Monday, March 31, 2008

Being challenged

I grew up in a Christian home. Both of my parents were Godly Christian people who loved the Lord and did their best to raise my brothers & me to do the same. We all went to a Christian school from K5-12th grade and we were in church Sunday morning, Sunday night, & Wednesday night (not to mention any time something else was going on, we were there!). I can't say that I always enjoyed the "bubble" I felt like I was in. I just didn't realize at the time how much my parents sacrificed and how much they loved us and wanted to totally saturate our lives with Jesus. Now, I am SO THANKFUL for the blessings my parents gave us. I'll tell you why!

A great guy in our church, Brad, posted on his blog about one of his pastor friend's and that some folks were really ripping into him about his church celebrating souls won to Christ (check out Brad's blog I started reading the comments and the back & forth bantering between people about whether God has "predestined" people to be saved. I was so baffled. I believe that the Lord wants all to come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but that there are those who will never accept it. These folks (referred to as Calvanists or Old Truth) believe that the Lord has already determined those who will truly accept Him and that the others' hearts are hardened by the Lord. I believe that sin hardens our hearts to where we can't hear the Holy Spirit calling us. Claude likes to call it "subtle numbing". Think about it: do you remember when cursing in public was an outrage? Do you remember when an unwed mother was hush-hush? Do you remember when living together before marriage was considered "living in sin"? Look at society now! All of these things are readily accepted (and not just by the unsaved). Thus - subtle numbing. I believe that the Holy Spirit calls us, but because of the sin in our hearts, some don't answer. I am no where near being a Bible scholar so I argued my thoughts with 2 Peter 3:9. The rebuttle was that this was to believers, not non-believers. Well, why would Peter need to tell them that God was not wanting any of them to perish, but for all of them to repent? They were already believers! I must say, it confused me more than helped clarify. I just know that the Holy Spirit is the only one who can truly know the hearts of men and their decisions. We, as humans, should see the RESULTS...fruits, good works, etc.

Thanks for letting me go on & on. If you have any good thoughts about this, please let me know! I am a curious one!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Count your blessings!

Yesterday, Claude & I spent the day working in the yard. Now, I know that doesn't sound like fun to most people, but believe me it was enjoyable! You see, it's been so busy for the last 6 weeks (or more) and so we haven't really had alot of "free" time. Our yard (front & back) was becoming an eyesore to us & our neighbors!!! Anyway, we decided it would be a good thing if we changed the bed around the mailbox. It was sooooo great!!!! There were no distractions, errands, phone calls, issues, etc. that came up! Just me and Claude working together! I normally don't like yardwork. I'll mow the yard, but don't ask me to do much else because it's just not my thing! But I had so much fun just working with him and talking thru what we wanted it to look like. It's funny how God gives us times like these! I am thankful that He allowed us a day with very minimal interruptions. They are a nice blessing every now & then!
This morning was also great because I felt refreshed after having some time alone with my husband the day prior. I was eager to get back to working on stuff for church. In fact, it was fun! Thank you Lord for the opportunity to do the stuff I do for my church that I love! I like doing it, I get to be at home, I am pretty good at it (although I'm sure there's some that could be better!), I get to work with my husband which is really awesome!!! I even get to work with a pastor that I respect & enjoy!
Some other things I'm grateful for:
  • wonderful friends at church
  • great folks who are willing to help out in any way they can (thanks Wallaces!)
  • people like Hazel Haynes who does our church bulletin every week!
  • Randy & Laci Strickland who give so much time to the youth ministry! You guys ROCK!
  • Encouraging folks like Frank & Michelle Lodeserto who always have time to listen and give you an uplifting word!

I'd say that God gives blessings in lots of little things in our lives. We just have to be willing to look for them.

Monday, March 24, 2008

With friends like that...

How many of you have friends who when you are in the wrong will call you out on it? Studies show that most people would say they only have one or two "real friends". Well, I think that it's probably zero or one! I started thinking about it after a phone call from my friend, Lora. Now, it's taken me a LONG time to feel like I can open up to her. After all, she's practically perfect in every way (Just kidding Lora!!!). She actually hates that! However, what I've learned is that she's NOT perfect. She struggles with things just like me. Alot of her struggles are strengths of mine, and my struggles are her strengths (obviously, she has MANY MORE strengths!!!). The point is that she is one friend that I know will, in a loving, Godly way, call me on something that she sees I need to fix in my life. I love her for that! Now, I hate being wrong and I hate being told that I'm wrong, but I realize that it's a part of life to be wrong. I need to be willing to fix or change whatever it is in my life so that I am not a stumbling block to someone else.
BTW, I have 2 other friends like that. Diona & Cindy. Both of these wonderful ladies live in FL and I miss them, but I am so grateful for their love and the acceptance. They take me as I am and see me through our Father's eyes! I only pray that I can be this type of friend to Lora and to my lady friends back in FL. Proverbs 27:6

Friday, March 21, 2008

Something else I love

Most of you know that Claude & I came from FL. We worked with children & jr high students. What you may not know is that we worked so much with young people that we didn't have much involvement with adults. When we finally did get involved in a small group in FL, we were called to move here within a few months. Needless to say, we didn't have much time to develop those relationships. When we got here, we started meeting with a small group in our home. It was slow starting, but over the last 6 months, it's florished and the group has grown both in size and in the building of relationships. I have to say, it's been so awesome! We have been able to bond and form friendships that go beyond church.
Last night, we were "persuaded" to step out of our comfort zone and "split" for the next 6 weeks. Now, in my mind, I know why a split is necessary. However, in my heart (and the hearts of several others in the group), it's very difficult. In fact, IT SUCKS! We have grown to love and care about each other. We've grown to trust each other enough to open up and be ourselves (even me being a brat!). It's a hard thing. After our "persuader" left, we had a chance to talk and vent and just put out on the table how each of us felt. It was amazing. It reminded me of why I love our group so much. Each person was genuine with their thoughts and it made it easier for me. I have a hard time with change. Even more so when I feel pressured of pushed. But my group helped me to work it out. I am so grateful for our group. I love them because they allow each person to be who they are, but encourage us to grow and move when God needs us to move. So, for this reason alone, thanks ODD 1 & 2!!! You are a blessing to me and thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to move me (even when I don't want to!!!).

Monday, March 17, 2008


Let me brag on our student ministry for just a minute. I am continually in awe that Claude & I get to work with such a fantastic group of adults! But there's something about the teenagers that's just a total RUSH! They are so enthusiastic about God and each other! It's amazing what that does for us as leaders! Almost every week, there is someone new whose been invited by one of the students. Last night, we had 2 first time guests. One of them was invited by her sister! WOOHOO!!!!! I can't stand it! It's so awesome to know that these kids are so excited about what's happening that they are telling others about it!
One of our girls did a paper for school about her youth group, Crosslink. Last night one of her friends from class came! How cool is that!?! I don't think I've ever been around teens like this before! I can only say THANK YOU LORD for allowing me to be a small part of this amazing group of kids!
On that note, we have a great group of adults who give their time to these kids every Sunday night! Thanks to all of them!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sweet Southern comfort!

We finished the conference and I must say that my favorite part was the pastor, Perry Noble, and his main sessions. I really enjoyed his talk about Moses. He made some really great points about the lead pastors and things that they "battle". One point he made just stuck in my head. He talked about Moses using his staff. Then he pointed out that no one knows the weight on the shoulders of the senior pastor. Now, it got me thinking. I've seen some of the pressures that Claude dealt with when he first started (and juggled 2 very different jobs). Then, I've watched our senior pastor and it made me realize that we have no clue what they have to handle everyday in the ministry. When we can go home from our jobs, they take it with them. When we can turn our cell phones off, theirs stays on. Their homes are like hotels or sometimes even a psychiatrist's office for those who need to "talk"! They rarely get any real time off or time away. Now, our jobs need to be that of the "staff" that "Moses" leans on. We need to come up and support him. We need to find ways to lift him up and support him. We need to pray for him.
(especially Jason!) So, I challenge you to find ways to bless your pastors! They give and give and sometimes there's not much left of themselves. So let's pour back into them when we can! How better to honor God than to bless His "called"!

On another note, we've been staying with some sweet friends from FL who moved to SC a few years ago! The Imhofs (Tom & Sandra) live only 20 minutes from where the conference was held, so they were gracious enough to let us stay with them! We have enjoyed the fellowship so much! I didn't realize how much I missed them.
We took a walk thru their downtown tonight and it was so quaint. It reminded me of what it must have been like back in the late 1800s. The homes, the community, the people. It was so neat!
That's all for now!


OK, we are in a conference called "Unleashed" in Anderson, SC. The church hosting is NewSpring. They are an amazing church! The first thing I noticed when we drove up to their parking lot was that the parking attendants WAVED and SMILED then pointed us to where we were suppose to go! Second, as soon as we got out of our van, there were several volunteers standing nearby to "greet" us! Just asking us where we're from and things like that! Then, we walked up to the registration tent and one of the volunteers made an announcement about where we were from and the entire tent of volunteers started cheering! That's soooooo cool!!!!
Now, the first couple of songs were a little hard for me (you've read about my love of hymns!!!), but then I just prayed that God would minister to me the way I needed and the very next song was AWESOME! I don't know if it was me/my heart changing or an actual change in the music, but it was great! The pastor, Perry Noble, spoke and it was fabulous. He gave me alot of things to think and pray about. My first break-away session was on finances (and I am not really qualified, but God called so I am answering until he replaces me *** Hurry LORD!!!)
Now, after lunch, I am going to one on volunteers and hospitality. I was suppose to go to one on youth/student ministry, but Claude wanted it so I'll submit!!! Anyway, maybe I need more training in how to motivate volunteers than Claude (OF COURSE!). Anyway, that's all for now, but I will try to blog again tonight to let everyone know how it went!
I AM SO PSYCHED! I wish we could've brought more folks from Discovery. Just to hear about the things going on here, it's really contagious! That's all :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Monday, we received news that an old dear friend from our church in FL had passed away. Then, on Tuesday, a sweet friend from Discovery lost her father. I don't know the spiritual condition of the father, but the dear friend in FL was a Godly man who gave everything to His Lord. Claude wanted to fly down to be at the funeral, but we just can't make it happen, so he was upset by this. It's funny how God shows you things even when you are not looking. Last night, I was reading a book called "Then Sings My Soul" Vol.2. (A book on the origins of favorite hymns.) I came across a song that I remember singing as a girl growing up in church. "Higher Ground". The verse just reminded me of how much rejoicing and praising that Robert must be doing now that he is on HIGHER GROUND! The 2nd verse says "My heart has no desire to stay, where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where these abound, my prayer-my aim is higher ground"! I LOVE THIS! So, even though my heart hurts at the loss of a wonderful sweet man, he's on higher ground with my Lord. HALLELUJAH!

in memory of Robert Wimberly. You'll be missed, but we'll see you again!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Something I am learning...

OK, I am not good at keeping current with MySpace or Facebook, but I am hoping to be better at this blogging thing.
Sunday night I was talking with one of the youth at Crosslink (out student ministry) and we were exchanging prayer requests (a challenge from Claude's "message" that night). Anyway, my request to pray that I would be more disciplined with my devotion time with the Lord. After that, we started talking about how bad I am with keeping up on MySpace/Facebook. And suddenly it dawned on me! I starting thinking about why I started MySpace & Facebook and it was so that I could keep up with my friends & family that I don't get to see very much. Well, I started thinking that I'm kinda the same way with the web stuff as I am with my devotions. As much as my heart wants to do it, my mind gets in the way and makes excuses for why I don't have time to do them. Does that make sense? I love my family so much and I miss them dearly. There are days that I want to hop on a plane and go visit them because I miss them so much! But, I don't talk to them everyday, I don't email them everyday, I don't call them everyday, mail them letters/cards/etc. You get the point! So I guess what I am trying to say is that I am learning that I need more discipline in my life. I love the Lord and I want to talk to Him everyday, I want to listen for His voice everyday, etc., but sometimes I get caught up in the crazy circle of life and forget to "give Him a call". That doesn't mean that I don't love Him or think about Him. It just means that I need to prioritize and give Him that time. When I do take time to talk to my mom and dad or my brothers, I feel so much closer to them. It's the same way with God. It's something I'm learning!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My first day

Well, This is my very first blog! I must say that I impressed myself by setting it up all by myself. With that said, it wasn't THAT hard! Still, I am a computer-challenged person, so this was cool for me.
I am on my own today as my husband, Claude, is having his first "God Day". You see, he's the family pastor at the church we attend, Discovery Church (WOOHOO!) and he is suppose to take certain amounts of time weekly and set it aside for GOD ONLY. So, he's heading to a park in Kinston, NC to meditate, study, commune, and listen to God. I am glad that he gets this time away. Sometimes, it's hard to listen and hear what the Lord wants from us when we are busy listening to the stuff going on in our daily lives. I guess that's why we struggle in our daily lives. We don't hear what God is saying to us. Maybe we should each set aside some time (other than our devotion time) to find a quiet spot and just listen to the Lord. What could we hear if we really listened for His gentle quiet voice? Interesting thought!