Tuesday, December 31, 2013
After reading a particular article posted on Facebook from a church friend at Fellowship Greenville - http://www.russellmoore.com/2008/05/29/transracial-adoption-the-gospel-and-you/
...I decided to blog about something. As we church searched, I made a comment that seemed very obvious to me, but I realized that not many people think about it. I refuse to make my home church a place where I only see white people.
There are several reasons for this.
First of all, I grew up in a church that was filled with people of all different races, and so I thought all churches just loved people in all their variety, and that God does, too. Well, I was wrong about all churches - true churches, yes - but it taught me from an early age that God made variety and loves variety. I want that for my children. I grew up and would meet people and I would just know them... I didn't think "She's Hispanic, she's black, she's white, she's Asian." (With the exception of my best friend calling me orange... I knew I wasn't white and that proves it!)
Secondly, I would hate to be a part of a congregation where I couldn't bring my friend, someone who needs to hear about Jesus, or someone who's church seeking like me, because they wouldn't be welcomed. That would be so, so sad, if a difference so superficial got in the way of someone hearing God's Word and growing in His word.
And, honestly, if I bring someone who's Asian and all they see is white people, maybe it would be hard to feel connected. I think I've been to a couple of services where I've been the only white person, but I didn't really feel like that was important or on my mind, because I was welcomed, engaged, and people took the time to really have conversations with me. But I can imagine it would be nice to see someone else there that looks like me. I think that's human. (Personally, I don't think I'd care. I'm more about where God's leading me.)
So, I'm comfortable calling our new church home, and I know I might be weird for even thinking about these things, but I'm not afraid to think about any subject, or discuss it. Also, I'm not saying all churches have to be like evenly mixed or something. There are some churches that are culturally knit closer than others - I know one of my old churches had a whole congregation that met on Sunday nights that was all Spanish speaking, and another all Arabic speaking people, and I was invited to attend the Arabic services (but I was working in the nursery and could not). I just refuse to be a part of a close minded congregation that isn't focused on the Gospel and more focused on people's clothes, hair styles, skin color, makeup, weight, etc.
Oh, and one more thing... how would my sister have felt?
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
I have many goodbyes to say.
I have presents to finish, a meeting to attend, a presentation, and I really need to get by Brookwood, Publix, and Mr. K's Bookstore soon.
I need to wash my car, too.
So many things to do...
Lord, just keep my eyes on you.
Friday, November 1, 2013
In exactly a month, we'll have our last day in Greenville. In some ways, I'm so ready... just to be there instead of in between, to be with Erik daily again. In other ways, well, I don't want to leave the best city I've ever known, the people who are close to me... I know this is going to be hard. But I trust God with all my heart!
I have been working on my speeches for the upcoming 3 events, trying to finish my Christmas cards, and wrapping Christmas presents. I am getting close to being finished with a lot of those. I need to start packing for Wednesday soon, really. I want to be very organized about it!
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
There are many ways you can "work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters," as Colossians 3:23 says. For one thing, your attitude about work is called to change just by your reading that one verse! When you're working for God, you can't complain and fuss or pout. If you're the only one not complaining, you'll be noticed, and that gives you the opportunity to give God the glory! Is it worth joining in and complaining about a task when you can, instead, shine for Jesus by putting your pride aside?
Philippians 2:14-16 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, 'children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.' Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life."
Also, your work ethic is important. A work ethic is the standard to which you do your work, and the manner in which you accomplish it - if you have a good work ethic, your motivation to do your best drives you to complete tasks on time, to produce quality results, and to put true effort into what you take on. You're not trying to be a teacher's pet by doing your best - you're trying to please your Creator, who's given you the abilities to succeed.
Another way you can shine is to make sure you are honest in all manners. This is especially hard for some students. It's easy to copy someone else's math problems when you "didn't have time" to do all of your homework because you were studying for another class's tests; easy, and wrong. It's easy to read something online or in a book, and seeing it is worded just so perfectly, copy that into your paper, and "just not say" it's someone else's words; easy and wrong. It's hard to do the right thing, but it's worth it.
From your thoughts to your actions to your words, you will have many opportunities every day to shine for the Lord. Will you choose to do the right thing, or will you choose the easy way out?
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
If it entertains you, I kept some really funny things with me. I have all my Christmas cards and letters, all my Christmas gift bags, some Christmas gifts, 120 GGFG books, lots of snack foods, a small box of crafts and note cards, and 3 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes - none of which are going with me when I leave.
Unfortunately, I think I forgot to run the last load of dishes... and I forgot to get the placemats out of the dryer. And I need to take one last load of trash out. But I think I'm good besides that... we'll see what tomorrow brings (or breaks).
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I'd go to the gym, work out about 45 mins, and then take a shower. Maybe I'd run to the bank or the grocery store on the way to or from. I'd have time to return things, or pick up dry cleaning or a headlight bulb for the car. There's always some little errand that needs to be done.
I'd have lunch, and, depending on what I'm making, I'd start on dinner. I'd sweep, mop, vacuum, dust, scrub tubs and sinks and toilets, wipe down counters and clean the stove, fridge, and microwave.
I'd re-order contacts, call about appointments, and pick up things that get left undone. I'd do simple repairs and replacements. I'd volunteer at church, I'd bring someone a meal when they are sick, I'd take the time to write letters and cards. I'd call a friend.
I'd do emails for GGFG, book marketing, still would manage incoming articles and scheduling... I'd work harder on the second book.
I'd have evenings with my husband.
And I haven't even thrown in kids, yet!
Sunday, September 29, 2013
If people would just read the URL for some of the articles they post... they might have a clue that the reason some of these are "so unbelievable" is because they really are fakes. Do some research, validate your sources are real, and notice the citations (or lack thereof).
Sometimes people have good motives in posting / reposting. But if you are reposting, you should try to make sure it is the truth.
The amount of fake and even comedic blogs that are given the same credibility as verified sources are has increased drastically on Facebook. People need to develop their research skills.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Eau Gallie First Baptist
First Baptist Mauldin
Calvary Chapel / The Chapel Store
Mr. K's Bookstore
Buncombe Street United Methodist
There are several churches or groups that haven't set any dates but we're talking :)
Friday, September 27, 2013
Things that I'm keeping with me:
1. Cleaning supplies. Last out, first in.
2. Also first needs: roll of toilet paper, paper towels, and a couple of hotel handsoaps.
3. My journals and irreplaceable books, GGFG stuff
4. Laptop and gadgets
5. Important papers
6. JAKE! and her seed and water and all
7. My spices
8. Some simple tools
9. Clothes for Fall and Winter (layers)
10. Peanut butter from Publix
Thursday, September 26, 2013
The things that have complicated my decisions:
1. The seasons are changing - and it's going to be way colder there than it gets here.
2. I'm taking a big trip to Florida before we leave (but after our stuff gets packed up). GGFG, you're worth the chaos. I have to lug around... let's just say, a lot of books :)
3. I have to keep out the Christmas presents, cards, etc.
4. Erik's down there... I'm up here... I'm still working. :/
5. If I for whatever reason lost everything that was getting moved (due to mold, fire, whatever), what would I absolutely have to keep? My Awana books and journals instantly came to mind, but there are other things, like my antique plaque from my great-grandmother with the verse on it.
6. My office didn't quite get perfectly organized still... but it's getting better.
7. My bird, Jake, has to keep a routine.
8. We'll be house-less just long enough my travel size stuff won't be enough... but I'll need the travel sized stuff for FL and the trip to Kansas.
9. Thanksgiving. I'm going to have a hard time not having my kitchen around then.
Monday, September 23, 2013
The books would have never been printed, not even shelved.
And 19 girls in a girls' home wouldn't have 19 books.
Who know who might be saved while reading the words of girls like them?
And if you never tell someone you $60, they'll never know.
If you don't have the $60, you can't afford to enter a book into a contest.
And if the book were to win, you'd increase your exposure by 200%.
It could happen, you know.
So I'm not too proud to ask.
And if you never tell someone you have a book, they certainly won't put it on their shelves.
They'll just sell the same old books they already are.
They've never heard of you or your webzine.
So if you're too scared to walk in, they'll never know.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
First, the obvious sadness - that their parents died while their children were young, that the brother died so young, and now the woman died in this accident. Also, it is so bizarre that the latter two accidents' sites were not far apart - sad and strange.
What I also find sad... and this may just be the news article's lacking... is that these kids were not given much attention in the story. I wonder who they will stay with... I wonder if their mother's boyfriend mentioned, is their dad. Or if he is at least committed to them.
If he is the dad... I think it's sad that he was just the boyfriend, and not her husband - three kids and you can't commit? Or maybe this was a new relationship. Maybe something went wrong before. I'd hate to be this guy, though, because if he's got a conscience at all, he's going to be struggling about the accident that left three children motherless.
I also think it was sad... (I don't have kids but...) that this woman was out so late at night when she has three young kids. I can see going out with your guy for a great evening, but if you're out in the wee hours of the morning, what are you doing? Not much is open. If you're out til the sun's up, what energy are you going to give your kids the next day?
And practically - did they have an all night babysitter? Or did they dump the kids at a relative or friend's house so they could go party? She was 23... if she was going out all night regularly, she wasn't taking responsibility and putting herself aside for the routine that three small children require.
I can't imagine this story is completely uncommon - maybe not the tragic ending, but the choices that lead up to this kind of situation...
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The next thing I knew we were downtown and supposedly we could work on a project on the laptop; he'd brought it, but we ended up not even bringing out of the truck. Apparently I didn't care, because I didn't ask about that. So we walked for a while... and ended up on the bridge at Falls Park. We were standing there and he was teasing me because I'm scared to look straight down. He said he would stand behind me for thirty seconds and I was supposed to look straight down.
I said something like, "This just isn't doing anything for me, I just imagine people falling."
And I think he said something like, "Well how about this?"
And I turned around...
And he was down on one knee, will you marry me?
This can't be for real. It is... wow. Is this really happening? Tonight? Just a day, just an ordinary day...
He said something about "How's that for an adrenaline rush?"
I didn't know what to do with myself. I honestly couldn't think straight. I felt so light-headed!
I remember taking a step, apparently I said yes, taking another step...
Uh-oh, a little big...
"Quick, let's get off the bridge!"
We watched a wedding reception for a little while after that... too perfect :)
Friday, August 30, 2013
In case you are totally unaware, on the other hand, there's been a movement for a long time called "Home Church" or having "House Church." Despite the fact that this seems to be a phrase with multiple definitions, I would like to refer to the ones that hold church exclusively with immediate family members as "Home Churches" for this article, and ones with limited but multiple families included as "House Churches." I found naming them useful, because they are different.
I would like to exclude House Churches that meet once a week as a big church, because the things I'm discussing may not apply. Those kinds of House Churches act much like Small Groups and are almost indistinguishable in difference to me.
For the most part, I find less issues within the House Churches, as there are multiple leaders / fathers included. For one thing, I think these different families coming together could more easily keep each other in check with what the Scriptures teach, and accountable in leadership in general. I read an article in USA Today that is a basic introduction to the concepts: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-07-22-housechurch21_ST_N.htm
I think the article's title describes the goal - to keep things small, simple,and friendly. The potential for encouragement and accountability is certainly attractive and necessary.
I see a danger for both Home Churches and House Churches "that are started in an effort to counter 'the institutional church.'" This idea is found on http://www.gotquestions.org/home-church.html, which also
points out, "while often listing the above reasons to more closely align with the biblical model, the real reason often seems to be displeasure with large church movements." This seed of bitterness can be detrimental to spiritual growth. More time can be wasted avoiding structure or traditions, complaining about how "they" are (referring to large churches), that could be used to further the Gospel and build one another up.
Even in House Churches, I see a potential for neglecting the structure of the church found in the Bible. "In Acts there is a leadership structure including apostles, pastors and deacons." (http://www.connectboise.org/?p=1838 ) And since House Churches and Home Churches often say their ideas are Scripturally based, I hope they don't ignore that the Scriptures teach "in Acts they met daily 'in the Temple' and 'from house to house,'" that is, both at a larger setting with other parts of the body of Christ, and smaller gatherings.
In both scenarios, I like ConnectBoise's questions, and think that these are worth answering. Some groups may have answers to these questions, and if so, who could find fault? But, if the Home Church or House Church is isolated, it isn't building into others' lives, so it is a danger. Considering the questions could be beneficial:
"Where are the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers? Where are the deacons? How do you send missionaries? How do you plant churches? How do you fulfill the great commission? How do you utilize your gifts for the body of Christ?"
"The house church can lack organization, focus, mission, leadership, and accountability if not tied to a fellowship and /or leadership of apostles or those in other positions of authority in the church...
1. A disconnect from other believers or churches around them
2. No clear leader
3. No significant financial contributions
4. No missions sending capacity or apostolic function
5. A closed mind to meeting with larger bodies"
In Home Churches, I have gathered that the father leads, and assuming he isn't going to just up and leave, what happens if he becomes ill? Travels for work? There's not much support for the family if there's just them. Even in House Churches, there is potential for a lack of support: "If the house church depends on one leader to do everything, it can quickly fall apart if the leader leaves."
I found a site where a man shared his experiences and talked about his decision to move to House Church:
He says there was "so much activity (conferences, seminars, mega churches, parachurch ministry, books, etc.) with so little impact," (John White), and I can agree with him. While leading Cru and a youth group, I became frustrated by the big push for events with Cru, and the ineffectiveness of some events with our youth. The ones who knew God could grow in the weekly meetings and serving at special events, but the ones that didn't care, didn't care more or less because they attended these things. Their relationships with God were personal, and I couldn't sit with them every morning and read their Bibles with them and pray with them. What they gained from what we provided was ultimately up to them and God. And becoming ultra busy and spending lots of money wasn't a responsible way to act. What were we modelling? I still cringe when a teen says to me, "We're going to this conference and going to get our Jesus fill!" Ummm... wrong on so many levels... 2 hours after they come back, hey, even on the ride back, what's changed?
No church setting is perfect, because it's made up of imperfect people. There are two extremes to every problem, and it's easy to get off focus. If you're a part of a group that's more focused on bashing everyone else / their system than furthering the Gospel and creating opportunities that disciple over a lifetime, consider sharing with your group that anything that doesn't glorify God and encourage others is time wasted. Study God's Word, seek Him daily.
What do you think about House Churches? Home Churches? Other forms?
Thursday, August 29, 2013
By Hillary Beth
You will never be able to fill someone else's need.
In this life, you might encounter people who need healing from painful situations. You'll meet people who need love and have never known anyone who truly loved them. You might find that a friend or family member needs guidance, forgiveness, or comfort. You might come to know someone who wants a really close relationship, to feel known and appreciated. In the right context, all of these things are okay, and it is good and right and our duty even, to be there for others; the Bible tells us:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
For people who need healing, remember, you are not their Healer. Only God can fulfill that role. Only God knows their deepest hurts, and their deepest needs. You can help point them to God, and start them on the right path to healing, and even walk alongside them in that journey, but you can't "fix" them.
There are people who need love and have never known anyone who truly loved them. You can show them love because God has shown you love. The best thing to do is to not forget that God is not only the best example of love through Christ's death for us, but also has changed your life daily with that same love.
You might find that a friend or family member needs guidance, forgiveness, or comfort. To a degree, you can offer these things - you can give someone advice, you can forgive those that have wronged you, and you can comfort those who have lost a loved one or something dear to them. But ultimately, God knows everything, all sin is against God, and God's comfort is the deepest comfort there is. So, unless a person seeks God, makes peace with God, and finds their peace in Him, that person will remain lost and broken deep inside.
You might come to know someone who wants a really close relationship, and wants to feel known and appreciated. We encourage each other by offering kind words, thanking others, recognizing others in their successes, and letting others shine instead of stealing the lime light all the time. But some people are never satisfied, and never feel famous enough, appreciated enough, or close enough to another person (think of someone who's very clingy, or doesn't know what to do unless they are following someone else around). This person desires a close relationship with God, whether they realize it or not, and can develop their identity better when they stop trying to find their identity in others and find it in their Creator.
As a Christian, you must keep this in mind - you are not, and cannot pretend to be, someone else's Savior, nor should you seek that someone else be that for you. No person can satisfy another person in the way God does; no person is good enough, knowledgeable enough, or able to love like God loves us.
What Christ has done on the cross is good enough for those who are in need - and good enough for you. If you are feeling unsatisfied today, ask God for your needs -
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.