Thursday, April 29, 2010

The First Senior Moment

Some days are just like this...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Patience

I don't remember praying specifically for patience lately. I know that when I do, there are situations in my life that arise and they give me the opportunity to practice patience. Today, one of those opportunities is before me. I need to book flights for a round trip to Colorado Springs in July. I will be attending Missionary Training International and, I need to get there!

So, this morning I went online. I visited Kayak.com, expedia.com. cheapflights.com, orbitx.com, delta.com, usairways.com, AAA.com, and on and on...My question is, when I put in a time that I have to be there by (2PM), why do they give me numerous flights that get to my destination eight or more hours later? Don't "the airline powers that be" realize that I would have check the "anytime" box if I could really fly anytime? Ugh!

Patience...at this point, I'm not sure of the meaning of the word. I am ready to throw my computer out of my window! But, then, I'd have to go & clean it up and it's cold outside.

So, I continue to look. But, I have realized I do know when I am out of my league. I called a travel agency, too. I know some of my limitations. I really don't want to destroy my computer or my day. I'll see what they come up with & compare it to what I can find. And, hopefully, before the day is done, I will have my flights booked. It won't be because of anything I have done, but by the grace of God!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bible Study

I have been involved in a Bible study with a friend since last August or September. Even though I try to glean from it whatever God has for me, I often miss the point. Sometimes, it is because many parts of Scripture are so familiar, I miss the message of it for me today. Sometimes I'm not quite awake. And, unfortunately, sometimes, it is just the one thing I need to do before I attack the other stuff that needs to be accomplished that day. I don't always take the time I need to in order to have a close relationship with my Abba, my Daddy.

I have found that asking a few simple questions can help me immensely in my study of od's word. I would like to share them with you:
  • Is there an example to follow?
  • Is there a sin to avoid?
  • Is there a promise to claim?
  • Is there a prayer to repeat?
  • Is there a command to obey?
  • Is there a condition to meet?
  • Is there a verst to memorize?
  • Is there an error to mark?
  • Is there a challenge to face?

I know that asking these questions will give more insight to Scripture. Try it yourself!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Leonard Ravenhill on Prayer


"Notice, we never pray for folks we gossip about, and we never gossip about the folk for whom we pray! For prayer is a great deterrent."

"Our spiritual immaturity never shows up more than in our lack of praying, be it alone or in a church prayer meeting. Let 20% of the choir members fail to turn up for rehearsal and the choir master is offended. Let 20% of the church members turn up for a prayer meeting, and the pastor is elated."

"A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by men."

"Let the fires go out in the boiler room of the church and the place will still look smart and clean, but it will be cold. The Prayer Room is the boiler room for its spiritual life."

"Ministers who do not spend two hours a day in prayer are not worth a dime a dozen - degrees or no degrees."

"The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church...grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil."

"No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. The pulpit can be a shop window to display one’s talents; the prayer closet allows no showing off."

"If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere."

"A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning."

"The secret of praying is praying in secret."

"The true church lives and moves and has its being in prayer."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bittersweet

Bittersweet. That is what Easter was for me this year. Bittersweet. That one word covers it all. No, I'm not talking about a type of chocolate. I'm talking about being here, in the US, not knowing exactly when I'll be with the orphans of Lawra, Ghana. I'm not packing up my apartment yet. I'm not selling my car yet. I haven't gone through tearful, but excited good byes yet. I do keep doing what needs to be done - praying, studying, calling, speaking, inviting...

The sweet part was that I was here, in the US, worshipping in my home church. I have spent Easter in Ghana and in Peru and it was so good to worship with my church family. I was also able to worship at a church just a block from where I live and able to have a culturally diverse worship experience there. It was nice to spend the day with friends who are like family to me. I am grateful for the time God has given me here.

I also look forward to the time I tell the children at the orphanage about God's love, about our heavenly Daddy and His faithfulness. I pray that time would come soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monarch or Mascot?

Do you attend church on Sundays? I do. Most of the people I know also attend church on Sunday, some even go to services or Bible study during the week. What I am wondering is what is your motivation for attending church, attending worship, attending a Bible study? What is my motivation?

I hate to admit it, but my motivation for attending church last Sunday was guilt. I wanted to stay in bed. I didn't want to get up & get ready to be seen in public! Nevertheless, I went to church.

It seems like we to church to hear good music, sing uplifting songs, to hear a message that will make us feel good so we leave the sanctuary full of new vision and vigor. We want to be cheered up by the time we leave. We want God to rebuild our confidence, to reinforce for us the great things that we are doing for God. We want to feel good and God makes us feel good. He confirms for us over and over that all must be well. We are so proud of Him and we are happy to be identified with His name...But, what happens the rest of the week? Do we need to go back to church to feel good again? Does all that is within us crash when things don't go our way or a crisis happens? Do we really rely on Him daily or just on Sundays, like a mascot at a football game?

It seems contradictory, but many of us have redefined Jesus as someone we can both admire and ignore at the same time! We see Jesus as praiseworthy, but overall, we keep Him in reserve calling to Him as needed, when it's convenient. We see Him as our helper in our adventures and in life. But, isn't there more to Him?

Psalm 110 is the most frequently quoted Old Testament passage by New Testament writers. It's because it speaks most clearly about who and where the ascended Jesus was, and at the same time, it speaks clearly about who they were as His willing servants in the midst of a tremendous conflict. The reality is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In Psalm 110, we can see that peoples and events everywhere are being woven into Christ's reign. This psalm makes it clear that Christ has been exalted to rule even in the midst of tremendous opposition. We serve Him every day not because He makes us feel good, but because we are being obedient. Because we want to see His mission purpose fulfilled, no matter what the cost.

Why do I go to church? Ultimately, I go to church because I serve a risen Monarch who has a wonderful plan, to bring all the nations to Him. And, He loves me enough to give me a place in it. I go to Church to worship, praise and adore Him and I continue that during the week, so that when I receive my marching orders, I am ready and wiling to go, not holding anything back.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Enabling or Empowering?

Yesterday I read an article by Glenn Schwartz entitled Dependency. This article has really challenged my thinking. As a Christian, and as a cross cultural witness, am I helping or hurting the nationals that I work with in other countries when I give the ministry a monetary gift? This article stressed that as we teach new believers to obey Biblical commands, we can't forget the command to give. Even if in my eyes they are "too poor to give," Scripture teaches that we are to give out of what we have. The amount doesn't matter...it's the obediance that does. So, if a person has little, they give little, if a person has much, they give much. All of this is for God's glory, not personal glory.

When people in a village give to build their own church, their own school, to provide whatever they have identified as a need to be filled, they take ownership of it; they take pride in it. They take care of its needs as they arise. Plus, if a building is made with local money, local labor, local supplies, many people benefit from it. They avoid depending on outside help.

This has caused me to wonder..."What about the hospitals that have been built in villages? What about the schools? What about the libraries?" Do we enable the nationals or do we empower them with such things? It's a tough question. Is there a plan for leadership, ownership, money to sustain this type of building/ministy to be transferred or given to the nationals? Or is money always going to be "pumped in?" How much is enough? How much is too much? Is seed money a good thing as people get started on their project? There are so many things to consider.

I have had Ghanaians tell me that Europeans and Americans have given their country so much that now they expect it. "The funds have always come from outsiders so why should I work and worry about it?" is a common belief. If they wait long enough, people will come and do it for them.

Then I wonder, "What about matching funds at the beginning to start the project?" The nationals will have worked for and provided for part of the expenses. And, some have been donated by others. What would you do?

I know, I want to empower people, not enable them. I pray God will lead me as I prepare to move to and while I am living in Ghana. I pray that He will show me what to do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

When Did It Happen?

Lately I've been wondering, when did it happen? When did I become so obsessed with achieving a good grade that I've quit enjoying the class? When I first signed up for Perspectives, I wanted to audit it. But, you can't do that with an online class. So, I'm taking it for a certificate. At first, I was so overwhelmed with it. Then, I got to the point to where I really liked it. I still do. There is such good stuff in this class. It has changed my way of thinking forever.

But, now, as I do my homework, I am so focussed on getting the "right" answer, that I second guess myself & what I read. Does the question mean what is obvious, or is there an underlying focus, one that isn't so obvious. It's these kinds of things that I'm starting to do instead of just reading and letting the thoughts and information sink in.

What I need to get back to is enjoying the class for what it is and that's all. Accept it at face value. Ask God to use it to change the way I think about and act on the subject of world mission. And, as I complete the assignments, I pray that the Lord will show me how I can apply the information to my ministry.