Friday, February 27, 2009

Rain, Rain, Rain

I took a sick day today because I felt like I had been hit by a bus, twice. I was still so incredibly tired from last weekend that when I left yesterday, I had a headache, ached all over and the computer screen was fuzzy. My body was screaming for a day off. While I did take Monday off, I spent a couple of hours running errands so I didn't get total rest. Today was different, I stayed indoors, out of the rain and storms.

Speaking of rain, I'm really thinking about going to Home Depot tomorrow and checking to see if they got a shipment of gopher wood. It has rained like crazy today and is supposed to rain/storm all night and into tomorrow. We needed the rain, I just don't think anyone wanted it all at once. And they're talking snow for tomorrow night. Yeah, right. I'll believe it when I see it. This is AL after all.

I did enjoy my day today. I slept in, had my quiet time and then lounged on the couch all day. It was quite nice to just rest and not think about anything in particular. Tomorrow may be much of the same although I'll probably do a little cleaning and then work some on my South Africa AIDS stuff.

Now, I'm off to surf the 'net for a few minutes and then go to bed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's a Good Tired...

I am still a little tired from the weekend but it's a good tired and a contentment that the main crunch is over. We had a amazing turn out Sunday for our membership finale. There were somewhere near 300 people in attendance at three events and most of them are completing the membership process. Praise the Lord!

We had such a great volunteer/support system to pull this off. Without them, we could not have successfully funneled 300 people through our Student Building. We had people helping out beforehand, filing paperwork, sticking stickers on folders, alphabetizing, putting out tablecloths, cutting out circles, spreading napkins, etc., etc., etc. God really blessed me and Debby with some truly AWESOME people. Our new members commented about how welcomed they felt and how smoothly everything ran.

I also got to watch God work. I was tasked with assigning potential new members to table hosts. For the most part, I was matching people by age, life stage, interests, etc. There was only one table where the host had requested people. Everything else was based on where I put them. I had a number of people ask me "I knew the people at my table, did you do that on purpose?" I was thinking to myself, um, how would I KNOW that? It was a God-thing pure and simple. He knew where the people needed to be and guided my decision making. It's so cool that we have such a big God yet He cares about the simple things like table assignments. It was just one more way people felt invited and loved on.

Now my life is back to a semblance of normalcy. I am planning a meeting with committee members next week to get started on data collection and hopefully get to a point in very short order where I'll have some good results to comment on and write up to defend. I am so ready to be finished.

I am also starting the job search process. I covet your prayers as I begin this journey. I know where I would like to end up but I want to make sure my will aligns with God's in this situation. I want to stay in ministry but be able to use my public health knowledge at the same time. I am just growing so much while being in a ministry role, I would like to see that continue. I know He has the perfect place already decided, I just have to be diligent and pray through my decisions. Thanks in advance for those prayers. :-)

Now I'm off to watch some TV before bed. More to come when I feel inspired again.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Go God!

I picked the title because that's how I feel after yesterday. I had such an interesting time teaching my 7th grade girls yesterday. I have one girl, H. who is a processor. She thinks out loud and it's so neat to watch her process what God is teaching her. H. is also quick to say "yay God!" for her successes and share those with her classmates. For example, she was nervous about doing well in track tryouts and she said she prayed all day "God take away my fear." and He did. Track tryouts weren't a problem. I love the way she's willing to take God at his word and trust Him for her needs. It's neat when Beth (my co-teacher) and I can see growth in the girls' walks with the Lord.

I'm also excited about getting to chaperone the Spring Break missions trip to Biloxi. I have no idea what we're doing but I know we'll be working with World Changers so I imagine they'll keep us busy. Last year's trip to New Orleans was pretty powerful for the students that went so I imagine this year will be the same.

My most exciting part of yesterday was the AIDS Hospice team meeting. God has brought together the most amazing people. Kristi and I could NEVER have put together a team like this if we'd tried. We have three women who've been to SA before and have a heart for the people, one hospice social worker and one member who has lost a relative to AIDS. Everyone is so excited about the possibilities for the trip and the opportunity we will have to share Christ's love with a desperate people. What greater urgency for the Gospel than among those who are staring eternity in the face? My fervent prayer now is that God will knit us together as a team and that we will work together for His glory and be Christ to those we encounter.

I'm also excited that God is working the membership process details out. While I am still incredibly busy, ever since reading that Chambers' quote last Monday, I've had such a different outlook and I think God is blessing my efforts. We have a system in place to handle almost every contingency that people can throw at us so now it's just a matter of working the system.

Now I'm off to go watch another "House Hunters" episode and then head to bed.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thoughts on Romans

I finished reading the book of Romans yesterday and I have decided it is one of the best books in the entire Bible if not the best. This isn't the first time I've read all the way through it but I had some new insights from it this go around. Romans really is a perfect book to use with sharing the Gospel. You could easily tell a questioning person to read through Romans and then sit down and talk through it. From Chapter 1 to Chapter 16, it is full of great wisdom and guidance for the whole Christian walk, from beginning to end. It begins with a great outline in 1:16-17 - I AM NOT ASHAMED of the Gospel...what great words! Salvation for EVERYONE who believes. Not acts, not tries hard enough, not is good enough, not prays enough, everyone who believes. What other religion offers that kind of promise. Then there is the beauty of Chapter 3. While it starts out very heavy, the transition in verse 21 with the word "but" should make everyone shout praise the Lord from the rooftops. The majesty continues into Chapter 8:1-2 when Paul says there is now NO condemnation for those in Christ Jesus and on to vs. 14-15, we have not received a spirit of fear but a spirit of adoption. (Can I get an amen?) Verses 28-32 are an awesome promise to the Christ-follower. He is continuing to work in us. The instructions continue as the rest of the chapters outline how we as Christ followers are to act. This whole book is an instruction manual for how to live a Christ-like life and how to glorify Christ with our lives.

I would highly encourage anyone who hasn't read Romans all the way through to give it a try and see what God will show to you. It is such an amazing 16 chapters of truth! And speaking of glorifying God, I want to close with a John Piper quote that I thought was cool when I came across it a little while ago in my quiet time:

"Salvation is not a ground for boasting of our worth to God. It is an occasion for self-abasement and joy in the glorious grace of God on our behalf - a grace that never depends on our distinctives, but flows from God's overwhelming concern to mangify His own glory on behalf of His people." -John Piper, Desiring God

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Streams of Consciousness

(This will ramble so just bear with it)

I truly love how God works in amazing ways. This week started the "true" insanity at work and yesterday was somewhat stressful. I was kind of crabby at work and a few outside things were happening that compounded everything so it was just weird. But, last night, I was reading Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest" as part of my quiet time and came across the greatest quote. "You have no right to complain 'O Lord, I am so exhausted.' He saved and sanctified you to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember He is your supply." Talk about an attitude adjuster. It gave me a whole new perspective on work. Plus, he sent me an awesome volunteer to help over the next two weeks as we shepherd 550+ people through the membership process. See, He was being my supply and I hadn't even taken time to thank Him for it. Needless to say, I had a whole new attitude at work today and the day was marvelous. No less busy but with the different perspective, it was a good busy.

God is also so cool in how I see people getting excited about what God is doing at Brook Hills. People are working through what David is teaching in their own personal quiet times and prayer closets and are beginning to see that David isn't trying to beat us up. He is trying to equip us to get about God's business. God intends for the local church to be the body of Christ to the nations and gave us the fullness of Christ for that purpose. (Check out Ephesians 1:15-23 for more detail). We are so spiritually illiterate that we get caught up in comparing whether we are as good or as radical as the next guy and miss the whole freakin' point. God wants to use us as part of the local body to not only win Bham but the whole world for Him. We have to be willing to strip off the junk and deal with our crap and let God restore us as we are used by Him. We'll never be a "finished" product this side of Heaven but we NEED to spend time with God and let Him identify what needs to be changed. David is doing what a pastor is called to do...preach the Word. The Holy Spirit is convicting people (I know He has me) through David's messages but if conviction didn't happen week in and week out, how would we be any different?

I also marvel at how God is putting together a team for South Africa. As of two weeks ago or so, we had less than 6 people signed up including me and my co-leader. As of today, we have a full team and have had to close registration. Praise the Lord!! One lady doesn't yet know she's going. Her husband is giving her the trip as a Valentine's Day present. How cool is that?! She gets a global trip for Valentine's Day. That's the kind of husband I want. I sense God moving in an awesome way in how this team is developing. Since what we are doing is new, we have no idea what to expect but we also have a wonderful blank canvas to work with. We'll come back to the US with what works and what doesn't and be ready to send 10 more teams in 2010. Just one more step in reaching Sub-Saharan Africa for God and seeing His glory shine in all nations.

If you're still reading, thanks for putting up with the randomness. Sometimes the worst part about living alone is being so full of God-stuff to share and having no one to share it with. I feel better now that I've gotten it all out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Super Bowl Wrap-Up

I had a good time last night at a mini-Super Bowl party hosted by some friends of mine. I say "mini" because it wasn't your all-out, decorate, serve food for an army type of party. Sure, we had plenty of good food but it was more about hanging out with your friends than a party. It was the first time I've watched the Super Bowl with a real fan of one of the teams playing. One of the guys at the part (the imp's husband) is a big Steelers fan and had his terrible towel and everything last night.

The game was good - actually a competitive game. Neither team played exceptionally well but it was exciting til the end. Most years the commercials are better than the Super Bowl. Definitely not so this year. The commercials were horrible for the most part. There were a few good ones (Mr/Mrs Potato Head, a couple of Budweiser ads, Etrade ads) but most were a HUGE waste of money. I can't remember a year where the ads were so forgettable.

Now that the Super Bowl is done, it's on to the most optimistic four words in professional sports...pitchers and catchers report.