Friday, December 4, 2009

The Cross, a Bible, and Jesus.

I seen something today that I wanted to share with you. I posted this morning, but this is pretty great so I want to share now. LOL

Today I went to visit and have lunch with my mom at work. She is a manager at Salvation Army. I am a HUGE thrift store lover so its really great that she works there! I was looking for some clothes to wear to church. I mean who wants to wear the same thing every Sunday?? Not me. And amazingly I actually found something!! I couldn't believe. I have the hardest time finding clothes anywhere much less at thrift store, then its almost impossible! But I did! I found a really great red and black blouse to go with my one pair of black dress pants. It fit perfect and I LOVE IT! But the real find of the day was this beautiful dark gray pant set from Sag Harbor!! It looked so good when I tried it on, I almost cried. God knew I needed clothes and he provided them, for $11 no less! That's a pretty huge God moment. I was really overwhelmed with gratitude.

We had a really great time, having lunch and talking. Sometimes it feels like we are more sisters than mother and daughter. As you may know, my father died in the middle of January. So she is really having a hard time. They were married 27 years. And although he is in Heaven now and out of pain. I know it still kills her to go to bed alone every night, and come home to find him not there. I know its killing her. But thankfully I also know God. The will of God will never take you were the grace of God won't keep you. Although sometimes its hard to remember that when the emotional pain is so hard to bear. Please keep her in your prayers.

On the way home, on the side of the road, there was a man. A young man with a life size wood cross that said Jesus and a Bible in his hand. He had this huge cheesy grin on his face, but it was beautiful. Because he was doing something that was just absolutely amazing. He was on the busiest road in the entire city and he wasn't ashamed. That's beautiful. I was astounded by the simplicity of his message. A bible, a cross, and Jesus. I loved it that he didn't see a reason to wear a sandwich board with a bible verse (although there is nothing wrong with that!) or a message of condemnation! It was absolutely amazing. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it.

But it made me wonder.

Would I be willing to do that? On the busiest road? I doubt it. I don't even know if I would be willing to do that in my small neighborhood, much less the busiest road in town!
Then my next thought was, why? Was I ashamed? No. Was I too concerned that people may look at me like a freak? Maybe. Or was it that I was too concerned with myself to worry about someone else's salvation? I hope not, I seriously hope not. I know that I wasn't the only person that man effected. I know that I wasn't the only person amazed at his courage. I know that I am not the only one asking the question. "would I do that?"

All he had was a cross, a Bible and Jesus, but I think that's all he needed.

Theres only one song that can be here.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.


That Sunday we woke up and we got ready. I was so so nervous. I kept rushing everybody along and trying to get there early. We did end up getting there early. 20 minutes too early. lol. We drove into the parking lot and there was an older man who was sitting in his car, waiting on the time to go in I guess. (we were only going to preaching) So we waited and waited and waited. It felt like forever. But 10:45 did eventually arrive and we got out of the car. Where did we go?? The front door, the side door? We didn't know. I ,of course thought well that's easy go in the front door. Yeah not that easy. See on there website they had two services for there 11 o'clock service, one traditional, one contemporary. Which was one of the reasons I had thought this church was a good option. I didn't mind traditional , that was how I grew up. We didn't have contemporary services. I mean we were BAPTIST! Drums? umm.. no. that would surely send you to hell. A song that wasn't wrote back in 1755? nope.. obviously these young whipper snappers who write these songs today are led by some young radical God that we don't know! The God back then, can't be the same God as now! Okay, so maybe that was a drastic example, but still.
As I said, there was a traditional service and a contemporary service at 11 o'clock. We walked up to a side door and heard music so my husband, the logical non nervous one , led us there. I was having a hard time trusting him, I wanted to blend in! Act like we had been going there forever and it wasn't a big deal. I didn't want to ask for directions! Just go in the front door! Anyways, thankfully I just followed him and shut my big mouth. He went in and there was a young woman singing with a band made of teenagers! It was pretty cool, seeing these young kids being the band.

There was a large wood box thing on the back wall, when we walked in. (where they run the equipment) There was a guy there so honey asked him. And he said the contemporary service was held there and the traditional was held in the sanctuary. So we just say down and stayed in there. We sat in the back , of course, blending in and so we had a quick escape route! The service started with singing. It was pretty great, I knew the songs. I felt confident. I was praising the Lord and it felt great! I was were I needed to be! I was so happy!

The associate pastor got up on the platform and made some announcements. One made me pause. He said "next week we have something special planned for you. The preacher will be preaching live over here and I will be preaching live in the sanctuary. The preacher has asked me to preach a sermon about my vision for the church.." Okay did you catch that? Live, we will be preaching live? I already had a pretty good idea what he meant. But I was still hoping it wasn't true. It was putting A LOT of emphasis on it being LIVE. But I was like okay cool no big deal. I just assumed that the associate pastor would be the one preaching the sermon in this service. It made sense. I mean he seemed like a very easy going, friendly guy. I was still optimistic.

But then.. the associate pastor sat down on a chair in the corner of the platform and the projector was turned on. oh my. And the next thing I see in the preacher.. on the screen... preaching.

This next part may seem overly critical. It may seem like I am judging him. I'm not. What went on is between him and God.. and his congregation. I am only an observer honestly seeking a God-fearing, people loving church.

He started with a loud, orators voice. You know what I'm talking about. There voice goes up and down and up and down. It was like a roller coaster. But no big deal. as I said I'm baptist. Baptists probably invented that move! Next he introduces the topic for the sermon. Tithing. Now before you draw conclusions. I know that we are to tithe. Its a basic biblical principle. I also believe it should be taught in love.. and compassion and understanding. It wasn't, at all.
One of the first things he says, " I hate television evangelists..."

Umm.. Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer?? umm.. Charles Stanley? Are you serious? umm.. serious doubts are coming up now. Very serious doubts. Later on in the message he says, " you give money to TV evangelists?? Then next time you get sick call THEM and ask them to visit you when your sick!" ummm.. okay.. shifting in my seat.. very uncomfortable. You mean that's why we tithe?? To pay the preacher to come see us when we are sick.. hmm.. well, I didn't know that. I thought we did it in obedience to God and you visited out of love.. yeah crazy concept.

Then he talks about if you pay your tithes that God will bless you. God will provide all your needs and then he kept repeating, "Blessings don't mean bucks, blessings don't mean bucks." umm.. I understand that to a point, but if we are serving the same God. Then God def does give money as blessings, IF you can handle it. If its in his will. He just kept repeating it. Then he says "God will provide your needs not your wants." WHOA! What?? are you talking about GOD? Because in my experience God has provided a million of my wants, some of them even before I want it! God is constantly proving that HE is a giver of needs and WANTS. I could right now, at this very moment give you a list of the wants he has provided in the past month!

In the bible it says, "speak the truth in love." "without love you are as a clanging cymbal!"

I am by nature (human nature) a critical person. I know that. I pray about it and I'm honestly trying to work on it. That's why when we got out of church (running) and into the car (with the windows rolled up) and out of the parking lot (in case they could read lips) We discussed it.
My husband agreed with me. He seen the same thing I did. It seemed like the preacher was the controlling element of the church, nothing happened that he didn't want. Like maybe letting the associate pastor preach to the contemporary service. I can only imagine the battle that went into trying to get the contemporary service! And the drums to play in the service! I honestly can't imagine.

We prayed about it, seriously discussed it, and we decided later than evening, that we would not be going back to that church. I was extremely discouraged. I just didn't understand why God didn't bless our search and let us find the right church the first time! Then my husband said something that put it all in to prospective. "We did what we were supposed to do. we obeyed God." And that's when I realized that, that was the real reason for going.

Joyce Meyer has a sermon she teaches about mountains. Mountains being problems. When we have a mountain there is a lesson to learn every time. You learn the lesson, the mountain moves, you don't learn the lesson, the mountain stays and you just keep going around it. In this case my mountain was just obeying God. Do the right thing. Why do I know that? Because the next week.. that mountain was GONE!

...stay tuned for Part three, the final conclusion to our family church search!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I am the bride of Christ!

I am a christian, in case you didn't notice. : ) I am not perfect, I have a million flaws, but thankfully through Jesus I am without shame or guilt. He's still working on me, making me what I ought to be. I sang those words when I was younger, not understanding what they really meant, but in the past couple of weeks I have really started to cling to those words.

Since Alex has been born we have went not went to church, hardly at all. I have been really convicted and I know that I can't be what God wants me to be without it. I have struggled and come up the excuses, and I have struggled with my own insecurities. But I had finely decided that I needed to put those excuses away and go, for Alex's sake. I don't want him to go through life and not understand Jesus, not have Jesus. He is always watching Veggietales and I am always singing about Jesus and talking about Jesus, but that's not enough. I knew that we had to do something. One of the excuses was I didn't have anything to wear, I didn't. I did consider wearing jeans and a nice shirt and I knew that if the entire congregation frowned upon that , I would probably say, nah. not for us. I didn't want that pressure, I was nervous enough. I wanted to blend in, not stand out.

So I told God that if he would find me a shirt the next day (it was Saturday) we would go to church. I knew that God would help me. He always does.

We went to Carolina thrift in search for something to wear. I have not lost the baby weight from Alex, if anything I have gained, so its not a small task to find me something to wear. I found several things but they didn't look like they fit, and the others I found didn't match anything I had. So back to square one. I knew as I stood there that God would provide. He's constantly providing and surprising me with his generosity and love.

I decided that I could get away with my black dress pants, but what about a shirt? We went to Wal-mart next to get groceries. I found this really great Norma Kamali Blouse for $5!!! I absolutely love it!

Some of you may say that God doesn't work like that, but I disagree. I know that God knows all my needs and amazingly he understood my battle, he understood the way I felt and he said, "its okay, I'll take care of it."

Part 1 church battle was over. Clothes, check.

The next part of the battle was whether to take Alex to the first service. I wanted to, I really did, but the logical side said that it would be easier to try to out before we get into the whole nursery thing. I mean what of the church we went to were wackos? (Trust me, there out there!)

And not to mention hes never had to stay with anyone that wasn't family! So my husband called his mom and it was set up for him to stay with her during our adventure. (by now, that's what it was!)

Part 2 church battle was over. Alex, check.

I had already found the church I wanted to go to, it was Baptist. We where set. I was so nervous! I hate going to new places like that! But that night we prayed and I had been telling God about my battle, he understood. Because that night after me and my husband had had read the Bible and prayed about it, I laid down and tried to think about it logically.

Why was I going to church? To worship God and be obedient to him.
That was the bottom line. I wasn't going to do anything more than that. I didn't have to worry about people not liking me or not thinking I was dressed appropriately. That didn't matter!

And that's when God showed me the perfect illustration to get me through it!

Preparing for our wedding was kind of a nightmare. If it wasn't one thing to worry about it was the other. The church, the bridesmaids, the honeymoon, hectic, craziness! I was stressed out a lot of the time, We pretty much done it on our own. But even in all the craziness, when I walked through those church doors and laid my eyes on my beloved, none of it mattered. I didn't care if people were swinging from the chandeliers. All that matted was that I was marrying the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with!

And that's when the light bulb came on! As long as I kept my eyes one my beloved, nothing else mattered! I was his bride! I could handle this! Its amazing that God used that illustration to show me what it was all about, because in the bible, the church is the bridegroom of Christ! I am part of the church. I am saved and sanctified and every other thing that goes along with being the church!

Stayed tuned for part 2 of the Church search!

Hope everyone has a great day : )

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Eclectic, thats me.

So I haven't blogged in a while and now I am back. : ) I was getting frustrated with coming up with only blog posts about my garden, since this is pretty much the first year of my garden. There really wasn't that much going on. Plus, I have hobby A.D.D. , meaning that after a week or two of doing something I need something new. Its aggravating and its frustrating. I see these people who are constantly blogging about there gardens and that's pretty much all they blog about. I am trying to be like you! But I can't. I am just too extremely eclectic. I am interested in everything! I have a million different ideas, plans, and interests. I want to start one thing and stick to it, but I can't!
For example, my husband found this really great (FREE) online game for us to play. No I am not a gamer, but in this situation, I was, BIG TIME! It took us a month and a half and we got to level 50. I was devoting way too much time to it, it took time away from things that were much more important, so I slowed down. And that was the death of the obsession. I haven't played in over a week and can't say that I will be again for awhile. Yup, A.D.D.
My current obsession is knitting! I found some really great Knifty Knitter looms and wah-lah. Obsession begins. Within a day of realizing that not only did I love it, but I could make Christmas gifts with it! So I started the project of knitting wonderful knit hats for everybody in my husbands family! Yeah, my family? another story all together. It took me a week and a half to knit 16 hats! When I get obsessed with something I go all out! LOL!
So the entire point of this rambling about my eclectic obsessions is that I now understand that I have to embrace the way God made me. Things always work out better that way anyways.
Now I will blog about anything, and everything. Well, except politics.