Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Would You Send Me?

In Nehemiah 1-2, God lays a call on Nehemaih's heart and gives him the desire and passion to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem so that the people of Israel might be safe. In chapter 2, Nehemiah asks the king, "would you send me?"

This is the question I would ask of you. Would you send me? It is only by your prayer and financial support that I can go to serve the Lord in Prague. I ask that you prayerfully consider how you might be a supporter for me and partner with me in ministry.

It is an awesome task which God has laid before me and I do not go lightly. But I feel passionately about serving as a teacher in Prague and would love for you to come along me with your support. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 39 - Race to the Finish

Well...it has been a while since I have blogged and I have up to a lot in these last weeks. I have moved out of the Lexington area and am in effect homeless until I move to Prague!

Currently, I am in Minneapolis at orientation for teachbeyond. It is fun and I am at peace and am filled with the joy of the Lord! I have met so many friends and partners in ministry. I am enjoying the weather today as it is much more mild than the last few days.

Tomorrow, I will get to meet Melodee (the recruiter for CISP ) which is exciting!!! I am putting so many pieces together...and watching God bring this call to fruition.

Please keep me in your prayers as I travel and raise support. I have a ways to go. I still need about $1500 dollars in monthly support to be able to go to Prague on time. I would ask that you consider how you might be part of this Kingdom work in Prague.

Blessing and much love to you all!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 58 - The Cost of Freedom

Over the next three days, I am posting a series I did on the Cost...it is appropriate for us today, and for me as I draw closer to my moving date. I hope this is a blessing to you. Please continue to prayerfully consider supporting the ministry in Prague!

Today is a very special Sunday! It is the Sunday just before we celebrate 231 years of independence as a nation! In those 231 years, we, as a nation, have experienced many troubling times as we sought to bring freedom and independence to ourselves and people around the world. We have experienced internal strife in the form of the Civil War. We have experienced two World Wars. We have experienced the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and currently the War on Terror. This country has experienced attacks on its own soil at such places as Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center. Some speculate that between 2 and 3 million men and women have died protecting the freedom we enjoy today.

Paul and Silas also experienced some of these same troubles. They did not experience wars, but they did experience personal attacks and persecution. You see, Paul and Silas were spreading the good news of freedom: freedom in Jesus Christ! They were offering this freedom to all they came into contact with. They had encountered people who did not like the message they brought, and they had been run out of town before, In this morning’s scripture, they were put in jail because the message of freedom through Jesus had offended someone. Yet, Paul and Silas did not worry; in fact, they used this time in prison to bring the message of freedom and salvation to the other prisoners and eventually the jailer. The people who were upset with Paul and Silas thought they had won, and the message of freedom through Christ had been put to rest. But God had a different plan!

Can you imagine what must have been going through the jailer’s mind when that earthquake hit? He had to be terrified because he almost committed suicide at the thought of escaped prisoners. I am sure that he thought that all was hunky doory; surely no one could escape his prison. I am also sure the magistrates must have been thinking the same thing. They had locked up this infidel who was causing people to think. They had stopped him from spreading this nonsense about freedom through Jesus. No one would ever hear that message again! Yet God sent a mighty earthquake! The prison doors were opened and the shackles and chains fell off as if they were never there to begin with. Charles Wesley remembers this event with his hymn And Can It Be. The fourth stanza reads:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fast bound in sin and nature's night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
You see, Charles Wesley understood what happened in the prison cell. The men in that cell were bound in the chains of their human crimes. However, they were also bound up in the chains of their sinful life. When the chains fell off, the prisoners experienced freedom in more ways than one. They experienced the loosing of their criminal bonds, and they experienced the loosing of their sinful past! How can one experience freedom from their sinful past? Paul tells us very clearly.

In verse 16, Paul is on his way to the place of prayer. Everything Paul did was steeped in prayer! This should be the same in our lives. We need to daily communicate with God! How else can we know what His will is or even grow closer in our walk with Him? We must pray! It was not until a couple of years ago that I began to pray more actively. Before this, I would pray for my meals (if I remembered), and pray before I went to bed (and this prayer was often the same every night). Then about two years ago, I was part of a small group that studied the meaning and power of prayer. Boy, was I missing the boat! I used to think that prayer was something to do at certain times of the day…now I understand that it is the way I can communicate to God. I get to know Him, and He gets to know me. Think of it this way, how could you get to know your spouse or children if you rarely spoke to them? You couldn’t! And we are kidding ourselves if we think that we can grow close to God without communicating to Him constantly. So what Paul is telling us that when we walk into this freedom from our sinful past, we need to know the One we are turning to; we need to grow close to the heart of God!

Responding to the jailer’s question in verse 30 of, “what must I do to be saved,” Paul says, in verse 31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus.” This sounds simple enough, at first. However, those five words are the heart of what it means to be free as a Christian. Paul does not say, believe in your own ability. He does not say, believe in the government. He does not say, believe in the military might of this nation. Paul says, “BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS!” Jesus is the one who paid the price on Calvary. But the cost of freedom is this: Accepting Jesus and following His will every day. That is the only way we can be truly free! We may experience many freedoms as U.S. citizens that most do not. Guess what! That freedom doesn’t mean a hill of beans if we are not free from our sinful past! As long as we are living in that past, we can never really be free.

So, when the chains fell off of the prisoners, they were free in the physical sense of the word. But something else happened…the chains that had them tied to their sinful past fell away also! Are we like those prisoners? Are there things in our lives that we have not fully given to God? Is there something in our past that has us bound up in chains? It is time to let the chains fall off and let your hearts be free. Today, as we remember the sacrifice of many men and women who paid the price for our freedom, and as we remember the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross as He paid for our sins, I pray that we remember that freedom comes at a cost. When we accept the freedom that Jesus brought on the cross, we will never be the same. The cost of freedom is HUGE; it means living a life devoted to seeking God through prayer and realizing that things will never be the same. The jailer was not the same. He believed in Christ, and I am sure the rest of His life did not look the same! Will we accept the freedom of Christ, seeking Him through prayer and following His will? I sure hope so because freedom is not cheap; it is something that is life changing!

LORD, help us never to take for granted the many blessings from your hand...especially the blessing of freedom! Help us to live as free people this day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 60 - PRAY!

It is hard to believe that I am at the 2 month mark! Time is flying...and excitement is building.

Today, I want to ask you to pray for two things...
1. Please pray for my support raising efforts. Things are going OK, but moving out in a week has me worried about keeping the momentum up! If you would like to partner with me in ministry, please let me know.

2. Please pray for me as I move and become effectively homeless in a week. OH THE STRESS!

Thank you all for your prayers, love, and support as I serve God in this magnificent way!

LORD, i pray that your strength in thesee days and weeks. Help me to live each moment for you! AMEN!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 61 - True Sacrifice

As I celebrated the Memorial Day wweekend, I found myself pondering more and more the idea of true sacrifice. It is interesting to think on the ways God brought thhis to the forefront of my thoughts. Let me give you a few examples...

On Saturday, I opened an envelop handed to me by a friend. In it was a sacrifical gift of significant amount to be used as missionary support. I could only sit and weep at this precious and sacrifical gift given for my sake! I commented to a frriend that this was the image of true sacrifice! This friend replied with tears and praise to God!

Last week, and today, I have had wonderful friends packing my as I close up my Arcadia house and become, in effect, homeless for the next 2 months. Beth, Jillian, Debbie, and Loretta do not have to do this, but they do it out of sacrifical love for me...which again is overwhelming to me.

Driving is something most take for granted, but being as it is that I cannot drive, I have to rely on the generosity of others. I was made mindful of the sacrifice those who drive me around make each and every time I get into a car. I had many friends give of their time this weekeend and over my entire life! I thank God for the true sacrifice of these people.

Sacrifice is laying down our will to do the will of another. True sacrificee is laying down our will and our self in order to embody the will of God and actively do His Kingdom worrk here on earth. I wonder how many times we all have found ourselves saying "MAYBE" (which is a blog all its own) "I DON'T HAVE TIME" "IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH", or " I DON'T LIKE DOING THAT or CAN'T DO THAT." All of these phrases have something in common...they are all centered on I. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come THY will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." This is the perfect example of true sacrificee and something that I want to strive towards now and always. This life is not about our human desires or earthly wants; it is about living every day in a manner or attitude of true sacrifice.

I am blessed to know people of such a life, and I pray that I may someday come to the fullness of sacrifical giving. Let us ask ourselves, what are we putting above the will of God? What do we think when someone asks for help or is in need...is it one of the "I-centered phrases"? Today, let us begin to seek to truly sacrifice for another.

Lord, I pray for your strength to sacrifice my will for yours. Help me to show your love in all I do! AMEN!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 66 - favorite pictures

Here are a few of my favorite pics from the past few years...enjoy!

Chrysalis boys at Jose's

Petra...I can hear the Indiana Jones music now...

Corrie Ten Boom's tree in the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Dog-pile the Director at summer camp!!!

Wesley Chapel UMC

Serving at Operation Christmas Child.

Lord, I thank you for this day and for the glory of your presence in it! Keep me near the cross! AMEN!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 67 - FUNNIES

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon and evening crying as I packed up 6 years of memories in my Arcadia Park house! So this morning, I thought I would share some happy things...my favorite books, movies, and songs. This is like my top ten! The reason I thought to do this is because I was packing up all of these things yesterday.

1. Braveheart
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
3. The Young Victoria
4. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers
5. Mission Impossible
6. Phantom of the Opera
7. The Queeen
8. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
9. The Nativity Story
10. Facing the Giants

1. The Bible
2. The Hiding Place
3. Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed
4. Angels and Demons
5. Same Kind of Different As Me
6. Murder on the Orient Express
7. The Purpose Driven Life
8. The Celtic Way of Evangelism
9. Foxes' Book of Martyrs
10. An American in Paris

1. You Raise Me up by Josh Groban
2. Bad Romance by Lady Gaga
3. Christmas Medley by The Boston Pops
4. How Beautiful by Twila Paris
5. On My Own...Les Miserables
6. You'll Never Walk Alone...Carousel
7. Trumpet Voluntary in D
8. Light Your World by Newsong
9. Paparazzi by Lady Gaga
10. Twist and Shout by the Beatles (OR CHANCE!!!)

Lord, I give you this day...with all its busy-ness and stress and joy and excitement! Grabt me your peace...AMEN!