So many of my friends are going through trials. I saw this video this morning on face book and thought I would post it here to encourage many of you. I also wanted to leave it here as a reminder for myself.
God knows us oh so well. His plans for us will prevail.
I pray this song encourages your hearts.
He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9
Friday, April 27, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
God has given me a heavy burden and great love for discipleship. I remember when I first became a believer and learned what it meant to follow Jesus and spread the gospel message through multiplication. Ya girl was too excited! I walked up to a young lady who happens to be one of my best friends today and said to her, "aye, you GOING to disciple me!!" (lol-straight told her what she was going to do!) I was so hungry!! I needed to be taught the elementary principals of the faith.That was the beginning of our journey.
Being discipled was huge in my growth in Christ. I overcame my fear of evangelism, I learned how to memorize scripture, study my bible, manage my time wisely, and through the help of the Holy Spirit, God cultivated within me a love for his word and women ministry.
The three young ladies in the picture happen to be the three teens God hand picked for me to do life on life with. We've had our share of laughter, tears and frustration. These girls see me in my rawest, ugliest form and still love. What a picture of the gospel! It's amazing to watch God transform them into special women. Often times I think about my past and all the Lord brought me out of and I thank Him, because that too could be these girls testimonies. To be young growing in the faith is such beautiful sight. To be young, learning what it means to be a woman and living wisely is what our aim is as a Dgroup.
We choose the name S.H.E. Wise to best represent where our hearts are ( and where we want them to be) before the Lord.
S.sisters H.onoring E.mmanual Wise (ly)
God is using these girls to rock my world. I love to watch them play and love on my Kai. I love to watch my husband, train, love and correct them as if they were his own. A week ago, I planned a mini retreat with them. Our name was used as the theme and I spent two days teaching and training over select topics of womanhood. The tongue (gossip), Appearance (modesty) & Relating to the opposite sex biblically (dating/boys). God blessed our time, convicted our hearts and Jesus was more real to us then ever before. I'm praying the Lord break generational curses amongst these girls. Bring healing, affirm dignity, and raise up female Davids of our day. Girls after Gods own heart. Please pray with me.
To God be the Glory for all that He will do and promises to accomplish in Washington Park!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Many of you aren't on facebook or Twitter to read this post, so I thought I would post this blog for your reading enjoyment. I love when my husband blogs. I watch him day in and day out be a great example of love to our daughter as well as to the kids in our hood. I'm so blessed to have him as a leader. Here are his thoughts....
"I’ve now been around our high school boys since they graduated from the 5th grade. I’ve spent countless hours with them: hanging out, eating, playing, fussing, pranking, teaching, and conversing about our role in God’s Kingdom. They, as well as some of their biological family, have become like family to our household. As we seek to build deeper relationships and establish trust and a good rapport there still seems to be an unspoken disconnect. I’d noticed it before, but the relationships sometimes go so well that the feelings that I often experience at times seemed to be the elephant in the room who keeps on farting. I don’t want to acknowledge or bring attention to it and its kind of funny when you sit back and observe but it can also stink at times.
I noticed that no matter how close I am to the young men that I’m around there is still a slight difference in the way that they relate and open up to my wife. Not only my wife, but women who are older than they are. As I sat back, observed and analyzed the reasons why this may have been happening, reality kicked in. Some of the mothers are strong women who grind it out on a daily basis showing love by providing food, clothing, shelter, and concern for them. Many dads don’t play active roles in the lives of these young men so some grow up with a deep level of trust, respect, and admiration for older women because of their mothers and other women in their family who nurture them.
It’s funny that as I sit at my dinner table to write this, a few young men just sat near me and confirmed everything that I’m saying. I can relate to this as well because growing up I had the same experience. Going through it and realizing this reality has helped me understand our young men a lot better, but reinforced even more the importance of being affirmed, trained, and discipled by godly men.
In Acts 16 you see Paul being introduced to a disciple named Timothy whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but his father was Greek. In 2 Timothy 1:5 you clearly see that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had a major impact on Timothy’s life and played a pivotal role in Timothy becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. It was huge for a young Timothy, who had been impacted by the older women in his life, to also be trained, affirmed, encouraged, and discipled by Paul, and to journey with him. As I think through our mission to disciple our youth as well as connecting them with godly mentors, I think of the relationship that Paul had with Timothy. My prayer is that the CGM staff men, as well as other godly men we partner with, would effectively help us carry out our mission by investing in our young men and affirming what it means to be a godly man."
Monday, April 9, 2012
"Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. "-Proverbs 29:18
Gods word is so sufficient. I had the privilege of attending our first ever Spring Break College Vision tour with my husband and a couple other staff partners. It was amazing! I'm always blown away at all the new things the Lord brings into this ministry. "New" to us, but these things NEVER take God by surprise. He had all this planned before we got here.
The verse above as we know talks about God's word specifically. Where there is no word of God, (message of life) the people will perish and could continue in their foolish ways. God gave these kids a greater vision that week. A greater vision for the things of the Kingdom as it pertains to their worth, their dignity, their education, their overall future. God informed them that they have a chance to be different then the culture they live in, that they TOO can be great and accomplish great things for HIM! That TRUE SUCCESS ultimately comes from the Lord and not the world.
As I think about many of the kids I see from day to day walking our streets, in and out of juvie (youth detention centers), I often wonder what would happen to them if someone instilled into them a greater vision for their lives? Much of the crime I see in my hood I believes comes from kids or adults who don't dream anymore, who lack vision, who don't know their worth. God could use them to accomplish such great things for the Kingdom. How i pray everyone will hear this message.
The question asked on our vision trip was," what does it mean to be great?"
One student responded in saying, "To be great is to follow greatness himself".
This young girl may or may not have realized what she said, but there is some profound truth in that statement. To follow Christ is to follow greatness! Our prayer is for all the kids in our program to be convinced that to follow Christ is the best success one could ever attain. May the Lord use His church to minister effectively to the spiritual as well as the social needs of his creation.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace...Acts 20:22-24
Would you take a few moments and read this blog post from our Pastor? Would you also take the next couple of minutes after that and pray for us and our community? Easter for us here in Washington Park can be a very scary and sad time. During the time we are called to focus on the resurrection of our Savior, the principalities of the air have other things in mind. Yet, we will not loose heart, we will focus on the resurrection power of Jesus and trust He has a plan for our community which involves restoring it back to life.
Thank you for your prayers, you have no idea how encouraging they are.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing..." 1 Cor. 13
I stated in a tweet awhile back that I would write about the many ways I'm being SAVED in the midst of living and doing ministry in an urban context. Instead of posting a list, my plan is to do a series of blog post that explain what I mean. This being the first..
To love is a hard thing to live out. I have failed at it so many times. It's "always" easy to "love" someone who is just like you, who agrees with what you say, who is involved in the same circles as you are. I've been convicted at my poor example of love. When I'm slandered, misunderstood, mis quoted, when my feelings are hurt, my husband is slandered, my child is mistreated, I look at these as an excuse to "cut you out of my life". But...
Was this Jesus example of how to handle such offenses?
"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats....1 Peter 2
Christ continues to show me HE is the standard and the measure I'm to use when it comes to loving others. I'm horrible at this, I always feel like I have to defend myself, prove to you what I meant, seek vengeance on my own and not wait for the Lord. For the past 2 months I've cried out to Lord asking Him to make me a humble servant. It wasn't until today that I realized He is answering those prayers through the conflicts I'm facing. I have the privilege to practice humility in the midst of difficult and challenging times. Will I try to defend myself or the gospel? Will I try to show others I'm a good person or show them who Christ is and how I desperately need Him? Will I remove the log out of my eye before I try to remove the speck out of others? Will I entrust myself to the ONE judges righteously?? Will I confess whatever sin I have so that I may be healed??
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...1 Cor.13
Everyday as God's mercies are new so should be my slate towards those whom I feel have wronged me. As Gods mercies are new, so should my attitude (humility) be to towards those I have sinned against. We live in a culture that lives by the rule, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". In other words, If someone tricks you twice, it reflects on you. It means you are the fool to be gulled twice by the same person- you already knew you couldn't trust them.
This is not the type of love Christ calls me to live out. The saying above breeds bitterness & unforgiveness.
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven...Matthew 18
As I'm called to live amongst & minister (through family life, CGM and place of worship) to those different then me, God is indeed saving me from a lifestyle of selfishness & pride.
I believe these lessons wouldn't have had this same impact on me if it wasn't coming from this place God is allowing it to stream from. Living here and doing life with this body of believers is saving me from myself and the wandering my heart wants to do when things get tough. Christ plans for us are always better. He's full of wisdom and knows us better then we will ever know ourselves. I cannot simply love the way Paul describes and Jesus lived until I myself learn to die. When Jesus calls a man, (in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer) he bids him come and die.
Thank you Jesus for saving me, teaching me how to love, and forgiving me when I mess up.