Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Picture Timeline!

Ready to meet any piano challenge I gave her, she taught me more than I taught her, for sure!
A talented, funny piano student! Her semi-serious expression doesn't give away her humor!
A very gifted piano student! I was scrambling to keep up with his learning ability!
Preparing for a cold, wet, very fun rafting trip!
Making cow, chicken and piggy banks at family camp! Don't let the paper towels fool you--there was a nice coating of paint that soaked through onto the table!
Shooting range at church family camp. One determined little girl knocked over at least a couple of targets!
Girls slumber party-breakfast. We all got our nails painted as good as at any salon!
My first time on a Ferris Wheel! Great fun with a good little friend!
I got to see a demolition derby for the first time! Interesting experience...
After the rodeo, one of the kids looked like he'd been thrown from a horse...but he'd just had an awfully good time in the dirt!
The kids at Hayden Bible Fellowship and The Lamb book!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"This minute, too, is part of eternity." -Duncan Stuart

Hmmm....well, it's been quite a while since I've even thought about updating this blog! For anyone who reads it, I apologize. Much has happened in the past few months:

  • Finished up the Stranger study with the young people. They seemed to understand and enjoy the study. I pray that they truly believe and trust in the work of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection to give them new life in Him.
  • Church activities including a work day to get everything clean and fresh. Lots of fun and good fellowship!
  • Finished up the outreach at the local public high school with a huge cookout (or, if you're from the west, a "barbeque"). Had a large turnout, and many who wished to have some followup.
  • House-sat for a couple in my church, taking care of their 4 cats. I was glad to have some animals to look after and play with for a while (although at one point I thought I'd lost one cat).
  • Attended my first outdoor/lake baptism! It was such a blessing to see people in the church follow the Lord in believers baptism!
  • Went home to SC for two weeks to visit family and friends. Hadn't been home for the 4th of July for a long time, and it was fabulous to be a part of the "gang" again! During the time back East, I made a very quick trip to Kentucky to see my church family. It was a surprise for most since I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it, so didn't tell people I was coming.
  • Continued to play on the softball team (when I wasn't gone).
  • Had a couple of extra event-filled weekends with church family. One Saturday a group of us went tubing. Ended up being a perfect day for it since the water was cool and the day was sunny and hot! Another weekend I was able to go to the church's family camp. It was a good time and I had the opportunity to read The Lamb to the kids who were there. We played games and took a rafting trip, and I felt like I didn't miss out too much in not being able to work at any camps this summer.
  • Continued to give piano lessons to three kids in the church, and have begun preparations for a recital in November. We are all excited about it, for which I'm thankful since I don't remember ever being excited about being in a recital!
  • Went to a fair for the first time with some church family! We had such a good time watching "Mutton Bustin'" (kids weighing under 60lbs got to ride sheep like the cowboys in the rodeo), the professional rodeo, seeing all of the animals on exhibit (God has created some very unique critters), riding rides (my first time on a Ferris Wheel), and eating cotton candy (the kids first time eating "fuzz").
  • Near the conclusion of a Stranger study I've been doing with a college-age girl. She's very excited about God and wants to know Him better and serve Him. We're talking over the possibility of her going to Bible school.
Also during the past few months I've been trying to do some reading and studying in order to know God more and more. The quote I have in the title of this post is something very similar to what I've heard several times in the last few weeks. What I'm doing right now has an impact in eternity. I wish I'd remember that all the time, but I often have to be reminded!

If you've never read through a chronological Bible, I'd like to suggest that you do! It will open your eyes to see that God is the center of everything! I'm just in awe of Him!

One reason why I haven't been regularly updating my blog over the past months is because God has been teaching me so many things, and much of it I can't begin to put into words yet. In the next couple of months I'll be going through yet another transition, and I've been seeking God's guidance as to where He'd like me to serve Him. One thing I know, God brought me here to learn about the tools that GoodSeed offers, and they are tools that I plan to carry with me and use wherever I am in the future! In a culture that assumes or pretends to believe in God, yet really hasn't a clue, the chronological approach is excellent! I've had opportunity to hear so many stories of how people came to truly trust Jesus after seeing the big picture of God and the history of mankind! Please consider purchasing and reading one of GoodSeed's books! It's an approach that will change your perspective on evangelism!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Enter In

Over the past few weeks God has been challenging me on a new level to surrender all and enter in to His will for me. He is drawing me ever closer to Himself, and all I want to do is leave everything and run to Him. I often don't do what I want to (or maybe I really am doing what I want), but God is ever faithful, staying by me and showing me that His way is so much better!

This month has been a time of beginnings and endings. I've begun to study things on a deeper level than before. I often feel so ignorant and want to understand everything at once, but have to stop and remind myself that God is teaching me new things in His timing and I won't understand it all right now.

We finished up the Thursday night Stranger study with the young people last week. It ended well. Continue to pray that they will truly understanding what it means to believe, and that they will draw closer to their Savior.

One weekend this month I was able to see some friends from Canada who had come down for camping. I was so glad to see them again!

This past weekend was Memorial Day weekend, so I took off on a mini road trip. Drove through the mountains (and had deja vu, feeling like I was driving my favorite road- Rt 23) to a small, historic mining town. It reminded me of being in the mountains of Kentucky or Virginia, except the people talk quite different. I half expected some mountain drawl, and was a bit surprised when there wasn't any! I explored around the town for a while, and discovered that President Theodore Roosevelt had visited it back in the early 1900's. Still trying to figure out how he ended up there! Maybe he was lost! I also stopped to see the oldest building in Idaho- a mission built to reach the Native Americans.

On most Tuesday evenings I'm still going through The Stranger with a young lady. We've finished up the Old Testament and I'm so excited to see how things are coming together for her. She realizes that God has a reason for everything He does. So important when reading the Bible to see that God has a reason for the stories included!

It is so difficult to think of words that communicate the work God is doing in me, especially in a small space, but maybe this is a small taste. I wish that everyone would know the God I learn about every day! Nothing one desires could ever compare to Him!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hidden Treasure!

I can hardly believe it's May already! This month marks 6 months since I packed my bags and headed northwest to work with GoodSeed. Much has happened, yet it hardly seems possible that it's been half of a year! God has been at work in many ways, and I'm so glad I can see His hand in all things.
During the past couple of weeks (maybe longer) as I've been reading the Bible during my devotion time, I've had an incredible sense of urgency to understand what is being said. I find that if I have a question about something, I can't stop thinking about it (often can't even sleep), and beyond just finding the "right answer" I want to know everything I can about it. God hasn't failed to answer my pleas for understanding, and I've been overwhelmed sometimes by the quickness and uniqueness of the answers. In Proverbs, Solomon says that if one will seek wisdom and understanding as he seeks silver or hidden treasure, he will understand the fear of the Lord (2:4). I've been challenged to realize just what it means to seek God (even more than) as for silver or hidden treasure, and I wish that I had a sense of urgency all the time!

In the next week or so, the Stranger study with the group of teens will be finished. I've been praying for their eyes to be opened and their hearts to be turned to God. It's been such a good experience for me to be a part of the study, and I'm excited to see how God will work in each life through discovery of His Word.

My three piano students are doing well. I enjoy spending the time with the kids, and I love to see their excitement as they learn new things. There is very little that compares to the light in a child's eyes!! I'm so blessed to have them in my life!

The past couple of weeks have been the official start of the softball season. For a while I was really worried about it, even wishing I hadn't joined a team (I admit, it was pride), but after the first game, I'm very glad I get to play. I'm praying for opportunities to witness to the other teammates. Last weekend was our first "official" practice. I was pretty intimidated, and things didn't look too much better when I accidentally tipped a ball back into the catcher's nose, causing her to have quite a major nose bleed! This past weekend was our first game, and thankfully there were no major catastrophes! Should be an interesting season!

"If you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:4-6

Monday, April 20, 2009

"God Causes All Things to Grow"

I do believe that spring has finally sprung here in Idaho! Flowers are popping out of the ground, and the trees are bursting with new buds. And the grass is very green and needing to be mowed (and since I don't have a mower I'm considering using scissors!). I don't think I need to verbalize how excited I am for this weather! What is it about warmer temperatures and sunshine that unconsciously brightens countenances and moods?

As I look around at the new growth in nature, I think of the new growth taking place in my life, as well:
As I research and write articles for GoodSeed, I'm learning new writing techniques (editing, also), and a whole lot of new information and ideas about ministry and evangelism.
As I interact with people (in person or via telephone) I'm challenged to grow in how I relate to them. This is one of the most challenging areas of growth for me since I've never been a great conversationalist. I often review conversations I've had (at the oddest times), and wish I could have said something different, and my constant prayer is for God to use my mouth to bring Himself glory. I wouldn't change this (sometimes painful) growth process, for it is drawing me ever closer to God.
As God provides opportunities, I'm learning how to use GoodSeed's tools for evangelism and discipleship. At the moment I'm involved in two studies during the week. One with a group of teens, and the other with a young lady whom I've recently met. For the study with the teens there is much prayer going on for their understanding and personal belief in Jesus Christ. We have lost 3 of the teens' attendance in the past few weeks, so I pray that they will continue to read on their own. For the young lady (a fairly new believer) she's learning how the Bible fits together for the first time. We are both excited about the study, and seeing the Bible through her new believer eyes brings a freshness to me that could otherwise be buried.
As I continue to attend Hayden Bible Fellowship, I'm challenged to grow in discernment and understanding. One thing that has specifically challenged me is to think hard about difficult Bible verses in order to understand what God is saying. Not that I haven't tried to understand His Word before, but certain passages are discussed that I've never put much thought into before. I'm so thankful for this growth!! Also, I'm growing in my piano playing ability (it doesn't always appear right away on the surface). I love this, since I've always wanted to learn everything I possibly could about the piano (and music in general).
As I read books (either assigned reading or pleasure), I'm constantly challenged to grow in my personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ through prayer, commitments, convictions, disciplines, etc.
As I teach piano lessons I'm challenged to grow in my teaching abilities. Actually, the piano lessons themselves are growing as I now have 3 students! These lessons are a special blessing to me, providing interaction with some of the most precious kids ever (although I don't think I've met any kid that I didn't think was the most precious ever)!

Like taking pictures of new life in the spring and finding that they don't do justice to the real thing, I don't think that these explanations of the growth in my life adequately express what is actually taking place. I pray that there will always be springtime in my relationship with my Lord, and I pray that for every believer I know.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's New In the News?

I can't believe how quickly time goes! It seems like just the other day I was updating this blog! Well, here's the new news

Office: I've been working on re-writing the articles I've already written. There are at least two different sites that GS wants to post articles on, and in order for me to have the "same" articles on both, the articles have to be at least 30% different. Some are fairly easy to re-write (or spin-off); others, not so much. I do enjoy this part of writing, though, because it forces development in a new area.
Church: This past Sunday began new studies in both Sunday school and church. In Sunday school we're studying through the Fundamentals of the Faith. Excellent study and so important!! In church we began studying through the Gospel of Luke. I'm really looking forward to it! I'm still playing the piano for the morning service, and am so thankful for the opportunity to serve. I pray that I'll never take the gift God has given me for granted, or use it for other than His glory.
Ministry: Thursday night we continue to have a Bible study with a group of 7 teens. Last week we had to cancel since most weren't going to be there, but they've all been coming faithfully, and of their own choices. I continually pray for their understanding as we work through the Bible, and pray for their salvation. All of them have some serious issues contending for their attention. Aside from that study, there's a possibility of beginning one-on-one discipleship with a 16 year old girl. I've spent a little time with her, and she's shown interest in a study, but as yet hasn't committed to anything. I pray that if God wouldn't have me disciple her, He would provide someone else to help her grow in her walk with Him. There are other possible opportunities for studies, and I pray that God will give wisdom in decisions. I had one unique opportunity to help a girl with a writing assignment this week, and may be able to do it again. That's certainly something new and different for me!
Other: I continue to teach piano. The girls are learning quickly and I'm beginning to think about a (dreaded) recital for them!
God has been teaching me so much through personal study, and I'm overwhelmed by His goodness! As I work through questions for my discipleship course, I've been praying for deeper discovery of God, and then that I'll be able to understand all the new things He's showing me! I'm really excited about some new material that I've been given to study--that of Biblical approach to counseling. This is something extra that I've been wanting to study for a while, but didn't have the resources. God is so good in His provision to help me understand Him and His Word more!
The weather for the first of spring was lovely, and then the temperatures dropped and snow came again. I'm really looking forward to the warm weather! Last week I went to the park after work and played some basketball, then played a few pick-up games at the park with a friend. I'm thankful for any opportunity to release some energy! The mountains are screaming at me to be hiked, so I think I'll have to go one of these warmer days!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Long Post, So Buck Up for a Long Read!

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since I've posted an update. Here's what's happening

Work (GoodSeed): I'm staying busy writing articles for the web. So far I don't know where they are since I'm sending then to the "next up" before they go on the web. What exactly am I writing articles about? Well, to give you an idea, some of them I've written have been about Bible devotions for kids, evangelism training, online Bible study, children's Bible stories, Vacation Bible School, how to evangelize, sharing Jesus without fear, chronological Bible study, Muslim evangelism, free Bible study materials, etc. Basically, I've been given a list of "hot topics" that are searched for on the web, and have to come up with ideas for articles...and the articles. It takes me anywhere from all day to a couple of hours to write an article, depending on the topic and how much research I need to do. I've learned so much about the Bible, ministry, and writing.
I'm also continuing in a discipleship program with my boss. He's given me lists of questions to research and answer. The first list was about the Gospel, the second (I'm working on it now) is on sanctification, and the third will be deeper theological issues. Each question has to be answered in a minimum of one page. I often find it difficult to keep it to two!

Church: I really like Hayden Bible Fellowship! I know that God led me there, and I enjoy getting to know the people there. The studies are in depth, and often cover the exact questions I'm answering from my list! We've been reading through a book (outside of church) called "The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges. What and excellent book! I recomend it! I've also been playing the piano for them for the past few weeks. I really enjoy being able to serve in that way, and am glad for any opportunity to play the piano. I'm currently teaching piano to two girls from the church. It's a lot of fun and stretches me to make sure I know my stuff!

Other: I've been helping with a study through The Stranger On the Road to Emmaus book for the past few weeks. It's been at my boss's house and there have been 6 teens to come. This past week the sister of one of the teens came, too. She seems very eager to learn about God and the Bible. Several of them have had no contact with this before. Please pray that they will really understand and make the decision to believe in Jesus!
I've also been going to a local church once a month to help with a ministry for the public high school kids. The church offers the teens free pizza and corn dogs for their lunch two days in the first week of each month. When they come, there are cards on the tables with a spiritual question on them, and those who volunteer (like myself) try to talk to them about the question (or anything to do with spiritual things). This is such an incredible opportunity! This month we had over 700 kids come over. Some avoid conversation, but that is the minority. Surprisingly, most are willing to talk about things; sadly, most don't have a clue who God is or what the Bible is. Please pray for this ministry! We've been trying to get the teens interested in coming for a study of the Bible, but so far haven't had any interest. Pray for God's will, and His ideal approach!

The weather has been staying cold on average, and we've had bits of snow here and there. I'm definitely ready for spring!

"Live out in your lives the reality of the gospel. Take advantage of and put to use all the provisions of grace God has given you in Christ."-Jerry Bridges summary of Romans 6:11-13