Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My winter retreat By: Rachel

I went on a winter retreat this past weekend and I had a lot of fun. At first when I got on the bus and we drove to the camp, I was a bit discouraged and wondered if this weekend was going to be fun. But then we got to the camp and the fun began. We went to our cabins and dropped off our stuff, then we went to our first session for the weekend. At our first session we talked about things that sleepy people do (not actual sleepy people spiritual sleepy people). So I found out that I need to stop being so self conscience and not just worry about me and what others think about me. After the first session we hung out, I went down and played carpet ball with some other people.
I woke up the next day excited and ready to have fun. After breakfast and devotions we had session two, in session two I learned that Jesus plans, Jesus cares, Jesus waits, Jesus knows, and Jesus wait for it ....... wins! So why do I need to worry, yes I should plan what to do with my life, but Jesus always wins so I'll go with His plans, because I love to win. After session two we had a scavenger hunt. I was on team ten and we came in 7th or 8th place I think. I liked the scavenger hunt because I learned where everything was. Next after the scavenger hunt we had some free time and I mostly just hung out downstairs and played carpet ball. Later when lunch was over I went outside and saw some kids playing a game called gaga ball and it looked really fun, so I decided to give it a try. Man oh man it was sooo fun!!!!! I played gaga ball for about 2 and a half hours, then I decided to go get my superhero costume on.
Everyone met in the gym with their superhero costumes on Tyler was cat woman and I was her sidekick dog lady. All the superhero's got in a circle and we went around telling everyone our name and power. Some people did not dress up and we got to boo them. After everyone went around the group leaders voted for the best superhero. I think almost everyone knew who was going to win at least I did, it was duck tape girl her whole costume was made out of duck tape her dress,crown,and cape. I thought she had a cool costume, but she was not my favorite. I had three favorites 1. Adam who was;Herman Luethy with the power to see in 3D(ha ha) . 2. Devon who was;Mr.handsome with the power to make you look bad or him look good(again ha ha). 3. Logan who was;the fly with the power to fly(one last ha ha).
Next we had a relay race in our superhero costumes. It was fun but I could tell my team did not give it's full effort which made me upset. It's OK to lose but not if you don't give your full effort. We had a little more free time after that and I played more gaga ball.
Then we had supper, and after supper we had session three. In session three I learned that I need to wake up, grow up, give up,and look up. The one that jumped out at me most was grow up. But that's probably because Luke (the speaker) told us a funny story when he talked about growing up. After session three we played capture the flag. I thought capture the flag was really fun even though we never found the flag. But I really liked running around in the dark and walking and talking with others. After capture the flag we hung out for a while and then went to bed.
The next morning I woke up tired and sore. I ate breakfast did my devotions tried to play carpet ball but my wrist was kinda sore. Then we went to session four. In session four I learned about Ananias and how he was willing and he received a difficult task and accomplished a mission to bring a God-sized miracle.
After session four we cleaned our cabins and packed our bags. Then I played gaga ball until it was time to leave. I made two commitments while I was on the retreat 1.To try not to be so self conscience and focus on God more and not just my reputation. 2.To do all things for the glory of God and not myself.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Wow, yesterday was another great Sunday at New Song Fellowship Church. Pastor Jamie gave the vision for the church for the next year and beyond. It was impressive and motivating. I left excited to be apart of a church that wants to disciple, train, and send workers to save the Lost, and wants to be a beacon of hope and encouragement in this city. But, that wasn't all, I personally felt encouraged and motivated to move forward with change and plans for progress.
As the New year rolled in I made my resolution, like always. I like making a new years resolution and working at it. I like a time for goal setting and plans for improvement. So, I set out to make a goal for the year 2012. Like always I began praying about it a few weeks before the new year. But, this year was different. Instead of a simple goal like, lose weight, exercise daily, eat better, watch less TV, red the Bible daily, etc. etc. this year the goal seemed a little vague. I resolved to let God discipline me in the year 2012. Yes, that is what I said, I resolved to let God take the rod out and train me.
I will be honest I wasn't really sure what this decision meant or how it would look. But, taking my cue from the movie, "Courageous." I started looking at God's Word for what it meant to be disciplined, I started praying that God would change me, and before I knew it he started showing me His plans. The windows of awareness started opening. The window of poor health habits swung open, then the breeze was felt from the window of poor spiritual habits, next I see the light coming through the window of selfish motives. As each window opens, I wonde,r is it really possible to be disciplined, orderly, and righteous. Surely, God is not calling me to ALL this.
Thankfully, as he opened each window, he also gave me a glimpse of how he planned to change these habits.
I started searching for answers and he showed me diet changes, sleep habits that needed changed, attitudes that need correcting, routines that had to be change, and people and things that had to move onto or off of my priority list. I decided that if I was serious about this goal that I would have to do as He said. So, I started a new menu, I let go of my pop addiction (and my excuses to keep it), I started setting the alarm clock, and I made some new relationship goals. Just to mention a few of the changes that began taking place this month.
The excitement of something new kept me going, but at times it is overwhelming to be trying to make such changes. For example Saturday, I sat trying to work out my new menu, but not having enough new recipes for large families to really fill a whole week was getting frustrating. Then sitting with my husband and working on the budget "together" finding it overwhelming after years of doing it alone. (The accountability is so scary)
So, at this point of still be excited to try and make changes to become the woman God made me to be and being overwhelmed by it all, I head to Sunday morning worship. Having no idea how it would spur me on.
Here is what I learned Sunday morning:
From Titus 4:6-16
"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the [a]sound doctrine which you have been following."
I need to fill up on God's word constantly, I eat three meals a day, so I need to match that with spiritual food. This grow my Faith and keep me doctrinally sound (if I don't know what God says in His word, how can I live according to it?)
7" But [b]have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance."
"Discipline is delaying gratification to attain something greater and better." this was a quote Pastor Jamie said.
Discipline involves tools: budgets, calenders, schedules, goal sheets, and choices in discernment, priorities and planning.
I found that encouraging because i have spent a great deal of time these past couple weeks working on plans, discerning what is best for our day to be spent doing, planning how to make changes, creating and making new schedules and charts. I wondered if it was all worth it, but this was a reminder that planning is necessary for success, change, and progress.
verses 10-11 BE DILIGENT
10 "For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 11 Prescribed and teach these things."
Change and Progress doesn't come easy, but if I focus on Hope, then the hard work will reap a reward, and as I learn these things, I am to prescribe and teach them to others (for me my children first.).
12 "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. "
I need to be bold in Christ by speaking, acting, loving, and serving in faith and purity. I need to be a good example.
verses 13-14 BE DISCIPLED
13" Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery."
Here pastor Jamie said, we are told to use our spiritual gifts, and to make sure the Word is being shared out load in public. Wow, what a calling.
verses 15-16 BE DELIBERATE
15" Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. "
Wow, what a finish it says take pains, be absorbed, and pay close attention. Can God make it any clear to me that yes, he wants my full attention on Him and the things of Him.
"Spiritual growth never happens by accident"
So, I press on encouraged that God is in the process of changing me and making progress in my life for His purposes. If you want to hear the message first hand you can at http://newsongfellowship.net/media

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

God of the ordinary day

Do you ever wonder where God is in the day to day routine? I think sometimes I just need to stop and look and then I see His marvelous work before my eyes. Like this morning:

As I feed baby Anna this morning, I sat watching Davey do his morning job of clearing the breakfast table. I watch as he systematically takes the plates off, going around carefully removing each fork (so not to throw it away) and stacking each plate on top of each other. He stops at my place, and politely asks, "mom, are you done with your food?" I think how far his speech and vocabulary have come. He not only spoke in a complete sentence, but clearly knew what he wanted to say and what answer he should listen to hear. I respond that yes I am done. I watch to see what he will do next, will he eat my food or clear it off and throw it away (as he is suppose to). Without hesitation, he adds the dirty plate to the stack. With a little bounce in his step (always a bounce in his step) he joyfully takes the stack to the trash. As he returns to the table, he smiles at Stephen and includes him in his little chore. He tells, Steve that he can dump the water from the cups into the pitcher. Stephen is excited to be able to help. All the while, Davey continues to do his job now again systematically removing each fork. He moves round and round the large table, and picks up each fork and adds it to his pile in his hand. This again amazes me, as I see he is able to hold all of them in his hand with a tight grip and none falling out. His hand coordination and muscle control has improved so much. Again he bounces into the kitchen and deposits the forks in the sink. Bouncing back to the table, he continues to talk with Steve in a happy easy going way. He tells Steve he has to take the cups now. He again begins circling the table stacking each cup into each other, and takes them to the kitchen. Upon returning to the table he gently tells Steve, he has to take the water pitchers to the sink. Stephen reluctantly gives them up, and Davey takes them to the kitchen. He returns to the table for one last pass, he takes the left over food carefully to the kitchen, and places each thing either on the cupboard, in the trash, or in the fridge as it should be. I sit and marvel at all that he just did. Without any assistant at all he completely cleared the table, included his younger brother in his task, and politely considered my needs, and all without complaint.
Now, if only tomorrow or even later today when he is not being so compliant, i can remember this moment, and the amazing gift he is to me. God truly has showed his power in this little guys life, and I feel privileged to be able to witness such a miracle.
I pray that I never forget to appreciate the miracle God has done in my children's lives and in mine because of them. I pray to that my friends and family know God's presence in their lives each ordinary day.
Psalms 73:25-28
25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. 28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.