Monday, July 30, 2012

A Shameless Plug

My husband is an excellent preacher.  He preaches exclusively expository messages, bringing forth the Word of God as It ought to be preached.  He focuses solely on God's Word when he preaches, avoiding his own opinion and/or possible filters.

You might be thinking it's ridiculous for me to make such a claim as I can't possibly be objective enough to weigh in on this topic.  That may be true, but think about this: Even when I'm mad at him for something at home, I still gain from his message.  His preaching is so focused on God's Word that even I am able to "overlook" the man while he's preaching.

He just finished a series in the Book of Philippians yesterday and we are making plans to publish his outlines in a book as a study guide for Philippians.  There are 20 messages in the series, walking through the entire Book of Philippians from start to finish.  All sermons are available for your listening ear on our church website. Well worth the time to listen, too.

Until next time,

Friday, July 27, 2012

Calm Waters/Violent Rage

The water was calm, not a ripple to be found. But a mother knew something wasn't right.  She waited. She became keenly aware of the slightest hint of anything unusual. She waited more. She watched. She became intently focused on the calm water.  Suddenly, without warning, her body erupted from the water in a rage of violence! In a sudden wrestling match, she successfully fended off a dangerous perpetrator who was an immediate danger to her kids.

She sprang into action before any harm could be done to her family.
She didn't seek anyone's permission or approval before she struck.
She did not hesitate for even a moment.
Her actions were quick and deliberate.
She successfully fought off the perpetrator, protecting her kids, even to her own harm.

The mother was a lioness.
The perpetrator was a crocodile.
The kids were her cubs.

The comparison is real.
Don't mess with my kids.

A special Thank You to photographer Pia Dierckx.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Senseless Tragedy, Triumphant God

In the wake of the senseless tragedy which happened in Aurora, CO this week, I'm as shocked as anyone. I've cried out to our merciful God in gratitude and pleas as I see the faces of those who lost loved one, whose loved ones are still hospitalized and suffering.  I've been praying for them and will continue to pray for them.  I will pray every single day.

It's senseless.  It's tragic.

This article, written by a woman who was there, really says it all.  She received advice from her former pastor in the wake of this awful tragedy.  The advice was the best he could offer.  He advised her to worship. He said, "Before the weight of this becomes unbearable....................worship."


The article also said,

"God is always good.

Man is not.

Don't confuse the two."

How do people confuse the two?  People worship their worship............instead of their God.  That's why, even in the Name of Jesus Christ, people still sin.  If we are worshiping our living God, we will not have time to do the evil our sin nature entices us to do.

There are plenty of sins the author of this article could fall into in response to what happened.  Self-pity. Gossip. Bitterness. Hatred.  If we are worshiping our living God, we will not have time to do the evil our sin nature entices us to do. If we are all about our God, we will not give place to any of those self-serving sins, even in the wake of tragedy.  Even in the wake of anything.

This mom and her girls will be ok. They will feel effects of this tragedy, but they will be ok because, already, our living God is seeing to their hearts. His grace is all-sufficient, all the time.

"God is always good.
Man is not.
Don't confuse the two."

Get your eyes off man.  Get your eyes on God. There is much work to be done.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One Conversation = Me Undone

I work part-time as our church's administrative assistant.  And when I say part-time, I really mean part-time... only 6 - 8 hours a week.  Every Monday, I prepare copies of our service dvd to send out to different people, and I also mail our weekly bulletin and prayer list.  The vast majority of people I mail these things to are shut-ins who can't get out to church any more.

Yesterday as I was preparing these mailings, one of our young deacons came into the office to use the dvd copier.  Since I was already using it, he had to wait, so we chatted while I prepared the envelopes for the mailings.  As I put the address labels on, he was asking about the work I was doing, then he looked at an actual label.  He saw a lady's name on a label, but he didn't recognize the name.  He asked me, "Who is that?" I told him her name, even though he could read it on the label. I explained how this particular lady is quite elderly and could not get out to go to church, so we send her a bulletin and things so she'll still know what is happening in her church.  He said, "I don't know her."

I said, "No, I don't suppose you would know her."

He said, "How long has it been since she came to church?"

Me: "Oh, it's been quite a while. Years."

Him:  "I have to meet her!  I have to know her!"

Me: "Of course!  That's a great idea! Pastor Dave will take you and you can meet her. I know she would love to meet you!"

Him: "If I go see her, she might feel good. She might think, 'Oh, he came to see me!' and be so happy and I could cheer her up.  I really need to go and meet her and visit her."

Me: "Yes!  Go see her. Cheer her up!  She would love it."

And he went on to ask me about each name on each label, wanting to know their stories and why they can't come to church. His heart was touched; he was nearly overcome with burden for these people, many of whom he'd never met.

And I was undone.  He has a real heart for ministry.  He has a real love for people. His heart is tender and open.  He feels a personal responsibility to each and every person on my mailing list and only saw what HE, himself could possibly do to lighten their load. He was overwhelmed with burden for them because to him, not being able to go to church is a devastating idea indeed.

James 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."  The Bible, Itself, does not mention the word "religion" very much at all.  That makes sense since Christianity is not a religion. But, in this verse, it is summed up very well.  The context is being hearers only of the Word, but not doers, thus deceiving ourselves.

As the preacher's wife, my perch beside my husband often has me viewing the not-to-pretty side of ministry. This conversation with this young deacon helped me reset my priorities. I do believe I have a lot to learn from this young man and I am humbled at the very idea. The focus is Jesus Christ. His focus is people in genuine need.

My word.
Praise be.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Blessing of Teaching

One of the highlights of my week is the Ladies Bible Study I teach at our church.  I LOVE teaching this Bible study!  I learn so much and seem to grow with each study we do.  When my husband and I prayed about starting this study just over five years ago, our goal was to ground ladies in the Word of God.  Being grounded and staying grounded in the Word is an ongoing process; it's not something any of us accomplish then get to walk away from.  Thus, this study keeps me as grounded as it keeps the ladies who attend.

The ladies who regularly attend this study are godly women who want God's best for their lives. They are committed to the Scriptures and the Truths which lie within those pages. I can't even tell you what a blessing that is in my life!

We don't use a "Bible study book" in our studies.  We use the Bible.  We use a concordance and a lexicon to help us in our studies.  We take a book of the Bible and go through it verse by verse, digging out what God would have us learn.  We've learned, and taught each other, that God's Word is alive and you can see His transforming power in the lives of each one who comes and commits herself to the uncompromised study of the Word of our Living God.

Thank you to all you ladies who come and have made such a difference in my life!

Praise Be.
I am so blessed.