Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Church Needs The Orphan

"Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them." Psalm 12:5

I'm not sure what the Lord is trying to tell me..... Well, I know what He is trying to tell me. He's telling me to get off my "bum" and help the needy!!!! But, for years I've been praying, "To what degree are You calling me and my family to 'help'?" And that's all I've done - just prayed and sat here on my "bum" waiting for Him to put a Neon Sign over my head with specific instructions.

I've been convicted over the years that God's Word SPECIFICALLY states that it is the responsibility of Christians (the church) to help the oppressed and the orphan. My heart has ached for underprivileged children since I was a teenager. I make jokes about how I will NEVER be able to take a mission trip for fear of not be able to minister to anyone because all I will do is 1) cry and 2) try to cram as many kids as I can into my duffel bag to take home with me!!

I have a precious quote from a "blogger" friend of mine named Lorie. I feel that we share the same heart in Spirit --- but she has adopted several children from overseas. Please read her words about the orphan and the church as she talk about her sweet daughter, Grace.

"I look at those pitiful pictures of an emaciated baby who was abandoned.... I can hardly believe it's my Grace. So many people see those old pictures and say, Oh how lucky she is to have you all as a family. The opposite is really the truth. We needed Grace- perhaps more than she needed us.

That's the strange thing about orphans that I don't think most Christians, or churches, understand. Yes, the orphan needs the church-- no doubt. But, the church needs the orphan. With our high-tech worship services and our multi-million dollar worship centers, the church needs to remember where they came from... we were all orphaned once.

The church needs the orphan... perhaps more than the orphan needs the church. Think about it...."

WOW - what a wonderful thought that she has challenged us (me!) with:) So, the question is: what are we doing? Are you sitting on your "bum" like I have been?

My ministry Speaking Thru Me, has recently partnered with Compassion International and I'm finally stepping out into action and sponsoring a child. Her name is Rachael, she lives in an Aids infected area in Kenya. She's only four years old --- and a smile that would light up a room.

Part of me says --- but this is only 1! Am I making a difference over 1? Matthew 25:40 says, “Whatever you have done unto one of the least of these, my brothers, you have done it to Me.”

My friend Lorie would answer, "So, does saving one child really matter in the big picture? After all, there are 145 million orphans worldwide. Saving one doesn’t even put a dent in that statistic. But, my God is not a God of statistics. He is personal and He is close to the poor and the orphaned. So close in fact, that He actually becomes the poor when we minister to them. Look again at Matthew 25:40. “Whatever you have done unto one….” Yes, one does matter."

I have listed various opportunities for you to pray about how God would lead you to save, just one.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are You A Joy?

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden." Hebrews 13:7

We have very few rules at our house. As a matter of fact - I only have 5 written on the side of our refrigerator door. Instead of a long list of: don't hit, don't run, don't color on the walls, don't sit on the dog, don't lick your dad's glasses (yes - I have had to literally say the last two "do not's" to my son!) don't..... whatever the case may be, I've tried to focus on the heart issues.

One of those issues and rule number 4 is Be Respectful. Under Be Respectful I have the above verse listed (for each short rule I have one related verse).

Well, this verse has been written and said MANY times in the last few weeks at our house. My oldest daughter is really struggling with immediate obedience and respecting authority. I guess a pet-peeve of mine is someone rolling their eyes. Even if I see another child do that it takes everything in me to not shout, "Excuse me?".

But, I'm learning that I need to make this verse into a prayer and not just something that I make Savannah write 20 times for poor behavior so that it will sink into her brain! I want this to sink into her heart. AND --- why do I always tend to think - "Oh, this verse is for the kids." Isn't it for me, too? Am I a joy? YIKES! A lot of times --- no, I'm not.

I've always had the fear that one of my children would be the dreaded child of his/her class. You know - the one where if that particular child is absent the teacher does a little happy dance. Maybe you were that child once --- maybe you have one now and you know it! Even worse, maybe you don't know it!! Maybe you are a teacher who did the happy dance this week. Or, maybe you are a Mom with a list of rules for your kids that you don't always follow yourself.

So, let's do a heart check together. Are you (not your kids) - you, are you a joy? When you go to work are others glad to see you? Do you give your supervisor lip on occasion or possibly roll your eyes? Are you quick to obey those in authority over you? Are you quick to obey God?

Yes - this verse is a great verse for our kids. But first, let's pray this for ourselves so that our kids can see us live this our first hand.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Have You Gotten Your Hands Dirty?

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." Romans 1:16

On our pantry door in the kitchen we have two large dry erase calendars. For the month of January - as odd as this sounds, I was too busy to even stop and fill it out!! Which - was not good, I was a mess all month! So, last week I made it a point to stop and fill out the calendar for Feb., March and even part of April.

The Lord has blessed me with many speaking opportunities between now and April (in addition to teaching opportunities at my own church) and my older daughter noticed my schedule. She asked me, "Mom, are you a missionary?" I said, "Why do you ask that?" She replied, "Well, I saw your calendar and you sure are going a lot of places to tell people about Jesus." I thought for a moment and said, "I never thought about it that way, but I guess I am." Which led us to a discussion of how you don't have to live in Africa to be a missionary or be a witness for Christ.

But to be honest with you --- it's really easy for me to travel, stand in front of tons of people I don't know and proclaim Christ. I love it --- and I really prefer it! You see, when the rubber hits the road - I am ashamed of the gospel.

What??? You might be thinking! How can you be ashamed, especially when you are teaching it??? Well, the answer to that is this: I don't like to get my hands dirty. It's easy for me to teach to 100's of people from a distance, BUT to develop a relationship with someone who is not a Christian or who is not living a lifestyle for Christ or who has a background of drugs or who has difficult family circumstances ---- to have get to know the good, the bad and the ugly that comes along with relationships - I don't want to get my hands dirty. I can write you a check - but I don't want to know you.

Sound harsh? It is - and it's not pretty, but if I told you anything different it would just be a lie!

Thank the LORD, he brought this attitude of the heart to my attention. And - as I have been praying for opportunities to minister, to get my hands dirty, He has been faithful to provide. They have all been baby steps for me (kinda like I mentioned in my Perfectionist post). Here is a quick examples:

At Christmas time - one of our staff asked my if our new "Newly Married" Sunday School Class that my husband and I teach would be willing to help a family in need. Well - who doesn't want to help a family in need at Christmas! So I said, of course;) I intended to go back to the class, take up money, get a few gifts and call it quits. After all - isn't that what we all do at Christmas? Do the majority of people REALLY get to know the family they are ministering too?

Our staff had other plans --- before even collecting the first dime, Russ and I were to go over and visit the family. So - we squeezed it in our schedule some how all the while I was still looking at this as something to scratch off my "to do" list.

We met a Great Aunt and Great Uncle who were raising four children. The kids ranged in ages from 5 - 12 years old. The oldest - a boy, immediately became Russ' best friend. The girls drug me all over the house showing me things. These kids were starving for some extra attention. Their Great Aunt and Uncle love them and are doing the best they can --- but they have a hard life. By the time we left - I was moved to tears and couldn't believe that I had been so reluctant to visit. We invited them to church and they came! Not only did they come - but Russ and I have acquired 4 new kids to sit with at church. We've picked them up from class, we've gone to their ball games --- we look forward to seeing them each week.

Sometimes when I'm sitting with them in church - I try to hold back the tears, but I can't (I'm sure the kids think I'm crazy). I just want to "fix" them! All their hurts, all their confusion, all their finances --- I just want it fixed. I can't "fix" them, but I can offer them salvation through Christ.

I am just the missionary called to not be ashamed of the gospel. And to share His love with every hug, with every high five and in every conversation. Ultimately, this family is His. And, I will praise Him and thank Him for this very spacial opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and get my hands dirty.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Purse Winner

Congrats to Stacey Preston! She is the winner of the Purse Give Away:)

You can check out her personal blog at