Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Better Way

This is a song that has gripped me these few days --- 'A Better Way' by Canadian band Downhere: (please pause the Playlist on the sidebar if you wish to view this video)



A Better Way, by Downhere
from the album Wide Eyed and Mystified

I'm not alone, I really believe
You never go, You never leave
Here and now, You always stay
“I love you” could not be said
A better way

It's everything You've promised
There's no greater love than this
From prophets until today
A man laying down His life for His friends
Your sacrifice has spoken, You gave everything
And “I love you” could not be said
A better way

I am forgiven, I clearly see
It's why You came to do all you did for me
Trading earth with heaven, You took my place
“I love you” could not be said
A better way

Because You redeem, I know what's to come
Everything I could lose here, You've already won
So You have my surrender, with passion obey
“I love you” could not be said
A better way

What gripped me is this --- "You have my surrender, with passion obey; I LOVE YOU could not be said a better way." This ought to be my response to what Jesus has accomplished on the cross for me. Do I always surrender? Do I always obey with passion? Do you?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #33

"Man's chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy Him forever."
--- Westminster Confession of Faith

This very familiar quote served as a great reminder to me today of what my purpose really is as a follower of Jesus Christ. In light of this reminder, this week's verse for Memory Verse Monday comes from...

I Peter 4:11 (NLT)
Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

In my life, Lord, be glorified today!

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Redeemer is Faithful and True

Today, I am rejoicing and giving thanks to my loving Heavenly Father for great health news that my mom received yesterday afternoon. For the past week, we have been anxiously awaiting follow-up results due to an abnormal mammogram. We've been especially anxious because of her bout with ovarian cancer three years ago. Yesterday, we were told that the mass is benign and nothing to worry about. Praise God!!!

A song came to mind... it's been tucked deep inside my soul from my teenage years. I can't find a good video of it to post, nor is it available on Playlist.com for me to add to my playlist... so posting the lyrics on here is all I can do for now. The song is...

My Redeemer is Faithful and True
By Steven Curtis Chapman and James Isaac Elliott
As I look back on the road I've travelled,
I see so many times He carried me through;
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life,
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

Chorus:
My Redeemer is faithful and true.
Everything He has said He will do,
And every morning His mercies are new.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

My heart rejoices when I read the promise
'There is a place I am preparing for you.'
I know someday I'll see my Lord face to face,
'Cause my Redeemer is faithful and true.
My Redeemer is faithful and true.

And in every situation He has proved His love to me;
When I lack the understanding, He gives more grace to me.
This is very true in every believer's life, but it is very much real in my mom's life! And for that, I give God thanks!

God's love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
---Psalm 103:17-18 (The Message)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Loaves and Two Fish

This past Sunday, our guest speaker at church spoke to us about the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000 people. He focused on these two phrases from the Bible passage:
"You (disciples) give them something to eat."
"Bring them here to me (Jesus)."
The first phrase was Jesus' solution to the problem. Jesus presented the disciples with an impossible (humanly speaking) solution. Our guest speaker reminded us that it is when God presents us with the impossible that we see His power most at work!

"Coincidentally" the night before, we watched Evan Almighty (again)... this time on DVD. This second time around watching the story of Noah told in a modern-day setting seemed to resonate with me way more than the first time. I think it has somethng to do with our being part of a church plant now... the idea of God asking me to do outrageous things is now suddenly very real to me!!! Here's one of God and Evan's conversations (paraphrased):

Evan: God, this is impossible!
God: This is when I accomplish great things!
Wow, so true! Hubby and I have seen this truth time and time again during this new church's very young life.

Our guest speaker shared with us that the second phrase reminds us to give our all to Jesus; to bring our five loaves and two fish to Him; then He will multiply them! Got me thinking --- what are my five loaves and two fish? Am I holding on to them? Is there something I need to give to Jesus so that it can be multiplied for His glory?

Great message... food for thought!

Memory Verse Monday #32

This week's verse for Memory Verse Monday comes from...

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

As I look ahead to the Fall season, I can already see that it will be a very busy one ministry-wise; plus the usual things that come with life in general. I found myself thinking about this verse as I thought about the Fall season... this is the verse God gave to hubby and me as we stepped out in faith and got involved in starting a new church within our very own community!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Week-Long Bible Lessons

As we complete a whole week of Bible teaching at Ignition Sports Camp today, I am in a reflective mood... there's been a bunch of "firsts" this week and I am just awed by God.

Some of those "firsts" are:

~ FIRST TIME the Good News is being presented at Ignition by our church's own children's ministries volunteers. I am beyond excited --- for some of these children, it would be their FIRST TIME to hear about the Gospel; the same is true for some of our staff members!!!

~ Two of the teachers are ladies from my Bible Study group. I have seen these two ladies grow in their spiritual lives, from mere babies to full-grown adults! It is truly a blessing to see and experience such transformation. As far as I know, it is the FIRST TIME for one of them to teach a Bible lesson to children in a setting such as Ignition.

~ My daughter came home from a week-long overnight camp a couple of weeks ago challenged to share more about God to other children. She volunteered to write (from scratch, with themes provided to her by our pastor) all the lessons that we are teaching this week at Ignition!!! This is her FIRST TIME to write curriculum; and it is the FIRST TIME we are using lessons written by a child (okay, preteen!) for children! As you can probably already tell, I am ONE PROUD MAMA!!! She did an excellent job... her talent in writing is definitely a unique gift from God!

For all these "firsts" --- all glory be to our gracious Heavenly Father!!!

As I reflected upon this week and as I prepare my heart to teach the last lesson in a couple of hours, this verse came to me...

2 Corinthians 9:9-11 (The Message)
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Braces!!!

My daughter got braces this week. I can't believe that my little girl is turning into a teenager right before my eyes!!! Time sure flies --- make the most of it!!!

Church People vs. Kingdom People

I saw this quote on my Facebook news feed page this morning:

"Church people think about how to get people into the church; kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world. Church people worry that the world might change the church; kingdom people work to see the church change the world."
---Howard Snyder

Made me think --- as a Christian family which category of people do we belong to? Are we a kingdom-minded family? Do we structure our activities so that we are going into the world as the Bible has taught us to? Do we work to see our family effect "God-change" in the community around us or do we keep to ourselves because we worry that the world might "influence" our family?

I sure would like to think that we are a kingdom-minded family! I believe that it is the harder category to belong to... but the results are much more glorifying to God than the alternative.

This summer, we are playing our part in making an affordable summer sports camp happen in our very own community; making close to 1,000 camp spots available to families that need help; so that people may know that God loves them and that we do too!

Becoming a world-changing family is definitely a work in progress... one day at a time!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #31

My thoughts are still lingering on the journey to heaven after watching The Pilgrim's Progress movie at church. In light of these thoughts, here is today's passage for Memory Verse Monday...

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

I like how it is translated in The Message...

I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward — to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

See you at the finish line!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Pilgrim's Progress

We watched The Pilgrim's Progress (on DVD) at church starting last week and finished it today. It is a modern movie made from the book of the same title, which is written by John Bunyan way back in the 1600s. The movie ended with a statement and a question and it is... "The journey to heaven. Are you on the right path?"

When I was a little girl, I heard this story for the first time as my mom narrated it to us. It was a powerful story then; but the movie made it literally come alive for me! It is a thought-provoking story; it made me examine my own journey to heaven; it reminded me that spiritual warfare is very much real; it made me resolve to stay on the right path and to make sure my children understand what it means to stay on the right path! It's definitely good to be reminded of these things once in a while! :-)

This movie is part of our pastor's teaching series on spiritual warfare. Today, he spoke about sin. Sin not only being the roadblock between us and God; but also hindering us from seeing and doing God's will in our lives --- God's good and perfect will.

He talked about the need to examine ourselves time and time again; making sure we are "on the right path". I kind of compared this on-the-right-path life to a stock market graph that is on the rise; there are daily ups and downs, but on the whole it is on the upward swing. So it is with our journey to heaven... we are but pilgrims on this earth. As long as we are on the upward swing... striving to be more and more like Jesus each day... then we are on the right path! Then one day, at our destination, we will hear that proclamation: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Wow! What a glorious thought! I can't even imagine...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #30

Tuesday already... better late than never for my Memory Verse Monday post! This verse is proving to be very real to us especially this past week...

Matthew 6:33 (The Message)
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

So true... our God is so good to us! To summarize the week that just passed... incredibly busy with our church's summer outreach; then, flood in our basement; dealing with insurance company and disaster clean-up crew... you get the picture!

But, as I said, our God is always good! He's made sure that everything is taken cared of for us... everything AND MORE!

We serve AN AWESOME GOD!