Saturday, June 28, 2014

4th of July Giveaway

In honor of the 4th of July and because I love God, my husband, my nation, my family, my church and my friends...I'm going to give away 4 autographed copies of Andy's new book, Kidnapped in Budapest.  All you have to do is leave a comment below to be eligible.  Winners will be announced on the 4th of July.  GOD BLESS AMERICA...& BUDAPEST!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Panfork Youth Camp

River fun! 

Three man ball.

Heaven & Hell--Go & Tell Simulation

Groom girls with the Booker girls!

Bum Bum Bitty Bitty before Bible Study.

Groom dominated in GaGa ball!

The Fishermen

Andy & I went with 9 of our youth to Panfork Camp last week.  We had a rough start, but on our way home I asked our kids, "So...was it a good week?"  And without exception, they all yelled, "YES!"

Our kids were great.  On day one, we girls got to our cabin first...knowing we'd be sharing the cabin with other groups because there were only 3 of us.  We got in the cabin, chose our beds, and nested.  A woman came in and told us she had 9 in her group and they'd all like to be together.  We told her that was perfect--the other side of the cabin had plenty of beds for all of them.  Later, some girls came in and told us there were 9 of them and where should they go?  We didn't know which church the woman was from, but tried to determine if it was the same group.  We couldn't figure it out, so we directed them to the other side of the cabin. wasn't the same group.  Because the other group wasn't going to be able to be together, we opted to join the group on the other side where there were more beds so the woman's group could be together.  I was so proud of our girls!!  They never complained. They just packed up their bedding, got their luggage and moved.  We got the beds which were left-over and nested again.  What a great mistake!  We ended up on the same side as First Baptist Church, Booker, TX and we fell in love with that group!!  I love how God redeems our mistakes!

During the free time in the afternoons, we could always find 90% of our boys fishing.  They would catch & release.  They caught tons of fish with corn as bait.  They asked Andy to go into town and see if he could find them some we did.  Apparently, people in Wellington and Shamrock don't go fishing much.

Our kids took challenges.  The climbed rock walls, walked beams 30 ft. in the air, slid in mud, played games they didn't want to play in the hot sun.  But most importantly, they listened to God.  They were challenged by some great Bible teaching and experiences.  And I believe some lives were changed.  I know they were drawn together as a group through some tough experiences.  One thing I now know about Groom kids....they have each other's back.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Gib & Wanda Welch

I was the director of Living Water for 5 1/2 years.  When I became director, Gib Welch & Herman Mos became my two biggest supporters from day one.  I overheard someone complaining when I brought a coffee pot into our chapel to serve our guests the first Friday...but I heard these two defend me that day.  They both would come up alone on Wednesday mornings and get organized before the rest of the volunteers came up on Thursdays to bag groceries.  They would sit down for a few minutes and drink a cup of coffee--and I started joining them for that cup of coffee.  Soon, Herman began baking a loaf of banana nut bread and bringing it to go along with our coffee.  (I didn't know for the longest that Herman was baking the bread.  I'd tell him each week to thank Billie, his wife, for the bread!)  It became such a special time.  One day I realized that I had a wealth of wisdom sitting with me each Wednesday and I began picking their brains.  I got input for that ministry.  I asked life questions.  And I fell in love with those guys.  Herman went to be with the Lord several years ago.  After that, lots of people joined us for our Wednesday morning breakfasts.  It became my favorite morning of the week at Living Water--eating something, drinking some coffee--but most of all fellowshipping with some of my favorite people in the world.

Gib kept coming and helping at Living Water and still came for coffee on Wednesdays.  Most of the time, he'd cut his time with us short so he could get home to take care of Wanda, his wife, who had back problems.  But on days she was feeling well, she would come with him and join us for coffee.  She had a wonderful sense of humor and used it to keep Gib in line.  They were so great together.  They celebrated 66 years of marriage this past fall.  I always regretted the day I started keeping hours for individual volunteers at Living Water and turning them in to a volunteer base.  I think when Gib began seeing how many hours he actually spent at Living Water, he decided it was time to back out and turn the reigns over to someone else.  He felt like he needed to be home with Wanda and take care of her with her deteriorating health.  Of course, we understood and blessed him.  And I've never seen a leader like Gib--he was a servant leader who embraced every volunteer and helped them find their place at Living Water.  He led with grace and love and he backed out the same way.  I learned so much about leadership from him.  Gib had been in leadership at Phillips 66 and even trained leaders.  After getting to know him, I knew our church had missed out on having such a treasure in leadership.  Gib always taught Sunday School, but never felt led to become an elder--but he's probably the truest elder-at-heart I've ever met.   

When I decided to resign from Living Water, Gib & Wanda were the first people I told.  I wanted to give them the same grace they'd always extended to me.  They loved me well.  After Andy & I moved to Groom, we would run into them at The Plaza in Borger when we'd go back there to eat and get to hug them and visit with them.  Every time we saw them, Wanda would tell me, "We miss you so much!"  The feeling was mutual.

Wanda finished her journey here on this earth today.  She is celebrating a new body today in heaven!!  I know God greeted her with the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!  Enter into the joy of the Lord!"  Gib had surgery this week and is in the hospital.  I know he's grieving--over losing the love of his life of whom he took such diligent, wonderful care--and over not being there.  Please pray for my friend.  I love him deeply and I know he's hurting.  Pray for his physical healing, too!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Nursery or Boot Camp?

I'm afraid many churches and Christian ministries have become nurseries.  Intending to show mercy and grace, we've instead coddled, rocked and nursed new believers way past their infancy.  They've needed hand-holding and we've been eager to comply.

But maybe we should be boot camps instead of nurseries.   When they leave boot camp, they've toughened up and know the basics in handling a gun, surviving impossible terrain, and how to storm a beachhead.  They know they have an enemy who wants to destroy them.

The Holy Land Key by Ray Bentley

This book was not what I was expecting.  I expected it to be another end-times prophecy much like I've read many times.  But it wasn't.  Ray Bentley takes you on a Hebrew journey which begins with Abram.  And he doesn't just include the son of promise in this journey, but Abraham's other son, Ishmael, and his descendants as well.  Of course, these descendants are usually included in an end-times prophecy book as the enemy, but are talked about with respect in Mr. Bentley's book.

Early in this book, the author makes this statement, "For Jews living in Israel today, prophecy is their present as well as their future."  He makes his case with those words.  Using the events of our daily newspapers, Mr. Bentley shows how today's events are shaping our world for end-time prophecy.  He also exposes the paradigm most Jews and even Arabs live with--how those current events affect their lives today.

Ray Bentley also uncovers the church's lacking regard for both Jews and Arabs.  We may say we love the Jewish people, but do we really?  What actions prove that?  And the church can't seem to differentiate between Arabs and Muslims.  As a result, the body of Christ has little regard or love for Arabs--many of whom are believers.

This book has challenged me.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to WaterBrook Press for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Controlling Wives & Churches

"Then he said to the woman, 'I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy and in pain you will give birth.  And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.'"  Genesis 3:16 (NLT)
I had a thought the other morning.  I wonder if The Church is suffering from the same dysfunction as wives?  Or is it...wives are suffering from the same dysfunction as The Church?
Let me explain what I mean.  When Adam & Eve chose to sin, God removed them from the garden with these curses:  men would work by the sweat of their brow and women would have pain in child birth and want to control their husbands.  Jesus came to break those curses at the cross.  (Galatians 3:13)  But...we have to appropriate that work in our lives.  It's one thing to know the curse has been broken, but we have to choose to live in freedom and grace.
So...a dysfunction would be for a woman to still control her husband.  She's been set free from that curse.  But she has to appropriate it.  (FYI: Personally, I believe a woman controls her husband when she doesn't feel loved by him.  And a man resists a controlling wife.  So they can get caught up in a vicious cycle until someone steps up to redeem the relationship with love and respect.)
My The Church walking in that same dysfunction?  Is she walking under the curse and trying to CONTROL?  After all, The Church is the bride of Christ.  And since the pastor is the manager of God's household (the steward left to oversee in Christ's absence), is he loving The Church?  Or...does The Church really know Christ's love?  Have they received the love He has for them?  
Who will break the cycle of dysfunction and redeem?  Are wives only mimicking what they see happening in The Church?
"For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything."  Ephesians 5:22-24
If The Church isn't submitting to Christ, we have no example for marriages.