Monday, July 30, 2012

If you don't know where to start... Start with one.

She was drunk.
 I could see our breath like a mist in the cold winter’s night as we sat outside the church building. People passionately lifting up praises to the Lord echoed out of the churches open windows. My rear end was starting to move from sore to numb as the chill sank into my bones from sitting on the ground outside. She was anxiously glancing back and forth. She told me again she should not be here she was “drrrrunk”. She rolled her “R’s” as they do in the Afrikaans language. My heart went out to her.

We sat together there in the cold damp night, waiting for her to sober up or just gain the confidence to go inside the building. I was silently praying for her and she was feeling nervous about the church people’s reactions to her being drunk. I reassured her of our love for her. She repeated again that she should not be here, yet made no move to leave. 

She had followed me all the way up the winding dark streets from where she and her friends had been partying. All the while we kept chatting lightly as we walked.  She continually telling me that she should go back to the party, yet we continued walking together toward the church. God was propelling her. I smiled as I watched her keep pace next to me.

God had placed her on my heart from the first day she arrived at the park where our mission’s team was working.  I spotted her standing towards the back of the ever growing numbers of teenagers and children who were coming out to the site. With her arms crossed, her face cynical and smug, she would stand and observe us. If you got to close, she side stepped you. If you reached out to give her a friendly pat on the arm, she made fists and darted. She smirked when we spoke and made fun of my American accent, but God nudged me and said,

”This one, love and pray especially for this one.”

It’s always amazing how God can place a love inside of us for someone we do not yet know personally. Or when He places a love in our hearts for someone who does what they can to be rude or dodge us like the plague.

 We shared some of the horror stories from our lives on that chilly evening. She allowed me to share with her how God brought love and healing into mine. We prayed together. She still has an abundance of hardships to deal with in life, but I am confident of this.

God loves her. That she is beautiful and valued in God’s eyes whether or not she feels valued in her family. I pray for her protection and for God to guide her each week. I pray for healing for her heart and the strength to stand for what is true. I also pray that one day I can see her and give her a big hug again, I even long to hear her giggling as I try once again to pronounce her name correctly.

There are many of us who are in need of God’s love, forgiveness, grace and freedom, whether here in the States or halfway across the world. They are hiding behind tough exteriors, towering walls built from years of broken trust and open wounds, yet dying inside for someone who will care and be patient enough to love them out of from behind their walls.  

I have heard from quite a few people how they feel overwhelmed by the needs in our world. A friend of mine shared she did not know where to start and if she could truly make a difference.

This brings me to this week’s challenge. Consider this phrase,

“Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”  

Friends, if you relate to this then, could you please pray and ask for the Lord to help you to see the “one” in your life? Couldn’t we all start there? Start with just one person? Ask the lord to help you to see the ways you can encourage and bless them and then do it.  Maybe it is someone in your neighborhood, a co-worker, or a person you have met where you volunteer. Perhaps God is leading you to support a child through Compassion International or World Vision. I encourage you to take the first step today and ask the Lord, “Who is your one?”

Then remember the words Bob Goff so aptly coined, 

“Love Does”. 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Later this week I will post links to websites where you can discover ways to get active with your faith. For those ready to jump in with both feet stay tuned. 
God can do the impossible through us if we are willing. Thinking out of our little box is next on the list. May the Lord bless you greatly friends.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Priceless Gifts from my Heavenly Father


Today I am thankful for the flexibility of a summer schedule. A schedule not requiring my children and I to wake up early in our race to get the day's deeds done. 

Today, due to the storm this morning, I had a little munchkin of mine crawl into the space my hubby had vacated to head off to work. She curled up at my side and we peacefully drifted off to sleep. I awoke thankful for the sight before me. Her curly hair was sticking out haphazardly from her head, with spiraled strands framing her doll like face. Her sweet little nose was turned slightly upwards and issuing soft little snores. 


It’s one of those precious moments I cherish because all too quickly it will be gone. I whispered

“Good morning.” 

 She slowly lifted her sleepy eye lids revealing her marble sized bright blue eyes.  Her sigh turned into a smile and she said, 

“Happy sleep.”

I nodded in agreement.

I am also grateful this morning for a friend of mine Julie. Julie and I knew of and even prayed for each other long before we met one another in person. We shared a common friend and sister in Christ, Bonnie.

Bonnie was someone who left an impact on whomever she met. She was a mix of beauty, gentleness, and a searing wit.  

Her quiet gentle demeanor and gift of discernment would set you at ease, but if she knew you really well, this lovely southern genteelness might at any moment give way to a pursing of her lips, followed by a slight smirk. Simultaneously there would be a sparkle in her eyes as she would catch you completely off guard with a witty and insightful zinger. She could leave you speechless and slack-jawed, instantly followed by chuckles and stress relieving bursts of laughter.

Bonnie Galey
 January 10, 1958 - March 20, 2012

I miss her so very much.

 (With tears in my eyes now.) I confess to you how I often watched Bonnie, trying to learn from her example. I studied how she handled people and life’s struggles. I mulled over her nuggets of wisdom from serving alongside her husband in the ministry. She was my mentor. It was unspoken, but I know she knew. 

I miss her so very much.

 I have one more gift to thank her for. On the day that we celebrated her beautiful life, at her funeral, I finally met Julie.  I have a new sister in Christ now, because the Lord saw fit to bring our lives together through Bonnie’s life and death here on earth. 

Today I will celebrate Bonnie’s life, her gift of friendship, and her final blessing of Julie. I can imagine Bonnie smiling as her gift unfolded for us. I am so grateful to her and the Lord for Julie and the encouragement, prayers, and wisdom she shares with me. 

Julie's story is one of heartache, struggles and yet abounds with joy, gratefulness and adventure. Her passion for the Lord, and her joy in speaking of His love and grace for others are contagious. (So is her fantastic sense of humor.)

 Today please take a moment and read Julie’s post “All Iever had to do was open my mouth…” from her blog, “Just Julie”.

It follows right along with our call to share God’s good news with others. I pray today you can be filled to the point of overflowing with gratitude and joy for the great things God has done for us. I pray that as you overflow with this gratitude for the big and small gifts you have been given, you discover how true Julie’s message is.

Please follow this link to her post...

Luke 6:45b
...for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

What are you thankful for today friends? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Is it Good News?

The Gospel...

The Good News.

Do we treat the Good News like it is actually good news?

Or do we treat it like a dirty little secret, ashamed of what others might think?

Are we hindered by the fear of sharing this news and sounding narrow minded?

Have we listened for far too long to the media and forgotten what it is we are really hiding?

The Good News

It’s the greatest Truth anyone has ever chosen to share with me. Honestly? I didn’t want to hear it. Like a little child plugging her ears and humming a tune, I tried my hardest not to. I wrestled with God because I had bought into the lie that by following this, “narrow minded” Jesus and becoming a sold out “SAVED” Christian I would lose my freedom. I thought I would be hindered and bound by endless rules. Instead, I found unconditional love, unfailing hope and the freedom I had only dreamed of.  

I am so grateful to those who did not give up on me. I am grateful to those who lived a transparent life of their struggles in their faith. I am grateful to those who shared their joy and Christ’s unconditional love with me. They lived and spoke of His heart.  They left me curious, and frustrated trying to reconcile their actions to the stereotypes of Christianity that I had bought into.

They were dispelling the myths and just giving me Jesus.

We have a love story to share with everyone. We have a story that looses the chains of sin, that breaks the captives free, that can take something broken or wounded and make it whole. We have a love to share with those who feel they are unlovable and with those who have lost hope. We have amazingly good news to share with everyone.

If you are struggling with the “how” and fear of sharing, then I ask you to try the following things. First take some time each day this week and focus on praising God for what He has done in your life. Celebrate the joys and healings He has brought to you. Give thanks for the small and the big. Ask His Holy Spirit to fill you to over-flowing and to guide you each day with your words and actions.

Then remember it really is Good News!

Follow Jesus’ example and just love people right where they are at, not where they “could” be. Listen to them more than you speak. Really listen!  Pray and look for ways to encourage them, being God’s hands and feet really bless them.  Then, you will discover that God will give you the moments to speak and the words to say.

Your actions will be demonstrations of His love. Your words and encouragements can lead someone to His truths. It’s His power, love, and truth working through you. Just be you. Just be honest about your success and your failures in sharing what you have discovered about Jesus and choosing to follow Him. 
Just give them Jesus. 
His love and redemption really are Good News!

Acts 20:24
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.

Romans 10:13-15
...for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Are you struggling with this?

Do you have fears or encouragements you would like to share?

Please do, I would love to hear from you or pray for and encourage you.

I apologize.

Of course, I commit to a Monday posting in last week's message and then miss it. Aye! I apologize. I have written several things, but none were ready for posting yesterday. Instead I put set them aside because yesterday was my dear oldest daughter's birthday. I apologize for not thinking it through and prepping more for this ahead of time. 

Are you ready for the adventure though?
We are starting with the challenge I wrote about last week. It is the challenge that Jesus gave to each and everyone of us as Christians. They call it the Great Commission. Today, I will be sharing simple steps with you today and sharing a post by a friend of mine later this week. 
Are you ready for the Good News?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I am so disgusted...

Can I be honest with you?
Well here it comes anyways… I am frustrated my friends. I am so agitated about something,  I literally feel like I might jump out of my own skin. My hubby tells me, he is not quite sure what I am attempting to convey when I say this.
I understand,

it sounds weird…

Maybe even a little gross,

but I am going to burst if I do not start speaking out about it.

So here it is.
I am extremely passionate about missions and evangelism. I am avid about waking up the American church from its cushy slumber in its safe little bubble. I know that not all of the American church is asleep. Some are vibrantly living out the call of Christ. They are getting themselves dirty in the grips and joys of ministry, but I am so sick and tired of the other 80% who are for a variety of reasons sitting in a pew doing nothing.

 I feel disgusted with us. 

Did you catch that? I said us, myself, included because I have those moments too. Days and weeks where I slip into the misery of going to church for solely and sadly only what, “I” can get out of it.

I am not saying that I hate Christians or the people who attend church. No, I am telling you I am heartbroken. There are times when I have been tearful for how far down WE have fallen as a people of an amazing, all powerful and loving God. I find myself at a boiling point for the people that go without because “we” will not step forward and give of ourselves or share God’s amazing love story.  We are missing out on so much my friends and sadly others are missing out as well…

Please understand, my disgust is not a seething, “I am done with you.” kind of disgust. It’s more of a, “Come on!  Seriously?  We need to wake up here people!”
This “American dream” spin that we have put on Jesus’ words and converted into our day to day Christianity here in the US is so far from what Jesus actually did. It is light years away from the way He walked and spoke with people. Ugh! I am disgusted by us.

My heart is breaking for those who don’t know Jesus.
                            The Real Jesus.

    Not the   plastic     empty     inconsistent   version that a lot of 

              American Christians are displaying for people to see.

 These people don’t even know how absolutely amazing Jesus is. How great God’s love is for them, how… I could go on and on,
but I need to sum this up.
So here it is,
My next series of blogs on Mondays will be about becoming active and vibrant in your faith. About what this will mean to you and the people who surround you.  These blogs, I pray, will challenge us to identify the lies the enemy has been weaving into our Christian mindsets and we have been choosing to believe. They will be about the amazing joys and heartaches that occur when you finally answer God’s call.

THE CALL that he gave to All of Us who choose to follow Him.

  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
                                                                 -Matthew 28:18-20

So are you in?
Are you ready to go all in for Jesus and see where He takes you?
I will say it again, it will be the best adventure you will ever choose to take. 
Please consider signing up and following this blog series by email. Let's take this adventure together.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A page from Joe's life...

This last June, my cousin Joe passed away at the age of 86. He was such a blessing to those who knew him. He was a veteran of WWII serving in the U.S. Army under General George Patton in the Third Army, 76th Division, K Company and was one of the first to enter Germany. He was a warrior who loved his wife, his family and his flower gardens, especially his irises. I can remember as a young girl going to his home out in the country and marveling at his beautiful flower gardens. 
 Joe was so robust in how he spoke and lived his life. He had an honest twinkle in his eyes, and a hardy laugh that was absolutely contagious. I especially liked how he was refreshingly blunt, yet still loving when he was speaking with you. 

I loved what was shared at his funeral. It was something he said in those last 2 weeks.

  “Whatever you have for me Father, I will take whatever you have for me. “

He said it with eagerness, and an amazing steadfastness that comes from a life lived following after Christ.

This was his attitude even in those last 2 weeks. He knew his time here on earth was drawing to a close, but still he was willing to take whatever God had for him.

I want to live each day like this. To awake each morning and say to my heavenly father,

“Whatever you have for me Father God, I will take whatever you have.” 

This can be a scary thing to say. Honestly I get some butterflies even just thinking it. You see God not only loves us where we are at and wants to bless us, but He also wants to grow us deeper and stronger in Him. He wants to refine us like a silver refiner purifies the dross or impurities away from the silver. God lovingly desires to remove these areas of sin, hurt, and anger,  from our hearts. Areas in our lives that are holding us back.

Each time God brings me through this process it is always for my best. Even when it seems too rough of a road to travel down I always find peace, healing, and freedom at the other end of it. 
There are times in this fallen and messed up world when some really awful things happen to us and yet we are still called to have an attitude of joy. A joyful expectation of what is to come and a confidence resting not in ourselves and our abilities, but in God’s amazing power and love for us. Do you know what? I love that Joe could say that. He had seen good and hard times, awful and great times, but he knew where his strength would come from and rested in that.

I love how James puts it all in perspective. He says it so well.

James 1: 2-4

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Did you catch that last part?  The Lord is doing this so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything! Wow! I am definitely not there yet, but I love that the Lord’s end goal is for my best. I am so grateful that God loves me just where I am, but is not going to leave me there. In my past blogs I have mentioned again and again that following Christ is the greatest adventure you could choose to take. Will you put your complete trust in Him today? Awake each morning and say like Joe,

“Whatever you have for me Father God, I will take whatever you have.”

And then whatever comes my way I will strive to live like Jame's says, and this time I will make it personal…

I will consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever I face trials of many kinds, because I know that the testing of my faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I think it’s easier to do this when I remember who my God is, how much He loves me, and adores our time together. How amazingly powerful and wise He is and yet, how he cares about every detail in my life. Then it is much easier to say this with bold confidence putting my trust in the only one worthy of it. My Lord!

Today I am taking a page from Joe's life and placing his simple phrase on the mirror in our bathroom. I want to live expectant and excited for what God, my heavenly Father, has planned for each day.
“Whatever you have for me Father God, I will take whatever you have.”

2 Cor 12:9-10

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Joseph Krepel
Dec. 5, 1925 - Jun. 15, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lies, Weeds, and Holes in the Walls...

   I quickly set the phone down on the kitchen counter, trying to take some deep breaths and calm down. I walked dejectedly back to our bedroom trying to swallow the sobs that were threatening to surface. My heart hurt. I had just received some more bad news.
As soon as I made it to our bed I threw myself into the closest pillow and let the tears rush out. I buried my face hard into the pillow to muffle the gulping heart wrenched sobs that were echoing through my body and out of my mouth.

Was the news that horrible? It sure sounds like it was really bad news doesn’t it?  Sadly no, I was having an over emotional moment over some minor bad news laced with the lies of the devil.  

He wormed and weaseled his way in and within minutes I was close to tears. My perky and happy mood was crushed and I was frantically trying to get off of the phone with my husband so that he didn’t hear me cry.

The thoughts were flooding me now. No, not thoughts, but lies… Lies from the father of lies himself. (John 8:44)

This is not the first time this has happened. They always seem to say things like, “You just never get it right.” Or “You are so stupid! You are a horrible mom. You will never be good enough. You are such a failure!” As I cried into the pillow I finally pulled my head free to get a good deep cleansing breath. Then I just laid there in silence…
                            “This is silly!”

 I was trying to grab some truths from God’s word to combat the enemy and feeling silly at how something so small had set me off.  I even checked the date trying to see if the hormones were kicking in.  I pulled myself upright and thought,

 “Stop acting like a hormonal teenager!”

I knew I needed to start telling the enemy to take a hike, literally. I then thought of Elijah. Directly after he won this battle through God over the 600 prophets of Baal, with one little threat from Queen Jezebel he ran off and hid. He out and out threw himself a pity party in the desert because of one angry woman.

We are coming off of a great victory for the Lord. We just put on a huge youth event and God moved greatly through it, but what is it we always tell our teens after we go to a retreat or mission trip?

“Get ready. The enemy is going to attack you. He will try to steal your joy and the commitments you have made this weekend.”

It’s true. It was happening to me.

Do you ever experience this? I know that if I don’t attack this head on right now, satan will spread his lies throughout my heart and mind and I will dive back into depression. He is always there waiting to distract us from our heavenly Father just enough so that he gets in and plants his weeds of doubt and despair.

It’s time to do some weeding.  It’s time to pull out the enemies lies and plant God’s truth in those holes. It’s time to fortify the walls of my heart and mind with God’s love and His rock solid word. I need to post guards to stay alert in my heart and mind. It’s time to kick the dirtbag satan into outerspace and not allow him a return flight.

Are you in the midst of this right now? I am telling you it’s time to allow God’s truth to be the only radio station you stay tuned to. It’s time to allow Him into your heart to heal your wounds and to strengthen your crumbling walls. Allow Him to do the amazing on the inside of your heart.

Turn on that praise music to full blast and sing and shout out to the Lord for He is worthy and the enemy will flee at His name. Cling to verses that speak specifically to your worth in Christ, and about God’s plans for you.

Here are some of my favorites when I am in the midst of doing battle with the enemy.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 103, especially verses 11-12

Jeremiah 29:11-12

Psalm 139: 1-18

Psalm 91

Psalm 23

Some of my favorite Praise songs in the midst of trials…
The Desert Song – Hillsong
Oh How He Loves -- David Crowder version
Search my Heart – Hillsong
Forever reign – Shane and Shane version
Come Awake – Matt Maher
Never Once –Matt Redman
Our God ( is Greater) – Chris Tomlin
I Call You – Rita Springer
God is Able -- Hillsong
Be Thou My Vision

Are you battling the enemy right now?
Please do not think you are alone.

If you are battling this please
share your prayer requests.

I would love to be in prayer for you.
Or feel free to share your favorite verses
and praise songs on here that have helped you through a tough time.