Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fresh Start Ministry Service Opportunity

Mark 9:35 says, “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” Ministry, in its simplest form, is the act of serving. The Bible calls each of Christ’s followers to be ministers – ministers to the lost, the poor, the helpless, the widows, and anyone else the Father puts in our path. Ministry is not something done only by the pastor, youth pastor, or children’s pastor, but a command for all Christians.

Located in Winnsboro, LA you will find Fresh Start Ministry. This is a drug and alcohol recovery center with 38 men currently enrolled in the program. Their focus is not only on educating an addict of his or her addictions, but teaching them how to get free and stay free for the rest of their lives. During the seven-month recovery program, male residents learn to deal with the root of their addictions from a Christian perspective. The people of Fresh Start Ministry are sharing the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ with men who had no hope. They are ministering to them right where they are.

A team is currently being formed to periodically make visits to the facility and join in the ministry work there. Team leaders are Kelly Weatherford and Debbie Simmons. These ladies are looking for Godly men who are willing to be a friend and mentor to these recovering addicts, many of whom are new Christians. It doesn’t matter if you think you aren’t well equipped for this type of ministry. God only asks that we are willing to serve Him in whatever way He sees fit. If you are a man of God who would be willing to give a few hours of your time every few months, you are needed.

There will be two opportunities for you to see first-hand the good that is being done through Fresh Start Ministry. On Saturday, July 16, there will be a fish fry for the men in the program. It will be a time to visit with and minister to them. Many of these men just need a friend, someone who will be a Godly voice telling them that they are indeed loved and wanted by Father God. And on Saturday, July 23, the ministry’s annual banquet and benefit auction will be held. If you would like to get a glimpse of the work being done here and get a better idea of how you can be of use to them, give Kelly or Debbie a call and let them know you would like to attend one or both events with their team. By attending, you would not be making any commitment, but would simply be allowed the time to fellowship with the men at the center so as to get a better idea of whether or not this would indeed be the place for you to serve.

Jesus said if anyone wants to be first, he must be the servant of all. It isn’t always easy. It isn’t always fun. Being a servant means being willing to befriend even the lowest of people, the ones you wouldn’t think to hang out with, the ones hard to get along with. But if you are willing to step out in faith and give of your time to serve those around you, God will take the small, pitiful amount that you have to offer Him, and He will multiply it a hundred-fold. He will pour out blessings beyond what you could ever imagine.

Have you been looking for an area of service to plug into? Have you felt the calling to ministry, but just weren’t sure where God was leading you? Prayerfully consider if this may be the place God wants you to serve.

If you feel God calling you to this ministry, or if you are just curious and would like more information, give these ladies a call. Kelly can be reached at 348-8841, or Debbie at 381-4650.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Matthew 10:5-7

Matthew 10:5-7 says, "Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: 'Don't go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel - God's lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.'"

Those verses really struck me this morning.

The last several weeks, I have been really struggling over a burden God has placed on me - the burden of how the church, the Christians, are conforming so much to this world that you can barely tell any difference. Children and youth are listening to music that isn't only not God honoring, but is down right evil. Music artists like Eminem and Lady Gaga are promoting music that is completely of the devil. Not to mention the fact that Lady Gaga has publicly said that she just really likes to take all her clothes off at her concerts. And parents know this and still allow their kids to listen to it. Kids and adults alike are engrossed in all the latest Twilight or Harry Potter sagas, which are nothing but witchcraft, sorcery, and other evils, and is completely against the Word of God. And when you flip through channels on TV in the evenings, each station is full up on a good helping of sex, money, drugs, thugs, killings, and numerous other things. Even the commercials are advertising pornography, as I have to turn the channel when the Victoria's Secret ads come on. It is everywhere, and today's Christian is not only accepting it, but condoning it and participating in it! What is really saddening me is the fact that I have come across several - SEVERAL - preachers who condone these things. I am so burdened over this.

I have been wrestling over what God would have me to do with this burden. And this morning, when I read those words, it gave me at least a portion of my answer. Jesus told his disciples/apostles to go out and minister, but not to the lost and sinful people (at least not yet), but to the ones who were already supposedly of Him. The people who were already chosen by God to be a people set apart for Himself were His highest priority. He sent them out to teach the ones that were His, but had strayed so far away that you couldn't even tell they belonged to Him anymore.

And so it was that God showed me a part of what I am to be doing right now. God has called me to take a stand. God has commanded me to speak out against these evils. He is sending me not to the lost and unsaved, but to the Christians who have strayed from His commands. I have been digging my heels in for several weeks, because, quite frankly, I don't want this assignment. I really don't like for people to be upset with me, and I'd rather not rock the boat, but just fly under the radar. Live and let live. Be quiet and let everyone just do their own thing. But He has called me to service. And I am His instrument. And so I will go out wherever He sends me, allowing Him to use me in whatever way He sees fit and doing whatever job He gives me, no matter how difficult it may be.

Father God is hurting for His church, HIS PEOPLE! He is jealous for YOU! He longs for His Christians to REPENT and turn away from the evil that this world is offering. Stop accepting the things of this world as OK. They are NOT OK! The Bible clearly teaches that God HATES these things, and that those who participate in them will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Here are just a few of the verses God has shown me lately:

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things. ~Deuteronomy 18:10-13

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.~Ephesians 5:1-11

For those of you who do feel the same as I, I give you a challenge. WAKE UP! STAND UP! SPEAK UP! When you sit by and listen to things going on in the church and don't say anything, YOU ARE CONDONING IT! By not speaking out against these things, you are in fact saying that you are OK with it and that it is acceptable for a Christian to do these things. Speak out for Christ! Take a stand for Him and His Word! And then come back and tell me all the great things Christ did through your obedience!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hello... Anybody out there??

So I've been wondering just how many of you are actually out there reading my blog. I have been writing this thing for about 2 years now, and, while it is mainly for myself to get my thoughts out of my head to make more room for other things, I still would like to think that there are a few people out there reading and getting something out of my nonsense. So in an effort to get to know my readers (should it turn out that I actually have readers!) a little better, please leave me a comment telling me a few things.

First, tell me your name. It doesn't have to be your full name - first names will do fine.

Next, tell me how you found me. Do you know me personally, or did you just find me somehow in cyberspace?

And last, tell me something really interesting, unique, funny, or even plain boring about yourself. I just want to know something about you.

Be sure to leave your comment under this post, so I will be able to see everyone together. Come on people. Don't leave me hangin' here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lovable Labels BlogHer’ 11 Getaway Contest: My Greatest Accomplishment

All throughout my high school years, I dreamed of becoming an author of some great piece of literature. Creative writing was my favorite subject, and I had great plans to head off to college right after graduation to pursue a degree in English Literature. I could imagine myself in the future looking at my book on a shelf in a book store with people gathered around waiting to purchase it, because it was one of those books that was on the “must read” list of classic works. Much to my surprise, that was not the path in which God led me.

A few weeks before my high school graduation was to take place, God showed me that His plan for my future was not to include college, but that He wanted me to get a job and prepare for the day when I would have children of my own. He showed me that His plan was for me to have the greatest job in the world – that of a stay-at-home mom. So when high school was no more, I passed up my dream of becoming a writer and I went to work.

Soon, I met a guy who thought I was pretty great, and I thought the same of him, so we married. A few years later, I became pregnant with our first baby, so, following the plan God gave me years before, I quit my job and planned to stay home with this new little one. Little did I realize that this was to be the hardest job I had ever tried to tackle.

Four babies later, our house is full to the brim. Being a stay-at-home mom is still the hardest job I have ever worked. Add to that the fact that God told me that I was to homeschool my kiddos, and my days are non-stop, go, go, go. We stay busy doing all sorts of great things together, and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything. Still, I have never forgotten my love for writing.

Two years ago, being very upset after working in my garden and finding my tomatoes had nearly all been eaten by a green-horned tomato worm, I started my blog simply because I needed a place to rant over this horrible creature that was destroying my hard work. From that rant, I started writing every few days, and I soon remembered how much I enjoyed sitting down with just my thoughts. I began writing more and more, and, with every blog post I typed, my creative juices began flowing faster and faster.

So last year, on a whim really, I decided to take a chance and send in one of my blog posts to a magazine and just see where it took me. Much to my absolute surprise, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine wrote me back the next day to tell me they would like to publish my work. I was thrilled! So I began sending in more articles to different magazines, many of which have accepted my work. And just last week, The Homeschool Handbook Magazine printed my article first in their magazine! It has been a steady stream of things I have written being accepted for print in some really great magazines!

What occurred to me is this. All those years ago, when God told me to stay home with my children and be a great mommy to them, I thought I was giving up my dream of writing. For nearly ten years, I faithfully obeyed what He had called me to do. And now, not only do I have four great kids that I love being home with, God has brought me back around to my other love. He has allowed me to have back the dream I once held. And not only has He given me back the dream He had once asked of me, He has blessed my writing and allowed it to reach many, many people.

What I have learned is that, every time I am faithful in the things God asks of me, He returns it to me one-hundred fold. During this last year, God has closed doors I thought would always be open, and He has opened more doors that I ever could have imagined. I have no education beyond high-school. I have no degrees or any other schooling. But I have what God has given me. He has given me something to say, and I say it. He gives me words, and I speak them. I speak them loud. I speak them boldly. And through my writing, I am accomplishing great things for His sake. 

~ This blog post was written as part of a contest through Lovable Labels. Be sure to go and check them out!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Finding Math in Art

Over this summer, I have decided to put a halt on all our unit studies. We all need a break from them! So I decided that, for the summer, we would spend all of our school time focusing on our math. Math is one of those things that really needs to be done, but I kind of let it slide to the wayside during all the hustle and bustle of last year. So we are spending the summer catching up. And I have to say, I am completely amazed at how quickly my kids are progressing! It is amazing what a little age on a kid will do for you. I am convinced that the school books suggest teaching concepts to kids when their little brains just aren't ready to grasp them. But since we put math aside for a big chunk of last year, my kids had time to mature and grow in their thinking and understanding skills, and I have just been blown away at how quickly we are moving through all of this stuff!

A few days ago, I was attempting to teach Britches about prime and composite numbers and factors. For those of you who don't know that (and that would be ME had I not just read the lesson!), prime numbers are numbers that only have 2 factors that can be multiplied together to equal that number. For example, the number 2. The only two numbers you can multiply together to get the number 2 are the numbers 1 and 2 - 1X2=2. Composite numbers are numbers that have more than just two factors that can equal that number. For example, the number 4. The factors for 4 are 1, 2, and 4 - 1X4=4 & 2X2=4. So composite numbers are many numbers that can be used to make the same number.

Anyway, I was teaching this to Britches, and she, of course, picked up on it right away and just went to town with the concept. She understood how it worked, so she easily figured out all the prime numbers and composite numbers. Well, Little Man was across the table doing some art. He is my very kinesthetic learner, which means he learns as he's doing something, touching something, drawing something. He listens better if some part of his body is in motion. So since he was working on his art, I just focused on talking to Britches, but I knew he was listening. Sure enough, before long he put in his two cents worth. He said, "Hey! If prime numbers are the ones that are the #1 best numbers and aren't made up of any other numbers, then the colors blue, yellow, and red must be prime colors! There is math in art!" I looked at him for a second, because, quite honestly, I had to think about that a bit. But as I sat there pondering his statement, it made perfect sense! Those three colors are called the PRIMARY colors! They are the #1 best main colors. You don't mix any colors to make those three, and all other colors come from a combination of those. "YES! You are absolutely right! There IS math in art! Illustrate it for me." So I had him grab his color pencils and show me on his paper the primary colors (prime colors) and the secondary colors (composite colors), and he wrote at the top of his page what they were. That page got filed in his math binder with his other worksheets.And Britches decided to pull out her paints and do the same thing, starting with prime colors and mixing them into composite colors.

The greatest thing to me, though, is the fact that Little Man made the connection! He understood the concept and could readily relate it to something he was interested in. Once he understood that, he went to work figuring out all the prime numbers, too. And by presenting it the way I did, and him relating it to his art, it took all of about 5 minutes to teach that lesson. WOOHOO! On to the next thing...

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess