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My Blog Has Moved!

Dear Readers,

My blog has moved! Please join me at Radiant Life Ministries where I will continue to blog and will also be writing my first book LIVE where you can follow along, comment, and become a part of the process!  I appreciate every single reader and invite you to come along on this journey with me!  

Thank you so much for reading and sharing the blog. To God Be all Glory!

Love,

Crystal Faulkner Johnson

What About Bob?

What About Bob?

This is Bob.

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If you’ve been to the Stonybrook Target often enough, you’ve most likely been greeted with a smile by Bob. I first met him when he worked security at Target, and always took the time to greet my kids and me with a pleasant smile and “how are you today.” Always ready to help, always paying attention to the needs of those around him, Bob is a difference maker. All of my friends who go to that store are familiar with him, because he treats them all with the same consistent kindness. For a time, the security position was eliminated, BUT, Target was smart….they knew they had a gem in Bob, so they hired him to work in electronics. I caught up with him one day because I was curious about what drove his joy and kindness towards his customers. We talked a bit about his family and his years spent as an attorney, and his enjoyment of boats. Now, Bob is “retired” as an attorney, but chooses to spend his days showing love and kindness to others at Target. The key word is “chooses”. Bob says “it all comes down to a choice we make each day what we’re going to do and how we’re going to treat people. We choose our attitude”. The motivation? Love for others.  I for one, am thankful for Bob’s daily choice. It has blessed me regularly for several years now. It may not seem like it matters much when you smile, offer to help, reach out, and extend a kind word to someone, but to the person on the receiving end, it might make their whole day! It might make their week! It might even change their life!

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophesy and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but I didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrifice my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”

~I Corinthians 13:1-3

Love is at he heart of why God made us, why He died for us, and why He wants us to be with Him forever. And He loves us enough to let us choose.

Open up your heart and receive His love.

Love Him in return.

Spread His love all around.

That might just be what helps someone else open their own hearts to receive His love.

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important; Love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law an all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:37-40

May love be our motivation. If you’re ever in Louisville, KY, I invite you to Lifepointe Church. While  you’re here, swing over to  the Stonybrook Target in Louisville, KY, and say hi to Bob!

Our Pocket-Sized Joyce Meyer

Our Pocket-Sized Joyce Meyer

This is Josie.

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     Josie came into the world ready to make a statement on October 16, 2008.  She brought a whole new dynamic and level of life and fun to our family. She brings energy, strength, and light into every room she enters. Being the 3rd born in our family, Josie has picked things up quickly and seems to have an understanding of things beyond her 4, almost 5  years of life. AND, she is determined not to be left out of any situation. Any.  A dear friend of mine has said Josie would be a little Joyce Meyer since she was about 2 years old.

    So, I wasn’t all that surprised when Josie came to us about a week and a half ago and said, seemingly out of the blue, “I want to ask Jesus in my heart”.  We didn’t approach her, we didn’t sit down with a 100 page curriculum and formally give her lessons……she just knows Jesus is the hub in our family. The center. The focal point….. not just a Sunday gig…..or just Dad’s job. (My husband is the pastor of Lifepointe Church in Louisville, KY).  So really, her statement wasn’t out of the blue.  We had known God was working in her heart  A few months ago after I prayed with each of the kids before bed, Josie started crying her little blue eyes out.  She said “that was so good mommy”.  She didn’t know how to word it, but she knew her heart was touched.  That’s Jesus. That’s Jesus moving in her little heart, tenderizing it to one day respond to His invitation to be her Savior.

    We obviously don’t literally want Josie to grow up to be Joyce Meyer (though we love us some Joyce!). We want her to grow up to be the Josie God created her to be; to do whatever He puts in her heart to do.  We have prayed almost nightly since we knew of the existence of each of our children that they would accept Christ in their lives at an early age and always walk with Him in a loving relationship.  It is the number one prayer of our hearts….Number ONE.  It has been beautiful to watch God move in each of our children’s lives uniquely, in the way they are made.  Yes, we know there are many years of challenges, growth, and crossroads ahead. BUT, we believe in the God who hears the prayers of children, and blesses them.

“Let the children come to me.  Don’t stop them. For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then He took the children in His arms and placed His hands on their heads and blessed them.”

~Mark 10:14-16

     I will end with the prayer Josie prayed that night;

“Dear Jesus, I pray to ask you in my heart, and that it would be fun.

I pray you will forgive my sins.

I ask you in my heart because I love you.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen”

I love that she prayed for it to be fun.  It was honest, pure, and personal.  What we can learn from children and their de-cluttered little hearts.  It would be just like God to answer that precious prayer and let her have fun serving Him!  Jamey and I prayed that very night for God to seal that moment in her heart and memory forever.  We prayed she would always know and remember who she is and who she belongs to.  Thank You Jesus for hearing not only our prayers, but the prayers of a 4 year old in pig tails.

Love, Perseverance, and Jesus

Love

Perseverance

Jesus

There are 196 verses in the Bible on perseverance.  God knew life wouldn’t always be easy.  Nor will it always be hard.

We don’t always know what God will do.  We try so hard to forumlate Him.  But, He is mysterious-and bigger, MUCH bigger than our minds can formulate.  We want to think, If I do this…….and this……then God will…………..(you fill in the blank).

But, here’s the thing…..His goal for us is not to give us everything we want…..or to make sure we are happy.  His goal for us is way beyond that!  Just as my fellow friend in ministry, Julie Richard, says about parenting  “don’t parent for the next 20 minutes, but for the next 20 years”–that’s what God does with us.  He sees what is on the other side of our circumstance.  He sees the reward that is coming for us as we persevere and become more like Him  He absolutely walks us through the earthly, but He parents us for eternity.  He sees what we cannot, and He acts accordingly.

I just want to say to my readers today, I love you, and you won’t be where you are forever.  Blessings on you as you love, persevere, and follow Jesus.

Choosing

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Choosing

What is going in your life today that is bigger than you? What is that thing that seems insurmountable? What needs restored? Healed? Overcome?

Where do you plan to turn with that thing? What are you going to do?

We all have a choice when a hard time comes……we can run TO God, or we can run FROM God. Let me share something about Him before you choose which direction you’re going to run. This is a true story from Acts chapter 12. It’s a powerful story of what God did for Peter when he was imprisoned for telling people about Jesus.. Check it out…..

Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover. BUT, while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him.

The night before Peter was to be placed on trial, he was asleep, fastened with two chains between two soldiers. Others stood guard at the prison gate. Suddenly, there was a bright light in the cell, and an angel of the Lord stood before Peter. The angel struck him on the side to awaken him and said, “Quick! Get up!” And the chains fell off his wrists. Then the angel told him, “Get dressed and put on your sandals. And he did. “Now put on your coat and follow me,” the angel ordered.

So Peter left the cell, following the angel. But all the time he thought it was a vision. He didn’t realize it was actually happening. They passed the first and second guard posts and came to the gate leading to the city, and this opened for them all by itself. So they passed through and started walking down the street, and then the angel suddenly left him.

Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said, “The Lord has sent His angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leaders had planned to do to me!”

Did you catch that? “Herod intended….

BUT the church prayed…

and the chains fell off his wrists!”

Do you want to run to the God who can do this with YOUR problem, with your LIFE? What prison do you need freed from? What chains do you need to fall off your wrists?

Decide today to run to God, not from Him. Find a church to visit this Easter if you don’t have one. We would love to have you at Lifepointe Church if you’re in the Louisville area. We will meet at 5:30 on Saturday and 10 & 11:15 on Sunday.

Already running to God? You have friends who need the God who breaks chains and frees souls from prisons. Don’t be selfish with Him- share Him all around! Run alongside your friends- show them the way! PRAY! Did you see what happens when the church prays? Some unfathomable, freedom making, kingdom shaking miracle stuff! Pray for our leaders, pray for our services, pray for our volunteers, pray for your friends. Let’s fill this place with people who need the chains to fall off their wrist- and let’s watch God do His thing!

SOAPing up Louisville

SOAPing up Louisville

Important Volunteer Opportunity

I am happy to announce that Lifepointe Church will be partnering with Theresa Flores’ SOAP Campaign. Theresa is a human trafficking survivor who started the SOAP campaign as a way to rescue under age girls who have been forced into sex slavery. When large events take place in a city, the demand for “sex for sale” goes up, so young girls are filtered into cities during these events where they are forced into unthinkable acts of sex and abuse by traffickers who are making large amounts of money off of their horrific life. It is the 2nd largest organized crime, affecting 27 million people, second only to drugs. So what can we do to STAND UP and make a statement that we will not sit idle while this darkness happens in our city? We can do something to SAVE these girls, who have been abducted, deceived, threatened, and abused- The average age is 14. YOU can be their lifeline. Christ came to set us free- and we can use our freedom to turn around and set someone else free! “He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free!’ Luke 4:18

So, we are SOAPing up Louisville on Saturday, March 16 in preparation for the 2013 Mid America Truck Show. We will participate in a brief training session about human trafficking and how to identify potential victims (Theresa’s family had no idea she was being trafficked as a high school student!) We will then label bars of soap with the trafficking hotline number. (The bathroom is the ONLY place a victim may have privacy). We will then go out in teams to Louisville motels to ask them to place the bars of soap in their bathrooms and disperse missing children flyers to them.

Volunteers do not need to be members of Lifepointe Church. ANYONE can stand up! Registration is free, but volunteers are asked to purchase a t-shirt. Middle schoolers and up are able to participate in the training, lunch, and soap preparation, but you must be 18+ to disperse to area motels.

The Lifepointe Volunteer team will meet in the Spalding University Ballroom at 9:30 am.

 

For more information and to register, click here: http://soapuplouisvilletruck.eventbrite.com/

Other resources:

http://www.traffickfree.com/

http://www.thea21campaign.org/

 

Lifepointe men, women, teenagers, let’s make some noise in Louisville on March 16th!

 

 

 

My Freak Out at World Market

A few days ago I made my first trip to a really cool store called “World Market”.  It is such an intriguing and fun place with a little of this and a little of that from different countries throughout the store.  I can’t believe it took me so long to get in there!  I had my 4 year old daughter with me and my husband was next door in the Nike Store.  As I looked around I found my attention grabbed by so many fun things!  Josie was sitting in a cart when I spotted a table of handmade Indian paper products.  They were so colorful and beautiful.  I parked the cart and took 5 steps over to browse at the table for about 30 seconds. Then suddenly, I sensed that my cart and daughter were no longer there.  I turned and it was confirmed and the initial feeling of panic set in, but I thought maybe she had just pushed herself round the corner so I called “Josie”, expecting to hear her.  Nothing.  I raced around the corner saying louder “JOSIE”.  Nothing.  Commence Freak Out and very loud “JOSIE!!!”  The room was spinning as I scanned with like a mission impossible spy cam.  On my 4th “JOSIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  I see my husband pushing the cart towards me with a big, stupid GRIN on his face.  You see, he thought it would be funny to teach me a little lesson about awareness.  But if my precious 4 year old hadn’t been staring at me, I’m pretty sure I would have given him a right hook and a few choice words.  I was shaking with fear and the adrenaline in my body would have allowed me to snap a grown man…….that’s the lionness God has placed in us mommas I guess.  The whole thing only lasted a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity.  In those few seconds I really thought my girl was gone.  Josie can’t stand to be out of my sight, so when I didn’t hear her calling back to me, I thought my worst nightmare was happening.  Thankfully, it was just daddy showing me just how unaware I am.

Men, I realize you are ready to high five Jamey  for making this point to me.  But, I don’t recommend trying this at home.  There is a very good chance all you will get out of it is a bloody nose!  Adrenaline + a momma’s love of her children does funny things to a person!  And btw, Jamey also apologized when he saw how upset I was.  He meant it to only be a split second, but he got trapped in an aisle he couldn’t get down so his plan got disrupted slightly.

Ladies, before you plan your lynch mob for this cruel trick, I have to humbly admit, it really did show me just how quickly something can happen and how distracted I had been by the colorful Indian paper. (Don’t tell Jamey:)  The moment I sensed she was gone was delayed too long and that could have been detrimental had it been a dangerous person.

This is similar to how the enemy of our souls works in our lives.  We are just going about our lives distracted by busyness, activities, bills, work, etc, and the enemy can slip in quietly and begin to steal from you.  Steal your passion, steal your enthusiasm, steal your joy, build walls between you and your spouse, plant thoughts of bitterness, anger, discouragement, and on and on.  It’s not always the big things he uses to erode our faith, but the sly little sneaky things that we might not notice.  He loves when we are distracted because we are no longer a threat to him.  He loves when we are detoured by the minute because then we are not fulfilling what God has called us to do. It’s not that we want to give satan too much credit and go around thinking of him all the time- no way!  We do, however, want to be alert.  We don’t let him stop us from shopping in World Market, but we do keep our hand on the cart!   I want to encourage you with 3 thoughts today:

1.  Stay alert that the enemy is real and wants you off track. Staying alert is sort of like setting your alarm so you aren’t taken so off guard.  Recognizing him helps you shine the light on him…..he can’t thrive in the light!

2.  Let God set you FREE!  He has come to let you out of the prisons of guilt, shame, fear, rejection, sin, abandonment, unworthiness……..you name it!  These are tools the enemy uses to keep you boxed up and on the sidelines!

3.  Be aware of the enemy, but focus on God the most!   Stay in tune with what He is speaking to you and follow His lead quickly.  We can overcome the enemy because God already did!  Christ the Victor helps YOU be VICTORIOUS!

“Keep my lamp burning; my God, You turn my darkness into light.  With Your help I can advance against a troop; with You, my God, I can scale a wall!” ~Psalm 18:28-29

“My God, Your way is perfect; Your Word is flawless.  You are a shield for all who take refuge in You.”

~Psalm 18:30

Armor up friends, so you will stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  You are not fighting flesh and blood, but evil rulers of the unseen world.  Put on the belt of Truth!  Lies can’t live when exposed to TRUTH.  The Light shines on the darkness and destroys it!  Stand your ground!  Put on the body of armor of righteousness- it comes from God who makes you Right!  For shoes, put on the PEACE that comes from the Good News!  Hold up that shield of FAITH to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on SALVATION!  It’s YOURS!  It’s your helmet of protection.  Then take that sword of the Spirit- GOD’S WORD–You are not powerless, you are not hopeless, you are not alone!  You are not going to lay down to whatever arrow is coming at you.  You have the God Who spoke the world into existence and conquered death itself to go with you!  You are a fearless and mighty soldier.  But you’ve gotta take hold of it!

Give everything you have to God.  “Satan dines on what we withhold from God” ~Francis Frangipane.  Serve Him with all you’ve got!  There is FREEDOM in this……and God is setting you free, so you can turn and set someone else free!  Pass on the gift!

No more dabbling in your relationship with God! Take the next step, and if you need help discerning that….get some Godly counsel.

It’s time.  Today.