Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal September 8, 2011

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 4:26 pm

Recently I just completed Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal. The book was chosen as a staff read so I was eager to get started on the next book we would be discussing and digesting together. I have read two other books by Reggie McNeal so I knew I was going to be in for something good. The last two books that I had read by him where about personal leadership, so this book was a totally different direction then what I am used to Reggie taking. It was a good direction. It was a very forward thinking direction. It overwhelmed my brain and really caused me to think and evaluate. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to be apart of what God is doing now. It’s about being the church, not just going to church. A big cultural shift is occurring and we (being the church) need to open our eyes so we don’t miss out on the exciting opportunities that are before us.

The tagline for Missional Renaissance was “changing the scoreboard for the church.” What we’ve been doing and how we’ve been doing it no longer the cutting when it comes to reaching out and impacting our communities. I loved the focus that Reggie has in getting out  into the community and being the church right where we are at. It’s about helping people to see that ministry happens beyond the walls of the church. It’s a retraining to show Christ Followers that they have the greatest missions field at their place of work or in their kid’s school. It’s not about doing more church stuff. It’s about being the church where you are at and serving the community.

One thought that was carried throughout the book was being intentional agents for blessing the community wherever we are at and in whatever we are doing. As the church, we are God’s hands and feet to bless. We can join in His plan to bless the world. That’s the plan that He set in motion when He showed Abraham all those stars in Genesis 12. God told Abraham that He would bless the nations through Abraham’s descendants. This promise led to the nation of Israel, which lead to Jesus, which lead to us the Gentiles having a position of adoption into God’s family. Now we are the continuation of the promise to bless all nations.

Reggie has very practical shifts listed in the book. These changes look different in each church and each community, but we know that in order to be missional we need to change and update the way things have always been done. We need to stop being so program oriented and focus more on people and true relationship. We need to stop looking at attendance and offering as health signs for a church. The numbers we focus on might change from attendance to how many volunteer hours have been spent in the community. Instead of focusing on how many programs we can offer the focus becomes how many people are experiencing life change.  The book is full of thought-provoking shifts that will help the church reach missional health.

Missional Renaissance wasn’t always an easy read. It caused me to think long and hard about what the church is currently doing and what the future of the church looks like. Now as one person, it’s hard for me to truly think through the revamping of an entire church culture, but I do know that change starts with me. This book gave me eyes to see what I can do now, what I can do today to be more missional. When my change meets up with others who share a vision for God’s work in the world, then I know that we can go far to make sure the church is really being the church. It’s a group effort! I’m on board with figuring out how this all works out off the page and into real life.

 

When Biscuits Abound September 6, 2011

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 7:45 pm

Through a strange turn of events, my husband and I ended up with quite a bit of refrigerated biscuit dough. Now in my eyes, this is not a problem because I love biscuits. I think they are amazing! However, with all this dough, I wanted to find creative new ways of using apart from biscuits and jam or biscuits and gravy.

I set off with a goal to find a new way of preparing biscuits. I figured I would explore a source that knows biscuits well. I ended up at http://www.pillsbury.com. This was a very fascinating experience for me. Let me just say, they have some awesome biscuit recipes, but they also have so much more than I expected on their website. I looked over quite possibly 30+ recipes while drooling and giving Jeremy my positive feedback on how yummy looking they all seemed to be.

I decided on two recipes. One I would use for dinner and the other I would use for dessert. I have recently decided that I wan to learn to cook more than just mac and cheese. Jeremy and I have set aside time for a weekly date night and every other one will be spent at home (because going out every week really adds up). On these nights where we stay home, we’ve decided to cook something new together. I figured cooking together sounded like a great shared interest… it’s food, we both love food! I got to pick the menu for this date night and I know it’s super simple – but remember I have a ton of biscuit dough in my fridge and I’m trying to use an ingredient we have a ton of. Jeremy has decided for our next cooking experiment we’re going to be making our own pasta and pasta sauce. He is like Food Network and I’m like… there is no comparison. He has high standards, I just want to learn more!

The recipe I chose for dinner was a turkey and cheese panini. I chose this recipe for two reasons – 1) I know Jeremy loves paninis and 2) I got to use the George Foreman Grill for the 1st time. I was already expanding my culinary skills by using a new appliance. The recipe called for Pillsbury Grands, but I had the jumbo flaky biscuits in mass supply. I was a little nervous that the difference in the two biscuits would be a big deal, but it wasn’t. The thing I loved about the grilled paninis was how quick they were to make on the George Foreman. I also love how thin the biscuits baked up and the crunch of the outer layer.

For dessert I picked a lemon-blueberry shortcake. We have a ton of blueberries at our home thanks to my in-laws. Again, I was trying to use ingredients that I have a lot of around my house. The lemon part of the shortcake is a combination of lemon peel, lemon yogurt, and whipped topping. It was truly amazing! Seriously, Jeremy licked his plate! The biscuits went great with the lemon whipped topping and the fresh blueberries. Jeremy even suggested baking the blueberries into the biscuits next time to add another layer to the dessert.

Overall, the first cooking experiments went very well. It wasn’t high class or gourmet, but I had a lot of fun using ingredients that I had in bulk around my house and trying something new. I found that just the experience of looking for the recipes was fun and I’m every excited to try our next cooking experiment together!

Turkey and Cheese Paninis

1 can refrigerated biscuits (the recipe calls from Grands, I used jumbo flaky)

1/2 lb. thinly sliced deli turkey

5-8 slices of Colby-Jack cheese

Heat closed medium-sized contact grill for 5 minutes (or in my case – when the ready light goes off). Pull each biscuit apart into 2 layers. Press each layer into 5-inch rounds (we used a rolling pin to help in this process). Place 2 rounds on grill at a time; close grill. Cook about 1 minute or until lightly brown. Remove from grill; layer turkey and cheese on rounds. Top with remaining rounds. Place 2 at a time on grill; close grill. Cook 1-2 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Makes 8 (or 5 depending on which biscuit dough you use). 300 calories a panini.

Lemon-Blueberry Short Cakes

2 Flaky Layers Biscuits

Filling – 1/4 cup lemon burst yogurt, 1/4 cup reduced fat whipped topping, 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 to 2 teaspoons powdered sugar.

Heat oven to 350F. Bake biscuits as directed on package. Place on plate. Cool in refrigerator 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together yogurt, whipped topping, and lemon peel. To serve, split shortcakes; fill with blueberries and yogurt mixture. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Make 2 servings. 260 calories a serving.

 

One Thousand Gifts Challenge Update 3 September 4, 2011

Filed under: One Thousand Gifts Challenge — Amy Scott @ 4:28 pm

Just last night I started to reread One Thousand Gifts. I’m very serious about making the most out of this book and out this challenge to see and document 1,000 gifts.  As I’ve been making my gift list, I can see patterns and I’m noticing my personality really shows up in the things I tend to view as gifts. So far there a lot of food items, things that smell good and things related to cleaning on my list. Its makes me chuckle. I do realize that each new day brings new gifts, but at some point, I’m going to have to see beyond all the fluffy gifts and start seeing the gifts in the not so fun parts of life. It’s harder to claim those gifts. I know they are there, but do I want to see them? I hope I do. I’m challenging myself to look for them with my eyes wide open.

As I was reading One Thousand Gifts today, Ann was writing about thankfulness and how it really is at the core of truly living. The focus on thankfulness brought an interesting insight to my mind. I can write out 1,000 gifts and not be thankful for them. Isn’t that crazy? I can make this giant list of things I view as gifts and not truly thank God for giving me these gifts. I view it much like a young child at a birthday party. I can get caught up raving about the gifts that I forget to thank the Gift Giver. This challenge isn’t for me to see 1,000 that make me happy or 1,000 things that I like. This is about changing the perspective of my heart to see God in all things. It’s about opening my eyes and seeing His activity in every element of my life. Today I am reminded that I still need to say thank you even if I am writing down these good gifts. I don’t want to assume that God knows I’m thankful. For my own soul, I need to verbalize my thanks and say it out loud. I can see the gifts, but I need to remember the whole purpose of this is the see the Gift Giver, not the gifts.

 

Mentoring Matters September 3, 2011

Filed under: Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 10:22 am

Mentoring is one of the most important things that I can invest my time in. It’s become a deep passion of mine over the years and I am so blessed by each of the relationships I have in my life that offer mentoring opportunities. Each is different and each is a gift from God. Mentoring colors my life and brings so much joy and yes, sometimes much pain. Even when it seems like a roller coaster, I know God values the work of mentoring and can use all things for His glory.

Mentoring for me started in high school. At that time, I had some great mentors in my life and they really showed me how valuable mentoring is. Without those leaders I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They would listen to me as I poured out my heart. They offered wisdom to my tough my tough decisions and were prayer partners with me. I knew that I could come to them about anything and that they would be there for me. Also in high school, I had a strong group of friends and I would say we had a relationship of peer mentoring. We encouraged each other and held each accountable for our words and actions. These friends in my life were strong influences for good and I know that their support also shaped my character.

After high school, I started to see ways that I could become a mentor and bless others as I had been blessed. I started teaching in children’s ministry. At that time it was a 3rd/4th grade group of girls. I was really nervous about if I was cut out to teach to kids. It turn out I ended up falling in love with that class of girls. The relationships that I built with that class is still strong. Those girls are entering their junior year of high school and I’m still in touch with many of them on a regular basis. Mentoring is a relationship that isn’t measured by a certain time or teaching obligation. Just because a student moves up from my class doesn’t meant that my relationship with them is cut off because they are too old now. The most rewarding relationships I have in my life are with students that I have maintained friendships with years after they have moved out of my classroom.

Mentoring looks different with each relationship. A lot of times, it’s a meal out, a stop at Starbucks, or a movie night. In fact, just this week I had two students over for one last movie night before school starts. These lovely ladies will be starting their freshmen year of high school next week. One of them, I used to baby-sit when she was three! Movie nights are a fun time for us to just hang out, but I find that the car rides from their house to my house and back, hold powerful times to catch up on what’s going on their lives and the issues they are facing. I know I can’t solve their problems, but they know that I am a listening ear and I will be praying them.

Now mentoring isn’t professional counseling. It’s not all talking about issues and working through problems. In fact, I would say most of my mentoring relationships just revolve around having fun together and staying up to date on each others lives. It’s the consistency in relationship that allows people to feel comfortable sharing the hard stuff when it comes. If I never hung out with my girls then they wouldn’t feel like they could trust me when stuff did come up. Mentoring is also just living a consistent life of character and integrity. I’m human and they all know that. I don’t pretend to be perfect. I do, however, want to model what living my faith looks like. I want to be a good example so that they don’t just learn from my words, but more importantly from my actions.

Finally, I find the best way for me to be a mentor is have a mentor. I need people in my life who can speak to my joys and sorrows. I need people who I can be honest with and I can have fun and laugh with. I’m very lucky to have a couple ladies in my life who I know love me and care for me. I can be real with them and they will not judge me. They are here for me to see me grow. I also still have some of those peer mentors from high school in my life. We’ve grown into adulthood and now have different lives in different locations, but our friendships are still strong. Their voice is my life is still very important and valuable. I’m blessed to be loved and in turn have the opportunity to love and pour into the next generation. It’s seriously the most rewarding thing I do!

 

Hello September! September 1, 2011

Filed under: Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 1:58 pm

I will make a confession – I do not view my seasons properly… They always seem to start in my find at the first of the month, not until the 21st… Fall for me is September through November, Winter for me is December through February, Spring for me is March through May and then Summer is June through August. None of this waiting until September 21st – today is my first day of Fall! I can’t help it!

Fall is my favorite season and I’ve been waiting with much anticipation for September to start. I’m beyond excited at the moment. This morning I woke up and it was cold and foggy outside. It has since cleared off to sunshine, but this what I love about September. Cool in the mornings, warm in the afternoons. I love the fact that it gets darker earlier (come December, I won’t be so happy about that, but for right now it’s a sign of fall and any sign of fall is welcome in my book)!

This is the time of year full of excitement for what’s to come. As a teacher at my church, I get to look forward to the kids moving up to new grades and new classes starting. This Wednesday will be my first class with my new 5th/6th graders and I am jazzed about getting another year underway. I’ve gone through all the classrooms and resupplied them. I’ve made sure they are tidy and ready for the new classes that are going to take place there. A lot of preparation goes into the fall transition at church and now it is the time where all the preparation becomes reality. There is a buzz and excitement that come with a new school year.

This September is also very special to me because I have a trip planned to spend a week in Chicago. This isn’t just any trip, for me it’s a family reunion. My parents, Jeremy and I, and April and Andrew (my sister and brother-in-law) will all be together again. We dropped April and Andrew off in Kansas at the end of May. Getting to be with my entire family again will be huge blessing and one that I’m looking forward to eagerly! It will be cool to explore a new city, but the time spent with family I’m sure will be the highlight of my trip and most likely the highlight of month!

As you can tell, I’m glad that September is here. I’m ready for another season. I’m ready to see what God has in store for the next few months of my life. I have a feeling it’s going to be good. I’m now at 200+ gifts in my one thousand gift challenge. I’m about to reread the book and make sure that the themes of it are cemented in my heart. I know that God has heart change in store for me. I’m sure that pushing through some of the barriers will be difficult, but I’m really hoping and praying for my life to be changed as I open my eyes and see my life with a different perspective.

In closing, I would just like to say that tomorrow I plan on pulling out my fall decorations. I love having the orange, yellow and brown hues all around me this time of year. Jeremy is hopeful our pumpkins will be ready soon – especially my jack-be-littles and the baby boos. I love mini-pumpkins! They will go all over my house and office! I changed all the Scentsy warmers in my house to smell like cider and I’ve had apple spice pancakes with apple butter twice in the last week! The sights and smells of fall are here and I say welcome!