Friday, December 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Ok, so it is actually Friday but I had planned all day to write this yesterday. Meetings with friends and family kept us busy all day so it is just a day off. Nevertheless, I will keep with Ashley's title instead of trying to be creative and make my own.

Ashley is the writer of the family so please forgive any shortcomings I may have when measured up to her (of which I am sure there are plenty :)

Today, I want to share something that we have been discussing in detail here recently. It is something that we are extremely thankful for - Our Church.

Calvary has been our home church since we were very young. We really have experienced life together through our church. We met in the youth group when we were about 12 and it was through that youth group that we began going on mission trips with SCORE. We grew up there, were married there, I will be ordained there and we will be comissioned there. Although God has allowed for Calvary to build and add on to our physical buildings, it is not the church building that we are thankful for - it is the people. So many of our church family supported us on our first mission trips that made it possible for God to open our eyes to the need. Many of the same members have donated sacrificially so that we could go to Bible and Language school just a few years later. And yet many still have followed up and support the effort that God has called us to. This is a church that has developed us and prayed for us, led us and gave for us. They have always been our home church. This church has taught us the love that Christ displays through people to accomplish his mission. I am convinced that the church exists for worship - worship, not just with music and a choir but with word, actions, giving, sending, encouraging, counseling, praying and loving....after all the Bible does teach that the church is to edify the body of believers.
It was by members of Calvary that I was introduced to aviation after the Holy Spirit gave me the desire. It is from Calvary that we have learned that the church is NOT based on any man but on the eternal God of the universe. We have been through a lot but the ministry that is going out of the church is uncommon in the world today.
We hold fast to the Biblical Doctrine that is taught by our church. I tell people all the time that I don't stand firmly on being an Independent Baptist - after all, Christ nor any of his disciples did. I stand firm on Christ and His Gospel, the reason I am a part of this Church is because they do to. I am asked often if in my ministry I will plant an Independent Baptist church....the answer is yes/no. I will only seek to found churches that based in the inmovable, undeniable truths that are found in Gods word but I will not have a denomination name in it.....there are many reasons why , namely because denominations have done much damage in the region where we are working and the truth is, the people we are ministering to need to understand that it is ALL about Christ, not an organization associated with Him.

We are proud to be members of Calvary Baptist Church, we are in no way perfect but I do feel as if we are a church that seeks to reach others and make disciples. There are many different types of people in our church and it is encouraging to see that although everyone may not agree on what Paul would label, "doubtful issues" we can all come together and serve, worship and encourage each other at the feet of Christ.

We thank God for our Church and for their influence in our life and we pray for it daily!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday: A Beautiful Plan

I follow a lot of blogs. I don't read them all regularly, and I read some more than others, but I love to read blogs.

Perhaps it's an addiction, but it's one that often expands my mind and heart and challenges my soul.

I read stories of hope and life and self-sacrifice and giving and redemption and my heart is so often flooded with so many emotions that the only outlet is tears flooding my eyes. It's inspiring and motivating to see and hear all the things that God is doing around the world and how He's just using humble people to do it.

Today, I'm thankful that God has a beautiful plan. I love the analogy of the tapestry. God is working on a big, beautiful tapestry and sometimes we get frustrated, overwhelmed, discouraged, and confused because all we can see is the messy side with all the criss-crossing and interweaving and it looks like a disaster.

But on the other side is a beautiful picture that God is diligently working to create. It's a picture of beauty and grace and mercy and freedom and justice. And it means that God has a beauitful plan for every believer's life.

That beauty may not, and often does not, translate as easy or beautiful from an earthly perspective. It may be tiring and full of persecution. But it's beautiful because God is the one weaving it and He loves us so much more than our minds can imagine.

I'm so thankful today for God's beautiful plan, whatever that is. May I always be so thankful.

"For I know the plans I have for you" —[this is] the LORD's declaration—"plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. " Jeremiah 29.11 HCSB

Here are some great blogs that I follow. Maybe they'll encourage and challenge you, too.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So What or So That

I went to a women's conference last night with a new friend of mine from here at JAARS, the ministry Richard's training with.

The message title was "Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars". I was particularly interested in this because my prayer life has been.... well.... lacking severely in recent days. I thought, "Maybe this will give me a much needed boost/perspective." I admit that as lame as it may be to "need" a reason to pray, sometimes that is the case for me. [Any one out there understand this??]

As the conference began I immediately got the impression that I wasn't going to get what I had come for.

But turns out that was totally fine because God had a little something else to say to me. You may have read my post about quote journaling, where I like to write down quotes that inspire me, encourage me, and challenge me so I can reference them later. Well, I left with only one written down:

"Your life can either be a "so what" or a "so that"."

At first I thought, "Hm. Interesting thought." Then the Holy Spirit said, "Listen to what I'm saying to you."

That usually gets my attention.

My life can either be a "so what" or a "so that". I can live in such a way that when the end comes around, whether that's tomorrow or when I'm 95, all that can be said is, "So what? She lived, she died. And eternity is no different because of it."

Or, I can live in such a way that all of my actions, both intentional and unintentional, are done "so that" God's Kingdom can be furthered. I could live in such a way that when the end comes, others can say, "She lived so that others may live."


Pretty profound.

Going through my day today, I find myself asking, "Is what I'm doing a "so what" or a "so that"?" Whether it's browsing the web, cleaning my house, teaching my son, encouraging my husband, reading, writing, praying, listening, learning, loving, laughing..... is it something that really matters?

Guess God gave me the perspective I needed.

Are you living a "so what" or a "so that" life?

Monday, December 5, 2011


Honestly, sometimes I would rather read a book about God than actually read God's book.

I struggle with this a lot. I know it's a heart issue and it doesn't make sense in the big picture. But right now it's true and it's what I must confess and intentionally allow the Holy Spirit to change in me.

I look back at times in my life when the Bible was my source of life and strength. I longed to read it and soaked it in like a sponge. But not right now.

God, help me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

When we are here in the USA, I find it very easy to get distracted by everything around me, especially with Christmas right around the corner. Every store and website is bombarding us with all the things we "need" and convincing us that these things are sure to make us happier. Or if it's not that they will make us happier, then it's certainly something that we deserve. After all, times are tough and we've worked hard!

And if I let my guard down for just a minute or two, I suddenly find myself thinking of me and my needs and my wants and my desires or those of my family. If I'm not careful I justify those thoughts by telling myself things like, "Well, we have had a really busy year" or "Well, I don't usually buy things for myself" or "It would be nice..."

It is in that moment that I have to be intentional about taking every thought captive. The Apostle Paul says this:

"We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." (2 Cor 10:4b-6)

It is not that these "things" around me are bad in and of themselves. A lot of them are beautiful or useful or fun. It is that I allow my heart to desire them.

When I get into this mode where I am getting overwhelmed by my fleshly desires and wants, if I take a minute to stop and evaluate what it really is that I'm seeking, I always find that it's something of little value and something that I know will only bring momentary enjoyment.

If I take a moment and listen to the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear, above the noise of this world, I find Him saying, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you." (Matthew 6:33)

Then I smile and find that  these desires fade away. It's not that I have peace knowing God will give me all these earthly "things" that I think I want, because that's not it at all.

No, He's saying, "I'm enough. Seek me and you'll see that".

Suddenly I don't desire these earthly possessions anymore because I know that it is only God who can fulfill me. And that I don't deserve anything but by His grace and through His Son He has already given me everything.

And a new outfit or camera or i-gadget doesn't compare to that.

It's often in those moments I'm reminded of those times when we are in the Jung|e, and I look into the faces of these beautiful, naked kids and I see these women who just want to know true love and we hear the chants of the witchdoctors as they summon up the spirits again in a futile effort to make the lives of the natives better and I hear about that little baby who died from dehydration and I think about how spoiled I am and how unworthy I am.

And I can't find it in me to care about what's under the tree this year.
When we travel to these churches, no matter how big or small, and I meet fellow missionaries and believers who God is using in unconventional and incredible ways in Africa and Asia and the Middle East and Europe and all over Central and South America and right here in the USA, somehow I can't focus on anything else but how big our God is and how awesome and humbling it is that He would use us to do anything at all for Himself.

Suddenly my heart is saying, "What can I give?" and "How can I help?" and "I am so spoiled!"
All I can see is Christ and the Gospel and everything else seems to fade away. And I know that these aren't my thoughts at all. We already saw what my desires were apart from Him! But Paul teaches "for it is God who is working in us, [enabling us] both to will and to act for His good purpose." (Philippians 2.13)

Jesus said,  "Don't collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy
and where thieves break in and steal.
But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves
don't break in and steal."

By God's grace, that's all I want for Christmas.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful Thursday: This Little Guy

I am so thankful for this. little. guy.

Some days, being a "stay at home" mom is tiring. Some days, I just want an itsy bitsy little break. Some days are monotonous. But every day, this little guy makes me laugh. And every day, I am thankful for him. And every day, I wouldn't trade this life God has given me for the world.

The days are long, but the years are short. Gotta enjoy 'em while they last!!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...