Wednesday, April 17, 2013

We're Expecting!!

Our family has begun the journey of bringing our little girl home from India. God has made it very clear that he has called us to adopt and we have partnered with America World Adoption to make this calling a reality. Currently we are in the midst of what people affectionately call the "paper pregnancy" a.k.a the paper chase. If you are interested in following our adoption journey we have started a blog to keep family and friends posted on our progress.

From that blog there is also a link to our online fundraising website. We have stepped out in faith concerning this adoption and are praying that the Lord will provide. He has already shown himself so faithful and we have only just begun. We covet your prayers as we continue in this journey. I'm sure we will experience setbacks and frustrations but our heart is that through all of this God would be given the glory and that others would see Him through our family.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Life Worthy

"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ..."
- Philippians 1:27a (ESV)

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." (NIV)

"Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ." (The Message)

As Jon and I wrap up memorizing the first chapter of Philippians I have been chewing on this particular verse. I have different feelings when I think about this call to all Christians. One response I get from reading this small passage is encouragement. For some reason I hear the voice of a coach giving his team a pep talk, or even that of a dear friend spurring you on. The other response I get is one of conviction and a deep desire to ask God to seek out what areas of my life that do not bring him ultimate glory and in turn point others to the life giving power of the gospel. The third response is a grateful clinging to my Savior because I know that this kind of a life is not possible without his help.

So dear brothers and sisters today I want to challenge you with this passage as well. Do you hear the voice of your Savior spurring you on to boldly run the race? Do you see the faces of the saints who have given all for the sake of the gospel? Their lives shout out glory to God because He is the only one worthy of everything we have. Yes, believers let us live such a life, a life worthy of the sacrifice that was offered on our behalf.

With that encouragement ringing in our ears let us seek out the Father asking him to show us areas of our lives that are not in line with the Gospel. Through His Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit let's root out indwelling sin and repent. Then may we turn our hearts to praise and worship because we have been given grace and through Jesus Christ we have the ability to live lives that are transformed. This transformation in no way brings us recognition but points to the only One who is worthy of any praise, worship and adoration.

Run the race dear friends! This is what life is all about.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

5 Things Your Pastor Wishes You Knew

#1- He is human.
Shocking I know, but it is true. Your pastor has his bad days, and gets discouraged. He gets lonely, and just plain tired. He has weaknesses and faults just like any other person. Because he is human it also means he doesn't have unlimited time and energy. He cannot possibly visit every sick person, follow up with every family who stops attending church, or keep up with every single prayer request mentioned. He may actually forget to ask you about your niece who had her tonsils out not because his lack of concern but because he is fully human. Please grant him grace.

#2- He genuinely loves you and cares about what is happening in your life.
Even though he may forget that your 40th anniversary has come and gone it doesn't mean his affection for you is any less real. The pastor prays for his congregation, cries over their hurts and brokenness and longs for them to know deeply what a true and intimate relationship with Jesus looks like. He would never want to do anything that would cause you harm and if he has ever offended you then please remember the next point.

#3- He is approachable.
If you have concerns, frustrations or questions your pastor would much rather you bring those to his attention than talk to everyone else excluding him. You never know...he might actually agree with your observations! :-) Because he genuinely cares about you, your concerns are important to him. He wants to preach in a way that challenges and engages you. He wants to make sure you are fed so that in turn you will go feed others. If your pastor is growing in his personal relationship with the Lord humility will be apparent as he allows you to voice your concerns and listens to your frustrations.

#4- He is still trying to grow in his ministry and calling as a pastor.
This means he won't always get things right. He realizes that his growth as a Christian and more specifically as a pastor will not end until the day his Savior calls him home. Just like there is no manual on how to raise a child, there is no handbook on how to be the perfect pastor (although many books have been written). He spends countless hours every week pouring over commentaries, praying for guidance with the text as well as for the hearts of those who will hear the Word of the Lord. He longs for the Lord to speak mightily through him in order that many will come know Christ and grow in godliness.

#5- He has a heart for God.
This "job" that he holds is not a job at all but a specific calling from the Lord. Your pastor desires to serve Christ with all that he has because daily he is growing more deeply in his own walk with God. He spends hours in the Word not just to piece together a sermon but also because he longs to spend time with his Savior. He puts in personal time with the Lord aside from preparing for Sunday. He memorizes scripture, prays, and digs into the Bible just as he encourages you to do the same.


For those of you in ministry, married to someone who is, or who grew up as a PK, is there anything else you could think to add?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

An overview of Philippians

As I have mentioned before, Jon and I are working hard to memorize the book together, which is no small feat!! I hope to blog about this journey and what I learn along the way. Meanwhile here is a little word picture overview of the great book of Philippians.

A long overdue post

I stopped blogging quite a while ago. Part of me felt as if I had nothing interesting to say, and the other part of it was because ministry just got hard and tiring, I had no energy to write because we were pouring so much of ourselves out into others that I felt totally and utterly drained.

Thankfully I feel as if life has become more balanced. Perhaps I have learned better how to make time for the most important part of my life, my walk with the Lord. Perhaps this is a lull in the craziness. Whatever the case may be, after the prompting of my sweet husband I thought I would go ahead and at least begin to post a few things now and then concerning life in full-time ministry.

One difficult part of ministry at least from the standpoint of a pastor's wife is criticism. I see and hear people critiquing my husband often. Jon and I have talked much over the journey thus far and we always recognize that in the midst of any criticism we must always seek out the grain of truth in it. What could the Lord be using this person to show us? Despite the grain of truth there is still a lot of unmerited complaining that takes place. You can't make everyone happy and many people expect more out of a pastor than is humanly possible. I could talk about that for a while but I will save that for another post.

Jon and I have been working to memorize the book of Philippians and the passage we are currently working on spoke to my heart. Paul is writing from a prison cell and says this,

"Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice." (Philippians 1:15-18)

Here is Paul sitting in a prison cell speaking about those who are trying to make him feel even worse and he says that it doesn't matter as long as the gospel is being proclaimed. What humility. I can't help but think of the verse where John the Baptist says that Christ must increase and he must decrease. In the end it can't be about our ego or our rights. I as a believer have chosen to give up my rights in order that Christ may be glorified. So negativity, criticism, gossip, and the like should have no place in my life.

Let's take it one step further. Paul goes on to say that yes even in this hardship he will rejoice!! What perspective. In place of the tempting options of self-preservation such as gossip I need to desire the Lord to increase my joy, to increase it to the place that I am rejoicing in all situations. Talk about a tall order. The older I get (I turn 30 next month....yikes!) the more I realize I have to learn. May God continue to use life to make us more like him in order to point others to Christ. That is my prayer day in a day out. Even in criticism may God be glorified.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Life in the trenches

I have found that one of the hardest times in ministry is when you walk with people through the depths of their sin and brokenness. When marriages are falling apart, when emotions run high, and when tears are shed that is when the good news of the gospel becomes so clear.

We are a broken people, we cannot ourselves hold things together, we cannot stir up enough "good" in our souls to be "good" people. It just isn't possible. We, each of us down to the core of our hearts, are sinners yearning for our desires, bowing down to created things rather than the Creator. We settle for a life concerned about our own plans and in turn we miss out on the greater plan God is working out each day we draw closer and closer to his return.

When I think of my life in light of eternity I can joyfully embrace the text messages, "interruptions" from friends in desperate need of truth, and the exhaustion that comes with being handed heavy burdens by the flock God has given us to help lead. Lord, may your glory be displayed in their lives. Lord may they fall more in love with you. May the desire of their hearts no longer be a longing for their own "happiness" but instead may they desire your glory which is the only thing that will bring fulfillment. May the renown of your name not come through flippant words on Sunday but by a life completely devoted to You.

When the gospel becomes the center of our own lives, the center of our marriages and the center of our families things begin to look different. Praise the Lord that when our perspectives shift, we can truly begin to bring Him glory. It can't be about us...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

Today is Orphan Sunday. God has so graciously adopted us as sons and daughters and I can hardly think of a more beautiful way to celebrate his love by living that out in the challenging call to adopt or to support someone who is trying to bring an orphan into their home. I have known for years that God is calling me and my husband to adopt and he still has not opened up the door quite yet but my heart longs for that day. So open up your home, or pray for those who desire to adopt, help fund someone who is adopting and please pray for the thousands of children worldwide who have yet to find a loving family. Through God's grace may we reach out in sacrificial love to those who are fatherless. God may we be your hands and feet no matter the cost.