Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Whimsy has always been a lap dog. Just 15 pounds of fluff, he knows his spot in the world, and it’s on my lap. When I stay home to work, he comes and stares at me with a baleful shaggy face until I give him the OK sign and then he parks himself there for the day.
Whimsy is a bundle of love, but he’s got one bad habit; when we let him out and turn our backs, he’s off like a shot into the forest behind our house. In four years at the Barnes house, we’ve never been able to discipline him out of it. It can be disconcerting to have one so small and relatively defenseless at large in the deep woods. We just attributed it to a character flaw in our little lap dog.
This past week, I had a revelation about this problem. Desperate for running partners, I decided to try ol’ Whimsy out. He loves to go on walks and danced all around the leash as I got it out. Hooked up, we went outside and I began to trot. Much to my consternation, Whimsy shot ahead the full length of the retractable leash and strained like a hound after a fox. I picked up the pace, wondering where this would lead.
Whimsy just kept galloping ahead, running headlong up our driveway and down the street. One mile went by and he was still flying. Two miles and he was still a blur. Other dogs looked on in wonder as this mass of fur sped along, tugging me behind him. We ran three miles and on the last quarter mile, I unfastened the leash and we raced down the driveway.
My revelation is that Whimsy may be a good lap dog, but down deep he’s a running dog. That’s why he runs away – he may not be built for speed, but he loves to run. And here’s my point: A lot of us are living the lives of lap dogs. But down deep, we’re sprinters, built to run. We just never discovered that about ourselves. We got in the habit of being underchallenged and never discovered our true identity.
It’s not too late for you. Do something crazy. Start running somewhere.
*** For an ongoing account of 25 people throwing off their lap dog identity and running around the world, log on to http://www.theworldrace.org/
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
For the longest time, my 4 year old son T always said, that next to God, he loved me more than anybody. Alas, it is no longer true. After Jeff Goins of Adventures in Missions visited us last week, T has decided that he likes Mr. Jeff only second to the Creator of the Universe. My husband assures me that this too shall pass and that shortly I will return to top billing in his affections. I am not so convinced. After all, T says that Mr. Jeff rates that high because Mr. Jeff can play Monkey Ball on the Wii.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Last year, our church had a Hawaiian themed covered dish luncheon. I wanted to take something that went along with that theme so I made up a recipe. It turned out really scrumptious if I do say so myself.
I've posted the recipe here before, but since its summer and lots of folks are going to cookouts or are participating in Vacation Bible Schools using the Lifeway "Outrigger Island" curriculum, I thought I'd repost it.
Throw that wildly printed shirt on, grab a lei or two, and enjoy!
SIMPLY SURF'S UP MEATBALLS
2 32 oz bags of frozen meatballs (original flavor...not "Italian")
1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple
1 cup of salsa
2 tsps of Ginger (powder form)
Cook the meatballs in a skillet with just a bit of oil and occasionally turning them til they are browned. While they are cooking, mix together the pineapple, salsa, and ginger. Put half of it in the bottom of a crockpot. Put the meatballs in the crockpot. Pour the rest of the pineapple/salsa mixture over the meatballs and stir GENTLY til all the balls have some sauce on them. Cook the meatballs on low or high heat til they are hot and bubbly then turn to warm until ready to serve.
Eat them by themselves or they can be served over rice. If going the rice route, double the "sauce" so that you'll have plenty of it to flavor and moisten the rice.
BTW, don't you just love teens and pre-teens? Looking at the picture, I just can't help but smile and shake my head!
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.It sounds so nice to remain in Jesus' love doesn't it, but how?
If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done, kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.What are His commands?
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Love never gives up.
"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
*was an “illegal” religion
*didn't have church buildings,
*didn't have the scriptures as we know them or “professional” leadership
*didn't have seeker-sensitive services, youth groups, worship bands, seminaries, etc.
How did this fledgling movement manage not just to survive but to thrive, the speaker wondered? And can we do it again? Based on his research and experience, Hirsch is convinced that we can. But this won’t come by following contemporary advice...
*to expand your building
*ensure accessible parking
*provide good preaching
*an inspiring worship service with a first-rate band
*offer quality programs and small groups rooted in a Christian education model
*make sure that next week is better than last week
Why are so many churches shrinking, dying and fraught with conflict, tension and minimal world impact? Hirsch believes that far too many churches have destroyed its most attractive and dynamic aspects, turning a high-intensity, grassroots movement into an arrogant institution controlled by an elite who often managed to be both brutal and not involved in the world.
His solution to what is seen in so many churches today?
Presence. In Jesus, God was fully present to us. As Christ’s followers, this means that “to relate to and influence” our world, we “need to do it from within its cultural forms and expressions”.
Proximity. Like Jesus, we’re sent to befriend outcast people and live life in proximity with the broken and the lost. Our ministries must reflect this more fully.
Powerlessness. Jesus took the form of a servant and not of someone who rules. So should we. Sadly, too many churches have this equation all wrong and power does corrupt.
Proclamation. Jesus was sent to herald the reign of God and call people to respond in repentance and faith
Something to ponder today – Presence, Proximity, Powerlessness and Proclamation. You can join us as partners with A Child's Hope International in each of these areas individually and as a church body committed to seeing Christ lifted higher.
A Child's Hope International exists because the children are waiting.
A Child's Hope International
Liberty Township, OH
Monday, June 16, 2008
WOW! What an incredible weekend the youth of our church (and the grown-ups involved) just had this past weekend. It was so good, I wanted to tell the rest of you about it and give you a chance to participate as well.
On Saturday, Jeff Goins with Adventures in Missions led us in a day filled with prayer, worship, and teaching/sharing all related to loving "the least of these" as Jesus told us to. Along with Jeff, Roy Wingard with Wingard House and Amy Lancaster with WE WILL GO ministry shared a little of their testimonies and then told about the work that God has them doing and how our youth and church can be involved. Let me tell you, it was all good and each of us left there impacted in some way.
On Sunday afternoon, 13 of us crammed into my van and we went to the Lancaster's home for ministry and worship. There was some nervousness and even downright fears involved as for many of us, it was our first time to do this sort of thing. For most of us, a homeless person or prostitute is just someone we read about, hear about on the news or in movies, or pass by in our car while we make sure our doors are locked. But after worshipping alongside them and spending time talking, serving them a meal, playing with one woman's puppy, and loving on their children, these people became more than just a label, they became real to us and they became people we cared about and look forward to seeing AGAIN!
That's right...AGAIN! I don't know how often I'll get to go this summer. But I do know that yesterday won't be the last day for me and my family and all the youth yesterday told me that they wanted to go back.
I know that many of you couldn't participate this past weekend due to conflicts in schedule or plans with your fathers.
But its NOT TOO LATE!!!!
Next Sunday we'll be going again.
And listen...its not JUST for the youth or just for the youth and their parents. This is for ANYONE and EVERYONE! And yes, you can bring your little kids. They've got a trampoline that the kids can play on. The kids are free to move around and fidget as needed during the worship time. Yesterday, the Lancaster's daughters, Sara and Olivia, were giving out free popsicles and my kids LOVED that! You're free to bring some toys for your kids or whatever! Just bring 'em! It really is a lot of fun and a wonderful ministry that the whole family can do together.
If you want to go and can help with transporation, PLEASE let me know! Yesterday I had to double buckle my kids so that we'd have room for all the youth that wanted to go. Next week, I'll have my husband and oldest son added to the number as they weren't there yesterday. There's just no way I'll have room for all that will want to go. But I don't want ANYONE to not be able to participate in this important ministry due to lack of transportation.
Also, if you can't come but would like to contribute anyway, there are things that the Lancasters can ALWAYS use such as new socks, men and women's underwear, nonperishable food items (especially the kind that doesn't require any cooking for the street people), bottled water, toilet paper, paper products, clothes for adults and children, and Bibles. I watched some of those folks yesterday eagerly getting one new pair of underpants and acting like it was Christmas! I also watched as Amy ran out and didn't have enough for everyone and the disappointment on their faces.
Church, these are "the least of these" that Jesus talked about. These are the people that the majority of our culture either doesn't even think about or when they do, its usually in a completely negative way. But these are all people who God loves. And the majority of them are there because they were raised in families that didn't love them the way a child should be loved and raise them with the knowledge of a God who cares. Most of them were abused and fatherless. Most of them truly don't know how to live differently or they're so trapped in their sins and addictions, that they are prisoners to their lifestyles. Some of them already know the Lord and love Him deeply. Some of them still are empty and trying to fill it with drugs, alcohol, etc.
In many ways they are very different than us. But in some very important ways they are just like us. They want to be loved. They want to know that someone cares about them...that they are worth something.
Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.
Looking forward to learning to love better during this SUMMER OF SIGNIFICANCE,
Sunday, June 15, 2008
WE WILL GO
As part of our youth outreach summer, we're taking our youth group to an inner city ministry, WE WILL GO, that holds an outdoor church service primarily for homeless folks but also pimps, prostitutes, addicts, etc. I'm very excited. The homeschool family that has started this ministry is amazing! The mom, Amy, spoke to our group yesterday during our kick-off day and we are all pretty stoked about letting God change our hearts and living fearless lives of love for Him.
I'm not scared, but still ask for your prayers. For most of our youth, this will be their very first time to do anything like this. Pray for them. Pray they won't be fearful but will be transformed by the awesome power of the Holy Spirit and will be annointed agents of grace and mercy. AND, that they will be ministered to by the "congregation"...many of them who are deeply in love with Jesus despite, or perhaps BECAUSE of, their circumstances.
Secondly, pray for the members of the congregation. For most of them, Father's Day is a very tough day. The majority of the men there who are fathers are struggling with guilt over how they raised or didn't raise their kids. The majority of them, men and women, are struggling with hurts from their childhood where THEIR father's are concerned.
Thirdly, another prayer request for our youth. Most won't be going today because it IS Father's Day, but some will be with me primarily because they don't have dads to celebrate with. Pray that I'll be able to minister to them and pray that they will be ministered to while they are there.
And lastly, just pray for me as I juggle leading the group AND watching all my kids...especially my 2 littlest ones. Though I'm not scared for my kids going into this situation, I'm a bit nervous about trying to keep an eye on them amidst a crowd in an outdoor setting on a street corner.
Pray that over it all, God's grace, power, and love will reign!
Thanks in advance,
Visit http://www.wewillgo.org/Site/Welcome.html to learn more about Amy and her family's ministry. Their story is amazing!
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Its late and I've only got about 2 minutes on the pc. I spent the majority of the day with our church youth group of which about half are teenage boys. In honor of them, I post this:
...because sometimes you gotta take a break and just laugh!
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The Church amazes me... seriously. Yesterday (see: Save Pat from Homelessness ), I put a need out there for a friend named Pat who has cancer and was about to be evicted from her apartment. I didn't do much but send a few emails, contacted a group via facebook, and posted a blog. But those people told their friends, and within 24 hours of communicating the need, we've already met and exceeded the necessary amount to save Pat from homelessness!
At first, I was afraid to ask for money, but then I realized that many people are looking for worthy causes to give towards. As an example of this, one person responded within minutes of my sending an email:
"We have some leftover tithe money that we haven't gotten around to giving and we've been looking for opportunities to bless an individual, rather than an organization - this looks like the perfect opportunity. "
"I think you're right... most people do want to help if they know where to help. I'd like to think that I was generous before, but I did a short trip to Swaziland in January... It pretty much turned my life upside down. I'm just now learning what it is to life a life with open hands, seeing Jesus in the faces around me (or on the other side of an email). I went to the bank on my lunch and picked up a money order, so I'll be popping it in the mail this afternoon... It's for $100 USD."
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Compelling Communities to End Child Abuse
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
10 June 2008
Posted to the web 10 June 2008
"New statistics revealing the alarming number of female children that are victims of abuse is seeing child welfare and anti-abuse groups turning to Swazi tradition in the hope of reviving a sense of community responsibility towards the wellbeing of Swaziland's children.
The findings from a demographic survey on violence against women and children, conducted by the government's Central Statistics Office, found that two-thirds of 13-24 year-old females reported feeling depressed, and 18 percent said they had contemplated taking their own lives, while four percent had attempted suicide.
More than half of teenage girls, aged 13-17-years-old, reported depression, and 10 percent of the age group had thought of suicide as an option to their problems. The high rates of depression were attributed to the extreme levels of domestic abuse and violence experienced by them.
"Why are our girls so troubled? The evidence shows they feel powerless, helpless in the face of abuse, faceless when it comes to being seen and voiceless when it comes to being heard," Alexandra Simelane, a social worker at a health clinic on the outskirts of Manzini, Swaziland's second city, told IRIN.
About 38 percent of girls and young women aged between 13 and 24-years-old reported difficulty sleeping and 29 percent had experienced unwanted pregnancies. The figures were even more dramatic for young female adults [aged 18-24 years-old]. About half had problems sleeping and had also gone through unwanted pregnancy.
The findings echo the results of a study released by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in April 2008. According to the UNICEF survey, every third woman in Swaziland had been sexually abused as a child and one in four had experienced physical violence.
"This portrait of troubled girls is at odds with the traditional supportive family and community environment Swazis are famous for," Simelane said.
According to Nonhlanhla Dlamini, director of the Manzini-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) communities needed to restore their sense of responsibility towards the health and happiness of children.
"There still are caring people, but as a whole we seem to have lost that concern for one another. We need to bring back that time when every child had a parent in every adult Swazi. Then we may stop the abuse, HIV-infection and trauma inflicted on girls that we are finding so much of in our research," Dlamini said.
With HIV/AIDS prevalence at 33.4 percent among people aged between 15 and 49, Swaziland has the world's highest infection rate. As a result, life expectancy has halved from nearly 60 years-old in the 1990s to just over 30 years-old in 2008. And according to UNICEF, in two years time, 200,000 Swazi children would have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic - about one-fifth of the current population.
"Particularly with so many child-headed households - our survey found that almost one out of 10 of all girls have lost both parents and are living as orphans. Neighbours can no longer just sit back and fold their arms and mind their own business," Dlamini said.
One out of 10 households in Swaziland is run by children and anecdotal evidence collected by the survey suggested a fear of reprisal from abusers kept neighbours from helping a child thought to be in distress.
"Perpetrators of violence know they can get away with it now. We are creating a mechanism to give support to girls, to give them voices," Dlamini said.
In an attempt to involve community members, SWAGAA, with UNICEF support, launched a community volunteer programme in 2004, which is informally known as the "shoulders to cry on" programme, and is now up and running in the country's 350 chiefdoms.
Some 8,000 volunteers have been trained to provide support and council victims of abuse Dlamini said. "Girls can go to report their problems in confidence and safety, we are telling girls they have someone to seek out."
But, according to the survey, Swaziland's deepening poverty meant that families felt they were already overstretched and had little to offer. "People who used to share what little they have no longer have anything to share - this leads to alienation amongst once close neighbours," Jabu Dlamini, Coordinator of Community Action for Child's Rights Programme in the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, told IRIN.
The survey also found that 60 percent of Swazi men felt it was acceptable to beat their wives. "Men have to learn that this is not only unacceptable but they cannot fall back on Swazi tradition, saying this is customary... it has never been Swazi custom to beat a woman," Simelane said."
Nsoko Project: http://swaziland.myadventures.org/index.asp?filename=the-nsoko-project
I received this from Adventures in Missions staffer Jeff Goins yesterday:
Monday, June 09, 2008
I received this news from Baby Micah's dad and wanted to pass it on:
Dear Prayer Partners,
Lots of love,
IMB Missionary to Southern Africa
Sunday, June 08, 2008
You were so little, just a baby
And yet so much was expected of you.
You had to take care of yourself, you had to survive.
When I saw your face I fell completely in love;
You were so innocent,
I held you and you laughed and smiled.
Will you ever laugh again?
Will you remember me when you are older?
Will you remember the girl that came all the way from another land to hold your hand?
Will you remember me?
I will not and cannot forget you.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Yesterday I posted about the need to pray for a little baby in Africa. I rec'd this today:
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thank you so much!
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The work on Calvary is finished. No more payment for sin is necessary. He did it all by Himself on the cross. We can't earn it. We can't add to it. It is finished. Yet, sometimes we try to add our good works to His salvation. However, the work He is doing on everyone who has accepted Christ as Savior is not finished. Salvation is finished. Sanctification is not. Completion is not. Philippians 1:6 promises that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Yet, we think we need to do more. Give this some consideration: sometimes more effect is required to keep rolling the stone back over the tomb than simply to cooperate with the work He seeks to finish in us. He really does know what He's doing. Let's don't miss out on the great adventure He has planned for us. Let's cooperate!
Beth Moore, To Live Is Christ