Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Great Commission for All Part 2

Another way you can be a part of what God is doing around the world is to give. Give time, money, resources, whatever you have to give.

Give time to pray either alone or with others for the work being done.
Give time to talk with a missionary and encourage them through Skype or phone.
Give time to spread the word about what great things the Lord is doing so that more can join in.
Give time to make a short trip to another place.
Give money to aid in projects the missionaries are doing.
Give money to help the people they are ministering to.
Give money to pay for sending care packages or buying things to send to the workers.
Give resources to help them when they come home for a time. Ex) cars, furniture, place to live, food, gift cards, etc.
Give your talents to help spread the Word in different ways.
Be Creative!

I want to delve in a little more on making a short trip for a moment. This is a practical way to "go". There are many ways to go about this, but I would encourage every believer to do this at least once in your life. It will open your eyes to the reality of the rest of the world in a new way. Whether you go with a medical team, as Jim and I have done in the past, or do to VBS/kids camps or conference, you will see the world in a new way. I think many times this is what hinders people from going: they are afraid to be changed. But I tell you, a life in Christ brings about change and Jesus cares about all of these cultures. We are told there will be people from every tribe, tongue and nation around the throne of God praising His Name and I trust that it will be so. But how will they hear if no one goes? Do not be so afraid of what it will do to you that you miss what God is doing in others.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Come Ye Sinner

by: Joseph Hart

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched, 
Weak and wounded, sick and sore; 
Jesus, ready, stands to save you,
Full of pity, joined with power. 
He is able, He is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come ye needy, come, and welcome, 
God's free bounty glorify; 
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh. 
Without money, without money
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall; 
If you tarry 'til you're better, 
You will never come at all. 
Not the righteous, not the righteous;
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream; 
All the fitness He requires
Is to feel your need of Him.
This He gives you, this He gives you,
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! The Incarnate God, ascended;
Pleads the merit of His blood. 
Venture on Him; venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
None but Jesus, none but Jesus 
Can do helpless sinners good.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Great Commission for All Part 1

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20

If you have gone to church for any length of time you are probably quite familiar with this passage. It is personally one of my favorites as the Lord has given me a great heart for the nations and we hope to one day be serving Him in another country. I do realize the context of this was given to the 11 after Jesus's resurrection, but I also believe it has implications for all believers today. As I grow and learn I am realizing that those implications will look different for each person. Because the command is "go" it is easy to think this is only directed at those who are called to full-time overseas missions service, but I do not believe that is so. As a follower of Christ we are called to make God's Name great among all nations. So if you are not called to move to another country and be in the culture what else can you do?

The best way is to pray. There are many working overseas, and the thing they ask for more than anything else is prayers. General things to pray for:
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of people around the world. Pray that God would soften them and reveal Himself to people. 
  • Pray for those who are overseas, sharing the Gospel of Christ. Pray that they would be bold and unafraid. 
  • Pray for receptivity as we know that God calls His own and they respond to the stirring of the Spirit when they hear to Good News of Christ. 
  • Pray for growth of new believers in other countries.
  • Pray that churches would be planted and run by the Spirit through local believers.
  • Pray for local missionaries. Pray that they, too, would have a heart for lost people in their nation as well as other nations. There are some countries that Americans cannot get into that people from surrounding countries can. This is a huge need!
  • Pray for stamina of missionaries to teach and disciple new believers as well as stamina to keep telling the Good News when they see no fruit. Both can be equally overwhelming. 
There are other things you can generally pray for, but you get the idea. For more specific requests contact a missionary or someone who knows them and find out what they are doing and what they need prayer for. This really means more to them than anything else you can do. Why? Because those that are in the trenches know that only God can win souls and bring about new life as well as meet all of their needs. If you would like some specific ways to pray for those overseas, let me know and I would be happy to share with you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

2 Years

It's been 2 years since our family packed up our house in Smyrna, GA and moved north 2 states to Louisville, KY. Honestly, I cannot believe it has been 2 years already, and then at the same time it sometimes is weird thinking we use to live somewhere else. It's amazing how adaptable we are.

So much has changed in 2 years. This picture was taken the day after we moved at our local Chick-fil-A. Jamey was 16 month and Lillian was 2 months. They were so little then.

Today they are 3 years and 2 years respectively. They are learning so much. They both speak in full sentences, know letters and numbers, dress themselves (sort of), walk, run and jump. Such a difference from 2 years ago. Here they are asking about sacrifices as they check out a scene at the Creation Museum from our trip there in June. They talk it all in. I love that they want to memorize scripture and read the Bible. I pray God will continue to foster this love in them and call them to Himself from a young age.

This past year God blessed our family with a third miracle, Reuben, who is now 10 months old. He is the rambunctious one in our bunch. He is into everything and wants to do everything his older siblings do. He is also our snuggle bug and loves hugs and kisses and when he wants attention he is good at demanding it. He laughs hard and cries hard. He has quite a strong personality and it will be fun to watch him as he continues to grow.

God continues to teach us and grow us. It is a continual process and there are times when it seems like it will take me forever to learn, but I am learning that it will take me forever, and it is by God's grace that I am growing and moving forward at all.

When we moved here we had a plan and thought we knew exactly what we were doing/going to do and when. 2 years in we have a vague idea and that is all. We are currently living in the same apartment we moved into originally, but soon we will be moving into a house. God has showed us we are going to be here a few years more than we thought, and so He has led us to buy a house. We know we are here to learn as much as we can before we go to our next destination. We are still hoping it will be Eastern Europe, but right now it is hard to see exactly where we will be and what specifically we will be doing. We know that God will show us in time, but today we walk by faith step by step until our path is clear.

In the mean time, Jim continues to take classes. I am taking classes through the seminary wives institute, which has been a huge blessing. We started a basic preschool homeschooling curriculum this year which helped Jamey to flourish and Lillian is following close behind. I have been reading more in general and hoping to foster more reading in our home.

In November we were able to make a brief trip to Asheville, NC to see our family, particularly Pappy after finding out he had advanced cancer and did not know how much time he had.
In December we were able to return to Smyrna for a visit to see family and friends and attend a wedding.
In June we returned to Asheville to say good-bye to Pap.

It has been a crazy year, but God has been faithful to us throughout.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why Cloth?

I know it has been a few years since we started using cloth diapers but after moving here to Louisville and being around many who use them as well as other reusable products I decided to write about my opinion on the matter. I do want to start off by saying I am not a "tree-hugging greenie" (and no offense to those of you who are as I hope to get better at taking care of the earth for my part) these are simply my observations as I see and hear things and pray about the best decisions to make regarding certain things. I am also not completely opposed to paper, plastic, etc. I do think these things have there place and use them myself. Like many things I am discovering I believe there is a balance.

What really got me thinking about it a lot was one of my teachers saying, "If you can afford the modern conveniences do it." Though I have a great deal of respect for this teacher, I must politely disagree. We did start using cloth diapers for monetary reasons (and with 3 kids back to back it has certainly saved us a LOT of money) and we have been able to continue using them for almost 3 years now. Not long after we started using cloth wipes as well. I will admit this is not always convenient when out in public, but if you carry a water bottle or can find a sink/water fountain you can still use them. On occasion we will buy store wipes, but this is rare. I know that wipes are not super expensive, but again we have saved money, especially since we were able to cut up some excess blankets to use as wipes.
We also primarily use cloth napkins to clean our hands and faces and have reusable washable cleaning rags. Last December we got reusable washing sponges and good scrubbing dish rags that can also be tossed in the washing machine when they get gross. Since we do not have a dish washer this has been a huge help in cleaning our dishes, as they work great, and saves us money by not having to buy sponges every couple of months. Since the sponges are made out of cloth they can be used on our non-stick pans and regular dishes so we get 2-in-1! Needless to say that really saves money.
We do use cloth in other ways too, but I believe I have made the point well enough that using cloth items can save you money. That is usually why people switch.

So now I want to think of it from a responsibility aspect. We know in Genesis after God created man that He told them to subdue the Earth. After reading the definition of subdue I would like to do a word study on the original Hebrew, but perhaps another time. The 5th definition is the one that applies here from that says to bring (land) under cultivation. The other definitions talk about conquering and subjugation which I do not think is exactly what God meant, but as I said I need further word study. So God commands us to cultivate the land. To cultivate means to work the land to raise crops. I would take this as use the land to take care of ourselves. What does that have to do with cloth?
Again I am not 100% sure on some of these things, just going on what I see and observe (research is not my thing) but it seems as though most cloth things are made from things that are cultivated, cotton primarily. I don't know about other materials and such, but these things are made to last, to be used many times and for a long time. They help us not to be wasteful.
I believe as a Christian that we do have some of a responsibility to not be wasteful, that in cultivating the earth we are also to care for the earth that God created and gave us to live in and off of. I do realize that there is freedom in this. I cannot point you directly to a Scripture that says we must do it this way or that way and I think that is deliberate so that each person can do what is best for their family as well as others.
For example, a single mom working full time is not likely going to be able to use cloth everything. Some might be able to, and that is great, but the reality is if she is single and her little ones are young, it's probably not going to be feasible. Some people do not have washing machines making it challenging to use a lot of cloth. And there are many situations that make it not as practical. There is freedom.
But I would challenge those who are in practical situations to use less non-recyclable plastic and other wasteful items just because they are convenient and you can afford them. Do I still use these items, absolutely! I am condemning no one or I would have to condemn myself.
Other great ideas I have heard from those who are unable to use cloth is reusing Ziploc bags as many times as possible, finding creative ways to use plastic grocery bags, or reusing them for shopping if you don't have reusable bags, when a toothbrush is not good for brushing anymore use it to clean, get as many uses as you can out of paper towels, and dried out or washed wipes make good dust clothes. There are many other things but be creative.
We have heard the words, "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" for years but somehow the message is still not sinking into our heads. I am far more wasteful than I care to admit and I'm always evaluating. Some seasons are more wasteful than others and as I am always reminded there is grace for it.
So I challenge you today, what is 1 change you can make to help take better care of what God has given us to take care of?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Jesus Savior Pilot Me

by Edward Hopper

  1. Jesus, Savior, pilot me,
    Over life’s tempestuous sea;
    Unknown waves before me roll,
    Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal;
    Chart and compass came from Thee:
    Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
  2. As a mother stills her child,
    Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
    Boist’rous waves obey Thy will
    When Thou say’st to them, “Be still!”
    Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea,
    Jesus, Savior, pilot me.
  3. When at last I near the shore,
    And the fearful breakers roar
    ’Twixt me and the peaceful rest,
    Then, while leaning on Thy breast,
    May I hear Thee say to me,
    “Fear not, I will pilot thee.”

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Accidental Week Vacation

I realized today that aside from a few important emails on one of my email accounts I had not touched my other email, Facebook or blog. I also had not looked at anyone else's blogs either. Aside from all of the emails and notifications waiting for me, it was kind of nice being disconnected from the cyber world. I love writing and knowing how to pray for friends and things in the world, which are some major benefits to the cyber/almost instant connections, but it was refreshing taking an accidental break. Now if only I could manage an accidental break from the TV, that would be really impressive.