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the gods aren’t angry November 30, 2007

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dumb cell phone pic...Tuesday night Jackie & I trekked down to Sommerville to see Rob Bell live. He started out talking about cave people and how they came to see the different elements that keep them alive and how they created these gods that they needed to appease.  They were always trying to make them happy, always needing to give them more so that their made up gods would not become angry.  He then went into the story of Abraham and how when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac he didn’t ask questions because it was a cultural thing to sacrifice children… to give your ultimate offering.  He mentioned how people usually talk about the story as being about Abraham’s faith and if we look at the culture, the story is more about how God provides.  How He provides the offering because He wanted to bless Abraham, and when we give an offering to God… it’s for us to recognize what He has already done for us. Repentence is a way for us to remember what God has already done, He has already forgiven us. 

Through a lot of the evening I kept thinking that I already know this stuff… but enjoyed listening to what he had to say.  I loved the stories that he told.  I loved the heart that he told them from.  When he talked about any ritual that we do, if we do it from a heart of I need to do this to please God (or man)… it is in NO way a Christian ritual, but we need to do things from a heart of I am doing this because I love God and I want to bless Him because He has chosen to bless me.  In the end it was pretty much a 2-hour Nooma.  I am amazed at how much information he has in his brain… he gave a full explaination of man made gods with their names and why they were created, and why most of them are just contradictory and don’t make sense.  He cracked himself up a lot, which made me laugh.  And just like lots of noomas… in the end I was in tears.  One of the main points that I took away is that we need to be a living sacrifice… not just think that we should… we need to live a life blessing others because God has chosen to bless us.

May you come to know that the gods are not angry…

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”
~Romans 12:1

Yea, I almost peed my pants… November 19, 2007

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HA! HA! HA! HA!  I am in the middle of working on something that I need to get done by tomorrow, but I had to post this link that Jackie sent to me… You need to check this out!!!  I think this is the most spectacular thing I have ever seen… I am not sure why Mike didn’t do the sprinkler, that’s a first…  🙂  Kev looks amazing…  I sure can shake it & PD’s definitely learned some things from his daughters…  Thanks Jackie!!!

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” ~John 16:24 November 15, 2007

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Namibian RainGod is so amazing!!  The state of Georgia is suffering from severe drought and expect to loose all water sources within a month.  The Governor called for a prayer service on Tuesday and asked the community to pray for rain outside on the capitol steps.  Wednesday evening the rains came!!  They are still in need of 16 inches in order to bring them up to where they should be, but this is a start. 

I was also praying that God would show up in this situation in order to show the people His glory & I am SO glad that He did!

Rearranged November 9, 2007

Posted by G in mindless ramblings, truth.
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about His will vs. our desires.  I’ve also thought about parts of my story that I haven’t thought about in years or just plain tried to erase from my memory.  I look back at where I’ve been and the person that I am now and I can really smile about it.  Last night I heard a song that brought me right back to where I was toward the end of creating one of these memories…

There was a point in my life where I “knew” I would be married to this guy… he was “the one” and he had our entire life planned before I even realized it.  He could be so loving and thoughtful, but over time he had me completely secluded from reality.  I came to a point where I realized that this was not what my future held and I needed to get out of it.  It took me over a month to get up the nerve to leave.  I actually told his mom that I was going to leave a couple weeks before I told him… man, I just remembered that!!  but finally the moment came and I did it and I never looked back.  The weight that was lifted off my shoulders was amazing, but I had to learn what it was to live again.  I praise God that He has a much better plan for me than I thought possible… and better than I still think is possible…

I’ve also thought about the circumstances that I have endured throughout my life.  I am not one to dwell on the pain… I’ve had things happen to me that runied my ability to trust and given me a fear that I am still trying to overcome, I’ve had my heart broken a few times (thank you God)… but throughout these things… I have learned that I must appreciate the things that God has given me.  I need to love others… even if it hurts.  I need to be obedient to God, even if it’s “not convenient”.  I need to overcome my lack of trust and fear because God did not create me to be that way.  He has given me the circumstances in my life in order to be a gift to others.  To relate to them in ways that someone else can not… which in turn will show His love to them.  Pain and trials are a gift from God.  To make us stronger and bring us closer to Him and others.  The circumstances may be painful and things that I would never desire… and then there may be things that I think would be perfect for me, but He knows better.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
~James 2-4

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
~1 Peter 3-9

I’ve got plans you know… November 8, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings.
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I am not going to go there yet Jackie, but it still may happen… 🙂

Those of you that read this thing (well, at least the 4 I know about… and possibly more that I have no clue are reading) know that I was hoping to be in Namibia right now… I hear it’s quite hot with some rain… In my plan, I would be back next Friday.  But this was not God’s plan… He has given me the desire to be there on a longer term since February of 2004.  I have made up many excuses in my brain why it hasn’t happened & I finally thought that I came to the point where I was out of excuses.  When it got closer to the time for me to go I started looking into airfare & an uneasiness came over me… like it wasn’t time for me to go.  I felt that I was trying to make happen my desires and not His.  I finally left it in God’s hands and asked him to make it clear with the cost of the ticket.  Oh, he made it clear alright an extra $400 clear.  Since the time that I was to leave… I have had more issues with my mom’s estate… a new tenant… sewer… water… furnance… not the easy stuff.  He has made it quite clear to me that it wasn’t His timing, just my desire to make it happen.  

I am still moving forward with spending next summer in Namibia.  There is so much I want to learn about Joan’s ministry and the things that Dieter is doing.  I am amazed at how a moment of stuttering out part of my story in a church service one Thurday evening in February of 2004 has given me such a heart for the women of Namibia.  And I know that I could speak it more clearly today than I ever would have imagined back in that day. 

So, if you could please pray with me for the settling of my mother’s estate, all the issues and repairs that are coming up right now and for God’s will in my moving forward with the things that I know He has called me to do.

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
~Philippians 2:1-4

New Beginnings… November 5, 2007

Posted by G in from the heart, mindless ramblings, youth min.
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I’ve been feeling pretty emotional lately, I haven’t been sure why…  I think I am beginning to understand.

I started a new book goup recently on “The Secret Message of Jesus” by Brian McLaren.  I am really excited for opportunities like this where many people get together to discuss their hearts & opinions.  We’ve only been through the intro & first chapter so I am not sure where it’s heading.  It appears to me that it may be a case of “What if we really lived as Jesus did and as the bible says?”  I am hoping that is the particular direction.  I have really discovered in the past couple of years that my desire is to live that way, but I seem to get stuck in the comfort of my ways, even though my ways are not always so comfortable. 

One thing McLaren states is “What if Jesus’ secret message reveals a secret plan? What if he didn’t come to start a new religion-but rather came to start a political, social, religious, artistic, economic, intellectual and spiritual revolution that would give birth to a new world?  What if his secret message had practical implications for such issues as how you live your daily life, how you earn and spend money, how you treat people of other races and religions and how the nations of the world would conduct their foriegn policy?  What if his message directly or indirectly addressed issues like advertising, parenting, the quest for happiness and peace and racial reconciliation?”  My heart says that this is part of Jesus’ message.  He didn’t come to start a new religion of rules and regulations… He came to teach a message of love and grace… a desire for relationship with Himself and one another…

After the group left I stayed and talked with Jesse & Lisa… & then just Lisa for a while.  We were talking about youth ministry and how God has brought us together with different backgrounds and gifts to be able to relate to kid’s lives.  I mentioned a time when a parent called and asked for Mike.  I let her know that he was not available and if it was something that she could speak with me about.  She mentioned issues that she was having with her daughter and that she would like for someone to meet with the two of them to talk.  I arranged a time for the four of us to meet. After the meeting I asked Mike if he thought the meeting went well and he stated that he never would’ve known the questions to ask in that situation.  After that Lisa mentioned that she has always wanted to ask me about my story.  Truth be told, my story is not something that I like to share, but I decided that I would break down some walls and tell her. 

The abridged version took about 50 minutes.  I told her some things that I can say I have never said out loud and it felt a bit freeing.  I also realized that the emotion that I have been feeling lately is the joy, uncertainty of the unknown and desire to learn that I had when I first came to know what true relationship with God was all about.  He has pursued me throughout my life and has always been straight up with me.  Although I sometimes may feel inadequate, used, not good enough, like no one will love me… He says that I am, He does and He has only the best desires for me.   

“I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within, I lay it all down for the sake of you my King. I’m giving you my dreams, I’m laying down my rights. I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life. And I surrender all to you, all to you.
I’m singing You this song, I’m waiting at the cross and all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss. For the sake of knowing You for the glory of Your name. To know the lasting joy, even sharing in Your pain. And I surrender all to you, all to you.”
~Marc James

Swimming against the flow… November 3, 2007

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I guess it’s national blogging month & a bunch of people I know have joined NaBloPoMo… a challenge to blog every day for the month of November… yea, I won’t be doing that… but my mind has been swimming for a while now… so I’ll see if I can get some of it out soon enough.  🙂