I think Andrew likes our tradition...what do you think?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
I think Andrew likes our tradition...what do you think?
Monday, December 22, 2008
Andrew found a good place to snuggle up and made himself at home with Aunt Audra
Mom and her first set of kids
I planned the brunch to be a super causal paper plate kind of get together, but as it got closer I decided I wanted them to feel special. I pulled out my nice china and made simple ornament place holders. It was a fun little retreat in the midst of busyness and a chance to spend some time getting to know one another. Isn't that ironic...most friendships are built through time spent being together getting to know each other, these are built through prayer. Ladies, you are a gift!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I heard a sermon preached by John Piper that he preached at a missionary conference a few months ago about a verse in Colossians. It is Colossians 1:24 and it says Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. Just in case you are unsure, these are the words of Paul, who I have heard referred to as the first missionary.
Piper addresses the text much more fully than I could and you can hear his sermon on it here, but it has been stuck in my head and I can't seem to get it out. You see, within about one week of hearing that sermon I had the opportunity to hear from 3 different missionaries. Missionaries who are willing to give up the comfort of home, the comfort of America, to go and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
First, I was privileged to get to invite into my home 3 Mongolian Christians (a single male, a couple and their 8 month old baby)who are training here locally to go to an extremely dangerous, dark place to share Jesus Christ with people they do not know. It is a place that I could not go and would not be allowed entry into. It is a place that no Christian literature is allowed in (including Bibles) and where little freedom exists. It is a place where these missionaries will literally risk their lives to go. So why would they go? They love Jesus and they want to tell others about Him. It is plain and simple and they are working diligently to move forward in this way. They have a bold faith that no one can doubt. You may think they are crazy but you never doubt their love for the Savior and the value they place on Him.
Next, our care group invited a sweet young couple to come and share about what they are going to do and where they are going to serve. They will be in Northern Africa working with Muslims there. They are going to live in a place that lacks all the comforts of home, you know the basics that we take for granted like running water, and an oven and stove top to cook with. They are planning to go and live among the people as the people live and share the love of Christ with them.
Lastly, our Perspectives class had David Sitton come and speak. Trace and I were privileged to pick him up at the airport and spend some time with him over dinner. He is the founder of To Every Tribe Ministries and, using his own words for many martyr missionaries, he is what I would call a "fool for Jesus". He speaks truth boldly and is challenging to listen to. He calls us as Christians to lay it all down and to be willing to go anywhere and do anything for the name of Jesus Christ. He says that to be a Christian you cannot be a coward, because he believes Christians should live in all boldness, power, and authority that we have been given in Christ Jesus. He speaks this way only because he has lived this way. He was a missionary in Papa New Guinea for 15+ years and he has been beaten and almost killed for the name of Christ. He has lived out the faith he calls us to.
I have been given a visual, a face, to go with the idea of filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions. Yes, Christ's death on the cross is the only thing that can make us right with God. It is through this sacrifice that we are saved, by grace alone. However, the filling up of His suffering allows others to see suffering on Christ's behalf, to get a picture of what He did for them. I have seen no one suffer, but the Lord has blessed me with the honor to see the face of those who have and who may suffer for the name of Christ. It does something to a person when they get the depth of that. It has done something to me to begin to dig deeper into this truth and to begin to see more clearly what it really is that Christ has done for me.
In all honesty, I get dull to the gospel. I hate to say that but it is true. It can become a story I have heard my whole life that has little weight or impact on me. There are times when it may not impact the way I live all that much. It can even seem untrue sometimes or hard to believe ( I mean God has done some pretty remarkable things like the virgin birth and the resurrection of Christ). I can doubt, I can question truth. Please hear me say I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe He was both man and God, and I believe He died for my sins and has risen from the dead. But sometimes my human tendency to understand it all in a clear logical way creeps in and I can experience doubt. Seeing the disciples die for their faith gave weight to what they spoke, the message they preached. It filled up what was lacking in Christ's afflictions for those people who saw them willing to die for this truth they proclaimed. The same is true today...when Christ followers are willing to suffer for the sake of Christ completes what is lacking for us.
It doesn't make sense that suffering would be the tool that the Creator of the Universe would use to conquer evil and redeem souls. It doesn't make sense that in God's Mercy He would allow His followers to suffer so harshly. I have to remind myself all the time that Christ died and He calls all of us to come and die to follow Him. If Jesus would suffer and die, why would His followers be spared the same suffering. Of course some of us are called to suffer and of course God would use it. His means of deliverance and salvation for all of us is a bloody cross. No, it doesn't make sense. The King of All coming as a baby, dieing on a cross. He didn't have to do this, but He chose to.
This Christmas God has drawn me near to Him, nearer to the reality of what the birth of His son means for us. You can't separate the baby in a manger from the body on the cross. He came to die. He has taught me a little more about what it means to suffer and my heart has been filled with awe and wonder. He has done this through the suffering of His servants. The willingness to look fear in the face and proclaim He is greater! May your holidays bring you Awe and Wonder at what He has done for us.
Maybe this has given you a tiny glimpse into what the Lord is doing in my life...He is calling me more and more to come, follow Him, and die to self and to fear.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I love you, my sweet Aidan!
That afternoon Trace took Aidan to Holiday in the park at a local park. They bring in snow for 2 days every year. They have a small area of snow to play in and an snowy hill to slide on. Aidan had a great time playing and then the boys came home to join us for dinner. We did baths, put on our pajamas and then headed back out to drive through the city of Bethlehem ( a local church does acts out what the town of Bethlehem might have been like on that wonderful night and then ends with a manger scene at the end) and then on to look at lights.
We turned up the fun Christmas music and just enjoyed being all together. We found this one house that has their lights synchronized to Christmas music so they blink with the beats. You tune into a special station so you can pick up the music they play and you can watch the lights dance before your eyes. They even had times when they dumped buckets of snow onto the ground when it fit with the lyrics. My favorite part was the nativity scene and the fact that they had their children come on and read the Christmas story from the bible. It was really neat and we thoroughly enjoyed it (you can tell how much Andrew loved it by the photo below)!
Here is a really bad picture of the house with the lights...it doesn't do it justice AT ALL, but maybe it can give you some vague idea of what it is.
Saturday night I took Aidan and Rebecca to a local pottery store to decorate an ornament each. This is the 3rd year I have done this with Aidan and the second year for Becca. They had fun and now I have two more hand made ornaments to hang on my tree. This weekend was full of some of our favorite Christmas traditions. What are some of your favorite traditions?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Here is to cold winter days and Hot Chocolate to warm you up or if you are Rebecca here is to an excuse to eat marshmallows by the handful. Happy Winter.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Now the Lord is giving Moses the ceremonial law and specifically directions on how to build the tabernacle. On the inside of the Tabernacle there are two rooms: the holy place and the most holy place. They are separated by a curtain. In lecture today at BSF we were taught that the curtain was as thick as the palm of your hand. That is a strong curtain and it was designed to separate the people and to protect them from the Holiness of God that none of us could stand. Once a year the High Priest was allowed to enter into the Most Holy place to sprinkle the Mercy seat with blood that served as an atoning sacrifice for the people. ONCE A YEAR one man could enter into the Most Holy Place where the Lord Dwelled.
How many times a day do I approach the throne of Grace and enter into the presence of the Lord? Not once a year, but daily. Oh how I forget the wonderful privilege I have to go boldly before the throne of Grace. How often do I forget that it is only through Christ's sacrifice that I am worthy to approach my Lord. How often do I forget the sacrifice that was paid in order for me to go before my master in confidence. And from time to time I hold this honor in such low regard that I forget even to pray.
Friends, when Christ died His body was broken and the curtain was torn in half from top to bottom. The curtain was ripped open. He became our mediator and we became High Priests able to boldly approach the throne of Grace. The entrance to the Lord had been blocked, the veil was torn in two. It is wide open today! The sacrifice has been paid and a a new covenant has been established. Hebrews 10:17 tells us that once we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus our sins will be remembered no more. And we learn in Psalms 103 that in His Loving Kindness our sins have been removed from as far as the east to west.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:19-24
May I encourage you to walk in love and good deeds living fully in the Grace you have been offered through the death of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. My prayer is that all that read this will seek the privilege to draw near to God and live in the assurance of things hoped for.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Here are a few of my favorite things that were mentioned this year:
***A few things Daddy said he is thankful for Friday Fun Days ( a special day with Aidan every week), being handed the broken brush after bath (Becca always wants daddy to brush her hair with our handleless brush after her baths), and perfect landings off the ottoman (this includes everyone, but I would guess Andrew especially).
***Mommy is thankful for little boys who eat ice cream with chips (Andrew insisted on using his chips like a spoon), a boy who multiplies, girls that yell way too loud, and the laughter that comes while sliding down the slide all together.
***Aidan is thankful for presents, parties, numbers, and Jesus dieing on the cross.
***Rebecca is thankful for food, grass, paint, butterflies, and Lydia's party.
***Andrew (from mommies observation) is thankful for star burst, chairs and ottomans to climb on and jump off, markers, and Mr. Potatoe head.
I hope you had a very thankful Thanksgiving and that you have a wonderful December celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Please pray for this woman's family. She was a single mom to a 12 year old little girl. She was originally from England so as far as Trace knows she has no family here. Also please lift up the staff at CBI. I can only imagine how difficult it will be for them all to return to work. Many of them, Trace included, had just had conversations with her that morning. It is terribly tragic for everyone involved. Lastly, I would like to ask you to pray for the man who shot her. He was helicoptered to the hospital and is not expected to die. As we all turn our minds to those we love and are so thankful for, may we be mindful and prayerful of those who are suffering so deeply. Thanks for praying!
However, for now I will leave you with a few pictures that I have been meaning to share:
Aidan had his Thanksgiving feast at school last week. Here is a picture of my little Pilgrim. I so enjoy going to his school and being in his classroom and I think he appreciates it also.
We also had an end of the year soccer party for Aidan's team at Chucky Cheeses. It was fun to get together and let Aidan play. This is his coach who was wonderfully encouraging and patient with with boys all year long. He was fantastic and it made for a great team to be a part of. Go Hurricanes!
I hope you have a very restful and relaxing break. We are sure looking forward to slowing down a bit (at least for the next week or so).
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I was working on the computer this afternoon trying to take care of a few things before getting Aidan and the phone rang. I didn't recognize the number but I picked it up anyways and was shocked to hear the man introduce himself as a member of the CBS local news team. He asked for me, of course I thought he had the wrong number or something, but then he started talking about the Moms in Touch prayer group that started out here this year. I realized he had the right person so I listened to him ask if I would be willing to do an interview. Knowing that I have specifically prayed for direction in how to advertise MIT so that other moms will hear about the ministry, I felt like I had no choice but to say yes. I mean how do you ask the Lord something in prayer and then say no when he answers so obviously? I guess I could justify saying no because He answered in a way I would have never imagined and one that I am not all that excited about being a part of, but I know that would be disobedient and so I said yes. I am very nervous about this. I am worried that I won't speak clearly and that I won't look very intelligent, but those things are truly more about me than the Lord. I know that He has ordained this and that He will provide all I need. Please pray for me. Pray that I will boldly proclaim His goodness if I get the opportunity and that the Lord will be glorified.
I was told that they will be here about 7:30 am. so they can get some extra footage of us getting ready. Please pray for a peaceful home and children! You all know how mornings can go and we need tomorrow to not be one of "those" days. Our group meets at 8:15 in the morning so they will follow us there to get some more footage and somewhere during this time they will interview me and possibly the other moms. As long as all goes as planned they said it would be on the 6:00 news on CBS 19 and then it would be on the website for a while. Please also pray that other moms see this and that the Lord stirs in their heart a desire to be a part of this ministry.
If you have kids in school I cannot encourage you enough to be a part of one of these groups. Prayer is such a gift and this is such a well developed ministry with very wise leaders and wonderful materials to help you start or join another group. GO read more about it. Friday mornings truly are my favorite mornings of the week since beginning this group.
Monday, November 10, 2008
It was a very small race, but being in a small race has its advantages! Several of us got a medal. Andrea got a small trophy for getting 3rd overall out of all the women. Maureen came in right behind Andrea and was the winner in her age division and I followed behind them (by about a minute) but I managed to get second in my age group. It was fun to show Aidan that mommy got a medal after he finished his soccer game. He thought it was pretty neat and I found it to be quite humorous...I sure was not expecting that. So I guess the Azalea 10k is next in the Spring. Would anyone else like to join us?
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It brings tears to my eyes! Lord, you are so faithful to answer our prayers. You are captivating Aidan's little heart. Lord hold Him tight! May he walk closely with you in righteousness all the days of His life. I pray that He grows into a young man who lives a life radically sold out for Jesus Christ!
The kids also ate mummy dogs for dinner and parents had chili dogs.