Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Praying and Believing

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

I know. It seems so simple right. Christians say it all the time. You've heard the conversation. It goes something like this:

You: I just don't know what to do.

Friend: I can imagine. It just doesn't seem _________*. (*insert: fair, right, understandable, logical, honest)

You: I've tried everything humanly possible I can do in this situation. I guess the only thing there is left to do is pray.

Friend: Yeah! I will add that to my prayer list.

Maybe it is a little different and I guess there are times that you sit on the side of the 'friend', but I know I have caught myself in this conversation many times. The way I see it, there are two problems with it:

1. I leave prayer as a final option, when it should be the first option; and
2. When I do pray, I don't always believe

God challenged me on this yesterday and showed me the peace that passes all understanding. There are a group of 5-6 young guys (14-16 yrs) that hang at the Dream Center. Over the past 3-4 weeks we have seen them start to open their hearts more and more to the gospel. I started to faithfully pray for this group of guys and yesterday something incredible happened!

After going to to Groundswell
with the guys the past 2 weeks and hearting about how a team from Seacoast was praying every morning at the flag pole at Wando High School, one of our guys told me he is serious about doing the same thing at North Charleston High School. Then one of the others that goes to a different high school, wanted to start there to: Garrett High School. I never believed that this would happen, although I prayed for it. God taught me through this not only to pray as the first option, but to BELIEVE!

For those that might be interested on how powerful this is, let me share some of the stats on North Charleston High School & Garrett:

North Charleston High School
Enrollment: apx. 1,000 students
School Ranking: 170/199*
Graduation Rate: 35.3%
% of students with Subsidized Lunch: 72%

Garrett Academy of Technology
Enrollment: apx. 700 students
School Ranking: 161/199*
Graduation Rate: 94.9%
% of students with Subsidized Lunch: 71%

*Note: Based on SC schools only and SC is ranked one of the lowest states overall in the nation for education.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Date Night

The Jolly German and I went out for date night last night. I thought I might run down the beginning so those of you that are married will know that we are just as 'normal' as one might expect from a fiery red head and stubborn German.

A group of friends from our small group (a.k.a. bible study group) and church were going to meet up at a local restaurant and then head over to the movies together. It was like a double date multiplied by at least 3. An e-mail with the invite went out earlier in the week with the details and it suggested to buy the tickets online ahead of time. We have burned on the online ticket buying before with credit card theft and so understandably, the Jolly German did not buy the ticks ahead of time.

The movie theater we went to is about a 40 minute drive from our house and so we left early, thinking we would get tickets before dinner and all would be fine. Well...it wasn't and of course, I was upset at Oliver for not getting them ahead of time even with a good reason for refraining from buying online.

Long story short, after pouting for 10 minutes, getting out of the car, eating dinner with friends and coming to the conclusion we would just go to another movie, two of our friends blessed us with their tickets. (Thanks Jack & Patsy!)

We went to see the movie Fireproof. There are plenty of reviews online that give both sides of whether it is good or bad if you want the full details and I am sure there is a little truth in both sides. It is a low-budget film, with unfamiliar actors (besides maybe Kirk Cameron) and I question some of the portrayals of 'stereotypes' throughout the film. However, the bottom line is that the message it gives is priceless...NEVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER, ESPECIALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF A FIRE!

Oliver and I have been married 10 wonderful years, some of the less wonderful than others, but I love him more today than the day I married him and would NEVER leave him behind!

My prayer today is that if you are in the middle of a fire in your marriage, that you'll take time TOGETHER to see this movie. Listen to the message! Let God minister to your heart through this. And if you have been left, look to God to restore you. There are times that restoration is not an option and I fully understand that, but don't walk around with bitterness and unforgiveness! Hand that over to God and lay it at the foot of the cross. Amen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Politics and Religion

My Dad gives good advice. Two things he says never to talk about: politics and religion. Although I hope I walk in Christianity and not religion, I do talk about Jesus A LOT. There's strike one and I am going to take another strike with politics on this post.

I am not going to tell someone which way to vote and would NEVER take such a stance, but I am going to ask you to consider the impact your words that you chose impact others. I'll quote an e-mail from my sister-in-law that I think expresses it best and shows how 'Christians' can negatively impact others with religion:

i work w/ mostly diehard christian republicans and ALL of the political conversations that go on in the pharmacy are one-sided...people that fail to see the other side of things or fail to see where someone else is coming from seriously annoys me...they believe those spam emails about obama being the anti-christ and it reveals this fact in the bible!!! i got curious and looked it up and it's not true...and the only non-republican pharmacist is from iran and was raised muslim--her parents are muslim...and none of these "christians" consider how it might maker her feel when they make nasty comments about obama's upbringing...and i'll tell you....it REALLY hurts her feelings!!! i've never been passionate about politics, or voting for that matter...i'm not for or against either candidate...and when i read that church newsletter, it explained exactly how i feel...it really doesn't matter who wins...change will come w/ either party, you can't please everybody...but no one can take away what's in your heart!!! She found a poem that I find comfort in and will share. No matter who wins the election...

the Bible will still have all the answers. prayer will still work. the Holy Spirit will still move. God will still inhabit the praises of his people. there will still be God-anointed teaching & healing. there will still be singing of praise to God. God will still pour out blessings upon his people. there will still be room at the cross. Jesus will still love you. Jeses will still save the lost.

Took a Month Off

Ok...took a month off of 'blogging' and now I am getting back into the saddle. I want to personally thank Roger for setting a new record of over 15 posts just asking when I would start it back up again. Kind of makes me feel like you actually care and enjoy what I write!