Author: Nicole Jones

Glory in Our (Not So?) Failure

God’s timing is funny. I meet weekly with 3 other ladies to talk about our relationships with Christ. We discuss the assigned Bible reading, recite the memory verse to each other, share our struggles, and confess our sins. The week of Thanksgiving Offering, we read about Joshua and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River into the promised land. As they crossed, each tribe was to pick-up a large stone. Joshua explained to the people: We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, “What do these stones mean?” Then you can tell them, “They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.” These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever. – Joshua 4:6-7 Shannon mentioned this story during our Thanksgiving Offering services and then we dropped our rocks into our own memorial. God was the one who months ago gave me the idea of rocks and creating a visual reminder of how far …

Are You Genuine or Just Playing Pretend?

Do you still have “bear fruit” ringing in your ears, too? Our last series was all about changing the heart. If we know why we react to circumstance the way we do, what we were trying to achieve with our actions, we can lay our desires and fears at the foot of the cross and begin to respond out of the Spirit.  In other words, if we can identify the root, we can change, and produce different fruit. At the end of our series, Shannon visited a few bears at an animal sanctuary. Truth be told, we tried to get a real bear on stage. Yeah, I know… it would have been awesome. But after watching Shannon feed a bear through a cage, I’m not so sure he could have handled being face to face with a real one. Which got me thinking… Bears are dangerous; the volunteer in our video makes this clear. To their core, bears are bears. They think like bears and act like bears because they have the heart of a …

The Church Is Not A Building (Even a Really Cool One)

I’m heading to the chicken farm. Are you at City Station? I can’t wait to see our SoHills family this Sunday! During the move to our new facility, you would frequently hear statements like these. Without knowing it, at least among the staff, we made a clear distinction between the two locations and the body of believers who meets there. I pointed this out to my husband and he thought it was awesome enough for a blog post. After a few days though, I started to refer to City Station as “the church,” and Corey would remind me the church is not the building. After he pointed this out several times, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about sharing my observation. Since the beginning, Shannon has said City Station is a tool. We were not building something fancy to provide us comfort. We were not giving towards a facility that would meet all our needs and we would only use on occasion. We were sacrificing to show the community that love does. And now we are here! …

How Will You Seek Jesus More By Consuming Less?

Fasting at its core is a hunger and longing for the presence of God. – Shannon Lovelady During our “Something New” series, Shannon called us to fast the 21 days leading up to our last Sunday at the chicken farm. The purpose of the fast is to remind us City Station isn’t the end goal, but we strive to make disciples and give God glory for it all. We want to intentionally seek after God as we enter into a time of transition and change, leaning into His constant nature and faithfulness. Together, as a church family, we are giving something up to demonstrate God is more important than anything we could ever need or desire. Here are four tips for making it through the next 21 days. Don’t choose something easy. It doesn’t have to be food related, but it should be something you will “feel,” something you will notice is missing from your life. Fasting requires sacrifice. As Shannon put it, what is something that steals your affection? What will you lay down for 21 days? …

Useful Advice From One Non-Parent to Another

Have you ever wanted to say something to a parent, but questioned how to go about it? Shannon recently reminded us that we belong to each other and have a responsibility to speak into each other’s lives (see Romans 12:4-5). It’s wise to accept biblical advice, but offering it to a parent can be tricky as a non-parent. So I asked a parent how I can give advice and it be received well. Here are 3 useful tips for us non-parents when it comes to talking to parents about parenting their kids. 1. First and foremost, offer support and often. Support can look like providing a meal or doing their laundry so they can focus on playing with their kids. Support is giving them a gift card to an activity they can do as a family. Support is watching the kids for an hour so the parents can have a break. Support is using your words to encourage and pray for them. How can you offer support to the parents in your life? So encourage each …

4 Ways to Improve Your Marriage in the Bedroom

  There have been countless blogs, articles, and books written on the subject of sex, a small portion of which I have even read. But interviewing these couples, there are four principles I think we all need to be reminded of and can start applying today. Start with friendship. These couples laughed a lot together. Like… a lot! Before we even “popped the question” they were goofing around together. The husband would crack a joke and the wife would giggle, often throwing a playful, flirty punch to the shoulder. Some of the couples referenced how they interact throughout the day, using their breaks at work to call each other or meeting for lunch. My intention for asking what they liked to do together was just to get them talking, but I learned a lot from their answers. Even in their busy lives, they made time for each other; their relationship was a priority. What about you? Are you continuing to build a friendship with your spouse? There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life …

3 Ways to be Intentional on Monday

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – 1 John 3:18 A few months ago we did a series called “I love Mondays.”  Let’s be honest… loving Mondays isn’t easy.  In fact, it almost seems human nature to despise Mondays. The weekend is over and it’s “back to the grind.”  We drag ourselves out of bed after hitting snooze far too many times.  We roll in right at 9:00 AM to an overwhelming list of things to do, a messy desk, a disgruntled boss, and the same mundane routine. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:2 Let’s intentionally do on Mondays. First and foremost, intentionally be positive on Mondays!  When we think about Mondays as I described above, no wonder we hate them! Philippians 2:14-15 says, …

You Can Change Your Heart With Your Posture

A few years ago, my husband read several books on the subject of body language and still has this incredible ability to read people just by observing them. He can tell what you think about an idea just by how you stand during a conversation. Our Lead Pastor will tell you it’s easier to speak to a group of people who are smiling, shaking their heads in agreement, and returning eye contact.  When everyone has glazed over eyes and crossed arms, you quickly pick up on the “you’re boring” message. I prefer to sleep on my right side, facing the edge of the bed. A few years ago I noticed because of our sleeping arrangements, every night I would physically put my back to Corey and some nights I was doing the same in my heart.  Now, I intentionally fall asleep facing my husband because I know my body language communicates just as much as my words.  In his book Love Does, Bob Goff writes, “Something about the hard wiring that God gave each of us links …

The Kind of Love That Shows Up

When asked to elevate one law of the Old Testament above all others, Jesus replied, “‘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” (Matthew 22:36-38). Jesus had a way of taking things a step further and added, “A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:39-40). But He didn’t stop there either.  On the night of Passover while in the Upper Room with the twelve disciples, Jesus said: Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going.  So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. – John 35:33-35 A new command. …

How is Your Monday Different Because of Sunday?

On Monday are you thinking about Sunday? Probably not. My Monday revolves around Sunday.  I have meetings all day where we evaluate Sunday, share wins, and consider what we could have done differently.  Then we look to the next Sunday, making adjustments based on our evaluations and confirming everything is covered. My Monday is all about Sunday. But if I’m honest, I don’t always bring my Sunday into my Monday. Sure, I talk about what I did and what I’m going to do, but I don’t really talk about what  God did and what I hope God continues to do. I talk about Sunday, but Sunday doesn’t always impact my heart on Monday and my teammates probably wouldn’t tell you they know I’ve been in the presence of Christ. I need to be more intentional about bringing my Sunday into my Monday.  How about you?  On Monday, can the people you work with tell you’ve been in the presence of God and with the family of God?  Can your kids tell it’s a little easier for you this …