Thursday, 31 May 2007

Road Trip - Six Women in a Mini-Van with Jesus

This is a picture of myself (I have brown hair in the back row) and the other women from AHF Ministries at our ladies spring retreat PJ party! Who says Christian women are boring!!! It is hard to believe that it has been almost five years since God took a van load of women on their way to New York City for the weekend and started to plant seeds for a ministry of His design. As I look back over all the road trips He has brought together and all that He has done and how He has grown six ladies I am amazed.

Well, our God has worked out all the details so that AHF Ministries can again head out on another road trip with Him. We leave tomorrow and are headed to Rochester, New York for a wonderful weekend of spending time with Jesus and each other at a Women of Faith Conference.

Yesterday, I was reading Anita's blog and I found myself laughing right out loud. God honestly could not have picked six more different women to put together in an enclosed space like a mini-van! It is the craziest thing. The key that holds us all together like glue is our times of sitting at the Lord's feet and listening to what He has to say to us. The truth is that those times together worshipping in His word and prayer has stretched me until it has become down right uncomfortable.

In a way, I feel just as nervous about our road trip tomorrow as I did on our first road trip, when I wondered how on earth I ended up driving nine hours to New York with women I hardly knew. Oh, I know this road trip will be a blast. I know we will come back with funny stories that make us laugh until our sides hurt. I know we will have an amazing time at the conference and I can't wait to hear Nicolle C. Mullen sing but I still get a bit nervous about "the Jesus factor". From experience I know that our road trips are never quite as straight forward as they are suppose to be. You see Jesus is always the extra passenger in the van. He physically doesn't take up much room (which is good with six women and luggage) but sometimes His presence is overwhelming and He takes us to the most unexpected places! I have a feeling that once again I will be taken out of my comfort zone and challenged by our amazing God. I will take lots of photos (ones where we are not in our PJ's!) and let you know all about it when we get back!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Kairos - Where are you sharing your hope?

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
1 Peter 3:15

Yesterday, I was making cookies. Lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies. As I have mentioned before I am trying to live a more healthy lifestyle and lots of chocolate chip cookies is not on the menu! As I baked cookies the door bell kept ringing and friends from our congregation kept arriving with armloads of more cookies! Pretty soon my kitchen counters were full of boxes and boxes of cookies and the yummy smell of freshly backed goods filled the air. So why I am putting myself through this torture? My father-in-law Gerry inspires me.

He leaves tomorrow to share the hope that he has with inmates in a prison. I can't think of a place that would be more void of hope than a prison. Gerry will spend the next four days with a Kairos team giving himself away to shine some light into this very dark place. He will share with them how Christ changed his life, how he has has been forever changed and how they too can have that kind of hope. You see hope commits us to action that connects with God's promises. Hope acts on the conviction that God will complete the work that He has begun even when the appearances, especially when the appearances oppose it. Gerry and his friends will share cookies with these inmates and they will share the hope of Christ. This is a hope-determined action. It is a participation in the future that God is bringing into being. It it listening to what God says and responding despite what society or anyone else thinks.

On Karios' website they have some testimonies. Here are just two that hit home for me.

Steve: “I was lost...without hope ... no guide, no friend, I have found the path to freedom, hope with vision, guidance toward happiness and more kindness, love and fellowship than I have ever seen.”

Art: “I’m glad I got caught, because if I had not been caught and sentenced and sent to this place, I might never have met Jesus Christ on this weekend, never have known God was real.”
The act of bringing hundreds of dozens of cookies to a prison and sharing hope over coffee may not seem to be a spectacular act in our worldly view but when I read the testimonies above I am awed by the deliberate act of hope for Christ that will occur this weekend and I am inspired at the example that my father-in-law sets for us all. I can't wait to hear about what God accomplishes. Where will you share your hope this weekend?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

A Distant Rain

The other day it rained. I love a good rain storm. At first, you hear the occasional drop...drop...drop. Sometimes, as you look off into the distance you can see the rain coming like the photo above. Then as you began to listen, the drops get closer together and they get faster and louder and you sense that a storm is brewing. Before long you are enveloped in the sound and you know that there is nothing that is exposed that the rain will not touch.

Sometimes, I feel God works like a rain storm. You sense the rumblings that He is beginning to do something. He makes you spiritually aware and you start looking to see what is happening. You see him working and weaving circumstances, and lives together. He begins to prompt your spirit to join Him in His work. Sometimes though, we can be too busy to miss what He is doing and His work happens all around us and we never notice. We go untouched because we have not exposed ourselves to His promptings. Other times, we are open to where He is working and we become enveloped in what He is doing and He touches every part of our lives that we have left open to Him.

Right now, I am watching a distant rain. In my quiet times in prayer, in His word and through circumstances He has made me keenly aware that He is calling me to be involved in what He is doing. I have many questions about what will this storm of "His working" look like? What will happen in the end? What exactly does He want me to do?

The following is a great song by Delirious? ( You can listen to the song here) It is a good one and is on their Worldservice album. As I continue to pray about what I see God doing I will be definitely be turning this one up loud and dancing in my living room.

Rain Down
Written by Martin Smith/Stuart Garrard copyright 2003 Curious?Music UK

Looks like tonight, the sky is heavy
Feels like the winds are gonna change
Beneath my feet, the earth is ready
I know its time for heaven's rain
It's gonna rain

Cos it's living water we desire
To flood our hearts with holy fire
Rain down all around the world we're singing
Rain down can you here the earth is singing
Rain down my heart is dry but still I'm singing
Rain down rain it down on me.

Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it's time, to dream again
I see the clouds, and yes I'm ready
To dance upon this barren land
Hope in my hands

Do not shut, Do not shut, Do not shut the heavens
But open up, open up, open up our hearts

Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my heart upon your altar
Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my feet don’t let me falter

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

What does God think on our Birthdays?

My youngest son and I share the same birthday. We celebrated this past long weekend at Jason's parent's cottage. It is fun to share a birthday with him. I admit that not long ago he came up with a plan to move my birthday to August so he could have the day all to himself but I still think it is fun. As I sat on the beach over looking Georgian Bay and watching the kids play in the sand I was in a reflective mood. My son came and sat beside me. "So do you feel different?" He asked. "No buddy. How about you? Do you feel different today?" I responded. "I feel 7 today." He said. "Hey Mom, What do you think God is thinking about us today, since it is our birthday?" Now, I should be use to this type of questioning from my son but it was my birthday and I was relaxing so I was caught off guard . "Well" I began. "I don't know ... What do you think?"I asked. Trying to delay my answer until I could get me brain in gear. "I think He thinks I am doing pretty good for 7." He said matter of factly. "Really, why do you think that?" I asked. " Because I know Jesus is His Son and He died so we could be with God again and I like the colour orange and so does God." Before I could respond the other kids called him and my son was off running and I was left with my thoughts. I wonder what God does think on our birthday?

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Mothers of Nobility

I have been thinking a lot lately about being a Mom and about how God has brought our family together. Maybe it is because Mother's Day was last Sunday. Maybe it is because it is this time of year that all my kids have birthdays and I have been thinking that they are growing up too fast. Maybe it is because Pastor Jim spoke a great message on "Being a Mother of Nobility" this past Sunday. Maybe it is because at the end of his message I (along with some other moms) received the greatest gift from my kids that I could have ever gotten. Honestly, I am not sure if there was a dry eye in the room. (If you have a minute and want to listen to a great sermon check it out at You can download the MP3 or listen to it from the website. Go to the Current Message Series tab.) Maybe it is because the follow-up questions at our homechurch last night were really hitting home with how God has created our family. Or maybe it is because God is trying to get my attention and He wants me to listen and respond to what He has to say.

I am so blessed to have the privilege of raising my children. God has taught me many things through each of them. He has expanded my concept of unconditional love. He enables me to parent them. He helps me to teach them about Him and His redeeming plan for their lives. He reminds me about things He has said to me through them. And He guides me in making choices for them.

Last night at home church, we talked about how many kids there are in Ontario and even in our region of Halton that do not have parents that are able to raise them safely. Over the last five years alone Halton CAS reports a 50% increase in referral rates to Children's Aid. These children are lost. They are a lost generation of kids. They live in our neighborhoods, they go to our schools, we see them playing at the park but do we really recognize how lost they are?

We as a society try to care for their physical and emotional needs. We take them out of unhealthy situations, we offer them counselling and place them with people that will care for them. The problem is that hearts can only be mended by the one who made them. Jesus is the only one who can save this generation of lost kids. Only the Lord knows that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139. He alone formed their inward parts and wove them in their mother's womb. He alone is intimately acquainted with all their ways. Psalm 139 also says, "Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well" (v14b). How will they know this if no one tells them?

A mother of nobility prays for her children. Who will pray for these children? Who will pray for these lost broken hearts? Who will pray that God changes our hearts to call us to parent them and tell them about the one who will love them with a love that they have never known? Please consider praying with me.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

See the Need - Meet the Need

Spring always reminds me that summer is just around the corner. For the past 10 years or so summer has meant that we have got to spend some time at camp. Ryerson Christian Camp is on 68 acres overlooking beautiful Lake Erie and is near Turkey Point, Ontario. Nothing beats a week at camp. Fried oats over an open fire, amazing worship and sessions, vesper point views, sponge wars, camp out night and of course campfires. (If you want to know more about the camp or sign up your kids I have been filing out registration forms for my kids and I am slightly jealous. I tried to talk them into family camp this year but they want to go to camp without their parents. My oldest reminded me that camp is his "vacation". A twelve year old that needs a vacation!

One of the things I love about Ryerson is that the directors and staff teach by example. They have a passion for Jesus that teaches my kids through worship and sessions. They love my kids simply because they were created by God. They share with my kids their own walks with Christ and they challenge them that they can serve Jesus too. It is an amazing place where Christ is the centre and children can come just as they are and learn about Him and His unconditional love.

There is a saying at camp, "See the need - meet the need". I don't know who came up with it but it is one of the most profound statements that I know. Sometimes, I remind my kids and I often hear them repeating this saying as they help around the house, help to set up all the equipment at church or when they are telling me about school and an issue has arisen where they felt they needed to do something.

We have also talked about this saying not just in regards to tasks but in the context of relationships with people. If we see someone that is sad what should we do? If we see someone that needs help, what should we do? If we see someone that doesn't know about Jesus - what should we do? If we have been made aware of a need what is our response? This saying is all about what God did for us. He saw our need to be saved and He sent Jesus to bring us back to Him. Throughout scripture we see examples of needs that Jesus met. He met physical needs and spiritual needs for people that God created and loved and we are challenged through His example to do the same.

So as you feel the warm spring air on your face today and you go about your day, take a look what needs do you see? How will you meet them?

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Toilet Paper Rolls and Do Overs

I am not sure why but my kids have something against toilet paper rolls. It never fails that when I go into their bathroom the toilet paper is never on the holder. They have rolls of toilet paper on the back of the toilet, on the counter or sometimes on the floor beside the toilet but never on the holder. It is one of those things that drives me nuts. It doesn't matter how many times I tell them. Or how many times I put the toilet paper on the holder to show them. Their rolls of toilet paper never seem to make it to the proper place.

A few days ago I was having a "moment". Maybe it was because I have been sick with a cough that I can't shake (I am cranky) or maybe it was just the straw that broke the camels back but my eldest son was receiving the brunt. He stood there looking at me while I went into a full blown lecture about the toilet paper rolls. The look in his eyes began to change and I could start to see worry. I knew what he was thinking,"Oh no I think Mom is loosing it." He was right, I was loosing it and I was on a roll. I was just getting to the part in my rant where there was no way that he would ever be able to grow up to be a successful human being if he could not remember to put the toilet paper on the holder when I stopped in mid sentence. "What were you doing?" I asked him. "Uhh, I was just writing in my agenda." He stammered. "What were you writing?" "I was writing a reminder in my calender on the date of your birthday because I didn't want to forget and I forget lots of stuff." Sure enough, I could see that he had indeed been writing about my birthday in his agenda.

Well, you can guess what happened next. My rant about learning the importance of toilet paper roll etiquette to be successful seemed not only unimportant but all I could think of was Ephesians 6:4. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." At this particular moment I was not doing such a bang up job. "Listen buddy, sorry about yelling at you. I was having a bad moment. Do you think we could start again?" "My friends and I call that a do over." he said. "I need to use it alot when we are playing grounders." "Well, could I use a do over?" I asked. "Sure." he said.

I love my kids.