Monday, March 30, 2015

A glimpse of Heaven

Last night our city had a city wide church service. It was held in McLane Stadium and over 35,000 people were in attendance. The choir was made up of 900 singers from across the town and the band brought every type of music into the songs we were singing. We sang hymns, we sang contemporary songs we even sang in Spanish! They would start one song with a Latin feel and by the end we had transitioned to hip hop and gospel and back to Latin! It was amazing! I just kept thinking that this is what Heaven is going to be like; no racial or denominational or socioeconomic boundaries, just praising Jesus in one voice!! It was awesome!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Teague's Birthday Party

Ever since we took Troy and Kelby to Austin Park and Pizza for their birthdays, Teague has told us that's where he wants his party to be, too. And the day finally came! He invited one friend, and Mimi was even able to join us, and we spent the afternoon riding rides, eating and playing games. By the time we got home everyone was asleep so we just transferred them all to their beds and crashed. This morning after cinnamon rolls and sausage and a little play time we dropped his friend off and headed to church. It was a fun and exhausting night but they sure did have fun!

Mom got our picture playing laser tag from outside while she watched us on the screen.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Break 2015

The weather this spring break was not as hot and sunny as I had hoped for, but we managed to fill it with lots of fun. On a whim Monday afternoon we decided to go watch the Lady Bears. It turned out to be a great game and so much fun to be there as they were awarded the trophy and it rained confetti in the arena. 

Through the middle of the week we helped out at Catalyst, which is a camp our college group at church puts on for the community. Richard, myself and Baylee all helped out and all the boys were able to join their age group and participate in all the games and crafts. 

Richard even turned the rope for the kids who wanted to jump rope!

At the end of the week Baylee and I had a girls night and went down to Georgetown to see Chris and Becca's new place; Pinot's Palette. It was such a fun night and I love painting! It is so calming and I was definitely not ready to leave after 3 hours! If you are even in that area you will have to make reservations for a class!

At the halfway point...
And our finished products! 
Between our paintings and Troy's love of painting, it inspired me to make an art wall in our home. I can't wait to paint some more and include all the kids artistic expressions! 

We are now on the downhill sprint to summer. I'm thankful for a week of rest to gear up before things get hectic in these last few months!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anonymous comments

The following comments were left on my previous blog post...
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Holy Spirit Experiences": 

That is very easy to explain.

Old pagan and shaman rituals used speaking in tongues. They convince themselves it's true but it is really random gibberish. I've known many people who grew up in the Pentecostal church. They felt huge pressure from adults to speak in tongues so they all faked it to gain acceptance. What a way to mess up a kid...
I encourage you to go to reddit and search for speaking in tongues to see what ex-members think or other reasons for it, rather than just accepting the new Charismatic Movement going around. 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Holy Spirit Experiences":

People do this to feel better about themselves and to make others in their belief think they are special. This happens in SO many religions and cults around the world throughout history. It's a result of being heavily influenced and prone to manipulation. Why do only people in congregations that speak in tongues speak in tongues. If this happened at catholic school or Methodist Sunday service randomly throughout the world it would be one thing but it only happens at places that encourage it and manipulate their members. And the members manipulate the other members, kind of like hive mind mentality.  I know because I grew up in a well to do church that practice speaking in tongues and can easily recognize the strings being pulled and the desire for feeling special from other members that you are touched by god or the Holy Spirit. 
First, thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and experiences and second I am saddened to read that your experiences have brought forth words like "pressure" and "manipulation".   No doubt that just as there are those that never speak of tongues or speak against it in the church, there are also those who take it too far the other way; both can be damaging.  

As I have been praying on how to respond, this was today's verse of the day on my phone...

1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere 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. But do this with gentleness and respect.

I pray I live this verse out.

I appreciate you leaving web articles for me to read and I too will leave you with one to read, as well...

But, at the end of the day, I am not the one that is going to change anyone's mind.  I just want to share my experiences and hopefully point others to find God.  A big, powerful, living God!! We were created to bring glory to God.  Our first baptism saves us from eternity away from God, our second baptism empowers us to live life to the fullest here. (John 10:10)  Many of us have been baptized in water, but that's it!! We spend the rest of this earthly life powerless to temptations and the trials that naturally come with living in a fallen world.  The disciples rarely spoke of salvation without speaking also of Holy Spirit. The two were always together.  Somewhere along the way it seems like the focus changed to just salvation and once that was checked off, everything was good.  But, if Jesus told the disciples to sit tight for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before heading out to share the Gospel and then they, in turn, spoke of both salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit to those they met, then I have to believe that we NEED both.  

I would hope that every person would go and search and pray and listen and find out for themselves what God says; regardless of past teachings, preconceived ideas or fears. Ask Him to show you and I promise, He will not fail you!!  Matthew 7-78

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Holy Spirit Experiences

Ok, so hopefully I have piqued someone's intrest out there about Holy Spirit.   Since Richard and I both were ignorant in this area, it has been neat to experience things together and also separately and then share with each other.  When I started my journey for more information concerning Him, I began in a book called Good Morning, Holy Spirit.  I am the kind of person that needs lots of information about something so I was reading that book and finding all the Bible verses I could about Holy Spirit and also visiting with others about it.  My thoughts were being rocked with the speaking of tongues.  Again, I grew up where that was weird, not talked about and categorized under a church or person gone off the deep end.  But now, I'm sitting in prayer rooms with others speaking tongues.  I knew I wanted more and I wanted God to speak truth about tongues, so I consistently prayed...forever it seemed like, for Him to "let me speak tongues."  In my head, things were still not fleshed out and I thought speaking in tongues meant you were baptized in the Holy Spirit...this is wrong!  So, after months of seeking truth and prayer, you can imagine my dismay when Richard walks in and says nonchalantly, in Richard fashion, "I spoke in tongues today." WHAT!?!?  He said he too had been praying and was out showing houses and had about an hour to kill, so in his truck he began asking for Holy Spirit to come.  He said he was praying out loud and at some point his words changed from recognizable to unrecognizable.  I was blown away....and even more determined!!

I asked several people to pray with me and over me, but still nothing, and finally one lady shared that tongues is only one gift of the Spirit and is a process.  I am very analytical and I have no doubt I overthink everything, so once I heard that I stopped chasing "speaking in tongues" and started just pursing Holy Spirit. Since then, I have woke up consistently at 5:30am for my quiet time. I have never even had to set an alarm!  And He doesn't wake me up at that time on Fridays...he lets me sleep in!!  I have always had a quiet time, but to consistenly be pursed is cool.  He wants to meet with me, and during those times I have learned so much!!

For my tongues didn't come immediately, but I did start having visions and dreams unlike anything I have ever experienced.  As I was reading the Bible one morning, I saw two specific people, both were aquaintences, but what I saw was too out of the ordinary to be just me, so I went ahead and contacted them through Facebook messenger and shared the vision...come to find out that there was some horrible things going on that week with them and that was exactly what they needed to hear from the Lord.  I was amazed!! Then, one night I had a dream about another aquaintence from church.  This time I remember having such a vivid dream and being awakened at 2am with a specific prayer to pray. So I thought it was odd, but I prayed.  I was again awakened at 4am to pray that same thing again, this time I was a little scared. Then my normal 5:30am wake up called rolled around and the same prayer was on my mind, so I immediately checked Facebook to see if this person had posted anything like my dream.  The was nothing on Facebook so I messaged her and was floored when she messaged back.  She lives in Nepal and shared that she was going through a tough home situation and at the exact times I was being woke up here to pray, it was daytime there and she could tell me exactly what my prayers were linked to!!  Again, I was amazed and now wanted to be used more!! There is no way, me, in my own power could be doing this...Holy Spirit was working through me and it is so cool!  At D-Now there was another church that joined us, during one of the worship times the leaders prayed over some of the youth.  I felt led to one of the girls from the other church.  I knew her name but that was all.  So I went up to her and asked if I could pray over her.  I put my hands on her shoulders and just silently waited. Then I saw a heart wrapped in bandages, so I geared my prayers toward that...come to find out she had lost her dad at 13 and was holding on to a ton of hurt.  Again, there is no way I could have known that!!! Every time I experience His power I amazed!

One last since I realized that speaking tongues is a process I try to "practice", if that's a thing, with Him in my alone time, in the car and running specifically.  For me, it's getting in the habit of letting go, which is hard for me, but I will never forget one afternoon last summer when I was running. We lived in the old house and I ran the same path 2-3 times each day and had done that for as long as I had been with Richard, that was my route. I pass the same houses and fields and horses. The horses are always out, eating or standing next to the fence or walking to the water hole. But on this day, I was practicing my praying in tongues during my run and all of a sudden, from behind me, all 7-10 horses were all full speed running across the pasture.  It was loud and scary and beautiful all at the same time and I came to a stop. I will never forget how clearly God told me there is power in being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  I think that is what the enemy is trying to strip from us...the power.  

I think back and wonder how much more I could have accomplished, in His name, if I had been taught this sooner, but God doesn't make mistakes so I will stand firm in the belief that He makes all things good and this is His perfect timing.  And you better believe my children and the youth group will be educated in Holy Spirit so that the generations to come will walk in the Power He has given us!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Holy Spirit

Over the last year or so I have been  learning so much about Holy Spirit! I grew up in a southern Baptist church and was taught that He was part of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but past that I didn't have any real knowledge of His purpose or power.  As I have been studying and learning and experiencing, I am convinced He is vital in our lives!

In Acts 19, Paul is with a group of believers and has this conversation...

Acts 19:1-6 It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 

I felt like that was me!! Here I had been a follower of Christ for decades and had never heard about the job of Holy Spirit. There are so many chapters in Acts, and even in the Old Testament they prophesy about it, that the Holy Spirit will be poured out and come upon us. (Joel 2:28, Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Acts 13:52, Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:38...and that's only a few!) Time and time again the Bible talks about having both baptisms, one of Christ for forgiveness of our sin, which I had, and one of Holy Spirit, for His power, which I did not have. It saddens me that somewhere along the way the church stopped teaching on Holy Spirit... Maybe they thought it was weird, or too hard to control, or unexplainable?  And it is, but I think the enemy is trying to strip the church of the one thing we need, Holy Spirit's power!

I hope that I have not completely lost you, and that you have not put me in a box with "those weird church people." Like I said, I have been wrestling with this for about a year. It is contradictory to what I was taught so I am having to take what I was taught and put it up against scripture and let Jesus speak truth over my prior knowledge.  In doing this, I feel like my relationship has changed a thousand times over just by asking Holy Spirit to come upon me and fill me with His power. For the sake of writing too long of a blog post, I will save my Holy Spirit Experiences for my next post.  But if you are curious, like I was, and have never been talked about Holy Spirit, I pray that you will ask God to show you. Luke 24:45 asks God to "open our minds to understand the Scriptures."  
I believe that this might be the key to bringing revival in our world; putting Holy Spirit back in the place where He was created to be! Not a whimsical vapor that floats around the earth, but a powerful all-knowing being that helps each one of us bring glory to God.