Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christmas 2016








Merry Christmas!!


Getting ready for the Christmas letter always means getting to review the year in pictures. Here are a few of our highlights. 

Roger and I, besides doing all the normal routine stuff we usually do, in anticipation of our 40th wedding anniversary coming up in January, took a trip to the Oregon coast in Sept. Mountains, forests, the ocean, good food, excellent company; it was perfect 



Audrey and Paul are still residing in Goodyear Arizona, continuing to work in the nuclear industry. They were home for a couple of visits this year with the latest at Thanksgiving where they brought the wonderful news that they will be parents in May of 2017!! Which of course means we are getting a NEW GRANDBABY!!!! Yes we are a little excited. 



Nicolas & Melissa continue to live right up the road and around the corner. Melissa graduated in May with her BSRN and is working in Topeka at Stormont Vail Regional Medical Center. We are so proud of her! 

Nicolas continues to work with Roger with working on houses to rent or flip. He is in constant motion. 

Sam graduated from Pre-School in May the same weekend his mama graduated from college. He has started Kindergarten at Lebo Elementary.  




We wish you all the best of the coming year and a most blessed holiday Season!





Roger & Andrea  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Who's gonna throw that first stone?

So, Lifeway Christian bookstores are refusing to carry Jen Hatmaker’s books anymore because they say she is supporting the gay lifestyle.

I read what she wrote. I saw where she is supportive of those in the gay lifestyle, I support and love those in the gay lifestyle as well, but not because they are gay. Except at the end where she said that gay relationships could be holy. THAT I differ with her on. But not because they are gay.

Because sin, any sin, Jen, can’t be holy. Nope, just won’t work. 

Homosexuality is a sin, just like lying, gossip, malic, cheating, anger, hatred, selfishness, murder, adultery, stealing, fornication, coveting……….and the list goes on.

We like to categorize sin however, some sins are worse than others we tell ourselves.

 Nope, ALL have sinned.

And don’t tell me that because homosexuals continue in their sin that is the problem. What about those of us that sit in the pew every Sunday that are addicted to food, alcohol, pornography, working out, spending money we don’t have, gossiping at work, complaining and being bitter every day. That would cover most of the people I know. Doesn’t that have to stop? Everyone has failures in their lives that they continue to do Every. Single. Day. If someone followed you around for a day, just what do you do daily that would be sin? Discipline is the issue for most of us, but doesn’t that fall under lack of self-control? That's listed as a sin too. We all struggle with that.

My mother in law was confined to a wheelchair for over 30 years. Being the wife of a preacher put her in situations many times where people where offering to pray for her to be healed. She related to me that one time when a group of folks gathered around her wanting to pray for her healing, she told them: 

“All of us need healing. Emotional, Spiritual, Mental, and Physical. Mine is just outward where you can see it. But just because you can’t see the sickness in others doesn’t mean that they don’t need you to pray for their healing just as much as I do.” 

I loved my mother in law. Wise woman.


The story of the woman caught in adultery comes to mind. Who is “without sin”, and able to cast the first stone.  MERCY!!!

Sin is sin. Paul wrote that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” People use the “all” when it suits them, but they don’t stop to think about the glory; and falling short.

Who is God that he deserves the Glory? He is Holy. A Holy God deserves all the glory we can give him. But we fall short. Perhaps we are more focused on the sinner and the sin, than who they are really sinning against.

In the story of the adulterous woman Jesus directed everyone’s attention back to who it was who was REALLY being offended by the adulterous woman’s sin, and it wasn’t anyone in the crowd, and Jesus didn’t stone her.

We all have fallen short, and are all sick and in need of healing. We are all failing in our lives in one way or another. When you throw your sin in my face, and tell me you don’t care and you will continue in that choice, yes, I am going to tell you you are wrong, not because of your particular sin. Not because I’m perfect. But because God is a Holy God.

We are exhorted to restore and be gentle in the exhortation of those who have lost their focus on God. And that is what it is. When someone has lost their focus on our Holy God, a God of love, compassion, and mercy, we are supposed to be sign posts, and helpers to lead them back.  

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Gal 6:1-3

It is my job to love you, and encourage you, even admonish you, to not look at the wind and waves about you but to look to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. The one who, because we fall short came to save us. He is the author and perfecter of my faith as well. My weak, failing, banged up faith that I work daily to strengthen at the foot of his cross.

 I’ll go there with you, fellow failure, and we will seek to give our Holy God the glory He is due. And we will seek the healing that only He can give.

May God have mercy on us.......


Monday, October 3, 2016

A servant

I have a framed quote on my kitchen window sill by Dr. David Jeremiah that reads:
“You can tell if you have a servants’ heart by the way you feel when someone treats you like one.”
As I read different accounts in scripture of those whose names we know and are familiar with in the scriptures – Joseph, David, Moses, etc. I am struck by the part played, vital parts – by “a servant.”
Joseph:
Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: “I remember my faults this day. 10 When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, 11 we each had a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. 12 Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interpreted according to his own dream. 13 And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him.”
14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.” – Genesis 41:9-14
David:
18 Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” 
Jesus: 
 When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 

There are others that appear in scripture briefly to play their part and literally to turn the tide of the events or the story. There are many times in scripture where a life changing event is precipitated on the word of “a servant”.  We never know their names, where they come from, or what becomes of them after their brief part in the particular story, but the outcome of the story, the rest of the person’s life is affected by that one “servant”. 
Jesus was and is referred to in scripture as “a servant” – THE servant who turned the tide of events for all of us.

Don’t balk at being a servant – their roles were instrumental in God’s plan……      

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Broken

The broken…..we are all broken. 

Some of us are just a functioning broken, others; can’t function.

The problem is, I’m a fixer. I want to fix the broken, and when I can’t fix, I look away, I avoid, I ignore.

I remember being young, thinking that I could fix the broken ones, get involved, help, time, money, space, involvement, and on and on and on…….

But I am tired and weary of the sea of brokenness that is washing up and into my life all around me every day, no matter where I am or where I go. Church, school, shopping, eating out, Facebook.

Again, we are all broken, some functioning broken, others unable to function. Some choosing not to function.

I was taught to function, no matter the level or degree of brokenness. I was pointed toward a light, a place, someone who I was told ultimately fixed brokenness.

Others didn’t get the memo.

I find myself trying to discern between stages of brokenness these days. Is it self-inflicted? —no time for that nonsense. Or is it a natural brokenness?

Wait………. brokenness is broken.

It all comes from the same place, and it isn’t self-inflicted. It is inflicted, but not by self.

I’m making myself remember who is responsible for the brokenness in the world, and that helps put things in perspective.

I am still graphically aware that I cannot “fix” brokenness, but I haven’t forgotten the place of light where there is someone who can. I just need to remember to take them to Him.

28 “Come to Me, all [a]who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 10:28


He is the burden bearer, the fixer. He is the only one who can transform, repair, or “fix” anyone. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Who do you think Jesus is?



“I'm glad you guys are doing this, because there are so many people out there who are afraid to go into a church. And they look at church people as though they are perfect or think they are perfect. And they need to understand that after we come to Christ we are all still sinners, we are all still failures, that they aren’t any different than we are.”

This was the beginning of Chances’ sermon yesterday as he shared a story of an individual who lauded our starting a church outside a church setting and why. 

The sermon went on to talk at length about the interpretation of scripture that we are not still sinners after we have accepted Christ as our Savior. 

Roger and I discussed this for quite some time immediately following the service, and even later into the day. The entire sermon was preached out of the book of Jude, next to the last book of the Bible right before Revelation. 

After discussing the topic, I circled back around to the initial conversation and told Roger that I would have looked at the man making the statement and asked him, “Well, who do you think Christ is?” the question behind the question being, "Don't you think Christ, the Jesus of the scriptures is more than enough to conquer your sin? He died for it after all. And rose from the dead. Let's talk about THAT Jesus." 

First of all, his entire statement shows his disappointment with the church overall, but also his misunderstanding of who Jesus Christ is. Not an uncommon malady in today’s society, where I find more people base their belief in Jesus on what others have told them, television shows or movies they have watched, or books they have read rather than God’s word…. the Bible or better yet, real experience gleaned from a personal relationship with Christ.

When the question I would have asked him came to mind, I thought of the scripture in the book of Colossians.

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[g] your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

This is Jesus. God through Him has accomplished it all. There is nothing He can’t and hasn’t done, and won’t do for us, as His followers and children. It has all been accomplished by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

But listening to the message yesterday, the emphasis was once again not placed on Jesus and who HE is, but on us, and who we are and continue to be after claiming to be Christians.……

The story of Peter wanting to walk on water came to mind.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

When people are told to look to themselves to find their strength, tenacity, motivation, desire, anything other than Christ, they are being told to look at the wind, the waves. Not at Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

[a]fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b]author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary [c]and lose heart.

Dr. R.C. Sproul wrote in Table talk magazine several years back in an article entitled, “Preaching Christ” the following:

“If we take time to examine the sermons of the apostles that are recorded in the book of Acts, we see a somewhat common and familiar structure to them. In this analysis, we can discern the apostolic kerygma, the basic proclamation of the gospel. Here the focus in the preaching was on the person and work of Jesus. The gospel itself was called the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is about Him; it involves the proclamation and declaration of what He accomplished in His life, in His death, and in His resurrection. After the details of His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God were preached, the apostles called the people to be converted to Christ — to repent of their sins and receive Christ by faith.
When we seek to extrapolate from these examples how the apostolic church did evangelism, we must ask: What is appropriate for the transfer of apostolic principles of preaching to the contemporary church? Some churches believe that a person is required to preach the gospel or to communicate the kerygma in every sermon preached. This view sees the emphasis in Sunday morning preaching as one of evangelism, of proclaiming the gospel. Many preachers today, however, say they are preaching the gospel on a regular basis when in some cases they have never preached the gospel at all, because what they call the gospel is not the message of the person and work of Christ and how His accomplished work and its benefits can be appropriated to the individual by faith. Rather, the gospel of Christ is exchanged for therapeutic promises of a purposeful life or having personal fulfillment by coming to Jesus. In messages such as these, the focus is on us rather than on Him.”

If you continue to tell people to focus on themselves, their lives, faults, shortcomings, and watch the wind and the water, they will continue to drown, but if they keep watching Jesus, learning who He was, is and is to come, they will not only walk on water, but become the fishers of men that Jesus told us to be.

Where is the focus, the emphasis? On ourselves, or on Jesus?  

Who do you think Jesus is?

Because your answer to that question is going to impact everything else in your life.







Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quilting........an inherited trait.....obviously.

Back during the depression when my Grandparents were raising 7 children on a farm in south central Kansas, my Mother was around 9 or 10 years of age. She made some quilt blocks. I'm thinking that this is something her Mother probably gave her to do to keep her occupied and busy. That would have been around 1928 or 1929.

When we were preparing to move mother, we discovered them in a box. Mother's reaction, "Oh, those are so old, you probably should just throw them out." I did not.

Mother has been gone almost 9 years, and I found those blocks when I was going through fabric several months back.

Things have changed a great deal in the quilting world since Mother was a little girl, and many, many quilts are being made out of what used to be deemed "unsuitable" fabrics. With the advent of stabilizers; a type of interface you iron on that gives the too thin, too stretchy, fabric stability, quilts are being made out of satin, silks, tee shirts, etc.; even very thin frail muslin.

I knew I could make a little quilt with them, even though I knew it would be strictly ornamental, a keepsake.

Here is the finished result.

I'm thrilled with it, and plan to hang it in my office.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Cross of Christ



(I originally wrote this June 8, 2015) 

So I’ve been reading a great deal about the homosexual issue that is sweeping the country right now.
After reading in an article from the New York Times today where several pastors and even some heads of prominent Christian organizations are meeting to map out their strategy on how to deal with the ruling once it comes down from the Supreme Court, and where those opposed to homosexuality are meeting with those in favor of, I was left scratching my head.

I read the Bible a lot. I read the gospels a lot. What I see happening here resembles the sessions the Pharisee and Sadducee's had behind closed doors when trying to rid themselves of Jesus.

And before you jump ahead of me here, and think I am likening the LG community to Jesus, let me be clear. 

It wasn’t Jesus that bothered the leadership of the church so much as it was what he represented.
A power they couldn’t control. 

Miracles, deliverance’s from demons, resurrections from the dead, and worst of all, forgiveness from sin. They said it themselves, “Only God can forgive sins!” 

And they knew that they had come face to face with God. Like the Old Testament Israelites who begged Moses to stand in the gap for them, these folks didn’t really want to come face to face with God either.  

Over the past few years I have been wondering and praying about the impotence I see in people who call themselves followers, disciples of Christ. Let’s face it Christians, especially in America, according to statistics, don’t really differ in behavior or lifestyle from those who claim no faith. What has happened to the power of God in the church that has left the leadership scrambling for a position on what has become such a polarizing issue? 

I’m not a theologian, nor a pastor, but I’m a failure at being a follower and disciple of Christ more often than not. And after proclaiming myself to be a follower for better part of 50 plus years, I’m desirous to know why there seems to be this gap between what we say, and what we do, how we live, how we choose…….

That is what made me realize that all this posturing about Gay and Lesbian issues are simply a symptom of something that the church is still afraid of.

The Power of God through the Holy Spirit.

I know, you mention the word “spirit” and people immediately look at you like you have grown a second head, step back, and brace themselves for an onslaught of an “unknown tongue”.

As I read scripture, especially the gospels and the book of Acts I am struck with the power of the Holy Spirit. What ordinary, everyday, common people were able to accomplish for God’s glory.
Has God shrunk? Has His power diminished?

Even in the old testament there example after example of situations from the Red Sea on and even before where the impossible becomes possible. And it had nothing to do with man’s power and everything to do with God’s power.

I think the thing that the church is really afraid of is having its power exposed for what it really is; counterfeit.

We lead people to Christ, and promise them free grace, and some even tell stories of abundance and blessing and profound joy and happiness. But somewhere in the telling, we fail to lead them to the foot of the cross of Christ. Somewhere in the invitation, we leave out the price of the ticket.
I had noticed this several years before at a service where an altar call was given, but no one had to leave their seats. Just raise their hands while everyone else’s eyes were closed and heads were bowed. Easy enough. Salvation becomes a secret that we keep from the rest of the world, even those who are most anxious to share in what should be the most monumental life changing time of our lives. If we can’t share our faith in the house of faith, what has happened to us? How will be possibly ever be able to share it out in the world?

It starts at the foot of the cross. Where there was anguish, and sorrow, and pain beyond description. Where the innocence of heaven came full force against the evil wickedness of sin.

We desire others to know Christ, but we fail them when we reduce that moment to short prayer where the promise of heaven is given without the power of God to enable them to get there is prayed for as well.

Anyone I know who has walked this sod after believing in Jesus as their Savior and Lord for any length of time will tell you that following Jesus can sometimes be the hardest thing they have ever done, and if we don’t take people to the foot of the cross where they can gaze upon the Savior has who made the trip for us, in whom we are crucified too, and yet no longer live, but He lives in us by the power of that Spirit, we set them up for struggles and heartache, and ultimately feeling of intense failure, if not a turning away from the God they sought, who still loves them intensely.
Where is God’s power?

The early disciples experienced it on Pentecost when the Promised Comforter (Jesus knew we would need comfort) came. After hours and days of prayer Peter preached that day taking all those in ear shot back to the cross, the injustice of it, the selfishness behind it, the pain and sorrow and led them beyond it to the empty tomb, to the power of the Spirit which awaited them that they might walk with that Savior they loved.

The Spirit was just the Christ they loved in another form. He was as present to them and with them as he had been when he walked the earth. Their fearlessness at His presence with them was evidence of the power they sensed. They prayed and acted on the assurance that the reality of the Spirit of God was there.

This was the early church.

Let’s face it. I think that we in the church are more than aware of the power of god, but it is with lowercase letters as we are afraid of the God that written in capital letters.

We are as afraid of the power of God today as the early Israelite's were in the desert of Sinai, and the Jews were in Jesus time. We know we cannot wield it, we can only humble ourselves before it, and allow it to do its work in us. We need to get on our faces like the early church, in prayer and fasting. Humbling ourselves on our knees and faces to allow the Spirit to sweep over us. Get out of his way and let Him work.

People would rather conspire, and meet, and plan but not pray, not come to the foot of the cross because there is an admittance that we are not in control. He is.

May God help us!



Hurry UP!!!



There was a time when Life wasn’t “hurry up!”

But I can’t remember when.

Generational hurrying…..that is what it is.

You push forward, and hurry. Are you running away from, getting away from something so painful you don’t want to give it time to catch you? So you keep hurrying forward, and it is generational, and you have been doing it for so long, you don’t even know why anymore, and you’ve done it for so long, that you find it hard not to………hurry up.

I know why she hurried. I know why she didn’t want to get caught; why she ran from the memories and the sorrows. They would be overwhelming, and overcoming, and heart wrenching and heartbreaking, so she kept hurrying and kept going, and didn’t look back unless she had to. And the tears and the anger they always came when she did, so she just kept moving, and busy, and hurried, and drug us along behind, until we had been trained to catch up with her, and even surpass her. And that same urgency was ingrained in us. 

I do it still.

And I don’t even know why.

When I think of “the back then”, the “behind me”, I cry too, but not so much from the sorrow, but from the hurry that blurred my vision, and robbed me of………….more than I can list.

“Time waits for no man.”  So we hurry…….

Because of this hurrying, I do not have the capacity to see so many things; I’m blind. I don’t have the capacity to hear so many things; I’m deaf. I don’t even feel so much because the senses are dulled from the speed that has propelled me forward for so long, that I can’t stop. Stopping, it actually feels so wrong I can worry myself sick with the idea of doing it.

I have so much to stop for though, to relish, to steep in, but that urge inside of me, that constant inner push is there, and I can’t make it…..STOP!! It’s a feeling in the pit of my stomach that makes me feel guilty when I sit down and read in the middle of the day, or just sit outside and admire the color green, and the sounds of the birds, and the warmth. That inner churning deep down in my belly that

 WON’T. LET. ME. STOP.

If I put my feet down to slow down this ride, I’m sure they would wear right off. Then I’d be footless, which would only complicate my ability to keep moving and hurrying. It’s awful.

The rest of the world is doing it too, and to have friends, you sort of have to do it ...hurry and keep up. In so many ways, we are all hurrying and trying to keep up.

I don’t know if it is because of my time in life, or what, but I am tired of hurrying, and I grow wearier of it every day. The guilt that comes with sitting will just have to burn in my belly and my brain until it burns a hole, or goes away, cause I am finding I simply haven’t got the physical ability to hurry anymore, even though my mind is still miles and miles, if not years ahead.

My sister said she wants a brain transplant to enable us to stop….so many of those things that we are hurrying to get done, or get to. We both chuckle, because at our age, we sort of know what that might entail, and yeah, well no. But we agree, it would be good if there were a switch.

So maybe the beginning is being aware of the hurry; the rush, maybe that is where it begins to stop.


Maybe….