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Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 8

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

What an incredible summer it’s been. The best ones always end with a little unpacking and we’ve gathered plenty of truth to process through these past eight weeks. We know that joining us has been an investment of your time, but together we’ve cultivated the habit of studying God’s word and that’s one we’ll never regret. Thank you for joining us and making this a summer marked by truth!

Closing out our summer series is Melody Workman, our Cultivate Lead, with encouragement to take what we’ve learned and live it. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook for all the details about our Fall Cultivate study and how you can join us as we continue to grow spiritually wise in a community of kindness.


Hey Friends,

I’m still in denial that summer is coming to a close. Pretty soon, we’ll be back to the hustle and bustle of the fall routine: class, school, work, carpool and practice. When we’re back to the grind, somehow life starts to feel more mundane, less exciting and definitely more exhausting. What most of us aren’t thinking about during these ordinary moments is our legacy. In fact, we don’t talk much about someone’s legacy until they die. But legacy has nothing to do with how we die, and everything to do with how we live. So my question for you today is:

How are you living?

The truth is, we are building our legacy during those seemingly uneventful moments of our everyday lives so how we are living them really matters. As we wrap up this summer series, I want to look at a passage of scripture that will challenge us to live our best lives – for real. Not the filtered lives we put on Instagram for everyone to see—but our genuine, authentic lives in pursuit of the One who gave His life for us.

I am so grateful you have come along for this journey of spending time in God’s Word each day. My prayer is that you will continue to cultivate this daily discipline so that you will become a woman marked by His kindness and known for His love. There is no greater legacy.

With love,

Melody



Let’s Dig Deeper:

As we wrap up our series, answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. Whose legacy has really impacted your life? How?
  2. How would you answer the question, “How are you living?”
  3. Read Romans 12:1-2 in The Message translation. What does your “everyday, ordinary life” look like right now?
  4. What would it look like for you to truly place your life before God as an offering? What are some ways you can practically do that?
  5. Continue to read through Romans 12. Paul’s instructions on how to live are pretty challenging. Which ones are the hardest for you and why?
  6. How can you look for God in the mundane? What are some ways you can experience His presence in the midst of your ordinary life?
  7. Spend a few minutes praying together (or by yourself) about how you can live your best life. How you can you be a woman marked by the love and kindness of Jesus as you go through your normal, everyday routines?

You’ve “embraced” the habit of cultivating God’s word through daily reading in Lysa TerKeurst’s devotional. That doesn’t need to end with this summer series. We encourage you to continue what you’ve started and even make the time to share what you’re learning with others. See you in the fall!


Melody Workman hails from New Jersey, but she was born for the West Coast – the closer to the beach, the better – add tacos and chocolate covered strawberries and she’s in heaven! Along with being the Cultivate Lead and a Worship Leader, Melody is wife to Adam Workman, Executive Discipleship Pastor at Sandals Church, and mom to their three children: Elijah, Mehretab and Addi. She’s a fiercely loyal wife, mom and friend – mess with her people and you mess with her! With that same passion, Melody believes that a tribe of women in love with Jesus and confident in who he has created them to be are an unstoppable force in this world. As a resounding voice for exceptional kindness, she desires to see more women experience spiritual growth by connecting in community, and she’s committed to making Cultivate a place where every woman feels welcomed, safe and loved.


If you live in or around the San Bernardino area and our mountain communities – we can’t wait to meet you! Join us at Sandals Church San Bernardino for an evening of food, worship, truth and exceptional kindness. Come learn about Cultivate Women and our exciting plans to Cultivate LOVE at your campus this fall. Save the date and invite friends to join you!

Friday, Aug. 17 – 6:00pm | 3701 N Sierra Way, SB 92404 | Childcare will be provided.

 

 


You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. This year, we’re thrilled to include our always popular Cultivate Marketplace with your Cultivate Conference registration. We’re curating a special selection of vendors to bring you the best and most beautiful items to browse, including NEW Cultivate merchandise. When you join us, not only will you experience food, friends, worship and teaching from Tammy Brown, Melody Workman and our special guest speaker, best selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, but you’ll get to shop too! Don’t miss this incredible weekend! Register today at cultivate.sc/conference

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | 150 Palmyrita Ave, Riverside 92507

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 7

 

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

With only two weeks left in our series, take a few minutes to reflect on what you’ve experienced these past two months. How has cultivating truth in your life changed you? Our lives can be busy and full and the habit of daily being in God’s word can be a challenge for all of us. We hope you’ve seen the difference it makes and that you’ll continue the commitment to your personal soul care. Together, we can thank God for not only changing us, but growing us deeper into relationship with Him.

This week, we welcome Becca Boganwright to share how we can engage with Jesus and experience the fullness of His love.


Hi Friends!

Especially during the summer time, it can be easy to constantly look for ways to “escape” the chaos, stress, or even mundane things in our everyday lives. While there is something to be said for taking a much needed break, the things we do to escape are often short lived and never produce a lasting sense of fulfillment.

Escaping leaves us empty, but engaging with Jesus fills us.

To engage with Jesus is to experience how wide and how deep His love for us really is. How do we not just know His love but experience His love? Especially in times when we feel lonely, unseen or insecure? One of the ways we can engage with Jesus and experience His deep love for us is by going back to those moments of difficulty and searching for Jesus in our most painful places.

If you choose to engage with Him and search for Him, I know you will find Him.

With love,

Becca



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 43-48 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. What types of “escape behaviors” ultimately leave you feeling empty? Why is this?
  2. Slowly read through Ephesians 3:16-19. What is the difference between knowing Jesus loves you and experiencing His love for you?
  3. What are some personal barriers you might have that keep you from experiencing how deep God’s love for you is?
  4. Take some time to remember an experience when you felt lonely, unseen or insecure. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and imagine being in that place. Now, reflect on what you’ve just read about how much Jesus loves you and turn that memory into a prayer, asking Jesus to reveal Himself to you. How do you experience Jesus in this place?

 

Becca Boganwright has been leading worship at Sandals Church for over a decade and has the immense privilege of being one of the Cultivate teachers. She is wife to Andrew, the Marriage and Men’s Ministry Pastor at Sandals, and is mother to Kingston (12), and Nobel (11). Not only is she passionate about Jesus, music, family and education, but she’s also a middle school science teacher—which means she’s got just a little crazy in her—and she LOVES it.

 


You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. This year, we’re thrilled to include our always popular Cultivate Marketplace with your Cultivate Conference registration. We’re curating a special selection of vendors to bring you the best and most beautiful items to browse, including NEW Cultivate merchandise. When you join us, not only will you experience food, friends, worship and teaching from Tammy Brown, Melody Workman and our special guest speaker, best selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, but you’ll get to shop too! Don’t miss this incredible weekend! Register today at cultivate.sc/conference

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | 150 Palmyrita Ave, Riverside 92507

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 6

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

Summer is flying by! It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the finish line of our series. While we only have a few weeks left, what we’re learning has the power to change us forever. We’ve been encouraged and challenged, but the choice to apply the truth of God’s word to our lives is one we must make every single day. Let’s be women who live what we’ve learned – women who purposefully and intentionally cultivate God’s word into our hearts and lives – SO THAT we can share Him with the world around us.

This week, we welcome Vivi Diaz with a timely reminder of the power of the living God at work in our lives.


Hi Ladies!

This week’s devotion means too much to tread lightly and be content in our own understanding. It’s the reminder that the living power of God dwells within us. But, the reality is that most of us leave it untapped. WE. ARE. MISSING. OUT.

I guarantee that this is true somewhere in your life. There’s someone in your life that is too hard to forgive, an opportunity that is way out of your comfort zone, a decision that feels beyond you to make, a situation that seems impossible to redeem, an expectation in your life that is too hard to let go…something that you’ve “processed”, or “reasoned”, or even “justified.” Big or small, we settle in the understanding that we can’t or that we’re not capable. This devotion reminds us of what we miss out on and what it takes to not.

Before we go on, I ask…are you ready? Because to fiercely live a life that embraces the living power of God, we must fiercely combat the things against it…even when it means ourselves.

The truth in this week’s devotional isn’t one to merely reflect on tomorrow or the distant future—it’s one for today. Join me, because as you’ll read this week, it’s worth it to not just say we are women of faith, but be women whose lives require faith and the living power of God.

With love,

Vivi



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 36-42 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. Have you ever had a missed opportunity or missed an incredible experience because you thought, I can’t? How has that impacted you?
  2. Read Psalm 73:26. The certainty in our lives is not found in ourselves or our outcomes. What fears, doubts, insecurities, excuses or hurts divide your heart from that truth?
  3. Untapped power. Think about a situation in your life that is too hard, too exhausting, too  ________. How could that situation look different if you embraced the power of God?  
  4. Read Psalm 86:11-12. What are some things that are true of God that will leave your heart UNDIVIDED?
  5. What do you need to do today to not have a DIVIDED heart…not the moments of yesterday, or tomorrow, but the moments of TODAY?

Vivi Diaz is the Youth Lead at Sandals Church Hunter Park, a NorCal native living in Southern California, and a recent graduate of California Baptist University. As a college student, she wasn’t always set on the “what,” but burdened by the “who.” Vivi has a deep passion for seeing young people become who God has created them to be. Whether developing leaders, teaching God’s Word, or wearing an oversized fur coat for ministry, she believes that young people who realize the role that God has in their life, and the role that THEY have in furthering the kingdom are unstoppable. Some of her side hustles include: following her favorite band, loving the beach, hoping for white winters to snowboard, and sipping Baja Blast Freezes and coffee. Vivi is so excited to grow with you in God’s Word this summer!


Have you registered for our Cultivate Conference & Marketplace? You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. Join us for worship, teaching, marketplace vendors and more. In addition to our special guest speaker, best selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, you’ll be encouraged by our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown and Melody Workman, Cultivate Lead. Register today at cultivate.sc/conference

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | 150 Palmyrita Ave, Riverside 92507

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 5

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

Summer can be filled with fun and relaxation, but it can also bring extra demands on our time and even distraction. We’re so glad you’ve chosen to join us here and make a commitment to your personal soul care and spiritual growth. We hope the wisdom and insight offered by our Cultivate Teaching Team has made this a summer marked by the truth of God’s word. Remember, if you’ve missed any part of our series, you can visit our home page at any time to catch up.

This week, we welcome Shanalea Atchison to share what it difference it can make when we pursue God above everything else.


Hey ladies,

Around this time of year, I tend to experience wanderlust as I scroll through Instagram or Facebook. I see other people’s vacations to some tropical island. I see happy kids who are having fun and enjoying each other. In the midst of my scrolling, I quickly become dissatisfied with my own life and the summer I am having…or not having. I begin to wish and want for something different than what is in front of me. Twinges of bitterness and sadness begin to creep in and I quickly lose sight of where my true satisfaction comes from.

Let’s journey together this week as we bravely face some of the broken places inside us that run to all the wrong things looking for an internal satisfaction that can only be found in God.

With love,

Shanalea



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 29-35 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. Satisfaction comes when we actually know what our hearts are longing for. What are some things you are longing for?
  2. Now that you have identified some of those longings, where are you going/to whom are you looking to find your satisfaction?
  3. Read Matthew 6:33-34. How can you seek the Kingdom of God today above all those other desires or longings?
  4. In the Bible, God tells his people over and over again to not forget, but to remember: to remember what He has done, what He has brought them out of and the enemies or situations He has delivered them from. Take a moment and remember all the things that God has done for you and then write out a prayer of thanksgiving. Pray this prayer out loud to your Father in heaven.

 

Shanalea Atchison is an Enneagram 7 to the core. To her, life is a grand adventure. Shanalea loves life, people, traveling, having fun, dancing and sushi. She loves ALL the things. And she loves her family: Adam, the Campus Pastor at East Valley, and her 4 boys, Avery (16), Aiden (12), Asher (10), Axel (8). To Shanalea’s surprise, she has even come to love Snicker Ellsworth (1), her family’s chocolate lab. Oh, and in her spare time, she’s a 5th grade teacher and a ROGO School student.


 

Sandals Church Palm Avenue, we’re on our way! Join us to learn about the heart of Cultivate and our vision of kindness. You’ll enjoy sweets, treats, merch, LIVE worship and a special message, PLUS a chance to connect in community with the women at your campus. Bring a friend or come and make some new ones. We can’t wait to see you!

Sandals Church Palm Avenue | Friday, July 20 – 6pm | 6807 Palm Avenue, Riverside 92506

 


Have you registered for our Cultivate Conference & Marketplace? You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. Join us for worship, teaching, marketplace vendors and more. In addition to our special guest speaker, best selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, you’ll be encouraged by our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown and Melody Workman, Cultivate Lead. Registration prices increase at midnight on JULY 20, so don’t delay! Register today at cultivate.sc/conference

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | 150 Palmyrita Ave, Riverside 92507

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 4

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

Welcome back to our Cultivate Summer VLOG series. This week marks the halfway point of our series and we hope you’ve been encouraged, inspired and challenged as we’ve cultivated God’s word into our hearts and lives. We’d love to hear from you! We invite you to share a comment below or on Instagram and Facebook to let us know what you’re learning this summer.

This week, we welcome Christina Crowley to share about the power of choices in our relationship with God.
Thank you for joining us. We’re so glad you’re here!


Hi ladies,

This week in our devotional, I was reawakened to the truth that a life surrendered to God is about RELATIONSHIP not DICTATORSHIP. A dictator rules and gains their power by force. There is no choosing involved. A loving God doesn’t work that way. The most important decision we’ll make this side of Heaven starts with the choice to believe and receive Jesus as our Savior. If choice initiates a relationship with God, why would choice cease to exist in living a life following Him…especially when facing tough decisions?

Often we don’t want to mess things up by choosing wrong, so we don’t choose at all. Then, we find ourselves stuck in the Valley of Indecision begging God for a metaphorical neon sign that says, “Go This Way!” before having the courage to move. But what if God invites us into a conversation that leads to movement instead of just dictating what we should do? What if God desires for us to be declarative with our hopes, desires and dreams as we seek His will? What if God trusts US, because He knew when we chose him, the Holy Spirit would take up residency in our souls to work things out for our good and His glory, even if we got it wrong?

The ability to choose in our relationship with God makes space for love, honor, sacrifice and maybe most importantly intimacy, all while pursuing a common direction together.

Much love,

Christina



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 22-28 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. Life is full of hard decisions and sometimes it can feel like our trajectory is based on one right or wrong move. Up to this point, what have been some key ways you filter through your decision making process?
  2. When you think about a life with God being about RELATIONSHIP and not DICTATORSHIP, how might that affect your connection and intimacy with Him in the face of making really hard choices?
  3. How much does choosing wrong, fear of failure or lack of clarity keep you stuck in the Valley of Indecision…the place where you feel unable to move forward in any direction?
  4. Read Romans 8:26-28. Is there a situation in your life where you don’t know how to pray or what to do next? If so, how does this verse give you faith and courage to move from “waiting it out” to “walking it out” through lack of clarity or indecision?
  5. Even though God is about relationship and not dictatorship, a life following Jesus is also about choosing to obey His way when we’d rather go our way. Identify an area you’re feeling especially challenged to surrender and be obedient in regarding your relationship with self, God or others. Is there a choice you need to make so that you can take your next steps forward in a healthy way?

In addition to being on the Cultivate Teaching Team, Christina Crowley has had the joy of leading worship for over 20 years and the privilege of overseeing the ROGO School of Worship at Sandals Church. Developing and empowering leaders to help others connect deeper with God is one of her greatest passions. Christina is married to the love of her life, Dan Crowley, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at Sandals Church. Over the last 25 years, they’ve created many things together in marriage and ministry, but she’s most proud of their children Danielle (23), Makayla (21) and Nathan (16). The vision of being real with ourselves, God and others has radically transformed their entire family and they consider it an honor to advance the vision in any way. Christina is so grateful to grow in God’s word together with you this summer!


It’s time for another Summer Launch Event and Sandals Church Palm Avenue, Cultivate is headed your way! If you attend our Palm Avenue campus, live in the area or have friends who do, come experience Cultivate with sweets and eats, kindness and community, PLUS merch, LIVE worship and a special message from Melody Workman. Come and invite a friend to join you for an evening of exceptional kindness!

Sandals Church Palm Avenue | Friday, July 20 – 6pm | 6807 Palm Avenue, Riverside 92506

 


Have you registered for our Cultivate Conference & Marketplace? You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. Join us for worship, teaching, marketplace vendors and more. In addition to our special guest speaker, best selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa TerKeurst, you’ll be encouraged by our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown and Melody Workman, Cultivate Lead. Registration prices increase at midnight on July 20, so don’t delay! Register today at cultivate.sc/conference

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | 150 Palmyrita Ave, Riverside 92507

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 3

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

It’s Week 3 of our Cultivate Summer VLOG series and we’re so glad you’re here! If you’ve missed any part of our series so far, simply visit our home page to catch up. It’s never to late to join our Cultivate Teaching Team as they share wisdom, insight and truth through Lysa TerKeurst’s best selling devotional, Embraced!

This week, we welcome Lori Albee as she encourages us to seek God in our decision making.


Hi friends,

As women we face many decisions, but some can be more crucial than others. It seems lately the media has highlighted so many people who, when hurting, compound their pain by making decisions that lead them on a path of destruction rather than healing. This week we discuss how making crucial decisions in the dark can have devastating consequences and we are reminded that nothing we’ve done is beyond God’s redemption.

By being women of exceptional kindness, love and intentionality, we can help one another embrace God’s direction for our lives in the midst of whatever decisions we are facing. 

With love,

Lori



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 15-21 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. Without saying specific names, think about a time someone either reached out to you or didn’t reach out to you at a crucial time. Talk about how that impacted you either negatively or positively.
  2. Share about a time when God brought you out of something difficult. What was that process like for you? Encourage one another by sharing how you’ve grown or how your story has enabled someone else to keep going during a hard season.
  3. If you are in the midst of a difficult season, consider sharing with your group leader or someone you feel safe with.  You are not alone. If you’d like to connect with a pastor or licensed minister at Sandals Church, we’re here for you.
  4. Who in your world may be feeling stuck, hurting, or be facing a crucial decision? Without saying specific names, share your plan for how you are going to be intentional in not only praying for them, but also reaching out to them this week.

Lori Albee has had the opportunity to take on many roles in life…teacher, stay at home mom, Women’s Minister, and currently, the Environments Design Lead at Sandals Church. By far, however, her favorite role is being a wife to Matt (the funniest guy he knows) and mom to Cam and Raimi. Lori is a lover of God’s Word, sunsets, creativity, nature, beauty that comes from brokenness, second chances and she’s a believer that we are all far from over. She’s so excited to be with you on this journey through Embraced this summer! 


Registration for our Cultivate Conference & Marketplace is OPEN! You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. Join us for worship, teaching, marketplace vendors and more. In addition to our special guest speaker, best selling author Lysa TerKeurst, you’ll be encouraged by our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown and Melody Workman, Cultivate Lead. Save the date, invite your friends and join us for a weekend of exceptional kindness!

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | For pricing, information and to register visit cultivate.sc/conference

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 2

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

 

Welcome to Week 2 of our Cultivate Summer VLOG series. Each Friday, members of our Cultivate Teaching Team are sharing personal insight and practical truth through Lysa TerKeurst’s best selling devotional, Embraced. If you missed last week, check it out as Tammy Brown, our Cultivate Founder, shares how you can grow spiritually wise with us this summer. Don’t forget to set aside time to answer our weekly discussion questions so you can not only listen and learn, but cultivate God’s word into your heart and life.

This week, we welcome Noemi Alexander as she shares a word on the power of prayer.


Are you sometimes afraid to pray brave prayers? Do you feel like maybe you’re unqualified or not righteous enough to pray brave prayers? The truth is our actions don’t qualify us to pray…but they don’t disqualify us either. As daughters of a Good Father, we have been made righteous through Jesus Christ and we can boldly go before our Father and pray brave prayers.

Join me as together we learn why we can bravely pray for what we need, because God is capable of doing infinitely more than we could even ask for or imagine.

With love,

Noemi



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Days 8-14 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. What are some of the thoughts, images, or actions that come to mind when you hear the word “righteous”?
  2. Conduct a search of the word “righteous” using a dictionary or even an online resource, like BibleGateway.com. What are some of the verses you find in the Old Testament (Genesis through Malachi)? Now, look at how the word “righteous” is described by Jesus and others in the New Testament (Matthew through Revelation)? How are they the same or different?
  3. What prayers are you too timid to pray? What do you think is holding you back from offering those prayers to God? What would it take for you to surrender that to God?
  4. Together, we learned that our faith in Jesus qualifies us to go before Him and be brave in our prayers. Commit to praying boldly before Him, even praying out loud with your group so you can support and cheer one another on!

Noemi Hernandez Alexander is a professor of Political Science and Public Administration and a member of the Cultivate Teaching Team. She loves mentoring women and is in awe of what women can do for God’s Kingdom when they support one another. The joy of her life though, is being the wife of Dex, the Executive Director of Creative Services at Sandals Church, and the mommy of Zoe & Zeke.

 

 


Registration for our Cultivate Conference & Marketplace is OPEN! You’re invited to experience Cultivate Women and our vision of spiritual growth in a community of kindness. Join us for worship, teaching, marketplace vendors and more. In addition to our special guest speaker, best selling author Lysa TerKeurst, you’ll be encouraged by our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown and Melody Workman, Cultivate Lead. Save the date, invite your friends and join us for a weekend of exceptional kindness!

September 21 & 22 | Sandals Church Hunter Park | For pricing, information and to register visit cultivate.sc/conference

Cultivate Truth

Summer VLOG: Week 1

Cultivate Truth: 100 Days in the Word

 

Welcome! We’re so glad you’re joining our Cultivate Summer VLOG series. Each Friday, our Cultivate Teaching Team will share personal insight and practical wisdom through Lysa TerKeurst’s best selling devotional, Embraced. You’ll find our weekly teaching videos packed with REAL truth from God’s word as together we grow spiritually wise. In addition, we’ve included questions to encourage you and/or your community group to dig deeper and cultivate God’s word into your heart and life.

This week, we launch our series with a special word from our Cultivate Founder, Tammy Brown.


Hey friends,

I’m so excited that you’ll be joining us this summer for Cultivate TRUTH: 100 days in the word. When I think back on the hardest times of my own life—when I was not growing spiritually wise, when my relationships were a mess, when I was the most emotionally unhealthy—it was when I was experiencing what I refer to as “the dehydrated soul.” The opposite is also true. When I’ve been the best version of myself, growing spiritually, relationally and emotionally healthy, it’s because my soul is hydrated by the living water talked about in John 4:14.

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again”
John 4:14 NLT

My heart is that together, for the next 100 days, we will all thirst for God’s word in new ways and experience a new level of spiritual hydration and connectedness to God, growing even closer to the best and healthiest versions of ourselves that He desires us to be. I’m personally looking forward to knowing that each day the same scripture I’m reading, you are too! How cool is that!

I love you!

Tammy



Let’s Dig Deeper:

This week, read Day 1-7 of Embraced. Answer the following questions on your own or discuss them with a friend and/or your community group:

  1. What does your practice of spending time with God look like?
  2. What might the benefits be of giving God your first moments each day?
  3. Have you ever experienced a dehydrated soul? Describe what this looks and feels like for you specifically?
  4. Read James 1:21-22. According to this verse, what is the benefit of making a habit of not only reading, but applying God’s word to our everyday life?
  5. Read John 4:14. What is the remedy for the dehydrated soul?
  6. On day 3, Lysa says to STOP READING YOUR BIBLE. Clearly, she DOES NOT mean to not read your bible at all, rather to STOP reading in order to check it off the “good christian girl” list. She wants us to thirst for God’s word. What are some ways you can stop reading the bible as an obligation and start reading it SO THAT you can connect to God and learn what He knows you need for your everyday life?

Tammy Brown is the wife of lead pastor, Matt Brown, as well as a licensed minister at Sandals Church. As the founder of Cultivate women’s ministry, Tammy is passionate about inspiring kindness among women and creating a place for women to cultivate God’s word into their everyday lives and circumstances so that they grow into the healthiest version of themselves. While Tammy is overwhelmed with joy over all that God has allowed her to be a part of at Sandals Church, her greatest joy has been being wife to Matt and mom to their three children Madison, Kennedy and Ethan. In her free time, you’ll find her grabbing lunch with friends, practicing yoga or skiing down the mountain.


It’s not too late for you to join our Summer VLOG series! Just purchase a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s devotional, Embraced, from your favorite book retailer. Then, visit us right here every Friday, through August 10, for video teaching, discussion questions and REAL truth from God’s word. While you’re at it, why not grab a few friends and connect in community as we grow spiritually wise this summer! 

 

Cultivate Peace

Cultivate Peace in Community

Welcome to the fourth and final week of our Cultivate Peace series. We hope that you’ve been encouraged by these opportunities to dig into God’s word about the pursuit of peace. If you missed any of this series, you can find all the posts here. While each writer offered a different perspective, one truth remained the same:

REAL peace is found in Jesus.

As we finish out this series, Christmas is just around the corner. Maybe this is a season of reflection and rest for you. Maybe it feels a bit more like chaos and commotion. Maybe this Christmas doesn’t look at all how you thought it would. Regardless of where you sit today or in the days ahead, know this…you are wholly and completely loved by a God who is not swayed by circumstance. Yesterday, today, and forever more He is your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. We pray that as you draw near to Him, as you cultivate His word and His presence into your heart and life, you would not only grow to be more like Him, but you would know His peace.

We wish you love, peace, and kindness this Christmas,

The Cultivate Team


—Cultivate Peace in Community—

Most people avoid conflict. Can you blame them? Friendships are on the line, feelings are at stake, and the price to pay for relational difficulties can be a high one, indeed. Most people enjoy the peace that comes with harmony and a lack of competition. Most people want that beautiful, beige existence that comes with neutrality.

I am not most people.

From a young age, I was deemed feisty. Sassy. Competitive. As soon as I could talk, I began to challenge everyone in all aspects of life. It didn’t matter whether or not I understood the topic, I’d argue my way around it. My whole life has been navigated via minor disputes, and I love it. I took a Meyers-Briggs personality test and discovered the very thrill I receive from a healthy debate is rare. Only 3% of the population has my debater-personality type, but most people don’t appreciate my pleasure in quarreling.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you,
live at peace with everyone.”
Romans 12:18 NIV

Uh, excuse me? I just came clean with the fact that I take pleasure in disagreements. I want to point out the holes in other’s philosophies, and highlight the errors in their speech. I accumulate and hoard facts and knowledge just to use it against people. How on earth can someone like me attempt to live at peace with everyone?

When I was first mulling over this verse, I was coming to terms with what seems to be an end of a friendship. It seemed like I was such a fraud, a failure. I clearly wasn’t at peace with everyone. But you know what? This verse actually brought encouragement, because it doesn’t all depend on me. I don’t have to “fix” a situation or another person. God can work on their heart. I need only worry about who/what I am in charge of—myself.

There is no caveat in Romans 12:18. It doesn’t matter if our personality type is a debater or if that girl was so unabashedly rude, we are to behave peacefully (and lovingly). God doesn’t just know us, He created us. He understands that there will be strife among us, and not all of it will be enjoyable. And yet, He still expects us, if it is possible, as far as it depends on us, to live at peace with everyone.

Living at peace might mean:

Trying to understand the perspective of others, even if we disagree.

Accepting when we’re wrong.

Accepting that, sometimes, people may have the wrong opinion of us.

Turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:39) and refraining from delivering biting words that will cut deep.

Forgiving our offender, even if we don’t think they deserve it, just like God forgave us. That is grace.

We will make mistakes. Our friends, husbands, sisters, colleagues, Starbucks baristas (yes, even these sacred keepers of the caffeine) will make mistakes. We cannot live in a constant state of grievance due to the mistakes of others.

We show peace even if it is not being shown to us.

Living at peace means accepting people where they are on their journey and meeting them there, not getting annoyed that they haven’t caught up. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and yet, He loves every one of us. God loves you.

Romans 12:18 also tells us to live at peace with everyone as far as it depends on you.

What can we do to cultivate peace with our community?

Can we reach out?

Can we sincerely apologize for our own actions and words?

Have we prayed about it? Have we done everything we can?

There will be times when we will work through all those questions and yet, it isn’t better. At that point, we must release our grip and ask God to take over. We show grace. We are kind. Sometimes being at peace, means distancing yourself.

A couple of weeks ago I witnessed my four-year-old go through the painful experience of a “friend” mistreating him. It makes me cry just thinking about it. He wanted to play, but the other boy refused because he wanted to play with someone else. He even told my son to “go away.” My sweet, innocent little guy was so confused. What I said to him rings true for me—sometimes a “friend” might hurt your heart, no matter how nice you are being. It’s up to you to step away, to find a new activity or play with someone else.

As an adult, that can look like being the bigger person. Being the bigger person is never noticeable to the one who isn’t being the bigger person, but that’s not why we do it. We do it because it’s what’s right. Hurting someone that hurt us never fixes the situation. 

Personally, I’m still working on this. Every day I struggle with who I am being at odds with what God wants. I need to extend more grace, and look at everyone the way God does. Pray for me, and I’ll pray for all of you, because God wants peace. God instructs us to be the peacemakers, whether or not we enjoy friendly conflict. 😉

Kindly,

Dunya


LET’S DIG DEEPER:

  1. How do you deal with conflict? Do you take time to address it, or ignore and avoid it all together? How does that effect your life and relationships?
  2. Re-read Romans 12:18 and take a minute to pray. Ask God if there are any relationships in your life where you need to pursue peace. As far as it depends on you (NOT what would they need to do), what would it look like for you be at peace with that individual or group?
  3. Can you take the first step toward cultivating peace? If that is not possible, will you entrust this situation to God and allow Him to take over?
  4. Peace in community is not cut and dry. Continue to reflect on the truth of God’s word and allow Him to show you the next steps. Pray over your heart, and the hearts of those with whom you have conflict. Share your thoughts with people you trust to give you wise counsel and godly encouragement. If you don’t have trusted community in your life to support you, we are here for you.

Being connected in community is so important to our spiritual growth. If you’re ready to join a group, you can find one here.


Dunya Ahrns is part millennial, full Russian, and only half-listening. She loves literature, writing, unsweetened tea, and thinks Frasier was one of the best television shows ever created. Dunya has enjoyed Cultivate since 2013 and has led a women’s small group for a few years. She currently serves on the Creative/Communications Team at Sandals Church where she happily gets to point out the (grammatical) mistakes of others in the name of Jesus. Dunya has played tennis since the age of two, and her ideal day is spent at a museum to feed her pompous side, followed by Baker’s to feed the hungry one.

Cultivate Peace

Cultivate Peace Through Trials

We’re in Week 3 of our Cultivate Peace series, and we’re so glad you’re here! Peace isn’t always easy to come by, but taking the time to pursue it—to intentionally cultivate it in your life—is such a beautiful leg on the journey toward growing more spiritually wise.

We hope that by coming here, you’re creating a moment in your life to be with Jesus and see peace through His eyes. Life is busy, chaotic and full, but we pray that this might be a sacred space, and that when you leave, you would indeed feel more at peace. If you’ve missed any of our previous Cultivate Peace posts, click here to find them. We always love to hear from you – share your thoughts in the comments below, or on Instagram and Facebook.


— Cultivate Peace Through Trials —

As a child I struggled with trust. Those closest to me failed to exhibit behavior conducive to that of trusting relationship; they failed to make me feel safe and fully loved. I am NOT blaming them, but I am explaining why a lack of trust in those closest to me carried over into my relationship with God. Trusting God was hard for me, and still is if I’m being REAL.

I spent my eager, young Christian days building my scriptural arsenal for the trials that were promised to come my way. I read, memorized, wrote, plastered verses on 3×5 cards on the bathroom mirror, sent them to friends in cards to encourage them, and waited for my day of heartache to arrive. With my verses, I would slay that trial just like David did to Goliath. No weapon formed against me will prosper! Take that devil! Bam!

That day arrived, friends. I got that dreaded phone call that took me from the mountain to the pit in 2.5 seconds. Although mini-trials were as normal as the sun that rises, the Big Kahuna came with a wind-knocking-blow to the chest. I couldn’t breathe as my pastor friend revealed news about his son. News that I knew was also about my son. They caught him using heroine.

Now, before you get your judging juices flowing, this is still so hard to share even 8 years in. I’m still tearfully shaking as I type, because I care too much what others think. In my honest vulnerability here are some things I learned the day my son skipped right over beer and pot and went straight for the big guns named heroine & oxycontin:

You can do many things right and things still go terribly wrong.

When they do go wrong, we are still supposed to have peace as Jesus’ followers, right?

Well, that depends on where your trust lies. Is it in you or is it in God?

“I’ve told you all this that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.
In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.
But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”
John 16:33 MSG

As Jacob wrestled with God for 24 hours, I wrested with Him for 2 years because darn it, this was not my plan for my son. I was going to do ALL I COULD to save him! Key phrase: All I could.

Friends, I started to chart the way to save my son with all the things a mom could do, and quite honestly there was NO PEACE. There was anything but peace. It took 48 months of exhausting my resources, sitting in doctors offices being told I am depressed and need medication, in order for me to finally hold up the white flag of surrender.

And that’s the day it came. I completely relinquished control and released my son to the God that created Him. I said in my heart and head, “I have to trust You with him. He is yours and You have to do what only You can do in him.”

As my son drove away, at 18-years-old, in his 1969 VW bus, destination unknown, I waved goodbye with a peace that only God could give. I shouldn’t of had peace at that moment with so much uncertainty, so much unsecured, but I did.

The key to peace is the surrender with full trust.

It does not have to take 2 years, my friends. It’s really up to us how long it takes. Unfortunately for us, this was a trial of seismic humiliation and we walked it pretty much alone, because “real” wasn’t the mantra at our former church. The beauty of being at Sandals, where the emphasis is on being real, is the ability to share your stuff. If we would have been in community where this was dealt with and prayed over, my wrestling may have been shortened.

Here’s my encouragement to you: Do not hide when satan sucker punches you or your family. Get with people you trust to help carry the load of pain. Speak truths that will help bring peace.

Peace is a promise that is delivered, maybe not right when we order it, but it does come. To all my suffering readers, cling to Him. He is your peace and He is the peace giver.

With love,

Diane


LET’S DIG DEEPER:

  1. When suffering hits, who is your first go-to? God, yourself, or someone else? Does your source have the ability to give you peace?
  2. Peace doesn’t mean you don’t care, it just means you have given your trial and your suffering to the One who can do something about it. Do you believe God can do something about your trial? Look up these verses to help your answer. Ephesians 3:20; Romans 8:18, 28, 31; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Psalm 118:6; Psalm 30:5b
  3. Is there an area of your life that you need to surrender to God? Will you relinquish control and trust Him?
  4. Maybe writing on 3×5 cards are old fashioned, but get verses memorized and hidden in your heart. What are some creative ways you will begin or continue to get God’s promises etched upon your heart?

If you or or a member of your family needs help, we at Sandals Church are here for you. You’re invited to join us on the weekends where our pastors and ministers can provide a safe place for you to be real. You can also connect with us here to be contacted by a member of our Soul Care team for prayer and support.


Diane Huntsman is the Cultivate Ministry Partner for Sandals East Valley campus. She’s a wife of 31 years, mom to 4 adult children and Grammy to her 3 gifts. She is in love with Jesus and determined to use all her mistakes, messes and years of living to help women in all seasons to make this life count for eternity. Diane has served in different women’s ministries for 25 years and desires to leave a legacy of loving Jesus to the max. She enjoys all things outdoors, hates running and burpies but loves to make her body do all the things her mind says it shouldn’t do. You can find her on her porch some days, and wishing she was there on all the rest.