Ministry


I believe that I could work on speaking culturally. People in my area say things like “you’s” for “you all” and add “s” to the end of many store names, like “Wal-Mart’s”. Recently, my family received a card at church and it had been changed to say something like “you’s” and before I realized what I was doing, I laughed out loud at it. The person who wrote it genuinely thought that it should be “fixed”, as did most everyone in the congregation.

It is hard for me to knowingly use language wrongly, but when speaking to people in my area, I could improve by not just understanding their quirks, but joining in to foster identification. I don’t feel that I fit in with my community very well because I am educated, professional and white-collar while they are blue-collar working poor. Is there a way to find a happy medium between speaking correctly and culturally in this situation?

“Covergence is a strategy of communication (more…)

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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!

I’ve been tagged again which is probably a good thing since it’s been a while since I have posted. First, though, some news. We got our economic stimulus check in the mail last week! Yippee! I got to buy an external hard drive so that I can back-up all my precious pictures and scrap stuff! It was fun splurging on fun stuff for a week. Another bit of news is that I have added another blog. If you click scrap layouts at the top of this page, you will go to a page with a link to the new blog on it. It showcases (or at least will) my most beautiful layouts. Check it out!

Now for the meme:

I was tagged by Monkey Memories!

Four jobs I’ve had:
1. pastor
2. assistant manager at a pizza place
3. secretary
4. shift manager at Office Depot

Four movies I could watch over and over:

I really don’t like to watch movies over and over, but the ones that I can stand to watch like once a year are:
1. Princess Bride
2. The Matrix Trilogy
3. Dances with Wolves (although it’s been a LONG time since I’ve watched it, I just LOVED that movie. I wonder if I still do?)
4. Lord of the Rings

Four places I have lived:
1. Scottsdale, AZ (haha this one stays the same as MM’s answer!)
2. Marion, Michigan
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
4. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Four TV shows I like:
1. Alias (My absolute favorite!)
2. Lost (yes, I’m a Lostie and proud of it!)
3. CSI
4. The Pretender (anyone else remember that show? It was awesome!)

Four Favorite Foods:
1. Chocolate cake with triple chocolate chip fudge frosting (YUM!)
2. Tuna Casserole (my favorite comfort food)
3. Coldstone Ice Cream (the best combo in the world: 1/4 mint, 3/4 Chocolate with brownie chunks, marshmallow cream and fudge sauce. YUMMY!)
4. Lemonade (good lemonade not like out of the pop machine. I mean fresh squeezed goodness.)

Four Places I Would Rather Be:
1. Paris, France
2. Anywhere in Europe
3. The Philippines
4. Minneapolis, Minnesota

People I’m Tagging:
YOU! If you want to be tagged, BE YE TAGGED! lol!

This is my sermon for this coming Sunday. Tell me what you think!

Date preached: 5/25/08, Sebewaing

RCL After Epiphany 8A

Text: Matthew 6:24-34

Subject: Why is God telling us not worry?

Complement: Because we have Him to trust in the lean times.

Exegetical Idea: If they serve God, He will provide for the Israelites – They need not worry.

Homiletic Idea: If we serve God, He will provide for us so we needn’t worry either.

Purpose: Hearers will ask God to be their Lord and provide their needs.

Type: Deductive, Expository

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

That poem, by Robert Frost, has always been a favorite of mine. The yellow wood reminds me of northern Michigan where I lived when I was young. And the constant decision of which way to go both on a walk and in my life has been beautifully detailed in this poem by Robert Frost. I always imagine myself gazing at the two roads deciding if I will take the less traveled, maybe even more difficult way or the easier way that most take. I have always likened them to the narrow and wide paths that we choose between in our life. I have chosen the narrow path to God rather than the wide path to wealth, power and destruction.

That is what our passage of scripture speaks of this week, too.

“No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God AND wealth.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

Here, Jesus breaks down our choices into two paths. There is the path serving God and the path serving wealth. (more…)

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.

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