Friday, December 11, 2009

What Can You Do?

This is an article I wrote for the kids section of the bulletin that Nick puts together every week. I actually wrote the first half last week and the second half this week, so its a two parter. Just thought I would post it!

Have you ever wondered what you can do for Christ and His church? Sometimes you may think you are just a kid and that there is nothing you can do. The Bible says there is lots for you to do!

Be like Miriam, Moses’ sister. In Exodus 2, Miriam watched over Moses while he floated in the river. She made sure that nothing bad happened to him. When Pharoahs daughter found Moses, Miriam offered to get someone to watch over the baby. She was protective and took care of her little brother. Do you watch out for others so that nothing bad will happen to them?

Be like the little Israelite servant girl in 11 Kings 5. She knew that the man who captured her was sick. Instead of worrying about herself and being scared that she was now just a little servant girl, she did what she could for the Lord. She told Naaman about God and how he could be healed. Because of that little girl, Naaman and maybe others came to know the one true God. Do you tell others about God?

Be like Samuel in 1 Samuel 2. His life was dedicated to serving the Lord. 1 Samuel 2: 26 says “And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men.” This shows us that Samuel was a good boy. He obeyed God and the adults who raised him. Do you obey your parents and God?

Be like Josiah in 2 Kings 22. Josiah became king of an entire nation at just eight years old. He had to make the laws and lead his people and according to 2 Kings 22:2 he “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Josiah had a lot of responsibility! What kind of responsibilities do you have? How do you handle them? Do you grumble and complain about doing your homework or cleaning your room? Or do you do what God wants you to do?

Be like the boy in John 6. He gave his food to Jesus so that Jesus could take it and feed 5000 other people. Not only did he have faith in Jesus but he was also willing to do what he could do to help Jesus. There are ways that you can help Jesus like this boy did. You can share your things with others, you can be friendly and talk to visitors in Bible class, you can even go and hug the older people at church. This shows others the love of Jesus. Do you help Jesus?

There are so many things that you can do. Look around for ways that you can make a difference. You can keep your bench clean so that someone else doesn’t have to clean up after you. You can listen quietly to the sermon so that others can listen too. You can sing the songs with everyone. See all the things that YOU can do!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Teaching Your Friends-directed toward teen girls

There are many aspects of being a Christian. One of the most difficult is probably talking to other people about what we believe. However, we are commanded to pass on the good news. Mark 16:15- “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.

1. Know what you believe.
If you aren’t sure what you believe, how can you teach someone else? Study. Read books about what your friends believe so that you can prepare yourself to talk to them. But above all, read and study the Bible to prepare yourself to explain what you believe to your friends.
11 Timothy 2:15- “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
You cannot truly believe something just because your parents raised you to believe it. Study it for yourself. If you don’t, one day you will be questioned and challenged and will have no idea how to defend the truth.
Galatians 6:4-5- But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.”

a- dancing
It is very difficult to find anything in the Bible saying “do not dance”. You have to look at it from a different angle. Start out looking at verses like these-
Galatians 5:19-“ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, Adultry, fornication, uncleaness, lasciviousness…”
Mark 7:22- I
f you look up the definition of lascivious, you will see that it is lust, or provoking lust. We can definitely see that as wrong. So we have to ask ourselves if our dancing could provoke lust, and if it does, we should avoid it!

b- smoking
Again, you cannot find anything specifically banning smoking in the Bible. Besides it being repulsive and disgusting, it can also end your life. Think of all the other things you could do with the money that you will spend on cigarettes that are physically harming your body. Add to that the medical expenses if you develop cancer, breathing problems, gum disease, tooth decay, etc. You probably hear this talked about in school. But have you ever stopped to think what God has to say about the subject?
Romans 6:12- “Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” When you have an addiction, you have to have that substance. You are essentially obeying the lusts of your body. Your body wants it, and you will do whatever you can to get it. This verse speaks of that as sin.

C- drinking
The Bible has much to say about drinking.
Proverbs 20:1-“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Galatians 5:21- “envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Proverbs 23:29-35- tells of the effects of alcohol.
Drinking alcohol is not cool. It harms your body and makes you appear like a fool. If you are not in control of your body, how can you be glorifying God?
1Corinthians 6:20- “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are Gods”.

d- sex
The word sex is not used in the Bible. However, the word fornication is and it is highly warned against!
Galatians 5:19-“ Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness”
1 Thessalonians 4:3- “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication”.
There are so many more verses that tell us to avoid fornication. God knew what he was doing when he told us that sex was for marriage. The emotional strain and physical problems that can occur from sex outside of marriage are overwhelming. Consider the number of single mothers. It makes sense to not have sex before marriage, but it is also God’s plan.

e- instrumental music in worship
Many of your friends probably think it is odd that we do not worship with at least a piano. Full bands are not uncommon in many religions. How can we explain to them why we do not use instruments in our worship to God?A verse that I found very interesting tells how an instrument is lifeless and cannot be understood. Many musicians and people who love music would say that music has a life of its own, or the notes speak to them. While in a figurative way that may be true, literally, they do not speak words or offer understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:6-17- although this passage is directed at the gift of speaking in tongues, what is said is easily applicable to the songs that we sing.
Ephesians 5:19- “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Colossians 3:16- “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”.
I challenge you to find a verse in the New Testament which gives us authority to use instrumental music in worship. So far all that we see is for our voices to be used and to teach each other through the words that we sing. We do all things by the authority of the New Law!

f- baptism for salvation
This is one of the most debated topics in religion. Some believe that babies must be baptized, some believe you can be baptized on others behalf, some believe baptism occurs after one is already saved, and some believe that baptism is not essential at all. What do your friends believe? Do you know how to show them the truth?
1 peter 3:21- “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”
Mark 16:16- “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

2. Stand up for what you believe.
If you don’t compromise, people will notice. They will ask you questions and respect your decisions. Your influence will do good. If you do compromise, people will notice that too. You will have a very hard time convincing your friends that you are telling the truth, that you truly believe it, and that you want them to believe it to, if you are constantly backing down and doing things a Christian shouldn’t. Lets look at some areas that seem to be compromised the most.
We need to be very careful that the language we use is language that God would approve of. Imagine saying some things if Jesus was beside you. Would you feel ashamed?
Colossians 4:6- “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
Titus 2:8-“ Sound speech, that cannot be condemned, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
1 Timothy 4:12- “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation…”
We do not need to use foul language and cuss words. We can express ourselves using words that would not be deemed inappropriate. Think of the words that you use on a daily basis and examine them to see if they are really words that you should be saying.
I have heard the argument of “I can still go to the dance, I just won’t dance.” I would not condemn someone for doing that, but I would ask them to examine their motives. If you have studied and come to the conclusion that some of the activities at the prom or homecoming dance are not Godly, than why would you want to attend? It could send the wrong message to your friends and those that see you there. Question your influence.
Romans 12:2-“ And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
c- drinking
We understand that being drunk is condemned in the Bible. Do not compromise by just taking a sip. Do not compromise by being around friends who drink. How can you tell them that you do not drink because the Bible says not to, if you will sit by and joke around with them while they do? It sends the wrong message. It tells them that you don’t do it, but you are fine with them doing it. And that in essence says that you do not care about their soul. Do not encourage activities that God condemns.
d- making fun of people
How can you be the example that you need to be if you are making fun of people? We are supposed to be loving and show the nature of Christ.
Romans 13:10-“Love worketh no ill t his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
e- clothes
1 Timothy 2:9- “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”
1 Peter 3:3-“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel” – our focus should not be on drawing attention to how we look.
Matthew 5:28- “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
1 John 2:16- “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Any guy will tell you that he is tempted by sight. The more we show him, the more he will lust. We need to not be a stumbling block to those around us. Be careful what clothing you wear that you do not reveal too much. Help your friends think through their fashion decisions. Decide what kind of attention you want to receive. Is it for your body and your looks? Or would you rather be known for the person that you are on the inside?
f- church attendance
By choosing to be at every church function that we can, we show our friends what is truly important to us. Make it a positive choice! Be excited to go and be with your Christian family and friends! Let your friends see that excitement. On the other hand, if you choose to go to the movies with your friends on a Sunday evening instead of worshiping God, or a soccer game on Wednesday instead of Bible study, you will be a walking contradiction to your friends. They will hear you saying that God is important to you, but they will see that he is less important than other things. Show them your priorities are where they should be! Invite them to come with you. Stand up against coaches who line up practice during a church service.

3. Understand the value of a soul.
Do you really believe that everyone must be saved by Jesus in order to go to Heaven? Do you believe that one must hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and live faithfully to be saved? If so, then you must realize the importance of teaching as many people as we can.
You love your friends. You spend time with them. You share secrets with them. But do you tell them about whats most important? If you do not tell them the Gospel, they could go to hell. And so could you.
Mark 16:15-“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
James 5:20-“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
Luke 15:10-“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
John 14:16-“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Maybe some practical ideas on how to start approaching your friends about their souls would be helpful.
First, apply everything we have talked about earlier.
If you realize that you are saying things you shouldn’t, break yourself of that habit and ask your friends not to use those words either. They will ask you why, so plan to tell them. There is an open door!
If you realize that you have some clothes in your closet that do not portray the image of a Christian, clean out your closet! When you are out shopping with your friends, stick to your new guidelines and steer them away from making wrong choices. Little comments like “I think that shirt shows too much cleavage” or “that skirt is really too short” can go a long way in showing them that you care.
Secondly, if you look at what you are doing in the first step, you will see that by doing certain things doors will be opened to explain your beliefs. Try and look for casual ways every day to mention Jesus, God, the church, and your faith in a positive light.

Monday, October 5, 2009

How Women Can Help Build A Strong, Godly Church

I’ve been doing a short little survey on Facebook. I asked the question “How can women help build a strong, godly church?” of both men and women. I took all of the answers I received and compiled them into two lists, one from the women and one from the men.

From the men-

1. Don’t focus all of your time and energy on a secular job if at all possible. Instead look for opportunities to glorify God.
2. Do benevolence work. This included visiting the sick and meeting their needs, sending cards, making things for those in need, etc.
3. Have deep personal Bible study daily.
4. Watch your tongue. Negative comments can do a world of hurt.
5. Keep a positive attitude.
6. Teach children about God and God’s plan.
7. Dress modestly

From the women-

1. Raise children to respect authority.
2. Manage your own home well.
3. Invite anyone and everyone to visit the church.
4. Pray
5. Encourage other women. Do not be quick to judge.
6. Have a close friend who can help to keep you in check.
7. Support your Christian husbands. Be a help meet for your husband.
8. Involve young people in godly activities.
9. Be committed to the church.
10. Dress modestly
11. Do what you can outside of worship. Prepare Lords supper, clean, etc.

These are all great biblical concepts. As you probably noticed, some of those are on both the men and womens list. Throughout this lesson we are going to look up close at some of these and notice a few more. First we will go through a list of comparisons and then we will look at some wonderful examples from women in the Bible.

1. Being kind, not catty.
Ephesians 4:32- “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you”.
Women often get the reputation of being mean spirited, holding grudges, talking behind each others back. We need to remember to always be kind to each other. If we can’t say something nice about someone or to someone, we shouldn’t say anything at all.
This also applies to the way we treat our husbands and children. We must remember not to let our guard down so much that we let them see the worst side of us all the time.
Proverbs 21:19- “it is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman. “
Proverbs 25:15- “By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.”
Be in control of your emotions and your tongue.

2. Being truthful, not a tattler.
1 Pe 4:15 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.”
Prov 15:2- “the tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness”.
This goes along with the phrase “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. Sometimes even the truth can hurt someone. We should never lie, but we must discern when things should be talked about and when they should be left alone. Never gossip! What you are saying could be true, but if the person you are telling does not need to know than you do not need to be telling.

3. Being encouraging, not encourageable.
1 Thess 5: 11-16- “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore.”
Have you ever known someone who was negative all the time? That person can always find something wrong in every situation. Don’t be that person. Be the person who is always encouraging other, always looking for the positive, even on the worst of days.

4. Being willing, not waiting.
1 Corinthians 15:58- “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Galatians 6:4-5- “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and no in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.”
We can come up with any excuse not to do something. We must be truly willing to do what needs to be done. We cannot wait for someone else to do it or for a better time. If something needs doing, we must be willing to do it. If we are willing, it will get done. This could apply to teaching others, or just doing work around the building.

5. Being helpful, not hateful.
Matthew 5:43-44- “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love they neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
As women in the church we will probably be asked to help with different things. It may be benevolence or just helping out a friend. We need to remember to be helpful and not to hold a grudge, no matter how often our services are needed. Sometimes it may feel as though we are being taken advantage of and in certain situations we may be! Just remember to always do good, even to those who misuse us. Being hateful will only make enemies, but if we are kind and helpful and do what we can do, we may make a difference in that person’s life. Our influence will certainly be for good.
One aspect of helping is being Bible Class teachers. Sometimes there are only a few women willing to serve in this capacity, and it can start to wear them down. For those women, remember how important your job is and do not be hateful to those who do not teach. For the women who do not want to take on this role, please reconsider. Our childrens souls are so very valuable. They need good dedicated Bible teachers to help them learn about God’s word.
Ezra 7:10- “For Exra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgements.”
Teaching is a very important job that requires the teacher to take it seriously and to prepare for it. If you still find that you do not want to be a teacher, find ways that you can still be helpful to the teachers. Maybe substitute a week so they can have a week in an adult study. Maybe see if there is a way you can help them with visual aids, etc. There is always something to do!
Another aspect of being helpful is in correction. It can be so easy for us as women to notice faults in others and maybe to talk bad about them but never do anything to help them to overcome their fault.
1Thes 5:14- “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” To me this verse says it all!

6. Being hospitable, not hardened.
Matthew 5:43-45- “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust”.
Galatians 6:9-10-“ And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Sometimes it is easy to forget that we are all living in the same world. Being a Christian does not make us a better person than those around us. We must be hospitable to those around us and not be hardened to the outside world. Even when our hospitality is abused, we mustn’t let that keep us from doing what we should as Christians. See the need and meet it. This doesn’t just apply to those outside the body of Christ. This also means having fellowship with other Christians. The early church went daily from house to house. They were together all the time! Acts 2:46.
Sometimes, especially in the States, people act like it is a burden to just gather together 3 times a week, much less to do things together outside of the regular church services. But we must remember that having other Christians in our home can strengthen our bond against the world and Satan.

7. Being humble, not haughty.
Matt 23:12- “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
Galatians 6:3- “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
This is a pretty basic concept, yet sometimes so hard to learn. We are all sinners. We all need Christ’s blood to save us. We are all indebted to His sacrifice. How could we ever place ourselves higher than anyone else? Everyone is blessed with God given abilities and talents. Nothing is more important than anything else. We must all find something that we can do and do it.

8. Being patient, not persnickety.
Romans 3:23- “for we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God”
2 Timothy 2:24- “and the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient…”
Persnickety means hard to please. Are you hard to please or are you patient with those around you? We must remember that everyone makes mistakes. I think if we put things into perspective and recognize our own shortcomings, we will be more patient with those who need our guidance

9. Being forgiving, not foolish.
Matthew 6:14-15- “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
How easy it is to hold onto a grudge! But the Bible teaches us that if we do not forgive someone who asks for it, we will be rejected by our Father. How foolish that would be!

10. Being family, not just familier.
Eph 3:14-15- “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…”
Mark 3:32-25- “And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.”
The church is referred to as family, the children of God, and brothers and sisters. Do you know your own family? Do you spend time with them? If we do not truly get to know the people we worship with, how can we call ourselves family? Spend time with each other on a regular basis. Eat together, play games together, talk together. These are the souls that you will spend eternity with in Heaven and you should know each other on an intimate level. Family can rely on one another to help each other through difficult times, to rejoice in happy times, and to always be there. This is the perfect picture of the Church! Romans 12:10-16

11. Being friendly, not friendless.
Proverbs 18:24- “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
It’s a pretty obvious fact that if you are not a friendly person, you will have a hard time influencing someone’s life for good. This does not mean we can never have a bad day or be in a bad mood. Just remember that these should be few and far between. We should always be striving to be the light to the world.Our friends have a great influence on our lives, so it is natural to assume that we have an influence on theirs as well.
Proverbs 27:17- “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
As friends we should be careful that our influence is for good. We shouldn’t be participating and encouraging our friends to do things that would be contrary to God’s will.
12. Being persistent, not pushy.
II Tim 4:2- “Preach the word; be instant (urgent {ASV} )in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine”
The gospel is the most important message man could ever hear. We must be persistent in making sure that everyone we come in contact with has the opportunity to hear that message. However, if we are too pushy, we can turn people off to hearing God’s wonderful word. I looked up synonyms to persistent and pushy. Synonyms for persistent are constant, continual, and determined. Synonyms for pushy are aggressive, loud-mouthed, and over-ambitious. It’s easy to see the distinction between the two when you look at it like that! We need to be careful that we display the urgency and love that we have of the gospel and of others souls, without pushing them farther away.

Examples of Women

1. Priscilla- Acts 18:24-26
She went with her husband to help teach Apollos. Maybe she was simply moral support, maybe she was able to keep the spirit of the meeting kind, maybe she offered her womeans view to the study. But she was there. She did not simply leave it to the man. She knew that she could help teach God’s word.
Romans 16:3-5 shows us that she was also hospitable. The church met in their house. If you just count the specific names in the following verses you can count 24 people, not to mention those included in the phrases “the household of”, sisters, and mothers mentioned. We as women tend to stress a little when we have people coming over to our house. We want to make sure everything is perfect, we clean like crazy, etc. Imagine hosting at least 25 people in your home at least once a week. I think we can learn a lot from the courage of Priscilla to step up and do what needed to be done.

2. Lois and Eunice- 11 Timothy 1:5
They taught Timothy from the time he was a child. They obviously did a good job of instilling a love of the Gospel in him because he grew up desiring to know more and studying from Paul. He went on to become a faithful preacher for the Lord and encouraging others to do the same. As mothers and grandmothers, it is NEVER too early to start teaching our children and grandchildren about God’s Word. People disagree all the time about when to start taking babies to Bible Class and how long a toddler can focus on a Bible Lesson. I am no expert on child development, but I do know that children are like sponges. We are constantly teaching them. Babies learn to recognize faces and images and even music. They learn to talk, walk, feed themselves, and play with others. So it would make total sense that they can learn that Jesus loves them and God made them.
Proverbs 22:6- Train up a child in the way he should go…
Deuteronomy 6:6-7- The same concept was shown to the Israelites with God’s Law for them. They were to teach their children diligently, talking about it all the time. It shouldn’t be something that our children find abnormal. It should be second nature to them and seem completely normal for us to talk about God’s Word with them. There are so many opportunities daily to talk about God, and so many are passed up. If you see a beautiful sunset, talk about how God held the sun still during a fight. When you are in the kitchen preparing a meal, talk about the importance of salt and how it is used to show the importance of being a Christian. If you see an ambulance, say a prayer for the sick, injured, and those who take care of them. It can be so easy to ingrain God’s Word into our childrens lives, minds, and hearts. We just need to do it.

3. Dorcas- Acts 9:36-42
She was known for her good works. She looked out for others. She was obviously a friend to the widows. She stayed busy. When she died people were heartbroken.
When we die, what will people say about us? Will we have even made an impression on their lives? We should never do anything for personal gain or for fame, but it is something to think about. We need to live our lives so that others are affected for good. Look for opportunities to do good for others. Dorcas made coats for the widows, helped the poor, and other things not mentioned. It doesn’t take much, even a small gesture can be greatly appreciated. Look for ways to serve others.

4. Mary- Luke 10:38-42
Mary sat at Jesus feet, and heard his word. How amazing that would be, so sit and listen to the master teacher. Sometimes we take for granted that we still have Jesus teaching us today. All we have to do is open the Bible and read his words. Do not neglect your own soul. Feed it daily. Study God’s word. How can you teach others, if you yourself are not taught?
11 Timothy 2:15- Study to shew thyelf approved.

5. Martha- Luke 10:38-42
She was right about one thing, hospitality is important.
Romans 5:13- throughout this whole chapter we are given qualities that a Christian should possess. Hospitality is one of them.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

its sink or swim

How do I convince myself that I'm ok through the tears that keep springing to my eyes? I try to hold them in but that just makes my throat hurt. Sometimes when I start to let them out, they pour out so fast that I cannot breathe.
Maybe I sound pathetic. I have so many good things in my life but that doesn't cover up the pain of the things that I miss. And it is pain. A sharp pain. A crushing pain.
There are moments in your life that you never forget, memories that you replay over and over in your mind. The scent of pine trees combined with a cool breeze, the haze over a lake in the early morning, the smell of bacon cookings a few tents down, waking to find yourself completely surrounded by friends and family everywhere you turn, singing so full of life that you know the angels in Heaven are joining in, walking hand in hand with a little one who makes you notice the tiny things you probably would have missed....
Those are the moments I am missing right now. I feel like this is a week I can never get back and never make up for. This is the big year, the reunion, the anniversary. My parents dream, their baby, that I came to love so much. It was such a huge part of my life. The friends I made there will never know how much they mean to me and how much I miss them. I wonder if they will think of me and try to convince myself that they aren't too busy having fun to stop for at least one moment and think or say "I wish Molly was here". Yes I am feeling sorry for myself. Yes I am pathetic.
But I miss it so much...I just want this week to be over so I can stop thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

its been a while...since you saw me cryin

It has been way too long since I have written on here. Since I was reading some other peoples blogs, I decided to ramble a little bit myself.

Nick and I are getting ready to leave for Australia. Its crazy how quickly time has passed!! We only have 4 weeks until we get on that plane. I am very excited and somewhat apprehensive as well. I cannot wait to see that gorgeous country! But at the same time...I'm a worrywort. I worry that we will get mixed up in the airport, our bags won't clear or will get lost, something will be wrong with our tickets...the list could go on. I try to remind myself that everything will be ok but that doesn't seem to help too much. Not thinking about it helps.

In Aussie I am going to do a teen girls class one Sunday. I am not really sure what to expect or how to prepare. So I enlisted to the services of the girls here. I gave them all the assignment to tell me what they would want to hear a lesson on, directed at them personally. Two of them gave me the same answer and a third was similar. So, alas my topic was chosen. And ironicly it is one that I need just as much as they do so I believe this will be a very profitable study. However, it is daunting to realize that you are going to teach a class to someone on a subject that you really need someone to teach to you! So here is the topic- (topic..not title. I stink at titles.) How to evangelize, staying true to God and yourself. Easy enough, right? Ha! But it will be good. I'm looking forward to it. I think my first two points might be 1. Know what you believe and 2. Stand up for what you believe. I mean after can we teach others if we aren't sure what we believe or if we are compromising? Anyway, thats just the start.

Another lesson I am working on is How Women Can Help Build a Strong Church. To be honest, this has been a great study for me! I've enjoyed it so much. I think there is soooo much more work to do before I am done though. I might post what I have so far on here and see if I get some feedback though.

Max has been sick again. He is the sickliest dog...its frustrating since no one seems to know whats wrong with him. Vets sure do charge a lot to tell you they don't know. Maybe thats what I should do...go into business giving people answers. "Come to me with your problems, questions, and concerns! I charge by the word, your word count and mine. There is also a service charge for replying. There is also a processing fee. I also charge you for whatever advice I give you, should that incur additional products or services." And then of course...78.4% of the time, my answer will be "I don't know but try..." After all...I didn't go to school for this!

Okay, thats all I feel like writing about now. But I think I am going to get back into doing this. Its kinda therapeutic. Is that spelled right?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Committed to Christ

Are you committed to Christ? So many people would answer that question with a loud YES. I’m not sure they really understand what that means though. When you are committed to something, you stick with it. It becomes top priority. It takes time, work, and energy. For instance, if you are committed to playing soccer, you will go to every practice, every game, and even kick the ball around on your own. If you are committed to doing well in school, you will study your homework, pay attention in class, and do as many school activities as you can. If you are committed to a person, you spend as much time with them as you can. You want to talk to them often, finding out their likes and dislikes.

So I ask again, are you committed to Christ? Is He the top priority in your life? Do you spend time studying His every word? Do you grab at every chance to spend time with Him? Do you like being around others who also are committed to Christ? How can you say you are committed to Christ if you often choose other activities above activities involving Christ?

Sports are great and are even referred to often in the scriptures. However they are often used to show comparisons to our Christian life. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27- “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway”. Winning a track race will not guarantee that we will win the race to heaven. Don’t choose baseball practice over Wednesday night Bible study. Remember that your spiritual well being is more important than the physical.

Although school is very important, it is not as important as studying the Word of God. Ecclesiastes 12:12 says “of making many books there is no end and much study is a weariness of the flesh”. However II Timothy 2:15 tells us to study the Word so that we be approved by God. Which does God say is more important; His Word or our secular studies? Don’t choose homework over coming together to study Gods Word. Maybe it will mean missing a little more sleep that night, or maybe not going to that movie this weekend. Sometimes priorities must be rearranged, but God and Christ should always come first.

Being committed to Christ means that we consider Him first. Before we make a decision, we stop and make sure it is what He would want. We study the Bible to know what He likes and dislikes. This does not just apply to the big decisions in our life. No matter what we do, we turn to Him for guidance and approval. To see if you are truly committed to Christ, ask yourself a few questions.

1. Is this activity going to stop me from attending a worship service or a Bible study?
2. Is the person I am with going to help me get to Heaven? Do they encourage me to study and pray to God? Are they committed to Christ?
3. If Jesus were standing beside me, would he approve of my actions?
4. When I am faced with a difficult situation, do I turn to God in prayer?

Psalm 31:5- “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.”

Monday, April 27, 2009

Yesterday I got to keep Hailey all day. We had so much fun! First we watched Popeye, than she took a nap, than a little more Popeye, than 3 games of Candyland. She was pretty excited that she won all 3 games, even though Nick tried to cheat. Cheating to beat a 3 year old. Sad. :) She's great!

In the last couple of days it has been decided that we get to go to Australia in October!! The downside is that Roundhouse is probably out of the picture now, since it will be so close to the mission trip...I am really going to miss that especially since its the 20th year. I know it will be a really big deal with lots of memories. Makes me very sad to miss it. But I remind myself of the greater good being to spread the Gospel and that lifts my spirits again! I have been wanting to go on another mission trip since Ukraine 3 or 4 years ago. Its so wierd that it was that long ago. And its great that Nick gets to go too!! I am excited at the prospect of doing a ladies day, although a little nervous. Mrs. Cindy Colley put that idea into my head...doing ladies days. And to be honest, it does sound appealing. A little scary. The most daunting thought is putting together adequate lessons for mature ladies. But being in front of people doesn't make me as nervous as it used to. I guess thats a good thing! I remember my chapel speech at school and I wasn't really nervous at all. More excited. Not like it was in Ukraine in front of the teen girls. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Thankfully I seem to be over that fear now!
Plus, hello! Its Australia!! Gorgeous views! Long plane ride! AAAAAAHHHH so excited!!

Poor Maxmax. He has some sort of bacteria in his skin. It gave him tons of little bumps all over his body and he is losing hair around his eyes. Strange... Hopefully all of the meds we have him on will clear it up.

I need to do another article soon. Any ideas from my readers lol?

I feel sort of productive today. (Other than sleeping rediculously late). Maybe its because the sun isn't shining today so I don't want to go lay in the yard.

Monday, April 20, 2009

catching up

I decided to try rework my chapel speech from school into an article. Since I've never written an article before, its not very good. Plus when I copied and pasted, the format got all messed up. And I didn't want to take the time to fix it. So I said all that to say, my last post was that chapel speech/article. Please leave me comments about it! I'm hoping to do some more "articles" along the same lines but using songs for other things. I haven't decided what songs but maybe soon.

The last week was very busy. My grandparents and Joseph left Monday morning. We had a blast while they were here! Friday night we had Mr. Harold, Mrs. Wanda, Hunter and Haleigh over for gumbo. Saturday we went to downtown Baton Rouge. We went to the top of the capital building and then walked down by the river. We saw the USS Kidd but didn't go on it. It was overall a very enjoyable morning since we took things slow and just enjoyed seeing what we could see without spending any money. It was great! The rest of the time we played cards or Wii. I am sad to say that my Wii fitness age is apparantly 50. Yeah....I need to start working out more. In all fairness it did make me play tennis and baseball, which I had never done before. By Monday I was so sore from all those sports. Sad, I know. But you try playing wii for hours on end.

Monday night we grilled hamburgers. Justin and Belinda came over. We played Apples to Apples. I am so glad I finally broke down and bought that game!

Tuesday night we grilled pork chops. Josh and Kelli came over. I am so glad we are starting to have people over for dinner. Its so much more fun, plus it gives me incentive to actually cook. Thanks to Josh, I'm loving cooking on his charcoal grill he let us borrow! Grilled chicken tonight, yum! Well, I hope its good anyway. I need to figure out how to marinate it or something. I don't want just plain dry grilled chicken.

Wednesday was Bible study of course.

Thursday I went walking with a "neighbor". She lives a few streets over and we actually met online. (Long story.) Anyway she and I and her baby will be walking every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Pray for me and this situation...she has visited the church a few times but did not like what she saw because of the lack of enthusiasm with the singing and lack of young people. Her g'mother took her to a church of christ when she was growing up, but based on our conversation last week, her g'mother is attending a "church of christ" right now that has just decided to allow women song leaders and just hired a female youth leader. I feel like this is an open door but I am very...nervous. Please pray that I can say and do the right things to encourage her and maybe start a Bible study.

Friday night was the start of the Gonzales Marriage Seminar with Glenn and Cindy Colley. I cannot say enough about this! It was truly an amazing weekend! Nick and I were both very encouraged and excited. I am hoping to type up my notes from the seminar and post them on here in the next few days. Maybe someone else can benefit as well!

Saturday was just as good as Friday. Or maybe better...Nick and I tied with two other couples for "Mr. and Mrs. Happily Married of Southern Louisiana". Throughout the seminar we had played a few games and Nick and I got a perfect score! Which means, he picked my earring and shoe out of a pile on the first try and we answered the same question with the same answer without knowing what the other person said. I think they judged us on some other things too. Anyway we got a little gift bag with some of the Colley's books. Which was great! It was also really good to see and visit with them again. Mrs. Cindy really is a great encourager...I will remember that when I start having children and need a pick me up!

Well, I think that about brings me up to date. Except I must say two more things.

1. I love the music of Tyrone Wells and Chris August.

2. I love Nicholas Edward Stacks more every day and I am so happy that I said "yes" on November 10, 2007 and "I do" on June 27,2008.

Dealing with Discouragment through Song

Dealing with Discouragement through Songs

Introduction: We see a lot of things in this world that could discourage us. The society we live in has openly accepted abortion, homosexuality, and easy divorce. Children grow up in single parent homes or sometimes even end up raising themselves. Crime rates are at their highest and politics are corrupt to the very core. Although these things could be discouraging for anyone, to Christians they can be even more so. We are trying to live our lives as God intended, yet are ridiculed, belittled, and rarely taken seriously by those we try to influence. And even within the church there can be problems. Personality differences and doctrinal issues pop up all the time. I want to look at how some songs that we sing can help us deal with discouragement. I think so often we just sing the songs we know and sometimes don’t even know which song we sang last. We don’t pay attention to the words as much as we should. We need to make sure that we pay attention to the message of the song. 1 Corinthians 14:15- “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also”.

1. The first song to look at is Faith of our Fathers.

Faith of our fathers, living still, In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;Oh, how our hearts beat high with joyWhene’er we hear that glorious Word!
Refrain:Faith of our fathers, holy faith!We will be true to thee till death.
Faith of our fathers, we will strive,To win all nations unto thee;And through the truth that comes from God,We all shall then be truly free.
Faith of our fathers, we will love, Both friend and foe in all our strife;And preach thee, too, as love knows how, By kindly words and virtuous life.

Remember those who went before us. If you read Hebrews 11:35-38, you can see that Christians have never had an easy life. We are blessed to live in a country that for now, does not allow this kind of persecution to occur to Christians. In II Corinthians 11:23-27, Paul recounts many of the trials he faced while preaching the gospel. Yet in the end he was able to say “I have kept the faith.” We will probably never face the same persecution that the early Christians faced, yet they remained steadfast. We should remember their fortitude and count our blessings.
2. Count Your Blessings

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,Count your many blessings, name them one by one,And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Refrain:Count your blessings, name them one by one,Count your blessings, see what God hath done!Count your blessings, name them one by one,*Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.[*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;Count your many blessings—wealth can never buyYour reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,Do not be discouraged, God is over all;Count your many blessings, angels will attend,Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Think about the good in your life and do not focus on the bad. This song means a lot to me because of what it meant to my great grandmother. My great grandfather built roads and had to move around a lot. To keep the family together they had a tiny travel trailer that they pulled on the back of their car. My great grandparents raised 3 children in that tiny trailer. He wasn’t a Christian during the early part of their marriage yet she never missed taking the kids to worship God. My grandmother tells us that she remembers her mother singing this song all the time. My great grandmother knew that even when things seemed really tough, she had her family together and she was very blessed. That always made an impression on me. We need to focus on the good things in our life and not what is going wrong. If you think hard enough, you will always be able to come up with some way in which God has blessed you.

3. God’s Family

We're part of the family, that's been born again, Part of the family, whose love knows no end, For Jesus has saved us, and made us His own, Now were part of the family, that's on it's way home
Chorus:And sometimes we laugh together, Sometimes we cry, Sometimes we share together, Heartaches and sighs, Sometimes we dream together, Of how it will be, When we all get to heaven, God's family
Verse:And tho some go before us...we’ll all meet again.Just inside the we enter in.There'll be no more parting...with Jesus we’ll beTogether forever, God's family

One of the ways we are blessed as Christians is that we are never alone. Ephesians 3:15 refers to Christians as family. As the song indicates, family sticks together. We rejoice with each other. We help each other through problems and cry together. Even if you are facing difficult times, you can lean on other Christians. We are in this together. We are the family of God and we should act like it. As family, we should be there for each other, doing what we can to help by giving advice, just listening, and especially praying.

4. Did You Think to Pray

Ere you left your room this morning,Did you think to pray?In the name of Christ our Savior,Did you sue for loving favor,As a shield today?
Refrain:Oh, how praying rests the weary!Prayer will change the night to day;So when life seems dark and dreary,Don’t forget to pray.
When you met with great temptation,Did you think to pray?By His dying love and merit,Did you claim the Holy SpiritAs your guide and stay?
When your heart was filled with anger,Did you think to pray?Did you plead for grace, my brother,That you might forgive anotherWho had crossed your way?
When sore trials came upon you,Did you think to pray?When your soul was bowed in sorrow,Balm of Gilead did you borrowAt the gates of day?

Never underestimate the power of prayer. Ephesians 5:16 says “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. Matthew 26:36-44 records Jesus prayer when he was faced with the most agonizing night before his crucifixion. Jesus knew the power of praying to his father. How can we take such a blessing for granted? As the song says, prayer can build a shield against temptation, help us remain calm in a crisis, and comfort us when it seems like nothing else can.

5. Trust and Obey

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,What a glory He sheds on our way!While we do His good will, He abides with us still,And with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:Trust and obey, for there’s no other wayTo be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,But His smile quickly drives it away;Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,But our toil He doth richly repay;Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His loveUntil all on the altar we lay;For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;Never fear, only trust and obey.

When all else seems to fail, simply trust and obey. When you can’t seem to beat the discouragement, when you don’t understand why things are happening the way they are, when you have no idea what is around the next corner, just trust God and obey Him. In II Corinthians 1 Paul and Timothy write about having a very hard time in Asia. Verse 8 says “we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life”. Yet they mention God’s comfort and deliverance during difficult times. They trusted in Him no matter what. When we let go of our fears and our worries and just trust God to take care of us, we can truly have peace.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Giving it a try

I am trying this out. No idea if I'm going to be any good at it. I'm not good at keeping up with things and I'm especially no good at learning how to work new websites...but we'll see.

This weekend my grandparents and brother are coming to visit. I am pretty excited about that but starting to realize I won't have time to show them everything I would like. Maybe I will take them to St. Francisville so see some plantations...or Baton Rouge to see whatever we see. I just don't know. Friday night is gumbo night, than Saturday night we are grilling out. Its going to be a party all weekend! Which is great since this past week was grandmothers birthday and their anniversary. No I can't remember how old she is or how many years they have been married.

Max is crying. He isn't allowed in the back yard by himself anymore because he loves digging waaaayy too much. So now he is upset that I won't let him go.

This afternoon I am babysitting. I'm ready for them to get here because it has been so long since I got to keep any little ones! I miss my babies like crazy!!

Ok thats enough of a start...someone remind me to come back and write more another time.