Next month we are celebrating Easter with our April 2020 Sweet Scripture Writing Plan. Join us as we reflect on Christ who became flesh, lived the perfect life, died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, was raised on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.
Paula shared the vision and mission of Sweet Monday and introduced listeners to our 25th Anniversary participation project, Project Cupcake.
You can listen to the interview below or click here to hear the full episode.
It was six years ago today that Sweet Monday founder, Kim Newlen, went to be with the Lord. Kim was an encouragement to everyone she touched. However, I’m sure if you ever told her that she would not have taken credit, but instead she would have pointed you to the “Best Encourager”. Below is a devotion written by Kim Newlen and published in The One Year Sweet and Simple Moments with God Devotional.
This is my command— be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
God doesn’t want us to be discouraged, but sometimes it happens. On those mornings when I wake up feeling discouraged, I ask Him to encourage me and to give me courage for that day. I know that my Father always knows best and He wants to lift my heavy heart.
Encourage simply means “to give courage to.” God gives courage to my heart when I open His Word and hear Him speak. For the longest time I thought He spoke only to the important people in church— the pastors, the evangelists, the Sunday school teachers, and the Bible study leaders. I did not know that our big God would talk to little me straight from His Word. When I began going to Him every morning with my Bible in hand, I started to hear His voice resonate in my heart and soul.
Spending time in God’s Word is no longer just a morning check- off on my to- do list. It is a way of life. I do not want to miss anything He has to say to me. If I take time to reflect on His words, an interesting thing happens— those words follow me around throughout the day. I find if I get dressed and get my shoes on before I meet with Him, I am out the door. But when I let the dishes soak a little longer and keep my bedroom slippers on, it forces me to slow down and park myself in His Word. He gives me courage by His Spirit, encouragement that will overflow to others. He is the best Encourager there is.
Let’s park ourselves in His presence as much as we can. Even in the midst of our long to- do lists, we need to listen to God and be encouraged!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
This past week a sweet couple from the church where I work bought me lunch. It was sesame chicken from a local Chinese restaurant. Inside the brown paper bag that held my meal was a fortune cookie. I love fortune cookies, not because I believe they are accurate, but because I find them humorous and usually over the top. This one did not disappoint. It read, “Your life will be happy and peaceful.”
As I thought about these words on that little slip of paper, I wondered how other people might describe a happy and peaceful life. They might say it’s a life without physical or emotional pain. Some might describe it as a life where you never experience loss and always have more than you need. Others might say a happy and peaceful life is a life without suffering.
As a Christian, I am faced with the reality that we live in a broken world because of sin. The idea of a life this side of heaven that is free of suffering is just not realistic. Surely, if we live long enough we will face loss, heartache, disappointment, rejection, financial burdens and even physical pain. This brokenness is evident in our relationships with others and in the state of the world around us.
But there is good news! It is possible to experience joy and peace in a broken world, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your current situation. Instead it has everything to do with what has been done for you.
In John 16, Jesus knew he was going to be crucified. He warned His disciples that they were going to experience grief. However, Jesus also knew that three days after His death He would rise from the dead, defeating sin and death for all who believed in Him. Because of this, he then told His disciples not to worry because their grief would turn to joy and in Him they could have peace.
Joy and peace are available to all who believe. It doesn’t mean we won’t experience pain and suffering in this life, but it does mean we will not be defeated by that pain and suffering. Instead, we will take heart and look to the One who has overcome the world.
New Hostesses – In 2019 Sweet Monday welcomed 22 new hostesses in the following locations:
- Apollo Beach, FL
- Hobe Sound, FL
- Keystone Heights, FL
- Miami, FL
- Portage, MI
- Starkville, MS
- Chapel Hill, NC
- Greenville, SC
- Greenwood, SC
- Simpsonville, SC
- Summerville, SC
- Chattanooga, TN
- Cleveland, TN
- Kingsport, TN
- Allen, TX
- Kirbyville, TX
- Williamsburg, VA
- Cheyenne, WY
- Lagos, Nigeria
Sweet Monday Hostess Retreat – In March 2019, through the support of our generous God givers, we held our first Sweet Monday Hostess Retreat at Birdsong Lodge in Ashland City, Tennessee. Our hostesses were connected and encouraged by the community of women and fellow servants that God had assembled through Sweet Monday.
Sweet Scripture Writing – In July 2019, we started a quarterly Sweet Scripture Writing Plan. Over 300 people have signed up to receive our FREE Scripture Writing Plans. Sign up to receive our January 2020 Sweet Scripture Writing Plan Here.
2019 Board Retreat – In September, our Sweet Monday Board and staff members, comprised of 10 women from Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee, met for 4 days and 3 nights at a beautiful home on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina to seek God’s heart for this ministry. We also discussed and prepared for our 25th anniversary in 2020.
New Staff – In March 2019, Sweet Monday added a new Part-time Director of Communications and Outreach to oversee all Sweet Monday communication. This includes social media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – and unique content for our hostesses – training materials, ideas and new volumes. Volume 6 was completed earlier this month.
Thank you for your support of Sweet Monday. If you would like to learn more about ways to be on mission, reaching women for Christ one sweet invitation at a time, we invite you to Host, Participate and/or Donate.
“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV)
For as long as I can remember, I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television with my dad. As a child, he would always make sure I was up when it came on. Now as an adult, I text him to let him know I’m watching and to make sure he’s watching too. And this year I experienced a “proud mama” moment when my 7-year-old daughter said to me with excitement in her voice, “we get to watch the parade next week!”
I enjoy every part of the parade – the Broadway shows, the celebrities, the floats and the giant balloons. As an adult, watching the parade brings back so many memories of my childhood that I can’t help but get a little teary eyed. It’s embarrassing to admit, but by the time the last float is in sight and the announcers says, “Here comes Santa, ushering in the official start to the Christmas season,” I’m boohooing and trying to pull myself together.
As a follower of Christ, I am reminded of another parade, a triumphal procession that He is leading. My love for parades has made these verses particularly special and visual to me. Since seven years ago when I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord of my life, I have had the pleasure of getting to walk in this beautiful procession. God has allowed me to use the talents and time that He has given me to serve the local church and other Christ-centered ministries. As a Sweet Monday hostess, He has given me the opportunity to serve my neighbors with hospitality. Through all of these things I have had the sweet pleasure of witnessing lives changed by spreading the aroma of Christ.
I am thankful and grateful that He has given me these opportunities. However, when I get to the end of verse 16, I am tempted to raise my hand and shout, “not me,” when He asks, “And who is adequate for such a task as this?” I don’t know about you, but often I am overwhelmed by what God calls me to do, and I know if I were asked to do these tasks in my own strength, I would fail miserably. Then I am reminded, I am not alone, but it is God who is leading me and through His Holy Spirit He equips me for the task at hand. That question is a reminder to me that only God is adequate so I should pause and ask Him for His strength because He who calls me is faithful (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Now THAT is something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!