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


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", 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 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 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'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


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 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 heart broke for Fred and heart broke for Keith's brothers and 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 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 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!