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Archive for the ‘Scriptures’ Category

Today we held a Thanksgiving “Turkey Gobble” in our ministry apartment. Our final count was 61 kids and about 15 volunteers in a two bedroom apartment. And we only own 45 chairs…you can imagine what eating a Thanksgiving meal in that crowd was like! Anyway, we had a great day. Besides many of our regular awesome volunteers, my wonderful family volunteered and really helped make the day happen. Of course, Nora and Lydia were there too- which added to the fun and the work!

As the kids arrived, Miss Brandy provided them with a couple of Thanksgiving coloring sheets and a Thanksgiving BINGO card.

They colored for a few minutes and then we started serving the food which Darrell and his sister, Paula had cooked for us: turkey, jello with whipped cream, a roll. Added to the plate was some yummy corn, “cooked” by Lydia.

 

I told you she was a chef!

In addition, we had a delicious green bean casserole which Kristen had made for us (I wanted some of that so bad!) For beverages, we had ice water (my contribution, being the cook that I am!) and lemonade made by my niece Staci and Nora.

After we ate for a few minutes, Miss Brandy led us in a couple of fun rounds of Thanksgiving BINGO, assisted by Miss Julie. We were so crowded, they had to lead the game from the hallway and winners had to meet Miss Brandy in the bathroom to receive their prizes!

Next we sang this unit’s theme song (having nothing to do with Thanksgiving- but the kids love it)- “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.”

Finally, I led the kids in a Scripture verse for the day, which Amanda had printed off for us and put at each child’s plate:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. Psalm 118:1

First, of course, we had to sing our MOST FAVORITE song- “This is My Bible.” It’s not quite the same without Mr. Jason’s electric guitar accompaniment- but the kids sang at the top of their lungs anyway.

After a short closing prayer, the kids were out the door to be handed a Thanksgiving cupcake and we quickly shut and locked it so we could clean up.

What fun we had!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We’re still cleaning, purging, getting rid of stuff and finally allowing parts of our house see light! I was going through a last couple of boxes filled with scraps, tidbits, notebooks, photos and memorabilia mostly from the last few years our kids were still at home. A box I went through today was full of files I had put together for household stuff: bills, warranties, medical recipts, check registers but also a lot of my own little thoughts and memories. I had one labelled Amanda (no one else in our family though), Crafts, Apples (that’s a subject for another blog), Decorating (yikes, like I would ever use those ideas 15 years later) and more. Really, the whole entire humongous box of papers was like a couple of little folders I now have on my computer which take up absolutely no space!!

 Anyway, one of the folders was labelled “Cindy’s Thoughts and Ideas.” Actually, there wasn’t much in it- and in fact, most of the folder had none of my ideas in it- but thoughts of others that intrigued me. Here is one that I still liked:

In Dr. James Dobson’s February 1992 Focus on the Family newsletter, the subject was evidently about the value America places on its children, born and unborn. Two quotes I wrote down and filed:

“Children: a generation currently in escrow.”

“Nice job, Planned Parenthood. Good thinking, Senators and Congressmen. Nice nap, America.”

Without having the article available (I searched their archives, but they don’t go back that far…my closet did, however), it’s hard to know exactly what he was talking about- but the essence remains; the value of our children, the next generation. Part of the definition of the word escrow is: high value personal and business property. There is nothing in my physical life more imporant to me than my family, particularly my children and grandchildren. Nothing compares. And for all the laws to protect, educate and ensure health of American kids, generation after generation degenerates in terms of morality, ability to hold famlies together and achieve personal satisfaction in life. I know Dr. Dobson’s references to Planned Parenthood and Congress must have had something to do with legislation regarding abortion or teen access to birth control or to “reproductive health services.” I’m sure the fall-out of the “nice job, good thinking and nice nap” has probably contributed to a 15 year decline in many social markers we consider important for kids in America. I don’t like the messages we send our kids through TV, Internet, cable and more. My thoughts and ideas for kids and how to raise them, America, or just Mom and Dad, were given to me straight from the source:

Psalm 78

1 O my people, hear my teaching;
       listen to the words of my mouth. 

 2 I will open my mouth in parables,
       I will utter hidden things, things from of old-

 3 what we have heard and known,
       what our fathers have told us.

 4 We will not hide them from their children;
       we will tell the next generation
       the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
       his power, and the wonders he has done.

 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob
       and established the law in Israel,
       which he commanded our forefathers
       to teach their children,

 6 so the next generation would know them,
       even the children yet to be born,
       and they in turn would tell their children.

 7 Then they would put their trust in God
       and would not forget his deeds
       but would keep his commands.

 8 They would not be like their forefathers—
       a stubborn and rebellious generation,
       whose hearts were not loyal to God,
       whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Just a thought!

 

 

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Here’s what I’m working on right now:

Concepts 21 Kids Club (see Square Peg Ministries tab above)- this is the last week of Superbook Olympics. We’ve been studying the book of Mark. We’re only going to finish through Chapter 5. However, we did learn a lot of Bible stories and where to find them. Most importantly, we learned how kids can tap into the same Jesus of the Bible stories to help in their own everyday lives. Tomorrow, we’re going to end this season with ice cream sundaes. Yum!

Royal Family Kids Camp– the three of us who are starting the Cherokee County camp next summer are e-mailing back and forth with follow-up details from our meeting last week. We’re working towards an Open House/Informational Reception next month for folks we hope will be interested in joining this ministry next year.

M&M Puppeteers’ 20th Anniversary Reunion/Performance: It’s hard to believe we’ve been in ministry for 20 years- but we’ve got the videos and the hairstyles to prove it! We’re planning to do an anniversary performance at the Atlanta Puppet Festival next month. Sooo, we’ve been meeting and planning for two weeks already. Working practices begin next Tuesday. Seven more weeks to go!! We’ve identified approximately 75+ people who have served on the puppet team through the years!

N. GA Church of God Children’s Leaders’ Committee: Since I fulfilled my 12 years of service on the national team, the local group asked me to join them to help put on the annual North Georgia conference. I am helping find and contact exhibitors for the conference. We’re beginning to get some response. However, the event is only 5 weeks away- so we’re hoping and praying for the best.

Atlanta Puppet Festival: I mentioned the M&M Puppeteers performance- but on top of that, there’s an entire festival to put together! We’re expecting 700 people. This year we’re hosting it at Crabapple First Baptist Church. The festival is an exciting ministry training event- but it’s a lot of work. However, the benefits of rubbing shoulders with like-minded people and the resources we receive make it worth the effort.

Square Peg Ministries: putting together an effective board to help govern the direction of the ministry. ‘Nuf said on that one. Getting out our newsletter with details about fall: school-year Kids Club format begins, middle school Bible Study and activities, we’re starting a new Hispanic puppet team, Homework Help/Tutoring begins after Labor Day, Open House/Sign Ups for our ministry programs. Getting our Compassion In Action project together. It’s a bunch of stuff to think about and do!

Summerfest/Mobile, AL: I’ll be teaching at this one day ministry training event. However, I’m driving to it- so it becomes at least a two day event. And I’ve got to prepare my workshops pretty soon. It’s next week!

Camp Rocks (see tab above): I know it’s done, but I’ve still got thank yous to get out. No small task!

Trying to keep up a blog: mixed results! Yikes!!!

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Oh-oh; I can tell this is going to be a long one…

I started watching Oprah about 4 years ago, I think. I had never watched her show before that. I did see commercials about it, so I kind of knew what she was all about. I remember the years that the commercials were often about healing your inner spirit or finding your spiritual self or something related to those kinds of subjects. That made me very disinterested in watching her show. Plus, I’ve never really been home at that time of day anyway.

Well, introduce TiVo into this scenario and things have changed. First of all, a couple of Christmases ago, do you remember Oprah’s Christmas special chronicling her trip to Africa and her outreach to African kids? Well, I was just mesmerized, because that’s the kind of work with which I am involved- on a tiny scale compared to Oprah, of course. Besides the money and the staff and the name (!), the big difference between Oprah’s outreach and an outreach program in which I would be involved is as follows.

 At the climax of a wonderful experience of giving gifts to the children, providing solutions to some of their needs, showing  kindness and compassion to them, Oprah’s epiphany was to announce, “I was a poor child just like you. But I have made it and you can too. It is only possible if you pursue an education!” When I was watching that special, I loved it up to that point. I so wished I could have been up on that platform instead of Oprah so I could have instead said- “This is all made possible because God loves you, He knows who you are. He knows your name and He has a special plan for your life. He wants you to get to know Him through a relationship with His Son, Jesus who gave His  life for you.”

Well, of course, it’s Oprah’s show and her money- so she can do whatever she wants- but it did kind of bug me. I’ve been reminding the Lord about my desire to serve Him in Africa and that incident off and on ever since then.

So, back to my TiVo- I had recorded that show for whatever reason- but because I was so mesmerized by the “almost ministry” and it’s exactly what I want to do (in the name of Jesus, of course) that when they mentioned Oprah would be doing a follow-up on her own show, I decided to TiVo it- and now four years later, I have watched nearly every episode, including the After Shows!

But, as I alluded to above and mentioned in the title, there are some significant things that bug me when I watch The Oprah Show- and one of them happened again yesterday.

All that “super-spiritual” stuff Oprah talks about all the time bugs me. Her ability to  have a platform for her super-spiritual mumbo-jumbo bugs me. And the way her followers, audience members and fawning celeb friends just bow down to her super-spiritual, self-defined non-religion bugs me. Let me explain.

On the episode I watched yesterday (probably from a few days ago- TiVo, remember?), eight women had become finalists in Oprah’s Search for the Next Big Idea. I really enjoyed it. All of the ideas were good- and I would probably buy some of the products if I saw them on TV or in the store. Nothing wrong here. Well done program. One guest with a good idea, the Original Shutter Covers, was enthusiastic about her product- and had me convinced by the end of her spiel that I, too, need shutter covers. (Hey, wait a minute- I need shutters!) Here’s the rub for me though. This guest, in an aside to Oprah, said: “When I heard about “The Secret”, I just used the law of attraction to bring this idea to me. Blah blah blah, blah, blah blah…..”

Gag. Practically every episode of Oprah is now about that darned “secret.” On the After Show this week, Oprah was causally chit-chatting with the audience and of course, the subject turned to the secret. Oprah began pontificating about basically, how you are god, or maybe you are actually the universe, or maybe you are what ever you want to call this power- because you can attract whatever this power wants you to have. She concluded by saying that this was real faith. What??

I don’t know about you, but this kind of made up gobbledy-gook just makes my blood boil and drives me crazy!! One of my all-time fave books which has been around for a looong time is called “The Secret Kingdom”, by Pat Robertson. In that book, Pat has mined truths from The Book, the Bible, that would put some foundation to Miss Winfrey’s blather about this Law of Attraction where “I” am the center of the Universe.

In “The Secret Kingdom”, Pat rightly describes the eight spiritual laws of life which can help lead one to happiness and prosperity, and tells how to lead a fulfilling life. And it is all based on written truth- God’s Word- not some opinions of Oprah or her best bud and self-proclaimed visionary, Michael Beckwith or The Secret’s author, Rhonda Byrne.

Look at the publisher’s description of “The Secret”: Fragments of a great secret have been found in the oral traditions, in literature, in religions and philosophies throughout the centuries. For the first time, all the pieces of The Secret come together in an incredible revelation that will be life-transforming for all who experience it. In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life—money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.

Well, guess what? The only power inside of me is what comes from the Holy Spirit of Jesus living inside of me. The power with which I have to do ANYTHING comes from the authority of the Word of God and it’s not a secret. God wants you to know how to live. He wants you to know the blessings available for those who live in obedience to His Word. It’s not a little known set of principles put together in fragments from throughout history. God has the Secrets of his Kingdom laid out in plain view, if we’ll  just have the eyes to see. Not with eyes blinded by self-proclaimed visionaries or popular talk show hosts.

Here’s a sample of what God’s Word tells us are “secrets” to successful living: 

The Law of Giving and Receiving   Luke 6:38a Give and it will be given to you. 

The Law of Use Matthew 25:29a Everyone who has will be given more.

The Law of Perseverance  Matthew 7:7 Ask and it will be given to you. Search and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.

The Law of Responsiblity Luke 12:48  Much will be required of everyone who has been given much.

The Law of Greatness Luke 22:26  …the most important among you should be like the youngest. The one who rules should be like the one who serves.

The Law of Agreement Matthew 18:19 Suppose two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for. My Father in Heaven will do It for you.

The Law of Miracles John 14:12 Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. In fact, he will do even greater things. 

The Law of Authority Matthew 16:19 What you lock on earth will be locked in heaven. What you unlock on earth will be unlocked in heaven. 

 Listen, if you meditate on and obey just God’s truths listed above, it’s no secret that you will have a successful life. And that shouldn’t bug anyone!

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I mentioned that there was a very important detail in which I saw God’s hand at work when Staci and I were at the NCLA conference this past weekend.

It was the final service of the weekend ending with a time of prayer. A conference attendee came up to me during the prayer time, very moved in her heart that the Lord told her to tell me something. She was quite hesitant to share with me what she felt like God had put on her heart. However, what she told me was just the kind of detail I really needed to hear from the Lord. After a couple of preface comments which I can’t really remember, she finished by saying: And the Lord says not to fear about what’s coming up, because the future will greater than the former.

You see, God has blessed me over these past 27 years to have a lot of success in ministry. We have done big things for God. At times, He has enabled me and my ministry teams beyond what I thought was possible. So, in stepping out away from the “former” ministry successes- I have kind of wondered if it was possible to do big things for God again. Please understand what I mean by “big.” Not flashy. Not expensive. Not always the coolest, most cutting-edge (whatever that is- sometimes that edge is too sharp and it hurts!) But ministry that has been real, that has stood that test of time, that has produced fruit that has remained in the lives of kids and workers alike. Big; meaning deep, and wide, and good and sometimes amazing.

So when my friend at the conference spoke God’s word to me, I was humbled and awed. Because this stepping out on faith thing is not such an easy task. So, as I have allowed that word to sink into my brain and my spirit over the last couple of days, God has reminded me of a few Scriptures that the word he spoke to me on Saturday might refer to. I already linked one above. Do you hear what the Lord is saying in that verse? I will not do anything without announcing to you what I’m doing. So you see, there is no fear in me when I know the Lord is going before me- announcing to me the new things He is doing. I have confidence is this venture of His (not mine!)

Here are a few other Scriptures that God’s Word through my conference friend might also relate:

Haggai2:9 The thing about this verse that speaks greatly to me is that the glory of the new work God has called me and our team to will bring greater glory to God (not to us and our new ministry) than previously. That is my whole point of serving God- to point people to Him and His glory. And again, God spoke this to me through the word at the conference.

Job 42:12 This verse is perfect for me and I so appreciate the Lord telling me this. Job went through, shall we say H-E-double hockey sticks. But when that “former” stuff was over, God blessed him significantly beyond that first part of his life. And that’s what I am depending on God to do with me. We’ve had a great 27 years- but God bless these next years of work and ministry beyond what the former part even was.

Well, well, well….I hope you could stick with me to the end of today’s blog!!! Because God is no respecter of persons. The blessing He gives me is for you too. And whatever He blesses you with- I want it too!!

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