Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Vision...

My husband and I have been seeking the Lord's will in our lives and how He would have us use our gifts, talents and interests for His glory.

I believe that God wishes us to use our gifts for His purposes, and that the things we go through in life are there for a reason.

Last year, as I was working in the garden, I heard the still, small voice of God saying "Feed the people.". Ok, it wasn't an audible voice, but I got this distinct feeling, for lack of a better word, that this is the direction we should be going.

I believe that all of the issues I have learned about and the things I have gone through in my allergy journey are for a reason. I want to incorporate Real Food into whatever ministry the Lord wants us serving in.  I want to take care of the earth God gave us and model/teach that to others.

My  husband, Randy, has had the long dream of having a "Pastor's/Minister's Retreat", or something along those lines, a place where those in ministry can come to get away from the trappings of life and have a time of quiet and reflection.

We both have a desire to share the Gospel (Randy is an ordained preacher and currently teaches Adult Sunday School, I teach Truth & Training in Awana, and we both lead the Children's Church ministry in our church), especially in a small-group setting (House church, possibly?).

At any rate, we have had these thoughts and leanings for years now.  We have toyed with the idea of overseas ministry (Bhutan?).  Ever so often, we stick out our feelers and look in certain areas of the US to see if there is any need or interest in what we have to offer.  Most times, we hit a wall and then step back and look for where we can serve in the here and now and tune out the pull we both feel to some other sort of ministry. But the pull is still there in the undercurrent....

In the last month, Randy emailed the man in charge of mission work in our hometown region of CO to see if there would be any interest in starting a new church/some sort of ministry as described above in the area. There did not seem to be any interest on their part. So we broadened our search and Randy emailed the man in charge of mission work in a different area of Colorado. We have gotten a much more positive response from him, and found him to be very receptive of our Organic growing ideals (very sought-after in that area) and there seems to be interest in starting a new church in the area as well.

At the present time, we are still seeking the Lord's will in this matter. My body wants to get away from the center of GMO farmland.  My heart wants to--longs to--return to what I consider my homeland(and my entire side of the family), but I do not want to make this decision based on those feelings.  I also don't want to block those yearnings and somehow miss or ignore the voice of God.

From what we know presently, we would need a second source of income in addition to any ministry income, and these towns are fairly small with limited options, so that is something to consider.  We want to be able to fully minister, and not be severely limited in what we can do if we are tied to a work schedule.  We are exploring ideas on the bringing-in-income front.

Another thing for us to consider is our children.  Their ages are nearly 11, nearly 9 and 6.5 years old. In the little bit of conversation we've had around them and with them on the topic of moving and ministry, the eldest has the strongest feelings about moving. Understandable.

So, would you please consider praying for us?

  • God's clear leading in whether to pursue this most recent opportunity
  • Working in ALL of our hearts--Randy's and my own, as well as in the hearts of our children
  • Funding to purchase land suitable for growing and a place to live...with a good location accessible to the people....or some miraculous provision of the above 
  • If this is not the Lord's will, that He would point us in another direction and show us where to serve

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Time for Pruning?

I have been contemplating these plants of mine lately.

After a glorious summer in the sun, I had cut them back a bit and brought them in for the winter.

For awhile, the blooms flourished and the greenery was full and bright.

Now, though, the beauty of the blossoms is but a distant memory and much of the greenery from the summer has died...but all are holding on to the stem still, stubbornly insisting that they still belong there...just a while longer? Please?  Or perhaps the main part of the plant hasn't quite discovered that it's time to let go.

I can identify with these plants of mine.  I have things in my life that were once of use to me, a part of me even, much like these dead leaves and blossoms. I have held onto these things and held some of them close, stubbornly and perhaps a bit fearful of letting them go.

Perhaps, as with my plants, these things are causing me to look ugly and unkempt in the eyes of God. Perhaps, as I longingly look back and remember and give my energy to that and miss out on what is happening in the here and now, unable to be present with my loved ones... Perhaps He shakes His head at me for my clinging-on.

Perhaps it's time for a pruning, so that there can be new growth. Perhaps it's time to allow the Gardener to take up the pruning sheers, and along the lines of John 15:1-2, lop off the things that don't produce and allow for the rest of the plant to flourish and grow.

Notice that the parts of the plants that are alive and green are reaching, begging almost, for more light, that which they were created to seek, to somehow know will sustain them and help them grow.

I too, like the plants, am seeking the light. Only the Light I am seeking is Christ, and His will for my life, because I know He is the source of my strength (Psalm 27:1).  I am reaching and growing, and perhaps in this process it is necessary for me to reevaluate the "extra" things in my life. To pray for His guidance as to what to keep and what to let go of.  Some of those things are things of beauty (or have been), and are generally "Good Things", but are they of enough importance for me to keep around now? Or are they things that are pulling me down, a hindrance, filling my time and space to the detriment of what is truly important?

Perhaps, along with some pruning, I need to be re-rooted, so that I can start anew. Much like I should have done with the geraniums when I brought them in months ago, and should perhaps do now. Might be worth my time and effort...an act of reflection, consideration...

Praying for His will to be  made apparent in my life and yours as you seek Him.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blue Orb...

I saw this glass orb at the thrift store the other day, and couldn't resist taking it up in my hand (and ultimately purchasing it).  For whatever reason, I was drawn to it. 

What came to mind as I held it, its weight perfect and centering, was the thought of God my Creator holding the world in His hands. Rather, of God Himself holding and pondering what was to be the Earth and the universe and all that we know of (and more)....and all the things that He planned would happen....both pleasure and pain...and He created it anyway.  He gave us our existence.

"I have a plan for the whole earth, for my mighty power reaches throughout the world."  Isaiah 14:26 (NLT)

I am reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp this month, and I am finding it to be just what I need. In this phase of my life, it is good to read of a fellow believer's own heartaches and challenges in life and to hear her share how she is seeing God's grace and loving hand woven through it all, even in times of pain and anguish, if we would but open our eyes and hearts to see it.

There is so much more to it, but I thought I would share this part of my day and one of the first of what I am writing in my own gratitude journal of Gifts of God, some of which I'm sure will find themselves on this blog.

May we choose to realize the grace of God around us each and every day, and seek to serve Him above all. May we set our eyes on Christ, the Light of the world, and squelch the darkness that threatens to overcome us.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Flashlight Night Devotional

This Wednesday night was Flashlight Night at Awana, and as T&T leader I was asked to incorporate that idea into our Council Time. So...

Here's the song that came to mind... I did not end up incorporating it, but it helped me keep on task!  I listened to it in the vehicle w/my kids on the way to Awana.
Here's the focal part of the song (Scripture attached because I like to know where the words and phrases come from):
I wanna be in the Light
As You are in the Light (based on I John 1:7)
I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens (Daniel 12:3)
Oh, Lord be my Light and be my salvation (Psalm 27:1)
'Cause all I want is to be in the Light
All I want is to be in the Light

Here's the lesson:

With flashlight in hand and turned on, lead the kids follow-the-leader-style around a dark room. (have other leaders along to keep kids in line) Talk about how it's really easy to follow the path when you  have a light to show you the way.  Walk this way for a bit.

Turn off the flashlight.

Is it still easy to see where to go? Are we more likely to run into obstacles and hurt ourselves with the light off? (Yes) Turn the flashlight back on and lead them back to the classroom, where the lights are turned off and you and the kids have your flashlights to help with driving the point of the lesson home.

Have the following Scriptures written around the room and shine your light on them and have the kids shine their light on them as you read them.

God's Word says in Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (NKJV)

God has given us His Word, the Bible, to help us know how to live.
What are some other reasons God gave us the Bible? (allow for kids to answer and facilitate conversation)

Psalm 119:11 says
Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.(NKJV)
How do we hide God's word in our hearts?  We can memorize God's Word, like we do in the Awana program, and it will help us to follow God, to do what He wants us to do in life, and to not sin against God.  God's Word is our guide for living a Godly life.  It is good to memorize God's word, so that when things happen in your life and you don't have a Bible handy, you can still have guidance and knowledge as to what to do in different situations.

John 8:12 says
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Remember a few weeks ago where we talked about Jesus being the light of the world? When we are following the Word of God, which is a light so that we can see where to go and what to do in life, we are also following Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, and Who offers the light of life!

I John 1:5-10 says
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.(NKJV)
In order to walk in the light, we need to confess our sins. When we admit we are, indeed, sinners, and confess our sins to God, He will forgive us and make us clean from all our sin. Jesus, God's Son, was sent to die and pay the price for the sins of the whole world (John 3:16).  God has given us a choice as to whether we want to follow Him, or not.

Walking in the light, following God's Word, is evidence of a relationship with Christ.  Do you have a relationship with Christ? Have you confessed (admitted to God) your sin to God and accepted His forgiveness and His free gift of salvation through Christ?

Have you made a conscious choice to walk in the Light?

The choice is yours! May you choose to follow Christ today!