Saturday, March 14, 2009

I met Dave Thomas tonight!

Tonight I met Dave Thomas! Isn't that exciting! No, not the founder of the Wendy's fast food joint, another Dave Thomas.

The choir at our church went to sing at the Waterfront Rescue Mission. This place centers around helping men so when we walked in I tried to be friendly to people without being TO Friendly. I smiled and said hello and went to speak with the ladies in the choir. When I found out what the plan was I just went and sat down in one of the pews in the little church. As I sat there I was very aware of all these men sitting, waiting for the service to start. I felt God prompting me to get up and go shake Hands with some of these men. "No, God, I'm good right here." I felt it again. "No God, really I'm okay where I am." And yet again God kept that steady nudge at my heart. I knew I could not fight this feeling so I stood up and turned around. I walked over and shook the hand of one man and said hello. As I shook his hand I wondered when the last time was that a woman got within 10 feet of him, much less shook his hand. I went here and there in the congregation shaking hands and thanking then for coming to here us sing. That's when I met Dave.

Dave Thomas, is a 48 year old man who grew up in a Christian home. His Mother was a Theology major. She was very active in Church when he was younger so he was there all the time. He had a great appreciation for what his mother did but fell into a world of bad choices and failed to pass on those teachings to his two Daughters. They are now both in their 20's and he is so sad when he speaks with them about God because he knows he failed them by not being the Dad he needed to be and sharing these things with them when they were younger.

Dave has no job right now. He used to be a Salesman, but was let go a while back. He was also in the Merchant Marines for a good while and traveled all around when he was younger. At some point in his life Dave fell into Drugs. He talked about how he "is" (not was or used to be, but is) addicted to drugs. He said the world he lived in is very dangerous and it is a risk to be there. He comes to the church to get away from it so he can be some place where there is not pressure to take the drugs. He spoke of how desperate he was to find a church "family". A place to go where people embraced him and he talked about how much he just wants to learn.

It broke my heart to hear him speak! He was not telling me what I wanted to hear and then asking for a hand out. He was truly struggling and wanted us to pray that God would help him know how to speak to his daughters and help them understand and that God would lead him to a church home. How much we take for Granted! And yes, I did wonder when the last time was that a woman shook his hand... so I hugged him.

I could have sat in my spot on the pew and never met Dave. I could have stayed in my comfort zone and said, "God, I'm here to sing and that should be enough." Thank God I didn't! What a blessing it was to meet Dave Thomas.

There are people all around us, not just homeless people or drug addicts, all types of people who desperately want what we have to offer... peace of God, which transcends all understanding.

God, Kick me out of my pew! Don't let me get so blind that I just can't see those who need a touch.

Dave needed someone to listen. He needed to know that someone was praying for him. I did pray for him and will continue to pray for him. I hope that I meet him again one day and hear about how much God has changed his life. What a blessing that will be!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A new study (Hebrews Chapters 1 and 2)

For a while know I have found myself wanting to REALLY dig into the book of Hebrews. I don't know why other than it being a God prompted thing... which is a good enough reason. I have been taking notes and decided I would just do this study and share what I find with you all.

A little history on this book for those that are not familiar with it:

It is not known for sure who is the author of this book. It was written for the Hebrew Christians that were beginning to struggle with an urge to return to their old belief of Judaism. The Author attempts to plead a logical case for who Jesus is though using what the people knew... Old Testament Scripture. Throughout the book he quotes it over and over again.

As I read through these chapters I am drawn to and find myself loving the logical approach that the author takes. I am reminded that as Christians we need to approach non believers where they are and help them see the truth. This book had an impact because the author connected with the readers through things they were familiar with. We can not expect a non believer to connect with what we are saying if we are quoting a lot of scripture at first. Connect with people where they are and then look for ways to bring in the scripture so that is will be relevant in the life of the non believer.

I would love for anyone interested to grab a bible and read the chapters. I am also very open to any comments or corrections in my line of thinking. I am human and prone to mistakes. :o)

Okay, here we go!

In Chapter 1 the first thing the Author does is establish Jesus' presence from the beginning. It establishes his power and authority. The verses in this chapter help to shed more light on the relationship between God the Father and God the Son. The author does this through the use of old testament quotes. The author takes great care to separate who Jesus is and who the angels are, and the role that each one is to play. In fact, the references to Angels and their lack of authority is made several times and this leads me to wonder why the author felt it was so necessary to make sure this was understood by the people. The logical part of my brain wonders if perhaps the people were focusing more on (and looking for) the angelic messengers of the old testament and focusing less on the savior of the new testament. This is, however, just a speculation on my part and I have nothing to back with up.

As I transitioned form Chapter 1 into Chapter 2 the first verse struck me and I was amazed by it's simplicity and wisdom all in one.

"So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it." Such a powerful warning! We should all take it to heart.

As you read farther into chapter 2 the author, again, appeals to the logic of the reader. He speaks of the messages Angels delivered in both the old and new testament and the price of ignoring the messages. Acts of Disobedience were punished. A prime example that comes to mind is Abraham. The angel told him Sarah would have the child, however Sarah and Abraham were impatient and took matters into their own hands. Their disobedience brought about the birth of a nation that would defy the true God and bread hate against Believers.

The people the author was writing to were familiar with these moments in the past when disobedience had led to punishment or even death. Once again he appeals to their logic. Look at Vs 4. The author says (in a nut shell) What makes us think that we can escape death if we just decide to ignore Jesus and the gift of Salvation? As I read that verse, so many people came to mind that I know and love but they are ignoring Christ. Denying Jesus did what he did will not save you from death in the end. Powerful stuff!

I loved what the author did next though. He presence an equation of sorts. First he, once again, removes Angels from the equation before he even starts. He explains that they have no power to control the future of this world or the next. Then he builds this equation:

Man + Jesus = Glory, Honor, Authority, and Life

With Jesus in the equation He, being the High Priest before God, opens the way for us to receive Glory, Honor, Authority and ultimately LIFE. Remove Jesus from the equation:

Man + Nothing = Man

The Glory, Honor, Authority, and life are there ONLY because of the sacrifice Jesus made. What Sacrifice? Look at Vs. 14-18. Jesus sacrifice did not begin on the cross. It began when he became flesh and blood. Jesus Sacrifice began with his birth and ended with his death.

As if this is not enough for the author to prove he then takes things one step further. He explains that Jesus sacrifice doesn't stop with giving us a way to salvation/heaven. What Jesus went through makes him the perfect leader and the perfect help for us in our times of testing. This is a reminder to the readers that Jesus did not come to just give us life but Life more abundantly. It is a reminder to have a relationship with Christ. It seems silly to have the "perfect leader" right there with you and refuse to ask his direction and help.

I look forward to reading into the book of Hebrews more. I hope this helps to encourage you in your walk with Christ.

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So That's Why!

So that's why!

Have you ever had one of those moments? A "so that's why" moment. You know that moment I am talking about! Something happens and it was not what you were wanting or hoping for and you wonder why God chose to do things that way. Then later on something else happens and you know immediately that is why you didn't get your way before. I heard a really wonderful story about a "So that's why" moment and I thought it was worth sharing.

We have been visiting a Church the last few Sundays and are really beginning to feel this may be the church God is calling us to make our new church home. Because of this we are taking time to talk with the Pastor and get to know a little more about the church. This past Sunday night we were told a story about a family there. About 2 or 3 years ago the mother was in the parking lot of a store with her baby. I don't remember how old the baby girl was but she was only a few months old because she was still in a baby carseat (you know, the kind that you can take out of the car and has a handle to carry the baby in the seat). The baby was in the seat and the mom pulled the seat out of the car. She put the seat on the shopping cart she had pulled over to the car and turned to get something else out.

In life things can happen in a split second without warning or reason. The seat fell out of the cart and hit the asphalt upside-down. I am not sure if there was any obvious damage to the baby that made the mom go to the ER or if it was just the fear of a new mom but she picked the baby up and rushed to the closest ER.

The Doctor ordered an MRI and when it came back he saw nothing to be concerned about and the family was waiting to be discharged. Meanwhile another doctor (I think they said he was a neurologist) who was a member of the church happened to be walking by and saw the name of the child on the board. He sought out the family to find out what was going on and asked to see the film of the MRI. When he examined the film he found a tiny tumor around the base of the brain stem. It was caught early and after surgery and treatments the little girl is doing very well.
Had the carseat not fallen the tumor might not have been caught until it was too late to save her.

You know, we really tend to fuss and gripe about the things in our life that don't go the way we think they should. We forget that God is ALL KNOWING. He may need to allow that difficult time in our life in order to clear the way for the good thing that he wants to bring about. Sometimes we have the blessing of seeing and understanding that "So that's why" moment and sometimes we never know why. Either way God doesn't leave us so we have to keep pressing forward in faith knowing that God knows why and that is all that matters. It's not an easy task by any means, but it is the right one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What just happened?

Sorry Christy. I will try to be better about blogging. ;)

So, I have been thinking about something that happened to me many years ago (about 11 years to be more exact). I may have told some of you about this in person but mostly I have kept it to myself because it appeared to make some people very uncomfortable when I would talk about it. Well, it has continued to be on my mind so I think I will just toss it out there and see what happens. I am very interested to hear thoughts about this now.

I was at a church we had been attending for a short time. I remember feeling such a draw to this church and congregation because of the attitude there. They were open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in a great and tremendous way. As the spirit lead, so went the congregation and leadership. As a result, wonderful things were happening in the life of that church.

One night after a service a young woman went to the alter to pray. Several ladies came up and began praying for her. I felt a prompting to join them in this intercession for this young woman. I remember standing in the back of the group of ladies that had surrounded this woman and praying for God to move in her life. At some point in my praying I just wanted to lift my hands to God so I did and I began to have this intimate moment with him. I don't know when, because I was in my moment with God, but some of the ladies had finished praying for the other woman and began to come around me and pray. I don't know what they were praying, I just knew they were there. I could feel there hands on me as they prayed.

Now here is were people look at me strange. :) I was so focused on God and this moment with him and suddenly there was this warm, strong rush that came down upon me. I actually fell to the ground. This warmth enveloped me. It ran up, down, and through my body over and over from my head to my toes. It filled me with a peace that I could never begin to explain. I just laid there with my eyes closed embracing this moment with God. I don't know how long it lasted. It only felt like a few minutes to me, but when I finally opening my eyes there was just one woman. She was kneeling on the ground beside me smiling. She talked to me for a while to be sure I was okay and then I went home. I was exhausted and yet so relaxed and at peace. I have often wondered what happened to me that night. I have spoken with people who call it being "slain in the spirit" or "filled with the spirit" or other phrases that escape me at the moment. I have searched The Bible to find scripture to explain this event to me and the only thing I have found that comes close to explaining it is in Acts 2 when the holy spirit comes upon the disciples.

Acts 2 - 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now let me make it clear that I did not (to the best of my memory) speak in any language. I only remember just being there in the moment with God. I remember the peace of it all and the shear force on which it came upon me. I was never scared or hurt. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. It is, however, something that I have longed to understand more since that moment.

I know that once I asked Jesus to come and be my Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit came to abide in me. Because of this I know the Holy Spirit was already with me when this happened. So what was this moment? Scripture is filled with moments when He filled His temple or touched someone in a special way or even when Moses had a moment with God on the mountain. As Christians some of us get nervous at the idea that Gods would still act in this way. Why do we get nervous? Is it fear of not being in control?

I don't know what happened to me that night, but I know it was a gift from God. Has it changed my life a in great and mighty way? Not that I can really think of. It was just a moment with God, a beautiful moment when God said, "Here, Ninfa." and he poured something out on me. Although I may never understand it on this earth, I pray I never forget it.

Don't live in fear of the Holy Spirits moving. He knows what is best and what you need. If you try too hard to control things you may miss out on your moment with God... whatever form it may come in.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Long time no see... or hear. Huh?

Well, hello there! I know it has been WAY too long, but life is life and it happens all the time. If my title has you puzzled a bit that is okay. ;) You see it has two meanings. First it has been a while since I blogged and since that is the only way I get to stay in touch with some of you it has been a long time since I have seen or heard anything. However, the second meaning has to do with a sermon I heard on Sunday.

For those of you that don't know we have moved to Daphne, Alabama. Being in a move means new adventures, new places, new friends (of course they could never replace the old ones so no worries guys!)... all this is great. However, it also means having to find your place again. What is my favorite place to eat? What are my neighbors like? Who will I have coffee with now? What church do we need to try? These are all things that I wonder and they are all things that will take time to find out.

This last Sunday we visited a church where the pastor was talking about the Holy Spirit. I agreed with most of what he had to say and enjoyed the whole visit quite a bit. Something he said, though, just lingered in my head. I can recall so many times in the last few years that I have been struggling trying to figure things out and having a hard time hearing from God on what I needed to do. I never felt that God had left me and I never felt he was not listening, but regardless I just could not hear what I needed to know. This past Sunday the Pastor of the church we visited talked about when those moments happen we can't seem to hear because Sin has blocked the way. He was saying I could not hear the directions I was asking for because I had sin in my life that either I knew about and did not want to let go of or that I did not consciously know about but non the less it is sin. This got me really thinking about the last few years and all the troubles I have had trying to find God's path for me and my family. I really began looking at the sins that were present in my life and praying about them and asking for the forgiveness I needed from God.

I am looking forward to all the new places and adventures yet to come, and I am looking forward to finding the answers to all the questions I have right now about where we need to go and what we need to do. Most of all though I am looking forward to hearing from God more again.

So whether you are in the right or the wrong, if you aren't hearing anything I encourage you to do a close examination of your spirit and your walk. Look for that Sin and you may or may not be aware of and let it go. Because try all you may, he is God and he still knows you have sin so you just can't hide it from him.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lets talk about Gossip! :o)

So there are a few things in my life I have always struggled with. This is one of them. It's not like I sit around looking to hear information or look to share information but a good majority of my conversations end with me wondering if I should have been a part of the conversation. I am the kind of female that feels a need to talk out things that are frustrating me and that can almost always end in me sharing information that I only shared because I was mad about something.

So why am I talking about all this? Well in the small groups lesson I taught this past Sunday night this is what we talked about, Gossip that is. They had this "Checklist" in the book that gave you questions to ask yourself to decide if what you were about to say would qualify as Gossip. SO... all day today I kept trying to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed miserably. But even when I succeeded I was still going nuts in my head pitching a fit about this person or that. This just leads me to another dilemma. You see, Scripture says that if we think something it is just as bad as doing it. Now how am I supposed to handle all these frustrations with people that are running around in my head? I can't share it with others because it becomes Gossip but if I am thinking in my head about how ridiculous, or irritating someone or something is that is just as bad as saying it. So how do I handle this? Thoughts?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

High Winds

We have had a lot of high winds around our area lately. The kind of winds that try to push you off the road while you are driving. You know what I am talking about, those sudden gusts that catch you off guard. ;o)

Have you ever noticed the birds on days like this? While the winds push us around, the birds can gracefully soar as their wings slice through the heavy pressure. It is really a beautiful sight and if you have never taken a moment to look and watch this beauty I highly encourage you to do it the next time the winds are blowing.

This is the picture that comes to mind in Isaiah when it says we shall "mount up with wings like Eagles". An Eagle (or any bird) KNOWS what kind of effect the wind will have on them as it blows. They also KNOW what they need to do to keep from getting carried away by the wind. These bits of Knowledge that gets them through so that they arrive safely at their next destination (regardless of the winds) come naturally. They just open their wings and leap, trusting that what they know WILL take over. The result is quite graceful.

We as humans can learn quite a bit from the Birds. We have our own high winds that blow in our life. We respond in so many different ways but how often do we respond with the same Trust and Gracefulness as the birds? God designed our wings. He knows what they will withstand. So when the winds blow and you have to choose between allowing them to carry you away or trying to fly through them just spread your God Designed Wings and Trust in what you KNOW. God loves us and has poured his Grace out on us. So if you use your wings to slice through those high winds, you too will soar is beauty. Just remember, the higher up the bird goes the more beautiful it looks and the less it has to flap it's wings.

Get higher people!