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Sunday, June 29, 2014

You don't have to be an alter worker... a continuation of You don't have to wear a Blue Vest.

What a day... it was dark and dreary, hot and sticky... not my favorite kind of day.  i so wanted to stay in bed.  No one was home... My hubs got up early early to help put out all the beautiful flags down our street of the church for our 4th of July celebration we have every year.  He didn't reset the alarm nor did i set one.  My kids were all gone for the night as well so i woke up very late thinking maybe i will just stay home from church... i never do that... whatever so...i got up took a shower and put on my best Red White and Blue.  i almost cried driving in to church... so many were there and the flags were just blowing in the quiet wind it was a beautiful scene.
 
As i sat in church today i loved how our worship pastor asked us to rethink with a fresh mind of the song that was going to be next... it was OUR song... our COUNTRY's song... The Star Spangled Banner yet with a sad melody instead of the robust happy tune we always want to sing with pics of past wars.  We are in a battle ground today... each day as we live in Christ.  i remember an old missionary, Leo Humphrey, once say "There is No Rest In War".  We have a battle to fight.  His battle!
We heard from some parents of a young man who served our country.  Adam Brown Seal Team 6.  How he lived his life for himself and got himself in a mess of drugs... then went to jail and met Jesus...
ok so since this is my blog i can write as much as i want  so please if you don't mind... please keep reading... Jail ministry is so cool... I have a friend who gave her life to Christ and under crazy circumstances ended up in jail and chose to take that time and be a missionary to the other inmates that were there... many came to Christ.  Now one of my very best friends is working in a jail ministering to women sharing the bible study of Beth Moore's Breaking Free.  She is seeing light-bulbs turning on.  People get saved in Jail! 

OK so back on track... this man met Jesus in jail and then went to Teen Challenge an excellent organization that help troubled teens... of which there were tons of these Teen Challenge kids in church today and many of them raised their hands to receive Christ.  Glory!  After Teen Challenge Adam went to be a Navy Seal. A book has been written about his life if you want to read it i hear it is fabulous.  He was killed and his life of Christ reached so many lives... His parents came to our church to share his message of hope.  It was powerful to say the least!

so i am sitting there and our pastor asks if anyone wants to know Jesus.  If they want a life that is new?  Several hands went up and it seemed like alot of them on my side of the room and they were all women.  i know... we were supposed to have our eyes closed but sometimes the Lord awakens my heart to look anyway...the girl in my row had her hand up.  i looked behind me to see the counselors and asked if they needed help.  They go to the people if they stand when our pastor gives the invite to stand and someone will talk with them.  She did not stand.  i could not let this go... i went around to the other side of the row and waited for everything to end...
then...The Story of RED...i knew it the second of the first word... the voice of someone very special to me who i have prayed for, who i have watched God move in her... i have tears in my eyes right now thinking of what a privilege it has been to be a small part of her life.  a small girl who i got to disciple, see her flourish, see her voice mature and her life bloom.  a girl who lived through many difficulties yet always turned her eyes on Jesus.  a girl who's voice needed to be heard...by me, by countless young people, and you and certainly many more.  You see our God gave her talent that she has never even really recognized in herself.  for some reason i have seen it since the day i met her.  She sings with a voice of an angel better than most voices i hear on the radio and sings with such humility.  i wish i could give you the lyrics but her writing style messes with my heart with all emotion.  It wrecks me.  just thinking of the color Red... his blood.  mangled, torn.  for me.  for you and a precious woman i met today sitting in my row.

 Photo: @abundantlifels #thestoryofred

After the service was over i greeted her and told her that i saw her hand was up but she didn't stand... i asked what that was all about and she told me that she did know Christ as her Savior but had not been living for Christ.  i asked her if i could pray with her right there...she said yes.  i just prayed that God would reveal Himself to her and that He would lead her to live a different life.  One that would follow Him instead of shy away from Him.  She had tears in her eyes and said, why did you come and just pray with me?  Who does that?  i explained that Jesus does and sends people to us when we need Him.  We went in another room  and she told me her story.  She said she was determined to go to church today, regardless of what the voices in her were telling her...just like me it was a dreary day but she got in her car even though she needed to save her gas determined to come to church and gave a second thought as she saw all the flags thinking maybe she should come another Sunday... but nope, her car drove right in to visitor parking.  Can i say... thank you for visitor parking and the spot that was open just for her.  She came, she heard, she listened, she was touched by Adams story, the story of RED, His story...for Her story to be different from today on. 

i am so moved by the Lord that He speaks to my heart... to go pray with someone even though i don't wear a blue vest (from the earlier post) or have the alter worker sticker on in the back of the church.  Sometimes... well all the time, we need to open our eyes and see people.  Lets be moved by Adams story and by the greatest story of all... Jesus... the color of  RED.  Let us never be just hearers of the Word but doers.
Even though i detest this sticky icky weather... i am looking forward to being with my church family today for the 4th of July picnic today.  He is a reason to fellowship together and see some people get baptized.  Cannot wait... now to make the yummo cupcakes.  i believe they will have RED frosting today!


Monday, May 19, 2014

The God who Sees! Choose to see Him at work in your life!

You are the God who Sees...genesis 16:13.   i've been reminded of this verse several times in the last 6 months...so weird how that works.   Once is interesting for sure but it has been brought up probably in my mind or by someone in conversation or twitter or in a podcast i've listened to probably 13 times....God is so cool like that.

i have been more than distracted these last couple months...so many things...our anneversary party,  end of  school year stuff, lacrosse games, several weddings, discipeling, meeting people for coffee, graduation, ministry responsibilities to name a few and squeeze work in there too.

i'm not telling you this to feel sorry for me in any way!  i love all this in my life but i get so distracted with life and get bogged down with how we will afford it all and fit everything in because it is all to important.  i've  left my purse at HyVee (they had it at customer service...He saw that too) and left my debit card at a restaurant  and rear ended someone in one week time frame.  Contrary to what some of you think...this is not usual for me.  i am somewhat of an air head but not that bad.

Anyway, i've  been asking God many things.  Things i want to change in my life, things that need to be organized, humbled that He is preparing me to facilitate a new bible study starting in June that is if i may say is kicking my butt and how in the world we would be able to afford camp for all three kids!  He so knows!  So... i am going to brag on how God Sees me, my family, my children and this case my teenage son, Noah.



Our son has been looking forward to going to camp again this summer with our church middle school youth group.  It just so happens that this year it falls on the same week as our family reunion vacation.  This might be the last year we are all together as a whole family on vacation since Frankye just graduated.  We had to tell him he could not go.  However an opportunity arose and he was invited to go with another church to go to Florida to the Student Life camp at Daytona Beach, Florida with Louie Giglio and Brad Jones as speakers and Chris Tomlin & Kristian Stanfiel as worship leaders.  The cost for us to send all 3 kids to camp is ALOT of money!
i have just been praying a about this this morning!  i wrote to tell the youth pastor that invited him we were working on getting the money together.  God sees us & knows us...he said that we did not owe anything.  The cost had been taken care of.  i could not believe what I heard!  i had just prayed about this!

i was not doubting that God would not provide but in whole?  As soon as He did?  He loves my son, my family and me!  i am so humbled that He would do this!  i have wept at how He loves us so much today.  So very Thankful!!!!!

Don't think for a moment that He does not see you and your needs as well as some of your wants!  i cannot image my life without my great God!  If you have a need call upon the name of the LORD.  He wants to show His love for you!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BE still



Just such a weird couple of days!!!  
1.  Left my purse at HyVee in the cart park...got it back with nothing missing
2. Left my debit card at a restaurant
3.  Dreaming with lists in my head of all the things to do.
4. On my way to work today i rear ended someone and it was totally all my fault.  $$$ ugh.  

i need to be still.  There are many more...these are just some of the drummer ones in these last few days.  My friend Jodie reminded me today..


Psalm 61
61 Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmedLead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!
So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.
1.  i am thankful to God that i actually have some money and stuff that i even need to carry a purse full of makeup, iPhone, iPad and all sorts of stuff.
2.  i am thankful that i Was able to go to lunch with my mom and sister and have the funds to go out and eat.
3.  As long as i live...there is always something to do.  So thankful for such a full life and for the cool things that God has allowed me to do to love & serve Him!
4.  So thankful i have a van (with 12 cup holders) and transportation from here to there.  Even though it is a rainey day and i was distracted, it was nice to literally run into the person I hit as a sister in Christ.  We were able to share for a few minutes while waiting on the police officer.  i am also thankful for such a nice police officer and kind insurance company ...even though i know it will probably cost me.  Yikes!  Also so thankful to have insurance!  
So... i need to learn to Be still. 

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Life is A Date!



    sooo.... i started to contemplate what to do for Valentines Day this year.  i've about exhausted just about every idea... its been almost 30 years of Valentines Day celebrations with my man.  Wow... just writing that is crazy... 30 years we have been together.  i will write more about that in a few days so stay tuned. 
    Several years ago i went to a winter breakfast tea for the women in our church and someone asked the question to a panel of women... what do you do spice up your marriage?  Several answered saying that they spend time together going on a date once a week or tried to get out of town once every few months but the best answer i have ever heard was from our pastors mother Judy Hopper when she said Life Is A Date.  You don't always have money for all those things but when you spend your life together... talking about what God is doing in your lives, serving others together, eating meals together, praying together, laughing together now that is a great life! i will never forget it.  So.. Life is a date... how are you spending your life with your sweetheart?  It cannot just be about the gifts,the chocolates or the nights out.  Your whole life together is just that... together. 
    Anyway, back to Vday!  i thought i would share with you some of the fun things i have done in the past and hopefully either give you some ideas or at least laugh! 

    so... here are some ideas.
    1.  One year i bought flannel shirts and embroidered i Love you in the collar and the cuffs.  He loved that! 
    2.  My go to gift when i am uncreative is cologne..  i love a man that smells good!
    3.  A down comforter
    4. New sheets
    5.  New pillows
    6.  a poster with conversation hearts and candy bars
    7.  i bought each of us journals to write love notes to each other in... i have way more entries to him than he for me but i still write in it...
    8.  scavenger hunt in the house for a gift... or me!
    9. go out for dinner but as we get older and have kids we usually get take out and eat it with candlelight after the kids go to bed 
    10.  Valentine Pajama party with friends and have Breakfast for Dinner!
     But this one takes the cake... read on....



    i keep seeing on Pinterest this Valentine idea Love in a Jar and it reminded me of what i did one year.  OK so long before Pinterest i did this project.  you write 365 things you love about your Valentine and write them on hearts of pink, red and white papers.  The thought being that you can read one for every day of the year.  i got a cute jar and decorated it up and put my notes in the jar.  This took forever... i have no problem thinking of all the things i love about my hubs but to write them all out and in good handwriting and some were a paragraph some were a work or a sentence but still.. very time consuming... i thought... boy he is getting my time, creativeness and my love all wrapped up into one gift and a little chocolate on the side... His favorite is the Reece's hearts (really he likes the eggs better but one holiday at a time right?  although i saw the eggs today while at the store).  i was so excited to give it to him.  He acted like he really liked it and it was a great day. WELL...... about a week later, after he had gone to work i walked into our bathroom and what do i see but every single one of those notes in the trash and an empty cute jar!  i was so upset!  All the Work.. i spent hours doing this for him and he did not do what the instructions said... i know... men don't read directions...i should have known...haha!    Men!  i cannot help to think... here he was reading all these while he was taking a smash!!! (smash is pats word for it... sorry! )   Poo!!! Yuck!  it just made me crazy. 
    Now i look at this crazy story and know that he knows i love him...but after a few years i started to see that i was doing something for him that really i probably wished he would do for me.  i was giving him something in one of my many love languages but really he would have been happy with me ironing his shirts or making his favorite dinner and watch a basketball game with him.  Our personalities are TOTAL opposite.  i think on this now and really it would be pretty cool to sit and read 365 things that my love loves about me all at once.  (not while taking a smash).  He did love the gift,  just not how i wanted him to love it. 

    Isn't that just like me and God?  He gives me such great gifts with anticipation of me opening it and using it for His great Glory and i just take it all in at once and don't cherish it everyday... i just want to appreciate these Great Life Dates God gives.  Savor it and learn from them.  It is about the Giver not just the gifts.  Of course the greatest gift ever was given  to us in Jesus His son!!!! 
    For God so LOVED the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him, will not perish but have ETERNAL LIFE!  Jn.3:16

    Tonight... we are heading to Next Door Pizza for dinner and hang out at Starbucks sharing earphones and watching Passion2014 in Houston live stream before we catch a movie... we haven't had Friday nights to ourselves in years let alone go to a movie on a weekend evening...

    So my friends... Life is a Date!  Love well!  Love hard! and Love with out expecting anything in Return. 


    Saturday, February 1, 2014

    Not so Super Bowl!






    It was a very cold day January 28, 2001.  SuperBowl 2001!  We had just come home the night before from a great weekend away at a bed & breakfast.  It was the day after i had told Pat of a great secret i kept to myself for a week...we were going to have another baby!  i honestly will never forget how very excited He was!

    We were getting around to go to church.  Our girls were at Nana Koontz house and sweet baby Noah was at our friend Melissa's.  i told Pat i wasn't feeling very good and i was going to lay down.  This isn't very normal for me...i love going to church...we had some news to share!  As i laid down pain became intense.  My shoulders were killing me.  i had not experienced this pain!!!

    i asked Pat to call our sweet friend an OB nurse and ask if something might be wrong...she told Pat we needed to call an ambulance and get me to the hospital as soon as possible...she said it sounded like internal bleeding or a possible tubal pregnancy that burst.

    The ambulance and paramedics came...it was very icy outside and terrible weather. They came to my room and i could hear them saying they had no radial pulse...i was saying in my mind but never out of my lips...i can hear you...i am alive!!!  Nothing.  They kept trying and said they could not transport until i had a pulse.  Finally something faint ...they had a hard time getting me down the stairs on the stretcher and down the icy driveway.   They took me to the hospital.  i sat in the ER forever.  In & out of consciousness.  They were waiting for a sonogram technician to get there from the ice...I lost over 2 liters of blood.  i was dying.  i was only 35.  i had 3 kids and one on the way...

    The whole church  (Liberty Baptist at the time, now Abundant Life) it seemed turned out to the hospital on this very icy day.  Many praying...the Silbers brought food for everyone...i laid in the ER waiting.  Then everyone came in to see me and passed by me like i was in a coffin...my friend Tammy bent down and her face was drained of color and she kissed me on my face...i knew i was about to die.  Our baby was no longer alive.

    i remember thinking...how will Pat do THIS?  His father and grandfather had already passed away, now his wife?  What about my children?  Would he continue to Trust God or be angry?  It was all too much!!!!

    What was most on my mind was that i was just starting to "get it". i want to be clear...i still don't have it all together but God has given me such a gift and my life has been changed!  i was just seeing things with a more eternal prospective and i was seriously afraid, not in the sense of fear but a godly fear of meeting The God who created me, God, The creator of All!  You see, He knows me.  Inside and out.  i had wasted so much time the years i had been privileged to live.  i had so many opportunities to share Jesus with others...so many opportunities to Serve others to Love others...what had i been doing with all these 35 years?  Why hadn't i used every opportunity to share what i knew?  What in the world did I have to give?  What crowns?  What wood, hay or stubble was going to burn at His feet?  Was anything good to give Him?  It was more than i could fathom.  i was empty...scared...nothing.  Funny that is exactly where He wanted me.

      i started begging Him to let me stay...to be a better mommye, wife, friend, servant.  (i had no idea what i would seen Him do in the next 13 years.  He totally blows my mind!). The nurse in the room heard me arguing with Him or saw the restlessness and struggle i was in the middle of.  She came near to me and my first thought was...i have to tell her about Jesus!  i was not going to meet Jesus and waste these last few minutes of my life.  She told me to rest...she did not tell me i wasn't going to die...i continued to ask her if she knew Him...i fell out of consciousness again...later i found out she asked the group to pray for her sister who was sick...she must have seen belief...she must have seen Jesus in me...Oh Praise THE ONE!

    i was out...apparently i died on the table twice...with no blood transfusion from the hospital but a true blood transfusion from God Himself. Honestly, my Doctors said that i truly was a miracle.  When i went to the doctor the following week they all clapped.  They couldn't believe i was alive.  He let me live...He gave me a new life. i was Born again as a young girl but He was renewing my life!  Wow!

    My life has been different ever since!  i chose to live with purpose!  Even to this day...i look back and see...my kids loving Jesus...my husband and i started teaching college students Sunday School...starting a ministry beyond our dreams!  Just like Him!  He was equipping us for something greater!  Being accountable to these students has proven to be such a joy and humbling experience while He is equipping me for whatever the future He has for me!  Honestly i cannot wait to see these next chapters He has written for me!  Oh yes, i am still desperate for Him...I do not live in the dessert but am living in a great promised land!  i have had the privilege to disciple many.  i have been able to share my story many times.  I've got to watch my husband being obedient to God in his job situations...a police officer, teacher in the inner city, now a pastor!  i always said after going to bible college i would NEVER be a pastors wife!  i don't look at myself that way...i'm just a gal who has chosen not to waste her life!  He is ever changing our lives...i am entitled to NOTHING...we now are serving the Great Senior Citizens in our church!  They have so much to teach me...to mold me even more!  He gets the Glory from my life...fullness and freedom come when we lay our lives down and He deserves EVERYTHING!    i know He is not done working on me...and whoa!!!!! There is much work to be done but really, i just want to love people genuinely with purpose!  it is never too late to quit wasting your life no matter how old we are!

    So every Super Bowl i always remember that He has given me life, and i am to live it for Him!   I have so many scars in my life of time wasted.  Let's be done with that!
    Who's with me?

    Louie Giglio said this, "Heaven is going to be a great celebration because we all have scars and i will stand with THE  ONE who's scars and wounds triumphed all mine!"  i just want to Sing...really loud!  Thank you Jesus!





    Monday, January 13, 2014

    Reach. Grow. Reproduce.

    How great is it that God works through the ages as we go about our lives, He is at constant work!

    Yesterday...can i say it was a beautiful day you look forward to...middle of January and 60 degrees. Perfect!  Thank you Lord for the break!

    Yesterday, The Lords Day...listening to my pastor teach on the beginning of the early church in Acts.  He spoke on being Fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth. Or a modern way to say it, Reach. Grow.  Reproduce.  My heart races when i hear these words ,which is often.  To grow and reproduce the things we know and believe about Our God is one of the greatest things we as a Christ follower can do.

    There have been many people that have invested in my life..i am more than blessed.  These are just a few that were on my mind while hearing the message yesterday.

    i'll never forget my 6th grade year. Winchester, Indiana is where we lived at the time.  i was loving life.  We had an old house with a small apartment that we rented to a gal just out of college we called Sheila Woman!   She found these iron on transfers from the Women's Day magazine and she made my mom, me and sis T-shirts with this iron on with a big yellow rose and the word Woman underneath.  We walked around calling each other by our name then Woman...i cannot think of Sheila and not say Woman!  This Woman!  Seriously, She invested in me and valued me as well as other tween-age girls in the neighborhood.  She was always having us over and having a bible study just for us!  She was a multiplier!  A true discipler!  She took the time to invest in us.

    My freshman and sophomore year in High School we lived in Omaha, Nebraska and went to this awesome church that had a young college graduate that wrote music and lead worship at our church...mind you this was the day & age when our churches were just singing hymns or the occasional Gaither song.   She introduced me to Amy Grant and many more up and comers of that day.  Her Name was Margie Howell.  She led Music from the piano and was totally led by the Spirit.  i was drawn to Him!  i could tell she loved Him more than her music...i wanted to be like her, know Him like she knew Him!  She asked me if i wanted to be in this singing group called " The Breath of Life" ummm...Yes!  We practiced each week but not just singing.  She taught us that the words we were singing were to Jesus!  We should mean what we are singing!  This were lessons that have proved Huge in my life.   Her example was truly a life changer in my life!  She has invested in so many lives!  Thank you is not enough!

       My parents announced one day during my 6th grade year that we were moving to Minnesota.  i was devastated... This was a time in my life when you are really making relationships... Starting to understand the draw to God and how He was definitely shaping me for my life in these informative years.
    i remember sitting on the steps of our porch memorizing Psalms 1 so i could go to an amusement park, Kings Island.  My parents really did invest the right things in my life.  Life was not about us but about making Him Famous!  i come from a legacy from my parents as great disciplers even to this day they serve Him selflessly.  Putting Him before themselves.

       Kim came from the neighborhood on the other side of the railroad tracks.  Literally!  My parents rarely let me go to her house unless i was walking her home...i had no idea why.   Little did i know my home was a safe place for Kim...where we prayed before we ate, talked about Jesus.  i even think Kim may have gone with me often to Sheila Woman's apt. For tween bible study!  My mom gave me a bible to give to Kim and asked me to highlight verses that i had memorized.  i remember dreading doing this.  Thank you mom for asking me to be a part of giving her this bible.   We moved and took off for Minnesota.
    Many years later, our first year of marriage, i got a letter from Kim asking if she reached the right address and if i was her 6th grade friend.  She gave her phone # and i made the call.  She told me of how she wanted to jump in our moving truck and come with my family and how she ran away that day.  There was much abuse in  her home.  A great family took her in and treated her as family to this very day!  She proceeded to tell me thank you for the bible...that she read it and came to know Jesus!  My heart was blessed...just like God to show Himself to the one who was seeking him.  He cared so much for her and for me to hear of this seed He grew into a strong tree that continues to grow in Grace!  i got to see my friend get married to a man that loves Jesus. Through fb I've watch her grow as a mother, teaching her children about Jesus...transferring what she has learned through bible study and prayer.

    i was in tears the other day when Kim posted on her fb a blog from her daughter Mylie a college student who also loves Jesus...proclaiming His great name!   Here it is if you want to read.   http://mylienicolewinger.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/when-chick-flicks-dont-cut-it/
      I am blessed beyond measure to see the fruit of giving a bible to a friend in 6th grade even when i was shy to do it!  His Word NEVER returns void!

    We are called...Reach..Grow...Reproduce!

    i guess my thought pattern is how pivotal it is to invest in young peoples lives with a genuine love!  A real life where others can see Jesus?,  We can see how He uses us to advance His Kingdom!  Thank you Sheila Woman, Margie, Mom and Kim for investing!  i love You!   i am in debt to you!   He really is everything..we are nothing!