Friday, October 29, 2010

Food: The Nubian Queen - Austin, TX

 I thought it would be fun to go to the Nubian Queen with my friend Kristi last Saturday. It was quite the adventure. Let me tell you about Nubian Queen Lola. She loves Jesus. She shuts down every Sunday to feed the homeless. She runs this tiny restaurant by herself. The digs are fun. You can't quit looking around at the wild stuff everywhere. If you blink, you will drive right past it. These were tiny snippets of our evening.

We arrived the same time as the evening rush...nine other people. Lola was there working alone and trying to make all of our food at once. We had a cajun tea for our wait of an hour and a half to get our food. The fun part is that there are only three tables in the whole place. You end up sitting with people you don't know. By the time you leave you feel like you know everyone in there. It was a really fun atmosphere. 

I had the catfish and shrimp plate which I thought was good. Kristi had the shrimp po' boy which was not up to her Cajun standards. Oddly, we had a fun time even though we were there for two hours. The unique blend of people that came in were beyond interesting. At the end of our evening two college age girls came in wearing formal dresses and Mardi Gras masks. Kristi told them that they couldn't wear their masks in there and they almost left until she told them she was joking. If you like to people watch and see the wild flavors of Austinites, check out the Nubian Queen. Even if you don't eat there, take her some water or food to help her feed the homeless. 

Everyone who came in after us seemed to get their food in a normal amount of time. I think we came in with the rush. Check out the queen! Also, there were things we saw during our evening that you will just have to ask us about.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gomer: A House Church

It all used to seem so simple. Church when I was growing up was a place of fellowship, truth, and service. We didn't fill our walls with mountains of programs and try to entertain each other with carnivals. Our sermons were not filled with emotionalism or skewed truth. We had personal relationships with our neighbors. These relationships never existed to get more people to our small group or to our church. They existed because we had learned from each other how to love without getting something in return. It was one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced. Giving love away for no reason is hard to find in our day and culture. We have a heart to bring it back. 

What if we could create a simple environment that reminded us to act like Jesus instead of studying Him to death? What if we could create a place where we could fellowship, worship, and encourage each other to live out the love of our Father in a tangible, simple way? We want to. Do you want to join us?
Starting Sunday night, November 7th at 5 p.m. It will be right here at Gomer's House. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Longing for Covenant

Do you get moved when you see older couples out for a walk, holding hands, or sharing a burger at your local burger joint? I do. I am not a sappy, emotional person, but often, I tear up. I read somewhere that we have this reaction because God has set covenant in our hearts. 

I was reading a book on relationships recently. The pastor who wrote the book went around doing a survey of couples who had been married for a long time. He asked them what had helped them stay together for such a long time. He was surprised by their answer because he was expecting them to say love. Their answer, almost unanimously, was commitment.

That got me to thinking about the gift of covenant. We seem to have these skewed ideas about why God gave us covenant. Sometimes we feel that He uses it to exact harsh punishment when we do things He disapproves of or perhaps keeps us out of hell. The beauty of covenant is that He signed it with His own blood. He didn't do that just to keep us out of hell or acting properly. Covenant is a gift. In thinking about how these couples stayed together, I think covenant was an extra measure of grace that went beyond redemption and promise. He knows that in our weak emotional state that there would be many days that it would seem like He was not enough for us. Perhaps, God gave us the tender gift of covenant so that we would attempt to keep close to Him even when we felt like we would rather seek anything else. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

Life passes by quickly. Take hold of it while you can. Don't allow it to take hold of you. Quit looking for extravagant or more glamorous ways to serve me. Today, remember your mission field. Remember the people around you. Remember your neighbor. Remember your family. Don't concentrate on those who love you. I told you that the weak do this. What about the people who are hurtful and bring grief to your spirit? What about your persecutors, your in-laws, your alcoholic? Today, beloved, get over yourself. Quit reacting. Quit playing the game. Learn to love. Don't go try to force something fake because you should. Sit down. Ask me to change your heart. Ask Me to give you the gift I want to give them. Don't complain about their reaction. Love in the deep dark places that they are trying to keep walls around. Love.

For more about this segment, see this post.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

Chasing Francis is a story about a pastor who got fed up with the way we commercialize church in America and went on a pilgrimage to Italy. He visited all of the places that Saint Francis of Asissi went and learned about how radical his life for Christ was. It left him utterly changed and desperate to give and serve in a way our modern church could scarcely comprehend.

I have been on a pilgrimage of sorts myself and this book resonated with me. It was a steady diet of the heart of Jesus. His love, fellowship, and resolve were challenging. I have for a while wondered if evangelical Christianity at large looked like a joke to the hurting world around us. We seem so money and power hungry. I highly recommend this book if you are looking to set your heart on the things of God instead of decorating the trappings of man with Christian themes. If you are looking for the more and can't find it, dig in.

I have to make a disclaimer. There are a few passages about praying to Saints and building a better church around Saint Francis' example. We have an example to follow. Christ. Praying to any dead person is divination and God calls it idolatry and prostitution, a different gospel. Pray to the Lord and indulge yourself in intimacy with Him alone. 

This book was provided for review by Nav Press.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Book Of Eli

Have you seen this movie? I think I was the last to watch it. I wasn't sure that I could handle the intensity of it while pregnant, but I bit the bullet and watched. I can now agree with Donald Miller in the fact that this raised the bar for Christian movies. As we think our world and society is bad, we are confronted with the idea of how much worse it could be if the word of God were removed from us entirely.  The reality of it all is that we may look very much like these people, if the false image of our society was removed from us. We treat people like they treated each other in this movie. We simply have nicer cars and wave from our minivans as though we had a heart. We call hate grace and mock God. To us, we look pretty amazing. I mean, we aren't out right killing anyone. 

Then we see two pictures. We see Eli who went on mission for God even though he was not perfected. He hid the word of God deep in his heart through daily reading. Eventually, we see the outworking of that word. He comprehends that this is all about doing for others. Then we see the man who knows all the same words and can fake talk the faith. His heart is to control and manipulate people with the word of God. He craves the power and the prestige it will bring him. As I watched it, I thought I may have sat in on this guy's church a time or two. 

Behind this powerful movie is much wisdom and warning. We see the Word prevail.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gomer: More Baby Room

The nursery is miraculously coming along. I wish I had taken a picture of it all filled with junk. You can see what it looked like before anything had been done. In the last few weeks, it has begun coming together in a way we never thought possible in s short amount of time. A group from Houston came out for our work day and helped blow insulation in the walls. This was comical and through trial and error, quite a bit of it landed downstairs in my laundry room. This amazing crew also began the process of sheetrocking the room. This past week a pastor from Austin called and came out to help finish the drywall process. On this past Saturday, our neighbor who is a handyman showed up and asked if he could tape and float the room. Now, it has been textured. We purchased paint. Can you believe that? I didn't even have it on my to do list because I didn't think it was feasible. Now, we have the ceiling left to insulate and finish out. Following that is the floor. Then, we decorate. Can you believe that? 

Another amazing thing: Our crib had been recalled and the company shut down. No one could seem to help us with what to do with it. There were warnings everywhere about attempting to fix the crib yourself. Hope Mission Church in Austin got together and threw us a baby shower and gave us a crib. Funny thing, God told me in advance that they were going to do that. I think He just wanted me to know that it was a gift straight from His hand. Isn't He good.
 filling in the cracks in the floor.

Our neighbor came to float and tape.
Look at the top picture and then this one. Amazing difference. already.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Belly Band- A Bitter Diatribe

I told my husband that I was going to start wearing the band on my maternity clothes on the outside in order to start a trend. We might as well wear it on the outside. Everyone sees the ridiculous line going across our stomachs under our clothes. I bought the lie about the amazing new, patent pending design. It's lame. I spend all of my time trying to hide the band or pulling my pants up. Next baby, which Denbigh is quickly planning, there will be no belly bands. No extra layer of heat in Texas. I'm not falling for it. This concludes my bitter diatribe. 

I really enjoy being pregnant. In fact, it is one of my favorite things. I love the intimacy of nurturing. If the heinous nature of the belly band is all I have to complain about, I find that I am pretty blessed.

Our nursery has been insulated, taped and floated, textured, and is on it's way to being drywalled. It's an amazing story that I shall tell in a future post! 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

I know your heart. I know the desires that are deeply laid within you. I know. Rest in that. Trust Me with this knowledge. Quit trying to control or figure things out. I know what you need before you ask. Ask anyway. You must release control. You must allow trust and faith to develop. Allow me to hold these things for you. Let go of circumstance. Be done with planning your next step. Trust My knowing. Trust.

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Mockingbird Parables by Matt Litton

Matt Litton has written a masterfully engaging work that shows each character through the eyes of faith. Having loved To Kill A Mockingbird, I was interested to see how Mr. Litton would showcase the ethics and faith of the novel. Let me tell you, if he were at my house today, I would have to say, "Well done, sir." I am impressed. This is not something that comes easily. He put the heart and words of Christ up to characters that exposed the outworking of faith or the lack there of. Every word made me think and evaluate my own beliefs. I think Francis Schaeffer said it best when he explained that things could be learned in an observatory much more readily than a classroom. This book is a divine observatory. In a world where it is rare to see the love of Christ truly walked out, we get to peer in to characters lives that deeply reflect it.

I was challenged by Atticus and his deep integrity. Once when a man spit in his face trying to detract from his own guilt, Atticus simply wiped it off and kept going. I did some soul searching while reading about the ladies at the missionary tea. They had "Christianized" their racism and pity and called it grace. I am not sure any of those women loved or knew the real Jesus. Are we the deep rooted integrity or are we the fake faith? I enjoyed this book more than I can say. May it make your faith more tangible.

This book was provided for review by Tyndale.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Support Gomer's House

In the beginning of our desire to serve others in our home, we simply paid for everything out of our pocket. As our desire grew (as did our house), we added this to our non-profit ministry. As part of a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, we must raise all of our funding from the public. This is by far the most humbling thing we do. It is hard to ask and it is hard to receive. We know that this is what God has told us to do. We know that God wants us to focus on ministering to others in our home and to start a church in our home. We are currently working on a video to share more about what we are doing. A friend who runs a similar ministry recently told me that God has appointed people and given them money and a heart to give and I shouldn't stand in the way of their obedience. That's where we are. Humbly we are asking for God to raise people up to give and we are expectant to receive. Would you consider being one of our philanthropists? You can give as little as $10 a month and we will be richly blessed by it. Find out more about what we are doing at 

Read our letter to supporters:
22One7 Ministries
Thank you for years of support, encouragement, and love. Thank you also for taking the time to read thisletter. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gomer's Working It

Most people who would hear about what we are doing think we have lost our minds. Who restores a house when they are pregnant? Us. Thankfully, there are people who have a heart for Christ and see our vision. Those people continually flow into our home and work like they were getting paid . . . a lot. They get dirty. They get really dirty. Then they smile and eat and tell us what a good time they had. During a period of eight days, we had over 30 people swarm our home and work like mad. We now have a 2nd bath (with shower) on our first floor. There is very little left to do in order to finish it out. The nursery on the 2nd floor has been insulated and partially drywalled. The blown-in insulation was a comical, frustrating, trial and error project. A huge thank you to every one who worked on it. Just 19 more rooms to go. (insert crazy laughter). Drywall was hung, paint was removed, and lights were installed. Through all the mess and dirt, there was something beautiful. I wish you could see it. We would love for you to see it. People thanking us and genuinely grateful to serve. It is overwhelming every time I think of it. God has done a work in all of our hearts. Come see for yourself. Take a tour. We'll even make you supper. Thank you again to everyone who came to help. You are a sweet, aromatic gift to us. You are always welcome here.

See more photos on our FaceBook Group.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Do You Want to be Well?

I keep running across that passage in John Chapter 5 that asks, "Do you want to be well?" I often think about this for myself, people in my family, and the culture at large. We love to complain. What would we talk about if we couldn't complain? What if we couldn't discuss our sickness or the hardships we suffer anymore? What would we hide behind? The man at the well was focused on what he did not have. I read that this morning. He lacked friends to help him and strength to carry himself. If Christ had not patiently continued revealing Himself, the man would have lacked Jesus. " I have no one to help me..." -John 5:7

"You have been on an uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent. Though you have faltered at times, you have not let go of my hand. I am pleased with your desire to stay close to Me. There is one thing, however, that displeases Me: your tendency to complain. You may talk to Me as much as you like about the difficulty of the path you are following. I understand better than anyone else the stresses and strains that have afflicted you. You can ventilate safely to Me., because talking with Me tempers your thoughts and helps you see things from My perspective.
 Complaining to others is another matter altogether. It opens the door to deadly sins such as pity and rage. Whenever you are tempted to grumble, come to Me and talk it out. As you open up to Me, I will put My thoughts in your mind and My song in your heart."
-Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, October 10th

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

The time has come for us to move on. We have sat and worked through things that have caused a lot of pain, but today, we move on. We move on together. I allow things for a reason. This journey has not only been for your sake. Open your eyes to the harvest. My heart longs to draw people to Me like I have drawn you. I want to use you to do that. We have to move on. We have to keep going over high mountains and through steep valleys. You must have great faith for the journey. Faith like this has never been required of you before. Today, it is required of you. I long to give it to you. Just tell me you want it.

To see more about this segment, see this post.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Cultivate Love

Many of us have the day off today due to SeƱor Columbus. 
What can you do with your time to cultivate love?

Friday, October 08, 2010

Come to the Table by Benita Long

My beloved husband gave me this cookbook for our 7 year wedding anniversary. I thought that I would get to take the year off since it was our year of jubilee. Subtly, with this gift, he insisted that I keep cooking. 

I have been wanting to blog about this book since it came into my hands. It is the most well done culinary literature I have ever seen. I read half of it out loud to Denbigh. How can a cookbook make you feel closer to the Lord? It is full of perfectly placed scripture, poetry, divine recipes, and masterful food photography. You simply must get this. 5 stars.

I knew when I saw it that I had to purchase a copy for a dear friend. I have been waiting to blog about it so I could give it to her for her birthday. I hope you had a lovely day, Autumn!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gomer: Another Tree, Another Swing

I have a lovely view from my desk at this fifty foot tree in our backyard. I had this romantic notion of having a porch swing hanging from one of the huge branches. My husband made it a reality. It feels so southern. Come over. Bring a book. Swing til your hearts content.

A word of warning, dear friends: Check the box if you buy a porch swing at Lowe's. It took us 4 calls to the company to get all of the parts we needed. From talking to them, it seemed as if this was a pretty common occurrence. 

Isn't it romantic! Come swing!

Support this Project. Donate to Gomer's House.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Preacher, Repent!

On September 10th and 11th, Denbigh and I (along with our dear friends Micah and Jana Beard) were blessed to attend The Greater Cause. It was a conference put on for pastors. The speakers were Jim Dennison and Anne Graham Lotz. As Mr. Dennison was preaching out of the book of Amos (a shepherd become prophet), I clearly had an understanding of a great need we have in the church in America. He hit the nail on the head. Our pastors need to repent. We need to stop being professionals and submit our lives to the Lord. I would also say that many simply need salvation. I know, it seems such a crazy thing to say that we could have a man in the pulpit who was not a believer, but Christian culture isn't that hard to master. We can easily learn and do and say spiritual things when our hearts are black. A few years ago, I started praying this over the pastors of our churches in America. May they repent or come to saving faith so that the lost, the abused, the abandoned could look on them and see Jesus. May we all see Jesus. 

I loved that when the altar was opened up for people to repent that all of these older, well-established pastors flooded it. May a wave of revival come as we repent so that many might follow.


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Talk to me, Abba.

I have not nor will I abandon you. Remember my word. I will not forsake you. I am here even when it seems that you cannot see me or feel me. I am here, love. I was there when you were afraid and confused. I was there when you thought I didn't care about your pain or your provision. I have never left you alone. Have faith. My words says small faith grows into a tree. It must be grown. Trust me as I lead you into areas where your faith will grow strong against the forces of this world. Trust me.

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

For more information on this segment, see this post.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Least Among You - DVD

Inspired by a true story, this movie is set in the midst of racial tension in 1965. Following the Watts riots, our protagonist enters a seminary to serve out his probation on a bogus charge. He comes against many obstacles and people there who need a fresh vision of who God is, much as he does. Richard Kelly, the main character, is given an amazing opportunity to find God himself and change a Christian institution for the better. He comes up against many foes within the seminary itself and finds hope with the groundskeeper.

I enjoyed this movie and was inspired by Richard's story and what he did with his life. This was not a huge budget feature film, but there were still many top billed stars who carried it well. It could be a tad slow at times, but I think the plot and the integrity well made up for it. What did I glean? Pain leads us to the true Christ and His righteousness. This is something many miss in seminary.
This DVD was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...