Keeping The Heart

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” – Proverbs 4:23

Keeping Your Heart

We are so excited to announce that Fully Alive Women’s Ministry is starting up in August! This fall we will be learning how to live steadfast, Christ-centered, Spirit-filled lives by studying the magnificent book of Philippians. Our daily passion for Jesus will burn brighter as we learn to maintain our hearts with increased love, joy and faithfulness to the Word of God. The gospel will be advanced in our lives, families and ministries. Prayers will be answered! We will abound in love for God and for each other as we keep our hearts burning for Christ and Him alone.

So mark your calendars! On August 21st at 6:30p.m. we will have our first evening of worship, teaching, prayer, and fellowship.

Let’s grow in hearing God’s voice in his word. This semester we will deepen our relationship with Jesus by encountering him in his word. We will learn what it means to keep our hearts—which is one of the most important, yet hard things we can do.

Let’s be women who are marked by prayer. We want to nurture a culture of praying together—whether that is scheduled prayer or spontaneous prayer. Author Megan Hill calls Genesis 4:26 the first true great awakening. It says, “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.” Let’s be women who pray for this in our day.

Let’s pray for this for the lost and hurting in our city, but let’s enjoy the benefits of praying together too. David Mathis in his book Habits of Grade shares nine benefits of praying together as believers: 1) Added power. 2) Multiplied joy. 3) Greater glory to God. 4) Fruitful ministry and mission. 5) Unity among believers. 6) Answers we otherwise wouldn’t get. 7) To learn and grow in our prayers. 8) To know each other. 9) To know Jesus more. (112-116).

Let’s grow in our relationships with each another. What a joy godly friendship is. Many of us have walked in the beauty of godly friendship for many years and it reminds me of Nathan Tarr’s biographical sermon on Esther Edwards Burr. Esther said, “I esteem religious conversation one of the best helps to keep up religion in the soul (I don’t know but the very vest).” Let’s deepen our friendships this year and invite others into it.

As we gather this fall our aim is to glorify God and to edify each other. We are exhorted in Hebrews 10:23 to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” And so as we come together, “let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works” (v.24).

As we do this together, let’s ask God to make us a community that is so compelling that our non-believing friends and neighbors would take notice and desire to know God because of what He is doing in his people. And as we share the gospel with our friends and neighbors and let’s expose them to the supernatural community that is the local church.

So this fall, let’s come together and feast on the word, lift up our hands and hearts in prayer and worship, and let’s encourage one another all the more as the Day is drawing near (Heb. 10:25). Invite your friends to be a part of this compelling community of women. See you in August!

Here are the details for the Kick-Off celebration service:

Location: Christ Church Knoxville

Date: August 21st

Time: 6:30p.m.

Jesus – Deliverer in Pits and Bogs!

This morning at Alive at Five, I began our study in Psalm 40 like this, “Our most devastating struggles in life are our most valuable friends in teaching us to wait on the Lord.” We all know what it is to experience the misery of “pits” and “bogs.” These are the analogies David uses for circumstances or relationships where we feel stuck in anxiety, fear, pain and confusion. The challenge from God’s Word today was: Will we embrace these hardships as sacred invitations to freedom from the bondage of self and into intimacy with Jesus? Struggles are designed to be opportunities for sacred encounters. Will we learn, by His grace, to wait on the Lord in the place of prayer?!

Ashley Butler sent this testimony of her response to the Spirit’s move this morning:

All of us face places of struggle and suffering and I am not different. Whether it be relationships, finances or physical issues, I am often discouraged. At times these struggles threaten to take me out. This morning at Alive at Five the Lord arrested my heart! The truth that my struggles are not to be avoided or feared but embraced as friends because they can lead me into deeper fellowship with Jesus was so encouraging! On my drive home, I got real and honest with God about these issues! I told Him how very much I need Him to come. I need His help and deliverance! I desperately long to be a woman of faith who trusts Him in using my circumstances as pathways to knowing Jesus deeply.

Ashley’s testimony echoes verse 7, “I delight to do your will, O, my God,” and is an encouragement for all of us to apply the rich lessons we learned today from Psalm 40:

• The reality of waiting on the Lord is not a passive, but an intense activity of the soul.

• The essence of waiting on the Lord is heart-felt, honest prayer.

• The problem with waiting on the Lord is our self-focus.

• The reward of waiting is experiencing God’s transforming power, causing me to hear and delight in His will.

Friends, our times together in the presence of Jesus in these early mornings is incredibly unique and special in my Christian experience! I cherish these times with increasing joy and thanksgiving!!

Treasuring Him,
Kathy

Click here for this mornings message!

This Tuesday: Learning to Wait from Psalm 40

Hey Gals,

Let’s be honest, waiting, is not something we do well! Whether it is waiting a few months for our next vacation or two minutes at a traffic light we overwhelmingly prefer “getting it over and done” to waiting. However, when it comes to intimacy with God and our own spiritual transformation, the lack of ability to wait on the Lord is deadly.

At Fully Alive at Five, Tuesday morning, March 4, 5am, we will worship, listen and pray as the Holy Spirit speaks to us from Psalm 40 about the wonder of waiting. This Psalm is a comforting and convicting word that confronts the pragmatistic lie in all of us that satisfying success and fulfillment in life depend on working long and hard rather than on waiting long and hard on the Lord. It gives us a clear picture of what waiting is and what is isn’t!

Call a friend, forward this email, spring out of bed and let’s meet with Jesus this Tuesday morning! I can’t wait to be together with you in His presence! He is always worth waiting for!!!

In and For Jesus,
Kathy Tarr

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Fully Alive Kids Review

fakWhat a joy it was to see Jesus come and meet with us last Tuesday! He softened, stirred and shepherded the hearts of our children to know Him and grow in His ways!!! fak 1fak 3fak4

Here is a quick review of what we learned:

Catechism:
•Question: How do we become one of God’s chosen ones?
•Answer: First the Holy Spirit must work in our hearts and cause us to trust Jesus as our Redeemer.

Motions:
•The Holy Spirit (Arms up and outstretched)
•Must work in our hearts (Pull arms in to chest)
•And cause us to trust Jesus as our Redeemer (Then back out and up)

Song:
•Enjoy worshipping with your kids at home. You can review our theme song here.

Review:
•Also feel free to review the questions from last few semesters with your kids!

Fully Alive Kids Spring Semester

Dear Fully Alive Moms,
It is with great excitement that I write you, to remind you that we are resuming our regular schedule after the holidays! I have missed you all and pray that through the holidays (although they are most certainly a busy time!) you and your family were able to dwell on and delight in the saving Gospel as you marveled that a perfect God would come to earth to be man. Jesus came to do what we could not do by living a perfect life and then saving us by paying for our great imperfection on the cross! I pray that even now, this truth would stir in your hearts to enliven you to be Fully Alive in your partnership with God as you parent your little ones today!!!
This Tuesday, January 14th, we will be meeting together at 10:00 am to begin our Spring semester of FAK.
This semester we will be studying God’s kindness and wisdom in our great salvation! We will be learning how the work of His Holy Spirit in our salvation opens our eyes to see our sin and causes us to trust in Jesus as our redeemer. We will see the free gifts of God’s grace that were bought by Jesus on the cross:
  • Our Justification – How our sins were forgiven and made right with God!
  • Our Adoption – How God brings us into his royal family as his sons and daughters!
  • Our Sanctification – How God is committed to make us more like Jesus!
Could there be anything more marvelous?!? Let’s come together this Tuesday having prepared our own hearts and the hearts of our children to delight in this great and hopeful truth!
Many Blessings in Jesus,
Kathy Tarr

He Answers When We Call

DSC_0257Friends,

The Lord who lives and gives great victories met with us Tuesday morning at Alive at Five!  I can’t remember a season in ministry when my heart has been more joyful over the activity of God in the midst of His people!  He is putting His enemies to flight and showing the saving might of His right hand among His people! I praise Him for the testimonies of His glory on display in your lives!  Ashley Baker shared the following testimony with me. I asked her permission to share it with you. He will answer us when we call!

I pulled into Christ Church while the sun was still asleep. With my Bible and coffee in hand, I quickly found a seat. As God’s word was opened, I quickly began to see my need. I have a circumstance that I have been wrestling with for some time, and this morning it was right before me. My need in this situation is great before the Lord.

My heart was stirred by the command in Psalm 18, “Call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” I needed to get real with God!  I needed to lift up my voice, audibly out to God.  I needed to go ahead and pour out to God ugly, honest, authentic need to Jesus in prayer – out loud!  I didn’t need to think about my situation before God.  I needed to have a heart to heart, gut-wrenching conversation.

On my way home,  I encountered the Lord as I thought about the observations on Biblical prayer that Kathy had shared from the Psalm.  With tears spilling down my face, I opened my mouth and attempted to pray out loud in my car.  I managed to whisper a prayer to the Lord. A lump formed in my throat as I began to tell the Lord my deep need for Him.  The words began to tumble more freely out of my mouth. I spilled out the details and the pain of my situation, exposing a deep place in my heart before my heavenly Father.

As I drove, the sun began to rise into what looked like a painted blue sky that was interspersed with feathered orange and rosy clouds. God was using the rising sun as a picture of what was happening inside of me.

By stuffing and ignoring my need for such a long time, it was like I was waking up every day while it was still dark outside. I was stumbling around, tripping over my feelings because I couldn’t see where I was going. I was trying to walk in the dark.  But as God’s word was opened to me Tuesday morning, I began to see the light; I saw the reality of my situation. Although I am carrying a tremendous burden and have great need, I don’t have to stay “needy!”  When I really take all my screaming pain, raw emotions, confusing questions and deepest longings to my God, He comes!

Psalm 18 dramatically describes how the conquering King listens to my every cry and comes to “rescue me from my powerful enemy!”  He “confronts me in the day of my distress…He lights my lamp.”  Prompted by His word, my heart spilled over into a flow of prayer. As I cried out and meditated on God’s word, Jesus began to wash away my blindness and carry my pain. My Creator was using the power of the literal sunrise to show me a picture of His internal miracle in my heart!

As I prayed this morning, I found Jesus to be my strength. My heart began to align with the truth of God’s word, “This God—his way is perfect.” My heart is safe with Him. I could say over my situation, “The word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 18:30).

I can (and I do) cry out to my God, “For it is you who light my lamp; The Lord my God lightens my darkness” (Psalm 18:28).

As God brought light I felt a new song rising in my heart. Instead of tears, I felt joy. Instead of despair, I had a song of praise to sing to God. His salvation is great and His steadfast love is amazing.

Friends, God met with us Tuesday morning at Alive at Five! He brought victory and answered us when we cried out to Him. If you have a testimony from Tuesday I would love to hear it. Feel free to leave a comment or email me. I can’t wait to see you again on the 19th!

Fully Alive at Five Info:

When: Every other Tuesday morning. See full calendar here.

Time: 5:00a.m.- 7:00a.m.

Where: Christ Church of Knoxville (Click here for a map)

Follow us: on Facebook and on Twitter!

Jesus the Cosmic Champion

FA- Bible“This morning my entire life suddenly made sense! Why did it take me so long to see this?” My enlightened friend had been struggling with frustrating issues at work, multiple ongoing health issues, frightening financial strain and the devastation of relational pain among family members and friends that seemed beyond repair.  Where is victory in all of this? Why is everything so hard?

These were some of the questions that ruthlessly pummeled her heart and her faith.  She was stuck in the muddy marsh of unbelief. Tuesday morning at Alive at Five, the Holy Spirit graciously opened her eyes to see the invisible realm that is dramatically unveiled in Psalm 2.  She saw, in the words of C.S. Lewis. . . “this universe is at war!”  More importantly, she saw the living Christ installed as King over every other power and authority!  Suddenly, the personal battles all made sense.

The banner verse for Fully Alive Ministry is from John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  It’s true. The wonderful news of the gospel is that Jesus came to make us fully alive! However, we make a big mistake when we skip over the first half of that verse. Jesus gives the context of His redemptive mission to earth like this: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  Did you hear a clarion call to battle? Did you hear the guarantee of victory?

Psalm 2 pulls back the celestial veil between heaven and earth so we can see. What we see is not only the battle but how the battle ends.  The Holy Spirit reveals to us an incredible sight through David’s inspired song, the very throne room of God! There we hear the intimate conversation between the eternal Father and His cherished Son as Jesus is crowned uncontested King of the universe!  That’s great news for us!

In the midst of universal chaos and rebellion, Psalm 2:2-4 portrays the Father sitting in heaven unmoved and unshaken.  The decree is irrevocable, His Son, the cosmic champion of the whole earth, has won!  “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” ( Ps. 2:4).  Every strategy against the King’s edict is laughable vanity from the Father’s perspective!  His divine heart of joy is unaffected.

We can have this same unaffected joy, confidence and peace, even in the heat of battle, if Christ is allowed to live His invincible life in us; if we bow down on the battlefield of life and let Him have His way.  This is what the Bible calls faith. This is what it means to be truly Christian.

The universe is at war, but for Christians, the war has been won! All glory to King Jesus!! The warning to all outliers is clear in verse 10-12: Worship the One true King!  Fall at His feet! Obey Him!  Reverence Him! Rejoice in Him! Stay close to Him!

In the kingdom of heaven, Jesus rules!  In the kingdoms of this world, rebels attempt to throw off His life-giving restraints.  But, “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our LORD and of His Christ.”  Therefore, the real struggle in our daily skirmishes is:  In which kingdom do I live?  In other words, am I allowing Jesus to live His life and exert His rule in me?  The vicious but vain rebellion that rages “against the Lord and against his Anointed” (Ps 2:3) creates war zones in our lives every single day.

The battles are too fierce for me, but Jesus has destroyed the destroyer!  We must surrender to the power of His indestructible life within!  This is the only way we will ever be fully alive! If we don’t see this, we have no chance of victory.  I’m so glad the Lord opened my friend’s eyes to seeI  All praise to “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation!” (Eph. 1:17)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (II Cor 10:3-4).

 

FAK CATECHISM QUESTIONS: Questions 1-12

aliveFAK CATECHISM QUESTIONS:  Questions 1-12

  1.  Why were you created? To know and to show God’s greatness and enjoy Him forever!
  2. How can I know and show God’s greatness and enjoy Him forever? God tells me how in the Bible
  3.  What is the Bible? The Bible is God’s Word
  4.  Did men write the Bible? The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible through men; telling them exactly what to say!
  5. What does the Bible Teach? The Bible teaches who God is, who man is and what God tells us to do!
  6. What does the Bible say about God? The Bible says that God is a Spirit whose holiness, wisdom and goodness are infinite, eternal and unchanging.
  7. What does the Bible teach about Man? God created man in His own image to LIVE in obedience to Him – But Man sinned – Bringing sadness, sickness and death
  8. Is there more than one God? There is only one true and living God. death
  9. What is sin? Sin is disobeying God in any way.
  10. What happened to man when he sinned? Man fell into sadness, sickness and death.
  11. What made sin so miserable for man? Sin separated God from man and brought God’s anger, God’s curse, and hell.
  12. Did God leave man in this miserable condition? From eternity, because He wanted to, God chose some to LIVE with Him forever; free from sin and misery by sending a Redeemer.

The Marvel of Motherhood

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Moms, I bless the heart of Jesus in you for the marvelous way you nurture your kids’ hearts for God!  As soon as you read those words, many of your hid under your imaginary fig leaf thinking, “That doesn’t describe me!  I have a wimpy and weary heart for Jesus and I’m failing miserably in training my kids to love God.  I need help!”

I have good news for you!  After more than three decades of parenting, I can tell you that motherhood is the most marvelous (i.e., causing the highest quality of wonder, astonishment, surprise and joy) and the most maddening (i.e., tending to craze; tending to infuriate; tending to vex; tending to disorder the mind) role I have ever been assigned!  That really is good news!  Let me explain.

Think about the first time you held your newborn baby.  No words adequately describe the wonder!  God intentionally designed motherhood to thrill our hearts as we participate with Him in the creation and in the nurturing of human life.  There is no other experience like it!  We can’t help but marvel at the development of our tiny baby in the womb; the miracle of the birth process and the joy of watching our children mature before our eyes from one birthday to the next!  It is marvelous to be a mom!

However, when the first couple rejected God’s Word and sinned, this perfect design was forever marred (Gen 2-3). Our homes, intended to be sanctuaries of delight, were demolished to rubble under enemy attack.  Our relationship with our husband, disastrously damaged by sin, became rife with tension and conflict (Gen 3:16-19).  “Pain” was the word God chose to describe the experience of mothers throughout future generations (Gen. 3:16).  Eve’s disobedience meant that every mother, forever, will experience a lifetime of struggle and grief in the bearing and raising of children.  It is maddening to be a mom!

So, what’s the good news?  The good news is that our heavenly Father has made a way for these tiny, growing bundles of marvel and madness to make us more like Jesus!   We get to lay our lives down for little sinful humans who are prone to spit up, whine, hit, scream, fight, complain, not sleep and throw things.  They are messy and mean.  Yet, we are called to “train them up in the way they should go; (so that) even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).  They are demanding and disrespectful.  Yet, we are instructed to “open our mouth with wisdom” and speak with “the teaching of kindness on (our) tongue” (Prov. 31:26), that they might grow up and “call us blessed” (Prov. 31:28). In a word, we are called by God to have His living and active Word “happening” on the inside of us in such transformational ways that we are empowered by God to effectively train our children to be Christ followers. (Deu. 6:1-9)

Motherhood means living the Gospel!  You sacrificially offer your life to God on this altar of “motherhood” so that, through you, your marvelous-but-maddening little rebels fall in love with Jesus and become reveling worshippers!   Motherhood is the most privileged role any woman can assume because motherhood is Gospel-partnership with God!  Imagine!  He uses moms as His chisels of redemption in making rebels into revelers of God! That is a high calling and a high privilege that only the God of the Gospel can accomplish!  I praise the Giver of Life for the gift of my children and for the Gift of His Son who restores the marvel of motherhood!

At Fully Alive Ministry our desire is to help, support and resource you as the primary teacher in your children’s lives.  Our commitment is to provide an environment where moms and kids  (from birth to age 10) can come together in the presence of God and be taught, trained and touched by the joy-filled, strength-giving, soul-saving love of Jesus!  Bring your little ones and join us!

Fully Alive Kids Info:

When: Every other Tuesday morning, started September 3rd. See full calendar here.

Time: 10:00AM to 11:30AM

Where: Christ Church of Knoxville (Click here for a map)

Who: Kids ages 0-12, pregnant mommies and parents are all welcome!

Cost: $40 per family (You can pay on the sidebar of the blog!)

Click Here To Register.

 

Energy, Joy and Expectation

Fully Alive Friends,

fully alive timeTuesday, I woke up with the energy, joy and expectation of a childhood Christmas morning!  It was only 2:50 am.  My alarm wouldn’t sound for another forty-five minutes, but it was the launch of our new semester together at Alive at Five, and there was no way I could go back to sleep!  I pulled into the parking lot by 4:30am to find it already filling up with cars!  It was evident that many of you gals were as eager as I was to meet God in His word, worship and prayer at our pre-dawn, city-wide gathering. We were not disappointed!  The Holy Spirit, true to His promise, met with about fifty of us in such a sweet and powerful way!  Praise the Lord!

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This year’s focus for Alive at Five will be the Book of Psalms.  I love the Psalms!  They are unique among all the other books of the Bible. The Psalms are magnificent Spirit-inspired poems that God graciously gave to teach our minds, to stir our hearts and to shape our actions as God-lovers.  I am asking Him to deepen our love for Jesus in new ways this year!  In seeing you gals all over Facebook the past few days,  I can see the new stirring and shaping has begun!  Praise Him!

The Psalms overflow with God-honoring expressions of human emotion and are meant to be set to music and sung as love songs to God.  As such, they were Israel’s hymnal and a memorized source of teaching, joy and strength to our Lord Jesus Christ, who quoted them often throughout His earthly life and ministry. Jesus was full of the Psalms!

As we learned on Tuesday, the Psalms are dynamic!  They are a precious Treasure House of soul-satisfying delicacies, given to us by God, to be digested in many engaging, active, and self-involving ways.  They are to be spoken (Ps. 45:1), sung (Ps 46:6-7; 81:1), prayed (Ps.141-144), memorized (Ps. 119: 11), pondered (Ps. 19:14; 145:5), shouted ( Ps. 33: 1, 3), danced (Ps.149:3) and obeyed (Ps. 119:34), just to name a few.

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So, Girls, if we are to engage with the Psalms rightly, we must interact actively with these divine words in the presence of Jesus. That is what this year is all about.   Let’s press into this wonderful Book together. I can’t wait until our next Alive at Five, Tuesday, September 24…at 5am!  Oh, may King Jesus, the Lord of the Psalms, be pleased to meet with us again, and again, and again!  I can’t wait!

With Energy, Joy and Expectation!

Kathy

 

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