Monday, January 31, 2005

I Hate This About Me

I've been a bit on edge at work the last couple of days. The attitude I have is something I really despise about myself.



I have had a very low tolerance for stupidity recently.



Now, I am not a person of high IQ or anything. I'm of average intelligence, and I do possess what I feel to be a lot of common sense. It's just over these past couple of days, I have been very annoyed by people's lack of common sense, and in some ways, their laziness and sheer stupidity! I find myself biting my tongue when I'm asked a question on the phone like "Do you have any tickets for such and such show?" and I say "that show is sold out." The next question is "completely?" and I say "that show is sold out,(rolling my eyes into the back of my head, because I'm thinking what does this person not understand about the terminology 'sold out') yes, completely". The intelligent interrogation continues...."is there any way to get tickets?". AAAUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!



Today I was so irritated when a young person couldn't find the artist Geto Boys who recently released an album. You have to understand, this is the biggest CD release for us yet this year. The CD is on display on the FIRST DISPLAYER one comes to when they enter the store. It is also DISPLAYED on the TOP 20, which is an endcap that you must PASS BY on the way into the rap aisle. Geto Boys begins with a "G" and in the American alphabet, that letter comes immediately after "F", which comes after "E", which is after "D", "C", "B", and "A"! I assume that those who know the alphabet would be able to locate this artist's section since it takes up an entire half of a row right there in the "G" section! AAAAUUUGHHHHHHHH!! Then I thought, that maybe I am assuming too much figuring that the kid actually knows the alphabet, afterall, he did ask me for "Geho Bow".



Then there was the man who asked me to exchange a CD Lens Cleaner for him. The one he purchased was the brand Media Source, but he wanted to exchange it for a Maxell brand lens cleaner. Ummmmmm, a lens cleaner is a CD that has a tiny brush on it. As it spins in the player it wipes dust off the lens. You may even hear the audio instructions tell you to "advance to track 2 now" as it cleans. BRAND DOESN'T REALLY MATTER in this case, but I obliged and exchanged it for him.



Some of this stuff was just really grating on my nerves and I am very glad to have a couple of days off to chill.



I really hate that this stuff gets to me, that all of this gets under my skin, because although I try not to let my irritation show on the outside, I know that at times, it must. It is wrong to even have the thought "how stupid can you be?!?" and I know that I have much more growing in Christ to do.



I want to live in the Spirit!



Galations 5:16-18



So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.





I want to produce Fruit!



Galations 5:22-25



But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."

Friday, January 28, 2005

Wish List

While I was creating my "Things I Will Probably Never Own, But, Maybe, Possibly, Someday, I May" list at Amazon, I searched for Bible cases.



I didn't see anything there I liked, so I Googled and found a site called booksofthebible.com. There I found a cute Bible case! It wouldn't fit my Bible so it would serve no purpose for me except to put a smile on my face!



Larry is so cute! and fun! I just looooooooove Larry!



Bridges

I want this CD, because of Michael Tait's version of How Great Thou Art.



LISTEN NOW! WOOHOOO!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Today Was My Day Off

Today was my day off.



That means I spent all the money I earned on the days I am not off.



Jeep repairs = $200 with another $150 in repairs needed.



Whyzer got a hair cut $40 (including a tip for the groomer who loooooves my poochie!)



Here's the before and after grooming shots:



BEFORE







and AFTER







Before I knew I needed $ for jeep repairs, I bought this, this and I'm most excited about this.



I also spent a few $ on breakfast at Cathey's Restaurant in Trenton, TN. I just love that little dive. The best waitress in the world works there! Her name is Faye, so if you ever check it out, tell Faye that Sue and Katie sent ya! Oh, and leave a big tip, she'll deserve it!



We stayed at Cathey's for awhile after we ate and did some of our Extreme Love bible study. At one point, Faye sat down with us to ask some advice because she knows we are "religious" (I dislike being referred to as "religious") and might have guidance in her dilemma. I don't know if we were much help to her, but I'm blessed that our faith shows, and that she felt confidence in asking for our help.



I played around on the computer today and made some .gif email sigs for fun and did some oversight work for the Outlaws of Sherwood Forest, my gaming community. I'm an avid Battlefield 1942 gamer and have been with the community over a year now. They have asked me to help out with some of the administration of OSF, and I feel privileged to do so. We try to run a clean community where gamers can play in a "family friendly" atmoshere.



I also did the last part of my One to One study and went to class tonight to discuss it. It's an evangelistic help workbook and I hope to take someone I know through it with me someday.



Well, it's time to get ready for bed, so I can get up in the morning, go to work, and earn more money to spend on my next day off!







Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Psalm of the Lost

In SaLT with WaLT today I was asked to read Psalm 23 "in the negative". We got some laughs out of it (especially when I said 'He makes me stand in tall, brown weeds'), but then Walt brought it back around when he asked us to really think about the lost.



It was no longer funny.



Psalm 23 revised:



The LORD is not my shepherd, I shall always be in want.

He does not make me lie down in green pastures,

he does not lead me beside quiet waters,

he never restores my soul.

He does not guide me in paths of righteousness

for his name's sake.



When I walk

through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will always fear evil,

for you are not with me;

your rod and your staff,

they do not comfort me.



You do not prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You do not anoint my head with oil;

my cup is empty.

Surely goodness and love will be far from me

all the days of my life,

and I will never dwell in the house of the LORD.




A psalm of the lost.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Ow

When we slightly injure ourselves, why do we say "ow"? It's a funny word.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Lord is My Shepherd

Psalm 23



Many, even non-believers know or have heard all or part of this psalm. It is shared at funerals quite frequently, or during other times of strife.



See if you can fill in the blank:



"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not ____________" want



Can you do more?



"He makes me lie down in ____________ ______________" green pastures



"He leads me beside quiet ________________" waters



"He restores my _________________" soul



(Highlight the space after each blank for the answers if needed)



In SaLT with WaLT we talked about how exactly how God is our Shepherd, and how He has done these things for each of us. It was great discussion!



In the book we are using to lead us through the study, "Jesus, Seeing Him More Clearly", the author, Bill Hybels, reminds us that as Christians who know the Lord, we can expect God to be and do all the things that this Psalm promises us. However, if we are merely casual acquaintances, or barely know Him at all, we can't experience any of the type of relationship described in this writing. Now we are asked to ponder "If the Lord is not someone's Shepherd, what impact will this have on them?" That really drove the point home to me, and to be honest, I can't even imagine how hopeless a feeling it could be to not have God to trust and rely on.



One woman while sharing compared this relationship between child and Father, or the Shepherd, to that of her dog. I wasn't sure what she was getting at when she shared, but as she continued I began to understand. She explained that when she is out for a walk, and has her dog along, the dog has a tendency to rest his head on her leg, kind of like relying on her to be the guide. She notices that the dog does this when it is time to make a turn or something and she likens that to how we should be when trusting God, gently resting our head on the Shepherd, trusting Him to guide us when life takes a turn.



After class, another gentlemen shared that he likes to think about Psalm 23 in the form of a question "If the Lord is my Shepherd, why am I wanting?" What a neat thing to ponder!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

OOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!



2005, for me, is the year I started eating healthy.



But...but...but....January....



Oh, blasted January, why must you bring not only the new year...but, but....



GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!



I think I can, I think I can



(restistance is futile)



I think I can, I think I can...



I WILL RESIST! OH, this will not be easy.



THIS IS A NO THIN MINT ZONE!



My verse of the month:



1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Extreme Love

EXTREME LOVE!

THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT!

Inspired by the Bible Study "Extreme Love: The Greatest Commandment"





When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the most important of all, he responded with the words in Mark 12: 29-30, "The most important one is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'"



The heart is the center of our physical, spiritual, and emotional life. It represents the whole person. Paul teaches that the heart of every believer is the dwelling place of God. In order to be saved, we must first believe in our heart (Romans 10:9).



The soul is often thought of as the "inner" person. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament equate the soul with the total person. Similar to the heart, the soul is often mentioned in connection with passion and emotion. Therefore, loving God with all your soul would also mean to love him with energy and passion! The body and soul are weaved together by God. (Psalm 139:13) Human beings are incomplete without both. Therefore, we should also love God with our body through the way we use and care for it.



The mind is the center of thought. It is the place of knowledge and intellectual activity. What we fill our mind with determines our thought life which in turn influences our heart and soul. Psalm 119:11 teaches us to hide the Word of God in our heart. In order to do that, we must first put it into our mind and then allow it to be absorbed by our heart. If we love God with all our mind, we think on the things of God and grow our intellect accordingly. Then, we will be allowing Him to develop our mind to be used for His Glory and His purpose.



Because "... the Lord our God, the Lord is One", and we are made in His image, as believers we are one with Him. Our heart, soul, and mind are all interconnected to complete His image and that is the image we should desire to reflect to a lost and dying world. To love God with all of our heart, soul and mind is to love Him wholly and to love Him with all our strength which comes through Christ (Phil. 4:13). Now that's EXTREME!

Friday, January 14, 2005

I Think I'm Doing Too Much

For one SaLT group I'm studying "Faith Lessons on the Prophets and Kings of Isreal" by Ray Vanderlaan.



My Sunday morning SaLT group is doing a Bill Hybel's study called "Jesus, Seeing Him More Clearly"



I also started a Wednesday evening evangelism focused class with a study guide called "One to One" by Dr. Robert M. Lewis. It is a tool that will help one understand the Christian Faith and use that knowledge to build confidence when sharing the Christian faith with a non-believer.



I am also currently reading an Anne Graham-Lotz book entitled "My Heart's Cry; Longing for More of Jesus", for my personal pleasure.



Katie is trying to get us working through "Extreme Love: The Greatest Commandment" which is supposed to be a 40 Day thing, but we started that about 8 months ago.



I love all this stuff! Unfortunately, because I'm involved in so much, I'm not able to put as much into each study as I want to! Grrrrrrrrrrrr! I'm really doing as much as I can for my SaLT groups and for the "One to One" study on Wednesday nights because I want to prepare all I can for the conversations I have with non-believers.



Ron suggested I listen to "Hell's Best Kept Secret", a message by Ray Comfort, an evangelist. It is a very good message and I just finished listening to it yesterday. I plan on listening a couple of more times because, well, it's just soooooooo good and has re-ignited my spark to witness like a fool! (but not foolishly!)



Here's some of what I learned from Hell's Best Kept Secret that was alarming to me:



  • A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately ninety-five out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In fact, most of them will not return for a second visit." Charles E. Hackett, the Division of Home Missions National Director for a leading U.S. denomination.



  • In 1991, organizers of a Salt Lake City concert encouraged follow-up. They said, "Less than five percent of those who respond to an altar call during a public crusade . . . are living a Christian life one year later."



  • A mass crusade reported 18,000 decisions, yet according to Church Growth magazine, ninety-four percent failed to become incorporated into a local church.



  • In the March/April 1993 American Horizon, disclosed the fact that in 1991, 11,500 churches of a major U.S. denomination had obtained 294,784 decisions for Christ. Unfortunately, they could find only 14,337 in fellowship. They couldn't account for 280,000 of their decisions.





So, I instead of blogging, I should be reading and studying so I can "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks me(you) to give the reason for the hope that I(you) have." I Peter 3:15

It's Christopher's Fault!

Christopher pointed me to something else I will get addicted to...Blog Clicker.



So off to surf I go!

Wow! She Sure Makes It Look Easy!

How to fold a shirt:



CLICK HERE



I tried it, it really works!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Fundraising Comment

Go comment at California Hammonds to help raise funds for breast cancer prevention. It won't cost you anything but a moment in time.



The goal was 500 comments, but that's already been surpassed. Now the bar is raised to 1000 comments by 11:59pm PST today 01/11/05.



GO COMMENT NOW! So far this effort has raised over $1000! Other's have joined the cause and have matched some of the pledges...all he needs from you is one little comment!

Day of Fire's Josh Brown Visited My Store Today!

My AM called me today, on my day off, to tell me Day of Fire's frontman Josh Brown was visiting my store!



Bummer! My day off!



Well, he did leave me this:







...notice that he also left his phone number to contact him to do an "in-store"! That's when the artist comes in and performs and signs CDs. That would go over big in my store! YAY!



So I have my people talking to his people, and hopefully one day they'll perform at my store! Woohooo!

California Hammonds

Greg loved Cheryl. Breast cancer killed her. His blog, California Hammonds, is a very personal insight to his journey in life without his beloved wife.



"It's been 285 days since life without Cheryl began . . .. I miss watching her play with her daughters."





Some of his posts will rip your heart out and you will weep, yet, you will find it is very inspirational to read.



He is ready to donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's programs for breast cancer education and low-cost and free mammograms for low-income women, for each comment left at THIS POST up to the first 500 comments! GO THERE NOW AND COMMENT!



And even better



UPDATE: InterComp has pledged an additional $500 if we make the 500 comment level, i.e., they will match me. Let's go get those comments folks! And thank you so much.





When I started linking to his post, there were 246 comments, as I post this to my site, there are 291 comments so far! Way to go people!



My mom beat cancer twice. My 16 year old neice went to the doctor yesterday because she has a lump on her breast. I HATE cancer!



The doctors were not too alarmed and the report is optimistic that it could be other things, so treatment and testing is underway.



Please, GO COMMENT AT CALIFORNIA HAMMONDS and help the cause of fighting breast cancer! Your comment is worth $1, and that could double if you do this NOW!



Thank you!

Evangelism vs Me-Ism

Last night was my church's annual renewal banquet. I think it is the highlight of the year because it gives us time to reflect on all God has done through the church. It is designed so that members and regular attenders can commit to Northbrook and it's ministries as a participating member of the church for one year. Our keynote speaker was the missionary in residence at Union University name Mark Ellis. This post shares some thoughts inspired by the banquet, the speaker, and other such ponderings. I am referring to my church in this post, however, much applies to the Body, Christ's church as a whole.



I was really inspired from the message Mark shared. It was so nice to hear from someone with such passion in his heart! I LOVED IT!



I think He used the phrase "savior Jesus Christ" about thirty times in his talk and I was thinking to myself...it's Jesus...it's Jesus...it's all about Jesus.



Then I asked myself it we talk enough about Jesus at Northbrook? Do we hear about Jesus at Northbrook? It there passion about Jesus at Northbrook? Can there ever be enough Jesus at Northbrook?



When it comes to evangelism, we are always talking about inviting people to church. Do we think people need church? People don't need church! People need Jesus! JESUS! Think about inviting people to meet Jesus!



You know what? Inviting people to church is a good thing, but even better is inviting people to know our savior Jesus Christ. Inviting a person to Sunday service is not evangelism! Evangelism is sharing our faith in Christ! I'm not saying don't invite people to church, because that may be the way God intends that person to come to Him, like I did, but I know I sometimes do this...my goal is to get that person on my "impact list" to church. The goal shouldn't be church...it should be CHRIST! I'm just convicted a bit about evangelism. I wonder if I don't expect NB to do MY job in sharing my faith. As if getting a person into the building on a Sunday morning is sharing my faith. It is and it isn't. It is because my faith is represented at NB, it isn't because I'm expecting worship teams, pastors and teachers to do my job. It is not up to the worship team to sing and play such wonderful music that it stirs emotions and leads a person to Christ. It is not up to the pastors to give such a resounding message that leads the person whom I invited to church to Christ. It is up to me to be a vessel worthy of His Presence! It is up to ME to share MY FAITH IN HIM! That is an awesome responsibility! AND THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE GIVES THAT RESPONSIBILITY TO ME! Yes, He does the work, but I have to allow Him to work through me. I can't simply invite a person to church...Jesus said "GO!" Mark 16:15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." He didn't tell us to invite a person to visit someplace where they might hear the gospel, He said "GO PREACH IT SISTER!" (or brother of course!)



One of our techie people produced a video for the church. It was intended to be what it is like for a visitor when they come through the doors at Northbrook. The video was in black and white and followed a young couple into church from the parking lot. Then there were short scenes of their experiences, and some of the things that they observed once inside. It really made me think about what it is like for someone coming into our church for the first time. Do they feel welcome? Are they informed about the church and what it has to offer in the way of ministries? Are they invited to visit a SaLT group? I thought about the video that we saw last night and that made me ponder too, do people really see Jesus, do they FEEL Jesus' presence, when they come to Northbrook?



I really make an effort to introduce myself to someone new each week. One time I introduced myself to someone "new" to only find out they had been coming to NB for a year! LOL I guess that's another "growing pain". After I meet them one week, I try to go and find them again the following week if possible. It's become kind of a game for me to make mental notes of names and attempt to recall them a week later! LOL And I rarely do! But it's fun trying and it's not too embarrassing because the people rarely remember my name either!



I am constantly looking for open doors, and praying for open doors to share Christ with people. BUT WHAT AM I DOING WHEN THE DOOR IS OPENED! Am I inviting them to church? or am I sharing Christ? Am I taking a drive on the Roman Road?



I still remember my first day at Northbrook and I really felt the Spirit of the Living God present. I think it is still alive and well at Northbrook! I believe that hearts are focused on Christ at Northbrook, or that they want to be focused on Christ. Are we pointing others to Christ? Does the passion for our savior Jesus Christ show? Can visitors see it? Can they feel it?



He is the Vine, we are the branches. If we are doing our part as branches...just clinging to the Vine for dear life and working to build our relationship with Him, we will grow. We as a branch will grow. Off a small branch comes small fruit, from a large branch, grows large fruit. If we are clinging to him as we should, the fruit will naturally be produced and be pushed through the branch, through us. We don't have to do any fruit growing! We just need to grow our relationship to Him and be a good branch! If we are good branches, people will see...they will see the fruit, they will see Jesus!



Do you have a passion for Jesus Christ? Is He the Lover of your soul? Are you in love with Him? When you are in love with somebody, don't you just want to tell all the world! Tell all the world about your Savior! It is really GOOD NEWS! The world needs more GOOD NEWS!



There are great things in store for NB's future. It is very exciting to watch God at work. My prayer is that we won't stifle Him. My prayer is that our hearts be opened for His Will, and that we all commit to be in prayer about our personal roles in NB's growing process, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone...and it probably will! My prayer is that NB always be "savior Jesus Christ" focused! My prayer is that NB abolish MEISM!



I've had a song running through my head recently that speaks to "me-ism" a bit. It's by Bebo Norman, and if you haven't heard of him...you should. Great lyricist and song writer. These are some lyrics from his latest release and song called "Disappear". It does get some airplay on CCM radio, so you may have heard it.



I don't want to care about earthly things

Be caught up in all the lies that trick my eyes

They say it's all about me

I'm so tired of it being about me...



I would rather be cast away

Separated from the human race

If I don't bring You glory

If I don't bring You glory

If I don't bring You glory





I love that line "I would rather be cast away, separated from the human race, if I don't bring You glory." That is the climactic bridge of the song. My prayer is that NBer's all have such an attitude as this.



If you'd like to hear the song go HERE. Don't worry, it's not my normal rockin', "headbanging" music...it's soft, your ears won't bleed! The Bebo guy cracks me up on the website! (Once the page loads, click on "playlist" and then "Disappear" which is the third song listed after the title "Try". I posted the full lyrics below.)



I'm excited to start Wednesday night class, which is on "one on one evangelism" and learn to use even more tools to share "Savior Jesus Christ" with others. Mark Ellis did much to reignite the fire within my soul that burns to share about Christ! Woohooo!



Jesus said "GO!"





-----------------------------



Disappear



On a day like this I want to crawl beneath a rock

A million miles from the world, the noise, the commotion

That never seems to stop



And on a day like this I want to run away from the routine

Run away from the daily grind that can suck the life

Right out of me

I know of only one place I can run toĆ¢€¦



Chorus:

I want to hide in You

The Way, the Life, the Truth

So I can disappear

And love is all there is to see

Coming out of me

And You become clear

As I disappear



I don't want to care about earthly things

Be caught up in all the lies that trick my eyes

They say it's all about me

I'm so tired of it being about me...



I would rather be cast away

Separated from the human race

If I don't bring You glory

If I don't bring You glory

If I don't bring You glory




Sunday, January 09, 2005

My Goal in 2005

My goal this year is to eat healthy. So far I am doing rather well replacing Coke with water and reducing my fat intake. I'm replacing eating unhealthy snacks with fruits like apples and bananas.



The heart-stopping episode I had last year has motivated me to pay more attention to this body God gave me, and take better care of it.



It's not easy!



And there is a side effect of all the fruits and veggies....



caused, I think, by fiber!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I Reformatted

Good news...I saved all the important things I needed before I reformatted.



Bad news...I apparantly am not the amateur techie I thought I was because I didn't save things correctly and lost the majority of my documents and all the pictures stored on the hard drive.



Bummer.



Oh well, it's like starting all over again with a new computer!

Funny Things Kids Do and Say

While sitting here reinstalling everything from the reformat job I did yesterday, I hear a stumble and a great THUD from the direction of Tif's room.



She landed across her doorway with her head peeking out in the hallway and I caught a view from the corner of my eye. She was okay and chuckled as she got back on her feet.



She said "I just tripped over my pants."



"Maybe you should pick your clothes up off the floor" I suggested.



She then replied "No, I tripped over the pants I am wearing."



NOT the quip I was expecting! LOL

What About Women in Leadership Roles At Church?

This post is a reprint of an email I just sent out to my SaLT group. We communicate ideas throughout the week by email in regards to our current study. It is one way to share ideas that we can't get to in an hour "class" each week. This helps keep us all sharing ideas and it keeps us in the Word.



Sue wrote this so the "I"s" are me, however Katie shared her input as well. It was a collaborative effort from a few nights of study the past couple of days. I love studying His Word, even though my brain could combust at any moment!



As I recall different things we discussed in SaLT with WaLT this past Sunday, I get confused. LOL We always ponder more than my brain can handle in such a short time! LOL



With regard to the role of women in church I have things to add to the conversation. Please don't hurt me!



This whole issue has been somewhat fresh on my mind because of the book I am currently reading. It is written by Anne Graham Lotz and is called "My Heart's Cry; Longing for More of Jesus".



In the book, Lotz shares about her experience when she first started out in her ministry as a result of God's call on her life through the Just Give Me Jesus revivals. She stepped out in faith, however she says there was much confusion to whether her ministry was to be to women alone, or to women and men. She heard from a few pastor's that refused to participate in any way shape or form in her revivals with words such as "God told us to tell you such and endeavor is harmful to the church. We don't want our men exposed to a woman on the platform speaking to a mixed audience." or "God told me not to lend my support, or the support of my church, or the support of even the women of my church to your revival since you allow men as well as women to attend." She shared about an experience at one convention that when it was her turn at the podium, many of the men stood up and turned their backs. (I immediately thought...wow, that's a real Christ-like behavior!) She stated that she immediately went to the Word for direction. I was curious to continue reading how God resolved this dilemma in her early ministry.



The Lord took her to Ezekiel 44:1-3"



1 Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary (Lotz described the arena to the production crew as the "sanctuary" asking them to be mindful that as they set up the platform, screens, lights, and sound that they are setting up the Most Holy Place."), the one facing east, and it was shut. 2 The LORD said to me, "This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD , the God of Israel, has entered through it. 3 The prince himself is the only one who may sit inside the gateway to eat in the presence of the LORD . He is to enter by way of the portico of the gateway and go out the same way."



She then Lotz went on to say "Almost a physical shock wave went through my system as I read those words! The Shepherd's voice was unmistakable! While I still felt called in forums other than the revivals to speak to whomever God place in front of me, I had no doubt that He had confirmed through Ezekiel that our Just Give Me Jesus revivals were to target women--although the "prince" (select men: pastors, husbands, or anyone God chooses to draw to the arenas) was welcomed and would be fed by the Lord there." Lotz goes on to wonder how she can determine who to teach to, but she concludes that she can't. It is all God.



I feel that she has a point...if she, or any woman, is giving a gift to teach and to share a Word from the Lord, the Lord will prompt His children to listen and heed it. His children, the sheep, will know that it is His, the Shepherd's, voice. I think that is pretty cool! While her ministry is geared toward women, there are men who choose to listen to her teachings and she is not about to stop that. I wonder if the men who choose to listen to a woman teacher are sinning?



I also know that God gifted many women with prophecy and we read about them throughout scriptures... including Miriam (Exodus 15:20), Deborah (Judges 4:4), and Huldah (2 Kings 22:14).



The Scripture presents their stories, making no issue of their gender. Women judges and prophets were both recognized. Now, reading through the Timothy verses, it seems obvious that women should not be in leadership or teach the church, for Paul says "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent." The first thing I notice is "I do not permit". Who is "I"? Paul explains his reasoning for this is that Eve was not formed first and that she is the one who was deceived. Using the fall as a reason for women not being in leadership would indicate a universal truth for all ages, however, I question this because after Christ was resurrected, we were now under a new covenant and that

we were ALL forgiven. So, are women for all generations punished for the sin of Eve? Great, now I am debating with the apostle Paul. My brain is going to explode. It's Wednesday, my last day off this week, I don't have time for digging any deeper! I can't figure out the entire Bible today!



AAUUGGHHH! I wish I understood more about the culture of Paul's day. What I do know is that women were not held in very high regard in society. Their role was insignificant when it came to theology and society in general. I would think that a reason women wouldn't be advisable in positions of leadership would be because men simply wouldn't respect their authority.



If one takes literally the Timothy verses to "be a husband of one wife", this clearly indicates that only a male should be in a pastoral position. If that verse is taken literally then so should the aforementioned Timothy verses and the Corinthians verse when Paul says "women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission".



(The following is paraphrased from a source I found online at a Methodist site) What is interesting is how Jesus treated the women of His day. He showed great respect for them and took the time to talk with them (John 4), He healed them (Luke 8:48), forgave them (John 8:11), engaged them in theological discussion (John 4:19-26; 11:23-27), and welcomed them as disciples, i.e., learners (Luke 10:39, 42). He used the experiences of women as subject of some of his parables (Luke 15:8-10). Jesus' treatment of women was unlike any other rabbi of that day. The first people to whom Jesus' appeared after the resurrection were women! (John 20:17) Then He commanded she go and share what she saw! Moreover, Jesus made no statements limiting women in their ministry for him. One of Jesus' greatest commands in Matthew 28 is "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Was this a man only command? It was given to His chosen disciples, but are we not all His disciples, both women and men?



Katie adds "God didn't choose a man to be the mother of Jesus!" LOL We sure do have fun doing Bible study!



In looking over this I found many women of the Bible in prominent roles of authority. Deborah, a judge, Esther a Queen, and Mary the MOTHER OF GOD! We learn about Lydia who basically was a church planter. (Acts 16:40) What if she had remained silent?



I looked at the Northbrook responsibilities/qualifications for the PLT and they are based on the Timothy and Titus verses. That's a good thing for a biblical church! The only qualification I see there that a woman could not possibly adhere to is the "Husband of one wife" qualification.



In reading through scriptures I believe that women and men do have different roles in life, thus different roles in the church. God does mandate that women have the role of submission, however submission does not equal a "lower life form"! God himself has given great honor to many women through scriptural history. God was able to use women to His glory because of their submission, submission to His authority! In fact, many of the men in leadership roles that

we read about in Scripture, were influenced by women...sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way. Either way, women are influential.



I believe that God gifts women to teach, and to teach His Word to His children. God will prompt the hearts, eyes, and ears, for those who need to hear a word from Him. God will use a willing instrument to deliver His message, whether through man or woman, or heck, didn't He even once use an ass? (Numbers 23:5)



Personally, I am frustrated that I can't answer with certainty any single question we ask in SaLT with WaLT!



Ugh! I wish I was more of a Bible scholar and expert in ancient Jewish, Greek, and whatever else culture I would need to be an expert in to thoroughly understand God more! I CAN'T WAIT TO ASK HIM FACE TO FACE! nevermind! BY THEN I WON'T CARE AND I'LL BE TOO BUSY WORSHIPPING!



I personally do not think I would necessarily have an issue with a woman on the PLT (Pastoral Leadership Team), because she would still be under the authority of the Lead Pastor. Because even great theologians debate this women's role thing, I would choose to error on the side of caution and not want women as the lead pastor in any church. I do wonder sometimes though if we miss out on any blessings with

strict adherance to this law...is it God's? or man's?



Bummer, I won't be at class on Sunday! I'm gonna miss more great discussion!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Beginning

While cleaning out her bookshelf today, Sue came upon an old email. It was a response to the first emails we exchanged after I posted a prayer request in a guestbook on May 27, 1999. This is how it reads:



Sue, I am so glad that you responded. Your letter deeply touched my heart. I am as desperate as I sounded. I have asked people to pray for years. I hope that through many prayer chains I have created, people all over the world will be praying for my husband and my marriage. Pray that I act on wisdom an discernment from God instead of desperation. You can reach me through icq if you have it and we can talk in person (if you want to call it that). My ICQ # is 35711880. If you don't have [ICQ] and would like me to send you an invitation just let me know. Or, look it up under ICQ on the internet. I will definately pray that God sends you an extra blessing. God Bless You!!!!!



[Then was a response from Sue:]



I prayed my prayer for you as I said I would. I will continue to do so. I do have ICQ and my # is 107088030. God bless you in you walk with Him today.




As I sat beside my best friend (soulsister) and read this note today, it caused me to make a brief reflection of where God has brought us since that day of desperation when I posted that prayer request. Who would have ever thought that two souls with such a different history could come together as we did. God is wonderful and He truly does the unexpected.



We thought that Sue would pray for my husband, he would get saved and things would all work out in my marriage. It's no secret that things didn't turn out that way, but my prayer was answered. God did give me wisdom and discernment and I did not act out of foolish desperation. Sometimes we can't understand why things happen the way they do but we look back and see How our God truly is a God of infinate wisdom. He sees the whole picture and He knows the end of the story. He only wants us to trust Him...childlike faith.



Before I blogged this note, I told Sue that I want to blog my story this year. So, with this blog I will begin to take our interested readers on a marvelous journey of God transforming a beaten down caterpillar into His beloved butterfly!



I can only pray that others who can identify with the events of my life will find in my story a message of hope.



May God bless this.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Another Year Gone

Wow.



Time sure flies by when you are getting older! I remember reading once somewhere that as a person ages, time really is psycologically perceived to go faster. I think that is weird, but I experience it.



I remember as a kid, summers lasted forever. So did the last day of school! LOL I couldn't wait for the bell to sound at 3:00pm so I could run out to the bus, be dropped off to a whole summer of freedom and joy and laughter and fun! Something interesting I learned when I became a teacher is that the last day is just as anticipated and just as long! LOL



Now years are flying by for me. I can't believe that I will now be going into my sixth year living in TN. One of my employees asked me this morning at work if I was going to eat black-eyes peas and hog jaw tomorrow? I said firmly "NOOOOOO! that must be a southern thing. I never even heard of it until I moved here! ICK!" LOL



She said "you have lived in the south long enough, it's time!"



"NO! I will never refer to myself as a southerner!"



Black-eyed peas and hog jaw? Interesting.



Where I'm from, the Midwest, it was pork and sauerkraut. It all does seem to be pig related. Wonder what makes a pig so special?



I hate sauerkraut. I hate anything having to do with cabbage.



What the heck am I talking about? LOL



I have to work tomorrow. It's too late for absurd posts such as this!