Priscilla Shirer – Beyond Beyond!

psl - church signI still remember what I was doing that beautiful Spring morning (April 2013) when I “got the call” from Lifeway! “Hello, Jan? Would Second Baptist Church Warner Robins, Georgia, be available as a host site for a Priscilla Shirer Live Conference in 2014? ” Let me think….YES! I had been working in my garden and I was taking a little break to drive around our pond in my golf cart.  I nearly drove the cart into the pond with excitement as I called to share the news with my friend and women’s ministry team partner, Cindy Schult. I even asked her if she was sitting down! Our team had been praying for a couple of years about hosting an event and the time finally came when we decided it was time to move on…God’s timing is always perfect. What seemed a long time away from the call actually occurred last weekend (August 22-23, 2014) as 2,000 women gathered to worship together and hear the teaching of one of God’s gifted servants, Mrs. Priscilla Evans Shirer.

I wanted to give a recap here and also share what a joyous journey it was for me, Cindy Schult and Teresa Thomas, women’s ministry leaders from Second Baptist.  Our Lifeway Coordinator for the conference was Tammy Slayton, and we loved her within 3 minutes of our first meeting. (I can’t say enough about how wonderful every single aspect was for our team. Lifeway was a JOY in every way!) Cindy is a woman of  great detail and handled every detail to the fullest. Teresa was our Prayer Coordinator and she was amazing. Her weekly prayer updates were a highlight for me and many others. I’ll never forget the night we met to pray over every seat in our church! We also had two young women, Kala Raines and Lindsey Myers who helped with all things social media and Google docs.  Love those two girls!!! Many many many of our ladies served in so many ways – hospitality, food service, encouragers, bookstore, and on and on.  God knows who they are and I pray He rewards them for their faithfulness to serve.

PSL - full house

All the tickets were GONE several months before the event, so Lifeway asked if we could seat women in the choir! YES! This is a view from the choir loft. (Our awesome photographer was Keith Thomas, husband to our prayer coordinator Teresa.)

PSL - team

We had a sweet time of fellowship with Priscilla during the break Saturday morning. She is so kind and genuine. She even expressed how at home she felt among us and she loved the diversity of the women attending the conference!  We loved on Priscilla and showed her true Southern hospitality! (That’s Cindy and me standing, and Teresa, Priscilla, and our pastor’s wife Stephanie seated.) 

PSL - Anthony

I love this picture so much! Priscilla also enjoyed the worship led by her brother Anthony Evans.  My favorite song of his was “The Mercy Tree.” His energy in leading worship was contagious – it was so awesome to hear 2000 women singing praises to Jesus!

Me and Priscilla - first arrivedHere’s me and sweet Priscilla right as the event was beginning Friday  night! She is adorable. Look at that smile!

psl - from sound boothHere’s a view from the lighting booth way up high that my friend Amy Yaughn took. I loved seeing the church “full to the brim” with women praising and praying together.

Priscilla shared “THE FIVE P’s OF BIBLE STUDY” Saturday morning.  She uses this as she studies the Word of God for herself and in her devotional time as well.  Here they are:

1. POSITION yourself to hear from God.

2. PORE over the passage and PARAPHRASE the major points.

3. PULL out the spiritual principles.

4. POSE the questions. 

5. PLAN obedience and PIN down the date. 

Here are also some “nuggets” that I wrote in my notes:

  • God does not just speak to be heard, He speaks to be obeyed.
  • God’s sovereignty allows us to be in the place where He can use us and show us His power.
  • God Margins: the space between my experience and His majesty!
  • The enemy tries to keep us from what God has for us because He knows our position in Christ.
  • Fear causes us to forget the faithfulness of God.
  • The enemy can’t form the weapon if we don’t hand it to him.
  • From Exodus 14:13-14 ~
  •      BE FEARLESS – do not engage in fear in any way
  •      BE STILL – plant your feet – stand firm
  •      BE WATCHFUL – see the salvation of the Lord all along the journey
  •      BE QUIET – train yourself not to open your mouth in complaint

There are dozens more pictures and comments on the Priscilla Shirer Live Warner Robins Facebook page!  Click on this link to see them: PSL – WARNER ROBINS

I am so thankful to the Good Lord for allowing me to be a part of this event and to serve the women who attended.  I pray still that lives,  homes, marriages, and families will be impacted for eternity as a result!  

Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations,
forever and ever. Amen.

GRANJAN

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My Story – Blessed Assurance – Jesus is Mine!

Today is the 29th anniversary of the day I became a believer in Jesus Christ (July 7, 1985). One of my sweetest memories is the day my Granny Maloy shared her story of salvation with me – so today I am re-posting from my blog archives below where I wrote “my story” five years ago on July 7, 2009. I want my grandchildren (and everyone who will) to be able to read about the day Gran Jan met Jesus. Because I love to tell this story…

Jan Morton

Please let me share the wonderful day that Heaven Came Down for me! It was 24 years ago today, on July 7, 1985. I was 27 years old…a young minister’s wife and stay-at-home-mother to two little boys who were not quite one year old, and not quite four years old, and the absolute joys of my heart. Here is my story… It was a Sunday morning and our routine was the same. As was his custom, my early-bird husband was already long gone to the church, and I was home getting myself and my two little fellas ready for church. Another “sameness” to the routine was the nagging doubt that had filled my heart for quite some time. I knew deep inside that something was just not right. My heart was heavy and unsettled. I was lacking peace…but I had lots of pride. After years of being a church member and A.G.G. (Always Good Girl), the realization that I was trusting my goodness and not His grace were ever before me. For you see – I had never seen myself as lost. To be found you must first be lost. I was a card-carrying, rule-following, obedient hypocrite. But on that hot summer day of July 7th as the Sunday morning service was nearing an end, I could take it no more! The plagues of doubt were destroying me…but the Holy Spirit of God reached down that morning and brought the deliverance I was desperate for. I quickly slipped out of the choir and made my way to the front of the church. I took the Pastor by the hand. I told him that I had been going through the motions – and that I had never truly accepted the atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for my sins. I had lots of “cranial” knowledge but no “cardio” knowledge. My head was full – my heart was empty! The surprised Pastor told me to have a seat on the pew and fill out a card to “join the church!” I gently told him that was what had gotten me off track years before…and this time I wasn’t joining the church, I was joining with Jesus! I turned aside and knelt down at the altar of that precious church and for the first time in my life realized my lost soul needed a Savior – a Redeemer – not a religious experience. I remember praying and asking Jesus to forgive me and come into my heart. My heavy heart was lightened, and the pride in “what would the church members say when they discovered the Music & Youth Pastor’s wife wasn’t even a Christian?” would worry me no more! Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! There’s an old hymn of the same title by J.W. Peterson that I absolutely love. Go here Heaven Came Down to listen to the festive melody that reminds me of a carousel at the fair!

1. Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend, He met the need of my heart. Shadows dispelling, with joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Chorus: Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! When at the cross the Savior made me whole. My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day. Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

2. Born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine.
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love, O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came.
Took of the offer, of grace He did proffer,
He saved me, O praise His dear name!

3. Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure after the passing of time.
I have a future in heaven for sure there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day, when at the cross I believed.
Riches eternal and blessings supernal, from His precious hand I received.

So on this my Spiritual Birthday, I wanted to share my joy with you. The joy of knowing Jesus and the blessed assurance that it isn’t about what I do – but about what He did! It isn’t about my works, but the wondrous exchange of His death for my life! Born on November 16…Born Again on July 7! (Pastor’s wives make such better church members when they get saved!) :)

Because He Lives,

GRANJAN

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Anniversary Week & Blackberry Cobbler Too!

It’s been a great week – Gary and I celebrated 37 years of marriage this past Wednesday on June 11th.  I’m thankful for my sweet husband…for the way he leads and loves. I had no idea as a young 19-year-old bride what a great man he was. I just knew I loved him and wanted to be his wife. God in His great plan for me unfolded a happy home that now includes two sons, two daughters-in-love, and five amazing grandchildren.  All because two young people fell in love and got married.  Here we are…about to begin our journey.  We’d only just begun…  I wish you could see Gary’s baby blue leisure suit because it matched the baby blue Pinto car.  He was also very proud of his white patent leather boots that matched his wide white belt.  And the platform wedge shoes I had on? They are back in style today!

PINTO

Today before church the discussion turned to cobblers as a group of us ladies were in the choir room.  Some of us cook the fruit, some don’t, some of us sweeten the fruit, some don’t.  All I know is last night I made a blackberry cobbler that my husband told me was the BEST I HAD EVER MADE! So I wanted to share my recipe that happens to be the way my mama and my Granny also made cobblers.  Starting with these beautiful berries right from my garden sure was wonderful!

Blackberries

BowlofBerries

I have posted my recipe for CHOCOLATE COBBLER on my blog as well as my recipe for PEACH COBBLER if you want to see those recipes.  The blackberry cobbler recipe below is identical to the peach cobbler recipe, but I didn’t take pictures while making it last night as our “Father’s Day Celebration” grew and Gran Jan had to hurry! [First it was just me and Gary and my mom and dad.  Then my younger sister Jo called and had a change of plans, so she came.  Next we heard from our son Jonathan and he and his wife and two children came, so the party of four quickly turned into a party of 9!]  It was great except for I sure missed my Cartersville Crew…

BLACKBERRY COBBLER

9 x 13 casserole dish
4 cups of fresh berries
4 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 stick of butter
1 cup of self-rising flour
1 cup of milk (not skim)
1 cup of sugar
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Rinse berries and put in pan on stove with water and sugar to make a simple syrup.
Bring to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Melt 1 stick of butter and pour in casserole dish.
I use a wire whisk and mix sugar and self-rising flour well, then add the milk.
Whisk sugar, flour and milk until creamy and pour over butter.
DO NOT STIR!
Now ladle the cooked berries over the batter so they are evenly placed.
DO NOT STIR!
Slide into pre-heated oven and bake until bubbly and browned (about 45 minutes).
Serve warm topped with vanilla ice cream.
This has been a great weekend that began Saturday morning with coffee on the front porch and ended this evening with sitting in the swing by the pond while Gary fished a bit off the bank. There was also blackberry cobbler making, an awesome time of worship at church, playing with grandkids, honoring my dad and husband for Father’s Day today, and even weeding the garden!  Life’s simple pleasures really are the best, so don’t forget that vanilla ice cream on the cobbler… 
GRANJAN
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May 2014 Memories

The past month has been so very busy – and as I’ve so often done in the past on my blog, I’m going to let my pictures tell the story. I really am a visual learner – and this is confirmed in my preference of sharing pictures. I see and I read and I remember…and I don’t want to forget any of these wonderful spring memories!  Because my people are my heart…

Family heartI had a great time last month with a dear co-worker and friend, Sharon Riley.  We spent a beautiful afternoon at Callaway Gardens, Georgia. While there we took in the “Birds of Prey” show.  I had an “up close and personal” encounter with a Great Horned Owl.  It was glorious.  The trainer even came up and asked me I was okay after the talons of the owl touched the top of my head as it flew over.  I told her I wasn’t fine…I was marvelous.  It was thrilling.  Look at the wingspan of this beautiful owl!  And the very next week on my drive in to work, I saw one in a tree as I drove…double delight.

owl

Two of my grandchildren are both four years old, Madie and Jackson are cousins exactly two weeks apart.  More double delight!  Madie is the oldest and she had a “princess party.”  She told me she was actually the Queen.  Indeed.  I made a shirt for her to wear.  All the little girls wore purple princess capes that Madie’s materal grandmother made.  It was quite the event.  She is quite the Queen…of our hearts.

Madie - crown

Madie-collage

Jackson had a “Grand Prix” tractor-truck-car birthday party.  All the children brought their little cars.  It was a FUN time for all!  It was here at the Morton farm with lots of space to drive.  My daughter-in-law even made “roads” for the children to follow.  It was a great theme and the adults had as much fun as the children.

Jackson-bday party

I also made a shirt in honor of Jackson’s fourth birthday. He loves orange and Gran Jan was happy to comply.  He is a precious boy and we love him so much too!

Jackson- 4

Jackson-collage

Sweet notes of love from my boys for Mother’s Day. They are both fine men, respected in their work, genuine and kind. Being a mom to Jeremy and Jonathan is pure JOY to me. I am so thankful and this right here holds true for me…

love you mom

My grandson Zeke graduated from Pre-K a couple of weeks ago. It was a great time! He sang his heart out, and I can honestly say it was one of the sweetest children’s programs I have ever attended. My son and his wife, and my husband Gary and I were so proud of him that our hearts were about to burst.  He has brought so much JOY to this Gran Jan and is the reason this whole blog began for me…  Great things ahead for this little fella – he has a heart for God.

Zeke - graduation

I was able to keep my youngest little grandson for a couple of nights and my JOY was full as he napped in the same baby bed as his daddy. I am such a softie when it comes to things like that.  Traditions, family legacy, God’s goodness.

Abe-happyAbe-babybed

My oldest son and his wife celebrated TEN YEARS of marriage in May also! Talk about family legacy, love, and the JOY of life. I am the most blessed mother-in-law.  My two girls love my sons and are awesome mommas to our 5 grandchildren.  You can’t put a price on any of these gifts from God!  I made a scrapbook for them of their dating, engagement, rehearsal dinner and wedding.  I know the grandchildren will love seeing the foundation of faith into which they were born. More gifts of God’s grace to us! My youngest and his wife will celebrate SIX YEARS next week. 

10 years

Fun times abound around blueberry time here at the farm and the early varieties are bearing beautifully. Blue bounty for sure. The kids love running in and out of the blueberries with me close behind reminding the little ones, “only pick the blue ones, the blue ones, the blue ones…leave the green ones.”  Who knew this would become such a fun tradition that cold day my husband and I planted those 20 bushes?

blueberry garden

The Jasmine and petunias are so pretty right now too.  The petunias are from my maternal Grandmother.  They re-seed and are an old-fashioned variety that smell so good.  I love that connection to my grandmother.  She was a green-thumb girl and I always say I inherited my love for gardening from her. The jasmine over our porch swings is an annual delight in May. Sweet.

petuniasjasmine

I love sewing for these two little granddaughters.  They have brought a tenderness to me and my husband that we didn’t experience because we raised boys! We are so thankful to have these littles girlies in our lives…we enjoyed some time on the swing during Jackson’s birthday party a couple of weekends ago.

grandgirls

Just today I made this little outfit for Emery (Miss Hollywood above).  She is a sweetheart and also spent the night here at the farm this past weekend.  For one who is especially attached to her momma and daddy…she never once mentioned them! I love it – she was happy happy happy with Pop and Gran Jan.

Emery-capris

Pop and I love our family. We literally share with each other EVERY DAY about how thankful and blessed we are.  We count our blessings. We keep God’s goodness ever in front of us as reminders of His love and faithfulness.  There is nothing sweeter than getting a grandchild to sleep and then holding him in your arms. Gary got Abe to sleep during Zeke’s graduation and by the smile on Pop’s face, he was enjoying the sweetness.

Pop and Abe

These FIVE grandbabies (5 1/2,  4, 4, 20 months and 9 months) are a source of great JOY and they also bring a great sense of accountability to me. I want to stay by the stuff, live strong, and show them all what it means to be a Christ-follower. I want them to know that Gran Jan believed what she lived and that Jesus is everything.

5 grands

This quote helps me.  Sometimes I’m so busy thinking ahead, planning ahead, and being ahead that I can miss the moments that count every day.  Chasing grandyounguns through the blueberries, blowing bubbles for Jackson and Madie to jump and pop, reading to Zeke, playing with Emery, rocking Abe…quiet times in my sewing room and in my garden.  Long conversations over coffee while sitting in the swing by the pond with my sweet man. Those are the gifts I cherish – that keep me centered.  Faith and family.

May 2014 has been full of them.  This is one content Gran Jan.

be all there

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PRISCILLA SHIRER LIVE RALLY!

We are just days away from the PRISCILLA SHIRER LIVE RALLY event! I hope you are planning to attend!

RALLYWHAT:    Priscilla Shirer Live – RALLY!

WHEN:    Thursday, April 17, 2014 – Doors Open at 6:30 PM

WHERE:  Second Baptist Church “Hangar”  – 2504 Moody Road, Warner Robins, GA  31088

WHY:       Because God is going to do something amazing at PSL – Warner Robins – August 22-23, 2014

This event is going to be great with lots of great food, fun, and fabulous door prizes.  VIP Tickets will even be given away at the event!

SEE YOU THERE!

Jan

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40 Days – Lent 2014

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. Growing up Southern Baptist, I never heard any mention of “Lent.” However, this marks the third year I’ve been intentional during this “40 Days” time.  Intentional for me in that I focus my mind and heart on why we as Christians celebrate this time of year.  For those of you like me, who did not grow up in a church that formally practiced this tradition, here is a definition of Lent:

Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Holy Week/Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection on Jesus Christ - His suffering and His sacrifice, His life, death, burial and resurrection. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday and so includes 40 weekdays.

We may not have observed Lent, but for over 20 years my church (under the direction of my wonderful husband Gary) presented “The Warner Robins Passion Play” for our community. Through music, worship, and drama, we depicted the life of Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection.  Some of the most wonderful times as a worship ministry have been during this Holy Season.  I love this time of year – everything shouts NEW LIFE!

I want to share the devotionals that I have used during the 40 days of Lent.  The first one is free and is from Ann Voskamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience.” Click here on “The Trail to the Tree.”  It is a beautiful devotional. This is how Ann describes Lent: “It’s the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice.”

Another one is a book entitled Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr.  It is a 40 day devotional from the New Testament gospel of Mark.  It’s poetic and dramatic and I loved every page.

This year I am reading a book entitled Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson. It is a 40 day prayer challenge that his church (National Community Church) in Washington, DC has used during Lent.

Please let me share that I don’t see Lent as anything “ritualistic” or a way to garner favor with Jesus.  God’s saving grace is free and I can’t do anything to cause God to love me any more than He already does.  I won’t “give up” anything – He gave His all for me. And another thing – my faith is a daily faith – experienced minute by minute.  These 40 days are special to this time of year and the significance of Easter in the life of a believer – but EVERY DAY is a gift of grace to me!  I especially love this song by Keith & Kristyn Getty – “The Power of The Cross.” Here is the first portion…
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten then
nailed to a cross of wood.
This the power of the cross
Christ became sin for us!
Took the blame, bore the wrath 
we stand forgiven at the cross.
I pray you will seek daily solitude these next 40 days – in prayer – in worship, thanking Jesus for His supreme sacrifice on the cross for you.
Gran Jan
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Fabulous February – 2014

I fully hoped with much faith that 2014 would be a “better” year than 2013 was for our family.  God is faithful and was so good to see us through the trials we faced. I experienced His grace in so many ways in 2013.  I wrote about it in a post entitled Triple Trials. You can’t always see God’s purposes in every season, but His peace and His presence are very real.

February has been a great month for so many reasons! Remember my blog counting to 1,000 GIFTS when I posted pictures and shared the JOY of counting His gifts of grace? Well, this post is going to be similar as the pictures tell the story…here goes!

I spoke at a retreat for pastor’s wives in North Georgia at the beautiful Georgia Baptist Conference Center in Toccoa.  The theme was “Live Out Your Legacy,” and God blessed in every way. The most precious time for me was when my son Jeremy introduced me before I spoke on Friday evening. Talk about a living legacy! He made me cry my eyes out – it was a surprise and a blessing all rolled together. I love him so much! He and his brother were pure JOY to raise.

PWRetreat

We’ve had a TRUE winter here in the South. Lots of snow and lots of fun! I’m hoping tomorrow when March rolls in…we can see some signs of sweet Springtime! I’m ready to get in the garden.

Zeke-snowman snowbabies

Abe-JD&snowBasketball Snow

We’ve had some great meetings this month and the momentum is building! Second Baptist Church Warner Robins is blessed to host Priscilla Shirer Live this coming August 22-23, 2014. The event is open to all women and we hope that all 2,300 seats are taken! Please go to LIFEWAY to order your tickets before June 27th for a discount!PSL-SBCWR

This blog began because of my JOY in becoming a grandmother.  The joy continueth…

EM and bitty babyZeke-possum

marshmellowsZekefeedingAbeAforAbe

More random… My friend Jan and I auditioned last summer in Atlanta to be on the Wheel of Fortune! We did really well and made it through to the final cuts… SEVEN MONTHS LATER…we were called to go to Culver City, CA for taping, and the snowstorm of Atlanta cancelled our flights and the trip to “spin the wheel” was postponed.  The fine folks at Wheel of Fortune say we are at the top of the list for rescheduling a “Girlfriends Getaway” themed week…and we hope it’s soon! “TEAM JAN” is ready to go!

WOF

Quilting is another love of mine. I made a quilt this month at my sister’s request (several months ago) to help raise funds for her son’s high school baseball program.  She is in charge of the annual big fundraiser.   I sure hope it does well for them – tomorrow is the big day!  Ola-Quilt

My sweet husband and I had the privilege to attend our son’s church this month! It was our first time to be there since they moved last September. This Sunday was special for several reasons…it was our first occasion to attend, we were able to hear Jeremy preach a wonderful message, it was my husband’s birthday, and our youngest grandchild “Abe” was dedicated to the Lord.  Our hearts were overflowing.

Abe-DedicationAbe-ittybittyAbe&pop&me

February 2014 has also provided some good times here at the Farm enjoying the sunsets and time around the fire pit on those rare warm days we enjoyed. SunsetFirepit

Teaching Wednesday Night Bible study is a JOY and privilege.  To experience learning and growing in the Word of God is something I hope to never take for granted.  This study “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” has been timely, rich, and wonderful!MaryHeart

I always see a pattern in these posts…faith and family – the two treasures I hold dear.  I hope that never changes. I’m so very thankful.Christmas2013

Love and JOY from Gran Jan on this last day of Fabulous February 2014!

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