Friday, April 29, 2011

How God is Working in our Lives

I am amazed looking over the past year in our lives and how God is working and growing in our lives and family.  Some of you reading this won't understand, but I see God's hand in each step that we have taken in faith-obeying and following Him.
About 2 years ago Sam started listening to a program on the radio called Walk in the Word with James MacDonald out of the Chicago area.  His teaching transformed our lives!  For the first time in a long time we heard teaching/preaching straight from the Bible, not someones opinion or rabbit trail about what they think the Bible says or twisting it for their belief, but what it says verse by verse.  So, we started being challenged about what he had been told our whole church life that preachers like this were "false teachers" not teaching what the Bible says, etc...I could fill in a lot of different things I have heard said over the years (not important).  So as we started learning and comparing his teaching with the Bible we were discovering that not everyone who isn't independent baptist is wrong.  Just because someones opinion or the way they do something is different, doesn't make them wrong.  However, I am not writing this post to argue with anyone, just to share my heart and where God is leading us at this point.  I have no harsh feelings about where God had us before and am thankful for how God worked used that in our lives.
We were introduced to Harvest Bible Fellowship which has a training center for church planters.  Our hearts have always been in church planting and our desire has been to plant a church here in the USA, but never felt adequately prepared to do so.  We began praying about this opportunity, however we knew that where we were serving at the time wouldn't agree with our decision and wouldn't provide a avenue to really apply for a spot in the training center.  We thought God was leading us to another church at the time, but that fell through, which was obviously the Lord!  We landed at Grace Church the first Sunday we had free and found a breath of fresh air.  We had heard of church like this, but for the first time were experiencing it ourselves.  In the meantime we were still just praying for God to provide a job for Sam and at that point had pretty much put the training center idea at the back of our minds.  About 2 months ago, my dad shared his heart with Sam and told him if his illness was holding Sam back that he really thought he should apply and see how God would lead.  So, after 2 years of praying and waiting to apply he sat down and started the process.  This application was not like a little job application where it asks you a few short questions and that's it.  It took Sam about 4-6 weeks to fill it out and to get through everything.  Not only did you have to fill out the application but you also had to have reference forms filled out that were very thorough and even I (as his wife) had to fill one out. This training center is very intensive and they only accept less than 10 men to train over a 9 month period.  So, he completed everything he needed to do, included a preaching/teaching CD of him and sent it off.  Honestly, the skeptic that I can be at times thought OK, you might hear back from them but I just don't know.  So, he gets a call the day they receive it in the mail!
Where are we today with the process?  After talking a bit back and forth over the last month they are flying Sam to Chicago next Saturday (the 7th)-Wednesday (the 11th) for him to participate in Harvest University which is Mon-Wed, but also for Sam to observe and become more familiar with the ministry there and for them to get to know him more.  This is just the beginning and we have no idea where this will go and how God will lead.  This is very exciting for us and Sam is stoked about getting to go to this conference!  Please continue to pray for our family and how God will use us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thank You Jesus for the Cross

Last Sunday at church, we were challenged by Bill to reflect this week on Christ's sufferings and what He did for us on the cross.  Each day I have tried at some point to sit down quietly and ponder what He did for us.  Have you ever stopped and imagined how vain and empty our lives would be without Jesus' sacrifice on the cross?  Where would I be without the cross?  Then I think about the hope we have knowing HE IS ALIVE!  All of His suffering was not in vain.  Not only did He take my place on the cross, but He gave us a hope that there is more to life than all of this.  Life is hard sometimes.  Things don't seem to make sense at times especially when you watch someone you love so much suffer, but knowing that as soon as their life on earth ends, they will be alive and healed in heaven.  Here are some words to a song that I have grown to love:
Thank You Jesus For the Cross

My life lived for only me
My days spent so sinfully
My heart was dark, my eyes too blind to see
My pride destroying me
Your life, sent for sin to die
Your blood, shed to justify
Upon the cross, my ransom to afford
This sinner’s great reward
Thank You Jesus for the cross
Thank You for the price You paid for us
Giving up Your life to save the lost
Thank You Jesus for the cross
The crown placed upon Your head
The nails meant for me instead
Your death became the ONly WAY to LIFE
For me to live is Christ
Thank You Jesus for the cross
Thank You for the price You paid for us
Giving up Your life to save the lost
Thank You Jesus for the cross
You knew no sin, but You became sin for us
The great sacrifice
so we’d become the righteousness of God

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Grace for Every Need

I didn't want to stick with a total grace theme for this blog, however God is reminding me everyday of my life how without His grace, we are nothing!  These past few weeks dealing with my dad's health (and lack thereof) has been a real challenge for me.  Not because I doubt God or question His ways, but trusting in the fact that He knows my dad's future and the plan He has for his life.  I know what plan I have for my dad's life.  I have sat for the past 2 days reflecting over my life for the past (almost) 33 years and thought about what influence my dad has made on who I am today.  Not just who I am as a person (personality, etc.) but who I am as a child of God.  I thought about the grace of God in saving my dad in his early 20's and giving him a love for God and desiring to raise his family in the right way.  This couldn't be easy as my dad wasn't raised in a Christian home or really around church at all.  Wow....what would my life be like if I didn't have a strong, Godly example to pattern to me what being a Christ follower looks like.  My dad has read his Bible everyday that I can remember.  He has always had a desire to encourage others to read their Bibles and study it for themselves.  Several of his former students have shared that with us in the last few days/weeks.  That is a testimony and that is my daddy!  He is the most humble man I have ever met, yet strong and full of wisdom.  I have seen the grace of God so evident in his life the last few weeks.  I can't imagine where I would be today if not for the grace of God that was extended to my dad, who in turn taught it and lived it to me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


So I have been wanting to sit down the last few days and write a post, but I have a billion things going on in my head and I was trying decide where to start.  Frustrated at my feeble attempts to handle stress.  I know in my head how I should respond, but somehow it doesn't always come out that way.  I am really praying that the Lord will continue to work in my heart and change me to be more like Him.  It isn't always pretty what the Lord points out, but I want to be a true follower of Christ in every way I live.

Friday, April 1, 2011

My Sweet Daddy

Let me just start this post off my saying what a wonderful daddy I have!!!!  Watching him suffer through so much the last 9 months has been the hardest thing as his daughter...ever!  I remember the day we sat in the doctors office and got the news of his cancer- life took a fast turn in the other direction.  Don't get me wrong I have no doubt that God is in control and lean on that everyday,  but.....I am human and so very selfish.  Watching someone you love and are so close to having to suffer is not very fun at all.  You see, I have plans for my dads life!  This cancer thing wasn't part of MY plan, but yes I know, it was part of God's.  So, I have to remind myself just about every other minute that "my thoughts are not your thoughts...."  I want my daddy to be strong and healthy so that my kids can have their papa.  He has so much he could be teaching them about life, just as he taught me.  So many times in my life, I have relied on him for strength and wisdom and now as I watch him weak and frail it seems so messed up!!  Nothing about this cancer thing is black and white.  Its a journey of complete uncertainty....boy is that scary....wondering what the future holds when I see him lying here.  Sometimes I just want things back to the way they used to be.  When they were "normal" I took so many things for granted...hearing my daddy sing, laugh, enjoying a family meal together...little did I know how quickly things can change.  So for now, I have to accept the new normal and love my daddy everyday more and more and appreciate the things he has taught trust in God!