Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday Nights

I don't know what the rest of you do on Tuesday nights but I spend mine on the couch at Dunkin Donuts in Marlborough. No, I don't go there for the coffee, the doughnuts, or the new pizza (although inside sources tell me the flat bread sandwiches are really quite good). I freeze to death every time I go there and sometimes have to listen to the likes of KORN (not my favorite band) - so why do I go there every week? - because I get to spend the evening with a group of great young women.

I think God was very serious when he asked the older women to teach the younger women how to be kind and love their husbands and children (Titus chapter 2) - God has shown me so much over the last several years - he has taught me things I wish I had know BEFORE I got married or involved in a relationship at all. I wanted to encourage, bless and teach the younger women. That is why I invited these women to get together to read scripture and talk about life. I never expected to be so blessed and take as much away from our Tuesday nights as I do.

I love where these girls are in life. Not the easiest time of life but so exciting. So many new things, so many unknowns, so many preconceived notions. I love watching their lives unfold and seeing God work in, bless and challenge them. They may not see him in their everyday but I do and am so encouraged. Talking with them and working through some of the issues that arise when you're 19 takes me back to when I was faced with some of the same issues. I can see now that God was there and helping me through all the trials and difficulties.

So why do I go on Tuesday nights - because of the people. I love the relationships and am so blessed by them.

"I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessing." - Paul 1Cor. 9:23

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Anonymous Gift

Whoever left the envelope on our windshield last week, we want to thank you. God really blessed us and encouraged us through your actions. Thank you for letting him use you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Just Had to Share

I handle the check book in our house. I don't wear the pants or control the funds I just write the checks and keep track of where our money is and how much we have (or don't have.) God has never ceased to amaze me in the area of our finances. I can't tell you how many times our "ends" should not have met but they did. Do you have a budget? Do you stick to it? We don't really have a budget. We make one every year or so and review our spending but we usually don't bother with it because it doesn't work. Our expenses are more than our income - we don't spend frivolously. Toys, like motorcycles and race cars, are purchased with money that has been saved and set aside for that purpose over the last 12 years. We have no extras to cut out. Granted we live with in-laws right now but in the past we haven't had cable, cell phones, car payments . . . we had nothing to downsize or cut out. The only extras in the budget were a Grassroots Motor Sports subscription, soccer fees, and dining out (a few times a month). I am not sharing this info for any reason but to point out that other than the grocery bill there was no where to cut the budget. We would laugh every year because somehow there was always enough money. On paper our financial situation was truly impossible but God always provided and he still does!!!
I just finished paying our bills and God did it again. I have been preoccupied wondering how a certain bill would get paid on time with out taking money out of our savings account. I had just balanced the books two weeks ago - everything was up to date - no way for God to work a "mistake" in our favor that was forgotten about last month. Well, I am learning to NEVER underestimate what God can do. Some how I forgot to enter a deposit from last week - we had plenty of funds to pay bills. Funny thing is that deposit was made by me, not electronically (I found the receipt) but I have no idea where the money came from. GOD IS SO AMAZING AND FAITHFUL!!!!!!
I just needed to share that.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Edited post

Check out our Waxhaw post - I added some pictures of Candidate orientation.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Craving for the Bitter-sweet

I (Amy) had a great conversation the other night with a friend of ours in MI. We chatted about life : school, marriage, and blind dates; and God: church, sanctification, and justification; and what the christian life should really look like. It is easy for me to see what those last things are NOT supposed to look like - but to get a true handle on those things is not easy for me. I still carry with me a very warped view of my creator and of myself. I am thankful that God is more patient and faithful than I ever thought he could be. He has been revealing more and more of himself to me and more and more of my brokenness and need for him. I am captivated and impassioned by the God I am encountering. I feel like Lucy, having returned to Narnia, and she sees Aslan again - the more I know of God the bigger He gets.

Jason, a pastor friend in MI, wrote about unspoken prayer requests in his blog awhile back. Some of you my have never heard of such a practice - it is when you ask people to pray for you but you won't tell them what for. What other good does the church serve then to come along side those in pain and difficult circumstances and empathize and pray. How else will others know that they are not the only ones struggling with sin if no one ever talks about it? How will anyone be encouraged by tales of God's power if no one mentions the what he triumphed over?

"Unspeakable sins are bred by unspoken requests." - Jason

That statement speaks so loudly to my heart. I grew up with the idea that to follow God meant that you were perfect - at least in the way every one else in the church was "perfect" - bored, unhappy and righteous in your own strength. Hypocrisy and lies were all I saw - so many "unspoken" requests. I thought God didn't deal with the real matters of the heart and of life. I regret the amount of years I spent in the presence of good meaning "godly" people but knew nothing of God. The God who made me, loves me, knows my inner most thoughts and desires and died for me anyway. All 13 years of church, 3 times a week and no one ever told me that my creator chose to die than to live eternity with out me.

It breaks my heart to watch people go in and out of church buildings week after week pretending life is just grand - maybe the occasional prayer for a better job or "traveling mercies" (what exactly does that mean any way?). Church goers come in and feel the need to hide their imperfections and shortcomings from everyone else. They role play what they think others want to see. Everyone pretends - Everywhere. I'm not speaking of my local area. I am speaking of the American Christian culture in general. It doesn't make any sense. If we are all just fine and dandy then we have no need for a savior and that just makes us all a bunch of idiots for getting up early for no good reason on Sunday mornings.

I so long for a place where people can come in and take a load off - they can drop the facade of perfection and goodness. We are all sinners. We all struggle with life, love and relationships. Why are people so afraid to be real? I long for sincerity. I long for a community where people can openly share about there problems with family, spouses, finances, pornography, addictions . . . . and find help and encouragement - not condemnation. I find it so bitter-sweet when some one shares their struggles. Bitter because the reality is the person is hurting and it is a reminder that we all are broken people. Sweet because I now have the privilege of seeing God do something amazing in their life.