Friday, October 30, 2009

Hippie Girl and Captain Rex

Halloween already? This school year is just zooming by. Treats, movies, party and a dance at the school this afternoon... lots of fun!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #42

Yesterday at church, we didn't have a worship service. Instead we had a Community Bake-Off to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity Durham. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian housing organization that mobilizes volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.

It is a GREAT organization to support especially because what they are all about lines up with our
church's vision which is "to be an indispensable channel of hope and help for the families of Pickering, Durham Region and beyond!"

Another such organization is Samaritan's Purse
, more specifically their Operation Christmas Child program. So while the adults were busy with the Community Bake-Off, the children were busy packing shoeboxes! The kids packed close to 40 boxes during the course of the morning!!! What an awesome way to give this Christmas away!

So, in light of an awesome Sunday at The Sanctuary Pickering, today's verse for Memory Verse Monday comes from...

Matthew 35:34-40 (NLT)
Then the King will say to those on the right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

May this way of life infect every family that calls The Sanctuary Pickering their home church so that God's love may reach to the far corners of this city in which we call home!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #41

Today's verse for Memory Verse Monday comes from:

Titus 2:14 (NASB)
...who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Our pastor's teaching yesterday at church focused on this passage. He said that if we are truly redeemed by Jesus, then we would naturally be zealous for good deeds.

zeal·ous (zĕl'əs) adjective
Fired with intense feeling. Showing or having enthusiasm. Having much eagerness and enthusiasm.

My prayer is for God to increase my zealousness for His work; that He alone will be glorified in my life!

How about you? Are you naturally zealous for Kingdom work?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Reaching Out To Youth...

In a previous blog post I mentioned an interesting discussion that hubby and I had with our daughter about Youth Group. Even with the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving weekend, the topic never really left my heart. I admit that this is new ground for me as my daughter is just entering the teen years. So, my dear blog readers, please bear with me... this blog post is mostly me, myself and I organizing my thoughts into words so that I can make more sense out of them!

This all started a few weeks ago... I found myself thinking: we are part of a new church plant and we have no organized Youth Group yet apart from a Sunday School class for preteens. Since my daughter is now entering the teenage years, I started to wonder whether it is time to initiate starting a Youth Group.

The thing is... the current way most churches define what Youth Group is bothers me. This is why:
"...the most potent data regarding disengagement is that a majority of twentysomethings - 61% of today’s young adults - had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying). Only one-fifth of twentysomethings (20%) have maintained a level of spiritual activity consistent with their high school experiences. Another one-fifth of teens (19%) were never significantly reached by a Christian community of faith during their teens and have remained disconnected from the Christian faith." ---Barna Group
Based on the above research results, the current definition of Youth Group doesn't make teenagers want to stay in church once they reach early adulthood. Why is that??? It really bothers me!!!

I could be wrong... but this is what I glean from this whole situation. Churches structure the Youth Group in such a way that it is difficult for teens to bring their non-churched friends because these friends feel like outsiders. If teenagers can not successfully bring their non-churched friends to Youth Group and make them feel welcomed, they will start to feel that the church is hypocritical; it is not welcoming; it is not engaging; it is not real! The result? Once they reach early adulthood and feel that they are able to make their own choices, church suddenly isn't part of the equation for them anymore!

I don't want my daughter to be part of such a Youth Group. Do you?

Well, since our church does not have an organized Youth Group yet... this is the best time to define one, right? Well, hubby and I have decided to start a "Hang-Out Night for Girls" in our home and our daughter can invite whomever she wishes to invite. This will be one of the many youth groups, hopefully, that will define Youth Group at our church. There is already another group (mostly for boys) that is on the go at another family's home and it is going very well.

I'm not saying that we have found the answer... as this could totally flop! But, I am willing to keep experimenting until I find a method that works (one that can reach non-churched youth) because I know that the current method does not work and I am not willing to keep using it just because it exists.

My prayer is for God to show us the way; to give us wisdom in how to shepherd the next generation; that today's youth will see that God is real; that they will want to live their everyday lives for Him. Help us, God!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Cousins At Thanksgiving

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone... we have SO MUCH to be thankful for, one of which is our children! Here they are with their cousins (my two younger sisters' children) --- my kids (the ones in orange shirts) look like giants!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #40

For Thanksgiving weekend, a most fitting passage for Memory Verse Monday comes from...

Psalm 100 (The Message)
A Thanksgiving Psalm

On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.
Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn't make him.
We're his people, his well-tended sheep.
Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.
For God is sheer beauty,
All-generous in love, loyal always and ever.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gobble, Gobble!!!

As we head into the Thanksgiving Weekend up here in the Great White North, I am having a lazy Saturday morning before the busy-ness of this holiday weekend sets in. As I sit here, in my pajamas, tapping away on my keyboard... I am thinking about the many things I am thankful for:

~ Our church plant is one year old! Church planting is hard work and progress is slow... but it is good, because God is good! I am thankful that my God is a good God; an awesome God!

~ My family is growing and healthy. Last night, we had a great 'spiritual' discussion with our daughter about Youth Group (another blog post is taking shape, I can see it already!) and the role it should play in our family. Physically --- the kids have grown! We've moved their computers out of my office and into the hallway, which we have set up as a "media room". It was just getting too crowded in here when three people work on their computers at the same time. I am thankful that God has grown us spiritually (physically too!) as a family; that He gives us strength each day in order to serve Him.

~ Hubby and I have jobs especially in these tough economic times. I am thankful that my God is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord who provides!

Those are just the first three things that came to mind; there is so much more that I am thankful for... if I continue to type, it will take all day!!! I am reminded of the lyrics of a well-known old hymn called The Love of God...

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

The Love Of God
By: Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

So true. So amazing. So awesome.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, our family will head to the grocery store first and stock our carts with food for the local Food Bank. Then, we will spend Sunday morning with the Body of Christ --- being His church, knocking on doors to collect more food for the Food Bank. Then, we will gather with friends and family to celebrate!

As for me, I should log off now and head to the kitchen to start cooking and baking. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Memory Verse Monday #39

This week's verses for Memory Verse Monday are from...

Ecclesiastes 3:1,11,14 (NASB)
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven. He (God) has made everything appropriate in its time. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it.

A new chapter has started for me in terms of my ladies' Bible study group. The first meeting was tonight...

Tonight meant a new group of ladies... a new meeting place... a new focus and vision. Tonight I felt belonging... I felt right... I felt eagerness and energy!

Tonight I was where God wants me to be (despite my initial reluctance)! This is HIS appointed time for a new ladies' Bible study group to begin. I am still in awe that HE would choose me to lead this group of ladies... I am already learning so much from them and we haven't even started the actual Bible study!!!

I can tell that this is going to be another one of those wild rides!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Puffs Has Nuts?!?

My son is anaphylactic to peanuts and he is also mildly allergic to tree nuts. Last week, he had a massive nose bleed which resulted in him using a massive amount of tissue. We had just bought a new batch of tissues, a kind we've never purchased before --- Puffs with Lotion.

After the nose bleed, I noticed some rashes/redness in and around my son's nose and eyes. I attributed it to skin irritation resulting from wiping too much over the weekend. But it didn't get better, instead it got worse --- looking more welt-like, resembling more like an allergic reaction.

Right away, my thoughts went to the tissue. I thought that he might possibly be allergic to the fragrance in the lotion that is in the tissue. I did a quick search on the Internet and found this blog --- the author wrote about Puffs with Lotion tissue containing a tree nut. A TREE NUT!!! I couldn't believe what I was reading! True enough, I looked on the box and it lists an ingredient called shea butter. Upon doing some more research online, I quickly found out that shea butter is derived from shea nuts, a tree nut!

Now everything made sense... hmmmm, who would've thought to check "ingredients" on a tissue box?!? Well, I already read every label on foods that I purchase... reading tissue box labels wouldn't be that hard, I guess!

Seriously though, I thank God that my son only had a mild reaction and that is wasn't life threatening. He did get a secondary bacterial skin infection as a result of the skin trauma... but he is on the mend now that he's on antibiotics.

What can I say? Another new lesson learned in the life of mom with a peanut/nut allergic child!!! Life is never boring!