It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A guest blogger... ME!

Yes, I know. it's been way too long and you have missed me desperately. I'm sorry. I'd like to say "I will never let it happen again" but we both know that would not be being honest and you know what God thinks about "lying lips" don't you?

Anyway, today I am the guest blogger...

I am the guest blogger here because I want you to go to My Elli's Hope my other blog where I talk about our adoption journey to Elli in China. Today I am giving a fun and somewhat tearful (I have to be honest there are just some aspects of this adventure that bring me to tears in the midst of the joy) overview of the last (almost) year up to the present.

It gives you, if you've never been there before, an up to date listing of where we are in the process and where we need to go. There are some pictures and great stories and a few prayer requests.

So, grab your mouse, click on the link and saunter over... It's a pretty fun place to be.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

rolled away

And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb...

Happy Resurrection Day

And God is able to make all grace abound to you,
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

In obedience.

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it.

Then, they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.

But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.

Rest... for tomorrow we celebrate...

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday... by who's account?

As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to 
carry his cross.

 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 

“This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 

 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.  The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,  and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.  When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud  and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. 

And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.

Gracious God, it is a day to go inward.  A day to feel the deep darkness of death.  A day to be quiet with the heavy silence that looms large.  A day to feel the pounding weight of untruth and injustice.  A day to own up to what is strangling my own soul.  A day to feel gratitude for the full truth of your deep and abiding love — love that refused to claim its own safety, but willingly gave itself for me.  This is a day of interiority.  Let my soul be open and empty before you.  I ask this for the sake of your love.

Copyright ©1999-2009

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maundy Thursday.

Jesus washed their feet

Jesus served their meal.

Jesus shared His heart.

Knowing all along they would betray Him. 

He is the definition of unconditional love.

Love someone unconditionally today,
wash their feet,
serve them,
share your heart.

Monday, March 26, 2012

It's like saying we support the troops but not the war.

I knew there was a reason I was uncomfortable with the Jets' acquisition of Tim Tebow. This guy dimed me out. It was because I saw Tebow as a football player who was a Christian and not as a Christian football player who's primary purpose was as an evangelist/missionary. After all, isn't that who all of us are that claim Christ as our Lord? We are not moms who are Christians, we are Christian moms, Christian doctors, Christian lawyers, Christian FBI agents. THAT puts a different spin on who we are when we walk into the office, whether the office has a sink and a fridge or blood pressure cuffs, law libraries, or guns and ammo

Tim Tebow as a Jet


God, forgive me for forgetting what I think is one of the most important perspectives we, as American Christians fail to embrace. There is a difference between a Christian football player and one who is a football player and occasionally mentions some faith that he "doesn't wear on his sleeve".

We Christians need to take a look at those in the "lime-light" that carry our torch for us bravely and honorably. Sometimes we need to support the RIGHT guy regardless of what team he plays on or what we (in our self-made expert's mind) think about his "skill level". WE need to support a guy who is willing to undergo unbelievable persecution (or as much as American Christians know of persecution) because he is the best of who we say we are.

I was hoping for a nice transfer to Jacksonville, FL where it was always sunny and there was a church on every corner. Where, for some reason, it was easier to route for his team. The above mentioned article reminded me of why, if God wants to transform a bunch of pigskin throwers, He never intended Tebow to end up in FL. Tebow's job, his purpose on this earth, has less to do with winning football games (much less) than it does with providing the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in a new and possibly more powerful way to people in a state that has been, as a whole, sadly in the dark for what seems like ever.

Zach Johnson

I have felt for a couple of years now that God is moving into New York. It's not a place I care to EVER go - even for a visit... EVER. (I better be careful - God loves it when I make comments like that). But there are a lot of Christians and Christian organizations who have been called to carry their shovels across the border and begin shoveling the mess that is New York (especially the city) out and set up the lamp stands that are missing to carry the Light of the World.

It behooves us to pray for the likes of Tebow, Jeremy Lin,  Zach Johnson to name just a few. These guys are continually undermined by those who hate the name of Christ whether it be fans of their team, commentators of their sport, or their own teammates purely because they force us all to look at ourselves in the mirror and evaluate ourselves in the eyes of our Creator God. these outspoken Christians are the ones that set US up for the applause or the spittle that comes at us from every corner.

Jeremy Linn

With the Manning/Tebow debacle (yes I view it as such) of late I have seen Facebook posts by some who I know claim Christ say "I like him as a guy but as a player - not at all". I view that as akin to "I support the troops but not the war." Candidly, I don't think either is possible. You cannot support men and women who spend their days (and even their very lives) immersed in something you don't approve of. There is just no way that is possible. If you really think it is then I am just not as compartmentalized as I have always believed I am - you have me beat - huge - and ask my friends... that is hard to do.

Equally, I think, if you are a Christian and tired of seeing Tebow's name everywhere and roll your eyes in the midst of discussion regarding him whether it's the trade or his faith, then maybe you need to reassess. After all, it's not like he stunk it up for Denver last season. Admit it, you may not like his throw but he saved their season. You may not like his "no-holds barred" attempt at running the ball when there's no chance to throw but he led them to a winning season AND he never took the credit for himself.

For those of us in the Jackson, MS area and especially those of you who love baseball, we have our own opportunity to support a guy coming to play with our own MBraves. His name is Todd Cunningham and he's a precious young man who loves the Lord and wants every young person to see his/her abundant life waiting for them should they just embrace it. I will be honest, I cannot stand baseball - I mean seriously, passionately dislike the game, but I will be attending a few games this year SOLELY because I want to support Todd. It will have nothing to do with his team or his performance (although if he has a good game I will be delighted) but because he needs all the emotional and physically present support that he can get as he tries to reach all of those around him for Christ.

Todd Cunningham

I know that your sport is important to you and you like to see it played the way YOU want it played. I am just asking you to think about REthinking your perspective. If you have a chance to support a guy (or gal) who is "all in" with their Christian walk and just happens to be a pretty decent player, maybe, just maybe, you might consider supporting him, her, or their team ONLY because you want to see the evangelist/missionary who throws the football, dribbles the basketball, and/or swings the club or bat see some success and I'm not talking about points on a scoreboard.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

To live is Christ, To die is gain.

In Philippians 1:21 Paul told the church that for him "To live was Christ and to die was gain". It wasn't really hard for me to understand what he meant once I understood what the abundant life in Christ was and then even more-so grasped the joy of Heaven. It took on another face to me when I stepped foot into God's Acre, a Moravian graveyard, one of the first in this country in Winston-Salem, NC just last week. (you can read more about them here ).  

The entrance to "God's Acre" Old Salem.

Michael and I were surprised to see a grave yard with acres and acres of white marble (or granite) stones. All the same, nothing different except the names on the stones. 
Actually, there is more to it than that. The Moravians believe their cemetary should reflect heaven. In that case there is nothing to show rich or poor, white or black, and the only separation is the separation that took place in their Sunday School "choir". A Choir in a Moravian church is a set apart group of people. The women from the men, the married from the unmarried, the children from the adults. That is how they are buried. Each "acre" has a group of people segregated not by their family but by their choir.

They understood clearly that in Heaven there is no need for marriage. Family units will not hold the level of importance that they do here.

I have to admit though, I almost gasped when I realized that families weren't buried together. 

I first fell in love with cemeteries after Rebekah died. Yes, I said I was in love with them. I used to walk around her cemetery for hours just reading the head stones trying to put pieces together. Who belonged to whom and what may have happened to cause their death.  Never once did I ask myself "I wonder what their life was like?"

Walking through God's Acre that is really the only question that you want to ask. The reason is that almost all the headstones have Scripture verses on them. Most of them aren't the typical verses that you would see on a headstone. I found a couple young married men who died before their 30th birthday. One of their stones had Job 1:21 on it. Typical, really, for a family to put atop the stone of a young father leaving behind a grieving wife and parents. I would suppose the wife chose that verse. It probably helped her as much as anything else would have to stand up under her circumstances. 

I loved the one of  Mrs. Ivory Ayers. She must have been a very simple woman who put her faith into practice in very obvious and practical ways. After all, what is more simple and practical than
 "Only Sleeping"

And how much more correct could she be?

John Oakley's stone had a bit more information. His told us that he was a Father. Of course the Moravians would have known that by where he was buried. I found it interesting that some of the other headstones of women not only mentioned the woman's name but stated under it "the wife of:" and gave her husband's name as well. 

Mr. Oakley's scripture verse is Isa 26:3. He knew that not only HE would be kept in perfect peace but so would that of his loved ones as he waited for them in paradise. 


Here's my question. What was it about their lives that prompted the verses or words that were placed on their headstones? 

I don't know if they instructed their families in what was to be put on their stones or if their wives or children or parents chose the verses for them. Surely, though, the verses on their headstones must have some reflection on the lives they led. 

At least, I am convinced that is true. One stone that I am sad I didn't have a picture of was of a woman with three very Gospel spreading verses. I knew she HAD to have been on fire for the Lord and MUST have shared Him with everyone she knew in life, she certainly was insistant upon continuing to share in her death. 

I didn't really want to leave. There were more stones to read. More images to plant in my mind of who all these people were and how all these people lived. 

I suddenly wanted to stay. Just for about six months. I knew there were grandchildren and great grandchildren and maybe even great - great grandchildren that had memories of these people buried in God's Acre. There must have been stories told even records kept that I could get some insight from. Can you imagine reading a story about M. Rosco Sigeloff and to learn that he had a personal impact on every person he knew. That the message he left on his stone was powerful because no one that knew him came away from an encounter with him the same. 

I do have a writer's heart, I really do. I don't have the time to be one, unfortunately, but this time, more than ever, I am pulled by a desire to meet these families and know these men and women and to learn what it was about their lives that are reflected in their death. These words are the ONLY thing these people have left to speak. There are powerful reasons why these are the words that they want associated with them. 

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't reflect myself. 

I will tell you a secret - I have planned my funeral. Well, most of it. And I've planned Michael's too (only he doesn't know it and may be a bit creeped out by that fact... or maybe he'll begin to sleep with one eye open). When Rebekah died I realized what a vulnerable state almost everyone is in that sit in a funeral home or church sanctuary or grave side. Even those who don't believe in God or refuse to acknowledge him, while looking at the casket of someone they have some semblance of relationship with, contemplate their own eternity. It's imperative that in death, we leave something behind. Something of meaning, something of ourselves for those who are left behind to grasp on to and to run with. Every person who loved one of these in God's Acre have that. A Bible verse, a wise saying, a written memory. They have a statement from that person that confirms for their loved one that IT is not over. Life goes on, not just for those left behind but for those who are no longer greeting them at the door or kissing them goodnight. That death is just a temporary thing and through Jesus Christ they will all, one day, be rejoicing together in Heaven. What better gift can a dying father, mother, husband, wife, or child give to those they leave behind. 

And then I saw it. Revelation 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away." That is Rebekah Joy's verse. It's on her headstone in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Very far from her mommy and daddy and yet with just a flip of a few pages she's right there with us. It is so, the verses, the sayings, the words on that block of stone. They reflect the lives of those who have gone on but just as Rev 21:4 brings warmth to our hearts and loving tears to our eyes, those words on the stones do just the same for those who are left behind in Winston-Salem, NC. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shhhh, it's ok to yell....

Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted. I have actually wanted to post several times over the last couple of weeks but between starting a new blog here and all the paperwork we have been doing for Elli's adoption I've sorta not felt like writing much.

But after our Wednesday night worship service I've been doing a lot of thinking. And being the lucky folks that you are, you get to read about those thoughts. Wow, isn't technology great?

I don't like to be yelled at, ever. But especially by someone behind the pulpit who is trying to share, teach, encourage, etc. me in my walk with Christ. I have some really favorite pastors, none of them are yellers. Most of them are my favorites because of something they have said at one time or another that have impressed me.

John MacArthur
Take John MacArthur for instance. He's really an amazing teacher. I will bet another pastor would be hard pressed to honestly say they spend more time in the Word than he does on any given day. I love to hear him preach, I love to read his books, I have almost all of them and I have years of CD's that line my shelves since I've been a partner with Grace To You (MacArthur's audio ministry) for almost 20 years. What is it that makes me love him besides his preaching/teaching style? It's the fact that he is willing to admit that he can't always explain what he studies and concludes from God's word and yet it's undeniably there. He's not all about saying what HE THINKS, he's all about teaching what CHRIST SAYS. I respect that about him.

John Piper
I also love John Piper. I don't always agree with him as often as I do with MacArthur. He's a very different kind of man. He and MacArthur are friends but very different personalities. If I was a man, a pastor/teacher, I'd be John MacArthur. Piper is very emotional and yet, I've never heard him actually raise his voice, actually YELL at those he's speaking to. I hopped on the Piper bandwagon the day I heard him talk about "invitations". I am not an invitation person. I don't like them (MacArthur doesn't give them). I do, however, understand the logic behind them. One day I heard a message Piper gave and at the end he gave an invitation but he told his congregation that they are NOT to close their eyes and bow their heads. He told them that there is no shame and embarrassment in walking forward with the encouragement and enthusiasm of those in the crowd. He put it much more eloquently than that but you have the gist of it. He sold me that day.

Francis Chan and David Platt
Then there's almost everyone's current favorites, Francis Chan and David Platt. There is too much to say and if you don't know who these guys are you are missing out on incredible teaching, amazing writing, and a renewed hope for the future of the American Church. Both of these men have put their "money where there mouth is" by sacrificing thriving ministries to help young women in the Asian sex trade, as Chan did last year, as well as putting money, time, and safety on the line by helping grow the underground churches all over the world as Platt does with his Secret Church Seminars. They are young, honest, and Biblical. There is no "Christianity Lite" coming from their taps. I've listen and watched and have yet to be yelled at by either of them. And still they manage to enable me to dig deep into my soul and ask myself the hard questions.

My list for God
But Wednesday a man whom is known and beloved by many came to church and yelled at me. His name is Johnny Hunt. He is no stranger to Southern Baptists and may even be easily recognized and beloved by Georgia Christians especially in the Atlanta, GA area not far from where his church in Woodstock, GA is located. He, too, is a wildly passionate man, much like Piper is. He puts his whole being into his preaching and as far as I can tell walks every word of his talk. He gets his audience fired up and leaves them wanting more. That's an awesome thing for a motivational speaker but I don't want one of those, I want a Bible teacher. He did share scripture and his thoughts on many, many verses, after all, he knows his Bible. But instead of just sitting back and enjoying the evening (which is not always a bad thing to do, I'd just rather be LEARNING something if I'm sitting in the sanctuary) I was abruptly taken aback when he asked us if we made lists. LISTS???? What was he talking about? He was talking about the way we make lists of things that sound good, look good, and even feel like they are nudges from the Holy Spirit. We write them down on paper, and we pray: "Dear Lord, here is my future, here is what I want to do for you, here is what I want to do for my family, here is where I want to live, who I want to marry, what I want to devote my life to. Please bless it. Amen"  Most of us just looked around with inquisitive stares all along knowing that he was about to yell at us again. The veins were beginning to protrude from his neck.

God's list for me.

This was the list he wanted us to make. He wanted us to sit down in a quiet place. He wanted us to just be still and listen. He wanted us to take a blank sheet of paper and at the bottom, sign our name. Then he wanted us to pray this: "Dear Lord, Here is my life, it is yours, make YOUR list for me, do with it as you please. I am here to glorify you in any and every way you choose. I love you. Amen."

...and the place erupted. I hated that #2 son wasn't there to hear from someone other than his father and I that it's OK to just "let go and let God" (tired old saying but more true the older I get). I snapped my head to the right to see if son #3 was paying attention. He's just beginning to dream big dreams and I wanted him to understand to make sure to leave those dreams loose enough to let go of them if those weren't the dreams that God was dreaming for him. Then I looked deep within my soul, and sighed. I thought about all the stuff I'd "written down" for God to bless. Never once spending the time to really ASK Him if they were things He wanted from the life He created to do His will and bring Him glory.

I still don't like to be yelled at. Thinking back to Wednesday night though, I wonder if he could have really spoken to our guts the way he did without raising his voice, without most of us worrying that he was going to have a coronary right there on our stage. I am pretty sure he had the attention of everyone over the age of 5 in that room. With what he had to say, maybe yelling was the best way to do it. So, in spite of his loud bursts of enthusiasm that regularly come from Pastor Johnny Hunt, I think that just for those thoughts he goes on my favorites list.

Still, I am thankful for the guy that I see regularly on our stage each Sunday. He tells it like it is, he steps on
toes and makes us squirm. He reaches for the souls of everyone sitting in front of him and desires that each of us know Christ intimately and fully. He challenges me every week and I am sure sometimes he wonders what I am thinking if he glances my way. Most of the time my wheels are turning, grinding, screeching, as I ponder just how my life compares to the life that Christ wants for me and died for. He does it all and I don't remember him ever yelling. It'd be ok if he did but I just don't think that's the way he rolls.
Jimmy Meek
Senior Pastor Colonial Heights Baptist Church
Johnny Hunt said something else Wednesday night that has me thinking. He said that if we spend more on anything in any given month than we've spent on the church we need to question it. THAT my friends is a whole other blog post.