Friday, October 30, 2009

Thawing Out

I love me some Friday night high school football when the weather is, you know, football weather. It was quite chilly out there tonight but my honey did go down to the concession stand and bring me back a pipping hot cup of chocolate. ummm! The cheerleaders were awesome, as usual. Especially the last one of the left -- she thinks I stare at her too much but I don't mind what she thinks. I'm quite taken with her!

I started my Christmas shopping today. My rule is usually that I don't shop before Thanksgiving because it's my own silent protest to the earliness in which the retailers put out the holiday decorations. Yes, the mall is absolutely covered in them. I was at the mall today but not to buy the gift that I purchased. Johnny and I went to the mall early today to go to see the movie Amelia Earhart. It was pretty good. I've always been fascinated with her story. The great discovery, though, was that 2 people can go to the movie for $10 in the morning where as it's $9.50 per person in the evening. We were the only people under age 60 in the theater but we didn't mind.

I got off course. Johnny and I purchased a vacation as our Christmas gifts to each other. While our 2 younger kids are off on a mission trip we'll be in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, during the Christmas break. I am so excited. I've never been there. We're planning on dogsledding and snowmobiling but if you happen to stop by and have any suggestions then please let us have 'em!

One gift down, many to go, but it's not even Thanksgiving. I'm off to a good start.

Serving the King,


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How He Loves Us

I am obsessed with the song "How He Loves Us." My particular favorite is David Crowder Band's cover. I play it over and over's playing in the background as I am writing this blog. The song starts with the words, "He is jealous for me." I was thinking about that this morning in relation to my kids. I am jealous for them in that I want the very best for them. I want them to make the team, have great friends, to be safe, to make good moral choices...I could go on and on. I am praying a specific prayer for one of my kids today that seems a little superficial. I am fully admitting that. As I talked to God about it this morning, however, I was reminded that I had a similar prayer for one of my other kids a few years ago. Almost the same silly prayer. But, I was also reminded of how God answered that prayer. I didn't even fully recognize it until later. After the thing happened (when God answered my prayer) I was driving in my car alone and the full weight of how God answered that prayer washed over me. Exactly what I asked and I almost missed it. So, I'm expecting the same this time. Not that I'll miss it but that God will answer.

The chorus of the song is this, "Oh, how He loves us; oh, how He loves us; oh, how He loves us; oh, how He loves..."

He loves us. Deeply and desperately. He wants good for us just like we want that good thing for our own kids. Except His love is on such a greater scale. Beyond our comprehension or ability to even fathom it.

He loves us. He loves you.

Serving the King,


Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Then Shall We Live

I'm in my home office this morning studying to teach my class tomorrow morning. The lesson, from Acts 5:1-11, is titled, "How Then Shall We Live." The Scripture tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira and how greed and deception cost them everything. How then shall we live when our culture tells us to have more, get more, be comfortable, it's all about us, truth is not absolute...

At our women's conference in India last week we had testimonies by some local pastors' wives. One told of being beaten, another of having all the Bibles in the congregation burned, one of being forced to leave her home. How then shall we live when following is not comfortable, when it is costly?

The last day we were there we had the privilege of watching as over 25 men were baptized. The question asked of them was something like this: if you are called to be martyred are you ready? A pastor from our country stood nearby and wondered out loud what the response would be if we asked that question of those we baptize at home. Are you ready? Enthusiastically, they all responded in the affirmative. Following the men, 26 children were also baptized. It was beautiful. I hope to never forget their young faces or those of the people that gathered around to watch that day.

How then shall we live in integrity before God. Acts 5:2 records that Ananias "kept back part of the proceeds." My commentary gave this meaning for the Greek word nospizo that is in the text, "to put aside for oneself." This note follows: "This couple wanted acclaim without sacrifice and comfort without commitment." It wasn't the keeping of the money that was wrong but the lie, the lack of integrity. What are we keeping back, holding onto so tightly that we are unwilling to let go at any cost? Would we truly be ready to let go, give it up if called to do so?

Though our cultures are vastly different the expectations of our Savior are the same. acclaim, comfort vs. sacrifice, commitment

How then shall we live.

Serving the King,


Thursday, October 22, 2009

1,000 Toothbrushes

The evening before I was to leave for India my friend, who is a pediatric dentist, asked me if I wanted to take some toothbrushes and floss with me. Of course! She brought them over to my house and I stuffed over 300 toothbrushes into my suitcase. When we got to the conference center Beth and I went over to the medical camp to deliver the toothbrushes and floss. The medical/dental staff arrived a couple of days before us and were already hard at work seeing patients.

I've really never seen someone so glad to see toothbrushes in all my life. I mean, overwhelmed by the goodness of God. As it turns out this precious sister (in the blue) prayed for 1,000 toothbrushes for the dental camp. She told me she didn't really tell anyone (except God) and was able to collect about 500 toothbrushes before she left home. And there I was, with over 300 toothbrushes in my hands. And dental floss! We also had the suitcase in the above picture from another dentist in our church. When we opened it we found 2 more big boxes of....yeah, toothbrushes. There was also a bunch of those little tubes of toothpaste and some other things they needed for the week.

In case you're not sure, God can answer a prayer for 1,000 toothbrushes. God hears, He listens. Ask big. Be specific. Expect great things. Be blessed.

Keep asking, keep searching, keep knocking... (Matthew 7:7-8, HCSB)

Serving the King,


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back to Reality As I Know It

Trivia question: How does one go to a country full of poverty, people sleeping on the streets, and a list full of things one is not to eat or drink while there and not lose one stinking pound of weight?

Quick, what is it?

By eating Pizza Hut and McDonalds and drinking more sodas in 5 days than I've had in the last 3 months, that's how. Yeah, Pizza Hut 3 times in 5 days. We found the McDonalds this time. In a mall, of all places. You might know that cows roam the streets freely in India because they are viewed as sacred by the Hindus so you won't find a hamburger on the menu. Well, I think they say hamburger but it's a chicken sandwich. As for the sodas, I don't even drink Coke at home. If I'm going to drink any kind of soda it's usually Dr. Pepper. When we came off that roof everyday and someone extended a icy, cold Coke in my direction I did not hesitate to take it!

And why was I on the roof, you might be thinking. That's where the kids were and that's where the children's camp was held. It was unbelievably hot up there. It helped some when the fans were on. Which, by the way, was not always. I was glad to be there, though. The kids were great. I worked in crafts the 3 days we had with them. It was such a great privilege to sit down and craft with the girls we sponsor through my Life Group. They are so darling - my eyes are full of tears right now just thinking about them. I was absolutely drawn to them each day. I loved it how the kids said "thank you" when we passed out materials knowing full well that the only English most of them know are those 2 words and "praise the Lord." Well, I take that back. On the last night we were there we went up to the roof to practice with the kids (more on that in a bit) and take some pictures with them with their new uniforms. It just about put me over the edge when they sang "I Love You With the Love of the Lord" to us in English. That I didn't break down sobbing at the sound of their precious voices singing that song was only by the mercy of God.

We ended our time at the children's camp everyday by practicing for the kids to do something we call creative movement but is like hand motions to songs for the service at the conference on Saturday night. We did one song last year but this year we did two and Tracy brought strips of cloth for the kids to hold in their hands. The first song Tracy picked was "Revelation Song." She brought the Phillips, Craig, and Dean recording. First of all, it's a really great song. But, to hear PCD singing the words, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come" and to see the kids with their hands and faces lifted toward the heavens was... there's no word big enough... incredible... awesome... I don't know, it's beyond my ability to describe it.

So, I'll leave you with that for today. It's all I can stand. I won't eat pizza today or drink a soda or smile at kids because I don't speak their language and it's the only way I have to communicate with them. I won't be drenched in sweat or fall into bed exhausted because of the heat. I won't drive in a car for 45 minutes to an hour for the unspeakable privilege of sharing my life with those that love Jesus and are willing, if called, to suffer as a result.

I'll just be here, in my home office, thanking God for the great honor it is to go.

Serving the King,


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tomorrow Is the Day

I'm up early on Saturday morning. I still have a lot to do to get ready for tomorrow. We leave in the early evening to start our journey to India. India is about a half a day ahead of Central Standard Time so it's already Saturday evening there as I am typing this. We have an overnight in Mumbai and will arrive at our destination Tuesday morning, which will be Monday night in Texas. We will have Tuesday to prep with our girls from Tennessee and North Carolina. The action starts on Wednesday for our team, which I fondly refer to as Sybil and the Jets. (It's a long story.)

So, here's what we'll be up to in case you're praying for our endeavor: Wednesday - Friday we start the day at the children's camp. I think there will be about 300 of the Grace Children's Home kids there. In the afternoon we will have the women's conference. We are expecting about 150 women. Some will be there for the conference and some will come over from the city to join us.

The conference center is about a 45 min - 1 hour drive from the city where our hotel is located so when we leave in the morning we don't return til our work is done. The conference center is open-air and it will be hot! It makes for long, tiring days so please pray for our strength, endurance, and good health as well as for what we will say and do!

I am also on the agenda to speak at the big conference Saturday night.

I covet your prayers for us! I will try to update the blog while I'm away but I never know if it will be possible!

Serving the King,


Monday, October 5, 2009

A Boat of Maturity vs. Swimming in a Sea of Foolishness

I laughed and laughed hysterically tonight after dinner. I mean, so hard my stomach hurt. Johnny got a phone call this evening with a ministry opportunity and he told the caller to send him some info and he would pray about it. After dinner we talked to the kids about it because it is something that would involve them and affect their lives. Jacob was adamantly against it. We tried to talk to him about it and get him to see the possible pros or reasons we should at least consider it. He was so serious that Johnny and I thought it was a little funny. We laughed a little and he said, "I am on a plane of seriousness!" Well, of course, Johnny just thought that was super funny and asked him about flight numbers or something like that. We laughed a little harder so Jacob said, "Why are you laughing? I am in a boat of seriousness and you are swimming in a sea of foolishness!" That put Johnny and me over the edge. Ok, maybe it's not as funny in print but it was really funny around our kitchen table tonight.

I love family time. I love sharing reality with my husband and kids, being open to talking to them about life and God and even the mundane things of life. Laughing is good. It's a bonus. It was the best part of my day.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Heaping Dose of Praise

It's Saturday night and Jessica and Jacob are both home. Johnny and I cooked (Johnny grilled hamburgers in the rain and he has a cold -- I DID say I would cook them inside but he insisted) am especially delicious dinner tonight and had both of the kids who still live here home to eat with us. AND, there was no one else. Extremely unusual for a Saturday night around here. Jessica had to play in a volleyball game 2 1/2 hours away today and, well, they both have had a busy weekend so far so I think they're a little tired. It's nice for Johnny and me. So, we had ice cream. It was nice. The four of us were sitting around the table eating our yummy Blue Bell -- we each had a pint of our favorite. No, no, we didn't eat the whole pint. We just got to have our own favorite flavor. Anyway, Johnny was telling about being at his uncle's funeral and meeting the pastor of his parents' church. He was talking to the pastor and his wife and they asked what I did. Johnny told them and the wife, apparently, asked if I was a missionary. Johnny replied that he never thought about it that way but, yeah, I guess you could say that. Then my kids started to tell what they tell people who ask what I do. I'm a little embarrassed to type it all out cuz I don't want any of you readers to think I'm gettin' a big head but it was quite awesome. Johnny made another comment (one that I will also leave out) to which Jacob responded, "Yeah, now she's gonna write a blog about it." So here it is, Jacob. My blog about eating ice cream with you, Jess, and dad. Yeah, by far, this was the one good thing about my day!

Serving the King,