Friday, February 22, 2008

Is That Really Me?!

Is that me? Or maybe it should better be titled - you sound completely different to other people than you do when you listen to yourself. What a morning!!! Have you ever listened to yourself on the radio or TV or even taped yourself with a small recorder? Let's just say that others get to experience a whole different listening pleasure than we think!! What a hoot!!

I've told you before that I have had some awesome opportunities given to me by God through my ministry with By Design. This morning was another one of those times. We had the wonderful opportunity to have a live radio interview with a local station,WIMO AM1300, out of Winder, GA. The radio staff was very gracious to all of us. The Lord blessed the time this morning both for the station staff and us. Now, generally speaking, I have no trouble getting up in front of a group of children to teach or singing in front of a crowd of strangers - if not in close proximity or if I am separated by a great distance and a stage, but anything else is usually a little unnerving. Even though no one listening in to the station could see me, can I just tell you - I was nervous. The more I tried not to sound "southern" with my accent, the more pronounced it was. I guess a career in radio is out of the question!!

This whole thought process of sounding much different than what my interpretation of me is has got me thinking this morning. Is the "me" that I think I am really who others around me see? Or, more importantly than that, do I accurately portray the "me" that God sees? My honest answer would have to be, "no, not always." Sometimes I get so caught up in the everyday "stuff" of my life that it is like I have blinders on and they are caked over with the mud and grime of traveling down the road of daily living. Sometimes I am so busy trying to be mom and be wife and be business owner and be worship leader and whatever else is on my plate that particular day that I forget to just "be". God wants me to just "be" and let Him handle the stuff that is thrown at me ninety miles an hour. If I could just learn the lesson of not just believing in Him but believing Him, WOW, my life would change dramatically! Do you get the difference in those two statements? One is just a passive "yea, I believe that chair is big enough to hold me if I sit down in it" and the other is active present participle belief - my rear is IN the chair, and I am actively sitting in it. The first one is just lip service; the second one is active body movement. The difference is HUGE!!!! God is teaching me so much about this very thing right now! I am seeing Him work in some really neat ways that can only be explained by "it's a God thing". Now, I don't claim to have one ounce of perfection in me (though some closest to me may laugh at that statement); so, it is a constant battle of the mind for me not to get discouraged and have my doubts some days. I go back to the lip service because I think that it might be safer that day than putting my foot on the line and crossing it. But, even my most chickeny days I know that I serve a mighty God! He has promised that if I have the faith (that active belief) - He will move the mountains. He doesn't call me to use my muscles to move those heavy objects in my life. What He does call me to do is use my life lines - my Bible and my prayer time with Him.

This post took a completely different turn than where I originally thought I would take it today, but that's okay. God was writing it as fast as my fingers could type. So, my challenge for you today is this - are you going to just give God lip service with passive belief in Him? Or, will you be active in your belief?


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Call to Prayer

As many of you know, ministry is very much a part of my life. Through By Design, God has opened up some really neat doors for me to walk through. He has given me opportunities that I probably would not have had if not for my ministry with By Design. Each one of us in the group has felt a special calling about hands-on ministry work - not just standing from a distance, but getting our hands and feet dirty in the process. God has blessed us with some incredible working relationships that allow just that. One of them is with StreetWise Ministries.

Earlier this year, Pat and Terry Powell of StreetWise put out a cry for help to many of their contacts asking for sponsorship for a Women's Retreat that they are hosting for some of the ladies that are actively involved with the weekly Bible Study. By Design answered the call and has sponsored five ladies to be able to go on the retreat. I wanted to post a little bit about each of these ladies so that many more prayers could be lifted up for them. Please pray for each one of these ladies by name. Pray that God would touch them in such a way this weekend that they will know Him like they never have before. Each one of them faces huge obstacles on a daily basis many of which I would not wish on my worst enemies. Pray for God's anointing of the conference leaders. Pray that Satan has no authority over anyone or anything there at the conference. Pray a hedge of protection and safety for everyone involved.

Here are the names of the ladies and a little background for each of them.
  • Helena Marshall - young mother and prostitute. She has made a commitment to get "clean". She is new to the Bible Study.
  • Sandra Dye - Dying of AIDS. She is a Christian and has been committed to the Bible Study for some time. Her son was shot and killed last year. She is very sad and lonely right now.
  • Sharon Montgomery - new to the Bible Study. She is probably not saved, but we don't know for sure, yet.
  • Jessica Clemmons - mother of 6 kids. She is new to the Bible Study. Her mother brought her. She wasn't able to find childcare to come on the retreat, but her mom committed to stay behind and keep her children so that she could come.
  • Keianda Holmes - not sure about her. She could possibly be trouble for the weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines' Day Everyone

Valentine, Valentine, will you be my Valentine? Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Sugar is Sweet and So are You. I can remember as a child looking forward to this particular "holiday" at school because it was my chance to share with my friends those "special" store-bought treasures of friendship. I would carefully select "the one" for each child in my class and then wait anxiously until I got to school to place them in each mailbox. This year was no different. I helped each one of my children select their valentines. It was interesting to watch them select with careful thought just the right valentine for each friend. Shades of yester-years flashed through my mind. And, then the talk on the way to school was all about their mailboxes that they had made to hold all the goodies they would receive from their friends.

Well, I don't send store-bought valentines anymore to all my friends at school, but I did want to take just a moment to say "Happy Valentines' Day" dear friends. You all are the very best!!!! So, I pray that today you will feel the warm, unconditional, everlasting love of Jesus all day long.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Catchin' Up

Okay, I know that I have not been faithful to my blog for about 6 weeks now. I basically have not even been on the computer except for work. Between year-end deadline for taxes and a million other things floating around my house I feel like I have been living in a vacuum. So, in an effort to redeem myself and catch up on all that has been going on in my life.......... here it goes.

Christmas was great for our family this year. All of the kids are now old enough to really enjoy the season. Teaching them about the giving part was fun, too. Each child got to "shop" at school for gifts for the family. They all had so much fun picking out things for each member of the family and bringing it home to put under the tree. And, I was really proud of Marshall this year. He actually bought things that his sisters would like instead of buying what he would like to have for himself and trying to say it was for his sisters. We broke down and bought a new video camera for the family (that was my gift) this year. Michael and Marshall really got to break it in good. Everytime I turned around, it was headed to the woods to "film a hunting video". They are quite hilarious!!!! You should have seen Marshall whispering and talking to the camera as if he was on one of those hunting shows on TV. I laughed until I cried!!!!! Well, that in a nutshell was Christmas.

The kids didn't go back to school until January 7th; so, we had quite a lot of time on our hands. By the time the vacation was ending, mama was ready for all of them to head on back to class.

By Design had a few things as well over the Christmas holidays. Between preparing for a state-wide conference and some local engagements, we were hopping. God is really blessing the ministry in ways that we can't even fully see right now. It blows us away when we sit down and think about it. He is so good.

The last week of January, By Design lead worship for the South Carolina State-wide Women's Conference hosted by the Women's Missionary Union of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. What an awesome trip!!!!! We traveled from Greenville to Myrtle Beach and back to Columbia in 3 days!!! Whew!!!!! We were totally exhausted by the time we got back home, but God filled us up with so much stuff. He put together the most awesome team this year to minister along side. The speakers were fantastic, and the music went right along side what each of them had to say.

One of the speakers that really touched my heart was a lady by the name of Debbie Cannada. She and her husband are Southern Baptist Missionaries in the inner city of Charleston, West Virginia. They live and work and minister in one of the roughest parts of downtown Charleston. Her stories of the people she meets and ministers to on a daily basis were incredible. If you ever have the chance to meet her, you will be blessed beyond measure! To look at her she doesn't seem like she would have much to say, but when she speaks.......... you can see Jesus all over her!!! If you know of any churches who would like to hear testimony of how their mission dollars are being spent, Debbie would be a great one to point them to. At the end of her testimony, she sang a song (she sounded like Bett Midler -sp? in her younger days). The chorus went like this....... "Little is much if God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There's a crown and you can win it if you go in Jesus' name." I still can hear her voice singing it and see her arms spread wide open. It brought tears to my eyes every time I heard it.

Okay, now where's my soapbox? Friends, God is waiting for people like you and me to pick up the torch and Go in Jesus' name. He is calling us to move out of our comfort zone (whatever that is for you) and minister. Each one of us is God's chosen one. Just as He called the most unlikely of servants, a little shepherd boy named David to be the king of a great nation, He has called us also. He expects us all to spread His message to everyone that we meet whether they are lovely or unlovely. Little is much if God is in it..... Will you answer His call and go?