Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eclipse Mania

It is everywhere. The previews started months ago, but the merchandising blitz from the last movie wasn't even over yet. Did it ever really go away? No doubt, you have seen "Team Edward" or "Team Jacob" written somewhere recently. There are dolls, bumper stickers, clothing, anything and everything anyone could ever think of baring the images of the three main stars of the Twilight Series' third movie.

In case you haven't heard, or just didn't care enough to listen, the movie opened early, early this morning. I had grown adult girlfriends -who had to get up this morning and take care of little ones- go to premier parties and buy their tickets months in advance just to be among the first to say that they've seen it.

I like a good love story and enjoy a fair share of science fiction so my curiosity was easily won over to read the series and check out this whole Twilight thing for myself. I can honestly say that I read all four books and have come away with some really mixed feelings.

I did like the action and the romance, but only to a degree. The suspense kept me reading the first three books and obligation to finish what I had started drug me through the final one.

I did not care for the heroine, Bella, at all. She seemed weak and shallow at times. But what disappointed me the most about her surfaced in the second book. She needed a man to function. She needed a guy to be happy - if not one guy, then the other. She placed Edward and Jacob in the spot that Jesus should fill.

It was so obvious to me as I read the books and watched the first two movies that the fan crazy mania over anything twilight was indicative of some much bigger, sadder trends in our society and culture's way of thinking.

It's getting late, so I will tackle the things I learned from Twilight in my post tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Guarding Your Marriage

I don't want to push this guarding your marriage thing too far. I don't want to rewrite a bunch of advice that you have already heard before. I don't want to come across like I have it altogether in my own marriage.

I just want to remind you to seek Christ first in your marriage as you do with everything else in your life and ministry. I want to encourage you to treasure your mate and let him know that you do. I want you to allow God to use your marriage as a testimony, a picture of His love for His bride, the church, the body you and your husband serve.

If you won't treasure, protect and grow your marriage, who will? I beseech (no, that is NOT a word I use everyday!) you to pray that God will be glorified in your marriage. Don't take it for granted. Be a good steward of the gift that God has blessed you with.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Guard Your Marriage Girls!

Over the last few months I have had the unhappy front row seat to watch my friends' marriage crumble and fall apart. Their issues did not begin overnight, and neither one was unfaithful to other, but now a loving family is now trying to redefine themselves into two households.

He is a seminary graduate and has been a minister. She is a nurse and has been a dedicated church servant. They have two beautiful children under the age of seven who are now trying to understand why mommy lives somewhere else.

Both have been lovingly, Biblically confronted with their sin. They sought counselling. But now one has quit trying completely and it looks like all that is left is few signatures on several pieces of paper.

We know marriage is hard. Then when the stresses of ministry are piled on top, sometimes it can be overwhelming. Communication becomes strained. Appearances are kept, but the joy is gone. One or both people are left wondering if there isn't more than this. Soon someone wants out.

Unfortunately, I have seen this happen with ministry couples before - one couple with over 20 years of marriage and two grown children. Ladies, if it can happen to them, it can happen to you.

If you are reading this and can too closely identify with my friends, it is not too late. God can redeem your marriage. Seek help.

If you are reading this and have some advice or lesson that God has taught you about marriage, please take a moment and post your wise words. It may be exactly what one of your ministry sisters need to hear!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

PK 101

You know ministry kids often get a bad rap. They are all too often labeled as being bad children, wild teens, and fallen away young adults. However, I personally believe some of the issues our children deal with are from the many labels and pressures placed upon them by our own church family.

I have many friends who are in the ministry whose children no longer want anything to do with church. For many of these now grown children, the pressures placed upon them were unrealistic and after a while they went the way of the world. How sad that the one place that should be a haven of safety and encouragement can often be seen as a place of ridicule and judgement.

I want to go on record and say I am so very blessed to have two awesome Christian sons who still serve their Lord and attend church. Stephen and Bryan will be the first to tell you that they faced some difficult days from their friends at church. My husband and I have picked up pieces of broken hearts and being the mom, I have popped a few M & Ms while trying to refrain from speaking my mind to some individuals. Stephen and Bryan have been laughed at, ridiculed, and many times not invited to a gathering just because they were PKs. However, with the negative my sons experienced, they also received great love and encouragement from other people. I look back now I see the many positive influences in their lives.

For instance, Stephen still has a close bond with two friends who were in our church and also in high school with him. These three young adults have seen each other through good days and bad. Even though they do not live close to one another now, I know their friendship will always be strong. Another example can be found in Bryan. He has many people who have touched his life, but one older bachelor, who is in his 80’s and who we call our adopted PawPaw, is one of Bryan’s favorite people. When Bryan was a preschooler, Mr. Derald would visit with Bryan almost daily. If Bryan snuck out of the yard, I knew I would find him next door at Mr. Derald’s. Because of this man’s influence in his live, Bryan not only has a great gift with children but he loves senior adults too. (Even though he did not live in Nashville, when he comes to visit, he always looks for his little girlfriend. Did I mention she is in her eighties? )

If your children are experiencing some of the negative forces from church, be sensitive to it. Help them discover the good in a church family. Show them how to develop great relationships. Trust me, there is more good in a church than bad because it is where God’s family can be found.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Doing Our Own Thing

Sometimes I just do not engage my brain before striking out on my own in a situation. I have a stubborn streak that I inherited from my dad; however, it could also be from a chocolate overload which results in a sugar rush. I often see something that needs to be done or handled and will set out to get it done. All too often I do not consult anyone or even God and as a result my good intentions usually mess things up even worse.

Often people in our churches do the same thing. They tend to see something that needs to be done and take off on their own and attempt to fix things. They often never seek the advice or council of the church as a whole or even the Lord. Striking out on our own in a church can lead to disunity and confusion. Although our intentions are good, sometimes good intentions can be harmful.

I can just imagine our Heavenly Father looking down from His throne at the entire human race. He sees a lot of good intentions but also a big mess made by us. I know I have broken God’s heart many times when I set out to do something without consulting Him. I also believe that the human race has broken God’s heart many times when we attempt to do things on our own and not following His plan. As a result I believe our Father has to spend a lot of time cleaning up our messes which takes away from the mission of reaching lost people.

Christians must work together not independently to reach the lost for Christ. When we act out of God’s plan sometimes our witness can be harmed. This is a lesson I am learning too. Before I tackle another task at church or wherever, I need to ask the Father if this is His plan for me or does He have something else in mind.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Total Dependence

I consider myself a fairly independent person. I have a very difficult time accepting help from people and I would much rather do it myself than ask for help. However, as I write I am in a total dependent state, so girlfriends, I am not only speaking to you but to myself as well.

About three weeks ago I began experiencing pain in my neck, shoulder, and upper right arm. After a week I finally went to the doctor and was at first told I had a pulled muscle and pinched nerve. One round of medicine and 5 days later I was back at the doctor’s office still in pain. (You know the pain is bad when even chocolate does not make you feel some better). The doctor ordered a CT scan of my neck and they discovered I have a herniated disk in my neck along with a pinched nerve. I have been ordered not to lift, pull, or push-basically do nothing. Now, for Ms. Independent those are fighting words.

I have cried from the pain and from the inability to manage for myself. I basically can only lift things that are not heavier than five pounds. My husband just laughs and tells everyone he is carrying me on a feather pillow. I only wish it was that simple. If I need to do laundry, he has to carry the basket downstairs and then carry it back up for me. When I need to go grocery shopping, I will have to work it around his schedule (and you know what that is like when your husband is in the ministry). There have been a couple of days when I had trouble applying makeup and doing my hair. Don’t worry . . . I have not asked my husband to help with the hair and makeup. I may be dependent but I am not desperate yet.

However, I am trying to find a lesson in all this “leisure” time. Doesn’t God ask us to depend on Him? I truly have had to pray for God to help me push through the pain. I had asked Him to show me how I can still be useful when I cannot do anything. Ms. Independent has to say, “God, I can’t go through this trial without you carrying me.”

The Word tells us to cast all our cares, worries, sufferings and yes, pain on Him. God wants us to be dependent on Him because when we are weak He is strong. Maybe God is putting you through a trial right now that is teaching you to be totally dependent on Him. Let’s pray for strength, courage, stamina, and a willingness to be dependent on a Father who cares for us.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


A quick caveat to yesterday's post. A friend and I were having some "face time" yesterday (as opposed to "facebook" time) and she was chatting with me about "unfriending" someone on facebook. I had just written yesterday's blog and said, "Whoa! Hold up!! What did you say? You can unfriend someone?" To my dismay she said, "Yes! Not only can you unfriend someone, you can do it without them even knowing it!!"

Just an FYI my friends!! Beware!

Scripture is full of passages on the beautiful relationship we call friend....
A Friend is always loyal. Proverbs 17:7
A real Friend sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
Abrahan was called a Friend of God. James 2:23

...And thank God HE will NEVER unfriend us!!

Friday, June 11, 2010


The whole concept of Facebook sounded wrong to me from the very beginning and I refused to be a part of something so ridiculous and time consuming. Asking people if they will be my 'friend'? Writing on someone’s 'Wall'? Having the option to 'ignore' someone who wants to be my friend? Having to read about the mundane, seemingly unimportant things people say and do? Don’t I have enough to do without all of that?

Well it sure took me a long time but I finally did succumb to the pressure of Facebook. Yes, even I am “on Facebook”! Why? Why, after refusing for so long, did I give in to the “social networking” craze? Because our son and daughter-in-law moved to the Dominion Republic and they “update their status” frequently using Facebook and I can keep up with them easily.

So, I now have a “profile” and a “profile picture” and “friends”. Friends….seriously, that is so odd to me. Were they not my friend before? Do I now have to ask them to be my friend? Some people want to be my friend so they can have more “friends” than their other “friends”!! Did you know that Facebook keeps count of the number of "friends" you have??? The entire world can know how many "friends" you have!! And, there’s the really amazing thing…..there are many people who know how many "friends" they have!! AND they want to see how many "friends" someone else has. Seriously, don’t we have better things to do with our life??? This one life we have to live?? Why do we spend it checking out how many "friends" someone has….I am digressing….

I am too fearful to ask people to be my "friend"!! How sad is that??? You see, I am afraid they will either ignore me (which, by the way really is an option), reject me, or “accept” me out of obligation not really wanting to be my friend after all!! Talk about insecurities! Yes, I am even fearful to ask the ladies at church to be my “friend”!!

By the way, I’d love to be your friend!! Of course, you will have to ask me....remember, I am afraid you might "ignore" me! I now enjoy reading about the lives of my friends and discipline myself so that I don't spend too much time on you suppose it is possible that we might spend more time on Facebook than His book???

Oh, ladies….thank God that He is my Friend!! Thank God that I do NOT have to worry about Him rejecting me or ignoring me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Praying for Your Husband

I find that I get little sleep on Saturday nights. It is not that I stay up too late partying or watching TV or hanging out with friends. In fact, my Saturday nights are quite the opposite. My husband prefers to not make plans for Saturday night but to eat a fairly early dinner (not necessarily always at home because, fortunately for me, he LOVES to go out to eat) and then he retreats to the church for several hours of praying and reflecting and refining and preparing his heart and mind for Sunday.

After he leaves I, too, finish and/or refine my study for the ladies I teach, spend some time meditating and praying, read some and then off to bed long before he comes home. So, why is it I get little sleep Saturdays?

It is because I am praying and interceding all through the night....for him, for the ladies in my class, for the staff, for the worship team and choir, for the children and students, for the teachers. For God to pour out His power and love upon us. For Him to anoint my husband. That we all would be broken and spilled out and teachable and forgiving. That we would truly worship Him. That the enemy would be bound. And on and on my heart pours out to my God throughout the night...and to be honest, I'd really like to get some sleep!! But I feel such a responsibility.

For some reason, you see, I often times believe the lie that I am the only one who prays for my husband. That it is up to me and my prayers. That I am responsible for God to show up!! How crazy is that??? But, do you ever feel like that? Do you ever feel like you are the only one who is praying for him? Do you, like me, ever feel overwhelmed with the responsibility? Do you long to know that someone is also crying out to God for the Church?

Oh, Father, would you raise up many people in our churches who care more about praying than prying. Whose hearts would burn for Your power and glory to come down strong during our worship and who would pray without ceasing for us to know You and not be content with knowing about You. Thank you Lord for those who have taken up the banner and do pray for our husbands. In Jesus' precious name....Amen.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord

Two weeks ago, on a quiet Sunday afternoon after a full morning of worship, teaching and preaching, we were skyped by our son and daughter-in-law from the Dominion Republic. For those of you who might not know what skype is a wonderful invention that allows us to not only talk to our kids overseas, but to actually see them!!

Early in the conversation our son asked us if we were still planning on coming to see them in December. You see, we have been talking about spending Christmas with them in the DR and minister alongside them for a few days. "Yes", we said, "we are still working on making that happen." Our son then says, "Well, maybe you should wait until January!"

Of course, my mother's intuition immediately kicked in and I screamed, "You are pregnant!!" And, friends, when I say I screamed, I mean I screamed and screamed and screamed...oohing and aahing and crying. When I get excited and celebrate, I scream. "Blessed be the name of the Lord!!"

A grandbaby....a child from God for Brandon and Nikki....what a blessing...what a gift. Then suddenly, the next day, there was no baby. Life had been given....and seven weeks later, life had been taken away.

When blessings and good news come....our responses are "Blessed be the name of the Lord"!!! And we sing, "How Great Thou Art". We praise the Lord and are full of joy.

But how do we respond when trials and sad news and difficulties come? Do we "curse God and die?" Do we question His love for us? Do we doubt He is able? OR do we still say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord?"

In the sadness and disappointment and tears we stood firm on our Father's love believing that "the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Answering His Call

Yesterday I shared with you the fact that Jesus wanted us specifically. He calls our name and has the perfect plan.

Today I opened my bible to Isaiah. Of course, there I found that very familiar passage, "Here am I! Send me." Isaiah was eager to go and share what God had taught him.

I noticed that something very important had happened before Isaiah was ready to go. Isaiah had a clear look at the holiness of God and the sinfulness of his own heart. He saw God sitting on His throne and began to get a glimpse of His glory. As this occurred he became keenly aware of his own sinfulness. His cry was, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips."

As we serve our Lord, He is looking to purify us, clean us up for His service. We must take time to look to Him, see His holiness and ask for the righteousness of Christ in our lives. Then and only then will we be ready to go to those whom God has prepared for us to serve.

God cleans our heart to give us real love for those He puts in our lives. He give us compassion for those around us who are hurting. He gives us boldness to call sin what God calls sin. We are able to forgive because we have seen our own sin and experienced forgiveness.

Take time to go to the throne today so you will be able to say, "Here am I! Send me

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jesus Calls

This morning I opened my Bible to start my day with the Lord. This is not an unusual thing for me, it is what I do. My husband brings me coffee and I fluff the pillows and begin to ask God to tell me what we are going to do together. Then, I open His word for directions.

As I began to read in Mark I saw Jesus heal, teach, show compassion. These are things I have read before yet, I still learn every time I spend time with Him. I had you ladies in mind as I was in the word because I knew I was going to be writing. As I was reading the words seemed to jump at me. I immediately thought of each of you.

Mark 3:13 "And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him."

As many times as I have read through Mark, I have never noticed those particular words. The thought of Jesus calling me because He wanted me. Does that humble you? Are you amazed that Jesus, the Son of God, chose you and wanted you? "called those He Himself wanted!"

Are you aware that you are serving where you are right now because Jesus wants you there? The people you are ministering to are there because Jesus knows you are the one to minister to them.

A key part of that verse is that last sentence. "And they came to Him." Jesus wanted those men to teach in order that they could continue His kingdom work, but each had to answer the call. That is the way it works for each of us as well. As Jesus calls us out each and everyday to continue His kingdom work, we must come to Him, get our instructions and obey.

I pray you will take time today to thank Him for the call and go to Him for your instructions for the day.