Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Worship Through Obedience

The Word of God is a funny thing sometimes...you can be listening to someone speaking on a certain subject, read their text and find God shouting at you about something completely different.  As my pastor gave a great sermon on Sunday about when God shows up our focus should not be on ourselves, but on Him,  I read over Exodus 3:10-12 as he asked and God started shouting at me as only He can.

"I will send you"...it is God who initiatives our service to Him. It is so important for us to realize this that He repeats it again just a couple of verses down.  God plans our good works, sets our feet on the path and directs our steps.  For some, like us, He may be sending you to a different country.  For others, He might be sending you to get to know the new neighbors down the street.  For kids returning back to school, He might be sending you to be a friend to that person who never talks to anyone.  God has a plan for each of us and it is as His messenger that we are sent.

At this point, it is vital for me to remember this.  As our family is walking along this path toward serving in Moz,  it is often easy to think of the steps, training and orientations as another task that I have to do.  I must step back, look at the bigger picture and remember that this is God's work, this is God's plan and it is God who is sending me. 

"I will be with you"...God is more than a boss standing at a starting point.  He is the very message that we carry and He is with us where ever He has sent us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Oh how I cling to this on the days when I don't want to leave my friends, my family and my dog!  When I am feeling alone and broken-hearted, God whispers, "I am with you."

"You shall worship"...So what is our response to God's sending us and being with us?  We are to worship Him.  I heard a sermon several years ago linking worship and obedience.  In Genesis 22, when Abraham goes to sacrifice Isaac,  the words worship and obey are used for the first time in Scripture.  Our obedience to God is an act of worship.  It recognizes who He is and His authority in our lives.  It recognizes who we are and our dependence upon Him.

Our response in worship to "I will send you"  must be "I will go."

Our response in worship to "I will be with you" should be "I need you."

Today, you might ask yourself where is He sending you and how do you see Him going with you?

Today, you might ask yourself if am I ready to worship through obedience?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Believe Videos

I saw this video posted last night...


I Believe in Scripture Poem- David Bowden from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

which led me to this video that totally blew my mind...


I Believe in the Devil Poem- David Bowden from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

which led me to this video that really says it all.


I Believe in Jesus from NORTHchurch on Vimeo.

3 videos, 10 or so minutes total.  Trust me it is worth the time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One-Liners

Nathan has become quite the little comedian lately with his timely one-liners...and the funniest part may be that he has no idea just how funny he is...


Caleb was sharing that he was very nervous about starting his new school year and class.  Caleb: "Mama, I don't want to go to a new class.  I am scared!"  Me:  "Oh, Buddy, you don't need to be scared."  Caleb:  "But mama, I am scared, very, very scared!"  Me: "What are you scared of buddy?" 
Nathan: "MONSTERS!  Monsters are going to be in his class. Monsters scary!"







While we were driving one day as a family, we were playing a game of "What Would you Be?" when David asked Caleb, "If you were a plant, what type of plant would you be?"  Before Caleb got a word in edgewise,
Nathan shouts, "A TALKING PLANT! Brudder is a talking plant!"
(Those who spend anytime with Caleb know just how true that would be!)












 This morning as I was sharing about the country we would be praying for today (we do this almost every morning using this terrific resource), Caleb and Nathan were just ignoring me and chatting along.  David asked me to stop and started in on Caleb about being respectful and listening.  He asked Caleb if he had heard anything I said. Caleb answered "Yes, Da."  David: "What did Mama say then?"
Nathan: "BE QUIET! She said be quiet!"  (At least he listened to that!)


Gotta love this little one's one-liners and the laughter he brings to our day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Come

To the mom who, cradling her starving child, has walked mile after mile in a desperate search for food.

Come, Lord Jesus.
To the man who has been told he has a rare, fast moving cancer,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the child who is anxious about the new school year,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the all too quiet home that seems so empty after the kids have all left for college,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the excited newlyweds that face a new world together,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the family that doesn’t know how the bills will be paid once again,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the heart that aches over a marriage broken,

Come, Lord Jesus.

To the orphan who cries to be held,

Come, Lord Jesus
.
To the child who cries to be heard,

Come, Lord Jesus.

Come now, Lord Jesus, come now into this broken world to heal ever-broken hearts. Come and comfort the grieving, come and bring peace to the anxious, come and love the unloved, come and restore relationships. Come now, Lord Jesus.

And then, Lord Jesus, come then, when Your plan is complete, come THEN and we will see as John did…

…a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them,
and they will be his people,
and God himself will be with them as their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,

and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying,

nor pain anymore,

for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

And he said to me, “It is done!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end.

To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
The one who conquers will have this heritage,

and I will be his God

and he will be my son.
Come, Lord Jesus, for you have promised

“Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”
and
“Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and
I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, 
the First and the Last, 
the Beginning and the End.”
and
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

Link
~~Originally written for the Summer Session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Constant

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher who lived 500 or so years before Christ, is quoted as saying, “The only thing constant in life is change.” It seems, on the surface, that he knew what he was talking about. Change. Flux. Transformation. Nothing seems to stand still or stay the same for long in our fast paced world.

Just this month alone, huge life changes are occurring in many families. Children are going back to school. Some, like my oldest son, are heading to kindergarten for the very first time. Older kids are leaving home and heading to college, their parents facing an empty home for the first time in what seems like ages. The days begin to get shorter, the temperature cooler (we can hope!) and Fall seems to making its first peek around the corner.

Change. It is inevitable and there is little we can do to stop it. But it is the only constant? Not in the least.

God, Himself, is the only constant. James 1:17 calls Him the Father of lights, “with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” I love how the author of “The Message” puts it,
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.”

James writes that God, as the Father of Lights, has no variations and does not shift like shadows. Unlike God, shadows are constantly changing, shrinking or growing as the sun moves. Shadows serve only to distort and hide what is true. Have you noticed that shadows are formed when the light is blocked off by something else? Go stand out in the sun or put your hand in front of a flashlight. A shadow is cast because a part of you is blocking the light from that area.

Areas of shadow exist in our lives because something is blocking out the light of God from that part of our life. Maybe that something is our own sin or pride, maybe it is a relationship with someone that keeps blocking us from the light. Whatever it is, once the blockage is removed, God’s light pours in and there is no shadow in Him.

God is constant, unchanging, abiding, ageless, changeless, enduring, fixed, immovable, inflexible, invariable, permanent, perpetual, sacrosanct, stable, steadfast, unalterable, and unmodifiable. (Thesaurus.com is a handy tool.)

Currently in my own life, I am going through a tremendous season of change and uncertainty. Often it feels like I am grasping for sand as it pours forth from a large bucket. I find true comfort and peace in the fact that God does not change. I pray today, no matter what changes you are facing, that you find comfort in the one true constant, God.

“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
 and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
 They will perish, but You will remain;
 they will all wear out like a garment.
 You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
 but You are the same, and Your years have no end.”
Psalm 102:25-27

~Originally written for the Summer Session

Friday, August 12, 2011

Full Term Missions

It is with great excitement (and a little bit of fear) that David and I would like to announce our membership with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Wycliffe was founded in 1942 with the desire to see the Bible translated into every language in the world. It is estimated that there are 6,800 languages with over 2,000 of them without any portion of Scripture.

Sometime in the next year, David and I hope to be joining along side those working in Mozambique so that more people may hear and read God's word intimately in their own heart language. David will be using his information technology skills to support linguists, translators and others in the field. Wendi's main focus will be to continue to care for our boys, but she might have the opportunity to take up a part-time support position once everyone is settled.

We have both known that some type of big change was in store for our family for several months now. While missions has always been an important part of our faith journey, in May, God began to open our hearts and direct our attention to serving in missions full-time. After much prayer, searching God's word and talking with those closest to us, we feel that this is God's purpose and plan for our family.

This is not an easy decision to undertake. Selling our home and many of our possessions, moving our family half way across the world, and leaving many of you whom we dearly love is not fun. But as David has said repeatedly, it is better to be in the middle of God's will for you than in the finest, safest palace outside of His desires.

So what is next? We will start online training shortly, followed by onsite training in Orlando, Florida in October. After that, we will be seeking to raise up a team of prayer and financial supporters since the position is self-funded. Once support is raised, we will have more training and spend time at language school learning Portuguese before heading to Mozambique.

If you have any questions, please email or leave a comment. We dearly love each of you and each of you has a special place in our lives. Please continue to press and ask us the hard questions. Please continue to pray for us and seek God's will for us. If you are interested in learning more, we would love to talk with you, your small group or your church to share the exciting things God is doing in our lives, in Wycliffe and just how you can join in all the excitement!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our School Year

Ahhhh!

Did you hear that? Depending on how you read it, it is either the collective sigh of millions of parents or the collective screams of millions of children (and maybe teachers) as school begins again.

I thought I would do a post updating you on our school year...a back-to-school post of sorts, but we aren't going back to school because we haven't stopped doing school. We continue to homeschool here 6 weeks on and 1 week off. This provides us with great continuity of schedule and enough of a break that when I think I can't do it anymore, I get a breather and a chance to recover for a bit.

Someone recently asked Caleb if he was excited about being in kindergarten this coming year and he looked at them with a confused look and said, "Huh?" We have been doing K work for about 8 months now, so no wonder he was confused~ that and I forgot to tell him. We are talking a little more about it these days because although he won't have an official "first day at school", he will be moving up at church and needs to be prepared for that transition.

So what are we doing as we continue our kindergarten year?
  • Classical Conversations starts in a little over a week. We will be studying American history and the human body for this cycle. Last year, I did Sonlight K as my spine with CC stuff added when convenient. This year, I have decided to switch things up and align most of our studies up with what we will cover each week in our CC class. I am hoping this will provide some continuity and meat to the memory work we will be doing.
  • Community Bible Study and 252 Basics from Sunday School will be our basis for Bible work. I am excited that Caleb will be learning the same things that David and I will be teaching on each Sunday and hope to see that make a difference in our home Bible study!
  • History- Caleb has been on a huge Revolutionary War kick recently. He stomps, that is marches, around the house shouting orders to his troops, that is his brother, to prepare arms, that is mostly chase the dog. Liberty Kids and a few documentaries on Netflix and this recording from LibriVox will go a long way in supplementing the reading we will be doing.
  • Science- I was very excited to find a science that I can line up with CC! Elemental Science is a classical based science curriculum and from what I read, it has some excellent reviews. I will be doing the human body part of Biology for Grammar Stage for the first part of the year. If we really like it, I will order Chemistry for Grammar Stage for the next semester and finish up the plant section of Biology in the late spring/summer after CC is done. That is the plan and we will see how it works out!
  • Math- We are half way through RightStart Math A and still loving it. Slow and steady on this is doing us well as Caleb is building a great foundation for math. I have caught him playing math games on his own a couple of times, so we can see it is working!
  • Handwriting- Sticking with Handwriting without Tears for now. We are finishing up the K book and will move on to the next one. I wish there was more practice involved. I know it is a gentle approach, but think he could use a little better reinforcement. I have the teacher's book for A Reason for Handwriting and might look into transitioning to that later on. Hmm. Thinking on that one.
So that is the plan for the coming school year. It looks like it will be fun, full and fantastic! If you are homeschooling, what does your coming year look like?


Friday, August 5, 2011

Dreading It

I knew it was coming and I dreaded this day. Not because it was Monday, but because it was THE Monday- THE Monday on which I had penciled in those dreaded words “Begin Potty Training.” For those of you who do not have children or who have not potty trained a young one in quite a while, you might wonder why I was dreading this day…but for those who are in the thick of parenting toddlers, I am sure you understand why I dreaded this day coming.

As I went to bed the night before, dreams of my former potty training experience danced through my head. It had taken roughly 6 months to get my older son fully trained, so I had plenty of memories to lean upon. One memory stood out among the others-just like it happened yesterday - sitting on the floor of the bathroom, weeping as I tried to nurse my squalling newborn, while my older son giggled as he sat on the potty after he had another accident. That I was dreading potty training again just might be the understatement of the year.

The big morning arrived and I sat down to start my day with some God time before my boys woke up. As I relaxed into the arms of my Father, I could hear Him whisper to my heart,

“If you start the day dreading it, the day will end up being dreadful.”

Really God? My attitude has that much of an impact on it?

“Dreadful.”

But God, don’t you remember before? Me, the floor, anger and tears? Not a pretty sight.

“Your choice.”

Hmm.

Then by His tender grace and all-knowing wisdom, His Spirit led me to read today’s passage, although albeit a couple of days early.

Paul’s prayer for the Colossians is one of my favorites in scripture and is one I have prayed over my life many times:

“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:9-12

That morning, part of the prayer jumped off the page, speaking to my heart and meeting me right where I was.

Endurance and patience with joy? I really need that this week, God, with the potty training.

“It is yours for the taking.”

How God? It is definitely not something that comes naturally and it isn’t something I can do on my own.

“Read it again.”

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father…

It is through your strength in me, isn’t it? I can’t do this without you…well I can, but it won’t be pretty and it definitely won’t include endurance, patience, joy or thankfulness.

“It is yours because I am in you.”

God this week, will you fill me with the knowledge of your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding? Help me to walk in a manner worthy of You, even when I am cleaning up the messes that will come. Help me to please you. Will you bear Your fruit in me in this good work which you have given me to do? Teach me more about you through it. Strengthen me in Your power, in Your glorious might that I might have endurance and patience with joy. May I be thankful no matter what happens, because You are in me and You have made me an heir with all of the saints in light.

No matter what you are dreading this week, may this be your prayer and may the God of the Universe do amazing things through it working in your life.

~~Originally written for the Summer Session blog. Can you believe we are almost done?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Can!

I CAN take this...

and this...
and this...
and make this..into this..

and this...I can!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Peachy Keen


A couple of Saturdays ago, we drove up an hour or so north and picked some of the best peaches I have ever eaten.


Two weeks and the two boxes are pretty much gone...some put up in the freezer to help us remember this sweltering summer during our frigid winter.


Hope your day is peachy keen!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

These Boots Were Made For...

These boots...

...and these boots...


...were made for inventing...


...being brothers...


...riding...


...swinging...


...and of course, walking.


Gotta love these boots!
(Even when they are on the wrong feet and 3 sizes too big!)
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