Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm going to jail...

I went to jail last Sunday night to do ministry with a lady, Charlotte, from my church.  She goes a couple times a month to the local jail and teaches them the Word.  I told the Recovery Prison Ministry leader, Arlene, that I would go; she set me up with training and got me going.  She said I could just observe the first time.  On Sunday morning she told me she'd like me to sing, I said 'of course'.  I'm not gonna lie, I was a little nervous...this is way outside my comfort zone and I'm not good with women relationships as it is.  But it was a great experience and I will go back.

We did three sessions with three different pods (groups of ladies), 34 total ladies.  The first group came in and I immediately recognized a young lady, she is probably still a teenager, I remembered her from a couple of youth events held at my church.  I talked to her briefly afterward (we don't get much one-on-one time) and told her I recognized her, she said the same of me and said she would come to church when she got out.  I don't know if she will but I'd like to see her and talk to her again, hopefully on the outside.  I saw women of all ages, the older ladies kind of surprised me, they seemed less engaged than the younger girls...maybe that's because this has been a cycle in their lives for a long time, I'm really not sure.  We don't ask what they're in for, we just show and tell them that Jesus loves them and has a plan for their lives.  Some of them really want change in their lives, one girl asked how to stop going down the same road again once she gets out, she said she will do good for a while and then fall right back into her addiction.  Only Jesus.  Only Jesus can help her get out of this pit of addiction and sin.  That's the same for all of us, He is our only hope, our Redeemer, our Savior.

Some asked questions...of various kinds to which Charlotte would turn to me and say "Christy? You wanna take that?"  It cracked me up and I would try to answer them the best I could, they had questions about mercy and grace, and questions about where we are in Revelation or where would we be if we were on the ark?  Still not sure what she was talking about but it didn't matter.  What mattered was that we showed them we cared about them, we told them about Christ, and how they can have hope.  What a blessing and a privilege to share the Word of God and hope of Jesus with these women.

Recovery Prison Ministries - Dedicated to setting the captives free.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

There Was a Snake in the Church?

It was late afternoon, everyone else had gone home.  I had just finished adding some new announcement slides in the sound booth for Sunday morning's service and there he was...at the bottom of the stairs...a snake.  He had his head reared and was staring right at me with those beady little eyes. 

I wasn't sure what kind of snake he was so I snapped a picture with my phone and retreated to the stairs on the other side of the booth and went to my office to do some research.  I googled snakes in Missouri and found that he was an innocent Midland Brown Snake, harmless to humans but not so much for slugs, etc.  I went to the kitchen and found a small bucket (a container slightly larger than a butter tub and put it over the top of him.  I texted the picture to the worship pastor since we would be having practice in a couple of hours.  He wasn't to enthused...his exact words were "please get rid of it".

This amused me a little, a couple of years ago there was a teeny tiny snake in the hall heading towards the furnace closet and our senior pastor stepped on him and called for me to come get this snake!  I wasn't too keen on picking up a snake but thought I was going to be tough and get rid of the big mean snake for the sake of my pastor.  The snake looked more like a big night crawler but I took him outside and let him go.

Now here was a similar situation except that I had discovered the snake and knew I could take care of him if I needed to.  I left and ran some errands and returned just before the worship pastor arrived.  The drummer had come early to practice, I told him about the coldhearted beast and he went to check him out.  Much to my surprise, he didn't want to have anything to do with him either.  I just haven't experienced this much since my husband will pick up almost anything and put almost any creature in his mouth...he is the opposite extreme which is an entirely different problem.

Needless to say, the worship pastor did not appreciate the fact that the snake was still around.  I got a couple pieces of paper and the drummer and I worked together to slide the container onto the paper so I could pick him up (I'm still not thrilled about touching them).  We flipped him over and he was now securely?...in the tub.  And I just couldn't help myself...I chased the worship pastor with the tub o' snake.  He ran and called me a jerk which made me laugh even harder.  I relented, took him outside to the grass and let him go.

I proceeded to tell another vocalist about the incident and the only thing he said (repeatedly) was "there was a snake in the church?"

Really...this snake was only 9 or 10 inches long at most.  He was tiny.  At the end of the night I did tell the worship pastor that I put it in his car but then said I was kidding...he wasn't so sure and I imagine that was a difficult drive home for him.


Friday, October 10, 2014

My Baby is 18...and a Superhero

Cameron turned 18 years old on Monday, October 6.  This kid, he is really a remarkable young man.  I am so proud of who he is and who he is becoming, I know God has some amazing things in store for him, he has a beautiful, kind, compassionate heart.  And...he's a superhero.  He loves Superman...I don't know if it's because he wants to be superman, wants to fly?  Wednesday for spirit week he is was superman/clark kent all rolled into one. 

I love that he is so fun and not too cool to have fun.  He doesn't want to party like most kids his age, he loves working with kids with special needs, and he is serious about his purity.  He gives me hugs and tells me he loves me...and will even say it first.  He sings loud and proud in the shower, this morning it was his all state choir tryout piece.  He loves the song "Aint No Mountain High Enough" and other oldies which crack me up.  He is a special person.  Don't get me wrong, he isn't perfect but he is a gift from God and I am so thankful and proud to be his mama.  Today as he was leaving the house for school I asked him to let me take his picture (he told me he was taking all his pics all week without smiling).
He opened the door and it was pouring down rain.  He asked if we had an umbrella and I said no :(  He said "it's ok...I'll use my cape!"  He flung it over his head and away he went.
He is a standout in a crowd (LHS choir singing the National Anthem)


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Paralyzing Fear

Fear of making the wrong decision shouldn't strip the faith right out of our faith.  The only way our faith will ever strengthen is for us to use it. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

1. Trusting in God by placing my desire under His authority.
2. Analyzing the decision.
3. Making the decision.
4. Owning the decision.
5. Trusting God to work good even from the not-so-good parts.

We steer where we stare.

When I stare at failure, I'll fear it.  I'll convince myself it's the worst thing that could happen.  And I'll stay stuck.  But when I stare at all the possible ways God can use this whether I succeed or fail, I'll face my decision.  I'll convince myself that it's better to step out and find out then to stay stuck.

Fear can paralyze us and keep us from doing what God is calling us to do.  For a long time I was a 'go with the flow' girl, never taking a risk, just falling in line, which isn't always a bad thing but last year I took a risk and made a decision to step out in faith and trust God to lead me on a fantastic journey.  God had a lot in store for me that I would have missed had I not let go of that fear.  God opened so many doors following that decision that I was simply in awe and so grateful.  If I hadn't stepped out boldly and grabbed that decision/opportunity by the horns, I would have missed out on God's best yes for me.

It's so important to take our decisions to the Lord and trusting Him with them.  He always confirms what we should or shouldn't do in His Word.  Stop overanalyzing, stop being fearful of what could or couldn't happen.  God is faithful and in control, that should give us comfort and boldness!


(italics The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chase Down That Decision

Proverbs 27:12 "The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it."

Today's choices become tomorrow's consequences.


Our decisions aren't just isolated choices.  Our decisions point our lives in the directions we're about to head.  Show me a decision and I'll show you a direction.

We, you and me, often are ruled by our emotions or feelings.  We don't consider the cost of making even the smallest choice or decision.  Sometimes I will decide to "help" with something and later regret that choice because it either takes me away from my family or takes me away from something else I should be doing.  But other times we make emotion decisions.  I count myself pretty level-headed and calm in tough situations and am not one to do something rash, but there are times when my emotions are running unusually high and I will say or do something I might not normally do.  It is so important to not be ruled by your emotions.  It's really a selfish way to live.  It means we are only caring or looking at how something affects us.  The closer I am to Christ and grow in Him, the better at controlling my emotions I become.

Chasing down our decisions will help us stop and think about the consequences those decisions will have on us and the ones we love.

Check out Lysa's "Chasing Down That Decision" tool at theBestYes.com


(in italics The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sarcastic or Rude?

Tell me about myself...how do you perceive me?  I really want to know because I'm not quite sure myself.  I wrote that post last week about 10 things you may not know about me but is that how I see myself or how others see me?  I really have no idea.  It's kind of troubling or maybe I'm just trying to ignore the fact that I may not be as lovely as I ought to be.  I'm not looking for accolades here...I'm just very curious.  This curiosity just hit me a little more fuller in the face, I cooked a meal for 100 college students and took a few ladies with me to serve it to them (this was really outside of my comfort range but alas...) anyway, I was in a somewhat happy-go-lucky mood and the Baptist Student Union leader said, "I don't know how to take you".  Ok....a while back I was helping with a wedding reception and another woman helping said, "I don't know if you're being sarcastic or rude".  Whoa, that one hurt!  I wasn't offended by her, I was just really convicted.  Did I change my ways?  Probably, God does that to His children, molds them to be more like Him to which I'm very thankful.  Maybe I have a split personality, sometimes I'm quiet...aren't I?


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

God's Word, Ways, and Wonder

Right away I found myself in the first few paragraphs of this chapter.  A conflict in my innermost being regarding a decision that had to be made, saying yes meant a lot of emotional stress or added time doing such and such or more time away from my family but saying no to me made me feel like a failure.  I'm a Christian so I should just say yes to almost any request, right?  There have been so many times when I felt I should say no but felt I was expected to say yes.

28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Luke 14:28-30

Things to consider when making a decision.

Whenever there is a conflict seek clarity from God.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

God's Word addresses my approach - physically, financially, spiritually, emotionally.  The Word of God instructs the approach we should have to life.  A good approach to something requires enough resources to handle the demands of the activity.  While the task itself may be honoring to God, my approach in one or more of these areas may not be.

17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Whatever I do.
In word or deed.
My approach must honor Jesus.

If someone or something demands my attention and I don't have the physical, financial, spiritual, or emotional space to handle them, my actions will betray my intentions.  A no answer doesn't make you a bad person.  It makes you the wrong person for that assignment.

Love - "God is love." 1 John 4:8

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

If we say yes to anything without love, then it is not godly.

The ways of God insist on an attitude of love

Whatever attitude we bring into a situation will be multiplied.  Think about that, I can recall times where I have been cranky about "being made to" do something I really didn't want to or feel that I should be doing it and my attitude of crankiness or bitterness became worse as the assignment or task drew near.

My attitude of love must trump my activity.  We aren't the master provider, He is.

Isaiah 33:16-17 16 he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. 17 Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar."

The Word of God addresses my approach.  The ways of God address my attitude.  The wonder of God provides my assurance.

Ultimately, God is in control.  He knows far better than we do what we should be doing, He knows our best yes.

Discovering our best yes isn't about saying no to anything that feels uncomfortable.  Or stretching.  Or even beyond our abilities to resource.  This isn't about an excuse not to step out in faith.  There is a time and a place to say yes.  It's about learning to say yes to those things that are truly meant to be our assignments.

Part of my job is to ask people to do things, to get volunteers for this and that but sometimes I feel like (or tell myself) that it would be easier to just do it myself which sometimes turns into me sitting in a puddle of tears, overwhelmed, exhausted, and alone.  My hope is that I will listen to God's voice and have discernment about my assignments, that everything I say yes to will be out of love and obedience to my King.  That I will bring Him honor and glory with anything yes or any no and that I will have an attitude of love.

He is worthy and deserves my best yes.

(in italics - The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst)


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