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Monday, November 29, 2010

Miracle on CM Allen St

Yes Virginia, there really is a Holy Spirit. This past Sunday was to be our last Sunday as a church body. We are a satellite of a larger church. Yet in true God fashion He came not too early, not too late, but right on time.

Christmas was taking a down turn due to the news of closing our doors. A meeting about our closing the church took place last Tuesday and a letter was sent out Friday for all those who could not attend. It was very sad. The people were in disbelief. I too struggled with what was happening. Although I understood because, like it or not, it takes money to do what we do. It made me think of a story.

Christ was walking in a crowd. He felt power go out from Him and He asked, "Who touched me?" The disciples laughed and basically said, "Jesus, you are in a crowd! Who isn't touching you?" A woman stepped up and explained that she had been bleeding for years. She had spent all her money on doctors and was still sick. She felt if she could just touch the hem of his garment she would be healed, and she was!

One small act created a mighty change in that woman's life. God is the master of doing mighty works through simple acts of obedience. So having a hem mentality is a must have, but as believers in Christ it can't be where we live all the time. We GET TO embrace more! At my church we also have a kingdom building mindset. That just means that we never forget that someone told us about God, and because He has changed our lives we tell others. We are that somebody. When my husband told the folks on Tuesday night that we were closing they asked him to please see if we could have one more opportunity to continue because they see that God is moving. Honestly, to me, it was like throwing a pebble in the water and expecting a tsunami to form... NO WAY! I had neither a hem mentality or a walk on water mentality. I had an Eor mentality.

My husband asked the lead preacher from our main campus for that opportunity. Bil prayed and prayed and (guess what) prayed some more. At 12:59 am Sunday morning my husband got a call, and was told to tell the church we could continue for a while to see how it goes.

My husband Randy stood up Sunday and preached one of the best sermons of his life. He just laid it out there and told our people that we have been given that second chance. We gave out commitment cards. He said today you get a say with your words on that card if you want to continue. But from here on out you will pledge with your heart, and your hands, and your tithe. He didn't say we can't live in a hem mentality. Randy said if the church succeeds it will be because we are obedient to God with everything.

I don't know if the church will make it. But it is great to be a part of these amazing folks lives. It is great to get a second chance. Simply put, the church always rose or fell on what the people did, but now they know it.

Last week I asked you the reader to pray. So thank you. We were given a miracle. This week I ask you to pray again. Pray that God leads this church and we do more than anyone could imagine. If we rise or if we fall God's lesson in all of this will not go unnoticed.

So raise your glass of lemonade and say a toast with me. "Here is to serving God. It is never dull. We learn so much and are blessed in ALL THINGS when we allow Him to be in control. It is often messy, many times joyful, and He always comes right on time."

Can you say you are content in all things?

Philippians 4:12-13 "I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


God is so amazing. This week He used a child's moment in time to sum up my feelings over the heartache of closing our church doors.

I was about to change into my morning clothes Monday. I was in my bathroom and my four year old was with me just talking away. When it came time to change my clothes, I hugged Jeremy and placed him in my bedroom. Now, keep in mind that I am the one locked in the bathroom and Jeremy is in my bedroom with full reign of the home. I stepped back into my bathroom and locked the door. My four year old ran up to the door and started banging on it yelling."Mommy help me! I'm trapped!" I'm in our tiny bathroom, but he was the one trapped in our 2000 square foot home! He went on to protest, "It's scary out here! There are monsters!" Of course being the super hero I am, like Clark Kent I emerged seconds later dressed and I swooped him up in my arms and told Jeremy it would be okay. I said, "Sweetheart, there are no monsters out here. Mommy would never leave you in a place that wasn't safe."

Nine years ago my little family of five came to this town and started a church. The church grew. Randy and I had our son Jeremy in this town. We have seen our four children flourish, and we have been so blessed by the many who have found Christ, and have grown in their faith. We have seen lives changed in our town and even across continents. We have done life with these folks. There have been weddings and funerals, babies, visits in jail, prayer with families on the edge, laughs at each others' homes, and tears in harder moments. Who were we that God blessed us in such a mighty way?

About a year and a half ago God blessed our church. We were asked to become a satellite of a larger church. That was a true blessing because our church grew in more ways than one. There was new a component to our family. It was amazing and like some uncle with exotic tales of Africa, the excitement and the love for reaching more for Christ was only strengthened. I hope you get to have the joy we have felt in this ministry. In just this year and a half of being a satellite we have seen 100's of salvations. We have broken an attendance ceiling, and have seen over 30 baptisms. More folks have come and we have loved being a part of such a great ministry. Becoming a satellite was not a mistake, because of who has come and lives changed.

I have said it before. But welcome to this ain't heaven. And even in the the most heavenly of circumstances, while on earth hard times can happen. The only reason we are having to close is due to our lack of zeros. In short, our tithe did not match our growth. Are you sad? You should be.

The main campus would love to help but they too are suffering from the recession. By the way, since this is my blog please let me lovingly remind you that there is no out clause for not tithing due to the recession. Randy and I have tithed in good times and bad and God has made all those times good. You can never out give God. I was reminded of that when we met with our church last night to tell them we were closing due to lack of funds. A beautiful young college girl shared that she knows about tithing first hand. She doesn't have a job but was given scholarship money. She tithed ten percent of that scholarship knowing she needed every dime. Guess what? God replaced it. In fact He exceeded it. Others shared similar stories.

I don't think it is God's will for this church to close. I don't think it is anymore His will than when the Lord led the Israelite people to the Promised Land and they chose not to go in. Their choices caused a wandering for forty years. It is a hard thing to know you have been blessed to love such wonderful people but that some struggled with their tithes and now the church will close.

Jeremy, my four year old summed up my feelings on this matter at the bathroom door. Like him, I want back inside my church door. I know it there, I love it there, and I do life (good, bad, goofy, amazing) with those people... my church family. I am banging like crazy for God to let us back in. It is scary out here! And where do we go from here? That is what we will seek to answer this Sunday.

There are a few pearls of wisdom in this. You can do everything wrong and you can still see 1000's saved over the course of nine years. God can take a wretch like me and connect me with other wretches that God now calls His princes and princesses and make a family that loves Him. You can make great choices and at the end of the day it turns out that though money wasn't all the preacher talked about; your tithe really did matter. Please pray for my church. I love them and wouldn't trade one moment with those who have passed by and those that have stayed. Pray for them. They are wonderful and they need a place to worship our mighty God.

Malachi 3:10 "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse,that there may be food in my house. "Test me in this," says the Lord Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it..."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Drive Thru Jesus

Oh, if only God were like a Spiritual Mc Donalds. I would order the Happy Life Meal. The kind that comes with a prize, and I would make that prize peace. I would super size my faith, and get a combo add on for anything I felt was needed or lacking. Then I could say "I'm lovin' it" and would mean every word. Thank you Mc Donalds for making that trip through the drive thru enough of a religious experience to warrant such grand dreams on my part. But life isn't always boxed up with the thought of happy being its full time description.

It does make me think that somewhere between prayers, God got my request wrong. He heard me clearly on writing, having four great kids, a loving husband, and wonderful friends. However, in the midst of all that marvelous, God has given me too many lemons in my lemon aid. I will tell you another time what IT is, but IT is somewhere between IT stinks and IT hurts.

Now that I think about it, I am sure He got my order all wrong. I wanted the Praise Jesus with the "no worries" on the side. Perhaps God misunderstood when I told Him to choose the secret sauce that only He knows would spice my life to its full flavor. When He asked if I would be paying or if I would allow His son to pay for my life, I didn't realize that I would sometimes struggle with allowing God to fulfill the order His way.

Frankly, I am too old and too tired to worry. God says it doesn't add a day to your life to worry. It does add wrinkles to your dermotologist wish list. Strip everything off of your life plate, and I hope you find God was carrying that meal all along. The Bible is for us to partake. Instead of it going to our thighs, it goes into our hearts. Life has both great moments and tough times. Do you want to know what gets me through the harder times? First, it is that God has never left me in a tough time. He breeds victory through adversity. The second is that He loves me. Love is the greatest thing we could ever want, and God is 1 Corinthians "Thirteening" my life all over the place. One last reason is that, like God's Word, He too is living and active in my life. Left to my own devices I would have never left my home town as a young person. I would never have had all that God has given me. Not these children, not this husband, and not these friends. Knowing all he has given me just makes me want to pass the drive thru and sit at His table and trust that He has the order of my life just right.

Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prayer Request

Hey everyone, I am taking a few weeks off (this being the second one). Please pray for me. I am knee deep in getting ready to leave for a writer's conference. I need more time and your prayers. Please pray God uses this experience for His glory. Also, please give a prayer for my husband and family too for safety and opportunities.

Much love and see you on the other side of the conference,