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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Life Is Hard

"Do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in God,believe also in Me" -John 14:1
The words of Jesus are so comforting. Sometime I sit and think about the faith that HE has given our family to move into this community. The child-like faith HE has gave us to even have the desire to want to serve on staff with CGM. After years of serving, I find often that this faith sometimes is tested, and even seems to deminish. What was once bold, joyous and zealous can become a duty, mundane almost. What happens?
The changing of the seasons of life can bring great challenges, kids grow up and become rebellious teens, staff come and go, sin begins to show its ugly face, you fight to remember why you even decided to be apart of such a hard process of redemption. After much wrestling and searching for Truth, it is then you remember....
You remember what your trials are for and what they produce. Painful circumstances allowed by God to change my conduct and my character. Trials...every one experiences them.
When I sit and think about our ministry, community and our new church plant, sometimes I get overwhelmed of the thought of all that has to happen in order for them to grow into what the Lord wants them to be. I was reminded of something very encouraging this morning, the trials we face can be compared to a bounced check. What an embarrassing thing to happen! You find out you didn't have the resources you thought you did and that is very frustrating! You feel stuck with a problem that you don't have the resources to solve. I often find the temptation here is to become depressed, angry with the Lord and frustrated with life to the point where I just shut down and withdraw!!! You begin to feel so desperate!!!
I then see the Lord is trying to grab our attention. We flat out don't have the resources!!! HE is bringing us to a place of needing Him and deeper faith. This is a new level of dependence on Him and He knows exactly what we need.
He knows what my community needs, He knows what my church needs, He knows what our ministry needs in order to know the He is God and He is the one who sits on the throne!!
The answer to our trials at the end of the day is NOT a new environment, but a NEW YOU!
Ministry (life) can be and is messy, Praise God we serve a God who isn't afraid or ashamed to get His hands dirty!! May we learn to follow in his foot steps!
I'm praying today I get the full benefit from these trials I face. As I once read, life is short and eternity is very long! Learn now!!
"But He knows,the way I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold"- Job 23:10
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday-Actions Speak Louder

Today's song calls you to respond to what is happening outside the U.S..
Actions Speak Louder (Swoope, Lecrae,Tedashii & Jai)  is a song that was released through Collision Records where 100% of the proceedes from Itunes were donated to His Voice Global to build forth an orphanage in the war torn country of Sudan.

His Voice is a non profit organization that aims to equip the downtrodden, many of which are orphans, abandoned children, and widows; theologically train church leaders; and encourage the local church to get involved with what God is doing among the nations. The countries His Voice is currently involved in are South Sudan, India and North Korea.

Take a moment after listening to this song and pray. Ask the Lord how might you be involved in what HE is doing in the countries above. Even if its becoming a prayer partner, I'm sure they would love that.  SPEAK LOUD for orphans in the Sudan!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wake Up Wednesday-Blind Eyes

I'm starting something new here. Every Wednesday I will post a song, quote, bible passage or sermon on Faith, Action, Mercy, and or Justice.
My prayer is that the post here will always encourage and challenge you to love and good deeds. I pray the post here will give you a clear vision of Jesus, the gospel and what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.

So, here it is. The first Wake Up Wednesday post is a song by Christian artist Swoope, this song is called Blind Eyes-The Good American- a closer look at social injustice and activism. Use this song as a way for you to examine your OWN stance in the turmoils of this world.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Great Pursuit

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the LORD."

I remember as a young christian reading this book and thinking, " I can't imagine what that's like, to have to chase and pursue someone after they have turned their back on you"

It didn't make sense. It didn't seem fair. Why would God ask Hosea to do such a thing? I begin to read more. God chose this man to be a living illustration of His love for his chosen people. That was such a "good" and heart warming story back then as I read it. I remember journaling about it more after reading the book 'Redeeming Love' by Francine Rivers. I was excited about this love! I would have never imagined the Lord would years later ask me to do the same thing. Why?! Because He displays such love upon me everyday.

I once read that our hearts are an idol factory, constantly exchanging one idol for another. Man, how I AGREE!!! Everyday, I play the harlot in some form. I'm constantly having to examine my heart and ask "whom is it today will I serve".

As a urban youth worker, I have found myself having to ask that question a lot. Having to examine closely the log that is in my own eye as I notice the speak that is in a lot of the kids we minister to. Ministry, has been so difficult the past couple of months. I know I've said that before, but this time it's serious. So serious in fact I, for the first time, told my husband I was ready to move and be done. I found myself, wanting to give up, ready to pack up, and move as far away as we could. it just seems, we keep getting hit, blow, after blow, after blow. The weight of the ministry and burden I feel for the kids and other personal issues was just too much for me to handle at one time.

After ministering to people for so long sometimes you expect things to be different, you don't expect neighbors to turn on you, or girls you disciple lie on you or to you. You don't expect parents whom your loved with every imperfect ounce of your being to tell you in so many words, they don't want to talk to with you anymore.

You don't expect to get stole from, you don't expect to be slandered or gossip about. People whom you have once considered family
now have become distant associates.

God quickly reminded me of his pursuit of me.....

Then the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes."- Hosea 3:1

Even in the midst of heartache, betrayal, pain and embarrassment, God calls me to pursue my neighbor ( and their kids) as HE has ALWAYS from eternity pass pursued me in my foolishness. This is the gospel! This is what it means to forgive seventy times seven. God humbled me and is still doing so. I'm called to live out this faith I so desperately claim I believe in all the time,it's funny how life's difficulties is when I have the BEST opportunity to do so. Am I good at it? heck no, I suck! This has been the most draining couple of months ever, yet it has also been the most rewarding. Pursing others, especially your "enemies" (or non) is at the heart of Jesus message. I'm left venerable, I've had to confess so much sin to the kids I minister to. I'm sure I'm not finish.
I've had to swallow so much pride and realize that people liking me, loving me and thinking I'm great is NOT what I'm here for, that is NOT the task that I've been called to. I'm here to make His name great! WE've been called here to protect the name of the Lord and not our own reputations.

I'm learning how to die y'all! Die to my own rights, die to my controlling ways, I'm learning how to untangle myself from the lie that successful ministry means that things are "going well", growing in numbers and having many kids and adults "like" me.

I'm so thankful Jesus came to save the sinner! I'm so thankful that Jesus came to set the captives free! Praise God that message ain't just for my neighbor but that also includes ME!!

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

The God I know and serve is relentless! May we all by HIS grace be as He in our love towards one another.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The First Week

Words cannot begin to describe what it's like to not have my baby at home with me. This new season has come with so many highs and lows. Kai completed her first week of private school and it was great! She enjoys her teacher, her new friends and even though it's been a little rough, she is learning how to enjoy the new work load. I'm able to teach and live out the gospel before her in a new way because of this new season and the new challenges we are up against. I expect God to faithful, I expect His mercies to be new every morning, I expect His grace to abound to our family in ways unimaginable. Please take some time out today and pray for all those who are educators and students returning to school this week. May the peace of Christ & and the glory of God surround our schools this year and forever more.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 9, 2012

CGM Summer Camp Recap 2012

Our media director is currently working on next year's  Summer Resident Mission recruitment video. What you are about to watch is a quick video of one of the interns singing a song she says represents what this whole summer was about. As I've stated before, this was one of THE most challenging summer for me as a staff. Yet, I 'm thankful for every trial, every closed door, every conflict I've encountered. It's grown us as a staff, community and most importantly we've grown as believers. This ministry is about the LORD and His kingdom. He WILL reign here in the Washington Park community!!! Eventually, EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue will confess JESUS IS LORD!

Worship Him with me!!