Monday, May 26, 2014


First off, I want to thank all the men and women of the US Military who have served or are serving and have sacrificed so much, even their lives, for the freedoms we enjoy in this country.  Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice!  

I was reading a lecture today where the author wrote how he had been offered a less paying job but it would be writing for the political party he was so passionate about.  He took the job; however, with getting paid less, he realized he couldn't support his cigarette addiction anymore and gave up smoking.  He wrote, "that sort of sacrifice which the party demanded of me was perfectly normal, and it seemed perfectly normal of me to accept it."

It got me thinking about the sacrifices I've made to be where I am today.  Granted I didn't have to give up a cigarette addiction but I had sacrifices.  I don't live close to my family.  I live in a cultural that I'm not used to.  I travel quite a bit (or used to before marriage).  I have a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and would be getting paid more if I used that degree.  However, I have peace about where God has me today!

The sort of sacrifices which God demands of me is perfectly normal and I can honestly say, it seemed perfectly normal of me to accept it.  God gave us His Son Jesus!  Jesus sacrificed his place in heaven to come to earth, to be born in a manger, to show and share His love to a crowd that would eventually betray Him, and then ultimately, He sacrificed His life so that we could be set free from sins and restored into a right relationship with God.  After that kind of sacrifice, I think it's only normal for me to sacrifice my plans for my life and surrender my life, walking in obedience to the plans God has for me.  I hope you see it as normal as I do.

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:19-25

"God's grace operates in the same fashion today--not just for salvation but for all of life. He offers the inconceivable to the unworthy and withholds the expected from the deserving.  Faith is not a system of proving our worthiness to Him, but the unadorned reception of what He offers focusing not on the strength of the receiver, but on the character of the giver." Stokes, Grace Under Pressure, p.14

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Keeping My Eyes Open!

One thing I have been reflecting on since our trip up north is that when we were there, we saw God at work everywhere, even in the tiny details!  We saw Him in the people we met, the conversations we had, the places He put us, God was in it all!  We saw people's eyes opened to the Gospel and we had a willingness to step out of our comfort zones to talk to people we had never met.

So coming back home to New Orleans, I was wondering, is God at work here?  I know He is at work but it's harder to see here on my home turf.  Maybe it's because I'm back to my normal routine, working, seeing friends, going to church, getting groceries, and I'm not looking for Him to be in those places.  But again, I know He's here. He's everywhere and He's intentional with His plans so I know He's working around me to see those plans come to fruition. 

Maybe you know what I'm talking about.  When we go on a mission trip, we're expecting God to be there, to use us, to work in amazing ways and yet, we don't have that same expectation of the same God when we're at home in our day to day lives.  I'm definitely feeling convicted about this and that I should have these expectations everywhere I am and especially here in my city. 

I have been challenged to look for God right where I am.  And sure enough, God provided a framing job for Mark the week we got back from our trip.  And even though his car is broke down, God has provided the vehicles he's needed for the job and for us to get around.  We're continuing to build relationships with our neighbors even though they don't sit out on their front porches like most of New Orleans neighbors.  I'm thankful every time I catch a neighbor outside (oh yes I'm serious).  But I know God is doing more and even though I can't see it, I have to trust that He is at work.  I need to expect God to work and keep my eyes open to seeing Him at work.  I know I can't see everything He's up to with my two little eyes but I have to keep looking.

Seeing God at work, catching Him in the tiny details, turns into adoration and praise to God.  It reminds me that my day to day life is not about me but all about HIM!  It reminds me that God is bigger than me and He has a plan!

"and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us." 
Acts 17:26b-27

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Story To Tell

So much happened over our first mission/vision trip that I don't know where to start.  We were blessed with safe travels, places to sleep, food to eat, car to drive, and work to join.  More importantly, God allowed us to hear stories of how He has transformed lives.  Here are a few examples of God at work in the lives of people in the mission field that follows crisis.


The team served at Ms. Rosie's home which was completely devastated by Sandy (pic below).  Rosie shared her story of the storm and her life since then.  Through these difficult trials, she has recently started attending Beacon Church and learning more about God and the hope of Christ.  The team's presence at Ms. Rosie's home encouraged her that she was not forgotten and that someday she'd be restored to her home.

Mark and I also had the pleasure of hearing the testimony of one of the volunteers serving in NJ.  He told us how he had come to point of crisis in his own life due to drugs, alcohol, etc.  He said he literally heard the voice of God calling out to him and he had to find out who was speaking to Him.  Thankfully God had put believers in his life who pointed him to Jesus and to the cross.  He surrendered his life only a few years ago to the Lord and is fired up to share his new addiction of Jesus Christ to anyone he meets! 


In New York, we had a team come from Utah and immediately they formed friendships with their homeowners, Ms. Anna and Ms. Lily (pic below).  After an all day rain on Wednesday, Anna's basement had flooded and Ms. Lily was sure that her basement had flooded as well.  Turns out Lily's basement didn't flood which inspired her to go out and help those who were.  Lily was no longer just a recipient of help but now she was a giver too!


Mark and I also had the chance to share the love of Christ with a volunteer who came to serve in New York who was there but didn't know why.  She wasn't a believer but felt this was something she needed to do.  After spending a week serving alongside our staff and volunteers, God began to open her eyes to His truth and love.  This past Sunday, she committed her life to following Jesus Christ.  She has told me that "The whole trip was such an amazing experience. God wanted me there for a reason and now I know why."  PRAISE THE LORD!!

We had the chance to meet a man named Aiman who has started a relief center where his house once stood.  He started where he was with what he had!  Praise the LORD for his obedience!  You can read more of his story on our Crisis Response Blog!

I hope these stories encourage your hearts and remind you that God is at work everywhere!  He's in the huge life changing moments and in the small day-to-day moments!  Take some time this week to see where He's at work and praise Him for it!

"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, 
The name of the LORD is to be praised."
Psalm 113:3