A Word from Luann

Luann Prater, EC Founder & Executive Director

"Welcome to Encouragement Cafe, where the conversation is always hot and fresh." These words rolled out on the very first radio broadcast. We had no idea then where God would take that little step of obedience.

Maybe you've been looking for the next BIG thing for God to do in your life. Can I encourage you to simply take the next step? He leads only where we are willing to go next.

After years of walking with Him, I can now see that we've come so much farther than I could have imagined, and yet it was always just one step at a time.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:8,9

A word from Annah

Annah Matthews, EC Executive Events Coordinator

UNDEFEATED - That is the word that God has been pressing on our hearts and we knew that God was asking us to incorporate this theme into our events for 2018. Every speaker, worship artist, and stage painter at our events this year will weave this theme into their messages, songs, and art.

Every one of us knows what defeat feels like. We get down on ourselves, we wonder if this is all there is, and we want to know where God is and does He hear us?

2 Corinthians 4:8-10 says, "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies."

Whatever we face in life, Christ has already overcome it! Sickness, broken relationships, pain, financial struggles, even death. We do get knocked down, troubled, and confused, but sweet sisters we are UNDEFEATED. The power of Christ lives in us and through our weakness His light shines bright. He is never closer to us than when we feel defeated. The enemy has no power over us who live in Christ Jesus. The death of Christ was the final step into overcoming whatever we face in this life. We want you to live and walk in freedom and never forget, we are more than conquerors because Jesus Christ has already conquered it for us!

Remaining 2018 events

There's still time to catch a live event. Join your Encouragement Cafe sisters and worship through live music, stage art, and story. Listen to real women who've learned to live UNDEFEATED through the power of Christ.

Register early for all our events. Each attendee is prayed for by name and assigned to a Name of God. Every name matters, YOU matter...to us and to God.

Tickets are $20 Buy One, Bless One

Tickets for the fall events will be available soon

A Cup of Encouragement

Harrisonburg, VA

Saturday, May 12, 2018, 9 a.m. - noon

Grace Mennonite Fellowship, 209 Lacey Spring Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22902

Tickets now available at iTickets.com

Greensboro, NC

Friday, September 7, 2018, 7 pm-9 pm

Community Baptist Church, 1330 Burnetts Chapel Rd, Greensboro, NC 27406

Chesterfield, SC

JOY FM Cup of Encouragement

Saturday, September 22, 2018, 9 am- noon

Pinegrove Baptist Church, 293 Zoar Rd, Chesterfield, SC 29709

Rochester, NY

Saturday, October 13, 2018, 9 am -noon

Koinonia Fellowship, 500 Main St, East Rochester, NY 14445

Berlin, CT

Saturday, November 3, 2018, 9 a.m. to noon

Wellspring Church, 222 Lincoln St, Berlin, CT 06037

Interested in hosting an event in your community or church?

We can help you customize an event that fits your needs. Whether it's a speaker, artist, half day, or full day event, we would love to work with you to help you bring encouragement to others within your community. For more information email: events@encouragementcafe.com and we'll help get you started.

What women are saying about the live events:

"Love listening to these ladies! They remind me that I'm human, I'm a woman, I'm NOT perfect and don't have to be because I am FORGIVEN!"

"I LOVE how every woman was prayed over and assigned a Name of God. Mine is so fitting for what God has been doing in my life. It gave me chills when I read it! My card is in my Bible."

"This years event was by far the best one you have had. Each year I am ministered to but this year was exceptional. I came away from the event on such a spiritual high it is unexplainable. There was such a sweet spirit there and it felt like we were all girlfriends gathered together."

"Everything was sooooo good!! I felt like we got a little taste of what Heaven will be like!!!!"

"Thank you for being so in-tune with the Lord and giving us the opportunity to come to His feet and draw in love and wisdom."

"So thankful...I know that MANY were ministered to by this event! One of my friends said that within the first couple of words spoken...she knew God was speaking directly to her."

Unspeakable Joy, Advance, NC

Encouragement Cafe features a daily devotion from one of our many talented writers from across the United States. These women have a fierce faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and share their God-stories with our readers. You can subscribe to our devotions here.

Meet: Mindy Hopman

Mindy Hopman, EC Writer Liaison

Mindy Lee Hopman is a Jewish believer, Bible teacher, author, and dynamic speaker with a master’s degree in Religion from Liberty University with an emphasis in Christian leadership. She also holds a master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

Mindy focuses on teaching how each person’s individual faith story fits into the greatest story from the beginning to the end of time. Her grandfather was a great influence on her faith as a child, and even more so as an adult when Mindy began to understand how her Christian faith directly connected to her Jewish roots.

Mindy completed her first book entitled Beautiful Legacy: Our Roots Run Deep, where she uses personal narrative and Biblical application to trace the Jewish heritage to help readers understand how one seed gives birth to the ancient Hebrew-Christian faith-family tree. Mindy emphasizes the mystery of how, similar to the biblical olive tree, God grafts us into His faith-family tree in order for us to grow, thrive, and bear fruit. Mindy helps readers understand the origin of the roots of the Christian faith to pass the legacy of faith onto future generations.

Mindy loves living in the beautiful South East and is a dedicated wife, mother, and teacher. In her free time, Mindy loves to be with her family on the water boating or paddle boarding. She also enjoys walking her dogs (Jamaica & Champ), running in the early mornings, and taking sunrise and sunset pictures on the beautiful island where she lives.

As part of the Encouragement Cafe family, Mindy not only writes some of the devotions on our blog, but Mindy also serves as the Writers Liaison. She's the smiling face that greets each devo submission and receives the first blessing of a writer's God-story.

To learn more about Mindy and her writing please follow her at Basking in His Light or at Encouragement Cafe.

Encouragement Cafe represents numerous gifted speakers from around the U. S. eager to share their God stories with you. Maybe you've heard a few of our EC speakers at our live events, but did you know they're available for your individual church events? Simply contact our Director of Events, Annah Matthews at events@encouragementcafe.com to learn more.

Meet: Stephanie Davis

Stephanie Davis, EC Speaker Liaison

Stephanie lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband, Jason and their two beautiful daughters. She's the Director of Children's Ministries at her local church and a contributing writer for At His Feet devotional journal and the Encouragement Cafe blog. Stephanie also serves tirelessly as the Encouragement Cafe Speaker Liaison and as a member of the EC Executive Team.

As a broken Jesus girl, Stephanie is learning that perfection will only come on the other side of eternity. Until then, in the midst of all her failures, she's clinging to the hope that Jesus is not only with her, but scooping her up, carrying her through, and cheering her on. With a heart that desires transparency and a spirit that desires authenticity, Stephanie reveals who she truly is by sharing how God is by making something beautiful from ashes of her life.

EC Stage Artists, Lisa Albinus, Betty Shoopman, Noelle Okolowicz

Worship Through Color

During our live events, stage artists busily create their masterpiece throughout the day during worship segments. It's amazing to watch, as layer by layer, the final piece reveals itself. Have you ever wondered about the story behind the masterpiece? One of our Unspeakable Joy stage artists, Lisa Albinus, explains her inspiration behind her Jesus portrait, The Word Made Flesh:

The Word Made Flesh, Artist Lisa Albinus
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a] and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:1-5 NLT

The Word (Jesus) was made flesh some 2000 years ago. Heaven’s darling came to us so that we might be granted His saving grace to live abundantly. God, made flesh, lived among us. The Jesus portrait above is painted completely with the words of Scripture. A physical representation of “The Word Made Flesh” – who came, today, to claim You as His own.

There is a common expression amongst shepherds, “cast down”. A cast down sheep is a sheep that was comfortable, lying down and relaxing. Their little legs got a bit too comfortable and they flipped over, just enough that they can no longer get up. They cannot rescue themselves and need a shepherd to help them up.

God’s plan, from the beginning, was not for our Shepherd, Jesus, to call down from heaven and offer an encouraging word to help us find our feet again. Our Shepherd donned human flesh as His royal robe and came into our darkness. He stands over us, gets into our mess, reaches into our distress and helps us up.

Jesus beckons to every lost sheep toppled over by their present circumstances. I am one of those sheep. You are one of those sheep. We are ever in need of a Savior. Jesus came so that we might live.

Have you ever asked Jesus to be Your Lord and Savior? Asking Him into your life, your heart and your circumstances invites Him to be YOUR Shepherd. The one that comes to you, stands over you, picks you up from your darkness and leads you into the light. He wants to do that, but you must allow Him in - our God does not abuse, condemn or push Himself on you.

HE chose to love you as you have walked in darkness. He has always been with you, watching and waiting for the day that you would notice Him and invite Him in.

Do you want to know how to invite Jesus into your heart to become your Shepherd? Let’s say this short prayer together and invite Him into Your heart, where YOU become a dwelling place for the Most High.

Dear God, I need you. I am so tired of the struggle and trying to hold everything together. I am calling out to you Jesus today and give you everything I have. I ask that You take up residence within me and that You would be my Lord and Savior. I repent from sins that I have committed. I am so sorry for the things I have done and the person I used to be. Today, I declare that I am a new being through Christ Jesus, and yesterday is just a memory. I don’t have to keep apologizing for these things as I remember them, once I ask forgiveness. God no longer remembers, and I can release all guilt and shame. Today I claim my inheritance as a child of God. I have gone from rags to royalty through my Shepherd. Amen

Please email us at info@encouragementcafe.com if you have prayed this prayer so that we welcome you into the family of God!

Bible Journaling

Is it OK to color in my bible?

This is the single, biggest question I am asked. Here are Lisa's thoughts:

I have a study Bible, my best friend Bible, that I have worked out of for years. It is dog-eared and worn, well loved and has seen me through many a trial.

I do not journal in my best friend!

Rather, I journal in old Bibles I've purchased at the Good Will. I always look for a different version to explore and I watch for thick, juicy pages that will support the weight of water and different mediums. (Older Bibles have a gorgeous paperweight).

In these treasures, I journal my heart and the visual conversation that I am having with Jesus and it enhances my spiritual growth.

There are some that will not deface the Word of God- I get it - that is still so OK! Grab a heavyweight journal and work out of it! The idea is a daily conversation, not where the conversation takes place.

What are some advantages of Bible Journaling?

Imagine a new way to engage with Scripture, where you use all of your senses to delight in the Word of God and experience Him in ways you have never imagined. Through color and creativity, the scriptures come alive within the confines of your Bible or journal.

The science behind this: One can not reach greater thoughts and create new thought patterns by “thinking harder”. The right brain offers intuition and inspiration. The left brain, color and creativity. When the right brain and left brain UNITE in study, revelation springs forth.

Forget about right and wrong! Art and creativity are experiential.

Can you experience an amusement park wrong? No.

Can you experience a sunset wrong? No.

Bible journaling is about experiencing the presence of God is a whole new way. You can not do this wrong.

We will do this together.

Join artist, Lisa Albinus as she leads us through her visual journaling, creative Bible Study through the Psalms. Journal in your bible, with her weekly doodle helps, or in a sketchbook. Dive deeply into the Psalms using the SOAP Method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer) - Soap pages are provided for your use.

Start the journey at any point as we embrace the beauty, poignancy, and imagery of the Psalms together. This is a journey that will change your life, transform your heART, and deepen your relationship with God.

Let's walk this Bible journaling journey together on FaceBook and share in color and revelation!

Welcome to Encouragement Cafe where the conversation is always hot and fresh.
Encouragement Cafe Podcast Co-hosts: Luann Prater and Rachel Olsen
"Comfort food for your soul is always on the menu and friends are close enough to hug."

Every week Rachel Olsen and I sit at the Encouragement Cafe table and discuss topics that have hit home for us. Many who listen write to tell us the discussion was not only exactly what they needed at just the right moment but they truly felt like they were joining us at the cafe.

One recent conversation we called, "Speak to Yourself Like a Friend," resonated with listeners.

We often have a kind word to say to our friend, neighbor, or co-worker. We do our very best to take care of others, but how well do we take care of ourselves?

Rachel and I shared thoughts on how we've been there and have learned the importance of speaking those same encouraging words to ourselves.

We invite you to join us each week at the table and to share it with someone who could use a bit of encouragement.

Thanks for listening and your feedback!

In His grip,

Luann (a.k.a) Mama Lu

So, grab a cup of coffee (or sweet tea) and pull up a chair. They've been waiting for you!

A Call to Uganda

How can I bring this [Encouragement Cafe] to Uganda?

A simple FaceBook response and a big dream of Herbert Mashami, Worship Director at the Destiny Bridge City Church in Kampala, started the journey. The coordinators of A Cup of Encouragement, Berlin, CT raised Herbert's airfare for the November 2017 event where his vision, partnered with Encouragement Cafe, grew feet.

Front Row: Torrie Long, Luann Prater. Back Row: Herbert Mashami, Bishop Arnold Muwonge, Dawn Aldrich

In July 2019, an Encouragement Cafe team will head to Kampala, Uganda to teach women how to bring Cups of Encouragement to their country. Many hands make light work and your hands are vital to make this trip a powerful God-driven success.

First, we are commissioning a special T-shirt that will help raise funds for the trip and awareness of our goal. They'll show up at our live events.

Secondly, although it may seem like a long way off, we must plan now. If you long for a God-sized adventure that will not only take you out of your comfort zone but place you in purpose in a place thirsty for encouragement then please contact info@EncouragementCafe with Cafe Uganda in the subject line if you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you to go.

Torrie Long will reach out to you with special instructions on how to plug in to the adventure. God is calling EC to globalization and Cafe Uganda is a major first step in the process.

Will you join us?

Courage Cafe

Joy FM's & Encouragement Cafe's

Very First Men's Event!!!

designed by men for men

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 6-9 pm

Pinedale Christian Church, 3395 Peters Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC 27127


Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages

God's Pit Crew - Disaster Relief

Honoring First Responders

Every man - Growing & Going

Save the date... more details coming soon!

Jason Davis, Founder of Courage Cafe for men
Courage Cafe: a place where men will learn how to be better, men, husbands, dads and friends. It's a place to DO.
Guys, if you want to accomplish something, join the movement. NO Complacency!

To join the men's movement, contact Jason Davis at jason@encouragementcafe.com for more information.

Encouragement Cafe Ministries, Inc., PO Box 1237, Clemmons, NC 27012

© 2018 Encouragement Cafe Ministries, Inc All Rights Reserved 336.701.3260 info@encouragementcafe.com

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