Monday, August 31, 2015

Lessons From Moms in the Bible - Hannah

Things We can Learn from Mothers in the Bible

One of my all-time favorite moms is Hannah. 

I Samuel tells us of a dear woman named Hannah who desired to have a baby.  She was in such conflict and pain because she was barren.  We find her in the Temple where she cries out to Him "Lord if you give me a baby," …  “… then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life” (Vs. 11)

We watch her on her journey and our hearts break for her.  Many sweet ladies that I know are on this journey-the silent, yet painful battle of infertility. God hears her cries, just like he hears the cries of all the mothers who desire a baby.  He doesn't always give the gift that we think we need, sometimes He gives us something better. :-)

In Hannah's case, He answers her prayer with a baby.

Hannah finally gets the gift of her dreams. She finally gets the baby she always desired, yet we see her, one chapter later, giving the child back to the Lord.  Not just mentally, not just in her heart and prayers, but physically. She took her child to the temple and gave him to Eli to use for God’s service.

Now, I’m not saying to go to your local church and put your child in a basket on the doorstep.   What I am saying is that I need to know that my child is not mine.  

Ask God to prepare you to always be ready to give your child back.  Ask God to prepare you to be ready for whatever the circumstance. 

The day that your sweet boy comes home and says “Mom, I feel like God wants me to work in Africa”….be ready for that day. God is going to take care of your child WAY better then you ever will.  If God calls your baby to the middle of the desert in a small scary disease-filled town, HE WILL TAKE CARE OF HIM.  

What if He takes them home to heaven?  If He chooses, He may do so, but He can also take my child home from the comforts of plush America too. 

God is our safety, no matter what the circumstance.  Let's give God our babies-- there is no better Keeper. - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, August 28, 2015

Movie Review - THIS IS OUR TIME

Ethan, Ale, Luke, Ryder and Catherine are 5 friends who have just graduated college and are heading into the real world. They all have a deep love for God as well as each other and desire to make a difference in this world. They go in different directions and each of them faces huge obstacles that eventually test their faith.

This Is Our Time (2013) PosterThis is a great movie that reminds us that God isn't God because of what He does for us but because of Who He is. He is God no matter the circumstance. 
One of the greatest messages of this movie is that this is NOT our time. It is God's time. We are here to carry out His plan and purpose. 

Invite some friends over or make a date night. This is a clean movie with a great message. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

My thoughts on the Josh Duggar situation

After you read a few paragraphs here, your feathers might be ruffled.  Please don’t click off; please finish the whole post and understand my heart.  Please know that I do care and love each of you and just want us all to thrive in our walks with Christ.

First off, I want to reiterate what we already know. That is that Josh Duggar has horribly sinned. He has sinned first and foremost against God, also against his wife and children, against his family, against the organization he worked with, against other Christians and many more.  His sin and the consequences will most likely devastate his family for a very long time IF not a lifetime.

The name of Christ has been so utterly trampled because of him. Thankfully, we have a BIG God!  He really doesn’t need Josh, but if Josh is willing, He can take this mess and make it into something beautiful. That is, if Josh is willing.  This can not be the fake tears and a feigned sorrow to get off the hook. It has involve real remorse and a changing of the heart.

The good news is that we know and love a Bible character that did the very same thing.  Look at David and look at when David finally sees his sin.

Psalms 51 “ Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. …The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 

This too must be the heart-cry of Josh if he wants to be restored to God and His family.  It can not be fake. It has to be a REAL crying out to God.

I love that it so clearly says “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee”

Josh can be restored and he can go on and live a godly life, teaching others the lessons that he has learned in such a difficult way. We as Christians need to pray for this in his life.

So now let’s talk about us. Yes, his family put themselves on TV for all the world to see, but, as Christians, do we have the right to judge them. …and this is where you might get your feathers ruffled… but PLEASE hang on and keep reading.

First off, I would say what Jesus said in John 8:7
“…He lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

What Josh did was WRONG but why are we all throwing stones at him when our life is filled with our own sin.

If we TRULY feel like we are his "friend" then we would need to judge/confront him the right way. The Bible gives clear commands on how to confront our brother in Matthew 18:15-17

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

So if we feel strongly about what Josh did, then we need to go to him and confront him the Biblical way.  BUT, let’s be straight, most of us have never even met the guy, let alone been "friends" with him.  Instead, we are just trashing his name on social media.

Have you prayed for him? 

Have we got down on our knees and begged God to intervene for his wife and him? 

Have I prayed that God would restore their marriage and restore their family?

I have a very close friend who went through the same type of situation as Josh and Anna, many years ago.  It was a HORRIBLE time.  However, they got help, repentance took place, and recently the couple mentioned to me that their marriage was stronger and better than it was  before they had these issues. They are now thriving and serving God in some amazing ways. 

I have hope for the Duggars.  That hope is Jesus. He is in the healing business.  If Josh is willing, God can do some big things in his life and in hismarriage.

What can we learn from this?

  1. Your sin WILL find you out?

Looking at this situation, I think it’s quite ridiculous that this young man thought that he could get away with his sin.  I mean, his family was on national TV. 

So what about us, dear friends, what are we hiding? What do people not know about in our lives?

Numbers 32:23  “Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

  1. Can I cast that stone?

What about you? Are you having an affair? There were thousands of people with Ashley Madison accounts.... but I’m not even talking about that.

Affair of the Heart:
What distracts you from your family? Am I obsessed with social media?  Do our husbands try to get our attention but we are too distracted talking to our friends online?  Am I so attached to my phone that it’s become my "love"?  What about football season?  Are you having an affair with sports?  Video games?  Pinterest?  Movies?

Emotional Affairs:
Ladies, maybe our husbands don't communicate in the ways that we need. So, where are we finding fulfillment?

Many of us ladies are appalled by the fact that this young man was addicted to pornography. However, we see nothing wrong with watching soft porn that we name "chick flicks".  THE NOTEBOOK, TITANIC to name a couple.

“It’s just one scene!”

What if Josh said that about his problem?

Are we having affairs in our hearts, in our heads? What distracts you from your family? What is the "love" in my life?

“Well, yeah, but my husband is distracted by ______________ and I just do ______ when he is doing ________.”

This is wrong. Both husband and wife need to get with God and ask Him to help them get rid of these distractions and make the couple ONE again.

My sweet friend, CLEAR IT OUT! Get rid of it! Have an "affair" with Jesus. Have an affair with your husband. Make them the loves of your life. If they are not, then we are no better than Josh.

Ask God to show you. Let's remember to pray for this dear family and work on our own lives. – Rejoicing in the Present.

Monday, August 24, 2015


TOUCHED BY GRACE is a sweet but sobering movie about special needs children.  And about the bullying that goes on in schools and what can happen when it gets out of hand.

A young girl named Cara is forced to move and thus change schools.  She was formerly in the "popular crowd" but also was a participant in bullying because of her friends. In her new school, she meets a sweet girl named Grace, who has Downs Syndrome. They become friends.  But, in the meantime, she also becomes friends with one of the most popular yet meanest girls on the campus. These two friendships can not coincide and you will have to watch the movie to see what happens. 

Working with special needs people in TN gave me a huge heart for them, so I fell in love with Grace as soon as I started watching the movie. I'm sure you will too. 

The reality of this story is that we don't know each other's stories. When we choose to bully, we can't choose the consequences and sometimes the consequences are life-impacting.  I hope you will take the time to watch it.  If you have teenagers, I would definitely recommend a family movie night to watch it. - Rejoicing in the Present

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Religiosity and the Church

The online dictionary said that Religion is...
  • the belief in and worship of ...God
  • a particular system of faith and worship
  • a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance

To tell you the truth I really thought that the 2nd definition would be first because that is what religion has turned into.

Religion has turned into a particular system. It's a lot of doing a certain thing a certain way for a certain reason. Yet if you look at the first and last definition, you see how far away we have come from the true meaning.

There is nothing wrong with going to church every week, reading your Bible, praying and giving monetarily to God... and doing this week after week!  However, it must come out of the first definition. It must first come out of your belief system and your true worship of God. 

Why do we do the things we do????

Why do we go to church?

... because our Pastor may call us when we skip?

...because we have been doing it every week for most of our lives?

...for GOD? worship God? 

...because we want to meet Him there?

Why do we pray?

...because we want to talk to Him? 

...because God may strike me dead if I don't?

...because we want Him to talk to us? 

...because we want to sound important to the people listening to us pray?

...because your words are for Him.

...because you desire to?

...because it's part of your check list.

Why do we read the Bible?

...because you can't wait to get a little nugget for the day. 

...because you know that is where your energy will come from. 

...because you are interested in what God has for you.

Our habits should come out of a desire for and worship of God.  They should be the results of pursuing a relationship with God.  We do, because of what He did.

Let's look at our doing and going and being and make sure that at the root of it, is a worship of God and pursuit of Him. Let's make church a place where we meet God. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

DIY - Recovering Chairs

When I was up in Tennessee earlier this year, visiting my family, my mom mentioned that she was probably going to get rid of a couple bar stools because the seats were worn-out.  
My grandmother, who lives in the same house, also had some beautiful old German-made chairs with padded seats that were old and looked bad. So I asked my mom if I could recover the chairs.  She was a bit skeptical but gave me the okay.   So we went to the fabric store and picked out some new material that would match her decor.

This is what I needed:
  1. Upholstery Fabric
  2. Staple gun
  3. Staples
  4. Screwdriver

Then I got to work. My dad volunteered and was a HUGE help in this project.  This is what we did:
  1. First, we turned the chairs over and unscrewed the chair pads.  The newer chairs had only 4 screws holding down the pads. The German-made ones had like 4,256. (or maybe just 20)
  2. After we got the seats off, I cut a large piece of fabric for each with enough room to cover the sides and part of the bottom as well as the seats themselves. 
  3. Then I wrapped the fabric nicely around to the underside and stapled.
  4. Once the seats were re-wrapped, I put them back on the chairs and screwed the screws back in place.
It was a fairly easy project . You can see the before and after pictures below. - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, August 17, 2015

Striving For Greatness

Many people buy books and read articles about becoming great. Many of these dear people are Christians. 

I think if we were all honest, we would say that we don't want to just live this life but we want to thrive. We want to be successful whether that is in our job or as a wife or mother. 

Jesus was talking to a group of people about a man that He thought was great in Luke 7. 

Wow, can you imagine being called great by the Son of God, the Son of Man!!! 

Below is the passage where he was talking about John the Baptist, a prophet of God.

Luke 7:24-28

What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? 

But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts. 

But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. 

This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 

For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. 

There are at least three lessons here that we can learn about why John was great.

1. He was consistent. 

John pointed people to Jesus and stood for righteousness. He would not be moved from the truth. Eventually, he literally lost his head over this, but He stood firm on the truth and was consistent. He was not like "a reed shaken in the wind."

2. He denied himself.

Life was not about what he could get. The "stuff" that he had was mainly used for survival. He ate to live. He dressed because he had to. He was not living for this world. 

3. He was NOT great. 

In fact, John was actually "the least." He lowered himself. He emptied himself. He was nothing and so God filled him up and made him great!

THIS IS GREATNESS. Want to succeed? Then stand on the truth; don't falter. 

Deny yourself. What can we give up so that someone else can "have"?

Lastly, we must empty ourselves. Let God make us great. Don't try to do it ourselves, because eventually WE WILL FALL and will be what looks like a big mess of "self" lying on the ground. Let's God make us great!  - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lulu's Tea Room, Powell, TN

I am so excited to introduce you to my all-time favorite restaurant, Lulu’s Tea Room, located in Powell, TN.

WAIT--before you click off my post and say that you’re not into “tea and scones,” let me tell you more.  Now, this restaurant can serve up some delicious scones; however, you must try the entrees and sides.  They are absolutely amazing!

The food is delicious and it’s all fresh!  I know this for a fact because, before we were married, my husband and I both worked there.  I worked in the kitchen and actually made many of the recipes, so I saw the way the food was handled and cooked.

The owner, Dena, is a friendly down-to-earth gal with a HUGE heart and lots of sparkle.  When Hubby and I got married, she threw us a wedding shower with the staff. She is just that type of person.

But let me tell you about the amazingly delicious food.  My favorite meal is the chicken salad with sweet bread, tomato dill soup and deviled eggs.  Hubby’s favorite is the chicken pecan quiche with tomato dill soup and fresh fruit.  My mom loves the spinach quiche and pretzel jello salad.  I could go on and on telling you about all the favorites in my family; by let me tell you this, Dena has a variety of sandwiches, soup, salad, quiche and sides--something for everyone!

In fact, you can come in just to enjoy one of her fabulous desserts.  I could write another complete post about her desserts; they are OUT OF THIS WORLD.

Just today, she offered blackberry, strawberry, coconut and red velvet cakes and a peanut butter pie.  She has so many different kinds of desserts.  You can even order a whole cake to take home with you.

Lulu’s is a busy operation.  She caters and takes reservations.  She hosts all sorts of baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties and so on.  Dena has also frequently shared some of her recipes on a local TV program, "Alive at Five at Four" (on WBIR-TV).

If you are ever driving through Knoxville, TN, there is a beautiful Victorian style house in nearby Powell that houses this quaint tea room.  Its appearance is adorable and the food is the best! Give it try;  for reservations, call 865-947-5858 or just stop on in. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


My chest was heaving for air and I was trying to relax while clinging to the side of the pool.  There were little kids swimming around like fish, while I was hanging unto the edge for dear life.

It all started back when I was a pre-teen. Since then  I have always LOVED the water, especially pools!  Water has always been so relaxing. Because of all my back problems, pools have been a place of relief for me.  So while I was recovering from my surgeries in high school, my parents installed a LARGE above-ground pool in our backyard.  It was 5ft deep but I could stand and be okay.  It was soooo much fun.  Some of my favorite memories involve that pool!

Ironically, I couldn't really swim. I did take some swimming lessons one summer but I never learned what I needed to.  I could hold my breath and swim across the narrow part but then I would stand up and that would be the end of it.  I never learned to come up for air and swim again.  In fact, I had this fear of swimming in water that I could not stand in.

So as soon my kids were born, I looked into swim lessons for them.  My 1 year old can float like a boat and my 3-year-old son can swim and rescue-float himself.  It's pretty amazing. To get where they are now, they had to go through some intense lessons. There were lots of tears but now we see the result! They are like fish in the water.

I personally have always wanted to learn, and even more than that, I wanted to beat my fear.  So this summer when I signed up my kiddos for lessons, I signed up myself too!  I figured I shouldn't expect my kids to do something that I myself was not willing to do.  So, there I was taking swim lessons and sneaking off to practice while my husband watched the kids.

It's been a journey.  I have not reached where I would like to be, but the day finally came!

I knew I didn't have much time. The kids were sleeping and their daddy was home for only a short time.  I had just enough time for a few laps.  I decided that "TODAY was the day."  I was going to swim half way across, take a breather and swim the other half.  I had done the first half many times. I would swim and come up for air several times until I got half way. I was comfortable doing this because I knew I could still stand if I needed ot 

So I did a little more then the first half and then swam to the side to get a breath.  I couldn't stand at this point so, with my chest panting for air, I clung unto the side of the pool and breathed.  Finally, a little girl came by and asked to go by.  I knew that I needed to finish the job.  So I took a deep breath and dove in.  I swam and came up for breath a few times until I could almost touch the wall.  It was a beautiful moment to reach out and grab the wall and know that I had finally done it.

29 years later, I beat the beast.  I still have a lot to do.  I want to get to the point where I am strong enough to do the full lap without resting, but I can now swim even when I can't touch the bottom!  YAY!

It was a big day!  What about you?  Is there something you need to beat?  Is there something you have always wanted to do?  It's not too late. You're still breathing. Give it a try :-) - Rejoicing in the Present

Ps. Since writing the above post, I have become quite comfortable with the deep end. I am even "trying to learn" to do flips. :-) (It was a flop) for now I think I will stick with Cannon Balls. :-)

Monday, August 10, 2015

bAHamas moment #5

Our time in the Bahamas was amazing.  We all had a blast serving with Liberty Baptist to try to win the souls of local youth.  We went out soul-winning in the morning, spent the afternoon planning, and put on a big youth rally at night. 

The church is in a poorer area.  The streets are very narrow and not always well taken care of.  The flowers and trees are gorgeous and the people seem to take care of what is given them. ...but it's a normal life to not have air-conditioning and to live with less. 

We spent over a week ministering, laughing, and enjoying the Bahamian people.  On the last day, a few of the people expressed an interest in seeing the Atlantis Hotel that you always see advertised on TV.  So we decided to go tour it. 

We went over a large bridge to get to it and almost immediately saw a difference. The streets were much wider and everything was well kept up.  The grass was perfectly green and cut in a professional way.   The buildings were painted and everything had a touch of elegance to it.  When we walked through the shopping area, you could see a fake portrayal of perfection. 

As we walked down the boardwalk to the hotel we saw yachts lined up next to each other, many of them worth over 100 million dollars.  I noticed a few people sitting on their decks; they were busy on their electronics. 

As I continued to watch people, I didn't see a lot of joy or peace. When we arrived at the hotel, we had to walk through the casino to see other parts of it and many in our group expressed a feeling of darkness while walking through. 

As we toured Atlantis, all I could think about was what Solomon wrote...

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."   The people looked empty; there wasn't real joy in their faces.  They all looked like they were trying to keep up with each other. 

Ahhh... it hit me.  #5.  Life isn't always what it looks like.  It may look like perfection, with extravagance, brand-name everything and people waiting on you, but it's empty. 

You may think that the grass is greener on the other side but usually that's because there is a septic tank right under your neighbor's lawn.  

That resort was trying to sell a perfect "Bahamas experience"; however it wasn't even the real Bahamas.  It was faux perfection. 

Interestingly enough, when we came out of the hotel we walked right past those yachts where some of the same people were sitting in the same spot, not interacting with each other but playing on their electronics.  They looked bored and unhappy.

Yet I saw more people laughing and giggling and having a blast at our youth rally on the "poor" side of town. 

After living there for a week, it wasn't hard to sniff out the falseness. 

However, I wonder if I would have seen it if I had gone directly to Atlantis.  The world will try to sell it to you. 

  • Come; gamble; you will be the one to win. 
  • If you look like us, you will be happy.
  • Have a party. Get drunk on the beach; that will make you happy. 
  • If you spend $$$ on ______, you will be happy. 

But, my dear friend, joy comes from the Lord and from salvation.  We had a hard week but a full week.  We had joy, real joy.  The joy that comes from your salvation and seeing the souls of others coming to salvation.  I would not have wanted to be on the other side.  I was blessed to be on the Fox Hill side of town.  - Rejoicing in the Present

Friday, August 7, 2015

bAHAmas moment #4

One of my favorite AHA moments is #4:  "Take away all electronics, stick a bunch of teens in a room with a beach ball and it can entertain them for WEEKS."

So there we were broken down on the side of the street. We found a blow-up bat and an empty water bottle and played baseball. 

Then at the church, we were stranded every afternoon because of the bus situation. Our teens found a beach ball and some hula hoops and we played every game you could think of. 

From volleyball to taps, to Hula Haphazardness to Dodge Ball to "make it up as you go along," the young people and some of us "not-so-young" people played, laughed, teased, joked and had good clean fun.  I'm sure those memories are going to last forever. 

Give a child an empty box and a spoon and he will play for hours. Give a child a room full or toys and she will come crying in 30 minutes that there is nothing to play with. 

The youth really bonded because they had to talk to each other face to face.  They played together.  They were a team.  They teased and laughed together.  They built forever memories. - Rejoicing in the Present

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

bAHAmas moment #3

When we arrived in Nassau, we got lunch and waited for the missionaries to pick us up.  We soon realized that something was amiss, as we waited for more than an hour longer than had been agreed upon. 

We found out that the church bus was having issues and they had to continually pull over.  Once we were picked up, we pulled over two times to give the bus a rest. Finally we continued on our way again; when we did, the driver opened the radiator cap which happened to be on the inside of the bus.  There was a small explosion of water and steam gushing out.  Someone yelled "everyone out" and we trampled over each other to do so.  A few of the guys just jumped out the windows. 

We laughed over our silliness.  The emergency evacuation was not necessary but our laughter soon turned into gravity when we realized that the bus was done for.  We waited on the side of the road for a few hours while the church rounded up some people to pick us up. 

This was the beginning of some "earthly" issues that we had.  One of our sweet ladies struggled with dizziness all week due to the heat and her blood pressure pills, while most everyone else just struggled with the heat. 

With the bus down, we were not able to pick up kids to bring them to our youth rallies.  We were discouraged by this fact but kept plodding along. 

Although I had always known this fact, my AHA moment #3 was a good reminder.  "No matter what life throws at you, remember there is a God Who is bigger."

Our youth rally had an incredible turnout.  Over the course of the week, we had 20 young people come to Christ.  The last night we had 100 attending.  We had two huge lists of contacts to leave for the church to followup on; the exciting part was that since we couldn't pick any kids up, their parents either dropped them off or they walked, which is unheard of there. 

Our lemons seemed a bit sour when they were handed to us, but God made the most delicious lemonade out of them. - Rejoicing in the Present

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

bAHAmas moment #2

"Here am I Lord, send YOU.  Here am I Lord, send YOU..." 

This is my son's version of a portion of a Patch the Pirate song, which really goes "Here am I, Lord, send ME."

The first couple times that he sang it, I laughed loudly, but the more that he sang it, the more it didn't sit well in my stomach.  It hit me that this is the song on our hearts. 

"Lord, I'm here, I want to be used... but send someone else to do that hard work.   I'll give, I'll pray, but going... well that's just too hard, God."

"I want everyone to see what a great Christian that I am so I will announce that I'm a good Christian.  I will be in church.  I will give money, but "go"... well that "going" business is for someone else down the pew. 

Getting on the plane with two little children, one who has had too many medical problems recently, is frightening.  Listening to my children fret due to the heat is hard.  Watching my daughter learn to walk in a room full of metal chairs is a bit scary. 

...a different place, a different culture...

It was far from "easy" but it was so worth it.  To see the lives that were changed while we were there, to see God's protection on our little family, to know that we were where we were supposed to be was so reassuring. Easy, no, rewarding, YES!

Just this morning, our Pastor quoted C.T. Studd.  "Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell.  I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell."

What is the song of our hearts? - Rejoicing in the Present

Monday, August 3, 2015

bAHAmas moment #1

"My sweat is sweating" - This phrase was coined by Momma Jo on our missions trip to the Bahamas.  It was the best description of how hot we were at times.  We joked that people paid for sauna treatments but if they were $$-savvy, they could just get in a hot vehicle in the Bahamas for a  few minutes and get the same effect.  I believe that I sweated every toxin that was present out of my body.  It was insane!

The very first day and night, I struggled immensely, but within a few days, I was learning tricks to stay cool.  I would take a shower before I went to sleep at night and during the day, I tried shade and air flow tricks to keep cooler.  Yes, we fought heat rashes but we adapted.  We learned to do with less. 

I was reminded how spoiled I am.  I couldn't turn the faucet on and drink any old time.  All their water and pretty much everything has to be imported to the island. The cost of a small jar of peanut butter is $10.  The price of most food is QUITE ridiculous. 

I only packed so many items of clothing so I just kept washing and re-wearing the same shirts.  In the end I learned that I really could do with much less than I have. 

We are spoiled. 

So what am I going to do about that?

Live with less? 

How can I do that?

Maybe I can turn the air conditioning down.  Then I can take that extra money I save and use it for someone else. 

We CAN do with much less, and we can help more people. 

What can you cut out of your life? 

So blessed... now what am I going to do with that extra money I save?.... - Rejoicing in the Present

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What is your church made up of?

What is your church made up of? 

Look around. 

Who attends? 

With whom do you connect? 

Who do you chat with? Who do you reach out to? Who puts a smile on your face?

Who doesn't fit into that box?

When someone comes in that smells a little funny or looks a little different, do you offer a seat next to you? 
Do you move?  

What is your reaction?

Recently, I was talking to a dear woman about a ministry that she is a part of.  The people live in a “rough” part of town and going there makes other church people noticeably uncomfortable.  As my friend was going around talking to various residents, she met a few ladies that were not your “typical” church goers.  They were a bit rough looking and probably did not know “church etiquette.” 

My friend had this SAD thought, "I wonder if these ladies would be welcome at our church."

When she told me this, I didn’t know whether to cry or scream!  These are the people that Jesus sat and ate with.  These are people that Jesus died for.

One of my favorite quotes is also my heartbeat  “The church is NOT a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.”  When dear people with drug addictions come to our church, our arms should be held out open to them. When prostitutes come, we should surround them with REAL love and affection. When "sinners" come to church, we should cheer.

And my dear friend, may I remind you that YOU are a sinner.  You need Jesus like every other person does. 

The angels in heaven rejoiced when you came to Jesus; can you not have that same joy when another sinner joins the team?

Our whited sepulcher is not so white when we look through the eyes of God.  It’s full of sin and filth.  Yet we keep scrubbing the outside to make it look like it’s clean.  

Let’s be REAL!

We may be fooling another church member, but we are not fooling God.  

I may appear righteous but there is a lot of  sin growing inside.

We may think that we are better then those who have some obvious outward sin, but we were still born sinners and we still have those sin habits we have to fight every day.  (Praise the Lord, we have the Holy Spirit to fight them for us.)

Dear friends, let’s open our doors. 

Let’s be excited when the un-churched “dirty” up our pews.  Let’s love on them, pray with them, and celebrate with them the gift of grace!

I didn’t say be like them or party with them, I said to love on them, pray with them, and worship God with them. 

The hospital beds in our church should be full.  Let's get off our pedestals, clean out the museum and put out the beds.  I want my church to be the one that Jesus visits. - Rejoicing in the Present.

And Jesus answering said unto them, "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." - Luke 5:31-32