Assembly of God


How blessed by God I am! We had signed up to go on a Mission Awareness Encounter ( a tour of European missions and missionaries) with our District Superintendent, Brother Bill Leach. We were planning on using tax refund money for the trip, but we ended up using it on other things, some needful and some not, to be honest. As time wore on, we knew we would not have the money to go. Our finances were tight all summer, I couldn’t manage to save a single penny. On top of that we had a wedding to go to a week before that. We had planned on going to the wedding in Omaha, staying with family in Minnesota for a week and then we hoped to fly from Minneapolis to Detroit to meet the team. When we got home we would fly back to get our kids from their grandparents’ house and drive home.

So, we came to the conclusion that as much as we wanted to go, that it wasn’t going to work out. We were ok with that, too. I was surprised by peace about it. I called Lisa Nagle, Bro. Leach’s secretary (and a fabulous one at that) and told her our situation. To make a long story short, Brother Leach and Lisa worked to raise our funds and change our flights so we could fly from Minneapolis and meet the team in Amsterdam! And then, people started giving us a few dollars here and there (Evangel Life Assembly of God in Bad Axe gave us a very nice check) and soon we had spending money, too! Chris’ parents paid our way to the wedding. We couldn’t have asked for more. God blessed us richly.

We thank Mount Hope, Evangel Life, and the others who gave to our trip. We truly would not have gone without you!

It was an amazing trip. We learned about Europe’s background and current situation as relates to religion. I never realized how hard the ground is. It seems that people are either Atheists or Catholics who are not practicing most of the time. They do not see the need for God at this time. It is harder to evangelize there than the third world countries that we usually focus on with missions. Kudos to those who serve there for their faithfulness and tenacity.

We had lots of history lessons in order to see the background and I loved it! We got to see gorgeous castles, churches and many, many historical sights like Waterloo and Battle of the Bulge.

I pray that the district is able to this again next year and that many people will go. It was definitely an eye opener. It was great to spend a week so close to our district superintendent, too. He is an inspired man of God. I am so happy that I am in this district that is led by a man in tune with God and creative in his plans.

I think one thing I learned about myself on this trip is that I need to be more active. I was very tired (still am) as I traipsed from place to place, but I survived. There is energy in doing. What I am trying to say is that I am far too lazy at home. I have an ache or pain and I sit down to rest, but the more I rest, the lazier I get. I need to get going, have a plan of action, work for God, even if it’s only in my home. I feel energized when I have a task to complete. I usually push myself too hard to get the task of say, packing for a trip, completed and then end up sick. I don’t need to push quite that hard, but at the same time if I didn’t go from lazy to crazy, but rather from working normally to working on packing, I would not be so apt to get sick because I am unused to the work.

I also need to work on finding ways to relieve my stress. Lately I have really been feeling stress in my stomach. I feel my stomach roiling. If I don’t have an ulcer yet, I’m bound to get one going on like this. I need to find the best way to rest in God for myself.

Another thing I need to focus on is discipline. I need to continue and strengthen my prayer discipline and I need a schedule to keep myself on task.

I also need to figure out where my place of ministry should be. I feel a morphing coming. I am becoming more of what God wants me to become as I shed the weight of past hurt and unforgiveness. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me. Today I feel like I could do anything! And I can, “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJ

What a great District Council we had this year! Chris and I were both tremendously blessed! We were able to stay 3 nights! That with the new schedule of Monday –Wednesday instead of Tuesday – Thursday, allowed us to stay for the ordination service and the Thursday Leadership Seminar. I love the new schedule and I hope it is permanent. (Hint, hint to anyone in the district office.)

We went on Monday because I was on Teller Committee II and there was a meeting that afternoon. I was so excited and I enjoyed it, too. There were a few things I would have changed with that, though. We were in a prayer room and the lighting wasn’t too good. Also, we were in the same prayer room as the intercessors, which was unfortunate because while I was in there, I couldn’t hear what was going on in the meeting. The speakers had been turned off for the intercessors. So as far as resolutions 1-7, I have no clue how they went or what was discussed.

We didn’t go to the Monday evening banquet. Mostly because our kids came with us, and the banquet we attended a couple of years ago was a loud, cramped affair. I don’t think it was this year, but we didn’t realize it wouldn’t be. I’m glad we didn’t go because we had fun as a family and took it easy before the meetings on Tuesday. We did a little shopping (and VERY little buying) at a posh shopping center.

We were really built up during D.C. I got up and spoke in opposition of resolution 11?. It basically said that instead of ministers having to give 85% of their tithe from both ministerial and secular income to the district, we should change it to 85% of ministerial income only. The ministers would then be free to tithe the other to their church. I do see where this view is coming from. A lot of the pastors of small churches pay the church bills out of their own pocket and receive little to no pay from the church. It is a hard place to be. Chris and I have never been in that bad of a situation, but we do have a VERY limited income. It is hard to make ends meet and to be constantly worried about where the money will come from to pay this or that or just to make life a little enjoyable for our kids. I in no way mean to disrespect these hard working pastors.

There had been a very similar resolution two years ago and Pastor Dave Williams from Mount Hope Church had suggested we tithe 10% each to both our church and the district. We had a conversation going on a forum before DC about the resolution and that was his suggestion to all of us, I believe. Anyway, Chris and I took it to heart and decided to do it. Our church had been receiving our tithe back from the district for the church. That is a thing they will do under special circumstances and for a short period of time. We had run out of time and the church was feeling the crunch. As a church, we have been blessed in so many ways since then. Of course we were before then as well, but we haven’t been so close to financial ruin since then. We just recently bought a new lawn mower with money God provided. As for Chris and I, we have our ups and downs. We are not great steward of our finances. We find that finances are a weak area and we are constantly trying to keep on top of them and be good stewards and grow in this way. It is difficult with little income, though. At the beginning of this year, another church in our section has come along beside us and is supplementing Chris and I’s income with over 50% more than we were receiving! Praise the Lord! I truly believe that if we had not been faithful in tithing extra (giving a sacrificial offering) we wouldn’t be receiving this blessing now.

So, that is basically what I stood up and said. I thought maybe my personal story of provision would show that giving extra tithe to the district brought blessing to us, while when we gave the minimum, we struggled. I don’t believe we should change it.
We ended up sending the issue for more research on how it would affect the district financially. Having more exact numbers would be a good thing, but I will still vote against it the next time it comes up.

Well, there were some who came and thanked me for saying what I did. I give the glory to God though, because I didn’t want to go up there. It makes a person very nervous to stand up in front of all your colleagues and say what’s on your mind. You are putting yourself out there hoping no feels bad by what you say if you are disagreeing with them and hoping you say what God wants you to say without stumbling all over your words. The thanks built me up though. They made me see that I do have value to God and others. I hope to remember these words of thanks on the days when I feel useless. That is mostly why I am writing them down. What really shocked me were the thanks from the District Superintendent and others in the district office. A very prominent pastor of a large church told Chris and I that we amazed him! I didn’t know what to say to that, as we are amazed by the Godly ministry that has grown from his intimate relationship with God. That we should amaze him just floored us. I could only say, “whatever!” I know, great response, eh?

We also had lunch with the pastors from Bad Axe and had a great time with them. Later, the pastor’s wife and I had our complimentary spa treatments together, as well. We are hoping to get together once a month for lunch. I would love to have a friend nearby. They have been through a lot lately. Their son died about a year ago in Iraq. I can’t imagine how that feels. I also had a great conversation with Mary Beth. I told her about our Ella difficulties and she prayed with me about them and for our ministry. It was a great little chat! All of that was going on while I should have been at the Leadership Seminar. I missed about half of it, but I was where I needed to be.

We also go to have dinner and ice cream with another couple. She is in a pastor’s wives yahoo group I’m in. He was making us laugh too hard during the first business session. We had a great time! I hope we get to do it again sometime. They live on the other side of the state from us, unfortunately. I just love DC for the opportunity to see other minister that we only see one time a year, generally.

The ordination service was wonderful and I really appreciated the sermon. Pastor Dave Williams spoke on how to plug into God’s power. It was a very useful sermon and it led into his leadership seminar very well, too.

So, all in all, it was a great council. The kids did really well sitting through all of that, too. It is hardest for Ella and she did great. I thanked her. We went to see the State Capitol after the Seminar on Thursday. I’ve never seen it and I have lived here a long time. It was great to get to see it and share the experience with the kids. I’m thankful for all the intercessors that prayed for us while we met. More prayer is what we need. We can always use more prayer!

We had a great district council this year. We were miraculously provided for. I was miraculously healed of an ear infection and sore throat. You can read about our provision on my hubby’s blog. He did a great job of writing about it, so there is no reason for me to rewrite it. So, check out Adventures in Asceticism. He’s written some other great posts about District Council as well. I will just add that generally, our church pays for all or most of our expenses. That has been a wonderful gift in the past, but this year was especially tight, so we took donations, but not even an official love offering. I was amazed at the amount we got that way, but it still wasn’t enough. Our personal finances have been really tight the past month as well, so we weren’t in a great place when we left.

Now, as for my healing, I get to tell that story! Sunday, Princess was complaining of a sore throat. I thought, “oh, great, we’ll all be sick by the end of the week!” I wasn’t wrong. 😦 I tend to stress out when we are going somewhere. I don’t want to forget anything and I have to pack nearly everything. I make Chris pack his own clothes is all. So, I usually do get sick at the start of a trip. I think I run down my immune system or something. Anyways, I got it Sunday night. My throat hurt just a little. I thought maybe I wouldn’t get the full-blown thing. But, I did. Monday morning, I was croaking out my sentences. Monday afternoon, my in-laws met us at the campground and we handed off the kids. We went to dinner and shopping with them, but the kids were stuck to grandma and grandpa. Monday night they slept on their bus while we slept in our hotel room.

Tuesday morning we headed off to DC (District Council). My head hurt and my throat was killing me, but it was still manageable. So we went to the ordination luncheon and the banquet that night. At the banquet, my ears started hurting. I didn’t even tell Chris because I was hoping it wouldn’t be anything. We went to the house that was lent to us. It was great by the way! What fun! At 2 a.m. I awoke with terrible ear pain. (more…)

Well, the big day is here! I will be ordained in about 5 hours! Yay! I can’t wait! District Council has gone pretty well. Right now I’m sitting in a seminar with Ed Stetzer talking about being a missional church. Good stuff! In an hour and a half, we will get pictures taken with our kids, go to dinner with the in-laws and then come back for practice and more pictures.

It has been confirmed that we are the first couple to get ordained at the same time in Michigan, at least for the past 20 years that our district superintendent, Bro. William Leach, has been in office. We succeeded in confusing the ceremony. But, having practiced, all should go well. I must be honest that it was rather fun confusing things. 🙂

Ed Stetzer is a great speaker. He talks realy fast, but what he has good church planting stuff to say. He is saying that just like missionaries who go to other countries, we need to prepare for our “mission field” where we are pastors. We need to be intentional about reaching people. Just like missionaries learn a new language and culture, we need to continually relearn the culture of those we are trying to reach. That might mean having church in a coffee shop or bar. It might mean going out to help a farmer plant his crop. Whatever the situation of the people, we need to associate ourselves with them in an obvious way. We have “engage the culture where they are.” He listed three things that we need to be do in conjunction with each other.

“Our churches need to be biblically faithful, culturally relevant and counter-culture community for the gospel and the kingdom.”

Good stuff!!! Well, I’m signing off for now!

If there are typos in this post, my apologies! I’m using Hubby’s laptop. Did I tell you that a 7-foot shelf with 20-30 vases fell on him and his laptop? I don’t think I did. I blogged about it on my minister’s network on ning.com, but never copied it over. I will have to do that.

This year has been CRAZY!!! I know that isn’t an excuse for my lack of posts, though. I’ve been feeling kinda unspiritual lately. I can’t really explain it better than that. Here I am a short week before ordination and feeling…blah spiritually. I’ve decided to take action! And I have. Hopefully my action will get me out of this funk.

You're Invited!

Directions

So, yeah, my wonderful hubby and I will be getting ordained on Thursday, May 8th. I’m very excited! We have worked for this and I will be glad to have accomplished yet another goal in my life. I created an invitation using digi-scrap items. This is Shauna of Pineapple Plantation’s Fancy Pants kit. If you’ll be around Detroit, here is the invite:

I’m sure you’re wondering what I’ve been doing with myself all this time. I am too! lol! No, really, our family had the flu two time this year and that wiped us out for a good 5 or 6 weeks! In my free time, I have been diligently digi-scrapping. I just got into this whole new world. I really love it. I’m a huge fan of Photoshop and I never really got into paper scrapping because of the time, cost and space needed. I really love digi-scrapping. In fact, I am the lead moderator on a new digi-scrapping site. I love it at the Scrap Orchard! Here is a recent layout that I did. I think it’s my best ever! If you like it, click it and leave me some comment love! All of the credits are in the gallery.

Two Peas in a Pod Dreaming

What do you think? I was going for whimsical. I think I did it!

So, we are leaving on Sunday sometime to go down to the campground, owned by the Assemblies of God Michigan District, where we will spend a couple of R & R days and meet my in-laws. They are watching our kids for us while we are at District Council. Tuesday we will head to District Council. Then Thursday everyone, including my family, will meet in Detroit to see us get ordained. I’m super excited! Can you tell? One of the pastors in Detroit offered us their church’s missionary house to stay in, FREE of Charge, while we are there. Isn’t that awesome? We have the whole 4 bedroom house so our family can stay with us Thursday night. Yay!

God always provides for us even when we don’t know how he will do it! Praise the Lord!

Well, now you know I’m still alive. I do feel rather bad about not writing lately. But, I should have plenty to write about our ordination, so look for that in a week or so!

I’m sorry I’ve been so silent the last week or so. I’ve been obsessed with a new project. My section, in the Assemblies of God, Michigan District, wanted a place online where we can keep in touch and my wonderful hubby volunteered me to create a social network on ning.com. I was embarrassed he just volunteered me while I was sitting there, but in the end I’m glad he did. Sometimes, he is like God in that he sees my potential better than I ever can.

I ended up creating the network for the entire Michigan district. For all the ministers and wives and lay who minister. It’s like Facebook, but it’s private. It’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. I wish you all were in Michigan. I invited everyone I had e-mail addresses for in Michigan. If you who are reading this, are in the leadership in an Assembly of God church in the Michigan district and you want an invite, let me know in the comments. If you fill out the e-mail address spot in the form, then you don’t need to leave it in your comment. Here is a link if you just want to request a invite through michiganag.ning.com.

We now have 66 members with 156 invites out! I’m so excited. I advertised it at the Women in Ministry Breakaway I went to this past weekend. Even the assistant superintendent and the director or camp ministries and district supervised churches have joined. It’s so exciting to see something I created be so successful. It was all Chris’ idea, but I did the work. We make a great team. I’m terrible with ideas for some reason.

This weekend was the best breakaway ever for me because through the internet (Facebook and MySpace) I’ve kept up with other women and I knew so many this year. I’m really starting to feel at home in our district and I love it. This should help even more. I’m terrible with names, but with the people’s face in front of me every day, I will remember them next time I see them.

Our speaker was Kristi Hollis from The Power Place. She is a very colorful person. She admits that herself. She has 25 differnt paint colors in her house. Is that even possible??? Anyway, I didn’t know what to expect at first, but she really had a lot of good stuff to say about living in the fishbowl as one in ministry. She talked about realizing that there is a purpose for every moment in our lives and we need to be okay with the moment if we want to succeed at our call. The most important part of our call is love; loving our husband, then our children and then those God has given us in our ministry. She challenged us to come up with a plan to make the changes necessary to fulfill our call.

I have many things I need to change about myself. The ones I thought of were my selfishness, poor housekeeping, lack of quality time with my husband and lack of time spent with God each day. I don’t give God enough of my time.

In response to my last post, I had a friend ask me some questions about where I am and want to be. She asked some great questions and some of the last ones, I can’t answer yet. I really appreciated her thought-provoking question and the time she spent in typing them all out. Here is the e-mail conversation that we had:

(Friend’s questions in dark orange): I read your blog and also your sermon from Jan. 4th. It was good….a lot of good points and thoughts! I enjoyed reading it. (My answers in green) Thank you!

I read your blog from yesterday….you raised several questions for me. You said you and Chris are very competitive …So, I have several questions for you. Why did you get your ministerial license?I did it because while I didn’t plan to, I felt God leading me that way at the time. I guess I always felt called to be a pastor’s wife, but it seems that God is transforming me slowly into more than that. I could never have done it if I didn’t feel it was right. I am too lazy to go to all that work if I’m not sure I have to. I really don’t enjoy preaching at ALL! But, I know that is where I ‘m supposed to be right now. I hope I will grow to love it. I do love being in ministry and doing more than the average wife. I enjoy voting and having a say in what happens in the AG, too. Also, I have filled in for my mom’s church which is something that I consider my own ministry. I mean I wouldn’t have done it if I was riding on the heels of my husband.

Do you have your own call from God to preach or did you do it because Chris did?I guess I skipped ahead and answered that already, huh? :)Would you be in ministry even if you weren’t married to a preacher? 3 years ago, I would have said… “I don’t know”. Now, if Chris died, I would continue at this church as their pastor if they let me (and I believe they would). So, yes, I would. Absolutely.

How would going back to school effect your ministry and those who you are currently serving? Good question, I guess I think the biggest help would be long term in that even though it’s a small church, we would have a better chance of staying here if I had alternative income as well as what we both make preaching. As far as the effect of the extra time, I am truly unsure. But, if it’s what God wants, that will work out.

As far as a greater Theological Degree, do you really need that for God to use you in the capacity that he has chosen to use you in? You can always read and study yourself to improve in your Theological studies. Now if you felt lead to teach in a college setting etc., then yes you would need the further studies and degrees. Very true, I am just trying to reconcile my two halves I guess.

Other questions to ask yourself as far as returning to school for your Graphics Degree are…How would you use your degree and what jobs are available in your area to use your degree? I believe that I would be able to find something. When I first moved here was when I applied for the job that I wrote about. I could always work at a paper and they are everywhere. I would use my degree to pay off our huge loans that we already have from Bible college that we haven’t been able to even touch with our current salary. But I really feel called to do graphic design for church plants or other small churches that can’t afford to pay a graphic designer. Churches that could greatly benefit from a face-lift to the community so to speak. I want to be able to this for them at cost or on a sliding scale fee system. Very cheaply at least.

If your interests are really in photography, why waste money on a design graphics degree. Wouldn’t it be better to put that money towards something you really love, photography classes and equipment? That is what I am considering at the moment, but I think your questions have made me realize the answer. The photography would be loads of fun, but it wouldn’t get me the rest of the training I need in order to do what I really want – cheap design for small churches.

Can you afford to return to school without it putting to much financial strain on your marriage? Um…I can’t afford it without more loans, but we have so many already that getting the training to actually get a real job would actually be putting us ahead. If I start in the fall, it would defer my undergrad loans till I’m done and could get a job and hopefully finally make some progress on all our loans. I know it’s not the best plan, but I don’t see any other way of getting out of where we are. We just don’t get paid enough. I pray our church will grow, but I must be patient. All things in God’s time. Maybe this waiting time is the right time to take the action needed for me to be comfortable and confident with my skills.

Also write out the pros and cons of how going back to school would effect your family time and time spent with your children, church time, personal time. When would you do your classes, projects and work outside the home? Would the greater stress be more harmful to you emotionally right now with the depression? or would it be your escape? Yes, very good things to do. I think that it would be helpful to be going somewhere. It would be added stress as well, though. I have to figure out which would be better. These last questions are great ones to pray over.

Just some things to really think about and talk out with your hubby. I know I have raised more questions than I have given any answers for, but they are things that you need to figure out before you make any decisions that effect your whole family.

I appreciate your thoughtful and thorough response more than you can know. Thank you.

It was so funny to read your post today as I just finished praying for you gals struggling with depression and low self esteem. Praying that God would make Himself very real to you, that you can see yourself as Christ sees you and that you would be encouraged in some way today by Him. My heart feels for you all as you struggle with these issues on a daily basis. You all have giftings and callings that God has placed within each of you and I know Satan is out to destroy what God has placed within you. Don’t let him! If you have never taken a Spiritual Inventory Test I encourage you to take one. If you don’t know where to go email me and I can point you to a good one. It is a place to start to see where your strengths are at and also what areas you can work on strengthening. If you are doing things outside of your giftings it will be a constant struggle for you. If you have the gift of helps but find you are constantly stuck in a teaching position within the church body it will be a struggle for you or visa-versa. Find your niche, where your strengths are and let God use you there first. Then let him help you grow in these other areas. Great advice! I have taken several of those tests, but I bet now would be a great time to retake one and go over the results again.

I pray that some how this posting encourages you. God does want you to walk in victory….that doesn’t mean you won’t have days that you struggle, but He will help you overcome!

Thanks again to my friend and her encouraging and thoughtful words, challenging questions and above all the prayers!

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