This seminar will:

  • Lay out the many scriptures describing the End-Times Church
  • Discuss the Philadelphia Company
  • Where we are in prophecy today
  • Is the Jab the Mark of the Beast
  • Where is the Bride
  • Where are the Jews
  • Rapture
  • The Terrible Day of the Lord
  • Live Q&A. Ask me anything!

Expect scripture-upon-scripture and to be GREATLY encouraged by truth that you can stand upon and take hope.

Any recurring donation of any amount and you are included in this teaching. Recurring donations make up the bulk of our giving. And to our current recurring givers, please think about increasing your giving and you are included in this teaching.

One-time gifts of $60 or more.  Donate $100 or more and receive both seminars.

If you are unable to attend, you will receive a link to the teaching to watch later.

Make your donation by clicking below. Make your selection on the Donation page with the link below.

Mostly please give cheerfully and because you find the love of Jesus in this house. I love you and I continue to urge you forward in faith. Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan, Founder

Donations go to Lynn Donovan/Three Keys Ministries 501(c) 3. You will receive a tax document in January, 2022.

Donate PayPalDonate Now 2021

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Giving Tuesday and a Giveaway

Hi SUM family Giving Tuesday

I hope you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!

If you've followed our blog for a while you'll know that on Giving Tuesday, which rolls around once a year, we take the opportunity to do a little fundraising to help cover the costs of our ministry. Giving Tuesday is tomorrow -- Tuesday 30 November 2021.

We're super grateful for all your support to date - Thank you! The ministry does cost a certain amount to run given the various technological parts involved. And then we also donate and mail out some of our books to worthy causes. So anything you give will enable us to keep at it and will be a great help.

Now from us to you: For any donation over US$35 or any recurring donation of five or more, we'll give you free admission to six classes that Lynn will be teaching in January via Zoom.

We'll advertise more about these six classes soon, but we're excited about them as they'll be a great opportunity for us to come together online a little more in person. The classes themselves will be a weekly live teaching on Zoom on a variety of topics including spiritual gifts, intimacy with God, understanding the occult, walking in your authority in Christ, and more. We'll be building on the concepts in the book Marching Around Jericho, and delving a little deeper into some of those things. It should be good.

So that's Giving Tuesday. Thank you again for your support, and we pray blessings to be poured out on you all.

Ann


Financial Giving and Your Unbelieving Spouse

By Ann Hutchison

"How can I give to the church when my spouse disagrees?" This one seems to pop up for most SUMites.Pennies

For me it was an area of challenge in my heart for a good few years. There were so many areas of disagreement already, in relation to faith, that giving ‘our’ money to church was just beyond the realms of possibility. We both had jobs at that time but our money was fully shared psychologically so to force this thing on my husband … Should I?!

Whenever the topic of financial giving was raised at the pulpit, I would sink into my seat, disheartened … It was just another area where I felt I ‘couldn’t do any of the things Christians do’ because my husband wasn't by my side in it.

Occasionally I would sneak some dollar notes into the church money box … But then, was I doing that behind my husband's back, I wondered? Not every husband would feel that, but mine would. He cares about where the pennies go. I figured then, "I have to honor him here too."

It’s hard!

Eventually, many of us work this issue out over time; but wisdom doesn’t always come quickly. Instead, it's a process. Anyway, here’s the process I went on:

I always knew God understood. In fact, I heard the Holy Spirit very clearly say to me once, “Ann, the first time you ever told me you needed me was the first time you tithed.” In other words, "I loved your contrite heart and that was more precious to me as any material thing you could give me."

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17, NKJV)

So, I do personally believe that when it comes to giving it is very much a case of the spirit of the law rather than the letter. It's a principle where giving comes out of a grateful heart. It's a generosity to God, and he knows we want to.

Later, the Lord gave me a further word: “Ann, like the widow with the mite in the New Testament, I know exactly what the little you give has cost. Further, I will use and multiply that little.”

That story of the widow is in Luke 12:41-44. Indeed, we may have money in the bank, but as SUMites we often do have 'only a little to give', because of our circumstances. It almost becomes the currency of our hearts then: "What little I have, Lord, I give you."

What I concluded from all this was:

  • I did need to give something.
  • It wasn’t so much about the dollar amount, but giving something to church reflected my belief in the Gospel and my investment into it.
  • It would cost courage and risk in terms of asking my husband. That was part of the package.
  • I needed to honor my husband too and show him a spirit of unity towards our marriage.

So, I prepared myself to approach my husband. He was quite against the concept of 'church', so this was no easy task; difficult enough, in fact, that I procrastinated over it. Eventually, however, I came to him and explained: “I know how you feel, but this is important to me. Can we come up with an amount that we both feel ok with?”

He thought for a moment … And then nodded, "Ok.” And so we came up with a weekly amount.

Honestly, it was a little amount. Just like the widow’s mite. Far less than what I would want to give. But, the fact is, it cost me to get there; and so you could say it was a bigger gift, in a way, than if it had been easy. What's more, it was an act of compromise for my husband, and he did it to honor our marriage too. So, there we go: This tiny amount was the currency of the heart.

Speaking of the currency of the heart, I think these words of Psalm 69 are apt:

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.

(Psalm 69:29-31, NKJV).

Our approach to giving will change as our SUM and our faith life changes. But now I'd love to hear from you: How do you handle the issue of financial giving as a SUMite?

Nice chatting!

Ann


Representing Jesus to Our Families

By Ann Hutchison Unlock with love

Hi SUMites!

I just had a realization that gave me a giggle. I went onto our Instagram page, scrolled down, and realized that I have put so many pictures of weaponry on there. We have at least two sets of boxing gloves … a sword … a spear … a few videos of me talking about hurling stones at Goliath giants .. And then I have a picture of war-planes scheduled for an upcoming post. The reason I laughed, I suppose, is that I'm not particularly like that in other areas of my life. 

I looked at all that battle imagery and thought to myself, ‘Ann?! What's going on?’ 

Well … It could be the times we’re in and what God has been asking us to focus on. Society's godlessness is ramping up. That calls for us to strengthen ourselves in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6). From a personal viewpoint, I've also had to fight so tenaciously for my faith in my marriage that I do feel a bit like a toughened old boot these days. But I also know that to represent God well to others we must hold two things in equal tension: (1) Compassion/mercy on the one hand, and (2) Righteousness/truth on the other. As we learn about these, we sometimes focus on one and sometimes on the other, until we can walk out both things in tandem and represent Jesus well.

Our marriages are a great training ground for that: How to represent the mercy of Jesus, but also stand up for truth. Do you find that as difficult as I do, I wonder?

For months I suppose I've been something like a battle-maiden when it comes to Jesus. I’ve been listening to God about putting away cowardice. I’ve also been engaging more than I used to with the issue of demons. Finally - sadly -- I’ve gone near the realization that some people are truly in rebellion against God, as opposed to, say, being apathetic or on the fence. All of those issues are not ‘meek and mild’ ideas. Rather, they speak to the fact that Jesus often stood up against things and came to destroy the works of the devil, as captured in this scripture:

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (ESV)

So yes, we've been focusing on battle in this blog lately; but, hey, perhaps we can switch modes now. The fact is, Jesus is so wonderful I want to spend the whole day with him, always! As Lynn said recently, "When you have an encounter of love with God it changes you forever," and it is that experience of Jesus that I want to bring to another person when I represent Christianity -- The kind of delightful experience of Jesus that would unlock their hearts and make them want to fall to their knees. Quote Sep 2

How, how? How do we bring Jesus to others who don't know him? Well, to know our gifts is one great way, so that we can use the strengths God has given us to fulfil his purposes. For example, some of us are great encouragers, others have an interest in praying for healing, others love praying for people. Then we must pursue those things. 

But what about bringing the abundant life to our spouses? That one feels tough because their hearts often seem unready to receive anything we want to say in spiritual terms. What a great topic for us to turn our attention to next, perhaps. I feel a series coming on!

In the meantime, let's chat in the comments -- I would love to hear what you think of any of the above.

Much love,

Ann


Lynn Here. I'm Sorry!

SUMites,

Several of you over the past few weeks have tried to make a donation to the 501(c)3 ministry that supports this ministry. 

The PayPal button malfunctioned and created a donation amount that was not your intention. Yikes and what a pain. I promise this wasn't me.  So SO sorry. eep! I created a new Donation Button and it's now in the sidebar. 

Anyhoo, please accept my apology.

And I truly appreciate every single one of you who gives to keep this ministry going. 

Father, thank you for each person who serves, gives, logs in, who offers their financial support. Bless them today with abundance, provision, increase and their coffers overflowing with your goodness. Bless them to know that I love them and you see every penny they give to further the hope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ! AMEN

Love you, Lynn

Three Keys QR Donation Code


A Fasting Reflection, by Vidya Rodney

Hi SUM family, Ann here!
 
Many of you will know Vidya Rodney, who sends us lovely guest posts for the blog. Today she has shared a little about how the community fast in January went for her. It's a good thing to reflect back on a fast after the event. Once we have recovered, that is! Now, over to Vidya: --
***
 
"This was my very first time fasting no solid foods for a whole week. Vidya
 
I had been looking forward to this corporate fast, as I believe in the power of community. So I made sure to pray weeks before on this. And I knew I needed to be realigned with God.
 
When the fast began, I started to hear lies that I wouldn't be able to do it. However, I started declaring "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).  I kept declaring that when I wanted to eat solid food. My refrigerator was filled with all the delicious foods you can think of, but I was determined to remain steadfast.
 
Anyway, the Lord led me on day two to Isaiah 58:6-7 which tells us all about fasting. You can read chapter 58 for yourself. But see scripture below:
 
“ (6) Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
(7) Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood" (Isaiah 58:6-7)
 
Now look at verse 7. Right away, 'feeding the hungry' stood out to me. So there I was pondering how to do this and, of course, asking the Lord.
 
Now mostly when I do groceries almost every month, I buy extra groceries and give to my local church who sets up blessing bags to give to the homeless. And I did make my husband aware of this, since he is against giving money to church. I am sure many of you face this challenge as well.
 
But after reading that verse, I was led to a Christian friend of mine who has an organization that feeds and finds shelter for the homeless. She posted on Facebook that there was a homeless mom who has four kids and lives in her car. My Christian friend was raising funds to help this mom get put up in a hotel room since she couldn't find shelter, and this mom needed food and other donations until she could get a job.
 
Now my flesh did not want to, but I know the Lord placed it on my heart to give. Apart from that, I also remember Pastor Jenezten Franklin's book on fasting talks about giving to the poor as part of fasting. So I was determined to be obedient.
 
I had some money I had received for Christmas. My Mom and I came together with some cash and I also bought some extra dried goods. I spoke to my husband about the grocery part and he seemed ok with it. So I went ahead.
 
I went into this fasting with a mindset of intentionally hearing from God and that was what he led me to do. I'm thankful that I was able to contribute to this mom who was in need of help. It breaks my heart when people are homeless and I pray in the future I may be able to do more of this.
 
I'm not looking forward to rewards for these acts, but I want to know that when I do meet Jesus, he will say "Well done, faithful servant" and I'm quite sure I'm building my home he has for me in Heaven, as every single thing we do for the Lord is counted. 
 
My friends, this is indeed a very hard season for me, but my hope and trust is in God our Father that he is going to finish what he started in me in Jesus' name (Philippians 1:6). Amen and Hallelujah!
 
I pray this story inspires you all.
 
I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles, Missouri, and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.

Oh, the Sweetness of a Friend!

Hi everyone -- Ann here, and a happy Advent season to you all! Christmas 4

In the spirit of Christmas, I'd wanted to pick one of the stories from the Gospels to talk about today, but which one to choose? These stories are all so full of wonder. After some thought, I finally landed on a favorite of mine: The story where God gives Mary a friend. Elizabeth.

I just find that detail really sweet: God gave her a friend.

And he will do the same for us; when we need it.

Like Mary, many of us SUMites battle a strange kind of loneliness. We have an unusual circumstance to live with; and, like Mary, we don’t ‘tick the boxes’. She was made pregnant out of wedlock but in a Holy way. There's nothing conventional about that. And not much is conventional about us, either.

“Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.’ " (Luke 1:30-31, NKJV)

Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I do not know a man? And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy one who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (v. 34-35)

I've been thinking about this passage, and I suspect that Mary's first concern would have been her sanity. She must, surely, have asked herself whether she was crazy! If we ever encounter the supernatural, that’s the obvious question. Did I really experience that?! Well, she really did -- So somehow God had to help her believe it.

In a similar way, when we are the only Christians in our marriage, we face big reasons to doubt this supernatural belief of ours. Can I really believe Jesus was resurrected? Can I really? Or am I nuts?

And so ... God sends us friends to help us face those doubts.

I love the fact that the angel Gabriel gives Mary an instant way of verifying the seemingly crazy thing she was hearing. He says this:

"Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren." (v. 36)

Then, of course, Mary made haste to visit and find out if Elizabeth really was pregnant. But most importantly, when she tumbled through Elizabeth's door she found herself face-to-face with one sweet friend who was able to say 'YES' to her. 'Yes, it is ok for you to believe this -- You are not crazy!' And that would have made Mary feel a whole lot less alone.

I often think that’s what happens here even with this community. We ‘get’ each other. We are each other's flesh-and-blood helpers. But even beyond that, I know that God sends us help in the form of other Christian friends here and there: Friends who simply help us believe.

There's one noticeable element in this story, and it’s this: Mary wasn’t given a crowd. She was only given one lady. And that’s how it often is for us. I look back on my Christian journey so far and realize that God has given me some quality people to help me carry my cross. Each of these people, for me, have been like Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross for Jesus a little way, just to help him keep going (Mark 15:21). But they have been small in number. And sometimes they've only stayed for a season.

I guess our job is to recognize who those people are. To recognize who it is that we CAN safely share the contents of our heart with; just like Mary shared her heart with Elizabeth. 

If you are feeling lonely right now because of your SUM, a great prayer would be to ask the Lord for an Elizabeth. Wouldn't that be wonderful! Or, if you are feeling like you have energy to give to another, an equally good prayer would be: 'Send me to someone who needs my friendship, Lord.'

As for you, how are you finding the situation with Christian friendships at the moment? Perhaps we can share a little in the comments.

With love,

Ann


A Donovan Clan Update - Thanksgiving 2020

Hi My SUMite Family,

I’m so proud of Ann Hutchison and how she has stepped up to help me with the blogging. She really filled in a space that was desperately needed when Dineen stepped out.

Mike & LynnToday, I feel like it’s time for a Donovan Clan update. The last update was Thanksgiving 2019 when Mike had been unemployed for months and I was so desperate for your financial support to keep this little place on the web alive.

TRULY, if you hadn’t helped the SUM blog and ministries would have closed down. Your great generosity revealed God’s hand in this place. God LOVES our space here. He knows the thousands that visit here need a word of hope for their faith and marriage. I’m so humbled to be part of the voices of hope here at SUM.

Thank you as so many of you donated and many became recurring monthly givers. I lack language to adequately express how your gifts reached people and brought truth and hope to them!!!

The Donovan update is this. Interestingly following Mike’s baptism not much more has changed with regard to his faith journey. I’m still wrangling with this, but the Father has told me to leave it alone. Jesus is working there, and I must pray and believe.

As far as our finances, we aren’t in the same place as we were prior to last year’s unemployment. But when I look at so many who became unemployed this year, I’m so utterly thankful Mike is working. I’m deeply grieved for those who are truly in need.

Yet, I’ll be vulnerable, without you there isn’t enough to pay all the expenses. And trust me I’m absolutely frugal with the funds of this ministry. NOTHING is used but to support the online presence and to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, I’ve prayed a lot about all of this. And decided to participate in Giving Tuesday again this year. But I hope to offer some incentives that I couldn’t offer last year.

Stay tuned because your giving will also be giving back to you!

Elise & Avery & NanaAs far as my family. My son remarried in August. His family is precious, and I love them so much. They are well and prospering in Las Vegas.

My daughter, Caitie, is now 25! SAY WHAT?? How many of you remember her as a little girl? We packed up her LA apartment in September and she moved to Portland. She is very happy there and her apartment is absolutely quaint. She lives in the same building as her BIOLA roommate and her husband. She’s doing well.

Mike and I are empty nesters and loving our life with our crazy and barkety-bark-bark dogs!

I love the many ministries I’m involved in.

My friends, my testimony is your testimony. You can find love, peace, and joy in a marriage that turned out very different than you thought or dreamed.

It’s all about Jesus. It’s all about OUR faith. It’s all about living the truth of the Word of God. We can do all things because of Christ Jesus who is our strength.

Keep marching. Keep believing. Keep coming here and finding encouragement with others on the journey. Your life and faith matter so much in this world.

Know that I truly love you. You are my brothers and sisters with whom I will live forever. And that thought gives me great JOY!

Hugs, Lynn


MIND BLOW - I Freaked OUT!! Ask Mike!

Canaries in fig tree SUMGang,

I opened up the PayPal account yesterday. I literally, LITERALLY, did a double take. The number sitting there was so unbelievable that I couldn’t take it in.

I thought PayPal made a mistake. TRULY. Ask Mike. I freaked out. I cried.

I had to add up the donations with a calculator because I thought something was wrong. IT WAS CORRECT.

I’m freaked out. I didn’t know that all of you loved this home on the web that much.

TRULY… I didn’t know. And the notes that came with the donations….. You’re making me cry AGAIN!!!!

How do I say thank you?? How do I do that? I lack language.

I am utterly humbled and thankful. SUM lives on for another year!!!!

THANK YOU….. THANK YOU….. THANK YOU…..

I’ll be working on individual thank you emails soon. And I’ll be getting the Christmas cards in the mail with a small thank you gift.

I adore you. My dear SUMite Warriors. THE BEST IS YET TO COME. Miracles are ahead in 2020. The Lord Jesus is moving us to greater levels of power and authority, love and grace.

I can’t wait to share more with you… And in a week, I have a story about Mary and the Christmas story you haven’t heard yet. January is crammed full of teaching, activations and Kingdom advancements.

Thank you for giving me your time, your love…. Mostly your heart. I’m eternally thankful. And our Father has heard your name from my lips. Love and hugs, Lynn


SUM and a Donovan Clan Update

Giving_tuesday-2019-550Hi SUM Nation,

It’s time for a Donovan Clan update. And well, it’s difficult to share that my amazing husband is still diligently job searching. It’s interesting that when your older, finding gainful employment becomes more challenging.

Hmmmm. And believe me I’ve done so much praying about all of it. I’m convinced I’ve heard the Lord, but His answer appears so impossible, that I can only cling to faith and remain in peace as I wait for the Lord to bring things into reality. And with transparency I'll tell you that it hasn't always been easy.

However, in the waiting we have exhausted our financial reserves. It’s humbling and vulnerable to share that truth. But, this is our real situation.

For over 13 years Mike’s job supported all of the financial needs for the online ministry. But this year, I’m turning to all of you.

I need you.

So, all I can do is share the expenses and ask you to prayerfully consider adopting one and cover it or a portion of an expense for the ministry?

On Tuesday, #GIVINGTUESDAY would you be prepared to give a recurring gift of $5, $10, $15, $25 or $50 a month. This recurring gift will cover the monthly expense for example the monthly expenses of mailing the post emails, $27.00 or the annual renewal of the web hosting $150.00 On Giving Tuesday Facebook and PayPal are matching contributions.

OR consider a one-time donation to apply to the Domain renewal for spirituallyunequalmarriage.com. That expense is $85. I support about nine web domains for various ministries under the Three Keys Ministries umbrella.

So, here are some of the items that are a must for this ministry to continue. All told, annually all the expenses roughly total $6,000.

RSS Feed

Domain Renewals

Web Hosting (largest expense)

Apps to support graphics

Licensed photos

Third Party supports for web design and apps

Legal Fees Federal/State

Taxes State

Documentation

Bank fees

PayPal fees

Event Insurance

 

Postage

Computer

Wifi

Paper/office supply

 

 

This is not an exhaustive list

 

It is my heart to help others. I know that is your heart also. We want others to discover what we know, Jesus makes the difference in every way and every area of our lives and marriages.

Today ask Jesus, “What could I give? What could I cover this year? How much could I pour in to help someone on the road behind me?

I’ll share more as Giving Tuesday arrives. But you can give now through the PayPal app in the sidebar of the website. And for all of you who already give, Thank you. Your faithfulness has kept the internet a blaze with hope for the spiritually mismatched. 

For those of you who can give… I love you.

For those of you who can’t….. I love you.

Thank you, Jesus as you provide through some of the most amazing believers on the planet. In Jesus name. AMEN

Give generously from your heart not because of guilt. Hugs, Lynn