The Latest Boogie Man

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ISIS

Everyone’s talking about it.  We live in Texas and information has come out that ISIS is in Mexico planning car bombings in America.  I have no idea if this information is accurate.

The thing about organizations like ISIS is they play on fear.  They do whatever they can to get on the news.   Fear is NOT of God.

They are just the latest boogie man.  They are the latest Nazis, the latest Al Qaeda, the latest.  I remember in the 80s we were afraid the Chinese were going to be parachuting into the U.S.  (probably watched Red Dawn too many times).

I’m not saying that there isn’t a reason to be concerned…

The first scripture I ever taught to my young son (he was almost 3 year old) was  2 Timothy 1:7, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (we acted it out and everything).  We do not tolerate fear in our house because fear is not from God…it is always demonic.  I’ve had some fearful seasons of my life, especially with fostering and concerns about protecting our babies.  I’ve battled this thing.  Whether it is on a big scale or a little scale, it is not from God!

I believe that news networks perpetuate fear.  Think about it, they have to fill 24 hours a day on these stations…it has to be catching news…the more dramatic the better.  They are by nature sowing fear into the hearts of America.  Turn that crap off and read your Bible.

Remind yourself that our God is BIG!  Magnify Him.  Make Him bigger in your life!  Have some faith man.  I believe God has His hand on America, not because we are good.  We aren’t good.  We sacrifice our unborn, we produce more pornography than any other country probably (I have no idea if these is true…but if we aren’t the ones producing it we are surely the ones consuming it….I have only one things to say…Shades of Gray).  Like everyone else America needs a savior.  We can turn to the One who can save us.  Our God is bigger than Islam.  Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb.  Everyone sees the Lamb but there will come a day when the Lion will roar.

If your are feeling creeped out by ISIS just sing this song….

And pray. 

I love this song because it is simple and it sticks with you.

There are no boogie men out there who can take on our God.  All we have to do is turn back to Him.

And those are my thoughts about ISIS.

 

Family Reunions

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This past weekend, the Hubs and I traveled “out to west Texas to the town of El Paso where I fell in love with a”….nope…not much love there.  Kidding. We love our family but the area is a bit sad to say the least.  The plan was to attend the family reunion for my husband’s family.  Apparently they have it every 2 years (I think more like every 7 years since we have been married for 7 years and this is the first year we were invited to attend).

Much of the Hub’s family live in El Paso or in California in the L.A. region.  It’s a very large family.  Which means, I had not met many of the them.  They were basically strangers.

I wasn’t exactly excited about the trip.  Not because of the family reunion but because of the family reunion.  Let me explain.  It wasn’t the strangers that I wasn’t sure about meeting.  It was our immediate family.  We have issues (who doesn’t?).  Over the past few years, any time we visit, it has been exhausting.  Some drama has played out or some uncomfortable incident has occurred. For example, last year when visiting for my brother-in-law’s graduation, I had to keep a very close eye on my children because my father-in-law was allowing a felon (not related to us) to live in his house.  It was stressful. We have had situations in which the Hubs and I end coming off as being “the bad guys” even though we were actually being the hero they need….not the hero they wanted but the one they needed (It’s a Batman quote).  Let’s just say that before we ever left for this trip the situation was bathed in prayer.

The day before we left to travel to El Paso we received a text message telling us my father-in-law was in the hospital being observed for some heart issues.  I think your dad being hospitalized warrants a call but …   Once we arrived and visited him, I teasingly told him he was trying to “get out” of attending the reunion.  There may have been some truth there.  One of my sister-in-laws has fallen into some very bad things and made some poor choices.  His fear…that people would be talking about it.

Families are funny…not in a “haha” way.  We hide the truth from the people who love us and who would be willing to help.  My family has done the same things over the years. I have one cousin who has been in and out of jail for an ongoing drug issue.  We definitely would have helped my aunt but she was so ashamed she didn’t tell us what was going on.  Shame is so binding.

The reunion was nice. My father-in-law attended and had a nice time with his family.  I had the opportunity to meet some of the Hubs’ cousins who I had not met yet.  They were so sweet.  There were games.  The food was good.  They had prizes.  The only thing that could have made it better was if it was at the beach.

In reality,  my father-in-law is the youngest sibling in his family so his kids are the youngest and we were the family with the youngest kids.  Which means we spent the majority of our time chasing our 1 year old and niece and nephew around.  But it was fun.

I’m not one to miss church on Sunday.  It doesn’t feel like Sunday if I haven’t been to church…throws off my whole week.  In the past, when we have visited El Paso, we have attended a Spanish speaking church.  Which I admittedly do not get much out of since I do not speak Spanish…I try sometimes but no.  I understand a little but not much.  This time, the rest of the family opted out so they could sleep in.  We decided to attend the church Dennis attended when he was growing up.  They have English and Spanish Services.  I enjoyed the service…great music and a good message that was both Biblical and relevant.  The church is Living Water Christian Center.

When we walked in, many people recognized the Hubs and stopped to talk to him and meet us.

It was also a family reunion.

The Hubs and I have been walking through the healing process and the whole “Freedom” thing for the past few years.  Part of that healing has been understanding that perception isn’t truth and admitting that sometimes our perception of a series of events isn’t entirely accurate.  At times, it is accurate but we still have to forgive and love.

I’ve also learned that there have been times when I have held offense against someone for a perceived wound by a family member.  In other words, if you hurt my family, you are the devil.  Yes, I have my own brand “drama”.  WE HAVE TO BE HEALED OF THOSE THINGS TOO. I once had to forgive someone for a snarky comment on Facebook that my sister took offense to…I was being supportive of her.  It’s kind of funny, healing, deliverance, and freedom are hard enough for ourselves but then we also take offense for others.  It is too much.  But don’t mess with my kids because that will cause issues…for both of us.  I still have a ways to go.

Everyone at the church was unbelievable kind and even asked after the Hubs’ dad and said they wanted to pray for him (as he has been sick).  They reached out.

Although, I am all about looking ahead to what God has for you there are times when you need to go back and visit a past.

My friend, Charlie used to describe churches as tribes (like the children of Israel).  We are all a part of a tribe…the church you grew up in is your tribe..it’s your family.  That’s why when churches fail or fall short of expectation or even worse intentionally hurt you it’s devastating and can shake your faith. There comes a time when you have to return to your tribe.

I feel that visiting the church brought more healing and more freedom to the Hubs.  He is freeing himself from bad definitions, from offenses he held because of his family, he is realizing that these people are not the devil, just people who are imperfect but they love Jesus.

We enjoyed our trip although we are still trying to catch up on our sleep…1 year olds do not sleep well away form home.  Our time with family was relatively drama free.  We were able to love on our niece and nephews.  The Boy got to know his cousins a little. We ate some Chico’s Tacos.

I’m undecided about which reunion I liked better…the bio family or the church family. I had fun at the family reunion but there is something about being in the house of the Lord that ignites me.

 

 

 

 

Abuse of Spiritual Authority

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Stop abusing those in spiritual authority over you.

We have had our share of spiritual abuse in our family…in the last 8 years not even including before that.  From pastors advising us not to get married to pastors cursing us for leaving their church.  It’s crazy out there in church land.  I’m not trying to bare the nakedness of the church out to the world. Just stating the facts.

We have to show love to unlovely people.   Sometimes the unlovely people are those in positions of spiritual authority.  Have I had many “wins” at doing this …Not so much.  God lets you take the test again and again until you get it right.

A few weeks ago, our pastor was out of town and we had a “special speaker”.  He was talking about “under cover” although really he was talking about leadership.  I found my notes and in my notes I had written:

“Stop spiritual abuse; stop abusing those in authority over you.”

Everyone wants to talk about the spiritual abuse they have suffered at the hands of someone in authority over them but no one talks about the beating our pastors and leaders take from us.

We have all done it….we have “vented” at the expense of someone .  We have spoken negatively over our pastors instead of praying for them.  We have talked about their kids and their spouses and we have put down their best effort. STOP.

A sign I’ve seen…”Have you prayed about it as much as you talked about it?”

Today, pray for your pastor.  If you think of something negative, then pray it out.  God is bigger than that.  God is bigger than all of that.

And the truth is, we reap what we sow.  If you will love the unlovely, then when you are being unlovely someone will have grace for you.

 

God bless you all today.

BTW- We love our pastors and are praying for them…no venting here.

 

Safe vs. Good

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As we step out of a place that has been very safe for us I have had this in my head…a quote from Narnia (C.S. Lewis’ classic book).

Lucy:  “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

Of course Aslan represents Jesus.  Is Jesus safe?  Of course He isn’t safe.  But He’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.

There are seasons in our life when we need “safe” but most of the time God’s heart for us is not that we feel safe but that we know His goodness.

Several of our friends who are transitioning to plant City Chapel at Slaughter Creek are giving up their jobs, the positions they have held in at their church(es) for many years, paid positions as staff pastors.  They are walking out of a job into nothing right now.  No back up plan…just,” God told us to plant a church”.  While that is scary as hell for a man with a family it is also just the opportunity for God to show Himself good; to showoff His goodness.

Psalm 23 says, “goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”.  It’s time for goodness and mercy to overtake some folks.

I often say, “everyone wants to see God’s miracles but no one wants to be in the position to need a miracle.”  Think about it.  We want to see God heal but no one wants to be sick.  We would like to see an amputee regrow a limb but no one wants to lose an arm.  We want to see a financial miracle but no one wants to lose a job.  We want to see cancer healed but no one wants to have cancer and no wants anyone in their family to have cancer.  We want all the good with none of the risk.

God’s Kingdom isn’t safe.

I’ve often heard…and I believe Ruthanne Garlock said this at the prayer retreat, “God is more interested in your character than your comfort.”  I think of it like this…God is more interested in you learning to trust Him, believe in Him, believe in His goodness than He is in your comfort.”

Do you believe in the best things about God when you are at your lowest point?  

There was a time when I quit a very nice (say “safe”) job in Texas and moved to Alabama (say “no job”) because God told me to.  The first year was…let’s say “not great”.  My electricity got turned off and I had credit card companies calling me.  Some days the only people I talked to (because I had no friends) were the credit card people (Yes, I’ve discovered Dave Ramsey).  I was working at a temp job while praying for a real job in my field. You see, I was a system analyst who worked on computers but Mobile, Alabama isn’t exactly a techie mecca.   I continued to pay my tithes.  I got my check, paid my tithes and paid the rest of the money to the electric bill but the electric company wouldn’t turn it back on because it wasn’t the full amount owed.  It would take another week for me to get the money to get the electric turned on.  I laid on the floor in my semi-dark apartment (early evening) and cried out to God (say “threw a tantrum on the floor”).  I asked God, “Did you bring me out here to die?”  and He said, “Yes.  Some things have to die.”  Not exactly what I wanted to hear.  What did it grow in me?  Two things.  1. I am so sympathetic to people who have had their electricity turned off.  They can come shower at my house.  2. I do not give them money to have their electric turned back on because I don’t want to interfere with what God is doing in their lives.  Through all of that…I learned to trust in Jesus.  (Yes, those are song lyrics to a Andrew Crouch song…it’s old school but rings true).   BTW. a few DAYS later I found out I got a job as a software trainer and God turned things around for me.  To this day, I know He did it and not me.  And several years ago, just a week or so before Christmas,  my boss walked in and said, “The bank called in our loan so don’t come to work next week, we cannot pay you.”.  We didn’t worry.  I prayed and I told the Hubs, “God’s got this”.  And He did.  The Hubs got a raise, I didn’t have to work and a few months later, God sent our boy and I was able to stay home with him.  Because goodness and mercy follow me and over take me.

Following God is not safe but it is very good; the ultimate adventure!

Listen for His voice, step out of your safety zone and see what goodness follows.

All In

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The other day I was listening to a message from Ruthanne Garlock.  She described a message that her husband John Garlock used to preach.  It was about not turning back from the gospel.  At the end of the message he would have the congregation write in the front of their Bibles something like, “I will never turn back from following Jesus”.  (I cannot remember the exact phrasing).  Ms. Ruthanne said she heard the message many times about John growing up on the mission field and making the decision to be “All in”.  At some time during the 80s (that’s the 1980s for you younger folks), she had penned the words in the front of her Bible.  When he passed away in 2005, she was struggling with what she would do…she was already a writer and speaker but she felt lost without her husband (he died quiet suddenly at the age of 80 having just returned from Africa on a missions trip.  

I am a writer.  

Here’s the proof….

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All the journals I’ve written over the years.  There is all kinds of stuff in these babies. Some of it is funny and I roll my eyes at it now.

Around 2004 I started writing this in the front of my journals….

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No Reserve, No Retreat, No Regret.

I have no idea where the quote came from but I think it has some military background.  

When it comes to God, I will reserve nothing, I will not retreat and I will not live a life that I will regret.  I am “All In”. 

There is no other option but God.  I’ve wanted to quit a few times but where would I go?  What would I do?  Psalms 139 says:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.

Seriously…there is no other option.

Likewise, when God leads us to make change in our lives….it’s not optional.  We are “All in” what ever He directs.  Sometimes that looks like change.  

Our family is in transition right now.  We have been serving at a lovely church and we have been in a healing season…in a safe place. 

Several months ago, some of our dear friends came and told us they were going to be launching a church in our area along with a couple we know, who will pastor the church.  Instantly our hearts were drawn to get involved.  We have a chance to do what we weren’t able to to with our current church which is participate in the launch; the planting of a body of believers.  As we have always felt called to plant a church, we wanted to serve at a church being planted.  

We prayed.  

And we prayed.

Then we began to receive words of confirmation that we were to join the launch team for the church plant.  

The Hubs met with our pastor and shared his heart about what we were going to do.  

It was with a bittersweet heart that we attended our last “official” service at our church this week.  Bitter because there are many friends there who we will miss seeing every week.  And Sweet because we are so very excited about our new venture.

May God richly bless all the churches in our region with a spiritual awakening like we have never seen.  May we bring glory to His name!

 

 

 

When You Walk into the Room

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I know…I am posting in spurts.  I love writing but this season, I have to be very inspired.  I am taking my Texas Real Estate classes and that is taking a lot of time…besides the babies and our plan to homeschool our son this year.  I’m sure homeschooling is going to inspire some “Momlog” posts.

In the meantime, here is a song I’ve really enjoyed lately.  It’s time for some of y’all to update that playlist.  Just in case you don’t know who you are…if you are still rocking out to “Shout to the Lord” (you don’t need to delete it) it’s time to update your music.  I rarely purchase an entire album but I have enjoyed Bryan and Katie Torwalt’s album.

One of my favorites off this album is this one: