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Faith Imagined: Granola Bar Devotional

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 30, 2009

Granola Bar Devotional

I wanted to use my post today to highlight my devotional ministry - Granola Bar Devotional Ministry. I started this small writing group in the JANES Women's Ministry at Bay Area Fellowship. The GBD Ministry is now global, but it had its beginning in the local church. I believe if you want to start a ministry, you would not go wrong by starting it at your local church and in your local community.

I started this ministry because my women's minister was looking for more women's groups to get women plugged into the church and connected with each other. I told her that I was thinking about starting a writing group, and she said, "Why don't you write devotionals." I thought for a second and said, "Sounds good!" This was over three years ago.

I spread the word about the writing group and when the first night came for us to meet, I was so nervous! Several beautiful women came to the meeting who were leaders in our church. Let me tell you, I wanted to say, "Nevermind," and call it quits. God was pushing this introverted girl out of her comfort zone, and I felt so under qualified!

The women gathered around my dinner table, and I explained to the them what we would be doing. I told them why I was naming the ministry the Granola Bar Devotional Ministry (nutritional snacks for spiritual growth), I explained the unique design of the devotionals (small and square like compact granola bars), and I tried to act like I knew what I was doing -- which I did not!

Over three years of leading this ministry has taught me so much. I have learned that a few people can achieve a lot, that ministry should always be about reaching others, that I will never, never, never be perfect (thank You, God, for Your GRACE) and that starting a ministry is not a smooth process.

However, the most important thing I learned is that it is imperative to wait on God's timing. I found myself pushing and pushing this ministry to where I wanted it to go, and I became frustrated, exhausted and upset at God for making me do something that was so hard. I wanted to give up many times, but I later realized that God was doing a good work in me, not just through me.

A ministry should have what Joyce Meyer calls a "holy ease." Starting a ministry is not easy; but if you are frustrated with life, God and every one around you, you may not be aligned with God's plan. I struggled with this until I heard the following story on Christian radio:

A woman was driving a car through a construction zone. She was late to work and anxiously remained stopped behind eight cars waiting their turn to go down the street. A safety vehicle was slowly leading cars to the other side of the construction. The woman became so impatient that she sped around the safety vehicle and crashed.

What I learned is that God is our safety vehicle. He knows things that we don't, and He protects us from crashing. When we start a ministry, we need to make it our number one priority to seek the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we will speed off, lose control and crash and burn! We need to find a "holy ease" when it comes to doing ministry and not worry about what the world deems as "success." God's success looks quite differently than ours.

I constantly have to test myself. If my ministry is starting to control me (my time, my emotions, my thoughts), I need to reconsider my strategy. God has told me in no uncertain terms that my role as a wife, mother and a child of God are more important than any ministry. Playing hop-scotch with my children is more important than writing a best selling Christian novel. I can never forget that!

However, in my spare time (when all the kids go to bed) I forgo the TV and write and read for my Lord. So here is a little something I wrote for the GBD Ministry. It's just a small spiritual snack, but I hope it makes you smile!

Heavenly Smiles

When I am holding my baby daughter, she gives everyone heavenly smiles. She is in my arms, and she feels the freedom to spread her sweetness to each new face that she sees. Her smiles melt the hearts of the passersby, and they always comment on how beautiful and sweet natured she is. However, when my daughter leaves my arms, her sweetness completely disappears. When someone else is holding her, she frowns and cries and lets the whole world know her displeasure. She has no more heavenly smiles to share and no more sweetness to pass out. She is completely miserable and makes those around her anxious. . . . Read the rest here!

*If you would like to make Granola Bar Devotional Ministry a part of your writing ministry, please check out our Information Page. We try to ensure that our devos have one spiritual nugget in each, and no more. We are not trying serve up a spiritual feast....just spiritual snack buffet!

This post is dedicated to the original GBD Girls: Jeannie, Tammi, Susie, Mariah, Sunny, DeeDee, Vicki, Liette and Christina.

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Blogger Teri said...

Thank you Alisa for sharing how this ministry was birthed!...SO INSPIRING!!! I am new to blogging (began a year ago), and have been enriched tremendously through the God ordained writings on this blog as well as a handful of others I have discovered. Thank you, God!

Thank you, Alisa, for your obedience to the Lord's call on your time & for using your gift of writing to grow us in the Lord, and for your perseverence not to give up during those times you might have felt discouraged. Keep up the great work!

Blessings to you and all who contribute writings to "Granola Bar Devotional"!

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alisa - congrats on the progress of this ministry. You continue to amaze me in how you are so in tune with God. I look forward to reading the spiritual snack buffet. Thanks again.


10:10 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

Oh, now that was good! The perfect little nibble to satisfy my spiritual hunger and leave me wanting more. I know I will come back to this spot again and again, especially since I am feeling the birthing pains of my own new ministry coming forth. But for now, I'm for a game of hopscotch...

10:57 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

I am inspired by your story today. Thanks for sharing it.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Terri Tiffany said...

Wondeful! I tried starting a women's ministry this past summer and found myself more stressed about it and the goals than I should have been. I backed off from it but I pray some day God will allow me again to do it. I love your words of wisdom.:)

3:05 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

Alisa, I feel so honored to have been among the first girls under your leadership for the Granola Bar Devotional. You brought out the best in all of us. Personally, you helped me to see there was beauty and encouragement in my writings.

I also feel honored to absorb the wisdom you share so freely through your blog and other writings. You open up your heart and share true struggles, triumphs and desires with all of us through your walk with Christ.

Love you friend! Btw, feel free to take anything from my wall (devotional wise) that you would like to use for the GBD. Edit as needed:)

4:48 PM  
Blogger Christian Mommy Writer said...

Thanks for sharing how your ministry got started! It's always nice to hear how things began. I pray that God will continually bless your ministry!

12:49 AM  
Blogger Suzann @ The Olive Cottage said...

I LOVE this and I'm going to share it with a dear friend of mine. Thanks!!!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Corrie Howe said...

I'm going to check out your other site! I'm also going to send a link to my friend who is just beginning a journey with writing and faith.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Alene said...

Alisa - sometimes I think you are living in my head and know just the words or snack bites I need at the moment for encouragement! Thank you for sharing this journey and your heart. God is SO good.

3:03 PM  
Blogger K. Frangeskos said...

Dear Alisa,
It is so funny how Jesus works sometimes...
I believe God today...lead you to me at Jesus Knows You Best.
You read my post and left a beautiful compliment. I in return, stopped by to thank you...and my eye was captivated on this post.

God wanted to remind me of several my work for HIM should be enjoyable...and not to put too many demands on myself.
I love inspiring others towards Jesus...but I need to have patience and let HIM continue to guide me...not the pressure of myself or the world.

Great post and I love your site!
I hope to see you soon!
God Bless You in everything...

K. Frangeskos

12:43 AM  
Blogger alwayshopeful said...

great post and story once more girl!I do enjoy coming by and getting inspired and ''fed''..
God bless u and your ministry,

8:02 AM  

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