Sunday, December 29, 2013

Embracing Change

Change is always such an interesting animal. Yesterday, I was surprised to arrive at Land of A Thousand Hills Walton to find that it no longer existed. In its place was the Chattahoochee Coffee Company( At first I hesitated, a bit skeptical at what I'd find. On I went though, curious to see what changes had been made. Inside the door, I immediately became aware that the "Drink Coffee. Do Good." slogan no longer reigned anywhere in the building. Another glance greeted me with a sign announcing that Chattahoochee Coffee Company proudly served Counter Culture coffee. Big ups for them. Admittedly, I have a fetish for this great coffee so seeing it there put me at ease. At least, I'd still have a great view of the river and a good cuppa cuppa. That much hadn't changed.

After spending almost six hours there, decompressing by the river, enjoy conversation with a great friend and feasting on my wonderful Farmhouse blend French press, I left there with a cheery smile and a wave goodbye from my barista. As I got in the car, I realized that while the name and the mission had changed somewhat, much of what I loved about that coffee shop - the view, their passion for justice, the baristas - clearly were still the same.

From there I traveled 45 miles south to enjoy a dinner party for friends celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Again, I take a deep breath and I shake off the hesitancies of change. While I've cherished this dear friend and her family since our arrival in GA, her circle of community has changed since we've forged our friendship and mine is in great flux. It's her dinner party, not mine. There would be people that I know but am just merely acquainted with. Here again, I would meet change head on. As we laughed, ate, and shared glasses of wine, I realized that these mere acquaintances and I had much in common and a great sense of camaraderie was deepening our hearts to pursue a greater depth of relationship. I thought to myself, why do we avoid change? Why do we dread it so? Change isn't all that bad.

If situations hadn't happened the way they did, I would never be in the company of change. In the midst of great upheaval, a friend said to me, "This is what you prayed for. Press in. Don't quit." And she was right, only I did not know it would look like this. I feel like God is setting me up for 2014. A year where some things will be different, but at the heart of it, many things will still be the same. Upon first glance, there may be a sense of hesitation, trepidation even. But then further inspection will allow me to see telltale signs of old familiar comforts, true norths that center in the midst of transition.

Truly much of life is shift and transition because we're always moving forward. I can't find happy in going back. Happiness is the result of an inside world that is at home in Father's embrace. A place of joy, contentment and peace that is only found in knowing and resting in Him. But I can courageously embrace what lies ahead. While the mission, vision and purpose hasn't changed at all, perhaps shift is happening to the vehicle through which those things are arrived at.

I left my friend's dinner party feeling victorious. I can do this. I can embrace a new name, a new community. Change isn't half bad. I'm content that shift has provided an opportunity to widen my community of coffee shops, embrace new friendships, and dream and soar with like minded people. With the words of Paul Young fresh in my heart, I offered his words to the Lord, "I open me to what you want to do in my life, even when I can't begin to understand it. Give me the courage to go into the places you want to send me and the ears to hear your invitation."

May I encourage and bless you to look for the true norths. Look for the signs of the familiar and then trod ahead into change embracing the transition and the company of friends who'll join you on the journey.

May 2014 be a year of connection, conversation and collaboration with people who are coming alive in Him. May you find yourself in relationships that are marked with honesty, openness, intentionality, authenticity and freedom.

Embrace Change! Happy New Year! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Raising Daniel or Raising Cain?

Charisma has an article today from someone who used to be one of Obama's bodyguards. The headline reads, "It's worse than anyone thought." 

Admittedly, I didn't read this article. But scrolling through and seeing the title, my heart had one thought - If it's worse, then it's a great opportunity for the believers close to him to be Daniel to a perceived "Nebuchadnezzar". 

We (believers corporately) are living in the hour of great opportunity and yet we persist to talk rather than declare, slander rather than love. The evil one has become our (unbelieving believers) ally in the name of God. 

Interesting that gold miners never stopped to "bash" the dirt while digging for gold. They just tossed it aside as fast as they could with a laser focus that was intent on discovering gold.  

This is an hour of opportunity. We can keep staring at dirt covered people, caked in worms and debris and cry foul, partnering with the adversary to point out every problem. Or like the extravagant Father who buried his face into the skin of a son who'd spent days in a pig sty kissing him repeatedly, we can pursue the dirty with love and offer them safe passage home. 

When it comes to politics, believers are often like cats with claws, viciously scratching up and tearing down everything and everyone that holds a view opposing to their beliefs of pro life, death sentence, gun control, welfare and taxes. When did the issues outweigh loving people? 

Like the elder brother pissed off that the younger son freely chose a differently lifestyle, we make a list of every negative thought, action, belief and voting record of the perceived younger son. 

Again I ask, where are the Daniel's who will arise and serve the demonic with honor, with love, with great compassion (see Dan. 2 & Dan. 4)? 

Father's love is so transformative. It allows us the freedom to be ok with people who are not like us. It allows us the freedom to love people without needing to convince them to change and be like us. When love wholly woos us and transforms us, we become convinced that love can do what debate, fear and slander never will. Love is enough because God is enough and God is love. Love isn't passive, sloppy or weak. Love is kind. Love is full of chesed (mercy). 

At the root of both the religious and political spirit is fear. How many times have we heard it said, "I'm afraid of what will happen to us if "this man" - not even worthy of the honor of being called "President" - remains in office?" "I'm afraid that people are sleeping on the issues. They don't really know. I've got to wan them. I've got to tell them. I've got to convince them that this guy I out to hurt us, destroy us! Impeach him! Impeach him!"  And so the heart filled with fear rants and rages, isolates and ostracizes. And all of that fear - Fear of what will happen to my country, my money. Fear of what will happen to people if they have too much freedom, if they aren't controlled and "directed" - becomes the motivation for our discourse, in the name of God, of course, instead of love. Perfect love casts out fear. 

Let me encourage you today, set aside your political agenda for one moment. Take your colored lenses off. Take a deep breath and ask Holy Spirit these two questions: 1) Holy Spirit, how would you like me to partner with you in praying for our president (mayor, congressman, governor) today? 2) How would you like me to direct my words, my prayers to declare a heaven filled solution to our world (name of your city, our government - local, state and federal) today? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Outta Sight. Out of Mind.

Ever walked out to your garage in search of something? In the frey of discarded and stored things, you discover an item you forgot you had. Something precious. Something often used but now tucked away. You pick the item up, recalling with fondness its use. Perhaps you dust it off and bring it back inside. Relationships can be like that. Contextual in nature, we move from one season to the next. People once connected to you through context no longer at the forefront of your daily interactions. Tucked away, like items in the garage. Stored memories of happy times, fond times. 

I've traveled so many diverse paths in my life's journey, I for one, am grateful for Facebook that bring those often tucked away contextual relationships back inside my heart and the walls of my daily life. 

Even more than that, I'm grateful for friends that continue to pursue relationship even after the context of our situations have changed. 

Stop for a moment. Think about it. In the busyness of life, whom have you pursued this week? Cup of coffee? A quick "thinking about you" text? Shared meal? 

In the heart of every person is the longing for pursuit. Placed within us by a good God who said, "it is not good for man to be alone."

The pursuit of another is modeled in our love relationship with the Godhead. For He beckons us, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." 

Connectedness is the result of requited pursuit. I bless you today to experience a sense of connection with God and with others. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Culture Wars

In the South, there is a huge propensity for facades. The appearance of something is more important than what actually is. Keeping a favorable image at the expense of being real makes it hard for one to embrace authenticity as a core value. We smile in the face of another, kiss them on the cheek and say, "Bless your heart" while reviling them in our thoughts. 

As Kingdom believers living in the South, it's time to be intentional about pulling down this cultural stronghold. First and foremost within ourselves and secondly, in our communities and regions we live in. Let's go in the opposite spirit and embrace vulnerability and transparency. It's time to show the world what it's like to live a "nothing hidden" life and still love well and live free. 

Your church isn't better than my church. Your ministry isn't better than my ministry. Comparing ourselves only indicates how much of an orphan spirit we still embrace. Let's throw the superlatives out the window. We are all THE church. We are all on the same team going after the same thing - to see His Kingdom come. We are all ministers with a unique to you expression of God's nature. In Christ, I no longer have to compete or compare. I no longer have to pretend. I have the freedom to simply be. 

It's time to come out of agreement with the ungodly and unhealthy influences of the South. It's time to fully embrace Kingdom culture as a lifestyle not just a theology.

What would it be like to see the South fully turn its heart to a loving Father, because we who are sons and daughters would choose to be? It's time to live naked and unashamed embracing peace and love. In this place, at one with God, at one with ourselves, at one with each other, we will find unity. 

Ps. 133:1,3 Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ...For there the Lord commanded the blessing - life forever. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


When I was growing up, we had to clean the way my mom cleaned. If it wasn't done the exact way she would do it, we got in trouble.

Because that was my normal, I began to raise my kids in like manner. They had to clean the way I would do it or I would rant and rage and still nothing was solved.

One day, Holy Spirit asked me, "Is your objective for them to clean or to clean like you?" I want it clean, I replied. OK, but their clean isn't your clean because they are different than you.

It would be one of my first lessons in unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance is the foundation of every healthy relationship. Unconditional acceptance says you get to be you and I get to be me. I'm not trying to change you to be like me. If you don't have the freedom to fully be you in a relationship, it's not healthy.

With that foundation in place, when we communicate, we do so from the goal of 1) protecting our intimate connection and 2) seeking to understand.

An intimate connection implies "into me you see" (intimacy). We are tied together by the sharing of our hearts. I get to see inside the real you because you feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent with me.

Understanding simply means I am afforded the opportunity to stand under your perspective. Because, remember, I'm different than you. I don't clean like you. I don't process like you. I don't see things the same way you do.

Just because I understand where you're coming from, doesn't necessarily mean I agree with you because...we're different. And inside a healthy relationship, agreement isn't expected because its not the goal.

I've learn now to really stop and listen with the goal of understanding. I love it when my husband says, I didn't see it that way or I didn't take it that way. It's a clue for me that an opportunity to seek understanding is right in front of me. To which I respond, "OK, tell me what you saw or tell me what you heard."

Often, like a puzzle taking shape, his perspective adds another layer of clarity to the full picture.

The lesson I've learned and one I feel compelled to break off and share: if I only teach my kids to do exactly what I've done, I will miss out on the best of who they are because I'll be excluding their uniqueness from the landscape of life. If I only listen with the goal of defending my position or getting someone to come into agreement with what I believe, I will miss out on the uniqueness of their perspective and what they bring to the table.

For today, put on the gift of understanding and give the gift of unconditional acceptance to those around you.

I bless your spirit to fully see the gifts that are in front of you and to behold the beauty that is His creation.

*creds to Danny Silk for his relationship series. It's shaped a lot of my perspective.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Recently, I had a vision. In the vision, I saw myself trying to fit in this space and that space. Every time I tried to wedge myself into a space, I didn't fit and the word REJECT was stamped on me.

Feelings of insignificance, not being needed or wanted, disempowered crouched at my door waiting for me to agree with them.

I felt Holy Spirit drawing me back to Himself. I realized the answers to the questions and the peace to navigate the journey reside in Him.

Whenever you find yourself plagued by, "What am I suppose to do? What's my assignment?," I encourage you to check your alignment. The what (your assignment) resides in the alignment (your relationship with the Godhead).

So, I call your spirit to attention and I bless you today to be aligned with the One who knows every detail of your life. I brush off every label and false identity, that's not who you are. You are accepted. There IS a place for you.

I bless you with Col. 1:19(MSG), "So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding."

Go find your proper place. There is room for you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Forgivness: My Story, My Song

The majority of my life I’ve lived demanding justice for being wronged by people. I wanted those who’ve wronged me to pay for what they did to me. The truth is, I was the only one paying.  R. T. Kendall says, ‘Bitterness is the poison we drink hoping someone else dies.’  My unforgiveness, not the wrongs that had happened to me, was slowly draining life out of me. Rage, anger, resentment, and bitterness became my torturers and constant companions, preventing me from fully loving or allowing myself to be loved.

One day as I read Matthew 18:21-35, I felt compelled to look up the word torment. I found that it means grievous pain; to vex; to harass.  In short, to torment means to experience the most amount of pain for the longest amount of time without killing someone. When you think about it, that sounds a lot like hell. As I reflected on that thought, my memory became overloaded with images of people and situations where I had been wronged, hurt, or offended.  The pain and the betrayal as fresh with each memory as the day I experienced them. I started to do the good Christian thing and stuff down the negative emotions, and softly, I heard a voice say, “You know, Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. If you will endure this, there is joy on the other side. You can have mercy or you can have judgment, but you can’t have both. If you want mercy, you must extend mercy to those who have wronged you. If you want judgment, you will remain in torment.” Forgiveness would cost me but unforgiveness would kill me.

To forgive, I had to be honest about each incident that happened to me; how it made me feel, how I responded to it, what lies they caused me to believe and act out of because of the wounding that occurred. It wasn’t pretty to face each offense and not shrink back. All of my life I responded to life in a ‘fight or flight’ sort of way. I used anger to protect me when I was scared or I ran away and chose not to deal with issues at hand. But here, I felt compelled by the Lord to endure this moment of truth with the promise that joy was just on the other side of all of those painful feelings.

I realized something else in that moment, when we choose to not forgive we actually devalue the blood of Jesus. It’s like saying what He did on the cross wasn’t enough because we still want the people who wronged us to pay. I had been committing spiritual fraud. Jesus’ death satisfied every debt of sin. Yet, I was still trying to collect payment for past wounds and offenses. In realizing that Jesus’ death paid not only for the sins I committed but also those committed against me, I realized those people - the very ones I had been judging and wanting to see get what they deserved owed me nothing. They had already received what they deserved: mercy just as I had received mercy.  James 2:13, Mercy triumphs judgment.

R. T. Kendall says, ‘Forgiveness is the medicine we give to someone else that gives us life.’ I chose to free every person that ever wronged me. I made a willful decision to say, “I forgive you for…(whatever action or violation they had committed against me). I release you and I bless you in Jesus’ name.” 

Something incredible happened in my heart! I began to experience peace like I’d never felt before. I found myself genuinely happy. I found myself laughing and smiling. I found myself falling in love with Jesus. My home became full of joy and merriment. I found that in forgiving others, my heart began to sing. I was experiencing new levels of freedom. I began to love myself. I was able to love my kids, love others.

There’s a song in forgiveness. Find its melody in your life. Grab a hold of it. Let it blow across your heart and set you free.

©2012  Felicia Murrell


1 John 4:7-8 (MSG) "My beloved friends let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love."
Love is so much more than a pasted on smile and a cheesy Christian greeting offered in passing. Love is so much more than feeding the hungry at Thanksgiving or clinking a few coins in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas. Love is so much more than words without feeling tacked on to the end of goodbye.
To love is to see inside someone and affirm the essence of who they are. To love is to serve. To love is to embrace. To love is to spend time in a dynamic life exchange. To love is to give. To love is to re-present Jesus and His Father to those around us.
To love is to recognize that we are all different and because of that difference, we all have a "unique to you" expression of demonstrating love. For some, that expression looks like championing the cause of the pro-life movement. For others, it may look like rescuing women and children from the horrors of human trafficking. Still for others it may look like staying at home to mother their young or joining the police force to bring safety and justice for all. A teacher educating young hearts. An attorney defending her client judicially. An actress illuminating the stage and warming hearts with her gift of entertainment. All unique expressions of love demonstrated to the world around us. All re-presenting an attribute of a Father in Heaven and His only begotten Son who loves you.
Father God is so multifaceted in who He is, it's no wonder we all get to be different in our expression of who we are. And yet at the core, the common uniting factor is love. God is kind. God is good. God is just. God is nurturing. God is a teacher. God is joyful. And yet at the center remains His essence, God is love. How we give love to the world should mirror who God is because as He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
Because we can't give away what we don't have, our loving others comes out of our personal experience of God loving us. To love others is to experience God. Love looks like compassion when we care for the hurting. Love looks like affirmation when we encourage the discouraged. Love looks like provision when we give to those in need. Love looks like honor when we embrace the treasure of another human being. Love looks like peace when we offer a listening ear or a comforting hand to a frantic soul.
What about you? Are you loving well? Can you articulate what your love looks like? How do you demonstrate your unique to you expression of love to those around you?  How are you re-presenting God to those in your sphere of influence? 

©2012  Felicia Murrell

What Family Really Is

Paul say in Eph. 3:14-15, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”  Heaven on earth is a family business. Among the Godhead, there is absolute trust, absolute love, absolute honor and absolute freedom to be who they are.  Every family on earth has at its core, the Father’s DNA. 

The strength of the family lies in its foundation. The foundation of family is unconditional acceptance. It is the place where you get to be fully you and I get to be fully me. The family is the place of vulnerability.  I am safe to be myself.  In the family, everyone has a voice.  My opinion matters, not just the opinion of mom and dad.  My feelings count.

Families are to be established on the principles of 1) love 2) honor 3) responsibility 4) truth 5) faith 6) vision 7) integrity.

The family is the place where we learn freedom.  

The family is the place where we learn to communicate to others what we are going to do and do it. The family is the place to learn to effectively communicate what is going on in the inside of us by sharing what we need and what we feel in an atmosphere of safety that has been cultivated in a culture of honor. 

The family is the place where we learn that our choices, both good and poor, have consequences. 

The family is the place where we learn that I am powerful. And inside of a powerful family unit, I learn how to handle being a powerful person and how to relate to other powerful people. The family is the place where we learn to clean up our messes. The family is the place where we learn to respect and value others.

The family is the place where we learn who we are in Christ.  And with that knowledge in hand, we learn to celebrate who a person is without stumbling over who they are not, while drawing the best of their divine design and imprint to the surface of life for the world to see. This is the process of honor.  Life flows through honor.

The family is the place where we learn maturity.  The process of maturing is simply learning to be your same self no matter the situation or circumstance.  It’s the fruit of self-control. The family is the incubator in which we cultivate demonstrated mastery of self-control.

The family is the place where we learn how love works. Love is rooted in fearlessness. Love always requires a choice. 

The family is the place where we learn the importance of heart to heart connection. The goal of familial relationships is always connection. Solving an issue is never more important than connection. The family demonstrates that being in relationship takes precedence over being right. 

The family is the place where we learn to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s the safest place to exhibit passion. The family is the place where we learn to love others as ourselves.  It the safest place to exhibit compassion.

The family is the place where we learn true humility.  True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. The family is the place where we learn to serve, learn to love, learn to be generous.

The family is the safest place to fail and the safest place to be ourselves. The family is the place where I learn that I am fully loved. The family is the place where strong, powerful people are created.

When families are restored strength arises.  The word family in the Greek means lineage or bloodline and comes from the root word pater which is the Greek word for Father.
Make your home a place where the love of God is daily demonstrated through the power of God. When we have a personal experience of God loving us and being transformed by that love, we are able to reproduce His love, His life, His honor into our families. When people see healed families, it sticks with them. It makes an impact. May your family reflect the agape love, honor and freedom that permeate all of heaven.

©2012  Felicia Murrell


Ever had that experience where you see a good movie, eat a great meal, witness something outlandish, hear a funny joke, read a good book? Ever ponder what goes through your mind immediately following that experience? For me, it’s usually, “Oh my gosh! I have got to tell….”  Insert the names of your of best friends forever and you get the picture.

It’s something, the power of friendship. It’s true that no man is an island. We weren’t meant to live in isolation. From the beginning of time when God created man in His image and likeness, His foremost desire was to be in relationship with him. Throughout the Old Testament, you see God and His friends: God and Adam walking in the cool of the day. God revealing Himself to Moses in the burning bush and their ensuing friendship on Mount Sinai as the Lord allows His goodness to pass before him. Then there was Enoch.  A friendship so passionate that God took him because he couldn’t stand being without him (ref. Genesis 5:24).  And what about God and Abraham? Theirs was a friendship so vulnerable and transparent that God shared His secrets with him, altered His own plans based on Abraham’s wisdom, and subsequently built an entire race of chosen people from his seed (ref. Gen. 18: 20-33; Gen. 22:13-18).  I’d be remiss to leave out the friendship of God and David. A friendship so intimate that God allowed David to experience New Testament realities under the old covenant.

If these men enjoyed friendship with God marked by vulnerability, transparency, risk, passion, and revelation under an inferior covenant, what type of friendship awaits me as a New Testament believer?

All of my life I’ve had this desire to know God. I mean really know Him. What is He like? What makes Him laugh? What makes Him smile? What makes Him cry? What makes Him sad?  If heaven has a banqueting table, what does He like to eat? What’s His favorite wine? I wondered why some could draw near and others remained veiled. Is it really difficult to know Him? If there were a formula, I’d sell my soul to buy it. And yet, my very soul He already possesses.

So how do I plumb the depths of the heart of God and discover friendship for myself? By sailing the seas of grace and basking in the Son on the shores of His goodness, I’m allowed the opportunity to know Him as friend.

If Adam walked with God in the cool of the day, there’s a key in that for me. So I take walks with God, just He and I. We stroll the hills of my neighborhood together and talk and laugh. We ask each other questions and we listen. I bring the whole of me on those walks, good, bad and ugly. All of my fears, doubts and insecurities come along. My idiosyncrasies, vulnerabilities and transparencies show up too. I bring my worship, my gratitude, my hunger and my passion for they are as much a part of me as the other things and together, we walk. By the time I return to my door, my Friend has exchanged His yoke for mine. My Friend has shared His heart and I have shared mine. 

In developing my friendship with God, I am more aware of His nearness. I know that He is always with me, but I also know when He shows up in a tangible way. I no longer dine alone, go to the movies alone, read a book alone. My friend is ever present to share those experiences with me. I do have to be careful sometimes not to laugh out loud or talk aloud as I sometimes do with Him in my secret place!

And while I still don’t know His favorite wine, I’ve learned a lot about what makes Him smile, what makes Him laugh, what makes Him cry. Like any good friendship, you never reach the point of knowing. There is always discovery.

Take a walk. Climb a mountain. Dance a jig. Celebrate in song. And invite the King of Kings to come along. Don’t be one who reaches the end of your life and Father God declares to you, “I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).” Don’t pass up the opportunity for Almighty God to know you, to understand you. Take a walk and share your heart. His heart is set on friendship.

©2012  Felicia Murrell

My Kind of Place

There was once a church that was filled
with freedom and people grew in love and revelation. 

There once was a church where the people
lived with hearts connected in authentic community
and laughter was a very normal thing. 

There once was a church where there was a shared vision
and all the people knew the biggest thing they could be a
part of was living loved by Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
Then doing life as an expression of the overflow of
that love.

There once was a church that was free of church poop
because the people were committed to live in honor and
healthy confrontation no matter how hard that might be.  

There once was a church where the personal transformation
of the people impacted a city and changed the world.

Said church exists in the heart of the Father...on earth as it is in heaven.

#encounter #empower #engage