Sunday, January 15, 2017

Disciple Now

Our annual Disciple Now weekend was so much fun. Each year our group grows and we are able to take more students along to enjoy this life changing weekend.  

Teague had to tag along for the first night so he found us a little prayer closet to sleep in.  He called it his cubby and refused to leave to help unload the car because he didn't want anyone to steal it.  My parents came into town Saturday so he left with them for the rest of the weekend. 

Saturday we had a dodgeball tournament and the youth pastors decided to be nerdy refs so here they are ready to call the games.

The Acts crew

Our youth leaders.  We could not pull off a weekend like this without help, and they are the best! We love them, the kids love them and they love the Lord! What else could we ask for?!? 
The whole group together....83 teens, 25 leaders, 3 churches, 1 God

Monday, January 02, 2017

2017 Word

As I look back over all my words I love the progression the Lord has brought me through.  In 2010 I heard on the radio about the concept of a word instead of a New Year's resolution.  It sounded like something I could do so I thought I'd give it a try.  I was 6 months out from the divorce and starting to feel like my feet were back under me a bit, so I chose the word Adventure. The next year my life began to feel more and more "normal" and I wanted to continue to seek Him just as fervently in the good times so the word was Crave.  I then met Richard and the boys and I moved to be closer to him and my 2013 word was Community as we looked to find a church home and get plugged in.  We got married later that year and 2014's word was Legacy as we learned how to join our families as one.  I didn't feel too successful at that one so I made it my 2015 word also.  In 2016 I chose the word Lead as I am starting to feel comfortable in my career and looking for ways to better my classroom.  It has been a fun 7 years! And I know this year won't disappoint!  

My 2017 word is extraordinary.

We've all heard the saying "hurt people hurt people." There is a lot of truth in that and it has helped me change my perspective when dealing with others.  You could substitute many words in the place of hurt to change the statement, but my favorite is "free people free people."  In this case free meaning not under the control of another.  My life is far from perfect and I still have lots of areas of refinement in which the Lord must work, but overall I do feel "free".  Acts 13:39 states "through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."  I still sin and seek His forgiveness daily, but through Him sin no longer has control of me, and that makes me free.

 This caused me to look at my life.  If I am free am I helping others find freedom?  As of now, the answer is no.  My life does not look radically different.  Oh I pray for others and read my bible and go to church, but my life is not radically changing others.  Francis Chan has the best quotes on this...

Acts 3 is a perfect example of this.  Peter and John met a crippled man at the temple gate who was begging for money. They told him they didn't have any money but what they did have they would give to him and with that statement Peter grabbed his arm and said "in Jesus' name, walk". And he did. That's faith!!  That's a moment where you are desperate for Him to come through or you're screwed, as Fransic Chan puts it.  Peter didn't sit down with him and ask him if he could pray for him.  No!!  Peter was so sure of his faith and the authority behind his faith that he put action behind it.  There is nothing wrong with praying for others, but what if we took our authority in His name and put it to action!  What if?? 

Free people free people.

The definition of extraordinary is: very unusual or remarkable. Synonyms being exceptional, unbelievable, phenomenal, astonishing.  So, my goal is to take this year and really pursue an extraordinary life.  To look for those needing freedom in whatever way they need it and pour out the love of Christ on them in a bold way.  My pastor from Lubbock wrote "the only part of the gospel you believe is the part you do."  I want my life to look like the gospel and the gospel includes extraordinary faith with extraordinary results. I don't want my life to make sense to unbelievers.  I want Him to use my life to draw others towards Him because I chose to do it His way and His way will always be extraordinary! 

Sunday, January 01, 2017

NYE 2016

Another year at the Fireworks Store for us.  This is our fifth season and each year we get more and more repeat customers who love helping out our youth.  In 2012 I never would have imagined it turning into the ministry that it has become.  Usually people start by asking why there are so many teenagers working in there and we are able to share how each one is earning their way to summer camp.  We have Christian music on the stereo and we get many comments about that as well and how people appreciate it.  This season was the first where I had several customers come in and ask if this was still the youth group and once I said yes they told me that is the reason they come to our warehouse.   What a blessing!

I the flip side, I also love how we are getting to expose our teenagers to the line of work that is a lost art these days...customer service.  Difficult customers, rude customers, chatting customers, sweet customers, by the end of working two 12 hour shifts they have seen it all and I hope have learned that even though we are tired and worn down, we still treat others with kindness and respect. 

I even had Troy and Teague helping out bagging and they quickly realized the nicer you are to others, the nicer they are to you.  By the end of the night they each were tipped a few dollars for their hard work by random customers and they thought that was the coolest thing. So they had to buy a few poppers with their earnings.

Every few hours they would ask to take a break and Troy would work on his Rubix's cube and Teague was on his tablet.
One of the youth was so kind and patient with Troy and was able to help him in learning all the algorithms needed in solving the cube.  He was so proud once he finally got it!

Goodbye 2016...Hello 2017!  We are looking forward to a fantastic year!