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The theater is a mentor too? Guest Tiffanie McCurdy

Guest Blogger -Tiffanie McCurdy 
Works with me as Administrative Assistant, Organizer and Efficiency Expert, give her a map and a bunch of destinations and look out. :) 

The theater is a mentor too?
There’s something about the smell of sawdust and fresh paint on a set that feels like home to me. For those who have caught the theater bug, you know what I am talking about. I have been around theater for 18 years. Most of my life. It has taught me more than comedic timing and appropriate attire for the Elizabethan period; it has taught me that everything I needed to know for ministry, I found in theater. 
From the start of my theatrical experience, I was a techie. Although I dreamt of being an actress, the directors (also my instructors) mostly wanted me backstage. They were the first to see my gifting and allow me the environment in which to develop and grow in it. I am still amazed at the insights that they had of me. I learned so much in those early days of theater by shear experience alone, not to mention the grace of God. Acting technique was taught in the classes, but technical production, that was completely hands on! I have since come to love all aspects of the theater world, but the technical side is truly where I fit best in it ; the directors were right from the start. I guess, they could be called, my first mentors. They saw in me, something I did not see, and then developed in me that gift they saw. 
That’s where ministry fits in. Isn’t that what we are to do in the mentor role? See in the person, or persons, the gifting and talents that they have and allow them the safe place that they could be encouraged to develop in those things? It’s more than training someone else to take over when you leave, that’s not your decision to make, it’s Gods anyway, but it’s really more apostolic, to raise them up in their God given talents and then to release them out to continue on in them in the place God has made for them. 

 For more insight into this dynamic, try reading
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Q4U  How do you spot the gifting in your team members?

What is in your hand?

Don't forget we have moved to sandivand.wordpress.com  We will be posting here at blogspot for a couple more weeks.  I can't transfer subscriptions so go there today and re-subscribe (one for the blog and one for the newsletter) Thanks for your patience.

Just because you are not in any official position at church doesn’t mean you lack influence.  Your relationship as daughter of the King of the Universe means you have position and influence.
A mistake a lot of people make is not owning up to that reality. They’re afraid to say anything because they don’t believe they have the position or the title.  Moses had the same problem.
Exodus 4:1 But Moses protested again,”What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘The LORD never appeared to you?’
Moses did not have an official position in Egypt or with the nation of Israel.  In fact, the only position Moses had was a shepherd on the backside of the wilderness. He had been training for this moment for a while.
I have asked God that very same question more times than I would like to count.  You know, “who me? You want me to do what? Who is going to believe me or even listen to me for that matter?”
What's in your hand?
God is notorious for answering a question with a question.  Like Moses he asked me the same thing “What is in your hand?”
God is so merciful answering Moses like that.  His mercy totally changes things.  You see, most of us would have replied "Really Moses? What does it matter if they believe you or not? Just go and do it?”
Let me tell you something, it does matter.  The whole point for going was to get the job done. It would have been totally unmerciful to show up with the attitude “oh well, you should have listened.” I believe Moses was on track, it was a great question. There might have been some inkling of self presevation going on with Moses. But hay, God picked him just like he was, self preservation and all.
Common and ordinary
Moses had a shepherd’s staff in his hand.  He had carried that rod around for years. That’s all he had, just a plain ordinary staff.  It probably wasn’t his only one either.  I'd venture to say he had to make a couple of them throughout the years. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he had two or three laying around in the tent.
Let’s think about this for a second. God tells him to take off his shoes, because he was standing on Holy ground. Moses takes off his shoes and stands before God. Notice he didn’t lay the staff down. He walks on in with it still in his hand! He probably didn’t even realize it was in his hand.
Game Changer
I love game changers. What God does next is a total game changer for Moses. God tells Moses to throw it down. Moses let’s it go, the staff becomes a snake.  To Moses the staff is a staff, to God it’s a game changer. That common ordinary staff did a whole lot more than turn into a snake.
That staff changed the game on a couple of occassions. Once a meeting was going one way, Moses throws down the staff and wha-la it’s a whole new meeting going on!
If God is asking you to approach a subject and like Moses you are wondering “why would they even listen to me?” Look at what is your hand. God sent Moses as a shepherd with a staff.
In Virgina, I watched Allison Mullins, of Bartlick Presbyterian, teach bible verses to a bunch of teens using cell phones and texting. Who knew?  She was using what she had in her hand.
Maybe you are a baker with some flour, an actor with a video camera, a writer with a laptop,  guitar player with three chords and the truth, a painter with some face paint, a personal trainer with some boxing gloves it's all good in God's perspective.

Q4U: Have you eve had to take inventory of your life? Got any tips for the rest of us?

The Labor of Brilliant Ideas

The climax of the egg is the hatching.

The fiercest battles I have ever faced are the ones right at the threshold of breakthroughs.  It's the labor pains right before the birth. There is no turning back at this point.  Grace is the ability to do what God has called you to do.  That brilliant idea was His first, He will give you the ability to see it through.  If there was no battle then there would be no need for grace. Grace doesn't mean no effort on  your part, it means He backs up your effort with His power.
Brilliant ideas are open doors
God will open some doors for you.  He will give you brilliant ideas to commit to.  He will give you some marching orders to carry out.  These open doors are opportunities.  They will above all teach you all kinds of lessons. Always look at them as opportunities of growth. Sometimes we will experience growing pains when we go through those doors.
Adversity keeps the boat afloat
But because they come from Heaven doesn’t mean they will be pain free, battle free, or even misery free.  In fact, because they come from Heaven is a guarantee there will be some adversity.  It’s the adversity that keeps the plane in the air, and the boat afloat.
It never fails the minute I mention evangilism or outreach it seems like all hell breaks loose. The very instance the women even start considering a prayer group all kinds of havoc begins to play on everyone’s schedule.  It’s a gimme.
Keep your cool
Just because I know it’s going to happen doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it.  It means I need His grace more than ever.  I get a lot of phone calls from women’s ministry leaders right before a big event with all the “can you believe this happened and then this happened and then of all things bubba broke his foot.”  It’s calm down time.

Here are some things to keep you level headed during this battle.

Pray.  Im not talking about going to God and asking if you should have even done the event in the first place, or if you should have even went into ministry.  It’s all too late for that.  You are on the cusp of breakthrough, you are on the verge of cresting the top of the mountain, you have done all the leg work, now is the prayers of faith. This is praising and worshiping time. If you are going to petition Him about anything now ask Him to help you keep your integrity in all of it, that your response to the battle will be God glorifying and people redeeming.
Stand on God’s word.  He gave you the idea, don’t move on it.  Don’t let anything cause you to doubt it was not from God. Keep your feet in peace. Strive to keep the strife out. That "peace that surpasses all understanding" will but a wall around you and will guard your integrity.  When you are in the home stretch you have done all that you have known to do, now stand. Don’t back down from what God has given you.  The enemy will try to get you to sabatage the whole thing by doubting you heard from God. It’s too late to worry about that now anyway.  Don’t entertain any negative talk from you are anyone else.
Speak over it.  When all hell is breaking loose right before an event watch what you say.  It is easy to start letting the words of worry and defeat escape our already tired self.  Everytime you hear someone speak negatively you reinforce what God has said, His promises to never leave us, never forsake us.  It’s all about Him anyway.  Speak life over the ministry, the event, the situation.

Related Post:Your Faith on Center Stage
Leading in the Trenches

Reminder!! We are moving to Wordpress completely in two weeks. So go there and change your subscription.  There is also a newsletter subscription you will want to check out (specials coming up soon).  sandivand.wordpress.com
Q4U: Got anymore suggestions for those breakthrough battles?

Growing those ideas

Have you ever had an idea, thought it was a great idea but never did anything with it? Then a few months later you see someone else has taken that idea and turned it into a successful fruitful venture? They obviously considered the idea, enough to make a go of it and followed through on it.  I have even had the audacity to say “Hay! That’s my idea.” That’s as silly as saying to someone with a fish on their hook “Hay! That’s my fish it was under my boat!”
God gives us amazing ideas, they are life giving and full of His notions on what is best. However, if we never plant or even consider them, like an unplanted seed will dry up and decay.  For an idea to bring fruit it has to be planted.
Receive it. 
An idea must be planted or better yet received.  How do you receive from God? First off, thank Him and then respond to it.  I personally respond to ideas by writing them down.  I feel they are treasures from heaven and are so valuable I don’t want to forget them so I write them down. 
Test the idea.  
I pray over them.  I prove them or test them by asking questions.  Is the idea Biblical? Will if fill a human need, solve a problem and help others? One of the ways I discern God ideas from good ideas is this - God ideas are giving ideas.  Be careful sometimes we rule out an idea from God because it makes us uncomfortable. Quite honestly every God idea I have had demands trust in Him and risk with me. Don’t use the excuse “I don’t have peace.” because the idea makes you uncomfortable. 
Once you have a giving idea commit yourself to put that idea into action. Invest your time, money and energy into to seeing it develop. This is where you need to be ruthlessly intentional with your time.  This is where the timing of the idea will become an issue.  Stay in His timing, be prepared for Him to put things in place.  Just because it’s not the right time doesn’t make it a bad idea. 
Prepare for blocking. 
Know that problems and troubles will come to try to stop you from completing the project. Trials always come before the final victory. God will allow you to be tested and proved.  When you are in this development phase of the idea, you have to choose whether you will persist with your idea/vision or give up. Don’t quit! Believe in the idea God has given you. Hang in there and you will eventually creatively and effectively move on to seeing the fullfillment.
 Remember you have prayed for the idea, prayed over the idea, you have tested the idea. You have spent some time talking this idea out with God, trusting Him to protect you from making dumb decisions. If this wasn’t His idea He would have tried to stop you before now.  

God doesn't have attention deficit disorder. He doesn't change His mind as much as we do. Sometimes when we face a block we are tempted to think God has changed His mind on the whole endeavor.   Remember to Him, finishing is better than starting. 

Experience fullfillment.  
Q4U: What do you do when you see the vision come to bear fruit?

How do you turn the idea facuet on?

One small idea can change your life. One simple idea have turned many from material poverty to material prosperity almost overnight.  An idea from God can bring you out of fear and despair into courage, confidence, faith, and victory in the twinkling of an eye.  

We are told to ask God for wisdom, and we are comforted with His promise of give it to us whenever we ask freely, no strings attached.  I have faced many difficult situations, entangled in what seemed impossible circumstances and  I have cried out for wisdom.

Now seriously, I wasn’t looking or waiting for an idea to pop into my head, I was really crying out for God to just make it all better.  And well, to my misfortune I missed the answer to my problem. 
When we ask for wisdom we are asking for God’s ideas.  His ways and thoughts are way higher than ours.  He delights in supplying us with ideas that will turn situations around. 
Want to turn the idea faucet on?
God has the inside scoop on  how everything in the universe works.  We some how need to get our hands on what He thinks.

Faith in our God coupled with consistent action will release the resources we need. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him(action),and believe He is always good(faith). 
Here are five simple actions that will level you up in faith and turn the idea faucet on.
1- Meditate on His word.  You would be surprised how many Christians I meet that don’t read His Word everyday.  I am equally surprised at how many leaders I have met that haven’t read the entire bible at least once.  When you meditate on His word it will help you discern God idea’s from good ideas.
2- Practice His Word.  This means you believe and obey what you read in the Bible. His will is your will. How can we ask God for advice and ideas if we aren’t willing to carry them out?  Start by obeying the Word you do know.  Be faithful to the Scriptures you do know.
3- Speak and vocalize His promises.  There is power in the tongue, life and death power.  Get vocal about God’s promises. Start speaking out about His faithfulness to supply all your needs. He is a God who speaks to His people.  I find when I start talking it out with the people close to me, the ones that really know me, the solution comes in that conversation. Ideas begin to form and take shape.  
4- Pray.  I know that sounds so obvious.  I don’t know how many times I was asked “Did you think to pray?” and the honest answer was no.  Praying is more than just petitioning God for the answer, it is praise and worship.  Praise Him until the worship comes then worship till the Glory comes.  In His Glory realm all things are possible.
5- Give.  Yep give, and give some more.  It is a privileged life to give.  We don’t give to get we get to give.  Live generously with others.  Live to give. You become an open cannister for God to fill up when you pour out. 

From experience I have realized that it was the small ideas  dropped into my spirit that produced the most benefits.  Don't limit God by only looking for the big ideas. Remember the mustard seed, it's tiny, it's pungent (whew put one in your mouth) and it produces a big bush. 

Q4U: How do you discern between a God idea and a good idea?

Change in the Air

There is change in the air.  Yep the seasons are changing. I know in Florida that means the tempature drops a couple degrees but hay anything below 90 is cooler.

Facebook rocked a lot of worlds a couple weeks ago.  People woke up doing their normal routine and wham! Facebook the arch nemisis to the superhero "Mr. Routine" struck a nasty blow.  They changed once again all the things we thought would never change.  Change is inevitable.  I like change, I like to be warned first though.

Netflix did a big change and it cost them big.  So the CEO did this big apology about their change in billing policies.  The apology wasn't that prices changed but because they didn't explain the change.

Well I like to learn from other people's mistakes.

The Blog is changing
Matthew 10 (Message version) has been the Word I have been standing on the past few months.

It says things like "start small" and not needing a great big fund raising campaign to start.  I took that word literally.  And true to form God does what He does when we put our efforts into His hand.  He added a whole bunch of grace to it.  When this happens ministry grows, we need to grow with it. 

Here are the changes
Switching Blogging Sites

I am going from Blogger (blogspot) to Wordpress.

I like Blogger, it is simple and easy to figure out.  It is for blogging and that's it.  I definitely recommend it to the non-geek writers.  If your considering starting a blog this is a great place to start.

Wordpress is also a great blogging site.  It has a little bit more when it comes to sites and design.  It has the ability to grow with you. "Sisterhood" has grown.  So I must grow with it.

Mobile Device Ready
Wordpress looks great on the mobil devices, particularly the iPad.  It has a magazine feel which is the direction we are going in.

We are going for an online magazine, so we are also taking submissions as well. You will hear more about having an online magazine presence in the near future.  Send your articles in, this is a place for you to discover  your voice.

Better Comment Capabilities 
I believe blogging is great for stirring up conversations.  Blogger's comment section was not the optimal place for that. Wordpress just fits perfectly for us in the comment section. It's easy to comment and easy to follow. When I read blogs I get more out of the comments than I do the actual post.  Your comments are important to me.  So I had to go to a site that shared my value on this.

Daughters by Design
There will also be a corner for Daughters By Design, teen girls between 14 and 18.  Articles written just for them.  I am really excited about this, because quite frankly ladies mentoring is what we are suppose to be doing.  The ultimate goal is to get a Daughters by Design forumn for the girls to access some wisdom anytime of the day or night(they are up all hours of the night).  It will also be a place we can hear from them too. A place they can write the articles.  If you are working with that age group girl HAY don't hesitate submit an article.

Subscriber Forms
The Wordpress site will have two  distintly different ways to subscribe.

1)A subscription will send to your email address each article as it is posted.  This is how I read all the blogs I read. Instead of clicking on link after link, checking for new articles, the automatically come straight to my email, very convientent for me.

2) The other type of subscription is for ministry updates.  You know a heads up on what's going on in Women's Ministry. This is a newsletter sent periodically to inform you of up coming events, live simulcasts, leadership trainings and just an encouragement.

So here is the link to the new place.

For the next few weeks I will be posting articles on both Blogger and Wordpress. I hope that will give you time to go to Wordpress and sign up as a subscriber.   Eventually there will be no more post to Blogger, so don't procrastinate go over to the new site, bookmark it and let me know what you think.

Thank you for your patience as we work out the bugs in the new Wordpress site and in this transition.


Imparting Influence in Others

If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.

Leadership is about influence.
Here are some thoughts on cultivating influence.  
You will teach what you know but you will impart who you are. It doesn’t matter if you have an official position in the church or not.  The moment you made the “I am a believer” proclamation the whole world started watching you. Be a person of character. What happens is you will cultivate other people of heart and courage. 
Take risks on people and give opportunities to fail or succeed.  If someone comes to you with a dream, an idea or “I was thinking...” do your best to help them attain it. These are the investments that produce big rewards.  
Be a fire starter not a fire fighter. Don’t be known for popping people’s bubble. 
Recognize and reward effort.  The key word here is effort.  Find ways to recognize people’s effort every chance you get.  Don’t be afraid to single people out for their hard work
Be open about your weaknesses and own up to your mistakes.  I'm leery of people that have never apologized. Everyone makes mistakes, but to never admit them makes me uncomfortable.  Admitting mistakes and weaknesses are freeing, there is no role you have to play up to. 
Be approachable. When someone on your team calls or emails you, this is a priority for you. Try to get back to them within in reason. 
Help people achieve personal success. Learn your team members goals and help them achieve it. 
I’m not perfect in these areas. Right off the bat, I can say I need to improve on all of these tips. Most of what I learned in leadership was out of all the mistakes I made.  
Take the time to see how your doing, ask those around you. This takes a lot of courage but it is well worth it. 
Q4U: What other ways to gain influence with your team?


The only kind of drama I like is the kind I pay for. You know a good Broadway show can be so much fun - on Broadway!  Drama outside of the theater is traumatic. Almost everyone experiences at least some form of drama trauma.  

The Plot (Act 1)
I’m not talking about serious traumatic events. I’m talking about the drama over the trivial.  The up in arms over a Facebook status. The downright injustice of picking the wrong color curtain for the office, this is a church you know. The microphone gets muted because the backup singer is holding the mike in a prideful way.  My personal favorite was the drama over a 25$ registration fee that was donated for someone else! 
The Plot thickens (Act 2)
Women will huff and puff all week long over the bathroom floral arrangements. Then they goes as far a make an appointment with the pastor about it.  You know their cousin is a florist and giving their cousin the business will eventually win them to the Lord.  Oh how the plot thickens!  It makes for a mystery and a comedy all in one. However it’s place is on the stage not anywhere else. The challenge here is not to get sucked into it all the while trying to find an end to the madness. 
The Dramatic End (Act 3)
Every good plot has a dramatic ending. The solution to all the conflict. The problem with most drama’s in church there is no endings. It goes on an on, some of these dramas has been going on for years.  Some of the players don’t even know how it started and why they're even involved.  They lended an ear one day and the next day they are a major player.
I have noticed in theater and in church, the longer the drama plays out the harder it is to find an ending and the harder it is to watch. 

Here is the challenge, find the courage to stand up and say "Cut!" "It's done, stop the show, it's over."  Without an ending the trauma from the drama gets intense. Instead of dealing with just the drama we now have post traumatic stress to deal with, mainly ours.  
The Academy Awards
I sometimes would like to get all the players in one room.  Hand out some Oscars. You know, for the best temper tantrum in a church bathroom, the best Bible Study confession of someone else’s problem, the best “I quit” because I wasn’t allowed to pick the lunch menu. Then hold up a really big “The End” sign. Everyone gets to take their bows and it's over. I know this would probably just encourage the “drama queens” and lead to more drama because the awards were black and not pink.  
Q4U:  What kind of awards would you hand out if you could?  

Get the Idea?

“Intelligent people are always open to new ideas. In fact, they look for them.” Proverbs 18:15
Here are some interesting quotes from people who were thought to be intelligent experts in their fields.  
"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."   Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."   Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
"No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris."   Orville Wright.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"   David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible."   A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."    Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
and my personal favorite
“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”   Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
What am I getting at?

God is the God of possibilities.  The riches of Glory that He blesses us with is often an idea.  We limit God by thinking the only way He could bless us is with riches.  Ideas are blessings too. If we were smart we would be looking for good ideas all the time.  
When someone presents you with a new idea, or a new way of doing things, don't write them off so quickly. God's messengers don't always come in packages we approve of. I have seen a few women's ministries miss the boat completely because they failed to see the new idea as viable.  

Q4U: How do you process new ideas?

Shoes Off!

There is a place that we go in ministry 

Take your shoes off you are standing on Holy Ground

When we get in God's presence to minister to Him, take your shoes off, the Savior may want to wash your feet. When we get into His presence it's all about Him, what He wants to say, what He wants to do, where He wants to go.  When we take our shoes off in that place we are recognizing He is Supreme. 

It's a fear of the Lord. In the days of old, warriors took their shoes off in the presence of the King, or Generals to show they are ready to receive their marching orders. 

People are God’s Prize
Tread lightly with people.  They are hurt and broken.  Be kind and they will repent. Remember to take our shoes off and be sensitive to them. When we are barefoot we know if the ground is easy to run on, or if we need to slow down.  

Sometimes we need to give a corrective word, we need to walk in tough love, we need to be firm and fair that is par for the course.  However, when we do have to take a stand, may we take our shoes off and be senisitive to the ground we are standing on. 

When we minister to others we are standing on Holy Ground, let's take our shoes off. 

Q4U: What does "take your shoes off you're standing on Holy Ground" mean to you?