Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Bible Study

This week I started a new Bible Study at a community Women's Resource Center. Since I don't have a church home, I've been needing the accountability and encouragement to spend time in the Word, and hopefully find some community too.

I was half an hour late--it was on the same day as I have a late meeting (I knew I was going to be late and e-mailed the leader in advance.) I brought Chiquita with me, as we're still nursing, and I can't pump enough for daytime and evening (not to mention that I miss her!)

So I was late. I was stressed. I felt like the baby was distracting. I'm not used to the video format or that we didn't pray for each other at the end.

But God still met me there--He reminded me of truths I had memorized, and the value of a mustard seed's worth of faith.

So this week I'm thankful for:
--Jeannie, for the vision of starting a Community Women's Resource Center
--The presence of this organization, providing counseling and Bible studies for women of all different denominations
--The opportunity to study God's word
--The freedom we have to study, with our very own Bibles and without the worry of persecution or imprisonment

You can share your thanks with Laurie at Women Taking a Stand.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday night struggle

One of the most challenging things about not having a church home is the Saturday Night debate...where are we going to church this week? Before we left the donut church, we were having four day hangovers recovering from attending, and now we have the one day panic attack the day (or hours) before.

There aren't a ton of churches here, yet that almost makes it harder. Where haven't we tried? The hard thing is that we're between charismatic and evangelical, and neither fits us.

Although I've been moving slowly, I am still working my way through Acts. Acts 2:1 really struck me: "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place."

First of all, when I think of Pentecost, I think of the story of Acts--tongues of flames on everyone's heads, speaking in other people's native languages. What I don't think about is why were they all gathered together? I know they were sharing everything, but even sow, just because you're sharing doesn't mean you spend every moment together. Turns out that Pentecost is also a holiday for Jews...the Feast of Weeks, the holy day celebrating the first fruits. That is just too cool, that the first fruits of the Christian "Passover" was the gift of the Holy Spirit!

The other thing that strikes me is that the unity in the church--there weren't separate churches for Peter, for Mark, for Luke, etc. This week I'm starting a Bible Study through a women's center here in town. I'm looking forward to getting know some other Christian women in town...and maybe find a church home too.

Thanks for giving us the first fruit of the Holy Spirit--of reversing the gifting and giving us the gift. Help us find a church home.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ex voyeurism

A friend posted a high school meme on Facebook, and one of the questions was "are you still in contact with your prom date?"

My answers were no and no. Considering prom was the only time I ever went out with my junior prom date (and he asked me in a note), I don't even remember his last name.

But it did make me curious about my senior prom date. We met through 4-H; he lived in a neighboring town, about 15 minutes away. We dated my entire senior year, then I broke it off because I didn't want to be dating someone at college.

Amazingly enough, a quick Google search brought him up, along with his wedding page and he and his wife's (well, really only his wife's) blog. I was glad to hear that he's an electrical engineer, happily married, and running marathons. His younger sister has dyed her hair blonde and is as beautiful as ever. And strangely enough, his daughter was born a couple of days before our Chilita.

I was happy for him--happy things are going well, that he's healthy and has a family.

I didn't have the same response when I've been reading about our old church. They're moving into a new building, and I have a twinge of jealousy about not helping paint. They had a leader's retreat, and part of me thought I should have been laying on the blanket in the sun with friends between sessions. I want to have a church community, and I don't. At least not one that meets on Sunday mornings, or that I see on a regular basis.

So I guess I'm feeling like a dumped prom date. I know eventually we'll find a church home here, and the jilted feelings will fade...I hope someday I can be happy for the donut church, and not feel any of the negatives.

Bless the new donut church as they transition into a new building, and heal our wounds. Show us where you want us, and make us willing to go there.

Monday, April 6, 2009

First communions?

Even though we've had the "just friends" conversation with the neighborhood church and I don't think we'll be there long term, God and our children might have other plans.

Both kids have now had their first communion there.

In the church I grew up in, your first communion was a ritual of fifth grade. After a four week series of classes (including making a special altar decoration and the unleavened bread for the week), we all went down the aisle and had our first communion together (with our families, of course).

While I'm glad for the seriousness that my childhood church took in making sure everyone knew what communion was all about, it was a little artificial. Some children have professed faith years before fifth grade, while others are just going through the motions to make their parents happy.

The neighborhood church is fairly open about communion--the liturgy before communion is something like "all who have placed their trust in Jesus are welcome," and my kids have taken that literally. At the Sunday night service in February, I thought the kids were hitting the snack table while I took communion (Hubby was in the band), but AllBoy had other plans--he jumped in line behind me and took it. Afterwards we had a long talk about communion and what it means--he understood it and wanted to do it, so we decided it was ok.

This Sunday, Princess did a similar thing. On Saturday, we had a long talk about what happens after you die (sparked by the death of a friend's dog), including a profession of faith by Princess. On Sunday in morning church, she wanted to take communion we let her. Though the three minutes she had to hold the cup before everyone was served must have seemed like an eternity to both of us--her because she was so eager, me because I was afraid she was going to spill it!

So I'm taking Jesus at his word... "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14

Thanks, Lord, for leading my children to you. May their faith have deep roots and last a lifetime.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

And the winner is...

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2009-04-06 03:27:51 UTC

So Jonell, the PotBelly card is yours...I don't think I have your snail mail addy, so please send it to me! Thanks everyone for playing...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Side lined

Last night my mom showed me some things she had picked out of a catalog for my Sunday School class...which I'm no longer teaching.

Ugh. It feels like I've been sidelined. Hubby has picked up a Sunday night worship gig (before all this fell apart), so he's got an outlet for using his spiritual gifts. I'm very glad for that. And while I'll occasionally generate a lesson to use with our kiddos (and sometimes their friends) it does feel strange to be out of the game.

Not getting to use our gifts was a contributing reason for not going back to the church we were attending before we went on sabbatical. And I'm sure that no matter where we go next, it'll be a while before I'd be allowed to teach Sunday School. But I'm itching to be back in the game.

Give us opportunities to serve You and use the gifts you've given us, Lord.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Breakin' up is hard to do...

Although we've been estranged for a while, we have yet to have the "break up" conversation with our old pastor. It's like that dating relationship that should have ended a couple of months ago, but drags on...though both parties know it's over.

I knew it was time for us to finalize things when I found myself wanting to toss the Manderin Orange Bath and Body Works body wash and Cool Citrus Basil lotion that I got as "thank you's" for teaching at the donut church. And wondering who I could give the gift card to a restaurant that isn't even in my town (another "Thank You" gift). Kind of like cleaning house after a break up.

Hubby was going to bring a letter and have the conversation yesterday, but his car started acting funny--it wouldn't go over 40 mph, then would rev up to 3000 rpm. Instead he headed home. We took it as a sign that yesterday wasn't the day.

So I'll hold onto the body wash a little longer...but does any one want a PotBelly Sandwich gift card? My best guess is that it has $5 on it. I tried to check the balance, but the calculator didn't work. If you're interested, please leave a comment with an e-mail address, and if there is more than one person interested, I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner on Sunday.