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 www.MarlaTaviano.com. 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 time...it 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.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Radical Chapter 4:

11 years ago I felt "called" to foreign missions. I had gone on a short trip to Spain and I was a member of a church that oozed the mission mindset. You couldn't walk down the halls of our church without seeing pictures of all the missionaries that had been sent from our church. We prayed for missionaries that had been in captivity in Cambodia for years...we had missions conferences...our pastor called us during a Sunday morning service from a secret church in China. They got it and I wanted to be part of it. When I didn't get to go after college it was still in my heart to serve full time. Then I married my husband who was in full time ministry and I kinda chalked up my burden for lost souls around the world to God preparing me for ministry. And then checked off my responsibility to take the gospel to all the nations because "I'm ministering to teenagers...so that's enough". We sent money to the convention to help with missions...we never took an overseas mission trip(not once)...we just let "others" do it for us...and now my heart breaks for what I missed out on the last 10 years. And I realize that since I have been saved by His grace I am called...period!

Platt talks about how we created for two purposes: We were created by God to enjoy His grace and to extend His glory to the ends of the earth. All through the Bible we see times where God would bless His people so that His salvation would be made known among all people. Am I fulfilling my creator's purpose? Am I using the blessings I have been given so that I can make Him known...or am I ignoring His purpose? I have lived in a "me" centered Gospel for years. We think we are the end of the Gospel..."God loves ME"...but it truly is that "God loves me so that I might make Him-His ways, His salvation, His glory, and his greatness known among all nations". I know and believe that God loves me, but what have I done with that? Kept it centered on me or pointed it back to Him? This next quote broke me...

"It's a foundational truth: God creates, blesses, and saves each of us for a radically global purpose. But if we are not careful, we will be tempted to make exceptions. And in the process we will find ourselves settling for lesser plans that the culture around us-and even the church around us-deems more admirable, more manageable, more comfortable."

I have settled for the American Dream in the past years, and yet all of a sudden God is so working in my heart to shed that dream and just do His will. I have lived a life that is admirable, manageable, and comfortable...and it ain't all it's cracked up to be!

I have said of late that I had a mission field in my backyard. I live in a small town...one that is need of Christ...but yet, what I am I doing about it? My kids come home from school talking about kids that have no food on the weekends...that wear the same clothes most days...kids that have parents in jail...and my heart breaks and I pray for them...but what am I D.O.I.N.G.???? My hearts longs to minister to those hurting in poverty stricken countries...to unreached nations...and I agree with Platt, that we have been called to extend His glory not just to areas of need here but to areas of need around the world. Not EITHER here or there, but BOTH here and there. I am in debt to the nations....I owe Christ to the world because He owns me.

Will I be willing to step out of my comfort zone and be radical? Will it matter to me if others think I have lost my mind? If people don't like me? I shared with my bible study the other night that "our radical" isn't really all that radical...it should be the norm. It should be the way we as Christians live daily. I want to impact the world and through doing that impact my kids, so that they can live radical Christian lives... so that their kids can..and so that the nations would know Him! Just 'cause we are called to...period!

Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

On this day…

I awoke this morning to my husband coming up the steps saying "Kelly's at the hospital in labor"! The kids are all excited because cousin Rylnn is about to make her entrance into this world and we couldn't be happier! I am getting the kids all ready for school and then it hit me….what happened on this day.

On this day…the sweetest woman I have been blessed to know was born…and I couldn't think of a better day for sweet Rylnn to be born. My MaMa(my Mom's Mom) was born on the 1st of October…well not really, but that is when we celebrated it. After my PaPa had died, I took her to the bank to get some things out of her safe deposit box and I found her Birth Certificate. I looked at it and it said October 2nd….I said "MaMa, I thought your birthday was on the 1st?". She said "it is". I looked again and sure enough it was the 2nd…at 12:0something a.m.…she was born right after the strike of midnight and I guess her family just decided to celebrate on that day…her entire life. Is that funny or what? It still makes me laugh to think about that day in the bank when she learned her birthday was another day.

Gertrude Christine Flora Overfelt was just such an unbelievable woman…so full of love and graciousness. MaMa was so much a part of my life from the time I can remember. She went on vacations with us, we were together EVERY holiday, she went to all of my ballgames (and even cheered for me when I was on the bench), I would go eat lunch with her when I was in college (her and PaPa only lived about 2 miles from Liberty), and I had the privilege and honor of taking care of her after my PaPa died.

We had so much fun together…we would go to lunch, sit on the porch and drink coffee, I went to her church senior functions with her, took her to visit family, to Dr's appointments(the Dr's got sick of me asking questions), we hung with my sister and her boys…I just remember so many things. I would give her a bath in the mornings and fix her hair "just so"…she always wanted to look put together! She loved John Rocker when he played for the Braves and she would stay up and watch the games until the very end when he would come in. She would say "here comes that John Rocker". It would be midnight and I would tell her to go to bed and she would tell me she had to stay up and see him finish the game out. I think she liked him because he was cute…but whatever! When she met my husband(to be at that time) Ric she just welcomed him in…and called him Rex because she couldn't remember his name…and my family still calls him that to this day!

She was just a joy to have around and I loved being with her. I was a 24 year old girl hanging out with a 70 something year old lady and I was happy. She taught me so many things that year. I was with her when she grieved PaPa's death…she would just sit and cry and I would hug on her and tell her it was ok. She missed him so much it literally hurt her heart. We would listen to her favorite music on her CD player in her room (the one my daughter has today) and she had me read her bible to her every day. She loved Jesus! I remember growing up that her goal in life was to have us all at church on Sundays. She asked every Saturday if we were going and would even bribe me into spending the night with her so I had to go to church on Sunday with her….she cared about her family's eternal destination…and wasn't ashamed of that, nope, not one bit.

Around the spring time (she had been with us since September) things started going downhill so fast. Her dementia was getting worse and there were nights that she thought I was trying to kill her…she didn't know who I was sometimes…she was confused…and her body just started to shut down. After many months of struggling, my folks had to make the decision to put in her in full time care. She was a danger to herself and we could not provide her the nursing care she needed. We cried…oh how we cried. It was such a hard thing to do. We would all go sit with her and Mom was there every day to feed her lunch and dinner. I remember getting ready on my wedding day feeling such a void in my life…she wasn't there that day. The happiest day of my life and the woman who had been such a big part of my life couldn't be there. Mom gave me diamond earrings that morning…from MaMa and a sweet card saying "I know she wanted to see this day". I knew that I was moving away and wouldn't get to see her as much and that made my heart hurt.

She hung on for another 2 years. I introduced my newborn son to her on a cool day in October and she just smiled at him. Even when the dementia continued to take her mind she never forgot how to love…and she still sang praises to Jesus. She went to be with Jesus on Valentine's Day in '03…the winter I was pregnant with Addie. I was at my folks the morning they called with the news…what a sad day it was…but we knew that MaMa was in glory and for that we thanking God. We knew that dementia no longer had her mind…that her body was no longer suffering…that she was finally healed and whole!

Her funeral was a testament to the lady she was…full of God's love and His grace. Her grandchildren stood before the crowd that snowy day and shared her favorite verses…we sang her favorite songs…and we remembered the woman that she was and the legacy she has left behind. My prayer is that one day when I am old and gray, that I look behind me and see the same kind of legacy. She forever impacted my life…and I will forever be grateful.