Monday, September 29, 2008
So tonight I made a point of running over and boy did I...run over that is.
What I left for comments would have easily passed for a post, or a short term paper. As I trotted off to bed I realized if I felt that passionate about the subject I best post my thoughts over here as well.
During the course of discussing all the 'do'in on Mandy's, the comments were getting pretty sad, sorry and leaning heavily into standard negative stereotypes regarding the Church's...not the Church as the body of Christ so much, but the physical buildings that constitute places of worship for a great percentage of the American population.
Personally I admit to being similarly discouraged at one time and wondering what the Body of Christ could accomplish if most churches really modeled what is presented in the book of Acts. I yearned for the possibility, but like so many others bought into a lie years ago and believing a book of Acts church would never be a reality in my lifetime or on this planet.
I was wrong...I was wrong in a big way.
Many churches get caught up in themselves, their buildings, ornamentation, dynamic music, programs along with piles of legalities, loyalties and duties that lead to a lot of cliches and a country club mentality. All to often the lost and needy never see 'The Light' as they lay buried under massive volumes of don'ts and won'ts.
I would love to say what I described above is the exception, I'd love to...but I can't.
I am reminded of a question posed by Ravi Zacharias a couple of years ago: Has Christianity ( the Church) failed you? Ultimately the answer was...perhaps so - "when Christianity becomes part of the judgement that divides us rather than the Grace that unites us".
Then and now I can't help but believe there are loads of prodigals who allow the dysfunction within the church to keep them from fully engaging with what God would have them do for the Kingdom...right now. We easily get caught up in pointing fingers and criticizing each other all the while the world goes to hell. Instead of just 'do'ing as Christ instructed us to do.
Where's the Grace?
This is a large part of what I enjoyed most about 'Mandy's DO Something'. I found myself challenged, pushed and prodded as I looked at parts of this Body of Christ that are Doing things in ways and places that made me gasp in awe of how God is getting the work done.
What an inspiration!
So here is where I jumped in with both stinky feet and sent a resounding shout out for a large part of the body that is actually doing a lot and coincidentally happens to be an actual 'Church'...as in a building, with members and such.
You see I'm am blessed to be a part of a this Church. Mega church actually or so they tell me. Truthfully it doesn't feel 'Mega', it just feels like home.
This large fellowship I belong to well, we're 'do'ing the most upside down outta the box kind of things imaginable in our little corner of the world.
This October we, our church will spend 3 days showering the needy and impoverished of Cherokee County Georgia with all manner of lovin straight from the Word of God.
The name of the program is
Some examples of what we'll be 'do'in includes, painting, cleaning, building, flooring, roofing, giving free dental and medical care, repairing and refinishing cars.
We've adopted various mobile home parks, retirement communities, special need facilities, providing free hair cuts, and child care and serving elegant dinners out for the needy and impoverished... the list is extensive and ever changing so feel free to have a look at some of the projects here.
That's not all. Our church body has been working for several weeks now to certified all that are willing and qualified to be Foster parents. There are some 325 children in our county alone with only 70 homes currently available to take them in, our hope and prayer is to create enough new homes as well as support for the existing parents to fill these needs for our county. In depth details of what we are 'do'ing with Foster Care can be found here.
Everyone in our congregation is relentlessly challenged to be more, 'do' more, get out there and live what we believe. We are regularly reminded our mission fields include the world at large as well as each of our neighborhoods. We have a Pastor who leads by example thereby making him very easy to follow.
Like anything, it's so much easier to see what is wrong than standing up and trying to 'do' the good thing, the right thing...the thing Jesus would have us do.
Am I saying that everyone is our gigantic congregation is 'do'ing something...of course not...no perfection on this side of heaven, but walk into that building...is it large?
but our God He's larger and well...He's just everywhere - fillin that place!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I am fortunate enough to have a Pastor who consistently raises the bar and challenging his congregation to do more, love loud, dig deeper and mine the mission fields right in our own families and neighborhoods.
Likewise my small groups/Sunday school teacher does the same during weekly class time.
By and large my small group is not the average group of retiring Baby Boomers. This bunch is in a constant state of motion, taking up many worthy causes, providing hands on and monetary assistance to various individuals and families very often right in our own backyard. A group is always, I do mean always just heading out or returning from missions fields in and out of the country.
I've also come to know some amazing bloggers out here in cyber-space. These folks regularly knock my socks off with their incites, activities and demonstrations of the passionate servant hearts they bare for our world near and far. Each in their own voice share their love of God and this world He created to anyone who stops by for a read, comment and hopefully a chat. Some of my favorite can be found at the sidebar of this page.
As I get ready to enter my 51st year I am awestruck at what God is doing through the lives of this younger generation. What these young people do and the way they allow God to use them makes my heart race and floods my face with tears of joy. It's nothing short of phenomenal. God is just all over their lives!
All this gives me great hope. Hope for my children, grandchildren, my country and the world we all inhabit. Revival seems seems eminent, the fields are white and many laborers seem united in the cause of sharing Christ with the world...in word and deed. (Colossians 3:15-17)
I find myself being drawn more and more to my knees praying the Holy Spirit continue to set our world afire one person at a time. Darkness seems everywhere, wars, hurricanes, tornadoes financial collapse, gas and food shortages and climbing prices. What greater time and place for God to use His people to bring light into this abyss. May we each be the salt and light as Christ instructed. (Matthew 5:13-14)
Many a wildfire begins with a spark. Every thing, great and small keeps the flames roaring. Be bold and pray that God will bring to you things you can DO. Lastly and most importantly Pray! Pray like there is no tomorrow, allow yourself and your heart to be broken for our country and our world...and our Father will pour out a harvest and healing like nothing we can imagine.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
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It's a simple registration that cost a bit of your time NOT money!
Monday, September 22, 2008
“If…My people who are called by My name humble
themselves, pray and seek My face,
and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from
heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
"The 40/40 Prayer Vigil consists of 40 days of prayer from September 24 to November 2, 2008, culminating in 40 hours of around the clock intercession during the last 3 days of the Vigil. The Vigil focuses first on personal spiritual revival. It then covers an expanding circle of prayer concerns, from the church to the nation."
reprinted from ilivevalues.com
Unlike many forwarded emails these actions will truly effect change. Simply go to this link, sign up and commit to join in prayer with multitudes across our country.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Let's talk about Friends
This account from Mark 2:1-5 really resonates with me.
" When He entered Capernaum again after some days, it was reported that He was at home.
So many people gathered together that there was no more room, not even in the doorway, and He was speaking the message to them.
Then they came to Him bringing a paralytic, carried by four men.
Since they were not able to bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above where He was.
And when they had broken through, they lowered the stretcher on which the paralytic was lying.
Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic,
"Son, your sins are forgiven." Mark 2: 1-5
Here's a few more details in Luke 5:18-19
"Just then some men came, carrying on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before Him.
Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus."
Shortly after Jesus commanded the paralytic to " get up, take your mat and go home." and he did just that.
I am struck by many things, consider the following:Where might this fellow have been were it not for the faithful four?
Were it not for the belief of this mans friends, how different might his life could have been?
Would the paralyzed man ever made any progress toward recovery?
There have been quite a few times recently, where I can say with great certainty that were it not for a few faithful friends, I would be as crippled as any paralytic....hopelessly dwelling in the deepest pits of despair.
I have been abundantly blessed to have key people in my life these last 3 years who picked me up when I could not move, prayed for me when my mouth was bound and flat out melted my frozen heart due to the loving power of Jesus Christ radiating from them.
Most don't live anywhere near Georgia, many did not even know me until after my girls death. All but a couple have even the remotest idea of what bereaving a child is all about.
Yet they were faithful.
They willingly carried me along and lay me at the Masters feet.
Unlike the men of Capernaum, their mission was not finished once they had me there. No, my family and I continue to be cared for and loved on by some of the sweetest most humble souls I have ever had the pleasure to know.
There are a lot of hurting people out there...some near...some not. Deliberate prayer, encouragement by way of a phone call here, a card, letter or email there...especially after the initial crisis has passed. That's when it is needed most.
The greatest gift we could give is to be a part of someones faithful few.
In this way we may best represent the body of Christ...in word and deed, giving our mighty God all the glory!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Don't know about the rest of you, but regarding this bloggin thing...boy, does it give me pause at times.
For whatever reason, what's pecked out on this keyboard better ring true or it's not being posted.
Not for me anyway.
Little or big things, makes no difference...if I type it out, it's gotta be genuine and from my heart.
So right now, at a very late hour when I should be catchin some Z's I am struggling to finish up a post for Heart to Heart.
The average subject matter on this blog ranges from
Much more revealing, thoughtful and tender as discussions are of a very delicate nature.
Again...don't know about ya'll, but when I'm writing about the deeper matters of my journey's, I pretty much travel back in time.
Consequently, the realities of then are as near as the next memory I put to keyboard. Sometimes I feel as though I am one syllable from sliding back into my firmer but more troubled skin of then.
Once there I see, smell, hear, feel and touch everything all over again.
In order to be of any use, this is exactly how it needs to be...honest recollections .
Course that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
That said, during the course of avoiding my post, this evening I found a wonderful video I just gotta share.
Very appropriate and here's why.
As I reflect back through the seasons of my life the pain, trials, heartaches and loss I've experienced, one thing has been constant throughout it all.
I never lost my praise...never.
For that, I am most Grateful.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Almost 2 weeks ago my sweet husband took the family to the beaches of San Destin during Kyra's first school break. That Sunday, vacation or not, I was up early grabbed my Bible, devotions and cup a Joe then headed for the beach.
The gulf waves were on the rise as the effects of Gustaf were already being felt. I was virtually alone except for some surfers here and there, shell gathers, occasional joggers, and various hotel staff setting up loungers and umbrellas for the day.
It was good! Very, very GOOD!
I could not have been more blessed...or so I thought.
As I sat immersed in the Word simultaneously sending up prayer and praise a crowd converged on the beach.
My savored solitude with God was suddenly disturbed by a mass of humanity that came seemingly out of nowhere.
My first concerns were that something was wrong. Was there a surfer or swimmer caught up in these bustling morning waters? Someone hurt or drowning?
As the crowd kept growing I gave up trying to ignore the activity and headed to where the action was.
As I moved through the crowd, I saw a good half dozen people in black wet suits standing in the ocean, as the rough morning waves beat upon their backs.
Before long others were headed out to meet them.
I leaned into some of the other witnesses and ask what was going on.
"Baptisms. There are 40 people being Baptized here today."
Seems it had been planned for that evening, but with hurricane weather concerns they moved it up to morning...this particular morning.
At my home church, we have a lot of Baptisms and I never fail to be deeply moved as each soul makes this public statement of faith. I find myself compelled to cover each one in prayer while praising God for His grace and mercy....Baptisms never fail to send me to another level of rejoicing!!
And there on that beach, that morning God just rained down blessings as only He can, allowing me the honor of witnessing this particular glorious event.
As I stood there weeping struggling to snap photos (way too good not to share!) my heart about to bust out of my chest....Oh the glory! Oh the testimony! God just blew me away!!
I went to the beach to meet Him and boy did HE show up!
Isn't He good?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Oh and her trusty sidekick
The ‘K’ Man
For those of you not privy to fine televised entertainment such as say...Noggin,
You may wonder
What makes Super Bunny, super?
Super Bunny can fly any where to help people or animals out with a problem.
‘Soop’ can also use her long ears to wrap around tree branches and swing up even higher or…are you ready for this?
Use those same ears on Christmas trees to swat the snow off.
That’s direct from the bunnies mouth!
You too can be a Super Bunny:
- Just grab an extra pair of PJ’s,
- Wear the bottoms on your head
- Tie the top around your neck as your super cape and you are set!
Go Bunny! Go!!
*Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead or animated, is purely coincidental
Friday, September 5, 2008
My first God Stop Friday entry was ready to post when lo and behold...
I had planned on sharing the way He showed up in a big way during my quite time last Sunday, but this morning He rocked my world yet again beginning with a little video over at Mandy's ...take a look at this
In the past few years I have had the delight of spending copious amounts of time teaching, playing and learning a plethora of games geared for the 5 and under crowd. I have viewed hours of commercial free 'G' rated entertainment and read countless volumes of children's literature. In the course of my emergence into 'Parenthood: 2001', I've had the occasion to be profoundly moved into action by a simple but profound truth.
You see, last summer my granddaughters school sent a lengthy list of suggested reading material to share with our child before school started in the fall. Several classics were well represented: 'Harold and the Purple Crayon', 'Madeline', 'Caps for Sale' the 'Curious George' series, and 'Corduroy' was actually required...really!
One series included on the list was the "If You Give..." books by Laure Joffe Numeroff. The original story in the set is called
The story goes something like this,
I think you get the picture....quite the shaggy dog story.
I don't want to spoil the ending but ultimately the story ends up back at the beginning,
with the mouse seeing the refrigerator, which causes him to want more milk aaaand...
Full circle, so that whoever is watching over this mouse could be very exhausted at days end...
I can sooo relate.
How many times do I encounter a situation, a group or person in need and
- turn the other way
- pretend my bad ear didn't get the whole message
- just decide it was not my business or better yet, not my area of giftedness?
The needs are everywhere, we run into them at every turn.
Volunteer at a local shelter, hospice, nursing home, Sunday School (fill in the blank)
Get to really know our neighbors....especially those that are not so easy to get to know much less like. Remember He did not call us to do the easy things, but the hard ones. Matthew 5: 43-48.
Invite someone to dinner or church.....
If we consciously look for opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ every day....
chances are very good more will be needed or expected.
Wow! This little ministry could turn into a whole lot of work that could cut into our well deserved down time with my family, friends or TV.
Come on we say, this is for someone else to do...it's their calling...their ministry.
My insightful daughter in love Beth regularly points out,
"Who can truly say we deserve anything?"
You know what...We Don't!
Jesus said in John 4:32-38
"I have food to eat you know nothing about."
The disciples were puzzled.
"Who could have brought him food?"
Jesus said, "The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn't you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I'm telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what's right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It's harvest time!
"The Harvester isn't waiting. He's taking his pay, gathering in this grain that's ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That's the truth of the saying, 'This one sows, that one harvests.' I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others."
All too often harvesting requires us to 'give a mouse a cookie'.
God has used this powerful little parable to make me realize it's time to step up and step out.
My prayer is that the body of Christ will open up and earnestly seek God asking Him to send all needy mice, moose and pigs our way. I'd love to be up to my eyeballs in the blessed harvest God has prepared.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This mornings questions prompted the following thoughts:
Historically, I have kept to myself and my little family, in the belief there was nothing I had to offer that God would possibly use. Too much of a mess and not churchy enough.
I have kept a journal since I was a young girl; most were intimate conversations with God that brought me through some of the most difficult seasons of my life. I will always be grateful for the teachers who promoted this habit in my early years.
It has taken the death of my youngest child over 3 years ago to light a fire under me that will not be put out. At the same time I was given the awesome responsibility of parenting 2 of my eldest daughters children.
As if that was not enough, I reluctantly, but obediently began putting myself out there in other ways, thrusting my hand and heart to just about anyone I encounter, all the while asking God to put people in my path that I might encourage and share His good news with.
This behavior bares no resemblance to my former safe self.
Traveling through the darkest seasons of my life, God has given me a passion and boldness to spend whatever time and resources I have left to let His light shine. I shutter to think someone might crossed my path and ultimately face God at judgement, someone whom I failed to share the message of Jesus Christ with. Ooooo!
I struggled about a year ago trying to know exactly what God's purpose was for my life. Once I laid down my thoughts, beliefs and designs on how He might use me, I found myself regularly challenged to be a part of things I would have naturally run from.
Daily I am directed to face things that get out of my comfort zone and do stuff I previously believed were best left to other…more gifted members of the body of Christ.
Try as I might to limit myself based on my circumstance, God keeps redefining who I think I am…growing and stretching me in ways I would never dream.
I have learned, unlike the general consensus, to say: yes, not no, to be open to change, not set in my ways and in all ways and things put Him first. Wow, have the blessings flowed!
This blogging thing…authentic blogging, is challenging and painful at times. But beyond any of the doubts that try to hamper me, I am certain this is the time and a medium I’m to be a part of. Until He directs me differently, this is one of the places I will be shining His light.
Sharing my testimony is difficult, whether written or verbal, so often I write about it or finish speaking believing what I uttered was completely unintelligible, only to hear from others how blessed they were. That’s when I know beyond any doubt…this is God! Thank you Jesus for translating the abundance that spills from my heart.
How will I respond? I see no choice here. I must follow His lead, look to Him daily not me, putting one foot in front of the other with confidence that He has the plan, He will provide the knowledge, and He will raise me up when I don’t see or understand what He has in mind. At fifty years old, what a thrilling ride to be on! I plan to hang in there as long as God wills it!
Monday, September 1, 2008
Yesterday morning I opened my eyes to Kyra, her face no more than 5 inches from mine.
Patience... it's a good thing!