Romans 12:2

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fast Food and Forgiveness

Here's another confession:  I love fast food.  
I know, you can't really even call it food.  But...I do love it.
 I think my favorite part about it is that I can yell my order out at a speaker and then they tell me to pull forward and BOOM, there is my fake food. 
Like, I didn't even have to unbuckle 1 kid.  Everyone is still strapped down and now we are going to move forward and lunch shows up in my car.
 Happy mama, happy kids, and if I time it right and get rid of the evidence afterwards, nobody outside of my car even has to know that I frequent the fast food joints. HA!!

I think in our culture we also want our lives in Christ to work like the fast food joints.  
We want to give God our order, and have Him say move forward and BOOM, there's our order.  We didn't have to change our direction or position at all.  We think of God like that giant speaker, and we don't even have to speak out loud, we just think our order, and we expect an answer once we move forward.

I know that our God does NOT work like this even though we try so many times.  He is after our heart and a relationship, not just moving forward and giving us something that resembles food. 
Jesus is the bread of life; we can pray for all kinds of stuff, but what we really need is HIM and He knows it. 

I have recently been thinking about forgiveness.  I have messed up, (and so has every other human on the planet)
 * continually*
 and I need forgiveness from my Lord and Savior, so that I may be right with a holy God.  

What  we think we want and would be so convenient, would be if we could just shout out our order of forgiveness, or think it in our head, and move forward.  

We are missing a piece when we stop there, and just move forward, throw our forgiveness in and speed away, and if we time it right, and get rid of the evidence nobody has to know.

Jesus talks about repentance, which I think is our part of the forgiveness equation.  We shout out our order for forgiveness and we just pull forward and we get forgiven because God is faithful and has done His part on the cross and made forgiveness available, but if we don't repent we will end up in the same fast forgiveness line and nothing will ever really change.

Repentance is like realizing you have been living on fake food and you then CHANGE DIRECTION.  Repenting is dealing with the sin and then TURNING, not just pulling forward to repeat the same order the next time.  We will continue in the same cycle of going thru the same stuff if we don't CHANGE OUR DIRECTION. Without repentance nothing will change, we will continue to order, pull forward, and order for the same thing over and over.

Repentance is asking for forgiveness and realizing the cycle that keeps getting us into the same line of thinking....repentance CHANGES us and our pattern of life and moves us to a sit down dinner at a steak house.

Jesus, John, and Peter all had the same message when their ministry first began:

Mark 1:4 (ESV)

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Matthew 4:17 (ESV)

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Acts 2:38
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

REPENTANCE is something that increases as our walk with the Lord gets closer, rather than something that lessens.  We know there is steak houses and we don't want to settle for the fast food anymore.

PS.  I don't plan on quitting my fast food habit until all kids can walk in and sit at the table without assistance getting in or out of the car...BUT, I do plan on making a habit of REPENTING.  What if I repented as often as I went to fast food.....and NOT just repenting about going to fast food.  HA! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

When We All Get To Heaven

Picture with me.

We are sitting down to our 1 millionth dinner feast....literally one millionth because we are in heaven.

We sit down, we begin to eat and we start visiting and sharing with all our brothers and sisters in Christ around us.
 We share stories of prayers that we didn't know were answered until we got to heaven and got to share in the glory and wonder and beauty of Jesus Christ our Lord forever and ever. 
 Every time we sit down to break bread together we learn of more that went on in the heavenly realm  and all over the world when we lived on planet earth. We get to learn of the impact our lives had even after we died.
 We can see how life played out from a perspective and an understanding that we never had when we were alive on earth.
  We begin to realize and see all the things that God used us for and how he carefully considered each of our prayers and how He responded. We will see the ripple effects of each prayer and each time we stepped out in faith and helped someone, or spoke about Jesus.
We get to see and share in the glory!  FOREVER!

And THEN you have that guy that always wears the same thing and looks the same, forever, and he begins to speak, and we ALL know what story is coming. 
 It's like listening to that same 'ole stupid "high school football touchdown pass" that we have all heard over and over and over at every single family gathering from the same guy.

  But, in heaven since it's all about Jesus, we only share our Jesus stories; so instead of the touchdown pass, in heaven it's the story of his one prayer or the one time he talked about Jesus with his friend.  
The point is, it's one time and we have to hear about it for eternity.  We all have heard the same story 1 million times and we can all tell it better than he can. We clap and give praise each time it's told, but we can't wait to move on to the next guy that has a new story to tell that we haven't heard yet.  
 The next guy has also shared a million times...but  his stories never end because he prayed every single day he lived on earth and he kept things hopping in heaven.  
He talked about Jesus everyday with friends and strangers and he never knew the impact and the beauty of that until he got to heaven.  Ohhhhhh once he got to heaven he had people come up to him and share with him how the Lord intervened in their life because he had prayed or spoke the name of Jesus. 
 Nobody even knew it at the time on earth, but it was all revealed and rejoiced over and shared and brought glory to our faithful and wonderful God.

So, I'm just spare ourselves the bore of only having one
 "glory day story"
let's run this race hard,
let's pray like crazy people that don't care how Jesus chooses to answer or reveal the answer this side of heaven.
But pray and act in faith trusting and knowing that God is in control and even if we don't see results here and now, we will someday. 
 Let's talk and share and work our heads and hearts out for Jesus. Then, when we all get to heaven and spend an eternity together, we have some great stories and we get to see and learn and understand how Jesus worked in each prayer and situation. 
 Let's see as He  replays the video of our lives and shows us how each seed planted grew and how each time we spoke the name of Jesus, what that did and how beautiful it really was and we just didn't have the eyes for it yet. 
 Let's give God some material so we don't just see one single touchdown pass, but a lifetime lived and devoted to Jesus.  I'm just thinking eternity is going to be more interesting for those that ran the race hard and prayed and loved well all the days of their life.
  I don't want to get to the first meal and tell my story and have that be the one and only story I ever get to share.  

Romans 11:36 (ESV)

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

This is not a theological lesson...just a thought I keep pondering in my head.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Sprays Pepper Spray.

We have had the best and blessed weekend than we have had in a really long time.  We have been feeling a bit beat up by life.  Nothing big and awful, just some swift kicks in the shins from life that have left us feeling a little tender and bruised.  

So as this weekend went on, and it kept getting better and better,  I just kept thanking Jesus. 
 Jesus RAINED and RAINED His love and encouragement and kindness and fun on our family.
He gave us good friends, good memories, good food and good fun ALL weekend long.

Our friend Michael from Catalyst For Africa came and he blessed our socks off!  
This man is a Jesus loving, people loving guy who God put in our lives out of pure kindness to us.

I can't blog all the great things about this man and his heart, because it would take too long, but here's a snap shot of who this guy is. 
He scoops up our kids and loves them like he has been in their lives for years.
 He even cut Cellie's fingernails for me.  Who does that????? 
 He could see that it needed done, (because I HATE cutting baby nails and let it go far too long) and he just did it!!
 That's a good friend I tell ya.

On Sunday, Charlie, Kole, and Mike got to go with Michael Mozely and meet up with with his best friend from THIRD DAY, ya, you read right...the awesome and amazing Christian band,
  Third Day

 They all went to a local winery named
 They had a good time and a great visit.
 It was a beautiful day.
I can't tell you how encouraging it is to see a bunch of godly men just relax and enjoy the gifts that God blesses us with.  


We loaded up all the kids and some friends and we went and worshiped our hearts out at the 
Third Day concert.  

 Sometimes God just gets a few of his kids together and says,
  I felt like that's what he did for us this weekend. 

So, last night as we are just kinda chillin' and visiting and enjoying our last night with Michael, I'm in the middle of a sentence and I just start hacking my head off.  Then, Cellie starts coughing.  With hand motions,I am begging for water from Charsie.  She immediately starts coughing too, and I think she is mocking me, because I occasionally go into a random coughing fit, and we call it my 
Grandma Great throat. 
 We call it that because my grandma had this thing that she would get a catch in her throat and once she got to coughing it was ALL over!  She just couldn't quite recover.  She has so generously passed on that wonderful trait to my mom and me and my oldest daughter.  UGH!!!!  Of all the wonderful traits that saint could have passed on, THAT is the one I got. 

Anyway, as I'm coughing and giving dramatic hand motions, I hear Charsie barely squeeze out 4 words between coughs, 
 I got up and booked it outside with Cellie and as I was getting OUT everyone in the house except for Jesse begins coughing.
  Our guest Michael gets up and heads for the bathroom to puke his guts out.

As I stood outside coughing I could hear the house absolutely falling apart!  I needed fresh air and a moment to laugh or cry a little.   I got to thinking how amazing our weekend was, and how thankful I was that we had held ourselves together for the most part. 
 My head did not spin around, like it can; I didn't yell, like I do; we had only minimal melt downs, no major ones.  
And now we have blown it! 

Apparently Luke (the good one who RARELY makes bonehead moves)....decided today was the day to find out what that spray was that has been in the corner of my desk for about a  hundred years....
I used to carry pepper spray when I would run, because I have been bit by dogs a few times...and then decided it was too much trouble to carry and I would just leave it at my desk to collect dust and attract the attention of innocent children.  :)

Luke picked it up and gave it one harmless spray and it came out like a cloud and just made it's way to everybody (except Jesse, who apparently is immune).

Needless to say....Luke was embarrassed and we were all showing our true colors.  When we thought we might get away with having a guest without an incident....we were so wrong.
  We have to have something that reminds us that we are a circus and a messy circus at that, and that is never going to change.

Everyone survived and now we know what if feels like to be sprayed with pepper spray.
  Our guest did not call a cab and leave us to our own crazy ways....he hung in there and coughed and  laughed and encouraged and said, 
"It was great."
  He said this is the stuff that makes memories....yep, that's what it does....we will not soon forget what it feels like to be sprayed with pepper spray.

God bless Michael for being gracious from the beginning moment until the grand finale.

I still chock the weekend up to being great, but I also humbly remember who we really are. 

Romans 12:3
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Drive of Faith

We have all heard of a 
step of faith
 or a
 leap of faith,
but, how about a
drive of faith. 

 We know a guy who took a "drive of faith" right to our house and we were surprised and completely  blessed by him.
 He and his beautiful family lived as  missionaries in Ghana, Africa for 10 years.  They now reside back in the USA, but he spends a significant amount of time in countries all over Africa encouraging and teaching leaders and  doing his part in
 The Great Commission.

Matthew 28:18-20English Standard Version (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

When we hosted Mulando Patrick from Uganda we got the honor of meeting Michael Mozely from
  While Patrick was here he told us he had a visitor coming.  He told us Michael was from Atlanta, but was preaching in a church in California for the weekend, and going to drive up to Oregon to see him. 
 I kept thinking that perhaps we were having communication difficulty because who in their right mind would fly from Atlanta to California and then take a 9 hour (one-way) detour from California to Oregon to just spend a short amount of time with Patrick, and whatever crazy people happen to be hosting him.
  The man came all that way, having no idea who we were or what he was
 "driving into".

Well, Michael Mozely, the guy in the middle of this picture is just the kind of guy to do such a thing.
The minute we met Michael (and his sweetheart daughter via facetime,)  we knew this man was not in his "right" mind, but had the heart and mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:14-16The Message (MSG)

14-16 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit—God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

This man does not waste time, he does not have time to waste. 
 He is a busy man with a ministry and a family and a call on his life.  His ministry is  all about relationship and he drove 9 hours to meet with Patrick and see what the Lord might have in store.

He walked in and we were instantly blessed by him. 
 He is a guy that steps and leaps and drives by faith, and his life shows it. 
 He has a long history with Jesus and he loves to share about that.

We were so blessed by
 his DRIVE; His DRIVE 
to follow Jesus and his drive to connect with people.

We are getting excited for October 17-20 because Michael is coming back. 
 He is making another trip out here, but this time it will be a "flight of faith".
  We invited him to come, and he said,

 In Michael's own words,
 "We will trust the Lord for relationships that come naturally and supernaturally."  

We are praying and asking God to show us how to be a blessing to this man who is so busy blessing so many around the world.

Romans 15:5-7English Standard Version (ESV)

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.