Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Geek in Training

I am not a computer geek. When there is a problem, after I panic, I call Chuck or Joe or Cathy. They roll their eyes as they listen to me whine about my computer problem, then, they are gracious and fix it for me. I thank God for them.

But, what happens when I am in a situation where I need to "look like I know what I am doing" and can't call Chuck or Joe or Cathy? Well, I experienced that scenario on Monday.

Monday, I was scheduled to speak at a women's group at a local church. I packed my car in the pouring rain, slowly & carefully drove to the church and parked, and unpacked my car in the pouring rain. As water dripped off my coat and my computer and projector cases, I eyed up the room in which I was to speak. A table of the perfect size was in the back of the room. I dragged it to the front of the room. I unpacked the projector and my laptop. I connected the to blue, projector first, laptop last. I turned on the projector. I turned on the laptop. I waited for everything to focus. I hit the input button on the projector to input from the computer. Nothing. Ugh! But, wait. Maybe I connected the cords in the wrong order. I'll try again. So, I disconnected all the cords and cables and reconnected them. I turned the projector on. I turned on the computer I waited a few minutes. Then, I tried again to get the input from the laptop. Nothing...again. Ugh! So, again, I disconnected everything. And, again I connected everything...still it didn't work! Well, I decided I would try once more, then go to "plan B."

By this time I was just a little bit frustrated. I prayed. I asked God to help me in this situation. I disconnected the cords and cables and unplugged everything. Then, as I recited to myself the steps to connect the projector to the computer, I was very nervous, and very careful. Then, I turned on the projector and the laptop. I remembered that I reset my settings to the default ones. I have no idea if any of these setting have anything to do with showing a presentation, but I checked one of them & changed it. God must have been whispering in my ear. I held my breath as I hit the button for computer input. The desktop picture showed! Praise God! I opened up my Power Point program and opened the presentation. I saw it on my computer, but not on the screen. I knew there was a setting to change, but where? Again, God whispered in my ear, "It's over here. Do this..." And I did.

On the screen, was my presentation, complete with music! Thank You, Lord. I am not a computer geek, but I am a geek in training!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Love to Tell the Story

Last week I attended a conference at WinShape near the Berry College Campus in Rome, GA. It was how to share the Bible with oral learners and it was amazing! I learned so much. I learned things like 70% of the world's population are oral learners. They may not be illiterate, but they prefer an oral learning style. They either can't read, won't read or choose not to read. How do you reach them with the Words of Life? How does one reach the people groups that have no scripture in their own language? How does the Body of Christ reach out to the unreached, unengaged people groups that have never heard of the name of Jesus?

It's not going to be through the written word. A printed Bible doesn't help much if you can't read. And, a printed Bible doesn't help much if it is not in your heart language, the one you learned from birth. So, an oral approach is needed. An approach that is heart felt, using the words of Scripture in the peoples' heart language. That's what Bible storying is all about...sharing the Scripture from memory with the voice inflections, body language and facial expressions that a storyteller would use.

A storyteller keeps their audience engaged in the story, and in this case it's His story, the story of God. It seems as if there are as many different methods as there are people. Some, use the words straight from Scripture, not adding anything, not taking anything away. Some, include things that probably happened, but is not mentioned in Scripture, but was the custom of the day, such as taking off sandals when entering a house. Some storytellers use more actions than others, more voice inflections and similar type things.

The one thing that Bible Storytellers all have in common is their love for the Lord Jesus Christ and their desire to see people from every tongue and every nation bowing down at the Throne of God. And they will continue to do so until their last breath in this world, for They Love to Tell the Story...Do you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Being Stretched

When I was younger, I always thought missionaries were people who gave up everything and went to the middle of no where to work for God and share His love, to teach people about Him. They had this aura about them that kinda made them glow, after all, they are SO holy, SO connected to God. They don't mind eating bugs and living among savages.

Well, maybe some missionaries are like that, but I don't think they glow. Now, I have a more mature view of who missionaries are and what they do and why they do it. After all, I am a missionary! (I don't have a halo & my clothes don't glow.) I look forward to giving up most of my worldly possessions and I am ready to embrace the people group with whom I will be working. Language learning no longer scares me. Neither does the thought of killing my own chicken. After all, doesn't Jesus say that His grace is sufficient for me?

What many people don't realize is that God stretches those He calls to follow Him. For me, that stretching doesn't involve moving to Ghana...I look forward to it! And, it doesn't involve eating different foods (well, maybe a little stretching.) It doesn't involve working with orphans - I love the children and have worked with kids most of my life. I know I need to learn new languages and new ways of doing things, especially if I want to eat chicken. That doesn't even come close to the stretching I experienced today.

Today, I drove to White Oak. Now, God gifted me with teaching, administration, working with children and the like. He did NOT gift me in driving in, near, around or through Pittsburgh! I prayed. There was construction. My hands were clammy. Street signs must have not been a part of the budget in several communities in the past decade. I was beginning to get a headache. I kept repeating, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I took a wrong turn. I turned into a gas station. A truck driver from Heildelburg gave me directions & even drew me a map & made sure I got on the correct road. I was thanking God for this person and asked God to bless him today. Then, those street signs disappeared again..."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

I finally arrived at the church. The pastor and I had a great conversation. And he showed me a MUCH easier route home.

Missionaries may be gifted in the work God has called them to, but they need to depend on Him for so much more than most people realize. Today was only the tip of the iceberg for me...I need His help in every area and in every instance of my life!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Spiritual Nurturing

Pastor Brad Neel

Pastor Tom Kennedy

About six weeks ago, I was asked the following question: "Who has been a significant person that has nurtured your spiritual life in the last 12 months and how have they had this influence?" Boy, that was a tough question to answer. It really made me think. There are a few people who have nurtured me spiritually over the years who stand out in my mind. But, in the last 12 months, well, I really struggled as I tried to answer this question.

When I think of people nurturing me spiritually, I think of the spiritual giants that have been in my life...Jim and Dee Armour and Ava and Albert Steiner. Jim and Dee live two or so hours away from me now, and I haven't had a heart to heart talk with them in YEARS! And, Ava and Albert no longer live here on this earth. They have entered their heavenly reward. So, who has nurtured my spiritual life? Hmmm...

I finally did come up with my pastors. Each of them has listened to me, encouraged me and challenged me in my spiritual walk. It hasn't always been easy. Sometimes they will challenge me in an area that I may not want to deal with - yet. But, they speak life into situations...God's life! They speak truth into situations, especially when I am too blind to to see it! They have prayed for me and continue to do so.

I know that I am closer to Jesus today than I was twelve months ago because of my two pastors! Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

This morning I was reading in the book of Genesis, chapters 1-4. The portion that jumped out at me, even though I had noticed it several times was in Genesis 1:29. In this section, God is talking to Adam about what He had provided for food:

29 And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth,

and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Gen 1:29 (NKJV)

Later on, after Eve and Adam ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, God spoke to them, telling them the consequence for their actions:

"Cursed is the ground for your sake;in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground,for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return." Genesis 3:17-19 (NKJV)
It is obvious to me that God didn't mention pizza or chocolate the way I think of it, or pie or ice cream or even meat! It seems to me that everything God mentioned to use as food in this passage is in it's natural state and is healthy. There are no additives, no chemicals.

I'm thinking if I ate this way, even sometimes, I would feel better and be a LOT healthier!