Monday, April 30, 2007

bible help

Two verses that are helping me decision make (although nothing is completely sure right now) are:
Dt 31.6 -
"So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

And Phil 1.21
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Glory Revealed

Went to this concert last night at Victory in Lakeland. They are only doing abuot 15 shows and Lakeland was special enough to have one.
It was great. One of the best shows because it wasn't about them. It was about the word. All the songs were Scripture based - 99% of them word for word. We had a Bible study pretty much - set to music. And it wasn't rocked out music with tons of lights and show. They played violin, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, couple of guitars, drums. The Shanes were there and their music (new stuff coming soon) is incredible - always Word-saturated. Mac (first time I'd seen him - of Third Day) was great too - his voice is just like it sounds talking or singing. Candi was there - of the Passion fame - saw her back in 2000. Some others were there as well. Dave Nasser was great - funny, serious, relevant, love of the Word clearly shined through!
The Word - it is our conversation with God - He talks to us on a daily basis - if we'll open up the Word!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Full Joy

The first class I taught at the Summit was one called Full Joy. It was for young ladies and we had a good time. There was a need for it for a short time. We picked out different psalms to study each week. I enjoyed it. The reason it was called Full Joy was because of Ps 16.11 and I am reading that this morning, finding even more comfort in it today:
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

This is for Kelly Pope - soon to be married and Kasey Ferrell - married and mother of Katelyn. Enjoy God's goodness girls! I miss ya both!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Immediate Obedience in the Already Promise

I've been reading Future Grace by John Piper - such a great book with short chapters so they are easy to read in a short amount of time (like right before bed or with your morning devotions, or on your lunch break). You can find three chapters of it on John's www. Here is a quote from it:
Past grace is glorified by intense and joyful gratitude.
Future grace is glorified by intense and joyful confidence.
This faith is what empowers us for venturesome obedience in the cause of Christ.

This is exactly what I've been learning in my reading through Genesis right now. As my Pastor calls this act of Abraham "unhesitating obedience" because his response to God is like a one track mind "Here am I!". (Gen 22.1, 11). This is what I got from Gen 22 and now as I listen again to this sermon JD preached.

Abraham had immediate obedience. "Does your obedience have conditions" is what JD asked. There is no conversation that Abraham has with God after he commands him to do this unmentionable thing. There wasn't grumbling or complaining or what ifs or you said this or but God. These are all things we say.
Abraham feared God. He knew Who He was and what He could do.
"Success is defined as obedience and walking with God." - He listened so closely to the voice of God. Gen 22.11-12 is the conversation. Here is the picture: Abraham is about to slay his son of promise (from earlier in Genesis). But, he was so intent on listening to God's voice - that he stopped in mid-swing. He responded and his action stopped. Do we slow down enough to listen to the voice of God - could we hear it in our lives that are so busy.
Abraham was confident in the Already Promise of God. He told his servants that he and the boy would go and worship and (plural verb here) come back again (Gen 22.5) He knew God to be the everlasting unchanging God. He knew God was a God of his Word - He gave Abraham that promise and He knew he would keep it.
We know that God has given us promises - do we hold on to that when the future doesn't seem all that certain? Do we obey immediately to what He has told us (commands from the Word) in certainty that what He has promised will come true - blessings (Abraham knew that in the end of Gen 22). That is the point of Future Grace by Piper (where I started this entry). We can go on in uncertainty (the hidden hand of God) because we have confidence in the future grace of God because we have the past grace of God - and that leads to some adventurous living all for the glory of God

Monday, April 23, 2007

scenic shots from south florida

I have been all over FL this weekend. I have been on the north end on the Atlantic, and today I drove with M/D toward the southern gulf end. My Dad grew up close to Placida, FL - which is near Boca Grande, north of Ft. Myers. So, we went down to a restaurant. As we left I decided to take some pictures.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I've been learning much about growing as a woman of God. There is much that the Bible says about this particular task that we as woman need to be doing (yes, I know sanctification is all grace)... Remember a few weeks ago I was learning the word "contentious", well, I'm still working on that one, and I thought I would add some more to the pile...
Prudence...a word that means wise with resources, not wasteful, spends her money and her family's money with careful attention, but also wise and careful with words, food, time, possessions, etc. I've been learning and thinking about this word since I read it in proverbs last week.
Diligent/Industrious: I learned the true meaning of this by staying in Patty Crum's house this weekend. Seriously, if there were pictures in the dictionary - her portrait would be next to these. But, the Bible makes great light out of this in Prov 31. I mentioned this to her husband and he agreed.
Prov 31...
13 - she seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands (how about hot glue and crimping tools)
27 - she looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness (she is always doing something, like fixing screens and swing sets)
31 - give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates

Thanks Patty and other women in my life who have demonstrated these two things as I continue to look to older women to show me the ways of Jesus (Titus 2)

you know you're in St. Aug when...

These incredible things happen (and I don't mean incredible lightly)

1. You walk into Ace Hardware and see 3/4 of one of the best families in St. Augustine.

2. You make homemade cinnamon rolls for the first time and teach fractions at the same time. They were so good!

3. You see some of the above youth lead in all four services at Anastasia this weekend. The youth choir sang, they ushered and took the offering, shared testimonies. Jamer, Chase, and Archie all preached on "boast in weaknesses". The band (led by Ella and Jamer) did Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns and did an excellent job.

4. You see an old friend from college who is now a husband and a dad and is plugged into a great church - loving Jesus.

5. You feel more and more at home in your "old" church because of community and ministry.

6. A girl walks up to you and says she loves your shoes - and you know she is just a 6th grader so she is not assuming anything. And then another girl walks up and says I love you - I've hung out with this girl twice - and I say it in return. She asks, "really?" - and I said honestly and truly - and the only reason I can say that is because God first loved me and has called me to love and disciple girls! And to see both of these girls dance for Jesus this weekend to the Casting Crowns song.

7. Riding bikes down to the beach and seeing the beauty of God's creation in the sand, jellyfishes, clear blue sky, the crashing waning tide, the pretty flowers.

8. Eating all the veggies right out of the garden. Its so cool: blackberries, blueberries, japanese plums, apples, oranges, lemons, lychees, mangoes, grapefruit, lettuce, plus roses and other pretty flowers. I'm probably forgetting something.

9. Hanging out on chairs in the front yard soaking up the sun playing sudoku and finishing 2 puzzles.

10. Playing golf and improving my score. Ok, so it was on Wii, but I became a person. I had -1 going into the last hole today, but did horrible thanks to the water, ended at +5, but still won that round!

11. Got to eat breakfast this morning with the above girl pictured with me - Misty. She is amazing! I feel like I've known her my whole life - and its really just been since February. And she remembered what kind of tea I wanted - Foxtrot - great tea! Thanks for being a much needed addition to my weekend - we must do it again - soon! :)

12. Learned a verse that illuminated a particular song "Marvelous Light" - by Crowder or Tomlin, whoever you are listening to at the time:

Micah 7.9

"I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him. Until he pleads my case and executes justic for me. He will bring me out to the light and I will see his righteousness."

Thanks Chase for bringing that verse into your sermon.

Thanks to the youth, the youth pastor and workers, and the Crums for letting me stay with them! I love this place!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Covenant Keeping God

I woke up exciting this morning, not because I'm going to St. Aug or I get to bake or I get to hang out with kids (but I am excited about all those things). I was excited because I knew I was going to be reading Gen 15 today in my quiet times. I love familiar passages - and pray I get something even more out of them - that God would again open the words of LIFE to me and expand my knowledge and faith in HIM. And, he did.
Over the past 3 years I've gotten to sit under JD who loves this passage, whether in sermons or in weddings, he often he refers to it. I love it. I love the tradition in Judiasm that brings it to life: the wedding and the 2 fathers that make a covenant with each other with sacrifices). But, more, I love the message of God's covenant keeping nature that is behind this passage.
Abram is traveling along in this relationship with God. He is fearful and questioning (don't I do the same). But, God is patient and answers it - one more time (and one more time, and one more time after that). He answers it with a Covenant. With himself. God is not in demand of anyone else to keep His Covenant. As JD always put it, God makes a covenant - if we (humans) break this covenant - which we have by sin, this was indeed after the fall - He'll pay the price, and if He breaks the covenant, which He won't do - He'll pay the price. Does this sound familiar - JESUS.
But, even after this, Abram still has to wait. He has Ishmael. That was 9 years after the first questioning - but then he still has to wait another 14 years for Isaac.
Oh, that God would help me in my unbelief and strengthen the faith I have - not in my abilities, or my calling, or my life, but only in His Covenant Keeping abilities and character and GODness!

Monday, April 16, 2007

sin v walking obediently

Reading some bad things in Genesis this morning:
1. Sin is crouching in on us and wants to devour us (just like He does in 2 Peter). It will overwhelm us if we are not walking in the Spirit, obediently, alert, resisting. We can master sin - it doesn't need to be a stronghold over us - God is our stronghold and our strength.
2. It grieves God when we sin. We can't be in relationship with God when we sin - because God is a holy God. He can't commune with Sin because it would taint his holiness. There is no possibility in that. Look at Jesus on the cross - He looked away from sin. But, as Ps 73 tells us - the nearness of God is my good.
I fail, I give in, I let sin master me. But...
I am redeemed, I walk obediently in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I live by faith and in His strength that helps me overcome.
I know who wins. I know in whom I stand victorious.
For more on this, go read Paul Tripp's blog entries lately on Ps 51 (what powerful thoughts on these verses) -

walk obediently

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Gator Country weekend

Went to the good country this weekend - that is GATOR country!

Actually, I went up to G-ville had dinner with Sarah at Don Pablo's (big letdown), went shopping, then went up to her parent's place in Branford, which is up on the Suwanee River in NF. It was so peaceful out there, all the trees and leaves and 400something azaleas. It was so pretty.

Then Saturday we went to Historic High Springs and nothing was open yet so Sarah got her haircut. We drove on in to UF to the Blue/Orange game. It was fun and hot - but just being in the swamp was so great - and she enjoyed it too! Tim Tebow looked good and so did Andre Caldwell. Even though they don't have a set punter/kicker for 2007 - they all looked decent. Some of the Nat'l Champs were there - including Leak, MacDonald, and Reggie Nelson. It was cool to see them. We left because there was no competition and it was stinkin' hot in the swamp!

We went and did some more antique shopping since the stores were open and talked to this old "Floridian" while we ate a snack at a cafe in an old train depot. He talked about 93 African elephants and killers-for-hire and anything else. Seemed like he had done it all.

Went home and had a great casserole her mom made, soothed our sunburns in the hottub, and then watch M. Night movies till midnight - what a great night.

Got up and went to a typical SBC FBC church this morning. Then we went to this little cafe that had ok food, but seemed like everyone from that their church was there. Then we walked the Rails to Trails (about 5 miles) right along the Suwanee. It was great exercise.

I loved hanging out with Sarah - someone to commune with, hang out with, laugh with, just be with, talk about our futures and what God is doing in our lives. Knowing her for going on 8 years now - what a great friend.

Enjoy the pictures

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cyclical Easter Weekend

This weekend was extra long for me and I loved every minute of it - seriously!

Thursday morning, way before the crack of dawn, I headed out (unfortunately without my wallet, so I had to wait at the gas station - I'm glad my Dad wakes up early).

Thursday I spent the day with the youth of Anastasia at an Aids Apt Complex Ministry type thing. First though, we spent some time in prayer and quiet time at ABC. Then we paired up and went to Wal-Mart to pick out prizes for the bingo game we played. These were supposed to be things to go in their apartments. Summer and I (pictured) picked out a really cool vase and these funky shaped glass things to go in it - then we got matching candles. Unfortunately, the two colors that matched and that Wal-Mart had were FSU colors, what? they didn't have orange candles...Anyway...then we went to Wonder of Truth in St. Aug to pick out some Christian gifts (something with a verse on it), music, and t-shirts for the residents. We also were given Bibles to give out by the store (Lene' and I had just talked earlier in our quiet times about the provision of God). We also picked out Easter cards to give to the residents.

We got there and split up, some played Bingo, some of us went outside to talk to the residents and some of us went door to door. Reminded me much of Doulos in seminary. It was cool for me to go out with these high schoolers - but here is the neat part. My group got to pray with one person (we didn't even know his name) and the rest either weren't home, were in the bath tub (why do you answer the door), or weren't interested in talking with us. These guys were genuinely disappointed in not getting to share the gospel. Mason's group went outside and God just brought the people to them. They were Holy Spirit magnets. I pray with faith that the conversions were genuine and that the Spirit would lead other ministries there to help disciple these that professed Jesus. Back in bingo - the prizes were definitely a hit, but also were these students (again - 8-12th graders) were sitting, chilling out, giving up a day of their spring break - to hang out with Aids patients. Selfless - don't you think? Later in Cafe 11 with Regina and Jenna - I asked them if these people would have been receptive in Anastasia? They welcomed us with open arms and wanted to talk to us and hang out with us and play bingo with us. But - would these Aids patients (some you could outwardly tell) - be welcome in most of our SBC churches? Do we have compassion on them? Jesus had compassion on people - like sheep without a shepherd. Do we? We are just like them - sinners saved by grace.

Thursday night was Cafe 11 and hanging out with Eden and Eli (Jeremy and Katie Robshaw's kids). It was also Fusion - where it was a night of worship in view of Easter. Melanie and Devan led (they are in these pictures too). I also met knew college students and old high school students that I knew who God has called into missions - how exciting is that? I can't wait to hear more of what God is doing in their lives and missions.

Friday was a doctors appt where I got cool new glasses. Then I had lunch with this little boy and his parents who are friends of mine from our college days at Flagler. It was fun. Then I had to go do work at the Jax library.

Then Devan invited me over to her house where we decorated Easter eggs and ate really good chicken tetrazzini and publix snickerdoodle cookies! yummy! But, decorating the eggs was so much fun! Ella and i had told each other the night before at Fusion what color Easter egg we would be - I would be pale green and she would be blue (see, I still remember)

Saturday was breakfast with Kathy, then shopping for candles, walking with Phyllis through the state park, Starbucks with Melanie, and then going to Johnny Carino's with Phyllis and Billy for dinner. I love just talking to them, gaining wisdom about life, and laughing at food stories! :)

Sunday morning started early, but it was Easter (praise God). So, when I had some time, I read the 4 resurrection accounts. After all of them - the response (and command) was to go and TELL. That is what I meant by cyclical Easter in the title. We started the weekend telling people about Jesus and His death and resurrection (Mason lead in communion with the group at the Horizon House). This is something that gives us LIFE - the death and burial and resurrection of JESUS! All for GOD'S GLORY!.

The rest of the afternoon was filled with hanging out with the Crums - literally all day - 1o hours - I didn't intend for that to happen. But, we ate with John and Leslie (Happy Birthday John), then watched the Masters (go Z Johnson giving props to Jesus), hid Easter eggs for Allie and Anna, played Wii bowling (and lost both times) to Bobby and Patty got me hooked on Sudoku - I couldn't leave until I finished one, then I ended up doing 2 more. With their help of course. I enjoyed my Easter with the Crums - thanks!

Well, that was my weekend - I love being home - and that is what St. Aug is for me - I love it. Community is so important. Ministry is crucial. Friendship and good eats - both in one. Thank you Father for this special place and these special people!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Woodpeckers and Hope

Today's lakeland outing was at Lake Morton. Lake Morton holds some good memories for me. It was the first time I was on tv. They did a kids morning program in front of house by the lake. They picked different kids and for some reason I got picked. Probably knew someone at the Ledger or something. It didn't make me an American Idol. But...

It also is shore to the Lakeland Public Library. That is a swan next to the sign. They did this charity thing where they painted all these swans. I didn't see many live swans out today by the lake. It is a crime to hit these swans. They definitely have the right away. A few years back a frat stunt was to kill a swan and chop of its head - the student was arrested and the frat placed on probation. Guess they learned their lesson.

It also has Mr. Fish. This place has been around forever. They have great fried fish sandwiches - really the only thing we get there.

Well...enough about Lakeland. I was out there to return a library book, go to the Proud Gator store since the Gators won the game last night. As I sat there under a big oak tree, a thought about this woodpecker I kept hearing. I thought man, he jsut does what he was created to do - nothing else. Why don't I do that? I'm created to hope and glory in my God. In His Son. Why do I make daily choices to not live that way? My hope is not in this world or the lack of joy that I find - it is in my Redeemer. And that is all.

Testimony Tuesday

Bloggers were challenged last week by Tim Challies to use their blog as an edification/evangelistic tool by putting their "story" on their blog. Reading about ways that God has changed the lives of friends makes a difference in your own life.

Grace - one word to describe my life.
I was born into a Christian home, both my parents went to church and took us to church every Sunday. Went to a Christian school where we learned Bible verses and stories every day along with our ABCs. I don't remember much about the questions I asked or anything, but I prayed to receive Christ as my Savior in kindergarten and was baptized later that year.
Things finish out elementary school as any other normal kid.
Middle school I was going to summer Bible camps and seeing how some of my other friends who are older and Christians live their lives. But, I was still living my own life at home and a difference one at church and school. Most of my teachers would rave about how much of a "Christian" young lady I was - but I was stubborn and disobedient at home.
In 10th grade I switched churches to one that had an active youth group. I learned how to have quiet times, got to go on mission trips. In high school I was also on a touring worship group that went to different churches. I learned a lot about ministry and personal time with God during high school.
Chose a private college but majored in Religion and Philosophy. I had trouble figuring out what I believed vs what I had always been taught. This was the first time in my life that someone wasn't force feeding me Bible and making me go to church. God's grace in my life in college took form in a lady named Phyllis (mostly). She sought me out my freshman year in a local church and mentored me, and still does today. She taught me about prayer, devotions, Bible memorization, how to love one's husband, do ministry, love her children, etc. Most of my personal growth came through hard ministry time, discerning correct theology (through the Spirit), great ministry time, trying times in family and friends, but through it all - GRACE.
God called me into ministry in my freshman year of college, and I chose to go to Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. So, crying all the way to NC from FL (leaving everything and everyone I knew), I went to Seminary. I learned more there and grew in leadership skills, passion for reading and writing, and ministry.
Today, even though I'm not in ministry full time, God has used the college girls that I have worked with to shape me in many ways. College was a time a growth and mentorship for me, and I want to offer that to other college girls.
Note on grace: It was freely given to me - the faith to believe in grace is a free gift to me - from a sovereign - all in control God - who sent Jesus - perfect and blameless - to earth to die on a cross for God's glory. He paid the full price. He chose me to be in a relationship with Him. I struggle with the future, walking in the Spirit daily, patience, and other things. But, God's grace is sufficient and I will continue to grow in faith and walking in the Spirit every day until I see Christ face to face.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Repeat Champs

I'm getting used to this winning national championships stuff! Three times in a row, 2 for one sport, 2 against one team.



Played pretty good after about the first 5 minutes, Lee was on from the outside, Corey did great, Jo didn't do so hot but other people cut the slack!

Let's see if Billy Donovan is going to stay...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chill time in Lakeland

Actually spent a weekend in Central Florida. It was a very nice weekend weather wise, so I've enjoyed much of the outdoors.

Friday night I went and walked Lake Hollingsworth. Some of these pictures are from there. It was very nice and breezy. It is a 3 mile lake with nice homes, Florida Southern College, First Presbyterian, and a sidewalk all the way around. Perfect for people who want to exercise. After I walked it, I sat down by the shore and spent some time in Ephesians and the Journals of Jim Elliot. I love spending time in books and the Word outdoors, taking pictures, enjoying God's creation.

Saturday, my Mom and I did some errands, but then we also went over to south of Plant City and walked (wheeled) the nature trail in Alderman's Ford Park. It is one of the nicest state parks I've seen. Mom even got out and walked some of it. I walked down the banks of the Alafia River. We ate a cuban sub from this little place (seriously, whole building looks like one of the state fair kiosks) - it was so good. It was a beautiful day.

Came home and cooked shrimp and grits, bananas foster, and then sat down to watch my GATORS win (although a very boring second half). But - they are in the finals come Monday night. We will see!

Today I went to Heartland Community Church, pastored by Ed and Nancy Kendrick - they are friends of mine from seminary. Good to see them, went to a place called Shaques bbq - although not as good as Sonny's - it was good to eat and share a meal with them and get caught up on everybody's life.

So back to life as normal tomorrow (with a Thai restaurant for lunch and Gator game tomorrow night).