Friday, November 9, 2007

It's Okay to Say "No"

Hubby and I have been doing a good amount of praying, studying, and trying to model what we believe God has laid out for us as parents. At times that does require saying "No" to others. Even if you do say, "Oh, Geez!" at the thought.

Brother G just received a phone call from someone. They were wanting Brother G and I to go out to dinner with them. They have free passes for dinner at a restaurant that is having their grand opening. We've been talking about this restaurant opening for months. Months. It is without a doubt one of our favorites. It is one of our fondest memories of the big city life. Brother G said, "No." I said, "Oh, Geez!" and then quickly came to my senses.

We're often told that in ministry it is a bad idea to say "no" when someone calls like that. I submit to you this is not always the case. Such as tonight.... Hubby (aka the boys' dad) has been working on dinner for the five of us for the last 30 minutes. He's grilling some chicken. Yum. The boys all know the intent is to sit down together, eat, and share as a family. What would it have said to them if we had suddenly said we were going out and they were staying home instead?

The restaurant will still be there tomorrow.. (hopefully.. this is small town Texas remember?) The individuals are more than just ministry associates. But our boys? They deserve quality time with their parents. They deserve our undivided attention.

It's okay to say "No"..... Your family might just thank you.

A Thankful Wife and Mother

Pulled Up Street Signs

There are currently numerous pulled up street signs all over this highly secure gated community. I must confess... this perplexes the heck out of me. It also has caused me to think about the signs in our own lives.

When coming up to the end of our running buddies' street, there used to be a Stop sign. Now, it is hanging out in the grass as if someone has given permission to just turn one way or another without even stopping to look both directions. They live off one of the main roads that go through this highly secure gated community. It is full of twists and curves. Some of which are located right by their street. Just turning without looking both ways could result in an accident. Should there be a Stop sign or perhaps a Yield sign instead? Is a sign really even needed at all?

One sign that I think has been overlooked here in this highly secure gated community is in regards to the high population of deer. I, personally, think it would be greatly beneficial to have "Deer Crossing" signs in areas where the deer are known to hang out. Given where our home is, it is not uncommon to have 10 to 50 deer on either side of the street... at some point, they are going to want to cross the street. Can't tell you the number of times I've had to hit the breaks because of those precious deer. Oh, for those who don't know... if you hit a deer, you get a ticket. They even send an ambulance for the deer if it is hurt or killed. I know where the deer are for the most part because I live here. What about for those who are just visiting or are new? Yes, the deer are part of what draws many to this highly secure gated community and yet, they can be an utter nuisance. Or perhaps it us humans that are so....

Without signs, do we know which way to go or not? Do we know to slow down or that a sharp turn is coming up ahead? Do we know that 15 mph is the best speed instead of 40? Do we know that there is a school zone ahead? Do we realize the road we are on is a dead end?

While the pulled up street signs have perplexed the heck out of me.. they've also given me much food for thought:

  • Do we have pulled up street signs in our own lives?
  • Do we even really pay attention to most of the signs we see daily?
  • Do we come to a complete stop when the sign says to or do we just yield or slide right on by?
  • What signs need to put down firmly that aren't currently even there?
As always, your comments and prayer requests are welcome here. Let that be a sign that God loves you today wherever you are.

*This Just In via email: The signs were pulled up in masses due to a signage replacement program by the highly secure gated community. When will the new signs will be put into place? Now THAT remains to be seen. Until then, please drive with caution.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

November 8, 2006 - 2007

I've been asked to reflect upon this day last year and my thoughts on what the Lord has taught me over the time in-between the dash until today. To start, I will share part of an email that numerous individuals received from me a year ago:

"Dear Ones, Today I walked outside the front door to get the mail. Oh how the warmth brushed my face and brought a smile to it with its touch. Upon returning to the door, I noticed a package in front of it, directly in front of it. The same door I had walked out of just moments before. The package was addressed to me. Upon opening it I found a box, a card and a certificate. Inside the box contained a heart, a cross and an anchor on a charm. The note read in part as follows: "A cross to remind us of why we do what we do, a heart to remind us to do all through His love and an anchor that grounds us when storms blow." Our God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He has no birth date. He has always been and will always be. So while the storm may appear to be blowing still in our grieving process, the anchor is secure. We are on solid ground. For while you all know how much I loved my daddy, it in no way compares to my Father."

As I sit here looking at that heart, cross, and anchor, I cannot help but smile and be filled with joy. Daddy passed on a week before his 66th birthday. The package arrived on November 8th - a week later. I've been asked to share specifically what I've learned about ministry since that day. It is from the perspective of a thankful heart that I share the following....

I've had some of the most difficult moments in ministry since that day. And yet, some of the most rewarding. The journey is one that keeps me on my knees and literally on my toes. I've been called to walk with the seen and the unseen and at times it has been surprising which ones are which. And yet, I know it comes as no surprise to Him. I've been in hotel rooms, on the side of the road, in the physical church building, beside a bed at hospitals, caskets.... just to name a few; wherever He has told me to go.

Through it all, I would have to say that the biggest blessings and lessons have honestly come from right where I am currently at this moment.... in the home... Our life is complicated and yet really very simple. Each of the individuals who live in this home are Christ-followers. Each are growing and seeking His face daily. We've cried tears, had the most serious of serious talks, laughed, hugged, and yes... as is expected, even at times, been angry. Yet, through it all we've learned to trust in Jesus.. God... even more.

Last night, hubby was talking to one of his aunts on the phone. As I sat there listening to him talk about daddy.... I couldn't help but smile so deeply in my soul.... I'm incredibly blessed to have had a Godly man like daddy. Yet, the one whom I was sitting on the bed beside of blows me away all the more. And honestly, it is all because of the heart, cross and the anchor that is God.... is Jesus Christ.

A Most Thankful Child of God

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Social Hazard: More Than a T

It is not a secret that the guys in our household enjoy wearing t-shirts with sayings on them. Austin came home just a bit ago. As he walked up to me to talk about his day so far, I couldn't help but notice which shirt he was wearing today. It says, "Social Hazard: I Will Not Conform." It references Romans 12:2, which says: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

They purposefully wear t-shirts to make individuals think and/or to help start conversations or to make various statements. Yes, even hubby/Brother G with his Speed Racer shirt. I'll save that one for another time. That is the truth in writing...... lol

Austin was sitting on my right side last night when we were listening to his middle brother play in the band. I asked him if being at a football stadium reminded him of days back when he was in public school. His response to me was, "Nah. Not really. I would much rather do school the way I do it now."

Austin attends a home school academy which meets at our physical church building. This is his second year to do so. He has been home schooled now since the middle of his seventh grade year. He is in tenth grade this year. We took him out of the public school system we were a part of back then due to the system failing him. It was without question the right thing to do.

Our two other sons both attend public schools. They will continue to do so for now. We believe that as their parents, it is our God-given responsibility and privilege to do what is in the best interest of each child and our family as a whole. We believe that God is the Ultimate Teacher and, then, we as their parents follow. We do not believe that at any point in time are we to surrender their education strictly to others; whether it be the public system or a home school academy or a private school....... nor....... to the church alone.

For Austin in particular.... he will tell you that the most important events in history are the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And frankly, these parents are thankful that he will not conform; for to do so would go against every thing he lives and breathes by his own decision to do so.

His shirt is more than a T....... It is ALIVE.

How are you purposefully renewing your mind today? And are you being truly transformed?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

And the Band Played On.

Tonight will go down in our books as another first. Trav's band was playing for the game between the only two middle schools in town. Since Brother G was at the physical church building for a meeting... I had the privilege of being the chauffeur for Austin, Parker, my mom, Hoover (aka her boyfriend) and of course Travis.

It was fairly chilly outside given the fact that we've had a bit of a cold front come through since last night. Given the fact that it is November, it is greatly welcomed. Travis loves playing the trumpet as I've shared before. He really enjoys being in the band especially since most of it takes place during school hours.

Our sons do not participate in sports other than the occasional game of golf or shooting hoops in front of our home or throwing the baseball or football with their brothers and/or friends. We believe that most organized sports takes too much time away from our family and what we are committed to in living life. It is a decision that our sons fully support.

As I sat there videotaping Travis off and on..... I couldn't help but watch his face and how he interacted with the other middle school students. He doesn't miss a beat that is really important in his life. And the band played on.

Huge Thank You!

I would personally like to thank Kim H. for substituting for me today for the parenting class. Although I hear she tried to get out of it when my hubby showed up to drop off the staples. Thank you Kim!

Can't wait to hear how things went in my absence. As always, God is good all the time.

My Butt Stayed Home

PS: If you see me tonight and I walk the other direction. I'm avoiding hugging you. Trust me. You'll be glad.


Briggs is being released from the hospital today! What a huge praise!

Definitely a miracle. Thank You, Lord.

Thank you to all who have prayed for Briggs and his family. Please continue to do so. One of the most powerful events I've witnessed was the 100+ men, women, and children who gathered one Saturday evening and prayed at the doors of Cooks Children's Hospital.

He was only given a couple of weeks to live. It just goes to show... No one truly knows except Him.

Psalm 118:8 says: "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man."

Special Report: Golf Ministry. The Cranny.

Links Players International - Special Report
DALLAS - The regular meeting of the Board of Directors of Links Players International, held October 29-30, was anything but regular. Significant additions are leading to the expansion of the ministry in order to engage men and women to consider and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, Lord, and Treasure.
Jeffrey Cranford named presidentTo begin, PGA professional Jeffrey Cranford, who played as a top club professional in the 2006 PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club, was named as the president of the organization, with the primary responsibility of presenting the vision of the ministry to golfers around the world.
Cranford has been an LPI board member since 2004, chosen primarily because of his long-time involvement as the head of Highways & Hedges, a regional ministry in a California’s famous golf hotspot, the Coachella Valley. Through Highways & Hedges, Cranford has led Bible studies at La Quinta Country Club, Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Rancho La Quinta Country Club, Desert Horizons Country Club, The Vintage Club, and—beginning in November—the Trilogy Golf Club. All of this, as well as passing on these studies to leaders he has discipled, is in keeping with the Highways & Hedges mission to bring the Good News of Christ to those behind the walls of country clubs.
Cranford will lead the expression of this mission to golfers in the United States and abroad. At present, this is being done through two principal messages: (1) the need to conduct spiritual due diligence, an idea supported by the most recent series of Links Players Bible studies, authored by Cranford and Links Players COO Jeff Hopper, and (2) the inspirational message that “You’re Hired!”, a charge ignited by the parable of the workers in Matthew 20:1-16. Cranford and Hopper have begun work on a book that will encapsulate these and other important themes in engaging influential men and women to impact the world for Christ.
New Board members namedJoining Cranford at Links Players are three of his board members, who were elected to the LPI Board of Directors. These include Greg Solis of La Quinta, California; George Garza of Indio, California; and Harold Andrews of Dana Point, California. Also added to the LPI Board of Directors was Dennis Darville, Vice-President for Ministry Development for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Mission-minded vision adoptedThese men, along with the standing Board of Directors of Links Players, approved an exciting new vision and mission for the ministry, one that emphasizes the missionary nature of the work being done regionally by Randy Wolff (hired in Dallas in January 2006) and Tom Gray (hired in Atlanta in August 2007). Read this new vision here.
Links Players will look to add regional directors in the Southwest, Northwest, North Central and Northeast regions of the United States. Seed money is being and will continue to be raised in order to bring these directors on board, enabling to begin their work as funding bases are developed to support them in their regions.
Media ministry expandsThe Links media ministries—which include, the Links Daily Devotional, the Links Letter magazine, Links Players Bible studies, and Links resources such as the Course of Life and player testimony scorecard tracts—will be expanded to feature the teaching of Jeffrey Cranford and other Links Players national and regional leaders. In the beginning of 2008, audio and video resources will become increasingly available on the Links Players web site, offered as free downloads and on order as CDs and DVDs.
Because Highways & Hedges has been responsible for organizing outreaches at the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Desert Classic and Buick Invitational, new Links Players resources will look to include DVDs from these events, as well as from a new event at the Nissan Open in Los Angeles.
Connections aboundWith the increase of regional activity and local Links Fellowships, the resources produced by Links Players will seek to meet the demands of these Fellowships for materials that promote spiritual growth among golfers.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Specific Prayer Request.

Parker was hurt today on the bus coming home from school. We have filed a complaint with the transportation department of our school district. We have fired off emails to the school principal and to his teachers concerning the matter.

Please pray that we handle this as Christian parents should. Please pray for all involved.... including the older kid who hurt our son.

Parker's Mom

Monday Morning Confession

Having been born and raised in the church.... going to the physical church building on Sunday is a natural thing for me to do. Given the personal relationship I have with Jesus Christ... even more so.... Yesterday was not natural. It was beyond what my feeble mind can comprehend.

Ever since I've been teaching the parenting class (Bible study) on Tuesday mornings, I have been hit several times with various health issues. I'm currently having this one for about a week now. I woke up yesterday morning with the thought that I probably didn't need to go. In my quiet time with my Father I asked Him to show me clearly if I should go or not. He kept pushing me onwards. So, I went....

One thing I do often is challenge others in their thoughts & beliefs about worship. For those who know me in the flesh.. I know big surprise... I found myself walking into the sanctuary with a sense of unrest. Unrest? Yes, unrest. I thoroughly enjoying singing as a part of worship. There was no way I was going to sing. My throat feels as if hot coals are being prepared to cook some burgers and dogs. It is swollen like a pound of raw meat is in a ball getting ready to be pounded. So as I sat there preparing to worship... I prayed. My answer came rather quickly, "Be quiet with your mouth. Sing within your heart. Truly worship Me."

It was without question one of the most worshipful experiences I have ever had. I know I was questioned by some as to why I wasn't singing. Of course, when I wasn't hugging everyone it was sort of obvious. But what wasn't seen.....

I was moved beyond words. He continues to show me time and time again... Be still and know that I am God.

How do you need to be moved today? And will you... be still and know that He is God?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

On The Side of the Road

Yesterday as Brother G and I were returning from the call out.... we kept having problems with the car. There were several times when we literally were on the side of the road for a few minutes. It was making a really loud noise and clearly the transmission was having issues. At one point, we stopped at the gas station closest to the back gate of the highly secure gated community to get transmission fluid. We finally made it and the car is parked safely in the driveway.

One thing that struck me: No one, at any of the times we were stopped along side of the road with the car hood up, stopped to offer help. I submit to you that is not how God wants us to go through life... Driving past others in need of help, so wrapped up in wherever we're going or what we will be doing that we think we don't have time to get involved. He wants us to be engage in the lives of others; to get out of our comfort zones and be willing to be the good Samaritan.

If you were on the side of the road, wouldn't you want someone to stop and help you?

Please keep praying for the individuals. There are little children involved too.