It’s Fun to be in Kidzplace!

20 Oct

The girls were able to help lead praise and worship time in Kidzplace this week. I absolutely love watching the kids lead this special service just for grades K-3! We have an amazing church that has so many opportunities for our kids to learn how to lead.
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Another Good Season!

20 Oct

Mack played flag football on an Upward League through Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. He learned so much and had a great time playing football!

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After the last game, the coach gave out trophies and said something about each player. He said that Mack was by far the most coachable, always in the huddle and listening intently. And I, as his mother, couldn’t agree more. ūüėä

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I’m thankful for Mack having the opportunity to play football in a way that doesn’t take over our life! One practice a week, one game a weekend for eight weeks and lots of time in the backyard with his family throwing the ball and practicing…that is about all I can handle at this point! Josh, having played sports most of his life through college, is a good point of reference for me, having not played sports and not having a brother. He wants Mack to do well, but is extremely aware of how non-important sports really are in the big scheme of things. We want Mack to know God’s purpose for him and to do that whole-heartedly! There is nothing more important in all of life.

Mack, we are proud of how you played football! We are even more proud of how you listened and worked hard at all the practices. I loved watching you congratulate your team mates when they did something good in the game! You are special to us!
Love,
Mom and Dad

ISOLATION vs SOLITUDE

18 Oct

With all that is going on in the world, sometimes I wonder if we should lock the doors of our homes and order in all of our food, being sure to isolate ourselves from all others…However, I know that is not even close to reasonable. ¬†But, I do think that I need more solitude in my life…quiet reflection on Who Jesus is and on His Word.

There is a big difference between isolation and solitude, yet I can mix up the two.

When our pace of life overwhelms me, and I start googling “best small town in Georgia to move to,” then I know something isn’t right.

Or when I pull out of neighborhood onto an increasingly busy road, and I daydream about actually needing to use the phrase I abhor, “Hey Kids, let’s load up and ‘go to town.’” It’s these days my thoughts run toward ISOLATION. ¬†Get me away from all of these people and cars and lines and construction work!!!!!

These are extreme cases, but there are more subtle circumstances that tempt me to ISOLATE when what I truly need is SOLITUDE.

Some weeks are so rough around here that I feel like a total mom-failure. ¬†I lose my cool too many times with the kids and wonder if I will ever be able to make it through a week without such regret. ¬†Sunday morning comes along, and quite honestly, I don’t want to go and be around people. ¬†I think that staying at home, enjoying silence and a cup of coffee alone would really help me….instead of going to church. ¬†Have you ever felt that way?

Or maybe Josh and I are not seeing eye-to-eye on something, and I decide that staying home from church is best because I just cannot fake that all is well with us, smile with friends and answer all of their “How are you doing?”s with “Fine.”

The number of scenarios that tempt us to think we need isolation are as many as sand on the seashore. ¬†In real life, I do not stay home all those times I have wanted to. ¬†Usually Josh won’t let me, but truly I know that isolation is not the answer.

When I sit in class or church service and look around at all the people, I wonder how many others also thought that they would rather be home that day? And then I think of all the TRUTH and encouragement I would have missed.  It happens every time.  I never regret going to church.

But why not stay home in isolation when life is tough or your circumstances aren’t anywhere near how you like them?

I think we all know it is not the act of getting in the car and going to church, sitting in the building and going home that fixes all of life. That’s just silly. ¬†But there are a few things I am doing when I go to my church.

#1- I am reminding myself Who is in control and worthy of glory and praise. ¬†(Hint: It ain’t me!) ¬†

Ron Dunn says, “God always reserves something for Himself in the physical realm where man obtains his living to prove that He is sovereign owner of it all.”

Sunday is The Lord’s Day. ¬†I know, every day is His day and He should be praised on all days, but there is something about that first day of the week being set aside to put Him first. ¬†Sundays are very different days at my house. ¬†I still get up and have my quiet time with the Lord. ¬†I still have my coffee, but after that, it is a very different day. ¬†We all, as a family, get ready for church. ¬†We all go to church and attend Bible Study classes. ¬†We attend church together. ¬†We rest together. ¬†We sometimes have a family or two over for lunch. ¬†Sundays are different than every other day of our week.

#2- Placing myself (and my family) under the teaching of God’s Word is significant.¬†

In Sunday School class, we study the Bible together. ¬†Josh always says that he hopes those who come to class don’t view it as just a holding place for us adults while the kids have their class time. ¬†He teaches in such a way that encourages us to all follow along all week. ¬†And even though I have heard the lesson (a couple of times) by class time, I need to hear The Truth of God! ¬†When I think back on all the times I have been under the hearing of God’s Word—-each and every time over the course of my life— I am aware, but not in full knowledge, of how God’s Word has shaped me into who I am today. ¬†His Word is alive. ¬†It’s powerful and effective. ¬†God’s Word does a work in me that is impossible to measure here on earth. ¬†Why would I treat such a special opportunity¬†lightly or with a lack of soberness?

#3- I’m choosing to be with fellow believers—to be encouraged by them and to be an encouragement to them.¬† In Sunday School class, I am less aware of ME and more aware of OTHERS. ¬†I meet new people just about every week in our class. ¬†If I just choose to isolate, I am missing out. ¬†I learn a prayer need just about every week in class, and if I chose to make the morning all about me, myself and I, I would miss out on interceding for someone else. ¬†And on those days when I go to class but would feel like I’d rather not be there, inevitably, someone smiles at me, encourages me, loves on me! ¬†And I am better for it.

When I say I want to be away from people and schedules and traffic, etc, it may be a red flag to remind me that my soul is aching for solitude.  Running TO Jesus and not running AWAY from life.  I do need time in quiet, pulling away from the to-do lists and calendar alerts, but as long as I live on planet earth, I am going to be with people and have to deal with traffic and learn to manage my calendar.

But running away helps no one.

So what do I run to?

I Timothy 6:11 says, “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness…”

2 Timothy 2:22 says, “…pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call on The Lord from a pure heart.”

I Timothy 1:18 says, “fight the good fight” (as opposed to “pull the covers over your head and don’t face the day”)

Hebrews 12:1 says, ” …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Psalm 119:32 says, “I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.”

That one from Psalms is one of my favorites these days. ¬†When I will run the way of His commandments, He will enlarge my heart for whatever it is I am facing. ¬†When my heart is heavy or sad or distracted or hard as a rock, I need to run to His commandments and one of those ways is going to church and placing myself under His Word….even when I don’t feel like it…ESPECIALLY when I don’t feel like it.

John 12 :24 says, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains ALONE; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

So, it’s Saturday night. ¬†I am actually really looking forward to going to church tomorrow. ¬†But if I wasn’t…if I was feeling like I needed to just stay home ALONE, I hope I would choose to die to my feelings, however real they may seem, and go and bear much fruit.

Have a great Sunday!

Do What You Can!

15 Oct

Josh grew up listening to Ron Dunn preach. ¬†He would come to their church in south GA for revivals. ¬†Josh quotes Ron Dunn often when he teaches Sunday School…he actually quotes him around the house as well. ¬†He doesn’t need to have a room full of listeners to share Ron’s wisdom. ¬†I have grown to love Ron Dunn even though I never got a chance to meet him or hear him preach in person. ¬†I read his biography and cried when the book told of his dying. ¬†What an incredible man of God.

Well, this afternoon I put on one of his sermons from his podcast that Sherwood Baptist put together. ¬†It’s like you have an old, wise friend in the house when he is preaching. ¬†He tells the greatest stories, makes you laugh, but more than that, he shares the power of Jesus through the Word of God. ¬†It’s simple, yet profound. ¬†So, today was no different. ¬†I listened with ease as he preached about Mary pouring her costly oil onto the head and feet of Jesus. ¬†His two points were:

#1 DO WHAT YOU CAN.

and

#2 DO IT TODAY.

He said,

“Every act of obedience to The Lord has farther reaching consequences than you and I could ever dream of.”

That was encouraging to me in the area of my service to God.  There are several things I do that I know God has called me to, but the one that I want to focus on today is how these truths apply to our Sunday School Class.

Josh has taught Sunday School for about 13 years. ¬†I remember vividly thinking that maybe we should teach middle school or some other kids group. ¬†He was appalled at the suggestion, but quickly said he thinks he should teach adults. ¬†I was less than enthusiastic. ¬†I still felt like a child and just wasn’t sure how much fun a room full of adults could be…boy did I have a lot to learn! ¬†He is the teacher. ¬†The only time I am ever in front of the class is to introduce guests or announce something if our regular announcer is out. ¬†Josh does a great job teaching. ¬†He loves to study God’s Word and teach it to others. ¬†It’s pretty evident to me that he is doing exactly what God has called him to in teaching.

However, we both have had times of discouragement. ¬†Sometimes it is because Josh doesn’t feel like he is a good teacher…you know, just wonders if what he is saying is making sense and if he should really be teaching. ¬†Other times it is because our schedules get so busy that we wonder if something should go, and I have to admit, I have offered up Sunday School as the first thing to mark off the list. ¬†Over the years we have also had our feelings hurt. ¬†Sounds petty, huh? ¬†And it is…that’s why we still teach…the hurt didn’t overtake our calling. ¬†But feelings¬†are real and it is tempting to let hurt feelings magnify and at the same time overlook all the wonderful things God is doing in the class.

Sometimes we ask ourselves if what we are doing really matters. ¬†I mean, we all want to matter, don’t we? ¬†And, honestly, I can see how what Josh does matters, but sometimes I wonder if me being there to smile and greet folks or send a letter in the mail really matters on the scale of importance. ¬†These are times I pray for God to help me have clarity on my role as “Sunday School teacher wife.” ¬†And He always does.

Unfortunately, I do not hide my feelings very well, so if we happened to have a conversation at a time when, say, I had my feelings hurt or when the class responsibilities were interfering with my family or personal time, then you may have heard me complain about having to be a Sunday School teacher’s wife. ¬†I am sorry for that. ¬†The facts are that anything worth doing is usually not easy, takes up your time and energy, and challenges you on more than one level. ¬†That is definitely the case with Sunday School….but it is so worth it.

So I was encouraged by the quote above and reminded that me just being in class, smiling at the members and visitors, greeting people, listening to Josh all week as he prepares the lesson, sending notes during the week, etc. really does matter and is part of what God has called me to do.

Then Ron explained why it was important that John(12:3) included that she wiped His feet with her hair and “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

He said that what Mary had poured out on Jesus was then poured back on her.

And as a result, the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

She did not hold back her perfume or measure out just a bit to pour on Jesus.  She poured it all on Jesus, and if she had waited, she would have been too late.  The next week He was dead and then risen and in no need of burial oil.  But her act of devotion was full and complete.

It’s really quite true. ¬†I can tell you from personal experience that the times I have obeyed fully, served fully, loved fully, given fully…not measured or half-hearted…the Lord has been so gracious to pour even more back on me. He is a debtor to no man.

And no matter the time and energy that it takes to be a part of a small group of believers in an organized way, the Lord always pours out more blessings on me than I ever pour into them.

So as I think about the service of teaching Sunday School, which I know the Lord has called us to, I am reminded to DO WHAT I CAN and DO IT TODAY. ¬†He has given us some of our greatest friends through our class….real people who DO WHAT THEY CAN ¬†and WHEN THEY CAN. Our class is not perfect….there’s lots of human beings in it…but it is a joy for me to be able to know these wonderful people and call them friends, to pray for them and know that they are there for me and my family when we have a need. ¬†I think the ones who come and give of themselves, who are willing to be vulnerable, willing to commit even when things aren’t just the way they think they should be, and who contribute to being a¬†part of the body of Christ, will agree with me on this…it is a great blessing to be in our Sunday School Class. I have been encouraged in countless ways as I’ve watched my friends walk through trials in a way that honors the Lord. ¬†I have been challenged as I have seen their generosity. ¬†I have felt cared for by their hospitality. ¬†I could go on and on….

I count it an honor to sit under my husband’s teaching of Scripture ( I joke that the Lord must really want to be sure I “get it” since I hear the lesson several times before Sunday morning). ¬†I count it a joy to serve alongside so many wonderful people and see how the Lord uses their families and changes their families as they obey Him and walk in His Ways. I am thankful for the part God allows me to play….for however long He calls me to it.

I want my service to be a fragrant aroma of Christ and to Christ.

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Space Center Pictures

12 Oct

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They are new every morning…

11 Oct

We were on a road trip yesterday morning. ¬†We left while it was still dark outside. ¬†I noticed the sun coming up as we were deciding when to pull off and enjoy a Waffle House breakfast where I was excited to order a pEcan waffle with coffee. ¬†Before we pulled off though, I made the comment that I much prefer sunrises than sunsets. ¬†I asked Josh which one he preferred. ¬†He wasn’t sure which one was his favorite and began telling me the positives of each one. ¬†I can understand the indecisiveness on the question. ¬†They are both breath-takingly beautiful¬†in their own ways. ¬†They paint such different pictures in the sky. ¬†But for me, sunrise wins, hands down. ¬†And here’s why– ¬†I’m needy.

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That’s right. ¬†Right there is why sunrise gets my vote. ¬†What is new every morning? ¬†The Lord’s compassions. ¬†And I’m in need of His unfailing compassion.

The destiny of our road trip was the Space Center. ¬†We learned that if you are an astronaut training for being in space, you spend time at The IN SPACE SIMULATOR. ¬†On the simulator you are traveling in such a way that the sun rises 16 times in a regular day! ¬†I thought to myself that this is the place I need to move to because that is how needy I am and how often I need to remember that His compassions never fail….they are new every morning!

As a matter of fact, I was trying to wait until life was a little closer to perfect than it has been lately before sharing any spiritual insight or inspiration. ¬†But I was reminded that life is real. ¬†It’s hard. ¬†And sometimes it is real hard. ¬†But there is always the sunrise of another day that gives me hope! ¬†Hope in the Lord and His promises. ¬†I am thankful for His faithfulness, His amazing capacity to love me, ¬†and the way He can bring light to the dark nights.

When life seems dark, I’m reminded that it was Jesus who touched the blind man and made him see. ¬†I’m reminded of John 7 when the Feast of Tabernacles was winding down, pilgrims were taking down their lamps and heading for home, and Jesus said to those still around, “I am the Light of the World. He who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” ¬†I’m needy for a touch from The Lord. ¬†I’m needy for Him to be the Light of Life to me!

When the evil one brings on accusations of all manner, I am reminded of the woman caught in adultery. ¬†She was brought to Jesus and all eyes were on her and on Him. What He wrote in the sand, I do not know, but I do know this–the accusers scattered quickly! ¬†Then, it was just her and Jesus. ¬†He gave her such hope. ¬†She was not just the culmination of all of her sins. His compassions never fail. ¬†I need Him to meet me with compassion when I blow it with the kids or have a critical spirit towards someone or get frustrated with my husband or….any other thing I do that Satan reminds me of at a point of weakness.

Oh, to be so compassionate.  To be so forgiving.  What must it look like to ooze this kind of graciousness and love?

This road trip I told you about? ¬†The one that started early and sparked the conversation about sunrises and The Lord’s compassions never failing? ¬†Yeah, well, it ended up being a long ride home. ¬†There was an accident on the way back, so we sat in traffic a long time. ¬†Someone got hungry. ¬†Someone got tired. ¬†Someone had been behind the wheel a long time. Someone has a wife that makes too many “suggestions” about his driving. ¬†The rest of us were fine. ¬†I mean, there were movies and naps and fruit roll ups and another nap and another movie. ¬†What did we have to be frustrated about? ¬†Happy, happy road trip.

So when we finally made it home, someone just basically went to bed.  I turned around and found him to be in the bed.  He was grumpy.  He was short with us.  He was done.

I was not happy. ¬†I didn’t say anything though. ¬†If there is anything I have learned in marriage, you do NOT try to resolve an “issue” in the evening when one of you has already laid his head down on a pillow…and you know he is tired and hungry.

Then, the sun began to rise.

I awoke. ¬†Josh awoke (no need to use the “someone” business anymore!). ¬†He came on down the stairs,obviously refreshed, ¬†gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, “I’m sorry I was such a bear last night.” ¬†I smiled, and he walked to his office.

But, wait. ¬†Was I just going to let it go? ¬†I mean. ¬†Didn’t we need to go over what he did wrong exactly? ¬†Don’t we need to hash out how he hurt my feelings so that he can work really hard to never do that again??? ¬†Don’t we??

See, I want the Lord to really mean I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

I mean, is it really that straight-forward?  Confess your sins; He forgives you.

Yes. ¬†That is true. ¬†So, what about me? ¬†I know I am not Jesus, but Jesus lives in me. ¬†“To live is Christ.”

Soooo, this morning, why didn’t I respond with compassion? ¬†Why did I hold my hurt feelings in one hand and Josh’s apology in the other and take a few minutes to weigh them out?

“He was pretty mean.”

“But he did just say he was sorry.”

“Yeah, but he went straight to sleep without so much as a word.”

“But he was so tired, and he did just say he was sorry.”

“I’m not sure I can just let it go so easily.”

“Oh, look Kristy, is that the sun rising out the window? ¬†Take a look.”

I had to ask myself and will continue to ask myself, “Do I just like sunrises because of the compassions that wait for ME because I realize how needy I am of The Lord’s lovingkindnesses and forgiveness? ¬†Or am I looking forward to sunrises because it is another day that I can display The Lord’s compassions and lovingkindnesses and forgiveness to others? ¬†Starting with my family!

Colossians 3:12-14 ” So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kinds, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also must you. ¬†Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond on unity.”

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Apple Orchard…it’s a tradition!

5 Oct

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