Thursday, December 23, 2010

This Christmas...

                                              May there be peace on earth...

                                               May you have the laughter of a child....

                                               May your feet walk steady....

                                               May there be a skip in your step..

  May you have the love of family....

                                              May you notice the little things...

                                                 May you see His splendor...

                                            May you experience His Grace... 

                                                   May you feel His presence...

                                                   May you always remember...

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a savior who is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11

                                                    May this Christmas be filled with His love!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Night of Lights...

Last week we went with some sweet friends of ours to go see Fantasy in Lights in Callaway Gardens.  We loaded up the van and headed out.  I thought the ride there would be filled with the chatter of excited children....needless to say, everyone of them fell asleep and us adults got a nice relaxing ride.  We got there and the kids woke up, and boy they were excited!  We had tickets to ride the trolley through the lights instead of driving our car and there is no other way to do it!  Everyone sings carols and the trolley is open so you can see the lights so much better.  The kids oohed and ahhed and couldn't wait to see their favorite things.  Charlie and Trenton  just wanted to see Jack Frost...they loved the snow...the frog jumping in the pond.  It is really cool and they do such a good job with it.  There are over 8 Million lights displayed...that is a ton of lights!  Here are a few pictures from our adventure!

                                             Charlie and Trenton awaiting Jack Frost....

                                                              Addie was so excited...

This was what I saw of Jesse the whole trip...except for when he saw the Nutcrackers...he hid his face  
from them..."they scur me Mom"!

                                              Me and the "Queens"...she loved it ALL!

My favorite...the big oak tree...

this was the snow section and it was just gorgeous...

Definitely a must see if you live in the Atlanta area!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

25 things...

I was looking at my facebook page this morning and came across a note I wrote over 2 years ago(one of those things that people use to pass around). I almost peed on myself laughing at some of the things I wrote...and since I needed a really good laugh today, I figured someone else might too! It was 25 Random things about yourself...and in the note I said..."you asked for it, you wanted got it". Enjoy my friends...and feel free to laugh at my expense.

1. I tried out for the Lead of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz in the third grade...and got the part of a Lollipop Kid! Go figure...try out for the pretty girl with the red shoes and end up being the dirty kid with the lollipop!

2. The Lion (aka Jonathan) in the play had a crush on me and gave me Diamond(ok QZ) lightning bolt earrings at the wrap party.

3. In the third grade I also decided I was going to play Division 1 Basketball....the same year I decided to play ball, I was lifting weights to show up my older brother and dropped the bar on my front tooth and chipped it. I sure showed him!

4. I use to coon hunt, gig, fish....well you see the pattern...when I was in high school. I was in tight with the redneck boys and loved every minute of it.

5. I once threw myself in the floor when I found out my cat Butterball died. I was 10 and to this day my family still makes fun of me and my drama. Good thing I don't act like that anymore:)

6. My brother Paul was my best friend in high school and we went to every high school dance together...with OTHER people...look people we didn't live in West Virginia!

7. My brother was in a horrific car accident my senior year of high school...I think that was the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life. The memories I have of those days are still so fresh in my mind. It made me realize how fleeting life is. I believe that was when God truly began to work in my life and draw me to him.

8. I scored over 1200 points in high school...they even stopped the game to present me with the game ball...and then we LOST the game to Nelson County!!!!

9. God completely interrupted my life when I was a sophomore at Liberty and saved me at Spiritual Emphasis Week. I had lived the life of a good girl my whole life and God showed me that night that I still needed Jesus. Basketball had been my "god" since the 3rd grade and He saw fit to take me to the place that had been my "god" for so long to show me how much I truly needed a Savior. I prayed to receive Christ on the basketball court that night...the place that had been everything to me....turned out to be the place I gave Everything to Holy God! Praise God for His Grace!

9. I played basketball at Liberty University and won about 10 games the first 3 years....My senior year we had a great crop of freshman come in and we ended up winning our conference and playing in the NCAA tournament for the first time ever.

10. We lost that game....horribly...but what memories!

11. I got to pray at the end of our Big South Championship Game with about 2000 fans in the was so cool because it got really quiet and you could hear me praying all over the Vines Center....God was so good and still is!

12. Out of college I worked at a nursing home as an activities director...yep, I played Bingo and listened to Bluegrass Gospel with the old was such a rewarding job. I loved being there and loving on the residents.

13. I quit my job to stay at home and take care of my MaMa after my PaPa died. One of the most rewarding years of my life. She taught me so much in that short time. I believe to this day that she had a huge part in my Christian Life. She was always praying for me and asking me to go to church...I miss her so much. She went to be with Jesus almost 8 years ago on Valentine's Day.

14. 25. My husband bought me golf clubs for Christmas years ago and I secretly want to get really good at golf and go on the TV show "Big Break". I would love to get really good...hey, I just like spending the time with my man on the course. Seriously the best date ever:)

15. I met my husband on a blind date and pretty much knew that night that I was going to marry him. 3 dates later we talked about "being the one" and how we knew we were going to get married. We were engaged in 5 weeks and married by 6 months. He is the love of my life and the One God chose for me. He is my best friend....and yes I still think he is "Hot Lovin"!

16. I didn't kiss my husband until our Wedding Day! SO glad I waited....but boy it was hard:) Thank God we weren't engaged very long!

17. I am a Pastor's wife and in all of it's craziness...I love it! I love ministering to people, seeing people saved, seeing people grow...just seeing lives transformed by a Holy God! I love teenagers(use to hate them when I first got out of school...hence the old folks) but I love being around them. There is really no place I'd rather be!!

18. I teach Purity to teenage girls and it is truly a passion of mine. I have had the opportunity to teach it in several different places and would love to eventually write a book. God has truly laid this on my heart and I desire to see young girls stay Pure...not just physically, but emotionally!

19. I am a stay at home mom and love it ...LOVE it! I have 4 precious children and would have more if my sanity would allow it...okay who am I kidding....if Ric would allow it. I have no sanity left. I do love my babies and can't believe my oldest is 7!

20. I had to have 4 C-sections and, they will not accidentally let the laser slip and HAVE to preform a tummy tuck during the C-section...I tried to get my Dr's to do it the last 2 times and they laughed at me! How Rude!

21. My kids all have an "e" sound at the end of their names....I know corny right....but it just flows and that is important when you have to yell all their names in order when they are trying to kill one another!

22. My daughter Shelby is not named after a family member or dear friend...Nope, it is from the greatest movie ever..Steel Magnolias! I wanted Truvey and Jackson too but Ric had to draw the line.

23. My MaMa called Ric..."Rex" while we were dating. She had dementia and couldn't always get his name and my family still call him that to this day! The dog in Steel Magnolias was Rex...I'm just saying people!

24. I am truly blessed to be a wife to the greatest man ever and mother to the four greatest kids ever. My family is wonderful and I have the most supportive mom and dad any girl could ever ask for. I love my sister and brother and their families...there are nine grand kids in all. My in-laws are awesome and I love Ric's family...They are such a blessing as well! I have the greatest friends in the world and count it an honor to be able to call them every day numerous times to bug them for no reason at all. Thankfully they answer and if they don't I just leave really long messages:)

25. I love to sing...would seriously trade my van(that is broke down in my driveway) for the ability to sing really good. No really, I would love to be able to REALLY sing!!

I'm crazy blessed...I can't explain it!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You are such a card…

I love this time of the year for several reasons, but one of my favorite things about Christmas is walking down to the mailbox to see who we got Christmas cards from that day(I still love snail mail). I love to display them so that all season long we think about the ones who love us. I have been doing photo Christmas cards for years so that people can see our kids and how much they have grown over the last year. We have to get the perfect photo!! Photo cards aren’t the same anymore…and that’s why I am excited to tell you about the awesome products Shutterfly has for you this Christmas season. You can get awesome cards like this with multiple pictures on them…here are a few of my favorites:

Shutterfly doesn’t just print cards…oh no, they have it all. You can get personalized calendars…what grandparent wouldn’t want to see their sweet grand babies all year long?? Shutterfly also does really great photo mugs…and coming from a coffee drinker…you can never have too many mugs!!

 With gift ideas galore you really should check out Shutterfly. They are always offering special deals and sales and well, as much as I love photography, I could really get in trouble!!

Happy card hunting...from one card to another!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Butter glasses...

We took the kids to see the movie "Tangled" over the Thanksgiving break. We had wanted to go see the regular movie, but soon found out that the only one playing was in 3-D. I have been to one 3-D movie with our kids before and swore I would never go again. Between telling them to keep their glasses on 254 times, getting a headache from wearing them myself, getting scared several times from stuff jumping out at me, and having to turn them in at the end of the movie(even though I paid extra for them)....I swore I would never grace the doors of a 3-D movie again. But alas...I did!

We get our glasses and get comfy while Ric goes to get popcorn...cause seriously, who goes to a movie without the refillable popcorn bucket(ahem...3 times)! Shout out to Pops for spotting us the popcorn! The movie was so stinkin' cute and I was really into it. I am dishing out cups of corn...picking up Jesse's glasses 22 times when I notice that Shelby has her glasses off...I'm like "pssstt..Shelby you have to wear your glasses". She puts the glasses down on her eyes and then two minutes later they are back up. "Shelby...put your glasses can't get the full effect without them on(like she knows what that means)." She slides them back on her little button nose...and then we repeat above actions about 3 more times. Finally she gets up and brings them to me...."Mom...I can not see anything out of these things...they are drivin' me nut's". Finally I just switched with her...gave up my glasses for the "ones you can't see out of!".

I seriously thought she was just having a hard time with them because they are strange to look through...that was until I put her pair on. I slid Shelby's glasses on my nose with a little chuckle under my breath thinking "she is so crazy...can't see out of her glasses", and then I got them up....and lo and behold, I couldn't see out of them. There was so much butter on her lenses that seriously Paula Deen could have used them in a recipe. I was dying laughing and Ric is all "what, what...what are you laughing at??". I proceed to tell him what had just transpired as I took my comfy sweatshirt and wiped those butter laden glasses clean. He giggled and just said "Shelby"".

As the movie wore on I thought about those butter glasses and how there once was a time that I was "vision" was messed up, but God came and interrupted my life. He sought me out and wanted to heal my broken spirit. Man oh I remember the moment that my vision was corrected...I was 19 years old and in the middle of a revival at Liberty. I don't know what was being preached...but I do know that God was drawing me...He had revealed my sinfulness to me...showed me a need for repentance. He wiped my dirty dirty heart, and He made me clean. When I looked up...I could see...praise God...I could see. I knew He had a plan for my life...a purpose and I was running after it.

I am thankful that 16 years later, He still moves in my heart. He still teaches me things(even if it's through butter glasses)...He still loves me. Have you had the butter wiped off of your glasses yet??? If you haven't, I encourage you to let Him help you to see clearly....I promise the "movie" will be way better if you do!!

Mark 8:25 Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for much...

I am sitting at my in-laws house this quiet Thanksgiving morning...I can smell the ham in the oven, I hear the soft breathing of my four kids just steps away, I know that the man I loves thinks I hung the moon...and I am thankful for much!

This year I am thankful for God's grace in my life...for His saving grace, sustaining grace, and His undeserving grace. God has stretched me and showed me so many things this past 6 months and I am so grateful for it. Thankful that He doesn't give up on me when I wanted to live comfortably, when I ignored His word, when I was selfish, when I sinned, when I ignored the poor, when I didn't go...when I failed. If you read my blog, you know I have been through a journey (Radical), and I am so glad I did. My faith has been challenged, encouraged, stretched beyond belief...and I'm thankful for much!

I am thankful for my sweet husband. Yes, the man that I met almost 11 years ago still has my heart today. He still makes me laugh...still makes my heart skip a beat...still loves me in my crazy imperfections. He's a good man...a faithful man...a man of truth and substance...and a man that loves Jesus. I can overlook his strong belief in Big Foot...yep, I can...and I am thankful for much!
I am thankful for my precious kids...for their tender hearts, the way they laugh, the way they love. I love being their mom...when times are tough and when times are just plain good...they are great kids that challenge me daily to be a better person. They are a gift from God and I am so thankful He trusted me enough to raise them. They put my heart in puddles...and I am thankful for much!

I am thankful for my family. I live away from my family, and although it has gotten to be "normal" has never been easy. I miss my sweet sister and her family, my funny brother and his. They have been with me through it all and I love them. Love that even though we are so far apart distance wise, I know in my heart that we are always close at hand. I am thankful for Ric's sweet family and the way that they love us. I never would have thought that I could fit in so well with people that I wasn't "blood related" with...but I do...bless their hearts! What a blessing it is to have family and to feel loved. They rock for reals...and I am thankful for much!

I am thankful for friends and our church family. I am blown away by what great friends we have had placed in our lives. People that have stuck with us through the good times and bad. Friends that we can call on to help feed a guinea help us when our cars mess mow our take our kids when we need a encourage us...give us a shoulder to cry on. Yep, I love my church...and I am thankful for much!

On this day I will remember how God has blessed me. I will acknowledge His hand in my life...and I will be thankful for much!

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your

hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

5 things...Radical Chapter 9

I can't believe it's here...I can't believe I actually stuck with this...and I am sad that it's over, yet excited to see what happens in the next year. Reading this book has brought some many mixed feelings up...feelings of regret, conviction, embarrassment, excitement, expectancy...oh I could go on and on. All through the first 8 chapters, I knew what was coming in Chapter 9. I knew there was a commitment...I knew there were specifics. I have never been the type of person to read the end of the book first, and so I have waited...I didn't even peek. My book is so tattered and worn, but the pages of Chapter 9 are fresh...untouched until this past week. I would hush my mom when she tried to tell me about the commitment. I would tell my friends that I didn't want to know what was in Chapter 9 until it was time for me to get there...and I'm glad I didn't.

Can you imagine if I had just read that last chapter and that was all I did? I would have been like...sure I'll"sacrifice"...go...get involved in my church...big deal. I would never have stuck with any of those things if I had done it that way. But now when I see "pray for the whole world", specifics are brought to mind...4.5 billion specifics and I really do want to pray for them. I want my kids to pray for the world and know that their prayers make a difference. I'm excited to pick different countries and tell the kids who we are praying prayer for us is that we realize that we need to personally be invested in the gospel.

The second dare was to read through the Bible in 1 year. Gulp...I have to admit, I have been a Christian since I was 19 years old and I have never read through the ENTIRE Bible in a year. Sure I read my bible...that's enough right?? I am excited to take this challenge underway....I am ready for the challenge and anticipating God growing me through it. Why would this be part of the Radical Experiment you ask? Platt said "we hold the matchless Word of God in our hands, and it DEMANDS a superior position in our lives, our families, our small groups, and our churches. If you and I are going to penetrate our culture and the cultures of the world with the gospel, we desperately need minds saturated with God's Word." May my mind be saturated...may I hide His word deep in my heart.

The third challenge is to sacrifice you money for a specific purpose. This is one I so saw coming...I mean the whole book has stepped on and broken my toes over sacrificing. I am so grateful that I already know what I will be sacrificing my money for and I can't wait to share it with all of you...I am literally busting at the seams(and not because I am eating chips and salsa at 11:00 at night) to tell people, but I have to wait for the right time. So I know where my money will where to take that money from. I am horribly convicted over the money we spend in eating out and unnecessary trips to the grocery store...I know that through planning and using coupons I can cut our budget in more than half in that are, but those things take discipline and that is something I am short on sometimes. Not's now a's a commitment and to me that is binding so I will strive to sacrifice in that. We are looking to cut back on many other things in our lives just to be able to give together. We want to sell this house that looms over my shoulders now....Lord willing we will get to that point as well. This challenge makes me crazy nervous...if I'm being real and all. Lord help me to sacrifice.

The fourth challenge is to spend our time in another context. Well...I kinda know where this one is going too and I am beyond excited for it....I mean beyond! But above that, we, as a family are going to do one mission trip every summer so that our kids lives aren't eat up with free for all vacations, but teaching them to minister to others. I am praying that God will specifically lay a ministry on our hearts that we can get involved in and really invest our lives in.

The fifth challenge is to commit my life to a multiplying church. Some could say that I have this one in the bag since I am married to the ministry per say...but I believe it goes so much more deeper than just having our names on the role. If I am to encourage my church body to live radically, then I have to live a radical life out in front of them. I have to be involved because I want to, not just because I am expected to. I want to take that extra time to pray with people...encourage on folk! I won't lie...ministry is tough and sometimes I feel like the church gets more of my husband than I do. Sometimes I feel like it sucks the life out of us...and that my friends is what happens when you minister in the flesh. May I throw all that aside and just minister for Christ's sake, because really, it's not about me or my wants at all! May my precious church in Georgia get on board with this Radical Experiment...I can't wait to see what God does in spite of us!

It's been a great ride these last 9 that I am glad doesn't end just because the book did. May God be please with my life! This next year I will commit. To God be the Glory!!

I'm joining in the Radical Read Along over at Come on over...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Somewhat life long dreams fulfilled...

This past weekend we had our youth group come out to our 4 acres out in the country and have a good ol' bonfire and several (vicious) games of capture the flag. Yes it was tough terrain to be playing said game on...yes there were several injuries(including my husband and our pastor)...and yes, a good time was had by all!

I had walked up to the house to check on all of the littles (youth workers kids) that were in the midst of a serious game of hide and seek too...there were no lights on in the house! When I cam back out I almost got choked up....I looked at the big bonfire blazing in the night sky and could see the shadows of more than 50 teenagers singing to Jesus. When we built our house....this was our dream, our vision. We wanted to open our home to folk...and make it place that would honor God and it was so neat to finally truly see that!

The kids played...fell down the hills...ran into trees(along with my good buddy Heather)...many flags were captured...then taken back...and I got to wear a flash light on my head. It was a good night that only got better.

My husband believes in Big Foot...yes, you heard me right. It has kind of become the resident joke around our youth group and even in the church that Ric thinks Big Foot is for the point that my oldest daughter even made the statement to him several weeks ago when he told her the tooth fairy was not real "so you're telling me that you don't think the tooth fairy is real, but you think Big Foot is??". So I got an idea...just one to make my husband laugh. I decided to rent a Big Foot costume and have our 6 foot 5 inch friend Scott run across my backyard in it. We(the few of us who knew about Operation Big Foot) were dying to see Ric's reaction...and we were hoping to scare a few kids in return. The only one who got really scared was my 2 year old Jesse(who is still talking about it) and one of our teenage boys...whom you could have heard screaming in Alabama...ahem...Tyler Shaw!

Ric was surprised...laughed really hard...tried to figure out who the Sasquatch was...and then they sat down and had a coke together. It was a great night!! One that was filled with fun...a little bit of mischief...Jesus...and some crazy teenagers! I love being a youth pastor's wife...can you tell??

What were the life long dreams you ask??? Mine was getting to wear a head light(seriously I have wanted to do it forever and my husband surprised me with one that night)...Ric's was to have a legitimate sighting of Big Foot(although it wasn't really legit) have our home filled with teenagers and friends...praising the Lord! What a great night of fulfillment!

My house was trashed...carpet now needs to be replaced...yard looked like Samford and Sons...but boy was it fun!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worth the Risk…Radical Chapter 8

I sit here tonight writing this post with my four sweet babes tucked into their own beds. Chris Tomlin is softly playing in my youngest son's room…"where the spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty" can be heard all the way down here where I sit on my super comfortable couch. I'm on my laptop while my husband works on our other computer…and both of our iPhones are close at hand. I fixed a great supper for my family and some of our friends tonight…we had family worship and jammed out to some Shai Linne and Kim Walker…and then we went over the study we are doing through Luke(awesome Study that Mark Driscoll has done). We have a good life…a real good life…I can't complain, nope not one bit. And then I read Chapter 8…

When I was in college I read Elizabeth Elliot's book "Passion for Purity". Her story was riveting…it drew me in like no other book (other than God's word) had. I began to read everything I could come across that had anything remotely to do with Jim Elliot or Elizabeth. I wanted to risk it all…just like they did. I imagined a life in the jungle…one where I would scoop up my babies out of the dirt and lay them down in our hut to go to bed. I wanted to live the life of a missionary….one who denies themselves and gives all they have to further the Gospel. But now…now I live the life that I described above…a good life…but a life far from the one I imagine as a young college girl. The question that Platt asks towards the beginning of the chapter "do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?"…and that question stuck with me for the next 20 pages. Is it worth the risk?

If I wanted to be all spiritual in front of you few that read this, I would say "sure, whatever happens is worth the risk…just to follow Him", but I would be remiss in saying that. If I'm being honest, I think about those four sweet babes tucked in their beds upstairs and my wonderful husband in the next room, and I don't want to risk them. I don't want anything to happen to my family…it hurts my heart to even think about it. I am a mom, and by my nature I want to protect them at any length possible…when deep down I truly know that I have very little (ok absolutely nothing) to do with them being protected. I know God is in control, and then I read about how he has called us into danger. Our society would say that a loving God would never put His children in harm's way….well I beg to differ. Y.E.S. He would. As I read through this section of the book where Platt talked about how we are sheep sent out among wolves, my eyes were opened big time. Why would Jesus send His sheep into a pack of wolves? Why would He send us amongst evil…vicious people, and that be His design? To further the gospel. I read example after example of men and women being killed on the mission field…giving up their lives to just share with a people group that had never heard. It was worth the risk for them. We like to think of God's will as a comfortable place…and if there is no conflict…no tragedy…no cost…no problems, then it's for sure God's will…right? No…just the opposite…there will be conflict…tragedy…we may pay dearly…there will be road blocks, because He told us there would be. Sheep among wolves isn't safe…nope, not at all…so why do we expect our Christian life to be?

I liked to be liked. I want people that I am around to like who I am…I surely don't want someone to dislike me. Hold the phone people…I'm about to drop a bomb…the bible says we will be hated…disliked…people will stab us in the back…mock us, if we become like Jesus. We will be hated because He himself was hated. I loved the quote on page167 "to everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable, life free from danger, stay away from Jesus". It's so true when I read this, and then I think…am I hated…uncomfortable…troubled…in danger?? No…No…No…and No. Hmm…well let's see what conclusion I came up with. It seems to be that I am not enough like Jesus, because if I was then those things would be prevalent in my life. Why am I not hated? Do I conform to the people around me? Why am I not in danger? These are all questions I have been wrestling with…studying through…figuring out. Lord, help me to wade through these waters and examine my life for what it is.

"Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all things. But in the end, such risks find it's reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us."

I am taking steps, yes, I really am. I am letting go of some fears…my husband will board a plane in the next year to a place that scares me…to do something that I believe God laid on my heart years ago…and I know…it's worth the risk!

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

I'm joining in the Radical Read Along over at Come on over...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We are His plan…Radical Chapter 7

I can't believe we are already on Chapter 7 of our Radical journey. As I ventured into this chapter, I wasn't sure what to think. I have been warned about other chapters…wrestled through my feelings about things that Platt has brought to light and fought through wanting to throw this book across the room at times or bury my head in the sand. This chapter was different for me to start off with. I agree with everything Platt said and these are truths that I have learned for years, so there was no wrestling with what he wrote per say…but it brought to light some critical things for me.

The question posed in this chapter is what happens to someone who dies never having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some people believe that we will all be in heaven…some believe that those who don't ever hear the gospel will just "get to go in"….this chapter breaks down the truth behind the scriptures so clearly…and it reveals that yes..Hell is real, that real people will go to this real place, and that we are His plan…and there is no plan b.

We struggle to believe that a loving God would send people to hell, but if we are being fair…that's what we all deserve. You see we fail to see that we are all evil…that we deserve God's wrath and that it is only by His grace that He holds that wrath at bay. God is loving, but He is just. We all know of God…we all reject God…we are all guilty before Him…we are condemned if we reject Him…God has made a way of salvation…people can't come to God apart from faith in Christ…and the last truth is that Christ's church is commanded to take the gospel to all people. That's where I want to sit for a bit.

As I read this chapter and heard about the 4.6 billion people that have NEVER heard the gospel of Christ and that it is our job to take the gospel to them. I loved the verse in Romans 10 where Paul quoted a verse from the book of Joel:

"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 who they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?"

God sends His servants ->His servants preach->People Hear->Hearers Believe->Believers call->Everyone who calls is saved….that's the simple plan of taking the gospel to those 4.6 billion people and the only way that plan gets messed up is at the beginning…when servants of God don't preach the gospel to all peoples. We are the plan of God…and there is no plan B. So what do I do with that? This is God's will for me…bottom line, to share the gospel. I sat there and thought about how blessed we are…why are we (people here in America…affluent countries) the ones who hold the Truth in our hands? And if we are the ones that hold this truth in our hands…why are we wasting our time on this American Dream? Why am I concerned with the things I am. People are lost and dying…going to hell never hearing the name of Jesus…because I won't go. Because you won't go.

I loved the story Platt told about the man who went to minister to a group of people that were completely unreached…unengaged. They were kind to him and invited him in to have a drink. The man went into his shop and got a drink and came out with a classic red Coke can. It hit him immediately that a soft drink company here in Atlanta had done a better job getting brown sugar water to those unreached people than the church of Jesus Christ has done in getting the gospel to them. 4.6 billion…an astounding number. May I never forget that I am His plan….here am I…send me!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Radical Chapter 6…I was warned...

I was warned. Everyone I know that has read Radical warned me about chapter 6. When folks hear that I am reading and doing a study on the book they ask me if I have gotten to chapter 6 yet. Well I got there…thanks for the warning! I am kinda kicking myself this morning. I wrote a post last week about my sweet son and how he literally lived this very chapter…you know Chapter 6…out right in front of my very eyes. Go read it here…I promise this 9 year old boy will bless you with his "radical" decision. I knew that God wanted me to write that post last week…and it could be really easy to just repost that post and be done with it, but I know that would just be me taking the easy way out. Obviously God still has something for me to learn from this.

I must admit I have been sorta blind. Not completely, because there are times that things would pop up and I would struggle with all that we had, and how so many others had nothing. My concern for the poor really began to come out when my kids started school. You see, our kids go to a Title 1 school…which is basically a school with a large population of low income students. My kids saw other students that got food on Friday's to take home with them, because that was all the food they would get. We saw kids that had very little clothing…and it has broken my kids hearts…broken mine. But as a whole, I've been blind. We have nice stuff…we have lived the "American dream"…have our dream home…have computers, TV's, iPhone's, game systems, furniture, décor galore(I love to decorate), we have far more than we need. We are givers though. We give to our church…to people within our church…to people struggling outside of our church(there is a man down on his luck driving one of our vehicles as we speak…and yes I even struggled with that) …but yet, it still isn't enough and I can't bank on that giving to say I am living biblically. How much is enough?

This whole chapter said one thing to me…give. Give my money…give my time…my resources…my comfort…my possessions, so that I could give to the poor the way God CALLED me to. It isn't an option…I'm called. I can sit here and say that I'm all radical with our spending…with our money. I want to be, but I'm not there yet. I think that is my biggest inner struggle right now. I go back and forth…I one day think it's wrong to spend money on x,y, or z, and then the next day am rationalizing x,y, and z. So it's a process for me…but one that I am willing to take.

I loved the quote that Platt said about learning from John Wesley's life in that "our perspective on our possessions radically changes when we open our eyes to the needs of the world around us. When we have the courage to look in the faces of brothers and sisters whose bodies are malnourished and whose brains are deformed because they have no food, Christ will change our desires, and we will long to sacrifice our resources for the glory of his name among them". I guess that is where I am…I'm ready to sacrifice…sell it all to see His name get glory among the lost…the poor. God has truly taken those blinders off of my eyes…through his Word…through this book…through my little boy. We (meaning my family) can adjust our lifestyle for the sake of the gospel…it may not be "easy" (isn't that sad that I typed that…really…giving up unnecessary things is not easy while 26,000 kids will die today from starvation..I am ashamed...God forgive me for materialistic mindset), but it can be done. Can you adjust yours? Can we as a body of believers see the need…hear the scriptures and give?

No warning could have prepared me for the way I feel…right now. Right now as I type on this keyboard I have tears coming down my cheeks. I wanna change…I really do…God help me to live so radically that others would reap the reward of my radical living. I know one thing…I can't do it on my own strength…only through His.

I’m joining in the Radical Read Along over at Come on over...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tiny Truth’s Thursday…$80 dollars and a bottle of water

I have hesitated writing this post. There are several things that go through my mind about why not to write this post, but I believe God wants me to write it…so I write. Please know this isn't written to boast on my son, my parenting skills (cause trust me…my skills struggle daily), or any person. In 1 Corinthians 1:31 the Word says, "So that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." This is to boast in the Lord and how He worked in my little boy's heart a few weeks ago.

Charlie had his birthday at the beginning of September and one of his gifts was a gift card from my folks. He had gotten $100 Visa gift card and he thought he was hot stuff. He had never really had money before…much less on a "credit card"…much less $100!! He was stoked to say the least and his beloved gift card was pinned to our calendar in the kitchen for weeks...he was saving it for just the right thing. Fast forward to Shelby's birthday at the beginning of October, and we are at the mall for Shelby's party and Charlie had brought his gift card to go to Game Stop and buy a new game. He stood for a long time eyeing the Xbox's and asking how much they were. He shopped for ever before he finally picked out his game and bought it. He brought me his card to hold onto for him and we went on our way. He talked of saving his money up to get an Xbox…to buy new shoes…stuff for his room.

Fast forward again to two Sunday's ago. We get home from church and are at the table eating our lunch and he says to me this "I gave my $80 to Living Water. Did you know there are kids that have no water Mom? I'm gonna give them my $80 so they can have water…I have water everyday…I don't need my $80" I sat there and said to him "what made you do that Charlie?"...he said "I just felt like in my heart that was what I was supposed to do". Ric went on to explain how the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and guides us…and I cried. Not a big weepy cry, but tears were just brimming on my eye lids. He looked at me all concerned and said "mom, why are you so sad?" I told him it was a good kinda cry…the kind of cry that you do when you are overwhelmed with God and how awesome He is. I told Charlie I was proud of him…because if we are gonna be honest, and that's what I strive to do, Charlie is materialistic (and he has gotten it honest). We have created that in him…he wants all the time…he sees stuff other kids have and he asks to get it. He is always wanting the next new game system (even though he knows we won't buy it…seriously who needs a Playstation 3, Xbox, Wii, Psp). We have the Playstation 2 that I bought for Ric our 2nd Christmas and we won a Wii several years back so really??? Another one? We have been reading Radical and trying to put things into perspective in our lives about what we truly need. We have talked to the kids about downsizing…giving things away…supporting missions so that we can break the cycle of materialism. Sadly to say my first thought when I heard about his $80 was…what, you are giving your money away...all of it…you've never even had money…but God stapled my mouth shut long enough to wack me over the head so that my flesh wouldn't speak. Maybe the tears in my eyes were for my own materialism and conviction over that…for wanting to hold on to something that's not even mine in the first place…'cause in reality nothing I have is mine in the first place. But God used my little boy that afternoon…in a big way.

He showed me that the best thing about money is giving it away…the joy that it brought him was immeasurable. He knew he was helping someone in need and that blessed him. As God is shaping me…and stripping me of my selfishness and materialism…He used my 9 year old little boy to remind me, once again, what it truly is all about. In Matthew 19:21 we are told this: "Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." He could have held onto that $80 and been just like the rich young man whom the above scripture was said to. You see, that rich young man walked away from Jesus because he didn't want to give up all his riches. But Charlie lived this scripture before my eyes…he didn't have to sell anything, but he gave ALL he had…to the poor. Would I be willing to do that? Would you?

Last Sunday he took a check to his children's ministry leaders and turned in everything he had. He got some bottled water as a visual of how he helped those kids. Evidently that $80 will give 40 kids drinking water for a year…a year. $ 80 may not seem like much to some, but to 40 kids in poverty stricken areas in Africa, India, or anywhere else they dig wells…it's a whole lot. He was so excited to give his money…may I be just as excited to sacrifice "my money" and time to help those in need. May I be willing to give all I have for a bottle of water…and for the opportunity to see God do big things in the world around us.

Tiny Truth's for this Thursday~

- Having two birthday's within one month is nuts

- That Charlie takes forever to shop for a new game

- That my son was broken over kids in need of water…and we should be too

- That God calls us to give to the poor…that is one way we follow Him

- That $80 buys a whole lot of water

- That I have so far to go in my spiritual life…God continue to strip away my selfishness so that I can be used by you

This song is one of Charlie's favorites to sing during our family worship talks about our soul making it's boast in the Lord, so I though I'd share it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Three words…


Three words resonate through this 5th chapter of Radical…three words that could change the face of the earth as we know it…three words that Jesus Christ himself taught…three words that we say over and over at our churches. We know these three words…but are we doing it? Are we living out Christ's plan…His mega strategy…His will?

These three words are simple enough. It doesn't take a biblical scholar to understand them…yet it takes a person willing to live Jesus in front of the world. Go…baptize…teach. Three words.

GO… Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. We hear about a young man in the beginning of the chapter named Bullen who lived in Sudan and was living out the Gospel. He said he was going to "impact the world". He was a young man living in a poverty stricken land and just knew he was going to impact the world and make disciples of all nations. When Platt questioned him about this ambition, his answer was an easy "why not". I loved his answer and his heart. Platt says that "regardless of what country we live in, what skills we possess, what kind of education we have, or what kind of salary we make, Jesus has commanded each of us to make disciples, and this is the means by which we will impact the world." Jesus had the task of taking the gospel to the world; he went around Israel looking for a few men…not the masses…a few men. I think this next quote is my favorite from the chapter "All he wanted was a few men who would think as he did, love as he did, see as he did, teach as he did, and serve as he did. All he needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world."

He trusted these men, at least 11 of them, He spoke of them…loved them….spent more time with them than anyone else…He instructs them in what He wants them to do …go, baptize, and teach. You see the scripture is clear that not only do we go, but we make disciples of them. That is what He did with them. He walked with them and taught them along the way. He knew the process would take time, but that it would impact the world. I pray that I would be obedient and just go. That I would share His love with people around me and that I would make disciples. That I would walk beside them…teach them how to study His word…how to pray…and that I would build a relationship with them.

BAPTIZE…I love to watch baptism's. I have had the honor of watching my husband baptize more folk than I can count and somehow I have never gotten over what a beautiful display it is. We see this person who has been changed by a Holy God, outwardly displaying the new life that has taken place in them. My favorite part of the service is when Ric brings them up out of the water, and his words are "raised to walk in the newness of life"…and you can literally see that on their faces. They are new…clean…healed and their faces are screaming it. I love how baptism identifies us with one another in the body of Christ…people from all walks of life bound together through the blood of Christ. This part of Jesus' call on our lives was important enough for Him to mention…I pray that we would never get tired and weary of going, and that we would begin to look at the faces that pass through the baptismal pool that have been made new…and that we would never get over it.

TEACHING… This one could be so easy for me to say…"Oh yeah, I got that one in the bag…I teach Sunday school…CHECK!", but wow did God kick me in the gut over this one. I teach every Sunday morning…I do small groups on Sunday nights…I have taught purity classes…and yet am I taking the time one on one with people to truly teach them? I pray that my focus would go from just teaching my classes to teaching individuals. Taking time to teach a new believer how to study…pray…walk with Christ. The part where Platt mentioned how teaching in this manor will keep us accountable…how when we take responsibility in helping others grow, than we will inadvertently grow in our own relationship with Jesus. We are doing accountability groups with our teens and I have to answer the same questions they do…and trust me, it keeps me accountable and I am growing! I pray I would start to focus on not mass production…but quality production.

As I taught my Sunday school class this past week we talked about doing hard things. We talked about being known more for what you do than what you don't do. Platt shares this at the end of the chapter and hearing it twice in one week assures me that I needed this. I feel I have always been known for what I don't do…"Oh Genie, she doesn't do this…and she won't do that…and she won't go there or partake in this." Do people know me for the things I do? I want to leave that mindset of disinfection and being good and move into what we do now…"propelling Christians into the world to risk their lives for the sake of others". I want to impact people's lives and for people to see Christ in my life...not what I don't do.

Why not? I can make a difference…you can make a difference…we can…because of what He did for us and because He showed us how to. Three words to live by…three words to die by…Go, baptize, and teach. May I never forget it…

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This ain't no jive...Shelby is five...

Five years ago today my sweet Shelby Jean was brought into this world...and the world hasn't been the same since!!!

Sweet Shelby Jean is a ray and a light...

A force to be reckoned with...

A light in this ever so dark world...

An outspoken child...about all things...and I mean all...

A child that is incredibly spiritually minded for a 5 year old...

A friend to the masses...and she has a way with the older generation I tell ya...

A lover of life and all things grand...

A gift...

A blessing...

Oh I love this 3rd child of mine...

I thank the Lord for your life...

and for what a difference it's made in mine!

Happy 5th Birthday Queenie!

Psalms 127:3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.