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Showing posts from November, 2011

Who wants a vacation?

Do you take all your time off?  I didn't used to and it was a huge mistake.

A recent survey revealed that for most American employees, eleven vacation days a year are left unused, and almost a third of employees are "too afraid to ask for vacation" in a time of high unemployment and job insecurity, according to the Daily Mail.  The survey also revealed that not taking vacation days resulted in anger problems among staffers.

A lot of people ask me how I manage several jobs at once.  In fact, it seems to be a focus of what people ask me  about most. I will say that I do better with several jobs and all my vacation time than I did with one job and little to no vacation time.

The reasons I didn't take vacation in the past were noble.  I meant well and even spiritualized it.  But, it actually worked against me, not for me.  It's important to take all of your time off, particularly if you're a pastor -- I encourage you to  take every bit of time coming to you, …

The greatest blessing EV-er!!!

Our kids want to spend time with us!

What could be better?

This past week of Thanksgiving I heard a lot of people (including me) talking about how grateful they are to have a place to live, a church family, a job, etc. It's easy to lose sight of other blessings that sometimes go undetected when you are used to something -- like your kids talking to you or spending time with you.

I was talking about vacations with a friend whose children are also in their twenties. She shared that her kids would never willingly go on a trip with with her and her husband. She said, "I think that would be their nightmare...maybe mine too."

That got me to thinking how blessed Larry and I are.  Our kids seem to love being with us.  They couldn't wait to take this trip.

I am blessed among all women.  Thank you, Lord, for your blessings on me.

Bon Voyage!

Today my family is headed for some special time together, just the five of us.   It's been a while since it's been "just us five"...where we're away from it all and no one can get ahold of us even if they tried.  We are so excited.

As a pastor appreciation gift last year, the church sent Larry and I on a cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya.  It was the most A-May-Zing vacation we'd ever experienced, first and foremost because we were truly away from it all for a week -- no one could reach us by computer or phone.  We were really unplugged!  If you knew how much our phone rings, you'd know how significant that is!  Being truly unplugged had never happened before in 24 years of our marriage/ministry, and let me tell you, that cruise was a week from heaven!  I really believe it's the first vacation in the history of our marriage that I was ever able to really relax and rejuvenate. I didn't have to do a thing but just get myself showered, dressed and rea…

Are you involved or committed?

Someone once said that the difference between involvement and commitment is like a ham and egg breakfast - the chicken was involved but the pig was committed.  
The sad reality is that most people settle for being involved without ever making a commitment.
This morning I taught about this at Celebration and we had some fabulous discussion.  We talked about the differences between the business world and the church and how many if not most people give a greater level of commitment to the things of the world than the bride of Christ -- the church!  (The reason for this is money - which simply indicates the level of idolatry in the church today.)   Let me ask you this...would you trust someone who was where they are supposed to be 80% of the time?  What about a person who did what they agreed to do 80% of the time?  I realize 80% is still the majority of the time, but I've chosen that number to prove a point.  Although it's the vast majority if they were faithful 80% of the time they…

Mundane and Miraculous in Shrodesville

Lord have mercy...I'm just sitting down to blog at 8 pm, and still have several hours worth of work to do!  Truth be told I'm looking for a good excuse to sit down for a few minutes and sip on some iced tea.  Can you tell I'm addicted to iced tea?  Unsweetened with a slice of lime.  Doesn't get any better than that!  Unless maybe you're having a piece of pie with it...

We've been working all day, like dogs.  Well no, not really like dogs.  Whoever made up that stupid phrase, "working like a dog" anyway?   My dogs do nothing except sit in front of the sliding glass window and get sun, or lay on the couch.  

I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and a nice place to live.  No complaints there.  But sometimes when I hear people talk about the dream of home ownership I wanna say, "Are you on crack?"  It takes so much work to keep up a home.  Many days I feel like I'm failing at it! Many people ask me, "How do you do it all?  Well…

Traditions are a splendid thing

Traditions!  Love 'em!

We have several the day after Thanksgiving.  More recently Savanna and I have been getting up at 5:00 AM and going out shopping for black Friday.  First we shopped, then went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then shopped again and got home at about 10:00 am.  Vanna and I are serious bargain hunters and we got 70% off on most of our merchandise.  Believe it or not we spent the most time at Salvation Army.  That's our favorite store.  Seriously!  And yes, they had black friday sales!

Things took off like a rocket when we got home because the main thing we do on this day is the Christmas decorating of our home.  We decorated the  church with a team of amazing folks from Celebration this past Monday - Wednesday and now it was time to focus on our home.  Our house is the gathering spot for a lot of things during this season for the church.  I have a women's gathering here, we have our leadership and their families here (about 70-80 people), and in a few w…

Portraits of thanks

I'm thankful for my amazing family.
 I'm thankful for my home.   
I'm thankful for our amazing church!  This is a photo from our Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday night.  The best ever! I'm thankful for this sweet BFF who never leaves my side.  This is Maxie last night sitting next to me while I updated facebook.  He sits right next to me just like this whenever I work on the computer.  A constant, faithful, sweet friend.   When he wants me to stop typing and give him a little more attention he touches me with his paw and I love on him a little before going back to work.
Thankful for this sweet girl -- our miracle!  Maddie lights our world with love.  Her scar is a reminder to us of where she was and how far she's come, and that God does answer prayer.
 I'm thankful for the street we live on, for the nice sidewalks I walk on every day.

I'm thankful for the sights I see on my walks everyday in our neighborhood.
 I'm thankful that I live near the beach.
 I'm th…

Get off the Christian crack...

Something really good is getting ready to happen for me.  I feel it!

I've worked for this for a long time.  And I'll keep working whether it happens today or many days from now. Whether two weeks or two years or twenty years. I will work in the good times and bad, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health...yeah, you are starting to get the picture -- I'm married to this thing.  Or at least it feels like it a lot of the time.  :)

I'm faithful to it whether anyone's watching, whether anyone else cares. 

I've learned that what you desire most isn't going to happen without a ridiculous amount of faithfulness to a level much further than most people are comfortable with or can even fathom.

I've noticed a lot of Christians think their dreams are going to be realized even if they lack integrity or faithfulness as long as they have passion and pray hard enough.

I'm a intercessor too, but I'm not on crack.  Really, it's l…

Do you use this lame excuse?

A rightly focused life consists of fulfilling the expectations that we have formed ourselves based upon what God has spoken to us.

I often hear people speak of doing only what they can actually do and not worrying about whatothers expect them to do.  I agree.  But what happens once you've already agreed to something?  Does character and integrity not demand that you fulfill it?

We are not responsible for others expectations that we have  never invited, initiated nor agreed to. 

We are, however, responsible to fulfill an expectation when we initiate or consent to it.

For instance, part of getting married is making a covenant to fidelity.  What would it be like if your spouse later said, "I didn't meet your expectations in being faithful to you but I can only do what I can do..."

Let's say you apply for a job and before accepting the position they say, "this job is 40 hours a week."  So you come in the first week and work for 35 hours.  The following we…

How these people act says a lot about YOU!

Jacinda* was a woman we pastored years ago who decided to start a home group, without our blessing.  It was only without our blessing because of her character.  There were several other church sponsored home groups going that were quite successful, led by Godly leaders.  I won't go into all of Jacinda's issues - it would take an entire blog series so we'll just leave it that she had serious issues.

Jacinda claimed to be an intercessor.  She would talk about how close she was to the Lord, and said that God had called her to mentor the women of the church.

So if this was the case, why did the women she took under her wing seem to get worse?
After beginning to attend her group they would come to church less, not more.When they did come to church their attitudes were not the same! The more they went to her home, the more they pulled away from the pastors - becoming distant, and awkward in conversation when they would see them.The longer they hung out with Jacinda, there was le…

We give thanks

I'm grateful for what goes on at Celebration each and every week.

So thankful that lives are being changed around the altars, and around the clock, really!

Filled with gratitude to be a part of it.

Yesterday the staff of our Recovery Service (also called "Hopetown") served a Thanksgiving dinner to 104 people and gave 28 families "Boxes of Hope" -- everything to make Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday.  We are so grateful to all of the people within our congregation who make this happen each and every week.  It's not just at Thanksgiving but all the time that they do this.

Today is our Thanksgiving Dinner for the Celebration Church family.  One of my favorite days of the year -- not just because it's an amazing dinner, but because we have praise and worship and testimonies.  The time of sharing is always really special.

Nothin' like a little (or a lotta!) holy matrimony!

I love weddings!

Today we're blessed to attend the wedding of Kaleb Conley and Haley Jo Honeycutt.  Kaleb is the son of our dear long-time friends, Pastors Keith and Joy Conley, lead pastors of Harvest Assembly of God in Lakeland, Florida.

We are thrilled for this beautiful couple and pray many wonderful years for them as they love and serve God and each other. 

Take some time today to pray for the marriages of those you are in relationship with in your family, group of friends, and church.  Marriage wasn't started in the world or by our legal system -- it was ordained by God and starts in His holy Word.  Something started by God is under assault like never before, today.  There are those who seek to re-define something that has already been clearly defined by God all throughout His Word..

Join me in a prayer today for Kaleb and Haley, for all marriage and for the protection of the institution of marriage across our land.

We have a winner!

The winner of this week's book giveaway is Leanne Weber of Duluth, Minnesota!!

Congratulations, Leanne!   The book, Autumn Song by Martha Rogers will be in your mailbox shortly.  It will be coming straight from Charisma House, so be on the lookout for it.  Thanks to all who commented on the blog this past week and entered the contest and thanks to Charisma for providing the book.

In case you are wondering how the winner is determined, I type all the names into this site and it randomly selects the winner.

We will be having more contests in the future, so stay tuned and keep reading -- you never know what we're going to give away next.

Have a great Friday, everyone!