GO!



      Inside these stained glassed buildings are people. Normal, real people. Listening to women discuss church I have heard some mind-boggling statements. Recently, I posted a question on social media, “When you first enter a church, what do you think/feel?” I was looking for honest feedback, especially from those who are regular churchgoers. 

      WHAT I GOT WAS ASTOUNDING!

      “Often I walk in one of these buildings insecurely glancing around wondering if I belong.”

      “Will anyone talk to me today?”

      “Does my hair look okay?”

      “Look at that perfect little family and their matching kids’ outfits. Well, my kids do have on clean clothes…”

      If I’m honest, I wrestle with insecure feelings  on Sunday mornings too. Many times I find myself blinking forcefully and shaking my head before I enter the church building , reminding myself why I drove and parked there in the first place. Snapping out of it, I remember I came because I need to learn, study and worship. I need to laugh, cry and sing. I need to listen, talk and ponder. 

      Teach. Hug. Listen. Pray. Read. Sing. Hear. Understand. Speak. Thank. Hug. Kneel (or not). Lift hands (or not). Shout (or not). Exit and enter the new week with joy and energy to begin fresh anew. 

      If you live in the south and frequent a church, there are opportunities to go on mission trips year round. Stateside mission trips, overseas mission trips, trips with big groups for short weeks, and trips with small groups for long weeks. Sometimes you be trippin’ over the choices offered. 

      I’ve never gone on a mission trip. Ever. 

      I am a missionary, however. 

      Someone asked me one Saturday last month  while I was passing out popcorn where I felt called to serve. We were taking about the volunteer slots at the church league concessions. “I’m a preacher’s kid. I get it,” she told me. I said, “I’m called to be a missionary inside the baptist church… [pause for pensive, silent stare]. . . You think I’m kidding don’t you? I’m serious as all get out,” I told her. “Look. Stop. I’m for real. Inside these walls is my greatest mission field.”

      She looked in deep thought as she said thank you for her $0.75 popcorn purchase. 

      I’ve been in southern baptist churches since 9 months before I was born. Sometimes I get asked, “Why don’t you come to my church? Why don’t you just watch a service in your pajamas at home and rest? What do you mean you’re a ‘Christ follower’ not a baptist?”



      BECAUSE often times the mission is right in front of my face. If I’m not careful I can MISS the MISSION. If I’m alert, I can “mission” everywhere I go. Dollar General, church league basketball concessions, and especially First Baptist Local Church. There’s a huge need for me to listen, watch, observe and know when to speak and what to say. Often I mess up by talking when I should listen, or offending someone without knowing why. I say aloud, “Be careful! Don’t  MISS THE Mission right in front of you, Audrey.” 


      You never know when just being a cheerleader to one person right where THEY ARE, right in front of your face, might be the mission trip of a lifetime. No fundraising needed. 

      “Go {as you are going} ye therefore….make disciples.”      ~Matthew 28:18-20

      mis·sion (ˈmiSHən)– the vocation or calling of a religious organization, especially a Christian one, to go out into the world and spread its faith.

      synonyms: vocation, calling, goal, aim, quest, purpose, function, life’s work.                         

      her mission in life”


      After choosing the twelve disciples and modeling ministry before them, Jesus sent them out as apostles. He gave them a mission assignment:

      “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”                Matthew‬ ‭10:5-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

      LOOK AT HIS FIRST INSTRUCTION! “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 

      This blew me away yesterday when teaching it to my fifth grade Bible classes. He sent them ON MISSION at home…to the house of Israel, the chosen. 

      While it’s important to go on mission trips- short term, long term, and full time. Not everyone is called to go. We are, however instructed to share and go, but not all of us to the same places. 

      I am encouraged that there are mission opportunities all around me. Read a few more responses that were collected to the question, “How do you feel or what do you think as you enter the church building?” 

      “Overwhelming anxiety. The need to be perfect. This is why I don’t go to church.”

      “I have always felt judged.”

      “It depends. At first I feel a bit overwhelmed and maybe a bit alone as soon as I walk in the door. Maybe feel a bit self conscious if I am having a yuck hair day or intimidated by my simple clothes but usually that goes away when I focus on loving others that I see. If it is a church that I am connected to the people I feel “familiarity and connection” overall I usually leave feeling encouraged and grounded especially if there is time to actually have real conversations and if the sermon makes sense to me.”

      “As a college student who still hasn’t found a home church, I honestly dread Sundays in a way. I keep trying to find a church , but often I feel, alone, uncomfortable, anxious, etc. I rarely have somebody come up and introduce themselves because most people only focus on finding their friends and people they know and talking to them. Even if I go up to an usher or greeter and say “hey, I’m new and have never been here before, could you show me to the college ministry? Or ask if they could show me where the sanctuary is, they often just point their finger in the “general direction” tell me where to take rights and lefts and I should be there. I hope I’ll eventually find a church I like but as of right now if it hard to find a church that doesn’t just talk to members and encourage the people they already know. I’m a Christian, but it really, truly bothers me that if non-christians walked in any of these churches, this is how they would be treated. If churches really tried to not be as clicky then I think that we would solve a major problem of people feeling like they are being judged and uncomfortableness in the church.”

      “Disappointment that church culture is not about relationships. It’s more about small talk than it is about cultivating, sustaining, and growing real relationships with other believers. I enter and I leave with a great sense of longing.”

      MAY WE ALL BE OBSERVING AND PRAY FOR GOD TO SHOW US MISSION OPPORTUNITIES RIGHT WHERE WE ARE. 

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      Little Gray Donkey

      Mary rode into Bethlehem, known as “house of BREAD.” She gave birth to the BREAD of life.
      From the same Bethlehem approximately 14 generations earlier, Naomi left the “house of bread;” empty due to famine. Later returning to the same Bethlehem with her daughter in law, Ruth. In Moab, they had been full with love and laughter, but now circumstances brought them back to Bethlehem, the house of bread, they were empty again. 
      From Boaz, soon to become the kinsman redeemer, Ruth was given everything she and Naomi needed to be full again. Ruth gave birth to Obed the father of David … 14 generations later, in the city of David, a Savior was born from the lineage of David and Boaz. HE IS the BREAD of life. 

      Empty I come to adore Him, leaving full in the presence of Shekinah glory!



      “I went out full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?”  ~Ruth 1:21

      “At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.”  ~‭Ruth‬ ‭2:14

      Read: Matthew 1:1-21

      http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/bethlehem/

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      Gifted

      Jesus left the glory and perfection of Heaven for me. 

      The King of Kings was born in a borrowed barn; Rode into town on a borrowed donkey; and buried in a borrowed tomb. 

      I have him and that is gift ENOUGH. 

      Receive the Gift of Him today. 

      IMMANUEL

      “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory. The glory of the One and Only who came from Heaven full of grace and truth. ”  

       ~John 1:14

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      Broken and Spilled Out

      Hosting my Sunday School Christmas party was an incredible experience for me yesterday. I had grandiose plans of pressed tablecloths, Christmas China, and fancy recipes. 

      The party was scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. I had the entire day before me and the house was already clean- Just shop for ingredients and begin cooking by 3:30 to have the chicken spaghetti ready to serve at 5:45. No big deal. 

      As so often happens, what’s planned doesn’t always match up with unexpected surprises that BREAK OUT right before me reminding me that I have no control over yet another situation. 

      I had a paperwork morning deadline that would be completed by noon at the latest, or so I thought. Noon became 2pm and I found myself ASLEEP 😴 at 2:30 pm. 

      STILL NO: shower, shopping or cooking. HORRORS! 🎄Merry and bright? Fa la la la la? Most wonderful time of the year? No crying He makes? 🎻

      Every southern belle inch of me winced at the thought, but it was time to LET IT GO! 

      So I had no choice at this point but to just make spaghetti and buy cute paper plates. So that’s what I did. I was nervous. WHY?!? These ladies are my heart and soul. We are family. Why was I trying to impress? I love hosting and I like pretty things. I enjoy serving others and WANTED to have a pretty set up for the party, but it was just not happening.  Running late, I asked my daughters to help unload the items I’d just purchased from the store so I could cook the meat. One of my daughters came in upset, “The bag is too heavy and I dropped it. The bag ripped” Empty handed I sent her back outside to no avail. Enlisting my other daughter’s help to “just get the bags inside…Hurry!”

      She too returned empty handed. Stirring around the kitchen in my green apron, there was no time for this. What could be so hard about bringing in 4 bags of groceries?!?  Then she said, “Mom, I need you to look at me and I need you to not freak out. When she said, ‘the bag ripped,’ she meant it exploded. Broken jars, spilled and exploded.'”

      I walked outside, LEFT the mess on the sidewalk, took a deep breath and went back to the kitchen. 45 minutes from company and I’d gone from homemade chicken spaghetti casseroles to pasta. Just pasta. About that time I get a text from one of my guests,  “I’m at Publix. Do you need me to pick up anything before I leave?” 

      “Yes! Three large jars of prepared spaghetti sauce please!” She then responded, “I’m early, mind if I come and help?” Not only did she show up with sauce to save the party from plan A and plan B fails, she brought me chocolate and my favorite soda! 

      The party was a success. Paper plates, random pots on the stove, laughter and great fun swapping Dirty Santa gifts. No one cared that my tree hadn’t been fully decorated or that we just had spaghetti. In fact, several ladies responded how refreshing it was to be so relaxed. 

      I’ve decided it’s a ministry to be simple. Lowering the standard of perfection before hosting just might encourage us all to spend more time together and less time in a virtually social world. 

      “Happiness is how well you deal with plan B.”      ~James Roberts

      Thankful we have an alphabet with 26 letters! 

      “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”  ~Proverbs 16:9

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      Christmas Gifts

      Read the STORY about ENOUGH. 

      Place an Order today via email. 

      Murdaugh.audrey5@gmail.com


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      Attack of the Green Monster

       I opened the trunk to get a book to read in the waiting room. Immediately a green monster popped out of the car and began to spew all over me! My hair, face, shoes and leg. No matter where I jumped it was spraying me. The green monster? A 12 ounce can of Sprite! Apparently it had been rolling around back there while I was driving which made it all shook up.


      What a mess! Sprite on my toes (I was wearing my Fit Flops), Sprite dripping from my hair sprayed bangs, Sprite on denim now hugging my leg. Just a sticky attack of a mess. No matter where I stepped it just kept spraying. 

      This made me think about things that pop out of nowhere and jump right in front of what I have planned for the day, hour or scheduled activity. How many times does this happen and I feel thwarted because I have no control over the spraying green monster? How do I react? Do I bounce back? Do I get angry and stew about it? Do I deal with it and move on? 

      The choice is mine. I can choose to complain about a wet pants leg, get aggravated because my toes are sticky, stomp my foot and say ugly words, or even gripe about it to anyone who will listen. Or, I can pick up the green monster and throw him away; get a wet paper towel and clean my toes and shoe, flick my bangs and move on. The choice is mine. 

      Unexpected things jump out at us all the time. Lab results from a doctor, an expensive car repair, a busted pipe that floods your hardwoods, a stopped train on the tracks the morning you are running late to work, or a temper tantrum from your child. The only certainty about these types of things is that they certainly will come. 

      What’s spewing all over you right now? Is it sticky? Is it spraying profusely? Are you camping out in pity and proclamation of being a hopeless victim? Has it ruined your day? 

      STOP THE MONSTER DEAD IN HIS TRACKS!

      I have to remember to take a deep breath. Acknowledge that my  Savior is Sovereign. He is not surprised by my life challenges. Our Savior is working for our good even when we are distracted by the monsters of life. 

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      READY FOR BLACK FRIDAY

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