Friday, May 13, 2011

Prom Season 2011

That's right everyone.  I'm ready to join the ranks of the honorable Joe Dietrich and all others that get shamelessly made fun of for offering a sound warning about the temptations you'll face this prom season.  prom (or Jr/Sr Semi Formal Banquet or whatever else you want to call it) can be a really magical time.  I can say that I was blessed to experience two amazing proms with Sean back in the day.  If you've been to my house, you've probably seen the frame of pictures that we have displayed filled with pictures from our high school days together.  Like these...

Prom 2002

Prom 2003

We have some great memories from those times!  We thank God for the ways that he protected us and for the fun that we were able to have together and with our friends.  Since then we have had to walk with others through dark times related to poor choices they made on prom night.

So let me share some wisdom from scripture with you.

I adjure (or urge) you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up or awaken love
until it pleases.
Song of Solomon 8:4

Solomon is famous for his great wisdom, so listen carefully to what he is saying.  Love is a beautiful thing!  But it is also a very powerful thing.  We should NOT take it lightly.  Love is not to be rushed or forced.  So slow down!  Think things through and PRAY!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

We all have a deep desire in us to love and especially be loved.  Its part of what draws us to God the author, introducer, and source of love. This desire is a good and necessary thing.  But when we look to fulfill this desire for love in a way that doesn't involve God, that's when we end up with sick hearts.  Allowing God to fill you with His love and waiting for him to fulfill your need for love will give you life.

 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Proverbs 13:19
 We are getting ready to take a closer look at fools and foolish living at youth group in the up coming weeks.  The fool can't help but do evil.  Don't be like him.  Wait for the Lord to fulfill your heart's desire.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good,
and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,
for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45

Words are so powerful.  Isn't it interesting that all God had to do to create the world is speak?  He used words to create everything we see and know.  Think about some of the healing miracles that Jesus performed.  Did you realize that many times, all he did to heal people was speak?  He used words to restore, heal, and build people up.  Words are so powerful and so important.

In Luke, Jesus talks about one reason why our words are so important.  He says that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  He is saying that our words can tell people what is filling up our hearts.  Often times we think that we are the only ones that truly know what is in our hearts but this verse says otherwise.  We can't help but show whats in our hearts unless of course we stop talking all together!  Duct tape anyone?!

You must remember the good old recess saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but names (words) can never hurt me."  Isn't this statement so untrue?  God's choice to use words to create and Jesus' choice to use words to heal display the overall power that words can have.  Deep down we all know how powerful words are and really its why WE choose to use them in hurtful and negative ways.

So, think about it. What do your words say about what's in your heart?  How are you going to choose to use the power of your words from here on out?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


This is my mom....
With Timothy on New Years 2011

With Silas, Apple Picking on family vacation October 2010

With Lily, the smallest grandbaby she has, for now :) January 2011

Our relationship hasn't come easy.  I haven't always appreciated her.  As a teenager, I was responsible for most of her daily frustration.  I gave her plenty of opportunities to grow in patience, the art of being slow to anger, self control, and much much more.  There was so much I didn't know about my mother then.  Let's say, there were things that I didn't have eyes to see.  We certainly aren't the best of friends now, and we certainly have much to learn about each other but I can honestly say that I am delighted to honor her on this Mother's Day!

My mom had motherhood tough from the beginning.  She was determined to be one of the first to break a cycle of hurtful mother/daughter relationships in her family for generations.  She knew she couldn't do it on her own and leaned heavily upon the Lord to help her as she raised us all.  She knows she's not perfect.  To this day you can hear here saying things like this to us kids: "I'm sure I did damage.  I'll pay for the counseling.  Send me the bill."  She always says that with a smile.

Recently she came to my church to watch my kids and some of their friends while we were busy with a youth event.  There were 5 boys to be watched.  She came with camera in hand ready to capture any fun activity for us all to remember.  Of course, the boys happened to find a little frog in need of rescuing.  She got the whole ordeal on film!  You can check out the on photos FB.  At one point it came time to pick the frog up off the ground with our hands and get it into a dish of water.  We had a crowd of boys but none of them wanted to touch the frog.  It took a short while, she was behind the camera after all, but my mother reached down, scooped up that frog and got it into that dish for the boys to see and enjoy!  She grew up in the heart of the city.  She spent most of her childhood reading books.  She is so not the type that you would expect to do such a thing as touch a frog.  But she did!  She is always surprising me!

Sometimes she stops by on her way home from work.  We always get to talking about life, for lack of a better word.  She has shared so much with me during these talks!  She has given me biblical counsel and deep insights from the struggles in her life.  She has been able to encourage me as a mom, wife, and surprisingly enough as a youth worker too.  I haven't told her yet, I promise to tell her today, but I so cherish these talks!

I've always thought of myself as sort of a pioneer.  I love trying new things.  A challenge is so thrilling to me.  I never realized that, really, I get that from my Mom.  She has faced so much, and covered so much new territory that no one in her family had done before.  College, biblical marriage, the role of a pastor's wife, moving across the country to a farm town are just a few of those things.  I feel so ultimately blessed to have her as my Mom!

She started out as my protector and provider.  She has been my teacher, my disciplinarian, my dress code checker, my guardian and more.  Now I can call her my friend, wise counselor, and guide.  I love you Mom!
Me and my Mom in 1986

Saturday, May 7, 2011

El Roi

El Roi is one of the ways the Bible refers to God.  We can read about El Roi in Genesis 16.  Its the story of Hagar, an Egyptian slave to Sarai and Abram, that encounters God as El Roi.  Isn't it interesting the God chooses to reveal this part of His character to her?  An Egyptian (not a chosen one of God), a slave, someone who has been treated wrongfully by someone whom we later find has found such favor with God.  Strange.

Hagar meets God at a well and it is there that He reveals Himself as The God Who Sees.  The omnipresent one.  The one who knows everything, both the good and the bad.  And watches everything, both the good and the bad.  Proverbs 15:3 says:

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

This can be such a puzzling statement.  If God's eyes are really in every place, if He really does see both the good and the evil that happens in this world daily then why is it that bad things still happen to people by the hand of another?  Why is it that people are abused and mistreated by others?  If God sees it and allows it to happen, how can he really be good?

These are some of the hardest questions to answer.  I've been trying to find answers for these kinds of questions lately.  I've been feeling the pain of some close friends and family members lately who are really and truly suffering.  I knew that I needed to find an answer for them just in case one of them asked the question.

I'm reading a book recommended to me by my dear friend Beckie.  Its called Lord I Want to Know You by Kay Arthur.  Through this book, I'm learning all about the different names of God, how each of these names reveals His character, and how to grow closer to God by knowing who He really is.  It was in this book that I first learned about God as El Roi.  Arthur asks "How can any abused person, any person used for another's perverted pleasure ever be whole?  Whether abuse is sexual, mental, or physical, can there be healing?"  She answers "Yes, healing has to be possible.  Otherwise, a sovereign God of love would surely have intervened." (page 32)

I know plenty of people who are still waiting on some healing.  I know that although I have never been abused in the sense that many of these other people have, at times I'm still waiting on healing too.  It is a comfort to me to remember that as scripture says, God is sovereign.  He has a plan.  He sees everything.  He will intervene or bring healing no matter what suffering lies ahead for my life and for the lives of my friends who know Him. 

"Thus says your Lord, the LORD, your God who pleads the cause of his people:
'Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors'"
Isaiah 51:22-23

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3