Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday Worship

I am attempting again to join in at the Sunday Set list at Fred McKinnon's Blog. Many worship leaders post what their Sunday was like in music and worship right here:

So here we go:

Opener: We Are Exalted

Set 1: Worthy of Worship

Set 2: We Will Worship The Lamb of Glory
To The Only God
I Worship You, Almighty God

We had a wonderful time of worship, a bit different than the usual, but the sweet presence of the Father was with us. Thank you Lord, for being so good to us!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Constantly amazed...

by God's infinate Grace!

I have been primarily responsible for our Advent part of the services this year. And as I have studied and planned, I have been so blessed by realizing so much about Christ's first coming, and anticipating His second.

My pastor has shared some wonderful messages this season, and they have tied into where we are in our world right now, what God is calling us to, and that it's not going to be easy.... but we have a HOPE! We have a FUTURE! We have Christ Jesus who came, and will come again.

We are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Busy Busy....

YES! This is a busy time of year. Today I have spent working on our First Sunday of Advent service, as well as our Hanging of the Greens that evening! Whew... so much to do.

Next week we will spend most of the week at our family farm Heritage Acres with the masses of our family, from great aunts and uncles to the newest born just a few months ago. I have so much to be thankful for this year. We too often let the hustle and bustle of our lives, and the little things we lack cloud our eyes from our blessings. I know I do...

More later.

Monday, October 13, 2008


it has been a while since I've blogged. Well God has definately been good during this break! :) But then He always is isn't He?

I am so very thankful that every day I have the chance to worship Him. He has done such great things in my life and my family. There is no greater joy than spending time in His presence!

I'm excited that our pastor has decided to do a Wed. night study on worship. I think it will be a great thing for our church..... and I will be sure to share my thoughts here as well.

Until later. Get a cup of coffee and spend some time with God!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

God is good...

just a quick note as time is fleeting these days since homeschooling is back in full swing! But, I just have to give God praise for the wonderful few days my husband and I had at Winshape Retreat in GA last week at a marriage conference.

We have always been blessed to have a good marriage and have made it through a lot of hard times, especially the past 2 years, but God has been faithful to us as we have been faithful to keep Him center of our lives.

I strongly encourage you to find some time away with your "sweety", and rediscover each other on a regular basis.

We were also blessed to be able to see a second screening of the movie "FIREPROOF". GO, GO, GO to the theaters to see it!

Until later... Blessings.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I am so blessed...

This past week I attended part of our denominations international assembly. My sweet 14 YO was competing in the talent portion of our youth. She did great by the way. I was very proud!

Anyway... one day while we were there the missionaries and representatives from around the world had booths set up for everyone to learn more about their country. Some sold items from their country, some just had video and pictures from their area. I have to admit missions has never been my "thing". But my heart was to touched and saddened all at the same time. I saw how poor so many were, churches literally made of mud and straw, but filled with people worshiping the Most High! Wow. It was amazing to see how much these missionaries were doing with so little.

But as I said, my heart was heavy for America, for our churches. We are so spoiled. I mean we have SO much and are doing SO little. I know it's ok to have a nice church and all the "things" to go with it, but are we changing lives? Are we really making a difference? Are we inviting the down and out, those with ruined lives who are less "perfect" than our nice churches really want? Not really, not most of us, if we were really honest.

I lead praise and worship at our church. I see people just going through the motions. I see people reading, and even sleeping all through the service. When did we stop worshiping? When did we stop expecting God to be there? When did we forget we are going INTO His presence? He is there, we just have to meet Him.

Lord, please do not let me slumber. Shake me, wake me, stir me... Lord whatever it takes I want to go deeper with You. I want to be changed and never return to the old me. I'm so thankful for what You have already done in my life, but I know that is not it for me. Shower me wth Your presence, make me more like You. Help me to love like You. Help me to never take forgranted Your blessings in my life.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Must See!

We were blessed to be able to attend a screening for this film on Tuesday night.

It is an incredible film. I strongly encourage you to go to this movie and take anyone you know, especially anyone whose marriage is struggling.

The message is clear!

Peace, Wonderful Peace...

Sunday's service was yet another day of praise and sacrifice to the Lord God. We were met with such a sweet presence of the Holy Spirit and I am so very thankful. God is truly beginning a work in our little congregation. Thank you Lord!

We opened our morning service with the old hymn Joy Unspeakable (Barney Warren). Everyone (especially my older folks) really seemed to enjoy this one.

After our opening Psalm and words from the pastor we sang Blessed Be The Lord God, Almighty (Bib Fitts), then into To The Only God (Chris Tomlin) and ended the first set with As The Deer (Martin Nystrom) which is one of my favorite songs. For me, As The Deer is so peaceful, I even sang it to my babies as a lullaby. It is one of the few songs that can settle my soul when life is crashing around me.

After our OT and NT readings, we sang another great hymn Wonderful Peace and ended music portion of our worship with Cares Chorus (Kelly Willard).

Our pastor shared a great message with us about finding rest in God. I am so thankful for our pastor who shares his heart and who listens to God's move and leading.

I love meeting with God, and going away refreshed!

Monday, June 30, 2008

It was a wonderful Sunday...

Our service on Sunday was great. It was so refreshing to see people enter INTO the presence of God. Just knowing He is always there.... and yet sometimes we still do not meet with Him... is so sad. But this week, it was a great day, when people were drawn into God's presence! Wow.

A recap of music for the day:
Opener: I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me (a bright and peppy hymn)

Set 1:
I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
In Moments Like These
O How I Love Jesus (hymn)

Set 2:
Dwelling Places
Jesus, Lord To Me

When our new pastor came almost a year ago, he began to incorporate scripture readings from the OT and NT as well as a Psalm for all our services, apart from His message scripture. Although I LOVED that there was more of the Word being shared, having it between the two sets of music seemed to "stop" things. What was I to do?

Well this week, my awesome pastor sent me to a music conference. I confess it was out of my comfort zone, as it was primarily Catholic and dealt a lot with the mass and liturgy, etc. But WOW was I surprised and amazed at how passionate this group of people were about WORSHIP in their services. You know we do much of the same thing, we just call it by another name. Anyway, long story short, the idea of continueing to play softly during the reading popped into my head. (So simple, why didn't I think of that a year ago.) As well as have my readers ready to come forward w/out introduction or anything, and to have them read "passionately".

One of the speakers at the conference, John Angotti, made a statement that made me think. When we are reading in our services, we need to remember, that we are reading the very words that are "God Breathed". It is HIS voice we should hear (or think we hear) when the scripture is being read. And those who read, need to read it with emotion and feeling with understanding of what they are sharing. Easy concept, let's see if it works.

So Saturday night, I called my readers for the day, shared with them my thoughts, and off we go. Wonderful, amazing, awesome... it worked. The congregation was carried from worship in music, into worship with the Word, and back into worship in music. It flowed beautiful. THANKS BE TO GOD, FOR GIVING ME SOME GUIDANCE WHEN I REALLY NEEDED IT!

I give Him praise and glory, for being so sweet and wonderful to us and giving us a Sunday of much needed time in HIS presence. And I'm so glad I was able to help in some way!

Being a worship leader is sometimes hard!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

What's so great about dying?

Our lesson for today's SS was on dying and what happens when we do. I had all my students think about what they wanted to accomplish in the next 60 years. They got all excited talking about it (funny too). Then I said ok, now your dead, write your own obituary. I think I scared them!

So, our Life Point today is this: God promises eternal life to those who have a personal relationship with Jesus. That assurance gives Christ-followers (love that name) hope for the future and drives the to live PASSIONATELY in the present!

Of course when we think of talking about death in the Bible... other than Jesus, who is "first" popping into your mind? Lazarus of course! I am so amazed by this story, so many things about it just reaches out and grabs my heart.

I'm amazed that Jesus knew He would have to do amazing things to show His power for people to truly grasp who He was.

We can think of all the questions Lazarus' sisters and family asked... Why did he die? Why didn't you come quicker Jesus? Why does there have to be so much suffering? Or our question today, like: Why did my grandmother die from cancer? Why did I loose a child before birth? Why do we suffer, and it seems God is not there?

God is all powerful, and all knowing, but he didn't make us bulletproof. In fact we are all terminal right now. No matter what amazing things He did for Lazarus, one day he still died. One day, we will too. The AWESOME THING about dying, well that is easy, Jesus has promised us life after death with Him. But that can't happen for those who are spiritually dead. Jesus can not save us from that.... unless we ask!

Some people are so afraid of "dying" they can't even live. Of course God gives us common sense to make good decisions about life, and health, etc., but we can't worry so much about someday dying that we forget to live now. Jesus sates in John 10 that Saten is the theif of life, but that He offers a better life than ever dreamed possible.

Missionary Jim Elliot, who was murdered, made this statement in his journal, "He is no fool, he who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose." Did you get that. He is simply saying, we give up that in life that we know we can never truly keep (our life), to gain what we can not lose (our life).

God's power over death is amazing. Jesus our savior died and rose, and lives. Although we may give our lives for Him, we will live again, just as He promised. There is no "death" in our spirit, if we are sold out to Him. What a great way to live life. No matter what... in death... those who love and serve Him will live forever. Amazing!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Short Post...

Sunday night, our youth conducted the service. Each of them shared in some way, my daughter Macaylin spoke before showing a video she had made to the song " In Me ". One of the lines was her main "thought", which is "How refreshing to know You don't need me, How amazing to find that You want me".

That one line touched me deeply, because I know that God doesn't "need" me. But oh how He wants me! He wants to love me and to give me His best. Why? Because I am His child. I am His princess. He longs to give me good things. I'm so thankful that He wants me on my good days and my bad.

"In Me"

If you ask me to leap
Out of my boat on the crashing waves
If You ask me to go
Preach to the lost world that Jesus saves

I'll go, but I cannot go alone
Cause I know I'm nothing on my own
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong
Makes me strong

Cause when I'm weak, You make me strong
When I'm blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by living on my own ability
How refreshing to know You don't need me
How amazing to find that you want me
So I'll stand on Your truth, and I'll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me

If You ask me to run
And carry Your light into foreign land
If You ask me to fight
Deliver Your people from Satan's hand

To reach out with Your hands
To learn through Your eyes
To love with the love of a savior
To feel with Your heart
And to think with Your mind
I'd give my last breath for Your glory

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How Great Is Our God....

You must watch this video... It is beyond amazing.

How great is our God,
Sing with me
How great is our God,
How great, How great,
Is Our God

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Knowing Who Christ ReallyIs Pt. 2

Today we are going to explore more on this thought, in KNOWING the Real Christ. When Christ spoke the words in John 14:15, If you love me, YOU WILL keep my commandments, His thoughts were possibly, if you love me, because you love me, I know that you WILL keep my commandments.

We can see this when re remember the scene that took place in the Upper Room, just before Christ’s death. Jesus is beginning to comfort the disciples and to prepare them for His departure. It is a sacred time of tenderness and compassion between the Savior and His closest friends. Jesus is reassuring His followers and giving them a list of promises to which they can cling too.
He has promised them that His father’s house had many rooms and He was going there to prepare a place. He also promised them that He will come back and take them with Him. He promised that they would do EVEN GREATER things, because He was going to the Father. He promise the disciples (and now us) that “If you love me, YOU WILL, keep my commandments.” It is a promise.

I truly had never thought of serving God in this way. Not to stress and worry about NOT doing this or that, but just LOVING HIM SO MUCH, BEING SO WRAPPED UP IN HIS PRESENCE, that it really wasn’t a choice, I just WOULD keep His commandments. What an experience of freedom, and hope, and peace. What a relief!

This very verse, was meant to bring us reassurance and blessing and security to our heart. He is saying, because we have a love relationship with one another, you will keep my commandments, that is a promise, it will happen. Wow. Isn’t that amazing!

THE REAL CHRIST IS NOT INSPECTING, DISAPPOINTED, OR DISTANT. He is excited to love us, and longs for us to share His love.

In Psalm 36:9 it says “In your light we see light”. As our view of God is reshaped, and the view of those who come into our church lost and alone is reshaped, we can look beyond our human experiences and our life events and see the light that only He can give. God reveals His true identity through:

The Light of God’s Son. – we experience His love, we experience one source of His transforming light. When we have seen the real Jesus, we have seen the real God.

The Light of God’s Word – when we walk in the light of God’s Word, we see the second transforming light (power). Psalm 119 says His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. As we experience His Words, we are drawn into a deeper relationship with Him. We find His Word is living and active, and brings transformations as we encounter Him.

The Light of God’s People – the third source of light. Christ reminds us that we are the “light of the world”; and as we love one another, His love is perfected in us. Through loving other’s we are able to see the real God more clearly.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Short notes from our SS lesson this week....

Just because it is too good not to share.

Theme for this week: Jesus: Prophet, Priest, King or Homeboy? (ok it is a youth study)

Jesus is not just a popular religious leader; He is fully God and fully man. Jesus came as a Prophet, Priest, and King to rescue us and restore our relationship with God.

Unfortuneately, our "free thinking" system prized by our western culture has left everyone free to understand Jesus in whatever "way" they see fit; right or wrong.

The question: Who do you think He is? The Bible is the only source to find the truth vs. opinion.

Knowing who He is:

a. There is a difference between "knowing about" someone and really "knowing" Him
b. In Jesus' day many thought He was a reincarnated prophet or spokesman for God
c. God revealed the truth to Peter (Matthew 16:16-17)
d. Jesus is more than fully man; He is also fully God
e. Jesus was the Ultimate Prophet: He spoke absolute truth as God Himself

Why it matters:

a. Peter and Jesus Himself affirmed that He is the long awaited Messiah, the Christ, the "anointed one" sent by God to rescue humanity
b. Jesus didn't fit the popular view of His day of what the Messiah would be like
c. Peter's declaration positioned Jesus as the ONE - the only One - who could rescue us from sin and death
d. Jesus was the exact representation of God the Father because Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30)

To limit Jesus in any way is to not truly understand who He is: fully man and fully God.

What an amazing thing to realize!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Loving The Real God

When did you come to know Christ? When did your relationship begin?

Would you say that you now really know Him? Are you close to Him? Do you share times of intimacy and heartfelt love with Him?

Imagine after all the disciples had been through with Christ, all they had experienced, even down to the very night they shared in the last supper, that perhaps they didn’t really know Him. Even during those last few moments with them, there was a disagreement of who was the greatest in the Kingdom, and there in His midst sat the very one who would complete terms of betrayal of Jesus. Jesus had a question for them..“Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me…” (John 14:9)

How does that make you feel, to think of all that the disciples had shared with Him, that they may not have really known him?
Can we possibly be open to the thought, that we much like the disciples – may not know who Christ really is? Can we entertain the thought that we may have a hindered view of who Christ really is?

I have never really considered my view of Christ until the conference that we went to a few weeks ago. I was moved deeply as these concepts and ideas were shared.

I’d never really realized as in Psalms 139:3 that God was intimately acquainted with all my ways.

I have never really viewed Christ as one who took great delight in me and that would rejoice with singing! Zephaniah 3:17

Imagine the expression that was on the face of Jesus as you woke up this morning. In your mind’s eye, picture His kind, gentle eyes and warm and tender smile. Imagine that as you awoke God looked down and smiled at YOU, His precious child. With joy in His heart, He announced “I am looking forward to sharing the day with you!”. The real God, who knows you intimately, could not wait to care for you today. The creator of the universe, who knows every hair upon your head and sees every tear that you cry, cannot wait to show you how much He loves you. The holy God of heaven knows your darkest secrets and deepest failures; yet because of His relationship with you, He longs to show you grace. (Isaiah 30:8)

Our view of God impacts every aspect of our Christian faith. Every part of our spiritual journey is either hindered or empowered by our view of Him.
Our view of God will hinder or empower:
Our love for Him – our worship, prayer life can become more of a duty or obligation than true and intimate fellowship and love. If we do not see the real God, our relationship with Him will have very little impact on our lives.

Our ability to experience His Word – every sermon and lesson is filtered through our concept of God, and any distorted view of Him chokes out the impact of the Word on our heart,

Our love of other people – if we cannot see the real God who is so loving, our ability to demonstrate love to others will be hindered. But if we see God as who he is, His love will empower us with an excited love for others. (It is easier for me to be critical and see the sin in other’s because of my view of God. It was part of my job to show them how they are wrong, instead of guiding them towards loving Him so much, that they saw for themselves a need to change in order to love HIM more)

Our heart for evangelism – if we cannot see the real God, our message to an unbelieving world may be characterized by irrelevance (there’s that word again). We may struggle with being a living epistle of His life and love, focusing more on sharing the Gospel than actually imparting it through examples in our life. If we cannot see the real God, we may also struggle to look beyond the sin of others to see their needs.

Assessing Our View of God

Throughout this study we will be challenged to asses our view of God, taking a careful look at how we see Him and how we interpret His character towards us.

Many of us may never have even considered our views of God. We have believed certain things about Him and have never questioned them or been challenged with an alternative. I would like for you to consider the possibility that your view of God might not be consistent with who He really is.

Is your God an:

Inspecting God – conveying everything is a test to be passed or measurement to be taken?

Disappointed God – the kind with His arms crossed shaking His head, that any mistake (sin) is that you did not REALLY love Him?

Or a Distant God – listens to us with only one ear, isn’t really concerned as much with you as someone else?

I realized that I saw God very much like and inspecting and disappointed God. Like every time I failed, I went back to the beginning again. My view of Him watching just to see when I messed up somehow, made me critical of myself, the church, and others. I am so thankful, that I am beginning to see Him as who He really is! It is such an amazing thing!

In my next post, we will look at Knowing the REAL Christ.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Let's take a look...

the church in the book of Acts. The early church had several important characteristics.

Let's take a look at these and ask some questions:

*Which of these are most true of my life?
*Which ones may need to be restored in my life?
*Which of these are most true of my ministry?
*Which ones may need to be restored in my ministry?

So here we go: The early church as recorded in Acts were:

~Devoted to teaching the Word of God (Acts 2:42)
~Devoted to fellowship with other believers (v42)
~Devoted to the breaking of bread together (v42)
~Devoted to prayer (v42)
~They had a reputation for UNITY (v44)
~They were generous toward those in need (v44)
~Others took note that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13)
~Willing to speak the Word of God with boldness (v 31)
~Of one heart and mind (v 32)
~Gave witness of Christ with great power as abundant grace was upon them (33)
~People held them in high esteem (Acts 5:13)
~Through Spirit-prompted ministry, multitudes of men and women were constantly being added to the kingdom (v14)
~They rejoiced at being considered worthy to suffer shame in Jesus name (41)

That is a lot to think about. Perhaps God has prompted you to realize some changes. My prayer is to be changed! How about you?

Later tonight, I'll post on the next chapter of this wonderful book. Loving the Real God: Our Foundation of Christology . I have to say this chapter and the sharing of it during our retreat weeks go was LIFE CHANGING for me.

Note: You can find out more about the series Relational Foundations and much more at

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Breath of God...

Ok, so today I'm studying my youth lesson for Sunday. (Well refreshing what I worked on earlier this week.) You know... I have never really liked to study the Bible. I know the "gist" of so much of what's in it, but have never found a passion or fire for it until recently.

The Bible is more than just a relic, and old book of stories, its message, written by men under the inspiration of God, is alive and RELEVANT TODAY. That word keeps popping up in so much I study these days. RELEVANT!

Today we have everything at our fingers to read, the internet has given us just about everything we could (or don't) want. But did you know that still the Bible is the best selling book? Wow... Can you imagine what our world would be like if all those people buying it, LIVED it!

The Bible is the "breath of God". Inspired in the original language of the NT refers to the idea of "taking in breath" and the Bible calls itself "God Breathed". The inspiration of Scripture carries with it the authority of the word of God Himself. The important idea is known as "revelation". We need help knowing what is true and what is not, and God reveals this truth to us in the Bible. The Bible is also "infallible" .

These very attributes make this book sacred. It's depths can be explored for a lifetime. The trouble is that we are often content to either stay in the "shallow" depth of learning or to just treat study of the Bible as "academic".

Even Jesus knew the Word of God. In Matthew 4:1-11 we can read His discussion with the devil as He is being tempted. Jesus couldn't carry the scrolls in the desert with Him, He had to have it memorized. It was part of Him!

But through this struggle, we can see some important truths about the Bible.

1. Jesus focused on following God's direction for His life and lived out the truth of Scripture.
Jesus said His power for living came from "seeing what the Father is doing" and then doing it Himself. We also know he had to have some time to Himself to stay focused on God and His mission. He had to have some time away from the crowds that followed Him. If Jesus needed time, how much more do we? Jesus also focused by fasting. He abstained from food in order to empty Himself and focus completely on hearing from God. Maybe we need a fast from more than just food.....

2. Jesus understood the importance of the Bible, and He had prepared Himself for the sert challenge before it even arrived.
The Holy Scriptures were with Jesus before He ever went into the desert. He knew His Father's words. They were in His head and heart, from a lifetime of study. The Bible says that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature. Studying God's word was important for His development. We need to get the Bible into us NOW. Especially children and teens, it can change Your life. Psalm 119:9 says, "How can a young mand keep his way pure?", "By keeping Your word." Let's not overlook the fact that Jesus did not use His words to overcome Satan, He used the words of Scripture. The Bible carries authority!

3. Jesus knew that the enemies of God know the Bible and distort it for their own ends.
Satan tried to use scripture against Jesus, don't you think he might try and use it against us today? We however, just like Jesus, can see through the enemies schemes by "powerfully" reciting Scripture and clinging to it's truth!

On that note, how can we know that someone is using the Bible accurately? Here are three keys to help you. (a) Develop a working knowledge of what the Bbile says. (b) Discover whether the Scripture is being used consistently witht he meaning it had in its original and total context. (c) Make a habit of asking "Is Scripture being used to lift up God and point people toward Him, or is it being used selfishly to control or even avoid God?"

So what can we do: Train ourselves to make Bible study a habit. What do you/I need to change to make stying the Bible a priority? Commit to studying the Bible with other Christ-followers. What stesp can you /I take to build or find a Bible study group? Memorize portions fo the Bible to get God's truth into your life. Can you recite a favorite passage? Memorize those you read that touch your heart.

I know finding time in my world is so hard. I'm not a morning person, which if you are reading my blog you will know. My time in study, and deep prayer is always late night, when my many children are tucked in bed asleep. That is when I can focus on Him. I'm so thankful for the drawing that God is giving me, to know Him more, and to know Him and His Son through the Word.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Why is it that in America, and the Western world, our churches are shrinking. People are no longer drawn into our churches, but why? Could it be that they no longer see our "message" as relevant? Is the "message" we are preaching, is it something that can affect their lives where they are? Even those of us who are "christians" are struggling inside the walls of the church, with our marriages, homes, children, etc. Could it be because we no longer are sharing the One thing that is truly what makes a difference?

The Gospel promise of new life is about a Person; it's about the One who lived and died and rose again for me and for you. Jesus lived and died so we could have life eternally with Him. He has also equpped us to live out the wonder of this relationship we have with Him, and His light in a dark world.

2 Cor 11:3 Paul said of the Corinthians, "I'm afraid that... your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ". Have we made this "gospel" so difficult, no one wants it because it no longer offers anything of worth? God help us.

Over the next several weeks, I'll continue to share thoughts from a wonderful study called "Relational Foundations: Experiencing Relevance in Life and Ministy". I first went through this book in a whirlwind retreat, and God has changed me. Now those of of who attended the original retreat are going to impart what we learned into our small congregation. My prayer for them, is the same as it was for us at the retreat, we have a purpose, a relevant message, to those who are lost and in darkness.

Lord, as it has been shared in Heb 12, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.... so that what cannot be shaken may remain." Shake me, shake our church, so that we can obtain clarity as to our purpose to bring those lost and alone back to You!

Monday, May 19, 2008

What Does He Expect?

That was our discussion in SS this week with the youth. Good one too!

We talked about some of the major differences in world religions and christianity, and how all others have such a huge list of do's and don't, and although our Bible is filled with "rules" or guidelines, all of them are easy to follow if we do two simple things. What is that you ask? Well...

We have to love God and love our neighbors. What a concept. God loved us first, so our desire whould be to willingly... did you get that WILLINGLY do anything for Him. Not because He demands it, but because we love Him so much.

Think of it like this... if we LOVE GOD so much, we want every breath we take to glorify Him... how can we sin? How can we willingly break God's heart.

What does it mean to be a Christ-follower? Two simple things. Love God, Love Others. You know... love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Ok, pop quiz! Who is your neighbor? You know, I've never really thought about it until this subject was discussed during our Relational Foundations retreat a few weeks ago. My closest neighbor, is my husband. WHAT? I'm serious... my next closest is my children. Then my family, extended family, church, and so on.... I guess I never stopped to realize my neighbor wasn't the "crazy lady" down the street (yes I do have to love her too... even if she does put stuffed animals in the trees outide)

So, loving God is the foundation of our faith. Loving God is a way of life too, not just something that you do on Sunday and Wednesdays.... People who love God will not put anything or anyone else above Him, nor will they disrespect Him. God can not be put in a box! If you limit your love for Him to just a few hours a week, you are missing out on SOOO much more!

And finally... we are able to love other people out of the overflow of God's love in our own lives. I know it's hard. You know there is always someone you just really wish God didn't want us to love. I know there are a few in my life... but I have found, if I love them, pray for them... really do it. God gives me a love for them I couldn't have on my own. Isn't He awesome!!!

This is a great way to think about it. If we love God, we will keep the first 4 Commandments in the Bible. If we love others (really love others) we will keep the last 6 Commandments. Isn't that just the coolest thing. Stop stressing about all the "thou shall or shall nots". Just love God completely, and love other's completely.... why do we make it all so hard?

Great quote used by Jon Vining in our conference a few weeks ago... Does the Jesus in me, love the Jesus in you? Hmmm think about that for a while!

So to sum it all up: Jesus clarified lifes two greatest priorities for each of us: Love God and Love Others.

Lord, I already love you, but help me to love You more. I know I can only love You more by spending time with You and with Your word. Continue to give me a hunger... and then feed me. The one I have the hardest time with, I loving other's. Especially Lord, those who have hurt me so badly, or hurt my family. Show me how to love even those, and to love the "neighbor's" in my home, in my family, in my church as much as those on the streets. Amen.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Restore My Heart....

Yes, Precious Lord, this is my prayer to you daily now.

Because I lead praise and worship at our church, I am always looking for new songs. I stumbled across Fred. McKinnon on the CCLI site, and fell in love with his song... Restore My Heart. Take some time and listen to this wonderful song. I hope the link will work, but if not, I pulled it from (You may need to stop my playlist at the bottom.) I hope this blesses you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Proverb 1:5

Says, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning". How often do I stop and listen?

I have asked myself that quiet a lot over the past few weeks. I know I do not stop and listen enough to the Lord. I don't even really listen enough to my family. With a household of nine, that's a lot of stopping! But sometimes, when I do just stop and listen in... I am so blessed!

This week in our Youth Sunday School lesson, we read in Isaiah about his encounter with God. Wow... can you imagine what you would do if the VERY PRESENCE OF GOD was speaking to you? My teens said "We'd die"... probably true!

This recollection helps us (me) to understand how God communicates. Isn't it awesome that God really does "speak" to us... maybe not an audible voice... but in many ways, if we just stop and listen.

Here is what I learned this week:

1. God speaks to His followers. I love the stories in the Bible of the few that God truly spoke too in an audible way. Don't you wish sometimes.... that it was just that clear today? Well, in truth it "kind of" is. How you ask? Good quesiton!

*God speaks through His Word. The Bible is "God-breathed". Just reading it IS hearing the voice of God. ( I know I have not spent enough time in His Word.)

* God speaks to us through prayer. Not the simple "now I lay me down to sleep" prayers, but those truly focused prayers. We need to take our questions and needs to him, opening a conversations that truly reflects our "innermost" being.

*God uses other's to speak to us. This one is tricky in today's world. Even the scriptures talk about "false" prophets and teachers. But all of us know "real" Godly people. You know those you see consistenly following the Lord. Especially those we fondly call "saints" of the church. We need to sometimes swallow our "pride" and go to someone for counsel.

*God can use circumstances, nature, art, movies, etc to help shape us and speak to us. I know this to be true. God has definately used some circumstances over the past year to get my attention. Sometimes, I think He was yelling at me. But I happily admit, although I'd been glad to do without some of these hard times, I've learned to "listen" a lot more! But one note... experineces must be grounded in the Bible as our ultimate source of truth.

2. Our encounters with God, sometimes leave us felling Overwhelmed, Sinful and Undone! Even when we feel our "best" in our relationship with God, when He truly reveals Himself to us... it might just be more than we are prepared for. Imagine if next Sunday, during "praise and worshp" if God's physical presence showed up? Are we ever worthy of that! ? ! Think about it... seeing God aged Moses (I have enough white hair already). Elijah hid in a cave. The shepherds saw an angel and became like "dead men". No matter how well "prepared" we are, God is perfect and holy, and any thing less can NOT survive His presence. What things in your life (or mine) do we need to be ashamed of and fix? Hmmm....

3. When God speaks..... We are Changed!!! This is my favorite part. When we finally admit we are so unworthy... we are right where God wants us! We realize we deserve death.... and yet.... He gives LIFE! Wow.... if you are sitting still... read that again! Isaiah's sin and shortcomings were taken care of by a Seraphim and a hot coal. He was NEVER the same again! I'd really like to find an easier way than that to be forgiven and cleansed! OH WAIT.... I did, it's called the precious blood of Jesus!

There is a pattern and a process that God uses for reaching into our lives... and it's pretty simple.

We encounter God.
We are humbled before Him.
We are forgiven and restored.
We are given a mission and a purpose!

Well I'm out of coffee... so I'm going for today. Hope these thoughts have blessed you!

(Note: Our SS class is using the Bible Study for Teens - "Essential Truth - Inviting Christ Into My Reality" published by Serendipity House.)

Monday, May 5, 2008

God is...

I teach a youth Sunday School class at church, we began a series this week called Essential Truth: Inviting Christ into My Reality. First lesson was great, I love it, hope the young people do too! My kids said they did... so!

We talked about Moses, and when he saw God in the burning bush. We watched a clip from Disney's Prince of Egypt as part of the class... Disney is great, but can you just imagine being there, being Moses. The awesomeness of God.

Anyway, we talked about 5 Essential Truths we learn about God from this encounter.

1. God is PRESENT. He is everywhere (omnipresent) and knows everything (omniscient), yet we can experience Him personally and intensely in our lives. (Psalm 139:7-10)

2. God is HOLY. These days we don't seem to acknowledge this enough. He is HOLY and worthy of our honor.

3. God is MYSTERY. Moses didn't know how to explain who God was to the people. So God told him, I AM YAHWEH. In Hebrew it is spelled YHWH, which sounds the closest to a "breath". God breathed... and we had life. We can only just begin to glimpse who God is!

4. God is POWER. God is in control and is carrying out His plan or recuing, healing, and redeeming us. (I think Moses surely believed this when he saw a bush on fire, and it was God.)

5. God is LOVE. Just as He gave Moses the wisdom to help deliver His people out of bondage, He sent HIS Son to deliver US from our bondage. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.... just for us.

Isn't God amazing!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thoughts today...

A few weeks ago, I attended a Servant Church Conference in Georgia. It was a wonderful weekend and God did a great thing in me and is continueing to grow me. But we all know growing is sometimes painful.

Today I have been working in the workbook Relational Foundations: Experiencing Relevance in Life and Ministry. In today's section the writer talks about an experience he had while sharing communion. He tells that as he read the words, something hit him hard and he began to weep. During this time with Jesus "near ones" , those that He loved so dearly, he was pouring out His heart about his death and all that was to come. In this time that should have been so sacred and special to those with Him an argument broke out, about which of them (disciples) would be considered the greatest. As the writer shared, my heart too was broken.

Jesus long to be intimate with us, and love us and share all He is with us. But we ignore that thinking of ourselves. How sad He must be that even those of us who love Him, still look so much like those in the world we are to be apart from.

My prayer, is to realize and keep before me His sacrifice, so that I love HIM so much, that I want to be more and more like Him, so that I may be less and less like "me".

Psalm 121

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills --
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip --
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you --
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm --
He will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming
and going both now and forever more.
This is one of my favorite scriptures from the Psalms. It is such a wonderful Psalm that shares God's protection and help with His children. If you haven't ever heard Brooklyn Tabernacle sing this Psalm, you must!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Change is hard...

I have always gone to church, loved the Lord, and tried (well most of the time) to serve Him. But now, I find myself at a time in my life, where I want a deeper, and more intimate relationship with Him. I know that He has been there waiting all along.... waiting.... well you understand what I mean. But as a wife, and mom to many, I need Him more and I want Him more.

The thing is... getting there, is not easy, because it means I have to release all that is me, to be filled with all that is Him. And although that is my desire, I have a lot of "me" that has to change. So begins some deep searching, deep seeking, and deep cleaning of my life.

So sit back, get a cup of coffee, and join me in going deeper still.