Annual Marriage Retreat

Our annual marriage retreat is scheduled for February 3 – 5, 2012. Register today!

Do you wonder if there are ways to connect more deeply with your mate? Do you long for more intimate connections on every level, emotionally, physically, spiritually? Well so does the Lord. He longs for the two of you to experience intimacy with Him and each other.

This retreat is a time to explore ways to make that connection real.

Whether you are barely speaking, or deeply in love, the intention of this retreat is to help us connect our marriage to God’s heart. Every year the material is different, but the desire is the same, to grow more in love with God and each other.

With all that pulls against you and your marriage, this time away is a chance to discover new ways, new habits, new beginnings that help you grow closer together.

Perfect love casts out fear.” We want to learn how to live in this place for a lifetime.

To hear a testimony from a previous attendee check out the video

Retreat price includes two nights lodging in private suites, 4 meals and teaching sessions.

Retreat will be held at Smokey Mountain Christian Village.

Unhindered Encounter






The Unhindered Encounter is a candid conversation about how we’ve formed our definition of beauty, what it is costing us emotionally, how it effects our choices in relationships, how porn poisons our perceptions and how our God has more than pat answers to offer to all of this.  It is a powerful weekend to be washed by Truth.

At the Unhindered Encounter we use live worship, teaching, the Bible, multi-media, meditation, and friend-talk to unveil the honest questions that plague us as women. Questions about beauty, worth, sex, men. But we also spend time asking God what he thinks about us and these questions.  Read more about this event here.

Friday Night March2, 7pm-9:30pm

Saturday Morning March 3, 9am-1pm


First Things First

Since the beginning of November, God has been bringing the story of two fish and five loaves ( John 6) around and around. From  different perspectives and places, He just keeps teaching and revealing. And the bottom line: give thanks and believe.

Don’t look at the circumstances: 5,000 people needing to be fed (15,000 if you count women and children). Don’t look at what you’ve got in your hand: two fish and five loaves.  Look at Who you are with. The Son of the Most High God.

And what does He do? He looks to heaven and gives thanks for what God is about to do. Then as calmly as can be, the disciples began distributing. And they just kept on distributing. There were 12 baskets of leftovers. Not 12 cups. Twelve baskets.  This is after everyone has had their fill. There was no Black Friday stampeding here. Everyone had enough and there were leftovers even.

Who is this God, who is this Jesus, who is this Spirit that can impact our natural world with their supernatural power? The same God that is with you today.

Don’t look at the crowds or  your meager offering. Look to heaven, give thanks and then do what He has told you to do. He is faithful.

Here are some pearls from Abiding Glory on Sunday about gratitude that God has been expanding for me.

1) “Kingdom protocol is first “God, thank you” then please.” “ Jesus always thanked God first before He asked anything. We are instructed to “enter his courts with thanksgiving” then we proceed to the inner courts for petitions. This is a weighty concept but will change your faith life and your prayer life.

2) “Gratitude is never invisible or silent.” I love this. It is not enough to be thankful, you must express it. To God, to others. We often expect God and other people to “know” we are grateful.  But both you and the other person are blessed when you tell them, show them you are thankful. Already this week, I have been very conscious about expressing my thanks to Him and those who bless me.

3) “Gratitude sustains joy and blessing. Without it, you soon begin to take your blessing for granted. Ouch. This one hits way too close to home. Everything we have is a gift from God. EVERYTHING.  Be sure to sit in a posture of thanks rather than “I deserve this.”

4) “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.”  It is hard to be thankful and be demanding at the same time. We are consumed in our country, and the Church, with our rights, our privileges. When “you owe me” turns into “I am so blessed,” things shift in our soul.

5) “Grateful people can find a blessing, enlarge a blessing or create a blessing in almost any circumstance.” I don’t know about you, but I want this to be my life motto.  Because the opposite affect scares me to death: Negative people can miss a blessing, minimize a blessing and destroy a blessing in almost any circumstance.

Let us be the people who remember the goodness of our God. Look to Him. Give thanks. Live in His blessing.


Women Getting Real Weekly Class

Remaining class dates are: Oct 11 & 25, Nov 8 & 22, Dec 6 & 13

I am shooting for the moon. I am flinging open the doors and inviting you in.

We believe that God wants to share life intimately with us. Most of us have heard that. Some of us experience that. Many of us are at least open to the idea. So we try different things to move into this life with God.

We also believe that God wants us to share life intimately with each other. And that is… where we close the book; turn off the TV; hit delete.

But it is true. From my humble perspective, after speaking to many, many folks from different parts of the country, and even in Zimbabwe, it seems that we don’t really like each other and for sure don’t want to get too close. This is especially true of Christian women. We often feel the most shut down and shut out relationally.

However. This is the very miracle of “God among us.” When we come together, it isn’t just you and me and our drama. It is you and me and our drama and the Living God. There is a power and synergy and healing that can happen when the Spirit of God is given permission and freedom to live and move and breathe within us together.

We see things. We hear things. We experience things that we couldn’t see, hear, experience alone. I have amazing revelations with the Lord alone. But it is radically different from what happens when I am with other believers. I hear your story and it taps into my story and vice versa. Your breakthroughs strengthen me. Your weaknesses reveal mine. And our shared bond of Christ keeps us looking to the One who heals and restores all things.

So I want to extend a personal invitation to you. Through the WGR class we desire to create a community of authentic, honest, real relationships. We desire to dispense with the petty comparisons, the surface mindless chatter and go for real heart connections. We desire to journey and not judge, to strengthen and encourage instead of play denial or fix-it games.

Women Getting Real Class is beginning August 23rd and you are invited to come. BUT you are also invited to join in with some of your friends and be part of the the online connection.  Many folks can’t come in person but they still want the connection. So can you, will you, take the effort and invest in real community? Will you gather 1-4 of your friends and watch the class together and really participate, share and go deeper with Christ and with someone else? You sitting in front of a computer is still you looking from the outside in. It is safe. And sanitized. And comfortable.

Life with God and others is messy and marvelous. It is a rollercoaster and a haven. Real honest relationship is life-changing.

If you are playing the “I just need me and God” card, will you consider adding a card to your deck called  “sharing your God life with others”? If you are playing the “I don’t trust other people” card, will you add the “I trust God in those people” card? Even if you have been burned before, will you learn the lessons of what not to do and try again?

Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, even know how to do it or not, we are a Body. His body. We need to be together in some way, to share His Spirit among us. The WGR community on Tuesday nights, live in person, or live in your living room, is one humble honest way for us to share that connection.

Pray about it. Look at the obstacles and excuses. Then ask the Lord for the courage and faith to do Real Life with Him and others.

Women Getting Real Weekly Class

This  is a great place to go deeper into relationship with Jesus and  other  women. Both seem scary we know. But this is a place where we talk  about  real life topics and look for God to show up in the middle of  our lives.

The class is for all ages and does not require perfect attendance. Or homework.

Join us in person at Fellowship Church on Middlebrook Pike,  Knoxville,TN every Tuesday night from 7:00pm – 9:00pm (childcare is  provided for those who register).

For specific details around the class please feel free to email us at

We meet three weeks on and one week off. Dates of class are listed below. We are planning to Livestream at least once month. So stay tuned for those details. Be sure to sign up for RSS or Facebook alerts so you don’t miss out on “Monday Snack Time with Jana”, its a weekly vlog.

Class Dates for Spring Semester 2011: April 5, 19, 26; May 3, 17, 24, 31
(new class location coming soon, stay tuned for details)

To hear audio from classes up until now check out our archived classes

Divine Power

Sometimes I get twisted about the things of God. I see so much mayhem and dysfunction. I hear stories that make you want to weep. Not stories of “people out there,” but stories of people sitting in my living room, across from me at coffee. I experience in my own life, and see in others’ lives, circumstances that don’t add up. We are not the pagans, but still life feels confounding, complex, and often painful. Our stories simply defy gravity.

In these twisted moments, I wonder where is the reality of God? The prophet Isaiah declared that His “arm is not too short to save,” (Is. 59:1). So where then is the saving?

Do you really believe that God will save you in your circumstances, from your circumstances, through your circumstances? Do you? Really?

I don’t want to diminish the pinch of this question with Christian Band Aids. God does not mind our inquiries, nor does He need us to defend Him. His reputation is secure. Instead, it is what we believe about His reputation that is at stake.

Two thoughts here.

First, I have been asking the Lord for more of the supernatural. More of Him. If He is who He says He is, then I want the “divine power that has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

I don’t want to memorize it. I want to live it.

Second, the place I go to in the “twisted moments” is to reflect on the wonders of God. King David said, “I will meditate on Your wonderful works,” (Psalm 145:5). It is hard to have a God box and then say His arm is too short to save.

Today, ask for divine power. Today, meditate on His persistent, loving work in your life. Today, declare to your own heart, and to the hearts of others, ‘His arm is not too short to save.’

Father, Son and Spirit, we submit our understanding to You. We declare that we trust Your heart, Your way, Your sovereignty and Your tender embrace.  Amen.

God, Are You Working Too?

I woke up this morning with the bridge from a Passion song rolling around my head:

“In all things,  we know that
We are more than conquerors
You keep us by Your love”

This was one of those times I got the answer before the question. Because as my heart was singing (or hearing?) these words, my mind was waking up with a blur of questions about human trafficking, the violent spirit hovering over our world, Beth returning to Zimbabwe.

This is a lot before your first cup of coffee. I know He really is the answer to every thing we need. But somehow His answer is mobilized through our hands, legs, and heart. How do we “be” more than conquerors in His Spirit?

He reminded me of a Charis moment from this weekend. We were doing a house cleaning blitz on Saturday. Charis came up to me with her list in her hand. “Mom, while I am doing all this cleaning, are you and Dad working too?” she asked.

“Has there ever been a time when you were working that we were not doing more?”  I replied.

The Spirit stopped me in my tracks. Think Jana. Has there ever been a time that I was working, that God has not been doing more?

I will relay in coming blogs what I have learned about trafficking, but for today I want to reassure you that God is at work. In your lives, in the world. In His World.

Healing in Your Hands, Christy Nockels

No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know
could keep us from Your love
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough
to keep us from Your love
to keep us from Your love

How high, how wide
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
How deep, How strong,
And now by Your grace I stand, healing is in Your hands

Our present, our future, our past is in Your hands
We’re covered by Your blood
We’re covered by Your blood

In all things, we know that
We are more than conquerors
You keep us by Your love

Near to the Heart of God

I have been wrestling since I got home from this trip.  Wrestling over the unguided generation coming up in Zimbabwe, with little to no parents, and the cannibalizing government that seems free to feed on its own people.
I wrestle with what to do, how to do and even if I should do…anything.  It is so Christian, and even American, to want to rush in to the rescue. But our rescue is not necessarily the needed medicine.
In contrast, I also shudder at the parallels of thoughts and attitudes of our own country to the thoughts and attitudes of far away Zimbabwe.  Attitudes such as entitled government at the expense of the working class, perverted images of women and of marriage. Lack of self restraint and a work ethic are bad here, but there you see years down the road. It’s not a pretty reality.
On top of this my heart is beating ever stronger for the plight of women and children swept into the cesspool of the sex trade. Seems we all need to be rescued.
“God, where are you in all this?” is a common cry of my heart. “For their sakes, for our own, what do You have to say about this?”
This morning, I think He began answering that question. First, I dreamed I was doing a worship dance to the song Beauty for Ashes. “I delight myself in riches of fare, trading all that have for all that is better,” is the line that sticks out. Then in the early moments of waking, I heard this line from an old, old hymn. “There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.”  The next lines got fuzzy and I could only remember part of the chorus, “Oh Jesus, blessed Redeemer…heart of God…”
The song didn’t go away and my mind woke up searching for the rest of the words. And then I remembered one of my dreams, where someone said clearly, “You need to read Psalm 46.”
Needless to say, first priority I found a book that had the whole hymn and I looked up Psalm 46.  Seems the Lord has a good answer to these kinds of questions. Don’t just read the words of each of these. Sit on them, absorb them. Relate them to your world, our world.
God comfort and encourage our hearts, Amen.

There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God
A place where sin cannot molest
Near to the heart of God
There is a place of comfort sweet
Near to the heart of God
A place where we our Savior meet
Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of full release
Near to the heart of God.
A place were all is joy and peace
Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blessed Redeemer
Sent from the heart of God
Hold us, who wait before thee
Near to the heart of God.
CB McAfee
God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in an uproar, and kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Psalm 46

Faced with God

Monday, I got to redeem a really great birthday gift.  It was 45 minutes in a Detox Sauna and a deep cleansing facial.

Now hold on, because if you know me at all, you know that either one of these events is a real stretch. To get me to sit still anywhere for 45 minutes is a wonder, let alone sit still and sweat. But then to go immediately to lay down and have someone else rub goop on my face verges on the miraculous.

But I confess…it was wonderful.

(For those of you who are jealous, you can schedule your own mini-retreat at Seasons of Farragut Wellness Clinic. 675-9355)

And it was wonderful for the craziest of reasons. I had time to sit in the presence of the Lord. I had time to invest in myself. And I had time to take stock of how my heart is doing with the skin I am in.

Just how is the beauty journey going for me? And you?

I don’t know about you, but if I am paying attention to what I eat, and working out, and taking time to dress, then I like myself pretty well.  But if I have been out of Jazzercise for a couple of months, enjoying the holiday treats a little too much, and not “dolling up” unless absolutely necessary, then I catch myself saying pretty toxic things to me, about me.   (Do you hear that performance train rumbling down the tracks?)  But after spending nearly an hour with God, that detox sauna did more than rid my body of harmful toxins; that time flushed my heart as well.

So when I go to do the facial, the woman asked, “What are areas you don’t like about your face?”  I was silent as I was stunned a little. Then I almost laughed out loud because what I heard in my head was God saying, “I like your face, it looks like Me.”

I simply responded, “You know, I am good with my face. I really am.”  And I really was.

Gee, that detox idea is pretty potent. You should try it. With or without the sweat.

Times with God

I seem to be having multiple conversations that all direct back to one question: “How do I get to know God better?”

Before I go there, I want to talk about the WHY of getting to know God better. Most of our most broken, hurting, missing, longing places all need the love of God.  We talked about this last night at WGR.  We are the Beloved.  But we must allow ourselves to Be Loved. The more we let that truth soak into our spirits, the more our hearts, minds and lives will be changed.  So to be loved, is to spend time with someone who loves us. God.

Now on the HOW to do this, and there are several possible answers. Not a right answer, but just like with your friends, there are lots of ways to spend time with your Friend. Lover. Father. Husband.

Worship is a powerful way to soak on the truths of God, who He is, what He is like, and who He likes (hint: you). It may involve music, dance, art, nature, reading scripture aloud.  If I had to sum up the word worship it would be to experience the beauty of God with your whole being.

So take music, for example. When I worship with music, I sing, I listen, I think about the words, I move my body to the rhythms.  I encounter God.  Different than being in a bar, which is escape. All this energy is focused on hearing and knowing Him more, better. Same with exploring nature, or  reading scripture. There is an expectation of hearing from God.

The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. He lives with them. So I sing either out loud or in my heart a lot. I sometimes use CDs, and sometimes I just hum the song that He has got running through my head. There have been times that I have ‘sat’ on a song for about a week. Listening again and again until I believe all that it says.

Another way to get to know God is to read and write. Read your Bible and books that explain the Bible. And write down the prayers and encounters that you have with God. Over time, you begin to see answered prayers, areas that God is changing, and dreams beginning to take shape.  Never underestimate the power of reading the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I have scripture everywhere, on my walls, calendars, post its, you name it. It helps me think about what He thinks about more.

Look at the Bible as a love letter, a medicine kit, a mirror, and a Counselor all rolled into one. I read Proverbs and Psalms almost daily, and then hit other books of the Bible as the Spirit leads.  In case you don’t know this, there are 31 Proverbs. So if you read one chapter of Proverbs a day, at the end of the month you will have read them all.  And you will grow in wisdom.

Finally, spend time with Him the way you would a friend. Make a date. Instead of placing a call during drive time, call on Him. Talk as you’re working on something. Just begin the conversation. My favorite times are when I can talk out loud. He shows me the lies I am believing when I can hear myself say them.  Just pursue Him in your flavor. Enjoy the time with Him. Oh yes, if you get a middle of the night wake-up call, get up. He wants to talk to you!