Monday, July 23, 2012

Mondays With My Old Pastor by Jose Luis Navajo

Mondays With My Old Pastor brings you into the story of a burned out pastor who is seeking answers and solace for his broken spirit. José Luis Navajo tells us that a strange exhaustion persisted in his soul and was difficult to explain or endure. This is where our story picks up. José's wife encourages him to go and meet with his old pastor. Through visiting his pastor each Monday we see the healing that focusing on Christ instead of success can bring. The story takes us on an amusing, thought provoking, gut wrenching time of discovery. This is a book for anyone looking for hope.

I cannot give this book enough accolades. This is exactly the kind of thing that we do as pastors and missionaries come to seek solace in our respite. These are the same type of words of hope we give them. Somehow, those of us who work in the church have a tendency to focus on our personal successes and failures so much that we lose sight of the fact that God loves us and wants to pursue us. We need to constantly be bathed in the truth that we are precious to Christ.

I highly recommend this book. It is an excellent reminder of the love of God and a call to tender, intimate prayer with Christ. If you are weary or wandering, grab a copy of this book.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gomer: Glory to God

Well, friends of Gomer, I have no idea where the last few days of my life have gone. It has been wild and crazy. It seems that every spare moment of my life has been taken up with small children, lovely friends, and counseling. That's good with me. I just missed writing in this space. I missed all of you dear people. You won't believe this, but I'm a little tired. I know. How could I be tired? My belly is growing more and more each day. I love it. Babies are a rich blessing.

Things are crazy around here as always. There has been some intense warfare this week at all of the camps. I obviously can't go into details for you, but we would all covet your prayers. May God's healing grace abound.

We have two and a half weeks left here at camp. Getting away from the day to day grind at our house is always productive for me. I can think about fundraising and pray fro direction and clarity without being in the thick of the project. I'm thankful for that. It also amazed me. This place is constantly on the move. How I get anything done is bewildering.

God has been expanding my capacity for grace this summer. I am thankful beyond words for the gift from God. What is God doing in your life right now?

love y'all.

Here are some creations I have sold the last few weeks. Support Gomer's House by visiting my Etsy store.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Reformation of Food & Family Conference

This amazing conference is going on in San Antonio this weekend. I cannot attend because we are at camp, but they have live streaming of the conference and messages available until the end of July online for $35. I am doing it. I am hoping to make some huge changes in our family during this next year. 

About the Event

You do it three times a day, seven days a week and fifty-two weeks a year. If you live to be 85 years of age, you will experience it more than 90,000 times. It is called food, and it was designed by God as the fuel of life. But to describe food merely as fuel falls short of the depth and breadth of the biblical message. Frankly, there are few subjects which are addressed as often in the Bible as food. Hundreds, if not thousands of Scripture verses, incorporate various types of food, directions about food and spiritual lessons in which food is an element.
In food we see the love of Jesus Christ for His Church, the wisdom of God as Creator, the mercy of the Lord on the sons of men, and a vehicle for structuring and organizing the life and dominion labors of mankind. In the Bible we see food for fellowship; food as a spiritual picture; food as blessing; food for feasting, health, and even discipleship. And that is just the start. It is even possible to look at biblical history through the grid of man’s relationship to food—food and famine, food and judgment, food and blessing, food and prosperity, and the list goes on. Certainly many of the greatest victories, crimes, celebrations, ceremonies, revelations, and judgments took place around events that involved food.
One things is abundantly clear—the Bible speaks to food and its relationship to the blessing and prosperity of the Christian family. And yet despite this fact, the subject of food and the family is such a hot button that it tends to be either ignored altogether or reduced to faddish theories and trends.
Not on the table is whether spiritual defilement is connected to adherence or lack thereof to the ceremonial dietary laws of Moses (or to the consumption of any type of food). Those issues were settled forever in passages like Matthew 15:11. But to say that food does not spiritually defile a man is not to say that our approach to food does not matter. At stake are issues of dominion, stewardship, and more.
When was the last time you heard a message on the meaning of the sin of gluttony? Or how about the doctrine of feasting? And how does the biblical doctrine of dominion apply to our cultivation and stewardship of food resources, as well as our duty to research the effect of various foods on the human body?
One thing seems clear: When it comes to diet, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to good health. Every body is unique, with unique needs and unique dietary considerations. Given this fact, how do we rely on sound theory and good information as we encourage one another in the Lord to be good stewards of our bodies for the glory of God? How do we avoid the silliness of faddish trends and contentious disputes over food theories, on the one hand, while rejecting the irresponsibility of the “it really does not matter what we eat” school of thought?
But right around the corner are even more troubling subjects.
In 2008 some innovative documentarians investigated the dark side of America’s corporate controlled food industry. Their film, titled Food, Inc., revealed the mistreatment of animals for profits through factory farming, the bizarre genetic manipulation of food supplies, and the assault on local, private farming by mega-corporations, and more. But despite a revealing look at the crisis, many of the recommendations made by Food, Inc. involved statist intervention.
This raises a new set of questions: Is big government and Marxist policy the answer to our impending food crisis? More importantly, does the Bible provide us with hopeful and practical solutions? How should informed Christians wisely prepare to provide healthy sustenance for their families in a world of big government-regulated, genetically-altered, lowest common denominator, marketing-driven food supplies?
And that is only the beginning of the questions; there is also the key issue of the amazingly resilient creation called the human body. God has designed our bodies to withstand much. It is the very husk which holds the soul of man and the only creation made in the image of God. Notwithstanding constant abuse and unwise eating habits, we live, survive and even physically prosper. But is the durability, flexibility and wisdom of the human body an excuse for uninformed or foolish practices? How do our food choices effect our lives, our effectiveness, and even the very cost of living? Is health primarily a factor of genetics, or are the recent studies that indicate that we really are what we eat rooted in good science and sound theory?
Perhaps the darkest and most challenging subject has to do with the laboratory-based, genetic manipulation of creation. The study of genetics has opened the door for uprecedented blessing and opportunity, but with this opportunity comes responsibility. How do biblical ethics inform our approach to scientific research? What is the dividing line between using genetics to legitimately overcome and limit the effects of “the curse” vs. seeing science as a tool for man to be as God, rejecting the God-ordained structures and “kinds” of life to fashion a world after his own appetites.
On a practical level, our fast-paced, frenzied generation may be the first in the history of Western Civilization to have abandoned family meal time. This represents a fundamental shift in human living patterns. Culturally, our appetites have changed. Not only have we exchanged a passion for substantial, home-made meals for processed, fast food, but we have retrained our mental appetites to crave food merely for fuel, rather than as a foundation for family fellowship.
The fact is that despite its centrality to the culture of Christian and the timeliness of this subject to 21st century households, there is little clear, systematic, biblical and practical teaching guiding us to a reformation of our view of food and the family.
And that is exactly the reason why Vision Forum Ministries is sponsoring one of our most innovative and visionary conferences to date: The Reformation of Food and the Family Conference, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Gonzalez Convention Center on July 12-14, 2012.
Join us and several thousand like-minded Christians for a “first-step”—a biblical inquiry into some of the most exciting, challenging, encouraging, troubling, inspiring and practical issues concerning food and the Christian family in the 21st century. Join a growing list of dynamic speakers like agrarian reformer, Joel Salatin; French reformer and professional chef, Francis Foucachon; and numerous authors and thinkers for a “tasty conference for the hungry” as we chart a course for the reformation of food and the family.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gomer Loves Rain

It has been pouring here for the last week. For The Wild it has been pretty rough since their roads in to the new camp are not finished. For me, it's a true delight. I love the rain. It makes the heart reflect. Rain tends to allow the spirit to grieve or rest. It has added to the contemplative nature that has gripped my summer. I have been asking God what He would desire me to do for the next year. Obviously, caring for our newborn and our family. The one thing that I feel like I am supposed to do is be home. I would love to see our house finished and our gardens started. This is hard to do when there are three little kids running about, but it is our goal. Over the next year, I think our concentration will be on raising funds and getting volunteers. I want to work every day. I want to immerse myself in the neighborhood more and more. I am currently praying about what I need to give up in order to make this happen. I am contemplating giving up my year at my favorite Bible study and just doing it at home. This would be a huge sacrifice to me. Also, I am trying to get really organized so that my time is well spent. The list I am making is going to require a lot of self-control and a lot of sacrifice. May death to ourselves be life to those around us.

Please say a little prayer for us. Our heart is to be available and open to the people around us as well as pastors and others in need. This requires us to live on very little. Fundraising and selling our wares is very humbling. It is hard to ask others to support what we do. With that said, please mark your calendar for October 20th for our fish fry. Help us bring restoration to those around us. Help us restore Gomer's House and bring hope to the community.

Things are wild here and as we serve we grow weary and we are energized. Mostly, as we seek to love and encourage others, God graciously changes us to be more like Him.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ode to Male Modesty

I often thank my husband for wearing normal clothes that fit him. You may think that this is an odd thing to thank your husband for, but as a worship leader, it's really an abnormality. Now, I'm not the morality police, but the trend for male worship leaders is getting quite disturbing.

When the skinny jeans first gripped the male worship leading scene it didn't bother me. I like different and seeing a little European flare is always a fun thing. As will all trends though, a little is never enough. So the pants get tighter and tighter. They got so tight that I was wondering if all these guys were trying to get side jobs in the ballet. Seriously, there are some sights that you don't need to see when the guy singing praise songs in front of you is on stage with his mid-section at eye level.

Then, for some reason, people started combining that thug look of having your pants halfway down your derriere with the skinny jeans. Now, we get to see the package and the bunched up undies. Oh wait, what if they made it cool to wear shirts that are too short and too small. Awesome. Now, when we go to worship, we get a lovely picture of the package, the bunched up undies, the crack of their derriere, their midriff, and that weird thing shirts do under the arm when they are too small. Awesome. Glory.

I mean, when girls dress scantily, books are written, slogans are made. Who doesn't remember "modest is hottest"? Why hasn't Josh Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, written us a concise 3 point sermon on this? Where is Jon Acuff when you need him to hop out from the bushes dressed as a super hero or the guy from what not to wear? 

So, it's funny, but really fellas, wear real clothes that don't belong to your little sister and instead of attempting to bring sexy back, let's try a little class.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Talk to me, Abba.

The whole of My desire toward you is not that you would have perfect control over yourself, but that you would come to Me. Success is not the issue that I have with My children. My heart is for you to be with Me. Cling to My Son. Yearn for Christ. Wrap yourself in the fluidity of His being and linger in His shelter. The things you try to force are a gift He gives. Jesus heals the heart. Jesus speaks into the deep recesses of pain that you cannot reach. Let Him do the work for you. Rest. Cling to grace.

"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds."
Psalm 147:3

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Faith And Other Flat Tires by Andrea Palpant Dilley

This book takes you into the autobiographical journey of the time when Andrea departed from her faith to figure out who she really was and what she truly believed. We can follow her through turning to literature, alcohol, men, and her career to seek solace in. She uses great amounts of candor. She even speaks of having a mé·nage à trois on her journey away from her faith. Of course, she begins to find her way home to the church or there would be no book to publish. 

Let me preface this review. I like most every book I read. I enjoy story told by others. I want people to find their way. Unfortunately, this was not the case as I read this book. I kept trying to give myself a pep talk into liking it. Her story is amazing. She spend the first part of her life in Kenya with her parents who were medical missionaries. She was given so many opportunities for growth and unique fellowship. The tone of the book was just plain whiny, however. I kept thinking how nice it would have been to grow up in the security she had, for my parents to still be married (instead of living through 11 marriages), and for my dad to read the Bible to us each night. I have never seen anyone complain so much about being given the gift of the word of God. So, there I sat annoyed. The only thing I was markedly impressed by was what she was willing to share. At the end of the book, my husband asked me if I liked it and I said that her candor was refreshing and reading about a mé·nage à trois in a Christian book was definitely a first for me. Maybe it will grow on me. Happy reading.

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...