Friday, March 28, 2008

Risk and Faith

Here are the recent headlines from my Voice of the Martyrs newsletter:

SRI LANKA UPDATE: Wife of Martyred Pastor off Ventilator and Recovering " National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka

LAOS Pastors and Believers Arrested by Police, Nine Church Leaders Sentenced to Prison "

BOKEO PROVINCE " On February 22, Laotian officials arrested 15 Hmong Christian families in Bokeo province, Laos. According to Compass Direct News, the arrests occurred a day before a court sentenced nine Hmong church leaders to 15 years in prison for 'conducting Christian ministry and meetings that had grown beyond acceptable levels for Communist officials.

Yet, all over America, this Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) is typically one of the lowest attendance days of the year.
I guess we Americans feel we've done our duty by really showing out on Easter and then we deserve a rest...
We don't deserve anything...most Christians in America have no idea what it truly means to live by faith...
To be putting it on the line for our faith...
We'll make it to corporate worship this week...if we feel like it, if we don't have a ballgame, if we wake up in time, if we have something to wear, if we like the music, as long as the preacher's going to be there...what's your excuse for missing your time with your fellow believers?
Has your very life or that of your family been in danger because you might get "caught" worshipping?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Reflections

I have sat down several times to try to blog about Easter and I just can't wrap my mind around all of it. I'm still chewing on it. So, here are my random thoughts, observations, blessings...

-arriving at Stratford to set up on Saturday for Easter, and seeing an army of new faces ready to help accomplish the movement of Jesus called Piedmont...

-my children "chalking" the driveway (and a bit of the street) proclaiming "Jesus is Alive" for all to see...

-being "free" of the pressures of Easter finery on Sunday morning, and my children being thrilled to wear their Piedmont shirts on Sunday morning...

-stumbling upon the 3 and 4 year olds singing "Jesus Loves Me" Sunday morning. It doesn't get much better or simpler than that. If we could just truly grasp that one song...

-listening to Jimmy Dooley present the Gospel to 4th and 5th grade boys, when it wasn't "in the written lesson", and it just flowed so naturally from him because of the relationship he has with those boys...

-overhearing Le Kilgore talk about the "chink, chink" of the nails as she passed around a nine-inch nail to her first graders, then seeing her overcome with emotion because of her love for her Christ and His children...

-listening to Mardi Bass share with us in Bible Study about a Christ-centered Easter, and seeing several young women begin to incorporate that into their Easter...thank goodness for those older women that take time to invest in us!

-seeing Shannon overcome with emotion as she led the worship team in "Jesus Paid It All" with the children, that worship is so SWEET...

-our Allstar production team coming together to create our own production for Easter, for greater impact with the children...the chalk drawing of the crucifixion, resurrection mesmerized the children as they anxiously watched to see what would come next (Tav and Randy, you rock)

-spending the afternoon with my "Georgia family" - the Kempers, what a blessing just knowing that family has been, the love in that family blows me away...

-watching as so many children see themselves as church planters in this movement called Piedmont, the joy and energy they have as they help pack up each week. It really is something to see as we are training these children to be servant leaders in church...

-107 in the Allstars area, a family ministry that is 6 1/2 months old, God you amaze me. Thanks for including me in YOUR plan...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Good Friday

I have come to love Good Friday. With all of the extra preparations that go on in ministry for Easter Sunday, it is usually an exhausting day, not much time for celebrating as a family. So, several years ago, I started a tradition with my children on Good Friday, that we all have come to love and look forward to each year.

We call it the Disciple's Breakfast. We get up on that Friday morning and go outside with a quilt and eat breakfast in the yard. We have fish (fish sticks for them), fruit, nuts, grape juice and pita bread. We talk about what it must have been like for the disciples that morning. What must they have been feeling? Their mentor, teacher, friend, Savior had been arrested and was going to be crucified on a cross like a common criminal that day. It is so cool to hear what the kids come up with each year.

Two years ago, Kenzie came up with something she wanted to add, where we would each pick which disciple we were most like...Peter? John? Bartholomew? Andrew? It has been neat to see as we do this through the years, how it has grown and matured with them. It was special this year because Colton told the story all by himself this year of the last week of Christ, from Palm Sunday, to the turning of the tables in the temple, to the last supper to the arrest, crucifixion and resurrection! It brought me to tears. It is so precious to see them grow in their knowledge of Christ.

Asher's best response to it all was "Jesus died for me. He wants to be my friend forever." That sums it all up, I think. I'm so grateful for that special time with my kiddos!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Just a quick list today...I'm thankful for...

1. Peter Pan Honey Roast Peanut Butter...after being pulled from the shelf over a year ago during the big "peanut butter scare", it's back! It's wonderful!

2. Jerry...he puts up with me, cheers me on, reminds me almost daily how important my job as a mom is.

3. Macon in the springtime...there is no prettier place to be in the spring!

4. God's Word...He so knows me! Sometimes when I feel like the worst person alive or I'm at the end of my rope and ready to quit...His word encourages me and heals me.

5. Piedmont...Yall rock! Lives are being changed. I get so amazed when I step back and look at what God has done in the last year. I love the stories, keep them coming.

6. My family in Texas...I love and miss you guys so much. This time of year gets so hard because it's almost a year since we've seen ya!

7. Diet coke.

8. My new walking buddy...she keeps me accountable and motivates me to get up at 5:20 every morning!

9. My hairdresser...he is like getting therapy for free when you get a haircut. Love him!

10. Clorox wipes and Mr. Clean Eraser...what did we ever do before these things?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Snow in Macon!

It snowed in Macon on Saturday; my kids were so excited! They haven't seen snow since we left Texas! (and I'm not totally sure this qualified as a snow, but the flurries were enough to thrill them none the less)

Here is a couple of pics from their frolicking in the flurries:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our Sabbath

Lately our family has been so busy.
We haven't taken a true sabbath in quite a while.

Today, we did.
We all took the day off.

We stayed in bed until 10:30, talking, giggling, being...
We didn't really do anything.
The world would say we accomplished nothing today.

I disagree.

I believe that no amount of success in ministry will ever make up for failure at home (a wise woman shared that with me once, and Scripture proves it).

So we guard our home and our family. We don't apologize for it.

We ministered to our kids today. That's all. That's enough.

It was a great day. I will go to sleep in peace tonight.