Thursday, November 28, 2013

Who Will You Imitate?

In keeping with the theme this week of being thankful, one of my favorite Biblical accounts from the life of Christ is taken from Luke 17: 11-19. I am sure that many of you are familiar with it. Here is a brief, simple narrative:

Ten lepers see Jesus. Ten lepers all cry out for mercy. Ten lepers noticed by Jesus. Ten lepers told by Jesus to go to the priests and, as they went, ten lepers healed. Only one leper returned to thank Jesus.

What has fascinated me about this passage for so many years is two-fold. Jesus showed no partiality in healing the ten lepers; all received a miraculous restoration of health from the Lord. But the nine who were restored and kept going remind me of many of us in society today; we receive God’s blessings in that we ask Him for things that He willingly and graciously gives us, but we forget that He is the source. Again, ten healed, one came back.

I love the one who did come back; he did not forget that if it had not been for the Savior, he would still be in a wretched state of torment, sores permeating his body and an outcast to society. He glorified God and ultimately fell at the Master’s feet, worshiping Him for his healing.

Ladies, you may not have been healed from anything as dramatic as leprosy, but all of us who know Jesus have been healed from something. If you are saved and on your way to heaven, you have been healed from a “sin disease” that had far more catastrophic consequences than any physical ailment ever could.

The ultimate healing of the one who came back was that his faith had made him well---He was saved from his sins! Salvation is the greatest healing in the entire world, for the benefits of this healing reach far beyond this life into the life to come, which is eternal life!

So as we feast on our turkey and stuffing, green beans, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and anything else that may be on your table, pause and give thanks to a Faithful Savior who has blessed all of us beyond measure.

So who will you imitate? Be like the one who fell at the Savior’s feet, thankful and full of joy over what the Lord had done in his life.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pause To Give Thanks

Hello my sisters!

Another holiday season is upon us. By now many of us are in the middle of shopping, planning menus and parties, decorating the house, organizing Christmas productions, and a myriad of other activities…….I know that I left out something. Whew!

Why don’t we slow down a little, pause and reflect, and give thanks. Sometimes life can be so busy that we fail to see the numerous blessings that our Father has bestowed upon us. We are so preoccupied with doing, that we fail to meditate on the glorious One from whom all blessings flow.

This Thursday in our nation we will observe, as we have for several decades past, the time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving Day, the holiday that has been an official part of our nation’s calendar since 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it to be the last Thursday in November; the official observance was modified on December 26, 1941 when President Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday to the fourth Thursday.

But we don’t have to wait until an “official” day on the calendar to praise and thank our Lord for all that He has done, will do, and will continue to do for us.

Here’s my “top ten” list of things I am thankful for:

1.Salvation-saved from my sins by Jesus my Savior!!!
2.The Bible-God’s Word has transformed my life, and I want it to continue to mold me into the image of Christ.
3.The Holy Spirit-I could not make it without Him and His ministry in my life!
4.My husband-the Lord has blessed me with a godly man who loves the Lord.
5.Beautiful, healthy daughters-our kids are not perfect, but they are gifts from God.
6.Friends-If the Lord only gives us one “special” friend in life, we are tremendously blessed!
7.Loving church family-the Lord has given my husband some loving, giving, serving saints to pastor. (No, the church is not perfect, but no church is!)
8.Health-decent health, I will never take for granted!
9.Food/Shelter-God knows we need these things, and He abundantly provides them.
10.The Promise of Heaven-last, but certainly not least, I am guaranteed eternity with my Lord, to rejoice in His presence forever and ever!

So what about you? What are you thankful for? Perhaps you can compose your own list, and watch how your heart swells in gratitude as you recall the faithfulness of our Almighty God! To Him be the Glory!

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Psalm 107:1

Friday, November 22, 2013

Happy Birthday

"Little Man" will be one year old next Thursday, November 28th on Thanksgiving Day!!! What a blessing he has been!!! Happy 1 Year Old Birthday!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thankful Challenge

I have taken the November Facebook challenge of posting something I am thankful for each day of the month. I don’t normally participate in the different “games” on Facebook, but this is the second year that I have taken this challenge.

It is a time for me to stop and really think about the things I have to be thankful for. Many times we just float around in this negative world and don’t stop to think about our blessings.

You may not “Facebook”, but even if you don’t, I would like to challenge you to write down something even if on a piece of paper, that you are thankful for each day of the month. It will really bless you.

Day 1: I was thankful it was Friday. It had been a long stressful week.

Of course some of the other things I have listed were:
• My Husband
• My four children…2 by birth and 2 by marriage
• Our grandson
• Our granddaughter who will be here soon
• God’s Grace and for salvation
• Our church
• My co-workers
• A warm home on one of the colder days
• Living in the hills of East Tennessee

And the list goes on. I will add to the list daily. Now, sisters….you take the challenge and write down the things you are thankful for. You will be surprised at how easy it is.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pick and Choose

We’re growing; we’re growing!!! Our church is really growing, but with that comes changes.

I rejoice in the growth of our church; both spiritually and physically, but being bi-vocational, it gets more difficult. Being bi-vocational, we both have secular 40+ hours a week on top of the church ministry. Rarely are we at home. Our day does not end at 5:00. At 5:00 or 5:30, when our secular job is completed, our church ministry begins.

We visit at the hospital, in homes, at the nursing home, etc. either on Sunday afternoons or at night. We live 32 miles from church so on Sundays we leave the house at 9:00 and usually return after 10:00 that night. It is a long, tiring, but rewarding day.

We have finally reached the point where we realize that it is not physically possible for us to be everywhere all the time. Many programs that I would like to be a part of, I have to choose not to.

I would love to be a part of our WMU. The ladies get so close and enjoy each other’s company and fellowship………….but, because that is the ONLY PROGRAM that operated when we went to the church, without our help, I have chosen not to be a part of it. The 32 miles helps support my decision too. We support WMU by encouraging others to attend, by promoting it, etc., but I am not a WMU Ladie.

Another Ministry that our ladies have that I cannot be a part of is the Sewing Ministry. They meet during the day, so that is not possible, but I am sure if they met at night, it would be hard too. I enjoy hearing about the projects they are working on.

A new ministry at our church is the Sign Language Class. I do go to it and really enjoy it. However, to be honest, more than likely I would not have gone except our draught-in-law wanted to go so I chose to go with her.

I am saying all of this to say, eventually, if you haven’t already, you will realize that YOU CAN NOT do it ALL. You will have to pick and choose. That does not mean that you do not support them in promoting it and praying for them, but it is not physically possible to do everything.

Once we realize that we are NOT super-woman, then we can pick and choose the ministries that we WILL be a part of and we can be more effective.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pastor's Wife

Tara, after your last post I got to thinking…..Is it a calling?

I NEVER thought I would be a pastor’s wife. I never even wanted to be a Pastor's Wife.

I admire the women that feel that calling early....but it did not happen like that for me.

Roger answered the call into the ministry while we were dating. I was not very happy at the time because my dad was a minister and I KNEW what that meant. BUT….Roger assured me that he felt called into the ministry, but did not feel called to be a pastor. Whewwwwww.

Six years later we got married……and then for the next 17 years, we were working in ministry, but NOT pastoring. We worked in Children’s Church, Bus Ministry, Puppet Ministry, etc. Roger was Children’s Minister, Music Minister, Youth Minister, Associate Pastor, etc…..but never Pastor.

THEN....seventeen years ago, God called us to Whites Creek Baptist Church as the pastor. I say us….because we are a team. I did not feel qualified to be a Pastor’s wife at that time……….and still, seventeen years later, many times feel like I fall short in that role…..but I have to stop and remind myself ---- God does not make mistakes. God called US to Whites Creek, so for some reason he felt like I was capable…with his help.

The first week of January, we will celebrate our 17th year at Whites Creek Baptist Church. I have to keep reminding myself that God does not want me to be Beth Moore or anyone else………. God wants Kathy to be Kathy and to lean on God to guide me in the paths I should go.

God slowly guided me into the role of Pastor's Wife . And, although it is not an easy path, it is a very rewarding path to be serving God in the way he's chosen me. Being a Pastor's Wife was not the path I would have chosen, but NOW...I am glad that is where God put me.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Is It a Calling?

Ladies, I would love to know what you think....

Are women called to be ministers' wives?

I have heard some ladies tell me that they knew at an early age that God had destined and designed them to be a pastor's wife. As single women, they would only date guys they knew were called into the ministry. Yes, these women seem to take to their role as a minister's wife like a fish to water. It all seems to come easy for them and they seem to do it all well with poise and grace.

I have also heard other ladies explain emphatically that they were never called to be a minister's wife and use that fact to explain or even excuse their attitudes toward ministry, the church and even their husbands. Most of these ladies are married to men who entered the ministry after they had married. They truly did not know what they were getting into when they said "I do."

Here's a thought: what if it isn't about whether or not we are called to the role of minister's wife?

In my case, I was definitely attracted to guys who had a heart for the ministry. I knew Wally had received his own calling to serve God by serving His bride, the church. But I knew, without a doubt, on the morning of our wedding day, that no matter what - I was called to be Wally's wife.

Biblically, we are one with our husbands, two sides of one coin. If he is called, then ultimately, she is too. So, regardless if we have or have not felt a calling, by simply being married to a minister, we have indeed been called to this role.

If this is where God has placed us, where He has ordained us to serve both our husbands and our churches, then let's accept His will and embrace who He has made us to be, not just any minister's wife, but our husband's wife. My identity is not simply a minister's wife, but Wally's wife.

My prayer and focus is to be the wife God desires me to be to Wally. Yes, part of that is how I embrace my role and my ministry as a minister's wife, but when my perspective is set through a biblical lens of serving my husband, it doesn't matter if he is a "professional" minister or a banker, teacher, or construction worker.

So, ladies, whatcha think? Are we called  or not?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Check This Blog Out

I came across this link to Dr. Thom Rainer's blog last week and thought it was too good not to share with you ladies!.

So . . . instead of reading a blog post of mine, check out his. Afterwards, come back here and let me know what you think:

Thank You Pastor's Wives

Below is his biography from his blog too:

Dr. Thom S. Rainer

Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources.  Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism.  He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to over 500 churches and other organizations over that period.
Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively.  The Rainers have six grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, and Bren.
He is the author of twenty-two books, including Breakout ChurchesSimple LifeSimple ChurchRaising DadThe Millennials, and Essential Church.  His latest book, I Am a Church Member, is scheduled to be released in 2013 by B&H Publishing Group.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day Thoughts

This morning, I find myself reflecting on and rejoicing over the Veterans in my life.

I grew up knowing my dad had served as well as my granddad, during the Vietnam and WWII wars. I said the pledge with the rest of my classmates and sang the anthem with the rest of the fans at whatever sporting event that I attended. I always respected the men and women of the armed forces and would look on admiringly especially at every God and Country service my church celebrated in the shadow of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

However, moving to Clarksville exposed me to a military presence that has greatly increased my appreciation for these amazing men and women who chose to sacrifice and risk so very much. Ft. Campbell may "officially" be located in Kentucky because headquarters and the post office are both located on the north side of the border, but the majority of this vast installation is actually in TN.

All of our churches here minister to these brave soldiers and their families. We see the effects of deployments and the long absences. I am blessed to love on Army "brats" and get to know Army wives through my preschool work at church. It is truly an honor.

As a result, I appreciate and value these brave Americans so much more. They are truly extraordinary. I am proud to share the local roads and the grocery store aisles with these heroes.

If you watch too much news or read too many politically charged articles, it is easy to be down on our country and her administration. But this morning, today, Veteran's Day, I choose to thank God for our great country and the servicemen and women that God has used to make us so great. Yes, I want to honor them today and show God my appreciation for them.

Won't you join me?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Protect or Prepare our Kids?

She and I have talked quite a bit over the last year meeting for lunch or coffee.  I am grateful for the relationship and for her desire to be mentored.  She is younger than me, married and parenting a fifteen-year-old son.  We have talked about a lot of things, mostly surrounding family, in-laws, parenting and how to respond in Godly ways to life. 

I began to notice her talking quite a bit about how she needed to do this and to do that to ‘protect’ her son.  As I pondered and prayed about this I had an Ah-Ha moment.  Is it our job as parents to protect our kids—or prepare them?

Sure, we do many things as parents for our newborns and toddlers and preschoolers and preteens and teenagers to protect them from harm.  We put them in cribs so they won’t roll onto the floor.  We wrap them up to keep them warm.  We put plugs in the electric sockets so they won’t electrocute themselves.  We put locks on our doors so that intruders won’t have easy access.  We do lots of things to protect them from harm…..and we should!!

We also try to protect them from disappointment.  Failure.  Hurt.  Loss.  Pain.  Suffering.  We love them and we don’t want them to ever have to go through the disappointments and failures and hurts and loss and pain and suffering we have experienced so we constantly intervene.  Isn’t that what any loving parent should do?  Or is it?

To be honest, I am not sure that protecting our kids from disappointment or failure or hurt or loss or pain or suffering is the wisest, most Godly approach.  Perhaps, instead, we should be preparing them for disappointment, failure, hurt and loss and suffering.  Scripture is clear….they will happen!!  When you suffer….” Paul says.

So many of us were protected and not prepared for these things growing up so when they DO happen to us we are caught off guard, or panic, or become distressed and fearful and depressed and want to give up or crawl into a hole.  Do we want our kids to respond like that?  Or do we want them to respond Biblically?  Do we want them to do as Paul says and “consider it all joy’? 

Here is my friend’s response when I shared with her that perhaps our job as parents is not to protect our kids but to prepare them….her text verbatim.  “Whew!  This has rocked my mind!  I just realized I am amazing at PROTECTING but think I am failing at PREPARING!  U will never know how this has changed me.  Pray for me to change.  I think I would like to study this topic with you.”

Parents, let’s challenge one another to put as much (or more) energy into preparing our children for disappointment or failure or hurt or loss or pain or suffering than we do protecting them from it!!

Also, I would love to hear ways you find yourself protecting them and how you could turn it around to prepare them instead!  A later text from my friend says this, "So when you are 15 and still cannot find the extra Kleenex box.....this is protected not prepared right????? Lol"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Spiritual Aeration

The conversation with my son last week went something like this: 

Me:  What did you do this weekend?

Brandon:  Oh, I _____ed, and _______ed, and _______ed, and I aerated, seeded and fertilized our yard.

Aerated your yard?  What in the world is that??  My husband and I have had lots of yards and never once have we ever aerated any of them!!

Well!  The competitive side of me reared its ugly head and I decided we should aerate our yard too!!  Hummmm….what to do….what was that and how does one go about aerating their yards?  Neither my husband nor I love to do yard work so after moving to Indianapolis we contracted with a company who comes by several times a year and fertilizes it.  I contacted that company and sure enough….they do aeration!!  And, as a matter of fact, they can "squeeze us in before it is too late to have it done"!

What?  Too late?  There is a time frame for this??  Goodness gracious the things I know nothing about!!  The very next day they appear at my door ready to aerate and seed and fertilize.  In case you, like me, do not know what aeration is, it is a process that pulls plugs of soil to help relieve soil compaction which allows the grass to better absorb air and water.  It also gives the lawn’s roots room to grow and thrive.  Hummmm…..interesting!  Sure enough, our yard had become hard.  There were patches of dirt where no grass was growing.  There were places where water would not seep into the soil because of the hard ground.

Our yard needed to have holes poked into it and plugs pulled out of it so that water and seed and air could permeate and so that our lawn would be healthy and green and lush.  Here’s the hard part—our poor yard had to endure a large machine rolling all over it and poke painful holes into the ground.  It was loud.  Painful.  Necessary.

As I pondered what was happening to our yard, the Lord spoke to my heart and told me that I have needed spiritual aeration!  My heart can become hard and then the water of the Word washes right off of it instead of seeping deep into my soul.  Seed does not take root.  I then become hardened to the things of God and am in desperate need of spiritual aeration.
Ahhhh….so how does God aerate my heart?  The same way the large, heavy, loud, machine rolled over the yard poking painful holes and pulling out plugs aerates our yard, the pressure of trials, disappointments, and suffering aerates our hearts.  Yes!  I can picture holes being poked into my heart—painful yes—but so needed so that His seed and water can be absorbed!!

Also, I wonder if just like the lawn is aerated by removing plugs of dirt and leaving holes in the ground, if when God removes people or things or dreams from our lives it, too, is a form of spiritual aeration.  He does it in our lives as individuals and He also does it in our churches.

He will remove plugs that are people—oh how painful it is when people leave our church or our lives!  We want them to stay!!  But could it be God is removing them so that our Body can better absorb air and water and seed? 

So, let’s call out to the Gardener of our hearts and ask Him if we need some spiritual aeration!!  Perhaps you are being aerated right now and it is painful—rest in it—don’t fight it—it will bring about much growth and lushness and beauty!!  And, if you have ever had your yard aerated....let me know what applications and/or insights you might have!!