Friday, March 30, 2007

Reaching the lost...

"For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings."

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

We studied this passage last Sunday during Sunday School and without deliberate examination one could easily justify a sinful lifestyle as a means to "reach the lost". I have heard this passage used before in conjunction with the argument that we have to be "out there like Jesus was". You know, in the bars, at the lake on Sunday morning, etc.....basically "being all things to all people". There are impassioned pleas from the "Missional Church" to be out there in the community and reaching the lost, just like Jesus. There is one glaring inconsistency with this concept. Jesus called sinners to repent. Period.

Merely adjusting our lifestyle a bit (some would say) and being willing to change our church view so that we could encompass so many different "types" of people is what they say Paul is campaigning for. It is critical when reading scripture to determine who the writer is speaking to and the context in which he is speaking about. Are we talking about evangelism or are we talking about church? Are they different? Do they co-mingle ? These are questions that divide a large number of Christians but the answers determine the authenticity of the church and whether it is a true reflection of what the New Testament gives us as it's model. Paul is clearly speaking about sharing the gospel. The question is where this kind of teaching and relationship building should take place.

Through studying God's word I have determined that evangelism is a charge that has been given to me and without exception or excuse I am obligated to fulfill this command. Daily, weekly, my neighbors, my family, strangers, and to the ends of the earth. This command challenges every part of sinful me and is something that I am struggling with right I write this. I want to tell. I want to share. I want to love. But I want to honor Christ. I want to obey his commands. I want to also adhere to scripture like 1 Corinthians 15:33 & 2 Corinthians 6:14. I am not "above" those who have yet to know Christ as their savior but I am well aware of my own flesh and it's predisposed desire to choose sin. I am praying, reading and under the full accountability for my lack of evangelism. Still, I could not be absolved of this command by simply encouraging one to come to church. I'll go one step further and say that inviting someone to church is actually not evangelism at all, and I know that flies in the face of all things "evangelical". The mandate for us to share the Good News could not possible consist of a mere invitation. It is so much more.

I do not take issue with the speculation that Jesus (if his days on earth were now) would not hesitate to meander through the seediest parts of town. He would share the truth of the gospel message and to teach the truth of what His Father had sent Him to do. He would most likely reach out and touch the unclean, the forgotten, and most importantly the unforgiven. Above all....he would admonish sin. He would never leave a lost and forsaken child in the midst of their transgressions. It is shameful to scripture and to the purpose of His death to never acknowledge the wretched, deplorable, empty, dead, sinful state of the lost.

The sinner without Christ will never seek Jesus or God or His love without first affirming their own depraved soul. That comes first. (Romans 3:23) Then would come the recognition for the need to be saved. (Titus 3:5)

I am getting off course and headed to the pulpit with my preach, so I'll go back to the passage and try to stay on track.

Paul is speaking to the saints about how he is ministering to the lost ....not how to "do church". He even makes clear the statement regarding reaching those "not under the law" but still "under the law of Christ". To make himself weak he would never advocate sin, but is reminding the saints not speak in a condescending way and remember who we were when we are completely and totally lost and all the ways and words of the Lord were foreign. "Becoming all things to all people" as Paul has put it, does mean that we are not above sharing the gospel...with anyone. We should humble ourselves so that God is glorified....not our lifestyle or our haughty choices. Righteous choices are only made righteous because of God's good grace in our lives for which we do not deserve. We have no reason to boast in ourselves.

Paul's letter to the Christians in Corinth is so powerful on so many levels. He advises them about marriage, counsels them about relationships with one another, instructs them on church matters, and commands them to honor Christ. I am burdened with the knowledge that there are so many developing churches that desire "their method" with such voracity, they have forgotten the glorious truth of the gospel. That apart from Him we are dead. But the Good News.... The Good News is:

"He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed"

Isaiah 53:5

Praise God for his grace!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Grace for our children....

Leslie has written a wonderful post about the assurance of salvation for our children. This is such a delicate and difficult topic to approach but to grasp it, and even embrace it, encourages my complete surrender to God...who remains sovereign....over all things, including the faith of my children. I have discussed this weighty issue very recently with my *whatever-we-want* girls and it certainly stretched us in ways we weren't prepared for. It also blessed us in our faith and understanding, in the way that studying the Word always does.

God alone saves. We are responsible, required, obligated and held accountable for raising our children to obey the commands given to us through His word. We are their most influential teachers of the gospel through reading, praying, and most it out as our true testimony. We are not however; assured, promised, or owed one single solitary thing in return for our obedience.

Leslie makes this point understandable and eloquent at the same time. Read it. Right now.

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Hebrews 11:1

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Please pray for Gabbie...

Would you please pray for sweet Gabbie? She is the most precious niece of my Texas sister, Tiffany. Gabbie was born almost 5 years ago, as Tiffany was here visiting me in Virginia for a Ladies Retreat at our church. Tiff would not be with her sister during Gabbie's birth and we prayed for Michelle (her sister) during that retreat weekend because we knew she would be having her baby girl very soon....but there was no indication of any complications prior to delivery.

As she made her way into this world, it was apparent that this beautiful little girl would be challenged by a condition called Spina Bifida and would forever change the lives of all those who would love her. This condition has presented physical challenges but provided so many beautiful opportunities for God to show His faithfulness and abundant grace in meeting the needs of this family.

Please pray for Gabbie this week as she undergoes surgery. She has a warrior momma who stands under a great weight of worry & responsibility. Let us also pray for her as God sustains her and keeps her strong....mind and body.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Whatever We Want.....Part IV

First, here's some pictures from Friday night...



Kelly's mother provided the white fuzzy robes. One more touch that made our 5-star stay so fabulous!

O.K., there have been several days and a whole lot of brain cells zapped in the process, so the "Whatever We Want" narrative may be a little sketchy because, quite honestly..... I am starting to forget what we wanted. Right now all the "wanters" who live with me are taking priority and their "wants" are totally sucking the life right out of my "whatever we want" attitude.

Let's start back with Saturday morning. Although 5-6 hours of sleep may seep inadequate to some, if you take into account the pitch black room and the absence of 4-year old eyeballs peering at me; it was one of the best 40-winks I've had in a while...minus the part where I kept dreaming someone was putting Tabasco on my lips and sticking mini-pads to my pajamas. Sleepover meanness is wrong and I never ever did things like that to anyone. Ever.

It took us a spell to get ready, but that was part of "whatever we wanted". No rush. NO schedule. We ate Panera bagels, drank coffee, and sat out in the sunroom and soaked up the morning while contemplating serious life questions with Kelly's father. Like, "how many people can fit on that John Deere Gator and how fast does it go?"

My mind was racing with thoughts of strapping Kelly to that Gator and giving her leopard flats a little "breakin' in" in if you know what I mean. I am sure she has driven this Gator plenty of times, but I am talking about taking her for a RIDE....Texas style-4-wheel drivin!

Well, that didn't happen. Charlottesville shopping was beckoning us, and we got ready and headed that direction. Charlottesville is a historic and beautiful place to visit. It is a great city, but quite liberal and at times a bit pretentious. One description I've read is that the atmosphere is "intelligent". Funny enough, after a walk through the quaint downtown area you might come away thinking....hmmm....does intelligent = grunge? I saw more grunginess than I expected, but it was an eclectic mix and we loved the unexpected surprises. Like this surprise for instance....

This guy with a mohawk playing the cello. Now that was something we don't see at our weekly trip to Target. Notice his friend with the ball cap, playing the violin. Interesting...

Here's a more broad shot of the ensemble...

Capturing this guy on film, who is innocently tending an that's a surprise! I wonder if he reads blogs....

We ate lunch at Salad Creations, where they make your custom salad and mix it in a giant metal mixing bowl and then you eat it.....all of it....and it is a lot of salad. Very yummy and a great choice for eating healthy, which is good when you plan on consuming 4,000+ calories in the course of one day. Unless you are Jenn, who is pregnant. Then you say phooey on a bunch of lettuce. I need beef. With cheese. So she headed down to Five Guys Burgers & Fries and kindly brought her burger back to eat with us. Then we all "enjoyed" our salad even more. And I never once looked at Jenn and wished I had gotten a burger. Not even when I ate 7 bites of hers. I was very content.

So after we ate a really large and healthy lunch we headed straight for dessert. After a little bit of pleading from Kelly followed by a whole lot of sampling, we all indulged ourselves at Splendora's-Italian Gelato Ice Cream. If you have had it, then you probably shouldn't read anymore because it will consume your thoughts for the remainder of the day. If you haven't had Scrumptious! Kelly had to sell us on it because we are mostly country gals who like our ice cream very rich, very creamy and in several scoops. The bowls here in Splendora's were a bit teeny weeny but HAVE MERCY that ice cream is so good, I can't wait to take my family. We sampled nearly every single flavor and nearly drove one woman to the brink of insanity, who was not behind us in line nor did she work there, but she huffed and rolled her eyes in disgust over our overindulgence. She was just jealous. (that's what my mom always said when people were mean to me)

We ended up with an assortment, but I can vouch for the coconut & the coffee because I had a double scoop and isn't that the weirdest combination you have ever heard of??? Almost as weird as this...

O.K. and while I am at it, one of the many jillion nuggets that I gleaned from this weekend is this: Women (girls) never grow out of giggle spurts and when they come there is no grace or cooth involved, whatsoever. When Lea Ann laid eyes on one of the many street performers, he obviously struck a nerve in my well-reserved friend. I am not sure if it was the dread-locks or the fact that not came out of his mouth. Yep, it was the latter. It was the droning coupled with the fact that you couldn't tell if he appeared to be looking at the lyrics to his ballad or simply falling asleep. She started heaving with laughter right about the time that I inhaled a large bite of coffee ice-cream heaven.....then like a rocket fired from the bottom of my gut, I shot a big clump of brown dessert out of my mouth and it landed directly on her semi-white shirt. Fortunately her clever ability to accessorize paid off because her big & funky necklace hid the regurgitated yuckiness. Sorry bout that Lurker.

We walked the downtown mall area and visited a sweet little paper store who just happened to have their planners on sale for 1/2 off! I became hooked on the MomAgenda planners when I was given one as a gift for Christmas-2005. My sweet future sister-in-law (isn't that fun to say!) purchased one for me and I think they are awesome. They are even more impressive and necessary when they are being sold at bargain prices!

It got late rather quickly, so after we drooled over some Vera Bradley luggage, we bolted for another shopping area nearby where my sweet soon-to-be sister-in-law was working (again, saying that is filling me with glee!). When we left the parking garage we encountered a colorful woman at the pay booth. There I had another realization. When I embark in the world apart from my little peoples, I don't hear a great deal of profanity. I am sure my husband hears it on a daily basis at his job and my poor daughter probably hears it at school far more than I would like, but honestly I am able to choose my environment and my friends are not known for dropping the cuss-bomb. Words like shut-up and stupid warrant some serious consequences around here. A curse word would probably result in heart failure. So. When we got to the pay booth and the worldly woman who worked there first asked us, "Have ya'll been drinking?" we knew right away that we must appear to be drunk in the spirit and really oozing love & sisterly joy.....or we are acting like liquored-up wild women who have been tossin' back the hard stuff. Judging from the picture, I am sure she assumed the latter...

After the question regarding our sobriety, she followed up with a loud and boisterous, "oh s*&^!" and it shocked me so badly that I nearly wet my pants. Now she could have thrown up or had an accident in her pants or even stuck an index finger into each of her nostrils and that would not have phased me, but one 4-letter word and I simply beyond shocked and horrified.

I guess it's all about being desensitized. I am sensitive to cursing and not sensitive to bodily functions. That makes you think deep thoughts, doesn't it?

After arriving at the store where my soon-to-be-sister-in-law works, we scooted in for a quick hello and scooted out. We had shopping left in our bones, but this store didn't exactly fit our booger-proof dress code or our $7.99 budget. Oh well, let's take a picture....

Man, these are endless posts, aren't they? I thought for sure I could finish but I must wrap up the insanity for today. I hope the five-lovely ladies who are starring in this saga are enjoying the recap as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Whatever We Want...Part III

The Getting There...

We met at Kelly's house at 10:00 a.m. (that's Kelly time for 10:15-wink, wink). The trip would take us about an hour and half and we would be in two cars. Jenn brought her own car, because she planned on leaving early Sunday morning in order to help out during church.

Awwww, Jenn. Ain't she sweet? Thanks a lot "friend" for making the rest of us look like slugs.

We said, "fine by us Jenny....go right ahead and be a help-mate to your husband....we are staying right here to finish eating ourselves into a coma"

So. We left Kelly's house and headed to Panera for lunch around 11:00 a.m. After some rousing conversations involving our children, our church and American Idol, we realized that several hours had passed. Can you believe we sat right there in Panera for nearly 3 HOURS??? Therein lies the proof that all we needed was stimulating conversation and I believe at the end of those three hours we had stimulated many of the Panera customers as well :)

So we loaded up in our respective "rides" and headed to our getaway. Kelly, Dusty, and Karen in the sleek, and oh-so-classy and safe Volvo. Jenn, Lea Ann, and I in the oh-so-large and safe Crown Victoria. Talk about a smooth ride! More like a glide, I tell you. If that thing had a third row, this family would be taking a long hard look at the sedan as a replacement for the SUV.

This car really reminded me of another fantastic "boat on wheels" from back in the day. It had an uncanny similarity to the 1974 Ford LTD that I spent a great deal of my preschool years tootin' around in. It could be the smooth ride, the 132 square foot backseat, or the fact that it was a true grandmothermobile. Either way, I enjoyed the ride....immensely.

When we came to our little piece of heaven in Scottsville, Virginia it was immediately apparent that "giddy" would be the theme for the next several hours. Our accommodations were provided by Kelly's parents in their home which was built with guests in mind. The house has a simple beauty both in architecture and the serenity of it's location. Warm. Lovely. Homey. Spacious. There are an abundance of adjectives that could appropriately describe their cabin and we "ooohh & ahhhed" over all the different treasures. Funny enough, the super-duper basement/storage/closet thingy probably took first place right next to the really large laundry room. The momma in us is easily wooed.

Here's a few pic's that I took of their sweet abode:

The entire downstairs area was where we college roommates...with gray hair and stretch marks, telling childbirth stores

...So maybe more like nursing home roommates?

They have given their home a fitting name...

Our beautiful view

I came downstairs to claim my bunk in the "cave of joy", which was the bedroom with two sets of bunk beds, where the grandkids sleep. You may think there would be no joy found in sleeping in a bunk bed, but this room had no windows. NO WINDOWS!!! No light and no sound. It was bliss.

When I rounded the stairway corner, I found my desperate friends had just plopped down right outside the bedrooms, on the floor to chat. That is a sad state, when grown women don't even make an attempt to walk five more feet to the couches. Nope. The chattin' started and these weary ladies were coppin' a squat right where they were. It made me wonder if this is because we are used to sitting on the floor with their babies and so you just end up there...kinda like that sway that we do when we stand still too long, even though we aren't holding it sort of looks like we are tipsy. Weird phenomenon.

Later that evening, chic Kelly made some fabulous chicken/bacon/cheese quesadillas and her mother had prepared taco soup. Here's the recipe for the soup:

Santa Fe Soup

2 lbs. ground beef or chicken
1 large onion, chopped
2 packages of dry ranch dressing
2 packages of taco seasoning mix
2 – 16 oz cans of black beans, undrained
1 – 16 oz can of kidney beans, undrained
1- 16 oz can of pinto beans, undrained
1- 16 oz can of tomatoes with green chiles (or Ro-Tel)
1- 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 – 16 oz cans of white corn, undrained
2 cups of water

Brown the meat and the onions. Once brown, dump into large pot. Add the taco and ranch seasonings. Add remaining ingredients, including water. Simmer for at least 2 hours. Garnish with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or green onion. Serve with tortilla chips or corn bread.

The quesadillas are pretty easy, but I think the key ingredient was the bacon and the onions that were saturated in olive oil. YUM! I had made this soup earlier in the week and it is delicious.

I would say that our major topic of discussion centered around purity. I had brought the book, and the Bride Wore White as a talking point. We basically all shared a bit of our individual testimonies but we really focused on what we want for our children. The idea that purity is a heart thing and not just a body thing seems like a given. Truth be told, most of us began parenting our kids with the hope that they would wait until marriage but never really understood what the means to achieve that would look like. You could have asked me at any stage when my girls were younger about how I would handle dating and boyfriends and I would shrug it off, secretly confused about how I could encourage relationships that jeopardized everything the bible taught about the intimacy between a man and a woman. A few years ago, I read about courtship, caught wind of Josh Harris' books, and talked openly with close friends about the "how's" and the "why's". Dating didn't make sense. I mean, sure it makes sense if you feel like you are ready for marriage, but teaching abstinence coupled with dating is a complete conflict of emotions and really a conflict of biblical teaching. Our culture has moved away from 12-13 year old girls getting married but we left the practice of dating in place where it truly has no place.

For the most part, I know that we are in the vast minority. That is okay.

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." Matthew 7:13

Oh, how will our girls survive without the joys of dating? Won't they want boyfriends? Am I FORBIDDING my daughters and sons to date?

The truth is, there has already been training that I have tried to be faithful in teaching....from His Word. From that training, their hearts are naturally inclined to desire certain things. My kids don't walk around saying, "no thanks....I'll pass on the smokes....cause I'm not allowed". Rather, they just don't want to smoke. They know what it is. They know what it isn't. My prayer is that I won't have to forbid my children to date, but rather they will want to wait. Kookey, huh? I would have thought the same thing without the truth in God's word that revealed differently. It is remarkable and amazing what God can do in a changed heart.

We have begun the process of teaching Hannah about the gift of marriage and prayers for her future husband. It is about her heart. Her impressionable, vulnerable, precious heart. Exposing this topic among other women is encouraging and challenging but utterly necessary. I am grateful to have the women in my life who seek to honor God in their lives, their marriages, and in the parenting of their children!

In the next episode we will discuss where babies should sleep, what in the world is a "false wart", and what makes a grown woman spit ice cream in a public place.....

Stay tuned for Part IV of the "Whatever We Want" saga!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Whatever We Want....Part II


Kelly: Hippest,chic, most long-legged, long-haired momma we know!
Smart, beautiful, kind, and addicted to "pocket-books". Now where I'm from a pocket-book is something that might fit into your pocket. Let me make one thing clear. Kelly's "pocket-book" ain't fittin in nobodies pocket! Chic-momma keeps us up to date on all the latest fashions that none of us can wear, like: skinny jeans, easily damaged leather, and jewels. The rest of us are all anxious for the day that her little blond-haired baby will wipe a wad of boogers on one of her "pocket-books". On the non-superficial level, Kelly is the one the kindest and most sincere people I've ever met. Seriously.

Kim: I am borderline A.D.D., deaf, and addicted to sugar. I'm not sure why any of these fancy-pants associate with me, but I am certainly the better for it.

Lea Ann: Red-headed and much sassier than people think. She is "The Lurker" around these here blogs so beware. She has an opinion and we usually agree. She has a lot of jackets. If she and Kelly were to put together their jackets and pocketbooks the combined value could probably feed AND clothe a third world country. She's polished and she's dressed....even when she stays home. That fact right there was almost enough to write her off when we first met. She holds me accountable in every way. I make her listen to my oh-so-deep thoughts when she would rather listen to fluff. She accessorizes well.

Oh yeah, she knows me.... and she still loves me. Enough said.

Karen: One word? Petite. Perfect Posture. Polished. Professional. Polite. Okay, can't do it in one word for sure, but she is all of those things and brilliant. She can present the gospel in the most beautiful way and has made clear for me, so many things that were fuzzy. She is a teacher and it overflows into her life on so many levels. She is always calm. Always. She is very fit, but she doesn't work out. That makes me want to hurt her....or shove donuts down her throat. She makes sense of our senselessness. Did I mention her posture? I think she's picked up on my A.D.D.

I would pay cash money to see her holler at somebody.

Dusty: cute, feisty, funny, and loves to wipe. She loves to wipe...and wipe....and wipe....and wipe. Give the girl a squirt bottle of Windex and some paper towels and you will see her idea of therapy in action. On trips, Dusty is the one always tiding up, wiping things down, and gathering the garbage. Forgetful and a little scattered, but the girl can wipe. She is a giver. She will give past empty and to a fault. Her generous spirit is overwhelming to me. I have learned from that. We are both transplanted here from Texas and are forever bonded through that love for the blessed homeland. She and I both leave our groceries out too long after we go shopping and we are easily distracted. She can do a back handspring and make some mean salsa. She's good to keep around.

Jenn: don't be fooled by that blog. This girl is a spitfire. If anybody can throw a glance and send the whole room into fits of's Jenn. She's laid back, and loves a good tub of icing and some sweet tea, which was what made me realize that I needed to love her. More than that, she is honest and real. (real ornery sometimes) Seriously, her honesty and love for Jesus is infectious. Jenn loves a good pair of pj bottoms, so she could stand to sit in on a few fancy-pants lessons with me and I'm always happy to have company in my pj bottoms. She is preggo with #4 and we can't wait to love up that baby girl!

Famous words of Jenn: "Duu Whaaat?"

This is the cast of "Whatever We Want" Weekend. I will post more later about the events during our spectacular eating contest getaway!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

To the Batcave!

For more Wordless Wednesday pic's go here!

Church Discipline

Kim (Lifesong) has had a few things to say lately about church discipline. I have had a few things to say myself, but I'll be darn if she hasn't already said them and saved me the precious time!

I would have said that for a long time I could not see the harm in the whole seeker-friendly movement. I would have said that it was normal to struggle finding people to serve in the nursery or help out with a church social. I would have said that 10% or more tithing would never come from the majority of the church body....that's just the way it is.....all churches are like that. I would have said that membership versus attendance is never reconciled......all churches have hundreds of members who don't attend.....that's just the way it is.

I was wrong. I was very wrong and I am grateful to now know the difference between church=love versus church=grace. If we truly love the way Christ has commanded, we must not take the focus off of our depravity, our sin, our hopeless state. The argument is that the unsaved do not want to hear about how rotten they are (we all are) and how great God is and they don't want to be preached to, right? I beg to differ. Those who God calls will listen. "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." John 10:27

We don't have to butter it up. It doesn't need a flip-flop dress code or lasers. Are flip-flops bad? I hope not cause I wear them from March-October without exception...even to church. Are lasers bad? Buzz doesn't think so. Neither do I. *BUT* do I want the lost to come because they want to see our lasers, hear our funky band, wear their latest fashions, and be comfortable?


I want them to come because they want to know more about my Jesus. His sacrifice. Their sin which leaves them depraved without his grace gift. Justification...we are made right. Regeneration...we are a new creation Sanctification....we are holy. It is more than a walk down the aisle. It is more than a white robe and a Sunday morning baptism. It is God himself calling a lost and dead....D.E.A.D person up from their grave. He seeks us. He calls us. He saves us. He does this at the time....the place....and the circumstances that HE sees fit. He doesn't need us. He doesn't need our manipulative ways. He will work IN SPITE of us. Still, he chooses to use us. Therefore, if we are to be used, we must make every attempt to model the example He has given us in his word. To honor that first....everything else comes 2nd or 3rd or 4th or not at all even. But we honor His gospel and the command to preach it and the command to live it. Other things may spring forth from that.... so be it. But so often the foundation is already cracked....already formed from the fleshly desires to please man. So even if the pulpit is preaching the word, the focus of the church is still number-driven growth and not spirit-driven growth.

Our church has a building, but it is not necessary. We have coffee, and squeaky chairs, and a handicapped public school classroom that serves as our nursery, but it is not necessary. We even have the sweetest most precious itty bitty youth bible study with two 12 year old girls and a 16 year old boy with brownies and Coke Zero on Wednesday nights, but we don't even need that. (don't tell my daughter) I made that extra long run-on sentence just for you Nubby!

We have pure and blissful Sunday morning worship time with the guitar and it is beautiful....and I love it....and I pray God is glorified through it...still we don't need that either.


We have a pastor who teaches and preaches with humility and passion and reverence. He preaches the gospel unashamedly in it's entirety...The Holy Word Of God....period and we need that. Sure there's a little life application in there, some cultural references, but for the vast majority of the sermon it is the meat of God's word. We have been in Romans for over a year. Did you hear that? MERCY that's a long time to be in one book and honestly I could probably stand to hear those sermons about 13 more times before I'd be convinced that I "got it". I'm a little slow, a little hard of hearing, and easily distracted by the squeaky chairs. Some call that A.D.D. I just say that I take a little longer to absorb it, but once I got it....this sponge is dripping wet and overflowing...ALL THE TIME! (just ask my husband or The Lurker how often they would like for me to shut-up)

The church-growth movements says, "we need" all these other things and that is where I believe they are wrong. It isn't about whether we can hula at church or cowboy at church or rock out at's about whether we need a bait in order to convince people that God's word is worth hearing about. Twelve years ago we attended a church as non-believers with a skeptical and cynical heart. I had one moo-moo dress that fit to wear each and every Sunday and I felt completely out of place. White shoes in the wintertime. Unbleached roots to the high heavens because we were very close to poor so that I could stay home with our baby girl. I even remember being embarrassed because my bible was new. That just heaped salt on my pathetic wound of embarrassment. Overall....Humiliated. That is the word I would have used. Interesting that the root comes from the word *humble*, which is the necessary component for realizing the depraved and lost state I was in. He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. We (the church=the redeemed) must realize that our call to evangelize takes place every single day and rarely on Sunday. That is where the revival begins.

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" 1Peter 3:15

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

See ya later, Brace-Face!

Didn't it seem like just yesterday we packaged up the bubble gum and sour skittles? Well, Emma has a brand new smile! Her braces and expander are history (for the next few years anyway). She is looking forward to chowing down on some popcorn, starburst, and real bubble gum! Oh yeah, and saying the word "green" without an impediment. That expander could make a very intelligent person sound a bit challenged, if you know what I mean :)





Monday, March 12, 2007

Happy *Birth*day Gigi!

Dear Gigi,

I know that today is Christopher's birthday, but he has received lot's of "Happy Birthday" wishes from everybody. I wanted to be sure that you were recognized and appreciated on this day as well!

It was 37 years ago today that you became "Mommy" before you were "Gigi". Bright and early in the morning, that little 6 pound-2 ounce, big-eyed boy was introduced as your son. Having held a son of my own, I am overwhelmed with emotion when I try to imagine him growing into a man. How proud you must be of the Godly father and husband that Chris has grown to be. I only know him as my husband and friend, but know him as your baby boy.

I know my baby boy is dear to me in the most special way. It surpasses any emotion I could have ever conjured up in the days I awaited his birth. Was it like that for you too?

When you brought him home, did you nuzzle the nape of his neck and smell that heavenly sweet smell that only comes with a brand new baby?

Did you swell with pride every time someone said, "my, my... that baby has the most beautiful eyes"?

Oooh, did you worry about that basketball head? Before we had children, I must admit....I worried a little bit. They all grew into it, didn't they?

Did you get sad when he turned another year older?

Didn't it seem like he would never ever go to school....and then *poof* he went?

When you gave him a brother, didn't you marvel at the many times that they came so close to killing each other....and didn't?

Did you raise your eyebrows in total amazement at his awesome wheelie-poppin' skills? You had to...... because you were his momma.

You never saw yourself with three boys, did you?
God did.

On this day. This day might be the one that they have to carry me off on a gurney. I am sure you were really strong on the outside. You always are. On the inside, was it hard to believe that time had passed that quickly?

I wonder this....Has anyone told you,"Happy *Birth*day" today? This was the day that you gave birth for the very first time and to the person that I love more than anyone in the whole world! God ordained that on this day, 37 years ago, you would become mother to that precious baby boy and there was great purpose in that. God purposed that through your mothering, that little boy would grow into a man with compassion and love....... for me.

I am forever grateful for how you loved your husband......and their daddy.

Love you-


Worthy of a guest spot...

I have been trying to get my Lurker friend to create a blog but until then, I will keep calling her Lurker (which she hates) and I will start posting the beautiful things that her children say, on my blog, thus receiving all the sweet comments.

Her sweet boy, Ethan said this sweet stuff last week. This was the result of a school assignment, which was:


"I love GOD. He is my konshins. He rote the BIBLE. but his DSIPLES achulee wrote it but GOD told them what to write."

That kind of sweetness makes your teeth hurt.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Whatever We Want...

We...The six of us...

Are headed here....

for the next couple of days. We are headed to the Charlottesville area for the weekend to do a little bit of....whatever we want. Yep. You heard that right. We have no agenda. No craft show. No dinner reservations. No curfew. We have no itinerary to keep up with, no marriage workshops and the only Women of Faith to see will be each other.

We (I) will wear fleece pajama pants until someone makes me change my clothes. We will have Panera bagels for breakfast and we will eat them.....sitting-down....gasp. We will laugh a whole bunch and certainly six women couldn't possibly come together with this much food and freedom and not let the tears fall, at least a couple of times.

Oh, and did I mention that we do have some food? A whole bunch of it and the real bad kind. Bring on the trans fats people. Fry it, dip it, cover it in sugar and please, please, please pour a whole bunch of coffee creamer in it. We plan on eating until it's all gone or until our acid reflux says "enough already".

We plan on working out several issues, like the seeker-friendly church movement, homeschooling, the election of 08', the war in Iraq, the sale at Ann Taylor, the best self-tanners, how Kelly F. wears those super narrow shoes, the sovereignty of God, our role in evangelism, what is church discipline, and is it really worth it to clip coupons? Everyone will eventually share their childhood stories, their childbirth stories and their child whippin' rearing stories. It'll be way better than Oprah. You better believe it.

One of the virtuous women in our clan will be leaving us soon. Not too far away, but far enough to change the sweet composition of this little cluster. So it is a little bitter sweet but I refuse to complain about this transition in our sister/friendship. We have been blessed beyond measure thus far and complaining would be so ungrateful. And if there is anything I is grateful.

More when I return. I wish I could have you guys peer in on my people here beyond this screen. It makes me crazy nervous and sad to ever leave my family. I am never quite okay with the whole process. A couple of days is way more than I need and the preparation is nearly enough to never ever do it again! I feel like I should lay out every cotton-pickin' thing we own, from Pepto-Bismol to fishing bait because I would hate for someone to need something and for goodness sakes, I'm not here to find it. My oldest has broken into tears on several occasions already. Momma should be home. I agree.

Still, a break is almost necessary. Usually once a year and not for more than a couple of days, but it's enough to see my little piece of heaven from a clear vantage point. I am blessed to have these dear friends to go with and blessed to have my husband hold down the fort and make memories like only *a Dad left alone* can do. You know what kind of memories I'm talking about, right? Let's just say, I'll have a hard time booting those kids out of my spot in the bed when I return :)

So I'm off to finish making the 233rd list for my dear sweetie, lay out the Sunday clothes, fret about the hair-do's and the eye boogers that may be on display at church and try to pack.

I haven't written much this week with substance, but I love what Kim has written here and here and couldn't agree more. I am also incredibly moved and in awe of what John Piper has written about the last moments with his father. Read about that here and also another testament to the impact his Godly daddy made in his life, here.

Blessings to all!