Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Year in the life of the Arringtons!

First of all - once again, the Arrington's had EVERY intention of sending out these cute little Christmas cards with our family picture on them! We even got professional pictures done this year...and once again, as it does every year, December just snuck up on us and POOF it is gone! Ha ha ha - anyway, we DO plan to send out a New Year's Letter and so I thought I would get on my blog and share just a few of the highlights from each month of 2011..Advantage of saving our pictures by month on the computer Ha ha!

January - The year started with A LOT of snow at our home in Forest Lakes in Bayfield! Joel's sister and family were staying with us and even ended up being "snowed in" an extra day - not that we minded one bit! It was fun to have them and to sit around our cozy little fireplace!!! By far this is my favorite picture of January!!! (ok, so I got his rear but when you are that close, you got take what you can get!)

February - filled with volleyball for Kestra and some fun family times bowling and playing games along with the fun of school and work. The best part of February was the blessing that God brought us in the form of "Flash" our new mini-van (named by our sweet friend's daughter Bell). On Valentine's day we were able to purchase a MUCH needed upgrade in a vehicle. Our red expedition, "Bob's Blessing", had gotten us as far as it could go...so thanks to a wonderful tax
return, we were able to purchase our van and pay cash for it! Once again, God blessed us with not having to pay a car payment!!!

March - a very exciting month for our family all the way around! Hannah was part of a traveling volleyball team that traveled around the four corners area and so we enjoyed being a part of that. One highlight was our trip to Moab Utah, where we were able to get a hotel room and have a little mini-vacation as a family! Also in March, Hannah went with her school to WASHINGTON DC! This was a big step for us as parents - sending her so far away on a plane and not going with her! Another big thing in March that was heartbreaking to us all was the loss of one of Hannah's good friends, Shannaiah. While in ministry, Joel and I have had to help several teens through the loss of a friend, but NOTHING compares with watching your own child grieve through it and try to make sense of it. At the end of Hannah's trip to DC, we went to Albuquerque and met her plane - we then spent several days as a family doing the "touristy" thing - zoo, shopping, dining out, etc! Fun time as a family!!!

April - we began to enjoy the warmer temperatures, the spring-like weather and all that brings to the wonderful Colorado Rockies! Highlights included - Special Olympics with Tyler and many of our special needs friends, fun time with our friends the Vaughns and their newest addition Levi Daniel, and just enjoying spring all together! The picture to the left is Tyler with his good friend Chantel after they both got medals at the Special Olympics!


May - with May came the end of school, Hannah's continuation ceremony from Jr. High, Hannah's 14th birthday (YIKES A HIGH SCHOOLER), a much needed and treasured family vacation to visit both of our sisters and their families in Texas, and the opening of a door that would change the direction of ministry for our family (more on that in June)!

June - a month normally filled with camps and VBS, this year was no different for the Arringtons! We had youth camp and VBS at our wonderful church in Bayfield Colorado. However, after the last night of VBS, the kids went to my parent's house for a few days and Joel and I traveled to Borger Tx to talk with the people and staff of First Baptist Borger about the possibility of Joel coming as Associate Pastor to children and families! This was a huge step for us but one that God had began preparing us for back in April. As Joel and I began to talk, he shared that God was laying on his heart to narrow his ministry to children and families and to take a step away from youth ministry! A hard and heart wrenching step to be sure. We LOVED and still LOVE our wonderful teens in Bayfield! They are still "our" youth group but we knew the time had come to pursue other open doors! Go to my blogs in June to read the complete story of how this came about - but suffice it to say, it was GOD and no other way that this particular church with this position could come about!!! Also in June, we celebrated the 10th birthday of our Tyler Bay!!! So hard to believe all our kids are in "double digits"!

July - due to the course of events that happened in June, July turned out to be a VERY busy month!! We left on July 1st after youth camp and traveled with the kids back to Borger Tx to come in view of a call! The weekend was filled with interviews, receptions, meeting people and some great time as a family exploring what would be our new home town! After a positive vote from the church on July 3rd, plans began to come together VERY quickly for a move! Nothing short of the King of Kings could have made all the details fall into place as quickly and smoothly as they did! We found a house, reserved a moving truck, and much more all in the course of 2 days!!! July 15 we headed out of Bayfield, with some tears of sadness and some excitement for what lie ahead, and made the trek to Borger Tx! July 17 was our first Sunday and it was FULL! We celebrated with a baptism/swimming party, moving in to our new home, and getting to know our new church family!

August - brought the start of a new school year at a new school for all of the kids, Joel adjusting and beginning his new job, myself getting the house settled and trying to figure out the new "normal" for our family! Getting all four kids situated in their new schools with schedules, teachers, IEPs, etc was quite the task but God pulled us through! Joel also continued working toward his bachelor's degree online through Liberty University.

September - as the school schedule became a little more normal, kids began to make friends and adjust, I began once again to work for my Dad with his appraisal business via on-line and through mail. It has taken some time but we are finally to a little more smooth road and up and going! I also began to work on getting cleared to substitute teach in the school district, a process that wouldn't be complete until the end of November! For me, the highlight of September was the visit from two of our former youth in Bayfield, Tab and Katy! After a few days here, the three of us took a road trip to Plainview to see Wayland Baptist University where Tab and Katy will be attending this spring!!! I am so excited for them and for the fact that they will only be 2 hours away - lots of weekend vists I HOPE!!! Please pray with us for their financial provision for WBU i n the semesters ahead!!!


October - with October came all the preparations for our first BIG event with Joel as the Children's Pastor. We prepared for the annual Fall Carnival of the church. As is the case anytime you start a new ministry, there were lots of new twists and turns but we do feel that it was a success and many families were reached through it. I also had the opportunity toward the end of October to begin being involved somewhat in the Special Needs ministry in our church - this is a ministry that is near and dear to my heart and I hope to continue to be involved. October also brought another trip to Dallas to see my sister and to have our family pictures taken in beautiful Frisco! Another highlight of October was Kestra playing on the youth volleyball team and me having the opportunity to coach - SO MUCH FUN!!!

November - another busy month for our family! We had volleyball for Kestra and I, the first visit from my parents, a trip for me with my parents to Dallas for the baptism of my neice and nephew, and a trip back to Colorado for Thanksgiving and visiting our FBC Bayfield family! It was so wonderful to go back to the mountains for a time and to see all those we love and cherish!!!


December - has been very full of embracing and remembering the birth of our Savior! As a family we have had the opportunity to give in a way like never before and to experience the gift that brings! We celebrated as a family on Christmas Eve with presents, games, the Christmas story and breakfast. On Christmas day, we had some other staff families over for lunch and enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship with them! This past Tuesday, we went to Amarillo and celebrated Christmas with Joel's family...we are looking forward to his parents coming to Borger tomorrow for the weekend and to celebrate New Years!

As you can see, it has been a wonderful, busy year filled with many changes for our family! We are looking forward to 2012 as we continue to serve and reach the families of Borger, Tx. As always, we know that there will be some changes to our lives and we are ready and willing to embrace them whatever they may be! We love each and every one of you and IF you have read this to the end - I am IMPRESSED! Ha ha! Praying God's blessing on each and every one of you!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The blessings begin with the giving~


This year Joel and I made it a priority to GIVE in ways that we have never done before...the coolest thing about it? Well, in reality we never really sat down and had a conversation about it! It was more like the Lord laid it on each of our hearts individually that we needed to be people of giving. There were no stressful "what if" conversations about money or "can we afford that"? We just DID IT!
It has honestly been THE best Holiday Season for us so far in our 16 years of marriage! It began before Thanksgiving with the preparation of Operation Christmas Child boxes. In the past we have done 2 boxes - one for a girl and one for a boy. This year we did 7 boxes of our own and were also able to help with the purchasing of items for other boxes put together by our church!
It continued after thanksgiving with the purchase of formula to go to an orphanage in Uganda and the helping of presents for a family of 6 whose daughter is battling a rare form of cancer! We also bought groceries for our local benevolence ministry!!! In addition, we were able to give our regular tithe AND contribute to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We also gave to Salvation Army at several stores - never once hesitating like we have in the past!
In the grand scheme of things, this may not appear as much; however for our family that is usually just able to make it pay check to pay check and even then it's a balancing act - it was HUGE! Yet God was so faithful - He said give, we did, the resources were there....
As the first of December crept up, I began to wonder....would there be enough for our kids to have Christmas? Would the kids get why we had given to so many others? Where would it all come from?
"'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this" says the Lord God Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'" Malachi 3: 10
We have truly witnessed this verse come to life! Our pantry is full, as you can see from the Christmas Tree above our kids are having a GREAT Christmas, our bills are paid and our car has gas! Did I mention that GOD ALMIGHTY did this with only ONE income??? Is not God so good?
I don't write this to brag and say "Look what we did". I write it as an encouragement to say that God does EXACTLY what He says He will do! I have had trouble trusting and believing God in the past (sometimes still do). Yet, God in all His Faithfulness has held true to His promise...IF we will bring the tithe and offerings that He calls us to bring - then HE WILL bring about so many blessings that you will not have room for it!!!
My challenge to each of you this Season - Give when God calls you to give; whether your tithe at church, food for the needy, gifts for a single mom or dad, gas for a stranger traveling, etc. Whatever God calls you to do - Do it and YOU WILL BE BLESSED!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Let it be!"


I love Christmas - everything about it! The joy in the air, the festivities (even if it fills my calendar), the excitement of the kids, the Christmas Carols, the presents, and YES I LOVE THE CHRISTMAS STORY! Every year - reliving the story of our Saviour's birth fills my heart!
Thus far this year though Mary has captivated my heart, my mind, and my attention. I am learning some things that I really didn't realize about her before this year...and it has made me look up to her and desire to be more like her even more!
See this precious girl in the above picture? She just turned 12...the approximate age of Mary when the Angel Gabriel came and gave her the most Earth shattering news of her life!!! 12 years old...in our society, Mary would be playing volleyball, laughing with her friends, studying for school, learning about shopping, etc. She wouldn't be thinking seriously about marriage much less parenthood.
Now, before you start going on about how we as a soceity have altered the age of adulthood (which we have) and all the cultural differences (which are many) - I get all that. In fact, to me THOSE differences are what makes Mary's response even more incredible to me! You see, Mary lived in a time and culture where immorality was not accepted in ANY way, shape or form! You didn't "sleep around", you weren't "loose" with your body, you certainly didn't get a divorce.
Betrothed was as good as married! There were no exceptions. So here is our girl Mary! She is betrothed - essentially a married woman- and she is excitedly planning her wedding! WHAM! This "Cinderella" story is thrown a curve ball - this angel (which in and of itself is astounding) comes tells Mary "So, you are honored among women. God has seen you and knows your heart - that's why He has chosen you to have his son!" HELLO!!!! ??? I am going to have a baby? What will people say? What will my parents think? Oh my - what about Joseph? He knows we didn't have sex - great! These are the thoughts that I would have - I would totally see my world as rocked and crumbled....
Mary's response: Let it be as you have said.
That's all - let it be! I am not sure about you, but for me I have a hard time with "Let it be". So many times the world tosses curve balls my way; a move to a new town, a new job/career, car problems, financial issues, health issues, kids struggling in a new school, etc. Now, I KNOW in my head that God is in control, I KNOW that nothing happens to me that has not first passed through His throne - yet in my HEART I often freak out, overeact, stress, get angry, depressed, scared....
I serve the KING OF KINGS - He is the God of all, the Creator of all, is above all, GOD ALMIGHTY and with Him....YES I can "Let it be..."
This Christmas as we face a new ministry, a struggling economy, a less than moral Nation, an uncertain future, new schools/community for our children...my sincere prayer is that day by day, moment by moment I can say to the Lord "Let it be as you have ordained...I trust you and am willing to hold your hand and let YOU guide me through it!"

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lifelong Friends

I have to say - I am blessed beyond measure! I have so many dear and wonderful friends literally around the world and they ALL mean so much to me! However, I truly believe that throughout our lifetime - there are only a very few that you KNOW will be there forever - like talking til you are old and gray forever! For us - Dani and Tony Vaughn and their four children are THOSE type of friends....I know I have blogged before about Dani and how she was the answer to a prayer I prayed for 15 YEARS!!!! Seriously - I prayed not just for a "girl" friend but I prayed for a friend that would understand and grasp the ins and outs of life in ministry, someone I could TRULY open up to and be honest with...
Dani GETS it because she grew up in it, married a man who grew up in it, and is STILL involved very much in ministry life!!! God blessed the Arrington family BIG when He brought us the Vaughns!!!! Not only do Dani and I click, ok we are more like two of a kind of the same mold BUT bigger still - our husbands are good friends too!!!! Better still....our kids ADORE each other, and us as adults too!!!
While in Colorado over Thanksgiving, Joel and I were able to go bowling with Dani and Tony Saturday night and then our two families along with another family very dear to us went out to lunch Sunday after church - LOVED it!!! With 6 adults, 1 college student, 2 high schoolers, 2 jr high schoolers, 4 elementary schoolers, and 3 preschoolers - it was loud, chaotic and FABULOUS!!!!! Thankful for the oneness we shared - the fact that it literally felt like we had just been gone a week or so instead of 4 months!!!!
Both Joel and I look forward to many more times of Vaughn/Arrington chaos!!! LOL.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Day of GIVING!!!

This past Friday was perhaps the BEST day I have had in a really really long time!!! There were many things that needed to be done at home: laundry, cleaning, packing, typing an appraisal, garage, etc. There were some things I really wanted to do: read, watch a movie, scrapbook, etc. Yet, there was a few things that I KNEW God wanted me to do!!!

LIVING WATER MINISTRIES
One of the local ministries that our church supports is called Living Water Ministries. It is a benevolence ministry that reaches out to those in our community who are in need of food, clothes, finances and most importantly JESUS!!! Each Friday, Living Water passes out bags of groceries to about 100 to 120 families in the Borger area - it is truly an amazing operation!!! Since moving here, I have wanted to go on a Friday and volunteer but it has seemed like life had a way of just getting in the way; however this Friday, I was DETERMINED that God wanted me there to help with the Thanksgiving distribution!! At the beginning, I helped with crowd control at the door - then later, I became a CART PUSHER!!!
I can't tell you how much fun I had visiting with the people as I helped them get the groceries for their Thanksgiving meal to their cars. They were truly precious beyond words!!!
After I finished at Living Water, the world would say that this mom needed to get home and get to all those things listed above - yet once again I KNEW God had a different plan!! Our Sunday School class had decided to have an Operation Christmas Child packing party with the goal of packing 100 boxes - this in addition to the boxes that had already been donated by individual families. The packing party was to be Friday night and although I couldn't go to that due to taking a certain 12 yr old to the movie for her birthday - I wanted to help get the last minute items they needed to complete the boxes! We are limited in stores here in Borger so Joel and I headed off to Pampa for bouncy balls (had already scoured Borger for them), toothpaste, and more shoe boxes.
The end result - our Sunday School Class packed an additional 128 boxes making a GRAND TOTAL OF 211 boxes for Operation Christmas Child!!!
We loved including the kids of ALL ages!!!
The end result!
While in Pampa, I was also able to do some additional shopping for a special little girl! A couple in our Sunday School class who doesn't have children of their own, had the opportunity to welcome their neice (who has been in CPS for several years) to their home on a permanent basis. So, just as we would do with ANY new parents, we threw them a shower - only for a 7 yr old instead of new born!!! I just love shopping for girls!!!
The result of my Friday - a VERY MERRY HEART!!! I had a wonderful day of just GIVING to others...I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING in the world!!! There is no amount of money, no vacation, no shopping trip, no big house, no nice car that compares to the joy of giving of yourself for others!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

My most favorite time of year!!!



I have to admit...I LOVE when November comes because to me November means one thing - IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS! Ha ha! Now, I know there are those that say "one holiday at a time" and don't rush over Thanksgiving...NO WAY! Thanksgiving in a lot of ways is just a pre-lim to Christmas. I get to reflect on all the MANY blessings that God has given me as I look toward celebrating the GREATEST blessing of all - JESUS!


However, another thing that I love about November and December is simply this: FAMILY. I grew up celebrating the holidays with extended family and love it!!! I love the house full of people, kids laughing and running through the house, the smell of yummy pies and goodies, playing games all day, the men watching football, etc - I absolutely love every part of it...I ESPECIALLY like that my mom and I have this wonderful agreement: She cooks and I clean up! Ha ha!


In light of all this - only 14 days til we leave to Colorado for THANKSGIVING!!! Can't wait!!! I am looking forward to:


* Games with my parents

* Soaking in the Hot Tub out in the snow (I hope)

* Relaxing with my hubby

* Playing outside with the kids

* Hanging out with some of our best friends the Vaughns

* Sleeping in

*Watching Tyler help Grandad with the Turkey

* Waking up to a fire in the fireplace

* BEING WITH FAMILY!




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beauty from Ashes







November 3, 1994:


Hard to believe that day was 17 years ago - a day that would forever change my life in so many ways. It started like any other day in the life of a college student, I got up and began to get ready for class...first class of the day was English...Ugh!


Entered the class with all my classmates and professor started teaching (ummm no can't remember the exact lesson - ha ha!) About half way through the class my brother-in-law Scott showed up at the door and called the teacher over - "Odd, but oh well" I thought. Until, they called me out of class and told me to take all my stuff with me. "This is not good..."


I remember Scott not really saying much except that there was a family emergency and they would tell me more at their apartment. Honestly I remember thinking that one of my Grandparents must have passed away - I could not have been more wrong....


Upon arriving at the apartment - I found my sister Michelle in tears and she just grabbed me. Scott then told me the words I will never forget "Ronnie - Sherri has died." Honestly, I remember only bits and pieces of those next few hours. I know I cried with Michelle, I know that my friends were there so quickly and I remember that Joel was there and he was so incredibly amazing through it all!


I do remember my friends Rachel and Sharon walking me back to my dorm room so that I could begin packing to go home to Colorado. I remember just going through the motions - so thankful they were there or who knows what I would have packed! Ha ha!


Even in the midst of our tragedy and sorrow - God is so good. The same day that was possibly the WORST day of my life - God in His wisdom orchestrated some important events that would also make it one of the BEST days of my life. Joel and I had been dating about 9 months - although we both had thought about marriage, it certainly wasn't something that we had talked about seriously. Joel had called his parents and let them know that my sister had passed away and that he was considering going to Colorado with me for the funeral and to just be there. His parents in no uncertain terms told him that they weren't in favor or supportive of this decision (granted I totally understand their thinking).


Joel made a decision that I will FOREVER remember - HE CHOSE ME! Joel chose to be there for me that day, he decided to miss classes and support me, he chose to be a solid rock for me. Not only did Joel go with me to Colorado - HE DROVE ME THERE! I don't know how to describe how much that meant to me. He decided to take me in his own car on an eight hour trip when I was an emotional wreck and shocked - HE CHOSE ME! Michelle and Scott took their car and Joel and I went in his.


In the middle of this tragic day - I knew one thing...Joel loved me enough to go against his parents and several friends and go with me to Colorado when my world was in turmoil. I knew that THIS was a man I wanted , no needed, to spend the rest of my life with - this was the man I would marry!


Yes, November 3, 1994 will for always be the day that my big sister Sherri went to be with Jesus; it will also forever be the day that I knew Joel was the man I would marry...


Each year on November 3 I take time to remember. I remember Sherri and how much I miss her and loved her. I remember the fun times, the happy times and even some of the hard times...This year I am choosing to remember that our God is SO amazing that he is able to make beauty from ashes. In the midst of my loss - God decided to show me what I had gained!


Note:

Many who are reading this may not have known that I lost a sister. Sherri was 23 when she went to be with Jesus. She had suffered from frequent migraines that would often keep her awake at night and sometimes caused her to pass out. This particular night, she had spent the night at some friend's home. She was sitting at the table late after not being able to sleep do to a migraine and passed out. When she fell, she fell between a door and a piece of furniture and sufficated- because of the fact that she didn't fall far, no one heard her fall - thus she wasn't found until the next morning. There is no definite medical reason for the migraines or her death - Jesus was just ready for her to come home to Him. For more about Sherri - feel free to read my Novemeber 2010 blog "Remembering Her".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Spirit Wind

Ezekiel stared down into the valley
Filled with dry bones baking in the sun
Remains that used to be a mighty army
To him, it looked like the fighting days were done

But driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God's words, the bones began to shake
He stared wide-eyed as the flesh began to form
And as he prophesied to the wind
The soldiers began to wake

And the Lord sent His wind into the valley
And breathed the breath of life into their souls
And raised them again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit Wind

Woah, woah, woah...

A pastor stands before his congregation
Once a mighty army for the Lord
But now he stares into the lifeless eyes
Believers leading carnal lives
He wonders what they're fighting for

But driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God's word like he'd done a hundred times before
But this time he comes broken and weeping
With tears of a broken heart
And he cries out to the Lord

Oh Lord, send Your wind into this valley
And breathe the breath of life into their souls
And raise them again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit Wind

Woah, woah, woah...

Holy Spirit, breathe on me
Breathe Your life in me
[x4]

Oh Lord, send Your wind into this valley
And breathe the breath of life into our souls
And raise us again a mighty army
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For we have been filled with the Spirit Wind

Woah, woah, woah...

Oh Lord, we need You now
Breathe Your life into us
Lord, we need You now
Our churches and our families
Oh Lord, we need You now
Breathe life into this dry and weary land
Raise us up again

This is an INCREDIBLE song and has been the topic of many conversations around our home the last few weeks. It has been so fun to see my oldest, Hannah, really get into this CD and particularly this song. The kids only vaguely remembered the story of the dry bones so it was fun to rediscover it!

Unfortunately, we can relate to the Pastor in this song. There have been some churches that we have served in and we could remember when they were FILLED with life and now they are dead like the dry bones. Wait! What am talking about? I CAN REMEMBER being filled with life and then all of the sudden realizing I am walking around like dry bones, dead!

In fact, it wasn't that long ago that I found myself in this exact spot. DRIED up! This past time - I was so dry that I really wasn't sure where "The Water" was. I was searching for Him and I couldn't seem to find Him...until, ONE DAY! I was literally weeping and crying out for new life to come over me - "God, if you are there, if you are listening, if you care - THEN BREATHE on me and restore LIFE to my body." Immediately, I turned a curve - I began to sense Jesus was there in the room with me, I felt renewed, and restored. No, I wasn't bouncing and energetic - but the LIFE began to come back into me and I could feel HIM there breathing on me once again.
All this happened in my life - before I heard this song, before I went to the Casting Crowns concert....God is so awesome like that!

When I heard this song - I wept because I knew that here was a song that not only described a church (confession: yes, I have a few specific ones in mind) but more importantly it described my own personal journey and the struggle I had in feeling the "Spirit Wind"....

Praise Jesus though! HE IS THE WELL~

Sunday, October 30, 2011

City on a Hill

Ok, so here is the next Casting Crowns song that has really hit us hard.

Did you hear of the city on the hill?Said one old man to the other
It once shined bright and it would be shining still
But they all started turning on each other
You see, the poets thought the dancers were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak
And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill Each one thought that they knew better
That they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together
They let their differences divide
And one by one, they ran away
With their made up minds, to leave it all behind
And the light began to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hill And the world is searching still
But it was the rhythm of the dancers
That gave the poets life It was the spirit of the poets
That gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones
It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man
That needed to be toldIt is the rhythm of the dancers
That gives the poets life
It is the spirit of the poets
That gives the soldiers strength to fight
It is the fire of the young ones
It is the wisdom of the old
It is the story of the poor man
That's needing to be toldOne by one, we'll be running away
With our made up minds to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hillOne by one, we'll be running away
With our made up minds, to leave it all behind
As the light begins to fade, in the city on the hill
The city on the hillCome home
And the Father's calling still
Come homeTo the city on the hill
Come home

Having been in ministry for the past 16 years - it is heartbreaking to say that we have seen this scenerio in every ministry we have served in whether a church or other form of ministry. One group thinks that they have the answers, another thinks they know a better way, and so it goes on and on. There is so much disension, discord, and disunity within the church that the light of Jesus is dimmed by our arguing, complaining, finger pointing, etc that the World is searching for the real Jesus! Where is the love that is unconditional? Where is the church that is working toward unity and oneness? It has allowed the light to fade...

Now, I am going to probably step on some toes here but none more than my own. When I hear songs like this one it is SO easy to say "Exactly! That's what the problem is in our church" or "Wow, I know of a few people that need to listen to this song - then THEY would get a clue" but, here is the truth - when we are confronted or convicted about sin, we need to look AT OURSELVES first! What part of the problem belongs to us and better yet WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT? You see, songs like this aren't written for us to keep pointing the finger - they are written to show us where we are wrong and guide us to truth and restoration.

For me, this song has convicted me to no longer have ANY part of the complaining, finger pointing, judging, etc that has taken place within the church. I don't want to be the source of people going different ways and ultimately turning the world away - I want to be a part of the solution that values EACH AND EVERY member of the body because I know that they are all a part of God's plan for the church and we can't function unless all parts are working together....

Will YOU join me?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Casting Crowns - Come to the Well CD

I love worship music, I love contemporary Christian music and most of the time when I am down or distant from the Lord it is a song on the radio or CD that will pick me up and put my focus back on Jesus My King...

Among my favorite groups are Casting Crowns! I just think they are amazing - not necessarily because of their musical talent (although that is awesome) but more so because there is a clear and concise message in their songs that I can apply to my life in a very real and direct way; their newest CD - Come to the Well is no different, in fact I think it is the most powerful album yet. Over the next few days - I am going to share some of the lyrics to a few of the songs on the album that have really ministered or spoke to me throughout the last several days and weeks. So - bare with me, I will get back to the news of Arrington life, but I am sure you will find that intertwined in the lyrics of these beautiful songs - is a Mighty God speaking to a "regular mom" (thanks Nicole Cotts for that wording) about how He is involved in all the big and little things of my life and how He has it all in His hands!

With that, I am going to kick off with the song "Already there". By the way, if you haven't heard the songs you can find them all on You Tube along with Mark Hall of Casting Crowns sharing the story behind the songs - it's powerful!

"Already There"

From where I'm standing
Lord, it's so hard for me to see
Where this is going
And where You're leading me
I wish I knew how
All my fears and all my questions
Are gonna play out
In a world I can't control

Woah...Woah

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
'Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

Woah, Woah, Woah, Woah

From where You're standing
Lord, You see a grand design
That You imagined
When You breathed me into life
And all the chaos
Comes together in Your hands
Like a masterpiece
Of Your picture perfect plan

When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
'Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
I can't wait to enjoy the view
And see how all the pieces fit (2x)

One day I'll stand before You
And look back on the life I've lived
'Cause You're already there
You're already there
When I'm lost in the mystery
To You my future is a memory
'Cause You're already there
You're already there
Standing at the end of my life
Waiting on the other side
And You're already there
You're already there...

You are already there

I listened to this song one day and I thought - so pretty...little did I know that just the past two weeks the Lord would bring this song to mind in a time where I was scared and uncertain and then again later when I was helping my oldest daughter rely on God.

About a week ago, I had a LONG overdue routine physical, one of those things that gets put off year after year when you don't have health insurance until you do, anyway I was very nervous in general terms just because it had been literally 10 years since I had gone for a physical. I praise the Lord for His protection of my health by the way because I have been blessed to be overall pretty healthy. Anyway, at the appointment the Dr. stated that she felt something "unusual" but not a lump and was recommending me for a mammogram - THAT DAY! What? I was just going for a routine physical - nothing was supposed to be wrong!!! I have several friends my age or younger that are facing cancer - so this was the first thing that came to my mind and I was terrified. A few hours later, after I had the mammogram I was laying in the exam room waiting on the Dr to come and discuss the results - I was scared, nervous, and really feeling alone (Joel was in the waiting room but had not come back with me). As I lay there, I started to cry. Why Lord? Why couldn't this be back in Colorado where I have my Mom with me? Where we have a strong support group? Why now? With tears coming down my face - the words spoke to my heart "Your already there" God was whispering to me "Ronnie, I already knew this was coming, I know the outcome, and I know the timing, it's okay" I can't describe to you the peace that came over me at that moment...I immediately was calm, collected and at peace. The Dr then came in and said the best words I could ever hear "Everything looks fine, your mammogram is normal and nothing to be concerned about - see you at 40!"
Isn't God so good? He was there before I knew I would be there!

Fast forward a few days, we are preparing for our annual Fall Festival, the previous week's Dr appointment is out of my mind. I get a call from the Doctor's office - your pap smear came back abnormal and you need to see a specialist for further testing. Again, fear, nervousness, anxiety, etc creep into my mind. What??? Lord, I thought I had crossed this bridge, we were past this, why is it coming up again? I get in my car, turn it on and this song is playing on the CD...oh how quickly I forget! He is ALREADY THERE! He knows the issues, He knows the outcome, He knows....and I just need to trust Him. I don't know the results or the outcome - I have another appointment next Thursday with an OBGYN to see what the problem is and yes the enemy still tries to make me nervous, but I am claiming this song - Your Already there - He sees the why, the when, the how, the where and He has it all under control.

Another a day or so passes - we realize that Hannah has official "try-outs" for basketball. She is nervous, we are nervous - small school districts don't necessarily cut Freshmen off the Freshman team but larger ones do...We get the prayer warriors going, we encourage her, pray for and with her...Wednesday night comes - Hannah has been cut from the team and will be the manager. Seriously God? Why? My honest attitude was "Lord, why can't SOMETHING go right for our family right now?" Again, this song comes to my mind. "From where I am standing it's hard to see where this is going....but Your already there." God already knows what lies ahead, what is around the next bend. He knows the future He has in mind for Hannah and He has it ALL UNDER CONTROL... By the way, Hannah had a GREAT attitude about it and was a fine example to her mom of how to just take what God gives and trust Him!

These are the "big" things that we have faced the past few weeks but there have been several other little things that piled together have been challenging to say the least - Yet, I can honestly say I have a peace that God is already there, He knows the big picture and I can hold his hand and trust Him to guide me through it! Satan tries to play mind games with me on a daily basis and I have to fight that...My Mom suggested on the day I was scared about going to a specialist that I read Psalm 91. It's SO POWERFUL! If you are facing uncertainty, insecurity, doubt, fear, failure, etc - read this Psalm and claim it for your life!

I do appreciate prayers for the upcoming Doctor's appointment, not something that I really talk about much with people but God calls us to pray for one another. So, if you think of it - say a prayer for the doctor to discern what, if anything, is the problem and for both Joel and I to have a peace that passes all understanding about it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cleaning and Tossing and Trashing and Regrouping

Whew! What a day!!! I spent the majority of today at our church here in Borger with Joel. Well, let me set up some background info for those of you that that aren't familiar with our new minsitry.

First Baptist Borger is a 3 story building and has lots and lots and lots of rooms. Most of the rooms are used for Sunday School, Missions, Music, Children's Church, etc. However...there are a good number of rooms that are used to store stuff and I mean A LOT OF STUFF! There is every kind of decoration you can think of, a costume closet, games, VBS stuff, props closet, music, etc. When Joel first started at the church we knew that we would need to go through the closets and organize them, throw out some things, etc. Today was the day we would start this process...

So, thus the reason that I spent the day working at the church with Joel. As we began the process of cleaning out some of the closets we realized that there were A LOT of things that just needed to be thrown out - they were out of date, broken, just taking up needless space - they needed to be trashed.

As I was taking the last load (well for the day anyway) out to the dumpster, I started to think of this in terms of our lives. You know, through the years we gather a lot of "junk" in our lives. There are things that are out of date, broken, no longer necessary, taking up needless "space" in our lives - they need to be tossed out and trashed! I am not talking about material items (although that is often the case too) but more in terms of things like - hurt feelings, bitterness, unforgiveness, doubt, anger, grudges, negativity, guilt, fear, etc. There is really no space in the life of the Christian for these things! We are called to live in freedom and liberty through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1-2a

These things I listed above are things that hinder us, they entangle us, and cause us to take our eyes off of Jesus. We need to THROW them OUT! Get rid of them! Once we have done this, we can persevere through the race to the time we are with Christ! So, today...take some time and clean out the "closets" of your life. Maybe you need to let go of a grudge that has been carried far too long, maybe it is forgiveness that needs to take over the bitterness, perhaps there is a negative relationship that needs to be ended, could it be there is guilt that you are carrying that isn't yours to bear - whatever it is is TRASH IT, clean it out, clear out some space and let the SON shine in the closets of your heart!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Share your story...

I finished my own personal study of John about a week ago...I believed that after literally 2 months of studying this AMAZING book - I was ready to move on and begin something new. God had some different plans apparently - doesn't He usually? Ha ha!

Saturday night we went to a Casting Crowns concert in Amarillo - The Come to the Well tour. It was FABULOUS. Anyway, while there Joel and I decided to commit to sponsor a child through World Vision (more about our Juliett later). As part of the incentive for signing up - they gave us a copy of Mark Hall's book "The Well". I really didn't think much of it but all weekend it has been sitting on our kitchen table so this morning I thought - "ok, I am going to read this as my quiet time and just see what God has"...now, I invite YOU my friends to come journey with me as we take just another look at this woman at the well in John 4!

First of all, she is nameless. Ok, I am not sure why but this really stood out to me. Jesus doesn't think it important for us to know her name. I am a name type person - what's her name? Is it unique? However, as I paused for a few minutes to think about this; I came to the conclusion that perhaps, just maybe, we aren't told her name for a purpose. Could it be that Jesus wanted us to see her for more than what "society" knew her as? Could it be that in knowing her name we would focus on what the people in the town of Sychar knew her as and not for what Jesus knew her as? I think there is something to this - the point is that we are to look beyond her reputation (which was not the best), look beyond who society called her, and look to who JESUS called her.

Second thing that really stood out to me this morning is John 4:39 "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him BECAUSE OF THE WOMAN'S TESTIMONY." What? Seriously? These people believed in Jesus because of the testimony of a whore, a prostitute, a tramp, an adulteress? YES! You see, Jesus can use ANYONE if they are just willing to share how He has changed their life. This woman who had a irreputable reputation was changed by Jesus that afternoon at the well. Her life was changed so much so that she RAN to town and was willing to stand before all those "good and upstanding" townspeople and share that she had been CHANGED!!! Wooza!!! I just have to say that if I had been in town that day - this would have rocked my world. To see this unclean woman come and tell me about a man who knew ALL about her past and showed her the living water - I think I would have been going "Say what?"

You see, what really got to me this morning was it wasn't anything drastic she did. She didn't go and move to a far off place to share her story, she didn't necessarily become all clean like immediately - she shared her testimony, her story of meeting Jesus face to face that day at the well! Many times as a minister's wife, I feel like perhaps my story isn't amazing, it isn't transforming, or catchy...then I have to look at it like this woman did. JESUS CHANGED MY LIFE! I was just as filthy and unclean as this woman and Jesus said "Come here Ronnie, drink of this fresh living water that I have for you!" That is a story worth sharing - a story worth retelling over and over and over!

My encouragement to you all this morning is this - SHARE YOUR STORY! Let others know how Jesus has changed you and made you whole - because of YOU others will come to know JESUS THE KING OF KINGS just like they did because of this beautiful woman at the well!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Update on the Homefront...

So, I realized that I haven't really posted anything about how we are doing on the homefront here...so here it is although not really much to say...

We have just finished the first six weeks of school and all four of the kids have done AMAZING if I do say so myself! All of them had all A's and B's on their report cards...yep couldn't be prouder of that!

Hannah is trying out for basketball - a new thing to us is that she can be cut even off the freshman team. However, Hannah is sticking with it and working hard, we are praying that she will make the team but we know that it is all in God's hands! She is also in alot of Pre-Ap classes and is doing amazing! We thank the Lord for her and how well she has done in school so far.

Malachi is in 7th grade and in band for the first time ever! He is playing drums and loves it. We are hopeful that he will continue to be our band man! He has also done well both in school and in adjusting to the newness of everything. He has several good friends and just takes it all in stride!

Kestra is loving 6th grade and doing awesome! She is on a club volleyball team of which I am helping coach - scary I know! We are both enjoying it though and her first game is Tuesday night! Our team name is Spiker Strikers - catchy uh? Anyway - we are excited about it all. She is also in choir which she is enjoying and her first concert is coming up October 28!

Tyler is well...Tyler! He is as active as ever, all boy, doesn't know a stranger and definitely keeps us laughing! He is hoping to play baseball in the spring but we will have to see how that goes....School is a lot different for him here but he is appears to be adjusting well!

Joel is VERY busy and has done an awesome job of balancing it all! He is in his last year of on-line classes and has done very well! On the church scene - it has been a big adjustment with bigger and different responsibilites but he has been a quick learner and is getting more adjusted to it everyday.

As for me...it has been a slow start in trying to get into subbing here but the past week has been promising. I had to go through a sub training this past Wedensday and am now just waiting on getting my fingerprints done for subbing in the Borger School District. I have also applied to sub in a neighboring district - Stinnett and just need fingerprinting for them as well...it's a hurry up and wait game I guess! In the meantime - I have been able to continue to work for my Dad long distance and have been helping Joel with some things at church. It has definitely been a challenge as I have been eager to keep busy but then again - God has been faithful and I have learned SO much during this time!

Although this move has been challenging, we know that God is so in our being here and we are trusting Him through it all!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Keith...



This week has been tough for me...not going to lie about that. Monday night I received a call from my mom that literally made my heart cry out to the Lord. A special boy named, Keith had lost conciousness and they were having trouble reviving him....


Keith was a special needs student that rode in the Special Needs Surban with us in Colorado but that is not how I first met him. I met Keith through his AMAZING parents Fred and April Schneider. Fred and April had taken Keith in as a permanent placement through the Foster Care system in Colorado. He had extreme autisim as well as many other physical and mental disabilities...yet Fred and April did more than give him a home, they made Keith their own for life.


Like many of the special needs people I have known, Keith had a pure joy and contentment about him. Although non-verbal, Keith communicated his joy through his AMAZING smile and his contagious laughter in his eyes! Just about every time I was around Keith - he was full of joy. My very favorite memory of Keith was one day while we were waiting for some other students to get out of school. I was standing outside the window of the surban and Keith just grabbed my hand and smiled...in his special way, he was showing me his love! His actions said so much more than words ever could and I know he was able to do that and more with his parents and family.


Tuesday morning I learned that Keith had passed away...my heart broke for Fred and April...my heart broke for Keith's brothers and sisters...my heart broke. This beautiful boy filled with joy was gone from this Earth. Yet, almost immediately I had a very different image...I had a picture of Keith standing strong and tall, healthy and whole, running toward the arms of Jesus! All his pain, all his disabilities are no more! What a picture of freedom!!!


Yes - my heart is broken and sad, yes his family is hurting and in pain, but I know and they know that Keith is in the arms of the one who created him and loves him immensely! I am thankful that the Lord chose me to know Keith if only for a brief time...through Keith and so many others like him I have learned to love and be loved unconditionally...these special ones hold a very special place in my heart!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Recognizing when He calls ME by name...

"Woman" he said "why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, " Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have taken him and I will go get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary" She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic "Rabboni" (which means Teacher). John 20:15-16


Some of you may know that over the past month or so I have been doing an in depth study on the book of John for my personal quiet time. This journey has been long, painful at times, hard but most of all SO very refreshing for my personal faith walk with my Lord. I have truly come to rediscover and meet my Saviour in a new and fresh way like never before...It's been AWESOME!


Through this study there have been so many things that have hit me square in the face for the first time. Things that I have read or skimmed over so many times in the Word and yet haven't really digested or reflected on them much; however NONE has hit me as hard as these two simple verses. I have literally been kind of "high-centered" here for the past few days.


The thing that has hit me is this: Mary KNEW Him when He called her by name. It wasn't His appearance, it wasn't his smell, or anything but simply the way in which He said her name. Picture the scene with me if you will. Mary has come to the Garden or as we would call it the cemetary. She is basically wanting to visit the grave of Jesus... She is in mourning, sad, trying to make sense of this awful and cruel death that has taken place. As she is walking toward the tomb, she notices that this GIGANTIC stone is rolled away and the grave is open! When she gets there - she looks in and HE IS GONE!!! Ok, so let's just stop there for a moment - dead person, she saw him buried, is like vanished from the grave...not there, GONE. Personally, I am not sure what my reaction would be...call the police? run for help? scream!??? Not sure but I know I would be freaking!!!


Mary...softly cries. She is mourning the loss of her Teacher, her Friend, her Master all over again. Can you feel her pain? I think I can. Then, in the midst of her sorrow comes this man asking why she is crying? Who are you looking for? The Scripture here doesn't say that she looked up...so perhaps while her head is down in her sobbing she makes a logical assumption. The gardener must have seen her and came over. She asks him where they have taken Jesus...again we aren't told that she looked up, afterall she is broken and sorrowful! I don't know about you but when I am overcome with grief, my head is down in my hands crying.


"Mary" that is all He has to say. Something about the way in which the Saviour said her name made all the difference. She recognized who she was talking to, she KNEW that voice, no one else said her name just the way the Rabboni or Teacher did. Isn't that the case with us? I know there is NO ONE that says my name quite the way my Daddy does when he calls to me. I know there is NO ONE that says my name the quite the way my husband does when he tells me he loves me or the way my kids say "Mom" when they are in need of me...and there is ABSOLUTELY NO ONE who can say my name like Jesus My Lord!


Yet, as much as it caught me that she knew Him when He said her name, I had to ask myself this: would I TRULY recognize Him if He called to me in the midst of my chaos? In the midst of my busy-ness of life? In the midst of my selfish agenda? Or would I be so caught up in my life and schedule that I would miss my Saviour saying "Ronnie"? You see, I think Mary knew Him SO well, SO intimately, had spent so much time with Him that she absolutely with out a doubt knew that voice! She was in a quiet place, where she had come to be with him (even if she believed him dead), she had no distractions, nothing else to consume her but HIM! I don't know about you, but THAT is the way I want to know my Saviour. I don't want to be so caught up in the craziness of this life and schedules and agendas that I would miss the way HE says my name.


Here's the truth: Jesus is calling each of us by name. Each and every day He is longing to meet with us, to reveal Himself to us just the way He did that morning in the Garden to Mary. The question we have to answer: are WE going there to be with Him? Are we taking time each and every morning to seek Him, to listen for His voice? Or are we too busy to stop by the Garden and meet Jesus?


To be honest with you, today was a day that I had to literally make myself sit in the Garden. At this very moment, I have a HUGE pile of laundry in my living room, I have a real estate appraisal to type for work, I have dinner to figure out for my family, there is my room to pick up, lessons for Wed night to plan, etc...I started to sort the laundry and I heard "Ronnie"...that voice calling my name saying "Come, meet with me first." I am so glad I did! I once again saw how Mary stopped at the sound of her name coming from the lips of her Saviour...the difference it made in her life and mine when we hear Him calling!


Take time in the midst of whatever you may be doing and listen: He IS calling YOUR name too in a way that only He can!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ministers of Refreshment from COLORADO

Sunday morning our Pastor spoke on the ministry of refreshment that Paul writes about in 2 Timothy 1:15-18. It was an amazing little passage that honestly I have just skimmed over in the past and yet it spoke VOLUMES to my heart! I have never really thought about it much but now that I do think about it - I have been so blessed to have many in my life that have refreshed me through the years....These two beautiful young ladies are no exception! They truly brought some MUCH needed refreshment to my life throughout the past week!

Tab (on the left) and Katy (on the right) were in our youth group in Bayfield and truly are like our other daughters (we share them occassionally with their biological families! Hee hee). They made the journey from Bayfield to come see us for a whole WEEK!! Ok, so they SAID they came to check out Wayland and make preparations to attend there in January but I know it was to see us!!!

For me, this could not have come at a better time. Without going into a lot of detail, really not necessary or the time to go into it, suffice it to say that I have been really struggling the past month or so physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. Now, PRAISE GOD HE has helped me through that and I am so much closer to Him than I have EVER been... However, just like you feel weak after an extended illness although the illness is gone that is where I was when these precious girls arrived! Yet God in ALL of His wisdom and mercy knew that I needed some SERIOUS refreshing!!!

If you have ever been around Tab or Katy, especially together, you know that these two are like a breath of fresh air! Just with their presence they can bring life into your being and revive and awaken you - which is EXACTLY what they did for me! We laughed, we talked, we played, and laughed some more, we explored, we rested and did I mention that we LAUGHED! I just love how they blend right in with our family and it was as though we had never been gone! I truly needed this past week to rejuvenize and refresh me to continue on with the work here in Borger. I am thankful that Jesus placed these two BEAUTIFUL young ladies in my life "For such a time as this."

Now that I have been refreshed, hopefully I will get back to blogging regularly cause I really miss it! Love ya all!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Insights from the Word

The past month or so, I have been going through the book of John. I was struggling with some security issues in my faith and felt that I needed to be reintroduced to my Jesus in a new and real way! I had known that John was what we recommend to new believers and so - that is where I decided to go!

I cannot tell you how incredible this study has been for me! I have primarily been just digging in and only using Warren Wiersbe's Study Guide as I go along and it has been a phenominal experience! I have rediscovered, fell in love all over again, and in many ways met our Savior in a very new and real way. I am only on John 17 at this point but it has been amazing!!!

Yesterday, I was reading John 17 and I realized that this was a passage I hadn't read before. I knew that Jesus prayed in the Garden prior to his arrest and I knew that He prayed on the cross in His final moments...however this prayer in John 17, I had not read before. There are three parts to his prayer: Himself, the disciples, and all believers.

It was this last part that hit me HARD!!! "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, the glory You have given me because You loved me before the Creation of the World." John 17:24
You see, not only did God love us enough to send His son to die for us - Jesus PRAYED to the Father that we might be with Him in glory! It was so essential to Him, so important to Him, etc. that He prayed for it!

The realization that Jesus prayed for me to be in Heaven and to see His glory for myself - that caused me to sit in awe! Not only did He die for me, rise again after 3 days defeating death, but He also longs for me to be with Him - How could I NOT follow Him step by step each day, how could I possibly doubt Him, how could I question Him?

For those reading, this is my prayer: that YOU too will either discover Jesus for the first time or you will rediscover Him in a way that you never before have. If you are at a place where you need a new part of the Bible to read - read through the book of John, I guarantee it will show you Jesus in a way you never dreamed possible!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sept 12: 10 years ago; 1 year ago

Ten years ago on Sept 12, 2001 I knew that America as we knew it would be changed forever due to the events of the previous day...

As a mom of 4 children all under the age of 4 - I had to ask myself what would the world look like for my precious children? I had grown up knowing that American Soldiers went to war but it was on other countries' soil - not ours. This would not be the case for my children - they would experience wars right here in America. Not just military wars either - wars of terrorism in the form of persecution, drugs, immorality, the destroying of family, and much more...

However - I also observed something on Sept 12, 2001 and the months that followed that was GOOD! As Americans we were aware of the fraility of life, we acknowledged the Lord in a way that had not been seen in many years, we took the time to notice our neighbors and those around us, we came together in a sense of patriotism and political parties really didn't matter any longer...our churches were full week after week as people realized that Jesus REALLY was the answer!!!

Yes - I was sad and broken about what had happened in NYC...but I was thrilled to see that America had received a MUCH needed wake up call...well, at least I thought they had. Yet, time passed, we returned to our American lives, the day to day life of being focused on self returned and sadly....God was forgotten, the churches weren't full any longer, we didn't gather together for prayer, we made it taboo to pray at public events, we adopted the term "politically correct", and politics was more vicious than EVER for both parties....We say "We will never forget" but I am here to tell you - WE ALREADY FORGOT! A mere 10 years later and we say that there is no place for prayer or scripture in our schools, courts, governments, etc. We forgot about how much we cared for our neighbors 10 years ago, we forgot to tell police officers and first responders in our community how much we appreciate them, we forgot to go to church or to read the Bible...

10 years ago - I saw a hope that just maybe America would realize "We need God in America today.."

One year ago on Sept 12, 2010 - My life WAS changed forever! I borded a plane headed for Zimbabwe Africa. That trip altered the way I view my "American" ways and the way I live. I learned that America is spoiled, self-centered and full of themselves. I learned that when you strip away all the comforts of this life such as 3 meals a day, a bed with a matress, a heated/air conditioned home, closets full of clothes, etc - you have no other thing to focus on but JESUS and HIM ALONE! The 14 days that I spent in Africa will be etched in my mind perhaps even more than 9/11/01 because it was there, in the simplicity of the Shongon lifestyle, that I came face to face with the life Christ has called me to...

"Go into all the world preaching and teaching the Gospel and making disciples of all men"

One year ago - I realized that the car I drive today, the home I sleep in, the job I have, the food I have are all perishible in comparison to living a life of reaching and teaching others about Jesus.

Yes - I remember where I was the morning of 9/11/01 when I heard about the attacks; I remember where our hearts and minds were focused on 9/12/01.....However, more than this I remember the lesson I learned in a country across the world when I went there on Sept 12, 2010 Serving others, Reaching Others, Telling Others, Teaching Others for the Kingdom is really the most important thing in the Christian life....

I have asked the Lord to NEVER LET ME FORGET....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Putting it into perspective!

This past month our church had the privilege of this young man from Zimbabwe being here for a few weeks. His name is Cannon and he is a Pastor near the Zambeze River in Zimbabwe. Cannon had never left Africa, never flew on a plane and yet journeyed all the way to Borger Tx to spend time with us! How awesome!!!

While Cannon was here, our Pastor and other staff tried to ensure that he got to experience as many different aspects of American and Texas life as possible. In this picture, he is in his Cowboy Duds that were loaned to him and attending our Horsemanship Clinic by Ken McNabb that our church hosted. We thoroughly enjoyed Cannon being here and yes, I do hope to go to see him in Zimbabwe!!!

There are many stories I could share about Cannon's time here - however, two stand out completely above the rest and in a way they are related to one another. Our church librarian asked Cannon what surprised him the most about coming to America - his response? "How closely it really is like what we see on TV. We thought that was just make believe. I never thought everyone had a car, a house, three meals a day, lots of clothes. I assumed it wasn't near this wealthy." WOW! I complain about the car I have, the home I live in, the clothes that are getting old, etc and here is a young man that couldn't believe the wealth I had!

The second story is even more sobering. The day before Cannon left, our Pastor had a conversation with Cannon about the money had to go home with. Remember, Cannon had only flown out here and that was with our pastor and team sort of with him (different flights, same airports). While Cannon was here, many of our members blessed him with tangible and monetary gifts. So - our pastor wanted to make sure that Cannon knew to hide the money, how to pack, ect. Out of curiosity Pastor asked Cannon "How much money do you have to take home?" Cannon's reply - "I have $1462 - honestly more than I have ever had in my whole life, much less at one time." Pastor then continued "Cannon, I know that we have paid all your meals and everything while you were here, did you have any expenses?" Cannon, "I had one expense." Pastor, "Cannon, I am curious. What was the ONE thing that you spent money on during your time in America?"

Cannon's response, "I gave 10% of what I was given to the church."

WOW....here is a man who never had this amount of money in his life, the money he does have will literally help feed his family for a year or more and yet his ONE EXPENSE - tithing to the Lord! He has two kids, a wife, mom, etc - he could have bought some souveneirs, etc and yet he tithes. No one would have expected him to - the money was a gift with no expectations.

After hearing this - I was forced to think about the fact that our income in one month is a great deal more than the amount Cannon had and yet I struggle to give God His 10%. I spend money on a lot of things that really aren't important or necessities and I complain that I just can't afford to tithe. It truly is about keeping our perspective.

Our Pastor's message on Wed hit me hard. He talked about how EVERYTHING we have including life itself is a gift. We don't deserve the lifestyle we have any more than Cannon does - yet he lives in a hut, has no car, limited food and clothes. We are blessed! Pastor ended with this statement:

"Our economy is based on desire, the Kingdom of Heaven is based on contentment. Is it any wonder then that our economy is messed up?"

Our priorities and perspective are so screwed and mixed up. We focus on what we DON'T have instead of what we DO have. We complain about giving just 10% of what GOD has given us. We argue about how funds are spent in church buildings, programs, ministries, etc - when there are churches across the World that have no building, no program and yet they are ABOUNDING in ministry...

What's your perspective and where are your priorities? Mine are lacking but I am working on getting them back where they need to be!!!



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Morning Walk

The first day of school, I started a new habit - I decided that I was going to be diligent and walk every day. This seemed attainable and feasible since there is a beautiful park with a walking trail just around the corner from where I drop the kids off! Great - I can drop them off and head to walk!

In all honesty, this wasn't something I was truly excited about or really wanted to do -but it was something that I KNEW God was asking me to do and I wanted to be obedient! At first, I thought ok the reason God wants me to do this is so that I can lose some weight and be healthier - logical thought right? This was only PART of what God wanted to do in and through me during my little walk (ok maybe not so little).

Let me start by sharing with the you the physical aspects and then we will move on to the OTHER stuff. I had decided I would walk 2 miles the first week, 3 miles the second, 4 miles the third and by the end of the first month I would be walking 5 miles a day 5 days a week (yep, Sat and Sun are my free days!). So far - I have kept to that pattern with the exception of one day last week when I only did 1 mile (had to quit due to the call of nature and bathrooms being locked - minor detail I know). Anyway - so this week I am at 3 miles which I did yesterday and today...

Ok - so I am learning that I need a few things to make my walk successful each day:

Shoes - I have a pair of $20 Walmart walking shoes. They are sufficient but given the frequency of my walking, I think I need to bite the bullet and by some real walking shoes because my feet have literally been throbbing at night...however, some shoes are necessary! If I don't have shoes on for a 3 mile walk - I am probably going to end up quitting after only a short distance (unfortunately I don't have the awesome endurance in my feet like those in other countries!)

Water - Boy I had better have my water bottle- it's hot out there!

Cool Clothes - I obviously don't go walking in 80 degree weather wearing my Colorado sweatshirts and sweat pants...not a smart idea!

As I have been walking, I have noticed a few things. I notice that typically the first lap is a little hard as I have "gear up" and get going. The second lap (each lap is 1/2 mile) tends to be a little easier as does the third lap. However - that fourth lap, THE DREADED fourth lap is a booger! I mean I have to motivate myself, lecture myself preach at myself, ANYTHING to get through that fourth lap! It's tough...but once it is done then comes the blessed 5th lap! Now I know that I am really on the downhill slide - I can do this! I pick up the pace and away I go!!! ha ha!!!

I also tend to notice the people around me. There are the "mega moms" as I refer to them (I know, bad to label but just can't help it!) they are doing their little speed walk with their little IPODS or whatever in their ears. Honestly, I envy them! I am just ploddin along, dragging my big self along... Then there are the "chatty cathys" these are usually ladies that are walking together, chatting about life, kids, husbands - who knows what? I really don't listen to their conversations - PROMISE!! You have the "leisurly grandparents" - these tend to be older people (by the way, the older I get - the YOUNGER they get!) They are just enjoying the day and the weather and each other, etc. Finally, you have my two very favorite gals, I like to refer to them as the "Matriarchs of the Park". These two ladies, come each and every day to walk once around the park. They truly enjoy one another and the environment and are such a blessing - they both have a cane and literally have to stop every 5 steps or so, but they keep at it!

Today as I was walking (ok, more like plodding) along. I have to confess - there was no joyful obedience in me at the beginning. In fact, I only went to walk because my stubborn pride said I started this challenge and I am going to see it through! Ha ha. So - the first lap was the typical "maybe a 1/2 mile is good for the day" but then I heard the still small voice..."keep at it." My GRUMPY response "FINE! But I am not happy". So the walk continued...

One thing I haven't told you is that after the first day of walking, I decided to make this time my time of prayer and talking/listening to the Lord. With this in mind and my attitude above you can sense where there is going to be a lesson learned!!! Heee hee

The second lap - God really did begin to soften my heart, I began to "wake up" physically and spiritually! It was after this that the Lord really began to speak to me about my morning walk. I started to take all of the above principles about my PHYSICAL walk and start to see them as they relate to my SPIRITUAL walk. Let me share with you what He showed me.

To make my spiritual walk successful each day I need the right tools:

Prayer: I need to have that time each day that is just me and God. It's a combination of listening and talking. If I miss this part - well then, I am missing that relational intregal part of being with God.

The Word: Scripture is ESSENTIAL. God has given us a manual for life. Each and everything we need to know about how to live, work, walk, etc through this life and into the next is in it! Too many times, however, it sits on the shelf or table only to be used on Sundays. We CANNOT expect to have a healthy and successful spiritual walk if we are not DAILY in the Word of God!

Other Believers: WE NEED EACH OTHER! Too many times I hear people say "I am just going to hole up in my house - just me and God." Yes - there are DEFINITELY times that we need that, but not all the time. We have to get out and interact, encourage, invest, etc in the lives of other believers...

So - here is how this all came together during that DREADED fourth lap!! Ha ha!

On our spiritual walks: The first lap is sometimes the hardest. It's hard to get up and have that prayer time, or study the Bible or get out the door to meet with other believers. We have to literally MAKE ourselves do it! Yet - once we do it, then it tends to be just a little easier like the second lap and by the third lap, we are in the groove! We are reading the Bible and praying regularly, we are interacting with other believers and we are growing closer and closer to the Lord...THEN comes that DREADED fourth lap!!! In the spiritual walk, I see this as maybe an unexpected tragedy or turn of events, the loss of a job, arguments with a teenager or spouse, financial issues, etc...we start to waiver just a tad, and then maybe a tad more and we have to really push ourselves to stay in the Word, to keep up that prayer time, to press on! Yet - once we do, once we have pushed through the low points in our lives and have stayed the course - then HALLELUJIAH here comes the fifth lap...it's a little easier, we can catch our breath...and FINALLY the last lap - the time when we will see Jesus face to face, the race of life on Earth will end with one HUGE victory party in Heaven!!!

My revelation from the Lord didn't stop there, just as I observed the people on my physical walk - God revealed some truths about other believers through them...
First there are the "mega Chrisitans" they seem to have it all together, they walk through life hand in hand with Jesus just speeding through like no tomorrow and yes I envy them! I think I wanna be like that...I'm just ploddin along though. However - they also challenge me to dig deeper and push harder!
Second we have the "cheering chanties" these are those other believers who are there along the way to encourage and push us on forward. They are the ones who will just randomly call or e-mail and say way to go! Ones like my friend Kaycee who posted on my FB wall yesterday "Saw you walking in the park, way to go!" Think that didn't push me out the door this morning? Oh yeah! We have these in our spiritual walks to - like my friend Dani who I called yesterday and she was just so encouraging and uplifting!!!
Third the "sure but steady Chrisitans" these, like the "leisuraly grandparents" are the ones that are just firm and steady in their walk with the Lord. They are faithful, not lax, not overly zealous but just steady and true to the course laid before them!
Fourth - "The Matriarchs of Faith" these are my true heros in life! They are the ones that although they have been knocked down, kicked, spit on, and stomped on by this life - they continue to truck along faithful to follow their Savior. One that comes to mind is our friend Gordy Herrick back in Bayfield. He lost his son in an accident only a few short months before the birth of the first grandchild. He has had job issues, family issues, health issues, etc and yet he holds fast to the path of Christ! These are the ones that inspire us!
Fifth - There are the "Plodders" and unfortunately in both my physical and spiritual walks, I think I fall into this category at various times. These are the Christians that are just going along, at a slow pace and the feet may be draggin but they are moving!

I don't think any one group is better or worse than the others and to be perfectly honest - I think there are times in which we will all fall into the various groups. There are times when we are like the "mega moms" We are cruising and growing in our walk with the Lord, we are filled with joy and are focused on the prize of the final lap! Then there are times where we have a sure but steady pace - we know the role God has for us, we are up for the task and we are just going to keep on keeping on. There are times when we are the encouragers - we are meant to spur others on so that they can get where they need to go with Christ. There are definitely times where we really do feel like we are just "plodding along" spiritually. It's all we can do to just be in the Word and pray each day.

No matter where we are on the spiritual walk there is something so critical and so crucial that we have to take note of - EVERY group is moving, EVERY group is pressing on toward the prize...You see, just like the various people on my morning walk in the park are all walking in some way shape or form along the walking trail, so are all believers walking or moving along in some way on the path toward the VICTORY party! We all will reach the same place and have the same reward!!!

Now there is one final group that I haven't mentioned. On my morning walk, I like to refer to them as the "passers by" . They are the ones that drive by the park and will look, perhaps honk or wave at those of us out there walking. They are interested enough to glance or take note but they aren't out there walking that path. In our spiritual lives - these are the lost that we come across each and every day. They take note of us, they know we are on this path and they are observing - but they aren't walking. They don't have that relationship with Christ - it is left to us to point them in the right direction, to take their hand and say "Come on, join me on my walk!"

Wow! This turned into a lengthy post but I just had to share it with you because it truly was eye opening to me. I know that this illustration isn't fail proof but I think it is a pretty close resemblance of the walk we are on in a spiritual sense!

With that - I am off to change out of these smelly work out clothes...oh, I could run with that but I think I will save it for another day!


"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us"

Philippians 3:14

Sunday, August 28, 2011

NEW THANG!!!

There are definitely some exciting things happening in the life of First Baptist Borger and the Childrens' and Families ministries and I can't WAIT to see how God is going to impact this little town through them!!!

First of all - God is just plain moving in the church in and of itself. The worship has been wonderful and so spirit filled the past few weeks, we have heard some awesome messages recently - including one this morning on faith and prayer - small groups are gearing up for launching, Sunday School classes are getting excited and getting involved, etc....

As for our area of ministry - all I can say is I hope the people are ready because God is moving!! We have already launched our 252 Kids Worship on Sunday mornings. It is high energy, innovative, relavent, and all GOD! The kids are learning different virtues and how they can apply them in their daily lives, at the same time - parents are given the tools to reinforce the lessons at home! How cool is that?

In about two weeks we will be launching our CLUB XP for Wednesday nights! This will be a VBS style environment for our children that will also include the parents as they EXPERIENCE worship with their children! Through Bible Workshop, Missions, Games, Music and Worship the kids will learn about the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and it will be presented in a way that will excite them and encourage them to tell their peers!!!

Finally - in October we will be kicking off AWANA on Sunday nights. This will be a time for the kids to come and dig deeper in the Word through hands on activites and scripture memorization. We are excited to bring some fresh life to an already existing program here at FBC Borger....

Needless to say - Joel and I are PUMPED and READY!!! Don't get me wrong - like any church, there are some "bumps" in the road that need to be grated down but I can honestly say LOOK OUT satan cause GOD IS DOING A NEW THING here in Borger and I truly believe some walls are going to be broken, some lives are going to be changed and most of all this town is about to be turned UPSIDE DOWN for the Kingdom of Heaven!!!

My encouragement to ALL of you: What is God doing where YOU are? Are you ready? Are you jumpin on board or are you sitting on the sidelines? God will move with or without us - however we will not be blessed unless we look where He is working and get on board! So come on - it's going to be a GREAT ride as we all work for the King no matter where we are!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

GIFTS!!!

I don't know about you but I just love getting a gifts! I really really do - I know we are supposed to enjoy the GIVING more than the getting, but between you and me - I enjoy the getting a whole lot! Ha ha!

However - I do also enjoy giving gifts too, especially to my kids! I love finding things that I know each one of them will like or enjoy...it's just so fun to see the joy on their faces, the surprise, and just the pleasure of knowing I helped make their day better.

I don't know if your kids are like mine, or even like me at times, but sometimes after I or someone else has given them a gift - they turn around and give that gift away...or they abuse it....or they break it. You get the idea. Now to be brutally honest, when I see them break or abuse a gift I gave them - I get just a tad bit upset, ok I get really upset. I mean, hello!!! I spent money on that, I bought that for you, etc...

Another interesting thing also happens sometimes - after they have given the gift to someone else, they sometimes want it back! Oops!! We have a rule here due to this - you can't give away something that is relatively new to you - cause you might want it back.

Ok, so no this post is NOT just to tell you about the gift giving/getting process in our house! Ha ha! Rather, it is to share what God taught me through this process.

You see so many times - I react JUST LIKE my kids in the way I treat/react to gifts either that I give my Heavenly Father or that He gives me. I mean, I decide to give the Lord something and then I want it back or He gives me something and I abuse it or break it, etc. I bet the Lord feels a little upset when I do this - just like I do with my kids but unlike me, He doesn't get angry or irritated...He forgives!

So - here are the things God has shown me....

When I give Him my time - I give it without restraints or limits.
When I give Him my money - I give it without restrictions.
When I give Him my energy - I give it my all
When I give Him my worship - I give it with abandon
When I give Him my belongings - I give knowing they are fully His.

So the next time you give something to the Lord - think about how you are REALLY giving it to Him: are there strings attached? If, so cut the strings and give it ALL!!!