Page 1


How Anyone Can Start a Praise and Coffee Night

Table of Contents Testimonies

3

Introduction

4

How Praise and Coffee Nights Began

5

Who Should Start a Praise and Coffee Night?

8

How Do I Start a Praise and Coffee Night?

9

What They Look Like?

10

What Do I Do at My Praise and Coffee Night?

12

Meet the Team

14

Sue Cramer

14

Melissa Mashburn

16

Ronel Sidney

18

Praise and Coffee Night Devotions

21

From Mess to Masterpiece By: Melissa Mashburn 22 Through the Storm By: Ronel Sidney

24

Happy Is Not Enough By: Sue Cramer

26

Love In Action By: Ronel Sidney

28

High-Sounding Nonsense By: Melissa Mashburn

30

When Worry Takes Over By: Sue Cramer

32

Filter and Grind us Lord!

34

Q&A

36

Promoting Your Praise and Coffee Night

38

2


Testimonies

“Our most encouraging night was when the mother of two service persons serving overseas came to share that our prayer for her children and their military units had reached them overseas and was giving them encouragement.” ~ Alice Ann Williams, Praise and Coffee leader in Reno, NV

“Seeing so many women from various church (and un-churched!) backgrounds coming together to encourage one another encourages ME. :)” ~Heather Clement, Praise and Coffee leader in New Hampshire

“I have enjoyed getting to know the women who attend and also been encouraged by the way God has answered some of our prayers. I have been blessed to see so many women who long to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ and to honor him in their daily lives.” ~Trina Martin, Praise and Coffee leader in Pennsylvania

“I love seeing God work so greatly to impact women in this informal way called Praise and Coffee! Love it!” ~ JoAnn Shiley, Praise and Coffee Leader in Washington

"We had our North Phoenix Praise and Coffee night tonight with a guest speaker who shared how God revealed Himself through her journey with breast cancer. Ten women representing six different churches were in attendance. We shared praises and prayer requests, we listened to Robin as she shared her testimony which was heart-felt and encouraging. She is now cancer free and feels that God allowed her to go through this trial to help others understand their own journey. The evening ended and Java Worx closed down, but the conversation with Robin continued with several of us in the parking lot. God was present with us at our Praise and Coffee meeting just like He was present with Robin through her ordeal. " ~Karmann Powell, Praise and Coffee leader in Arizona

3


I’ve spent the last couple decades and some change in women’s ministry. Pastor’s wife, women’s director and all around church gal, I’ve been there and done it all. From standing in front of a packed room of sleep deprived sugar buzzed women to scrubbing the toilets because the cleaning crew forgot about our life-changing event. I’m a women’s ministry veteran. To be brutally honest, I love it and I can’t stand it, all at the same time. I warned you it would be honest. But I am enjoying it more and more as the ministry of Praise and Coffee grows because it is less like ministry and more like…life. I love doing life with women. Praise and Coffee is about connecting, encouraging & inspiring women. It is not about preaching, teaching & leading women. This ministry is focused on sharing life with girlfriends. Praise and Coffee is about sitting down at a table with a few women and learning that we’re not the only one who is struggling with being a wife or mom or single gal. It’s about the honest journey of faith and relationships with God and those around us. I am not looking to create a mega ministry through Praise and Coffee Nights, but would love to create a movement! Women all over the world gathering together over a cup of coffee and having conversations that matter. Praise and Coffee Nights help us to connect, encourage and inspire one another. If you gather together in His name, He will come. It’s as simple as looking into the eyes of another woman and asking, “What’s happening in your life these days?” As you will see, we are not a regimented ministry. No educational requirements, no degrees or Bible school diplomas necessary. You don’t have to know how to pray or have chapters of scripture memorized, you just have to be a woman with a life, and I think that qualifies every one of us. We are a ministry of real women with real lives connecting, encouraging and inspiring one another along the journey wherever and whenever we can…many of us with a cup of coffee in hand as we do, but that’s not required either.

And though we call them Praise and Coffee Nights, women meet at all different times of the day. Some host morning events and others have girlfriends over to their house while the babies are napping in the afternoon.

4


How Praise and Coffee Nights Began I’ve been involved in church ministry forever and a day. I was extremely comfortable being a Pastor’s wife, leading the women’s ministry and while we’re at it just throw in Worship leader. I was busy. I was happy. Then suddenly, as if God knew we were way too comfortable, the plan took a turn. We own our own business (we’re a national parts distributor for generators, compressors, heaters and such www.AllpartsInc.com ) we’ve had it the whole time we were in ministry, so we’ve never taken a paycheck from the church when Mark was pastoring. We chose to be tent makers and let the business take care of our financial needs. It was a great plan until the church grew to the point that it needed someone who was not running a business and a church at the same time. It needed a full time pastor. The economy also took an interesting turn a few years back and revealed the painful truth, it was time to pick one over the other and since one provided for our family’s needs, the obvious choice was to hand the church over to new leadership and work full time at our business. This was wonderful for my husband, he had been feeling the pressure of the business while trying to lead a flock and it was overwhelming. He’s an entrepreneur at heart, so he dove head first into diversifying our business, bringing on new product lines and even starting to engineer and manufacture parts as the parent companies we deal with were dropping like flies in a collapsing economy. Thankfully it was a good transition in that we didn’t lose friendships with the church or its members, they were very understanding but we also knew that we couldn’t continue leading there or it would be too difficult to establish new leadership so we stepped away for a season but visit now (years later) on occasion. As I mentioned, hubby didn’t miss a beat, he got right back on the busy wagon but it left me floundering. It wasn’t that I lost my identity. I had been through that trauma years before (at a different church, when the leaving wasn’t so amicable-but that’s a whole ‘nother book!) and I knew better then to let the things I do at the church become who I am. But I was left asking, “Lord what do I do now?” I knew I still had a heart to reach out and touch the lives of women, but suddenly had no platform to do it on. Let me back up and mention an important part of this journey. Months before we handed over the church, we adopted our precious Lauren from China. The timing was actually quite perfect for me to be home, I had a two year old with attachment disorder that needed Mommy full time. How does God seem to know these things? *wink* Lauren received my full attention every day. However, she did nap, and I had things bubbling up in me that needed to be let out somewhere so I started a blog. ‘Praise and Coffee the blog’ was born April 2007.

5


quickly connected with amazing women from all around the country. It was like a fresh wind on a sweltering hot afternoon. I could sit at my computer and read about other women’s lives while sharing mine with them. I also shared much of what was rolling around in my heart on marriage, motherhood and faith. After about 8 months of Lauren not letting me out of her sight I needed a night out with the girls. I emailed a bunch of ladies. Friends from the church we had pastored and gals that I had not seen in a long time. I was aching for girlfriend time! I begged them to meet me at a local restaurant. However, I had to clarify what it was because some of them were from the church we pastored and still lamenting the fact that we were no longer pastoring and secretly prayed that we would come back. I didn’t want them to think that I was getting them together for some sort of announcement so I told them (because I knew they all read my blog) that there was no agenda; we would just call it a “Praise and Coffee Night.” We had a blast! Twelve women from different backgrounds, churches and walks of life came out and we laughed and cried and caught up with what was happening in each other’s lives. We shared the joys and struggles we had been walking through and of course it all came around to how God had us all on a different yet similar journey of faith. It felt so good to connect with my friends; we all agreed that we would do it again soon. It struck me that we all felt that same way, that the evening had been a welcome pause, a fresh breath that we all needed. Women need to connect with each other outside the four walls of church. I started thinking about how many other women I knew that would benefit from an evening like this. That’s when I considered starting Praise and Coffee Nights in our community. I went to a local coffee shop that was only open daytime and asked if they would be willing to open up an evening for us. They agreed and I invited a bunch of women and encouraged them to invite friends too. The coffee shop would hold 25-30 women so I figured we could have a little bit bigger group. What I didn’t expect is that the night before the first official Praise and Coffee Night in our community, I would have RSVP’s for about 65 women from several different churches! I was panicked until I called the owner of the banquet hall (conveniently located above the coffee shop) and begged her to let us use it for the evening which she graciously allowed us to do. I quickly realized that I had struck a nerve, women wanted this. Women needed this. I blogged about our evening and shared how precious it was to see women from all different churches in the area sitting together sharing life over a cup of coffee. And then it happened. Women started commenting on my blog and asking how they could start hosting Praise and Coffee Nights in their community. They asked for my instructions and guidelines. Guidelines? What were they talking about? I didn’t have any guidelines. I was totally unprepared for the response I received. But I immediately knew that God was up to something. I scrambled to share information with women about how to host them and they started popping up all over the country, and even on the other side of the world.

6


And that is how Praise and Coffee Nights were born. Women getting together outside the four walls of the church...rubbing elbows, hugging necks, telling our stories, laughing and crying together while sharing the love of Jesus with each other. They are nondenominational and not affiliated with any one church. Most of the groups are smaller and more intimate, less than 12 women, but some groups have grown and the ones I host in Michigan are around 80 women; which I am currently in the process of breaking down into smaller groups. The goal is NOT to grow a large group. If it happens, we respond and go with it, but the heart and soul of a Praise and Coffee event is a small group of women around a table day or night sharing the love of God with each other on life’s journey. I encourage our larger groups to multiply into smaller ones. Connecting, encouraging and inspiring one another. Matthew 18:20 is the verse that we count on in this ministry: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” When we come together because of Him, He’s there with us. He speaks to us and ministers to our hearts through one another. One of the first gals to start a Praise and Coffee Night was Melissa Mashburn in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has been such a wonderful partner to dream with, and in she became my co-founder as she was and is such an encouragement and visionary for the ministry. And in 2011 Ronel Sidney from the San Diego, California area came on board the team as our National Director. She is helping to organize and publicize the groups around the nation through FB and MeetUp. Check out more about these two ladies and how they started their Praise and Coffee Nights in the “Meet the Team” chapter. I am so blessed an honored to have these women alongside me encouraging women just like you to reach out to your friends and neighbors through Praise and Coffee Nights. The three of us also travel and speak at Praise and Coffee Nights, contact us if you are interested.

Ronel and Sue in California Sue with Melissa in Florida 7


Who Should Start a Praise and Coffee Night? Every one of us has a need to belong, to fit in, to feel like we’re a part of something. But many of us don’t feel that way at all. Instead we struggle to find our place. We spend far too many days tromping through life wishing there was someone we could share this part of our journey with. Some of us are married, some with children, some living single and we’re all on a journey. We’re not sure other women feel the way that we do, they all seem to be doing just fine. Sure we have friends, but don’t see them often enough, and when we do find a little time to share a cup of coffee, we ask why we waited so long. We attend church and women’s events but spend most of that time listening to a speaker, which fills our cup with knowledge and inspiration, but often we walk out the door without ever really connecting with anyone. We wish someone would call and invite us out for a cup of coffee or tea or cocoa but the phone is quiet. It seems we all long for relationship, fellowship and a couple hours to connect but no one dares pick up the phone or toss out an email. Or, maybe you have plenty of friends in your life but you just don’t feel qualified to step up put something together.

Or, maybe you have plenty of friends in your life but you just don’t feel qualified to step up put something together.

How could I lead a group of women? I’m not a Pastor’s wife or ministry leader…I don’t serve at church at all. Excuse me, but girl that makes you the perfect one to start a Praise and Coffee Night. The Pastor’s wives and ministry leaders are all busy teaching and leading…maybe it’s your turn to reach out. You don’t need a degree or a letter from your Pastor to be a girlfriend. You are fully equipped to reach out to your friends and plan a Praise and Coffee Night. No leadership required, just a heart to listen and then share your story. It’s so easy to sit back and wait for someone else to put something together. It’s a vicious cycle of busyness and lack of faith in our own ability to step out. It’s time to break that cycle ladies! If the thought of sitting around a table with a group of friends , neighbors or the teller at the bank that you’ve been wishing you could get to know, sounds like fun to you, it’s time to reach out. Pick up the phone or start tapping away on that laptop, see if can’t get 3 or more ladies to meet you around a table. That’s what I did.

8


How Do I Start a Praise and Coffee Night?

It’s so easy! 1. Choose a location. 2. Set a date and time. 3. Invite your girlfriends!

Seriously, that’s it. So why do we have this whole book? Because you begged me to put it together for you! Because, many of you girls like structure and wanted a little more instruction- and encouragement. But if you are good with the 1-2-3 then go for it, if you want a little more info, read on.

We just ask that you let us know when you are holding a Praise and Coffee Night. Email our National Director Ronel to let us know when you schedule your Praise and Coffee Night: Ronel@PraiseAndCoffee.com We want to pray for you as well as know when Praise and Coffee Nights are meeting around the country.

9


What They Look Like?

The heart and soul of a Praise and Coffee Night is to have 2 or more women sitting around a table somewhere and talking about what’s happening in each other’s lives. Simple. Sharing the ups and downs of everyday life. Talking about what we think that God is doing in us and encouraging each other on the journey. Some of the groups are well organized with a stated agenda while others are just “getting together to chat.” What does that look like? It looks like a few girlfriends out for a cup of coffee. Here are some of the places women are meeting for Praise and Coffee Nights: Coffee houses: Starbucks, Biggby, Panera and local coffee shops. Restaurants Banquet Halls Community buildings Church fellowship halls Living rooms and kitchen tables The possibilities are endless. Get creative! Just for fun we’ve broken down the sizes of groups into coffee themes: A “tall” group is 2-8 ladies A “grande” group is 9-14 ladies And a “venti” is a group of 15 or more ladies.

10


If I had to pick my favorite, it would be a “tall” group. I love the intimacy of a small group of ladies. But if our groups grow, we adjust and follow our heart on the changes we might make to accommodate the larger group. There is really no right or wrong way to do that. Well, unless you make it into something that is structured to the point of missing the heart of connecting, encouraging and inspiring women…we don’t want to do that.

11


What Do I Do at My Praise and Coffee Night?

Ladies, this is really up to you but we have some ideas if you’re just not sure where to begin. First, let me tell you that all of our groups are different. That is the beauty of Praise and Coffee Nights! Each group takes on its own personality and style. God made us all unique, and our style and personality, coupled with the ladies attending and the vibe of our community, will play a part in what each group looks like. The only real requirement for the groups is that they: connect, encourage and inspire women in their relationships with one another and the Lord. You are free to do whatever you want, but here are a few of the nuts and bolts of how to host a Praise and Coffee if you aren’t sure how to get started: When the ladies arrive, give them some time to chat with each other. About 15 minutes after then arrive, go around the table and let the ladies introduce themselves to the group. Have them share if they are married/kids and how they know you. And maybe add something fun like: “the funniest thing that happened this week…” Ask a couple “ice breaker” questions. We have examples of these in the Praise and Coffee Nights in a Box section in the next chapter. After this you could then do many different things: Go around the table asking each of the ladies to share what God has been doing in their lives, or what kind of a season they feel that God has them in. Have one or two women share a testimony and then talk about what it meant to you. Take prayer requests and pray for one another right there or write them down and pray for each other at home. Read a devotion from your favorite devotional book. (or use one of ours from this book and follow up with our discussion questions) If you are in a location that allows it, share some music. Some groups actually have a time of praise and worship. Others have soft music playing. Sometimes I play a song or music video on my laptop that has touched my life. Use a laptop or overhead to show: ~one of our YouTube videos, they include discussion questions at the end of them ~an encouraging YouTube video ie: something fun from a Christian comedian or a clip from a women’s speaker Or write something yourself to share and then ask questions to encourage conversation. 12


The larger groups often bring in a local author or speaker to share with their group. We would also encourage you to have time for the women to connect with each other before or after the speaker. Please keep in mind, we don’t want Praise and Coffee Nights to just re-create church. Chick Flick Night! Just what it says, invite a bunch of friends to watch a movie together. Our larger groups have done this too, you could even make it into a huge pajama night! Crafting, scrapbooking, sewing or quilting, baking…as long as face to face conversation about our journey is involved. Another couple of ideas are the new groups that were born out of Praise and Coffee Nights: Praise and Coffee Cooks We all have to make dinner, so why not do it together? Invite a girlfriend over to your kitchen, grab the ingredients and make dinner for your families while sipping coffee, laughing and letting the kids play. Filling bellies while filling your cup!

Praise and Coffee Runs These groups are based on Hebrews 12:1: “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Women get together to walk, run or exercise together and then encourage one another in the race of life. If you are interested in this, see their website. www.runwithendurance.net Again we want to emphasize that none of these things is required, feel free to connect, encourage and inspire women whatever way you want.

13


Meet the Team Ladies we’re here to serve you! Let us know how we can help.

Sue Cramer from Michigan is the founder of the Praise and Coffee Ministry. A wife, mom, speaker, writer and coffee drinker that loves the Lord. Sue Cramer has a passion to help women connect with each other and God. Sue lives in Michigan and shares her life with her husband Mark and their four kids ranging in age from 7-23 years old. They adopted their youngest daughter from China when she was 2 years old. Involved in ministry for over 24 years, she has served: ~ Alongside her husband in Pastoral ministry ~ Marriage and Family Ministry ~ As Director of Women’s Ministry for 2 churches ~ In Worship Ministry as leader and vocalist ~ As a board member and volunteer in local community organizations to help those less fortunate. Sue Cramer’s gift of weaving together scriptures, stories and humor makes her a popular women's speaker. She touches hearts with her warm and genuine style and insightful Bible teaching. Sue loves to connect, encourage and inspire women through the Praise and Coffee Ministry with: Praise and Coffee Nights Praise and Coffee Blog & Praise and Coffee Magazine Sue’s blog and the Praise and Coffee website: www.PraiseandCoffee.com Email Sue: Sue@PraiseAndCoffee.com

14


15


Meet the Team cont…

Melissa Mashburn of “Mel’s World” in South Florida is the Co-Founder of the Praise and Coffee Nights Bio: Daughter of the King, Wife, Mom, Pastor’s Wife, Writer, Speaker…all around God Chick! Melissa Mashburn has a passion to “Encourage women to live with an authentic faith by being transparent, renewed and transformed.” ~ Romans 12:2 Melissa lives in Sunny South Florida and shares her life and ministry with her best friend Matt and their two handsome teenage sons, Nick and Bailey. They just celebrated their 17th anniversary and are two southerners commissioned to reach South Florida. Melissa’s been involved in ministry for just over 10 years now and has served: ~ With her husband in Pastoral Ministry ~ Greeting Ministry ~ Preschool Ministry Director ~ Weekday Preschool Director ~ Bible Study Leader ~ Women’s Small Groups Leader ~ Membership Pastor ~Small Groups, Membership, Baptism, Beach Baptism ~ Kids Ministry Director Melissa Mashburn’s gift of speaking the truth in love while seeking the JOY on the journey makes her a funny, genuine, caring and trusted women’s speaker. Melissa takes simple little nuggets from the Word and uses them in ways that women are able to walk away with a truth that they can apply to their lives when they walk away from the event. Melissa has traveled through some of the most intense and difficult days of her life and has walked through to the other side with a smile on her face and a skip in her step. Melissa is passionate about showing women the grace and goodness of God in very real, authentic, and transparent ways so that they too can learn to take their everyday, ordinary life and place it as an offering to Him (Romans 12:1 TM). Melissa ….radio show…(details of what you are doing within Praise and Coffee Nights) Check out Melissa’s personal blog: www.MelissaMashburn.com Email Melissa: Melissa@PraiseAndCoffee.com

16


How Melissa got started doing Praise and Coffee Nights: After being involved in full time ministry within the walls of a church for five years I started to see a huge disconnect between what was going on within the church and in the community. Married to Pastor I struggled with how to bridge the gap while still supporting the mission of the local church. I a firm believer that the local church is the hope of the world, but I also know that we can't reach our neighbors if we stay safely locked inside those same four walls. There was a season when I stepped out of ministry at the church to sit, seek and search for what God had next for me and it was during that time when my path crossed with Sue Cramer's. We talked for hours about our heart to reach women in our communities and when she started hosting Praise and Coffee Nights in her neck of the woods I knew that this was absolutely something that I wanted to do in my world too. With six women, we had our first South Florida Praise & Coffee Night in a Panera Bread at a booth in the back. There was nothing special about that night, except for the fact that we just sat and talked openly about the journey God had each of us on. It's been over three years now and God has used this ministry to be a front door, like a "welcome mat", to the women who may never walk in the doors of a church. We've been meeting in coffee houses, restaurants, art stores and wherever else we can meet, just to get out into the community and meet women right where they are. That's what is so incredibly unique about this ministry and what makes it needed in women's lives all around the world. I thank God every day for bringing this opportunity to my life and consider myself blessed to be on this amazing journey with some truly remarkable women.

17


Meet the Team cont‌.

Ronel Sidney from California, National Director for Praise and Coffee Nights Bio: Wife, mom, writer and rediscovering what it means to be chosen for more by finding Him in the daily grind of life. Ronel lives in San Diego with her husband, Jeremey and their seven year old son Lucas. With 10 years of ministry experience: -Eucharistic Minister/ Lay Leader for the US Navy. -Moms Ministry Leader -Small Group Leader -Outreach Ministry Planning/ Leading Ronel began realizing her passion for connecting and encouraging people while she traveled the seven seas in the Navy. She enjoys listening to peoples stories and encouraging them in whatever season they find themselves navigating. She started leading Praise and Coffee Nights in San Diego in March of 2008 and stepped in as a National Director for Praise and Coffee Nights in 2011. Ronel is a source of encouragement and information to women who are interested in starting Praise and Coffee Nights in their community. As part of that encouragement she plans to travel to groups in the Western United States and across the nation helping women connect, encourage and inspire one another through these evenings. How Ronel began Praise and Coffee Nights: Ministry for me started in my early twenties on board a Navy ship. I found myself drawn to encouraging, listening and trying help my fellow shipmates whom were going through tough times especially while on deployment to the Gulf. At the age of twenty-two I became a Eucharistic Minister for our ship because we did not have a priest stationed onboard to perform mass. While deployed during the buildup of Iraqi Freedom I found myself questioning and desiring more from my relationship with Christ. Upon returning the San Diego I began attending a large non-denominational church. After giving birth to my son I found it difficult to connect with other moms because all the small groups at our church were geared towards SAHM and not working moms. After attending leadership classes and going through small group training I began leading a weekly bible study for working moms at our house. This eventually led to me beginning seminary and leading the mom’s ministry which included overseeing all the small groups, outreach projects and events. Just as I began to find my sweet spot in ministry our family was called away from the mega church and into a new smaller church within our community.

18


After making the shift with my family I began to feel disconnected in a way I had not felt since I was a young adult seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. I quickly realized I was not the only woman who wanted more and I felt led to start Praise and Coffee Nights outside the four walls of church. It was in this shift that my heart began to desire to connect with woman on a level not associated with a place but yet a purpose and relationship we all had in common. This change in ministry has been interesting and challenging all at the same time, yet time and time again I am seeing ladies young and old come back to Christ through our community group because there is no expectation or fear involved. My hope and prayer is for Praise and Coffee Nights to be an outreach to our communities which can connect, encourage and inspire woman without feeling judged! Check out Ronel’s blog: www.ChosenForMore.com Email Ronel: Ronel@PraiseAndCoffee.com

19


20


The following pages have six devotions that you can use for your Praise and Coffee Night...

How to use the devotions:

1. Ask one or more of the questions in “To Get Things Brewing” 2. Read the devotion 3. Go around the table(s) and ask the “Grace to Go” questions. 4. If time allows and you want to go a little deeper, do the “Extra Shot.”

21


From Mess to Masterpiece By: Melissa Mashburn

To Get Things Brewing… Go around the room and introduce yourself to three women that you do not already know and tell them one very random thing about yourself. Have a mini contest with the women in your group, go around the room and share a story about a time when you were your messiest. Winner receives a “Messy Award” (you can pick up a little award at Party City or Make a Certificate at home) What is your favorite messy thing to do…keep it clean ladies, teehee!

Devotion: From Mess to Masterpiece For so long we shackled with the lie that we are not worthy. We are not worthy of God’s love, His redemption, His grace or even His mercy. Some of us come from world full of drugs, alcohol, or other debilitating habits and others of us come from a very plain Jane vanilla world. Unfortunately, both women struggle feeling like God could use their lives for His glory. Why is it so easy to buy into the lies? Why do we struggle with our value? Every piece of our heart wants to believe that we are worthy, that God can and will use our lives for His glory, but like a dog chained to a post we get right to the edge only to feel ourselves jerked back into believing our mess could be turned into a masterpiece. Yet that is exactly what God did when He saved us…not by anything that we did, but simply by His grace. His gift to us is exactly what turns our mess around and makes it into a beautiful masterpiece that sprinkles His love onto all those around us. It is our mess that makes us a masterpiece. We no longer have to hide from who we once were, but we shine the light of His love on it and that, sweet sisters, it what makes us relatable, usable and pliable to do His will. Your mess that has been turned into a masterpiece might be the very story He uses to help some other sweet sister turn her heart to Him.

22


Grace to Go… Have you ever taken the time to share your story with other women in your life? Have you given your mess completely over to Him and allowed Him to turn it into a masterpiece? If not, then talk to one of the women in the group and ask her to pray with you about letting it go. How does viewing your mess as a masterpiece of God’s grace & mercy flip the switch in your mind to know that everything you have been through has been for a purpose?

An Extra Shot… Dive into Ephesians 2:10 NLT and discuss in your group what the word “masterpiece” means to you, then talk about how that makes you feel to be called “God’s masterpiece”.

Check out the video with Melissa and Sue on “From Mess to Masterpiece” on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DONlAM0pJU

23


Through the Storm By: Ronel Sidney

To Get Things Brewing‌ What is your favorite thing to do on a cold and rainy day? Why? Where is the most comfortable spot in your house? Describe why it is so comfortable? Has there ever been a time you freaked out about a critter or animal being in your house? If so explain the situation. Have you ever been caught in the rain without a jacket and/or an umbrella? What did you do?

Devotion: Through the Storm Fear can freeze us. It can disable us from moving forward. So many fears exist and even have specific names for the actual fear itself. Personally, I am not a fan of heights or airplanes. Recently, I was flying and the plane hit a storm which caused it to experience tons of turbulence. As the fasten seatbelt light illuminated I began to pray for God's safety. When the storms in life hit I tend to want to run and hide. I want to climb under a blanket and wait for the storm to pass by me. When our plane hit turbulence, the pilot did not turn the plane around, instead he directed us to brace ourselves for the bumpy ride ahead. As the storm became increasingly worse the pilot elevated the plane above the storm clouds and continued moving forward to our destination. Just as that plane pointed towards home, we too need to keep ourselves pointed in the right direction in the midst of the storms in our life. Only God can see us through the darkness of the clouds. Only He can be our umbrella of protection. Far too often I forget this simple message because in the midst of life's struggles I tend to focus on the pain instead of the promise. Despite my lack of confidence, self-esteem, mommy woes, and infertility, I know that He knows and I know that He cares about me, my circumstance, and troubles. I know He will use each one of these areas of my life to mold me and make me a better reflection of Him! And isn’t that our true purpose in this life? To reflect Him, to reflect the One who gave up everything in order to give us eternal life.

24


Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4 NIV

Grace to Go‌ Have you ever allowed fear to keep you from making a decision in your life? Have you ever allowed fear to keep you stuck in a bad situation, job or relationship? What do you fear most in your life?

An Extra Shot‌ What does James 1: 12 say about those who perseveres under trial? Read Psalm 118:6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? (NIV) GOD's now at my side and I'm not afraid; who would dare lay a hand on me? (MSG)

25


Happy Is Not Enough By: Sue Cramer

To Get Things Brewing… What is the color of your kitchen and how would you describe the décor of your home? Do you have any precious hand me downs from your Mother or Grandmother? If you had a whole day to yourself, no kids, cooking or cleaning…what would you do? What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

Devotion: Happy Is Not Enough We all know that woman. She lives in a beautiful house in an upscale neighborhood, her closet looks like a Macy’s store. She has Hollywood nails and 12 inch extensions to make her already gorgeous flowing, frizzfree hair even prettier and add to that, she actually has Bette Davis eyes. But she’s lost, so lost. She is flailing through life from one cocktail party to the next in a desperate attempt for find true joy, yet all she gets are subtle glimpses of momentary happiness while true joy eludes her.

We don’t want to preach at her, preaching at her would probably only destroy our friendship. Leave the preaching to the preachers…what this woman needs is, a friend. Someone that will love her right where she’s at and hopefully by living out my faith she will see something in my life that draws her to the heart of her God who truly loves her. She’s grasping at happiness but doesn’t realize that what she needs is joy, not just happiness. There really is a difference between being happy and having joy. Consider this: Happiness is a result of pleasant circumstances. Happiness is as unpredictable as the circumstances around us. Happiness is temporary. Happiness comes from the outside circumstances. Happiness covers up discouragement and depression, but isn’t capable of taking it away. Happiness is unreliable; it is up one minute and down the next. It is similar to a wave in that it is a completely unstable environment.

26


Joy on the other hand is predictable. Joy is lasting. Joy defeats discouragement. Joy is far deeper than happiness, and we have it in spite of the most devastating storms. Joy comes from inside us when we have a relationship with the Father. “In Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand are pleasure evermore.” Psalms 16:11 Joy comes from knowing and trusting the Lord and frankly being close enough to Him that you are holding His right hand. Joy is an overflow of the life of God on the inside of us. Joy is an inner stability regardless of external circumstances because joy is based on His presence with and in us. Joy is not possible without a personal relationship with God. Happiness is, but as we discussed, it’s not the same. It’s not deep and lasting. Happy won’t sustain us through the storms of this life, but a relationship with the One who created us will.

Grace to Go… Have you known someone like this? What kind of things did they try to fill their emptiness with? I’ve been known to escape to the mall when looking for fulfillment, what about you, what’s your ‘escape?’ Can you think of a time when you thought your happiness would carry you through the rest of your life but it didn’t (ie: wedding, birth, awards, accomplishments, etc)? At what point did you realize that wasn’t enough? How do YOU –literally- find that place of joy today? (prayer, reading, music….)

An Extra Shot… Discuss this verse: James 1:2-8 Talk about how these verses look in everyday circumstances.

27


Love In Action By: Ronel Sidney

To Get Things Brewing… What is your favorite past time activity? How often do you get a chance to enjoy this activity? If you had to describe your love language (how you receive love) how would you describe it in words, actions, gifts or affection? When was the last time your love tank was filled and by whom? Do you enjoy quiet time? How do you spend quiet time alone? If you do not get a chance for quiet time explain what you might do if you had quiet time. Name one thing you do for yourself (ie. shop, exercise, coffee break or reading).

Devotion: Love in Action Let’s be honest sometimes relationships can be difficult, tiring and just downright hard. It does not matter if you are dealing with: a friend, a spouse, a child or a relative, loving unconditionally is difficult and sometimes feels impossible. Do you have any relationship in your life where you struggle to understand, extend grace or even just love? I have a difficult, at best, relationship with my mother and there are times I just do not understand her or the dynamics of our relationship. I go through seasons of not calling and putting distance in our relationship. I find it difficult to relate to my mom and even connect with her on a personal level. My relationship with my mom is very surface level and this can be daunting and exhausting at the same time. Relationships are hard work and in order for them to be successful we need, no we MUST, seek God and His example of relationship in order to move forward in our lives instead of being stuck in the past or just plain stuck in the same spot we have been for years. "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other." John 13:34-35 MSG

28


Grace to Go… How do you show love to someone who does NOT seem to care about you or your life? How do you love someone who is over bearing? How do you love someone who is broken? How do you love in a way which keeps your own heart safe? Love is not only an adjective it is also a verb. Love is taking action. Love is praying for those people in our lives we find hard to love and connect with in our lives. Love is seeking to share God’s love with people. Love is listening and bearing witness to others lives despite our own feelings. Love is powerful. Love is bold. Love is unchangeable. Love is not earned or deserved… love is a gift from God. Yes, it can be difficult to love but let us brainstorm some ideas on how we can show love to the people in our lives we find the most difficult to love. An Extra Shot… Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 and make a list of how God describes love. How can you/we apply God’s principles to those we find difficult to love?

29


High-Sounding Nonsense By: Melissa Mashburn

To Get Things Brewing… Game: Play the purse game w/your group Make a list of several random items that could be in someone’s purse and then have everyone bring their purse to the table and pull out the items from their purse as you say the item aloud. At the end of the game whoever has the most items wins. Items for the purse game can include, but not limited to: Gum, receipt, lip stick, sewing kit, shower cap, pics of family members, tape measure, pen, safety pin, bobbie pin, highlighter, extra phone battery, toy Suggested prize for the winner -> candle, bath & body works, coffee mug (something simple, it is not about the prize, it is just about having a little fun). Get to Know You: Have three sets of name tags when the ladies come in have them write their name on a name tag, one could be red, one blue, one gold (or have three random pictures drawn on them). Tell the women to find other women with the same nametag and ask them their name, their favorite movie and what their favorite coffee is. What is one word you catch yourself saying all the time? To your kids? To your friends? To your husband? (one word for each group)

Devotion: High Sounding Nonsense When you walk out your front door, you enter into a battlefield. The world says that you can “bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and…” well, you know. It is so easy to start to believe everything you see. The news would have you believe that the sky is falling; the magazines are saying that size 2 is the new “you” and the schools are telling our kids and us that anything goes. It is so easy to buy into all this nonsense. It is ok to admire a good-looking man, especially the diet coke guy, right. To talk trash about the other PTA moms, to curse the cars that cut you off in car line, to say and act one way during the week then put on your happy and holy face for church. Ladies…that is not the way He wants us to live. In His Word He very clearly lays out how we are to live. In Philippians 4:8 NLT it says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

30


Not only do we need that, but also so do our families. We can be the instruments of change in our households. We can pray, starting today, that God would give us an even greater awareness to the high-sounding nonsense of this world and guide us back to living life His way. It will not be an easy change to make, but it will be so worth it.

Grace to Go… What is some of the high-sounding nonsense that you have seen or heard even today? Why is it so hard to believe the high-sounding nonsense? What can you do today to filter the nonsense through God’s lens (the whatevers)?

An Extra Shot… Open up your Bible, turn to Colossians 2:7-9 NLT, and discuss in your group things you can do starting today to let your roots go down into him so that you are not captured by high-sounding nonsense. Write out Colossians 2:8 NLT and post it by your back door so that everyone in your house sees that before they step foot outside of your house as a reminder as to who they are and what they stand for.

31


When Worry Takes Over By: Sue Cramer

To Get Things Brewing… What is your favorite flavor of ice-cream? What was the last birthday that you had a celebration for and what did you do? Is there anything you like to shop for online? What? Have you ever had a nickname? What was it and why? Devotion: Weeding a Garden Have you ever weeded a garden? Whether it’s flowers or vegetables it seems that the weeds just love to surround and overtake them. The weeds also seem to explode with growth about three times as fast as the plants that we’re trying to cultivate and grow. They also like to wrap themselves around the roots of the plants as an anchor while springing up higher than them to choke out the sunlight too. So we pull the weeds because if we don’t get rid of the weeds, we won’t have any flowers or vegetables at all. Jesus tells a story in Matthew 13 about a farmer who plants some seeds. Some fall among thorns that grow up and choke out the tender blades. Jesus tells us that the thorns represent cares and worries. I believe that “thorns” also represent problems in life. Fears and worries sprout up and try to choke out the simple faith that first brought me into a relationship with God. Just like the weeds in our gardens need to be pulled out to let our flowers bloom and thrive…the “weeds” of worry and fear in our life need to be rooted out of our lives so that we can become all that God wants us to be. Fear and worry can play havoc on our mind if we let them. God promises to give us peace and freedom but the enemy would love to keep us all bound up. Resting in a relationship with the Lord and learning about His love for us will help us live free from worry and fear.

Grace to Go… Are you a worrier by nature or do you tend to let things go easily? What are some of the fears and worries that have tried to choke out God’s plan in your life? How have you dealt with those fears? How does trusting God play a part in those fears?

An Extra Shot… Read the chapter of Matthew 6:25-34 and discuss how it applies to your life today. How do we “seek first the kingdom of God” today? 32


33


Inspiration from one of our hostesses, feel free to share with your groups…

Filter and Grind us Lord! By: Heather Clement You could also share this at one of your evenings, it was written by Heather Clement, one of our Praise and Coffee Night hostesses in New Hampshire: Now I love… LOVE, a good cup of coffee. I love the aroma, the warmth of the cup in my hands, and the taste as the richness makes its way into my system. But there’s something else. Even those who don’t drink coffee will not turn down an invitation to go out for coffee. They might drink a smoothie, or tea instead… but the words “let’s have coffee” seem to resonate with every woman I know. It’s like an invitation to linger… to spend time with one another and share our hopes, our dreams, and our fears. It’s as if the rat race of the rest of our lives stops for a little while and we just enjoy the friendship and time together. So I knew that I wanted to use coffee as a basis for this devotional, and the thing that kept coming into mind is the way we get that coffee in our cups. Now this is not all encompassing, and I’m sure there are dozens of other parallels that can be drawn here, but I wanted to break it down into a couple of simple ideas. First, I want us to take a look at the filter. Have you ever thought about the purpose of a coffee filter (other than keeping the grounds from getting into your cup and making it bitter)? I did a little research and learned something very interesting. Paper coffee filters remove oily components called diterpenes. These organic compounds, present in unfiltered coffee, appear to increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Thankfully, God has given us the filter of His Word. If we’ll let it, it can have a deep cleansing effect on us, catching the impurities (John 17:17). It is used to get us ready to be poured out in a way that honors Him (2 Tim. 3:16-17). How about the things that come out of our mouths? If we can pass our thoughts through the filter of His Word, then the garbage that comes from you and me, and from Satan, can be kept out, allowing truth and grace and mercy to flow (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Without this filter, we run the risk of spiritual sickness, and maybe even spreading those harmful components to others around us. I’m so thankful that God has given me His Word, and I’ve really been challenged this week to immerse myself in it more than I have been. Secondly, and I think this speaks to me even more, in order to be brewed, coffee beans have to be ground. You can’t just toss the beans into the basket and expect to get a delicious blend… you have to make sure they have been ground to just the right consistency… whether you buy them already ground, or use a grinder yourself. As I look back on difficult times in my life, I see the Lord as the Master Barista. He created me, and so He knows me better than anyone. He has a vision for the fragrance and taste my life can bring the body of Christ, as well as the world around me… and He knows what it’s going to take to produce that exact blend. I think the challenges that He allows into our lives are His way of grinding us… of getting us to a place of being not just useful, but flavorful.

34


2 Corinthians 2:14-16 – "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life." Aromas permeate. They linger. They reflect their source. When we allow the Master Barista to take us through the process of being ground to perfection, it’s not easy and it’s not fun (trust me, here), but it is necessary to become the women that He wants us to be. As we are tossed about in His hands, pressed down, rubbed up against challenging situations (and people), the parts of us that are getting in the way of our being used by Him are getting worn down… until we are in such a state that He can flow through us, extracting the very best to glorify His name and spread the fragrance of Christ to those who need to experience it so much. My prayer is that you – and I – would come to a place of really appreciating (and USING) the filter of God’s Word, and that we would welcome the grinding… keeping in mind that our Master Barista has a purpose in it, and that He knows exactly what we need in order to become the special blend that He designed us to be.

35


Q&A How do I become a Praise and Coffee hostess? When you are ready to start Praise and Coffee Nights, contact Ronel at: Ronel@PraiseAndCoffee.com and she will email you our leader form to fill out. How do I get on your mailing list? Email Ronel at: Ronel@PraiseAndCoffee.com and ask her to add you to our list! Do you offer any type of training? Yes, we are doing online webinars that you can attend live or watch after they air. The links are on our website. How often should I have a Praise and Coffee Night? That is completely up to you and your schedule. We encourage you hold them every other month because women are so busy and we don’t want Praise and Coffee to become a burden or just another obligation. Every other month seems to be a good way to ensure the women are ready for a night out but not over doing it.

Is there a charge to join the Praise and Coffee network of women? No, there is no charge. We plan to offer products/books in the future but you are not required to purchase anything to start Praise and Coffee Nights. Does Praise and Coffee have a 501c3 status? No, we do not offer tax-exempt giving.

Do we charge women to attend? No, we do not ever want women to have to pay to attend a Praise and Coffee Event. However, if there are costs incurred you can ask for donations to cover expenses but that will have to be handled individually by the hostess of the event. And we do not have a 501c3 tax status to use for tax free giving.

36


What is your YouTube channel? We’re so glad you asked! www.YouTube.com/praiseandcoffee What is your online radio channel? Again, we’re thrilled you asked! www.BlogTalkRadio.com/praiseandcoffee We hope to start doing more radio shows soon.

Do you have an online Facebook private group for Praise and Coffee Leaders? Yes we do! https://www.facebook.com/groups/191337294245279/ Feel free to request to join and we’ll add you!

What if my Praise and Coffee Night grows too big for my location? Well, this is a wonderful problem to have. It leaves you with a couple of choices; you can either find a bigger location or break the group down into smaller and more personal groups by encouraging women to start hosting their own groups. Some ladies choose a specific night to have several groups meeting in your area at different locations. If you choose to keep a larger group, we encourage you break the women into smaller groups for part of your evening and give them discussion questions to foster a more intimate evening.

Can we print this information or the Praise and Coffee Nights in a box and share them with our groups? Yes! As a Praise and Coffee hostess, you have permission to print any of the devotions that we have in this book at share them with the ladies at your Praise and Coffee event.

Can we get a copy of this ebook in print? Yes, it is available in print through MagCloud. See our website for that information. 37


Promoting Your Praise and Coffee Night Facebook Facebook has become a way of life for most of us so why not use it to tell friends about your event? It is a great way to invite friends, keep track of attendees and send messages or updates about your Praise and Coffee event. You can create an event right from your Facebook page and invite any or all of your friends to it. Instructions to create an event on Facebook: * click event on left side of Facebook home page * click create event * Input event name: Praise and Coffee ~ (your) City, State * Date and time/ location with address/ details * Click select guests and add the friends that you want to invite * Add Picture/ feel free to grab a picture or logo from Praise and Coffee Nights Facebook Page (https:// www.facebook.com/praiseandcoffee) * Click create event to publish and promote * be sure to post a link to your event on our FB page! www.facebook.com/praiseandcoffee

Meetup Everywhere Meetup Everywhere is an open and free internet platform for encouraging Meetups everywhere about all different events... so why not Praise and Coffee Nights (mornings, afternoons or naptime, too)?! www.meetup.com/Praise-and-Coffee/ * Click one of the cities * click join and suggest a new meetup * enter info for your next Praise and Coffee Event to maximize outreach to your city!

38


Twitter If you are on Twitter, it can be a great way to share your event with others and create buzz about Praise and Coffee Nights and possibly encourage others to start them in their communities too! After creating your event in Facebook and/or Meetup tweet about your event. Be sure to use hashtag #pcnight whenever you talk about your event on twitter.

Praise and Coffee Website We also want to put your event on our main website at www.PraiseAndCoffee.com. When you are ready to schedule your event, email Ronel@PraiseAndCoffee.com and let her know, she will get all the information and we will let our readers know!

39


Growing everyday!! These are the states where Praise and Coffee Nights have been hosted so far, many of these states have several groups. A list of current events is on our website. www.PraiseAndCoffee.com

Plus Australia & Africa!

Check out our online magazine for more info and inspirational stories of real women just like you!

40

How Anyone Can Start a Praise and Coffee Night  

A fresh approach to women's ministry that is sweeping across the nation. Learn how to start one in your community!

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you