Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nothing But The Truth

"God does not have a Son..."

Her curious beautiful eyes were fixed on me waiting for me to answer.

"Of course He does," I said, "Of course He does..."

This was the beginning of a series of conversations between myself and a girl from one of our Sidewalk Sunday School sites.  She is being raised in a Muslim family.  Her family has recently moved here from Africa.

She knows about Jesus.  She is simply taught that He was a great prophet but not the Son of God.  This girl has been staying after the programs and talking to us, asking us questions about Jesus.

She is not the only Muslim child at our sites.  These kids would never be allowed to attend a church service.  Isn't it great that the kids who would never set foot in the church are being exposed to God's Word right in their neighborhood?

It is my desire to point this girl to Jesus - the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

As our Sidewalk Sunday School starts full force today - please remember to pray for us, for our sites, for our team, for the people to hear the Word of God and be receptive to receive the TRUTH.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - #15-#25

I am taking this gratitude thing slowly... savoring every day...
Today I am grateful for...
#15 - random signs that bring a smile to my face

#16 - for chocolate
#17 - for Google
#18 - for yummy caramel macchiatos
#19 - for a husband who always reaffirms my worth and my beauty
#20 - for talking without fear of being judged
#21 - for a rainy day today
#22 - for leftover pizza which brings me to...
#23 - not having to cook when I am tired
#24 - for a huge umbrella :)
#25 - for Starbucks

holy experience

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are You Putting God First?

This past week I had a privilege to sit under the teachings of R.T. Kendall.  He is a wonderful man whose mission is to inspire people to desire to see the praise that comes from one and only true God.  Over the course of our staff retreat Dr. Kendall spoke about the need for total forgiveness in the body of Christ (which includes forgiving others and forgiving ourselves).

Yet, today I wanted to share with you something that Dr. Kendall & his wife Louise shared with us during Q&A session.  A question was asked how to balance family and ministry.  An important question indeed.  I couldn't wait to hear their response.

This is what Dr. Kendall said,
They are more important than 
the people you may never see again."

He mentioned that if he could do it all over again - he would spend more time with his family.  He said, "I used to spend more time on writing sermons thinking I was putting God first.  I used to spend more time counseling other people thinking I was putting God first.  I was wrong."

Sitting at my computer today I am reminded of the times in my life when the ministry took so much out of me that I had nothing left to give to my husband... I thought I was putting God first... And with a deep sigh I must agree with Dr. Kendall - I was wrong!

This is what the Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:8,
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 

What have I failed to provide for my husband?  If you ever smiled and acted nice in public only to snap at your beloved in private - you know exactly what I am talking about.

Today I am choosing to put God first by setting my priorities right.

What about you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - #9-14

My schedule gets busier by the minute.  The interns are here.  Sunday School starts this weekend.

In the midst of it all - PEACE... and London Fog (my favorite drink this week)... and oatmeal cookies.

Today I am thankful for:
#9 - Abby who taught me about being a good leader and introduced me to London Fog
#10 - having all ingredients at home to make oatmeal cookies
#11 - for quiet Sunday evenings
#12 - for a midnight trip to Battery Park with my beloved on Friday night
#13 - for a good hairdresser
#14 - for an extra day off this week

holy experience

#8 - here
#2-7 here
#1 - here

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quick Update

No, I do not have the writer's block.  As a matter of fact, I have more ideas now than I did in a long while.  Many unfinished posts and ideas.  But I need time.  Time to spend writing without stealing time from other oh so important things like my time with God, or with my husband, or my ministry, or my school.  Just know that I am here and I will resurface soon.

Please pray for the new 46 interns who joined our ministry this week.  May they stay strong and may all God's purposes be accomplished in their lives.

Monday, September 13, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - #8

I am growing weary of Facebook conversations with her.  Facebook gives her a place to hide, a way to ignore my questions, freedom to pick and choose her answers.  I am growing weary of confrontation, of pouring out my very soul into a person who does not seem to get it, or want it, or listen.  I am a minister, the ambassador of my Savior pleading her to reconcile with God.  Eight years of love, effort, patience, struggle, waiting, coaching, praying are seemingly disappearing into thin air in front of my eyes.  Eight years.

I am growing weary.  Taking a deep breath, followed by sips of caramel macchiato hugging my insides warmly.  A brief look into the sky.  Another breath.  I walk away from the computer.  Defeated.

Fast forward to yesterday morning.  I slept in (as in not because I could).  Rushed morning.  Tired.  Almost wishing I did not have to go to church.  I walk in looking for a place my husband saved for us.  My eyes are searching up and down the rows for his bag... no - for her.  She missed last week.  And sadly she is not here today.  I can't find the bag and I stand by the wall, frustrated.  Defeated.

A tap on the shoulder.  Someone knows where my seat is.  I slip into my seat and exhale.  I am right behind the pole so the pastor can't see me.  Good.  I'm thinking, "Is anything I've done in the past eight years at all significant?"

Another tap on the same shoulder.  I turn around.  I see... her mother.  She is here in church after making more mistakes she can count, after losing her children and struggling through her addiction, after getting offended, and accepted, and offended again, after losing everything she held dear, after breaking so many promises... but here she stands... again.  Today is her second time after a long time away.

I give her a hug.  My mind travels to a cold fall afternoon in 2002 when I threatened and blackmailed and pleaded and begged her to come to church to see her daughter perform in our Christmas play.  And seeing her standing behind me signing praise to our King - suddenly - warms me up in ways my caramel macchiato can't... and makes me feel so... victorious!

holy experience

#8 - I am grateful for God's visual reminders when I need them the most.

#2-7 here
#1 here

Thursday, September 9, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Links...

(and yes I did sing the name of this blog post as I typed it)

In my search of simplicity and creating more "fully-present time" with those I care about, I have decided to clean up my Google Reader list.

This is what I've done:

1. I left all the blogs of people I personally know.  My friends do not post that often and I love reading updates on their life.

2. I stopped following all of the blogs of people I have never met personally.  I added my favorite blogs into a favorites folder that I can always access when I do have extra time to just chill and read and rest.

3. I looked through the list from step 2 and selected a few blogs that at this time in my life are helping me grow.  I have put them back in my Google Reader.

With that - I wanted to share with you some of my favorite blogs of people I've never met that made it to my Google Reader:

And a few others that I refer to often...
(Scripture Dig is really good but can get quite overwhelming as there's a lot of posting activity - so most times I just scan through and focus on just one or two posts)

These 2 below are great (not yet applicable to me much and even though I do not read every post - I do refer to them often).  I think if you have children - they could be an excellent resource for you as well:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

In The Crosshairs

These clips were featured on the TV show "Christianity In The Crosshairs" about 6 years ago.  Surprisingly I have not seen them until now.  My friend cut the parts of it and sent them to me to watch.

As I watched this clip - I was once again reminded of the Lord's faithfulness to me and my family.  Six years later - both my parents are still alive.  And as they are watching me live my life out, they are learning to accept the choices I am making.

My husband (top center) and I (bottom right) with my family in Belarus in 2009
If you are facing impossible situations today...  if you're asking yourself and God the oh-so-painful "Why?"... if  the price tag on your decision to follow God's way for your life seems too costly at times... TAKE HEART!!!

Be strong and of good courage, 
do not fear nor be afraid of them; 
for the LORD your God, 
He is the One who goes with you. 
He will not leave you nor forsake you. 
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

Monday, September 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts - #2-7

Today is Monday which means it is time to express my gratitude to the Lord for the many gifts He has blessed me with.  Last week was a big one so today I'll throw a few technical thank yous.

#2 - internet access (on my phone and my computer) - every time I am not sure of something I can simply look it up... like what a random lemonade craving would mean... or where S'Mac is located... or how to get around Queens with a help of #3 - my GPS service on my phone (oh how I use thee!).  I am also  very grateful for #4 - my computer (ok so it is technically Bryan's but we all know the truth about who's using it the most) and #5 - my printer that allows me to print our Sidewalk Sunday School locations and times on the back of the fliers without having to go through the hassle of stamping them all by hand... talking of printers - very grateful for #6 - a scanning feature on my printer (helps me tons in my study and ministry)... the last one for today - #7 - is an awesome OneNote "Clip" feature which allows me to save parts of my screen or a web page as a picture.

You can find #1 here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What Do You Believe? Really...

According to the Pew Forum's research, a majority of all American Christians (52%) think that at least some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Indeed, among Christians who believe many religions can lead to eternal life, 80% name at least one non-Christian faith that can do so. 

You can read the full report here.  

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  (John 14:6)

What do you believe?  How real is your faith to you?

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