Reaching Out To Others

Today I have been working on stuff for my church today. Really I have been thinking on things for some time. Friday I went to Pastor Ray to discuss a few things. I’m sure he was wondering what I had up my sleeve since I wanted to call a meeting.

112For a number of years I have been on the Missions and Outreach Team at my church. I was the Team Leader for quite some time. After a while I became frustrated with it since I couldn’t get people to understand that there is more to Missions and Outreach than just writing a check. Yeah, sure, money is great, but there is more that is needed. We all need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are hurting physically, emotionally and spiritually.

When I consider what it means to focus on Missions and Outreach, I feel it is equipping ordinary people like myself to go out and do awesome things in the name of Jesus Christ so that all can see, hear and experience God’s love.

  • In the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), God gave the Church its marching orders: Go—to the whole world, to the end of the age. While in the original Greek, poreuomai is a participle, it shares the force of the imperative command to “make disciples.”

It was difficult to get people to join the Missions and Outreach Team. I guess it is intimidating when you think about it. After a while people would tell me that they aren’t able to go here and there. They aren’t physically able to go out and dig wells. I guess they were watching too much TV or listening to visiting missionaries. As I talked to them I would let them know that each and every one of us lives in a mission field. There is always going to be those who needs to experience God’s love.

While my friend Lisa and I were discussing things prior to talking to our pastor, we really wanted to keep our focus on what is important. After many discussions, it became apparent that it is important that every Christ-follower discover what their unique gift is and to use those gifts when witnessing and glorying God. Each and every person has a God-given gift. when I look around those who I go to church with, I realize that many have forgotten how special they are and what gifts God has given them. If there are those who would like to help with Missions and Outreach, I would love to hear from you. Well, those that goes to my church🙂.. But, we could use prayers from all over the world.

My friend Lisa has a deep desire to be a part of Voice of the Martyrs. She has a big heart when it comes to serving others and sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard the Word. I never knew that she was as involved with Voice of the Martyrs till a couple of weeks ago.

My daughter Jessica loves children. She teaches the children for our Mid-Week Service, VBS and during the Worship Service if there are children at church. Jessica doesn’t really have the gift of marketing and getting the word out to those who needs to hear it. But, that is a gift that I have. I have never been taught computer, it just happened. I did work in sales for many years and I would train people to become better sales representatives, rebuttal (stand your ground). I did this directly and indirectly. I never really thought it would come in handy until I moved to my town. I left that part of my life behind when we moved to Utah.

As I got to know more people at church, it boggles my mind that there are so many talented and gifted people. I can totally understand that people are tired and not feeling good. You don’t have to go out knocking on doors in order to reach those who need to know more about God. I think sometimes we are so much into our comfort zone that we are frozen like statues in our seats. I honestly don’t think God intended us to just sit there and be quiet. If we are breathing, then God isn’t done with us. He still has a purpose for our lives.

Here are a few questions I have been asking myself lately;

  • Why not use your skills or special abilities to reach others.
  • Why not invite people to church?
  • Why not get involved in Bible Studies? 

As we were sitting down with Pastor Ray, a few things came to mind. One of those things is how Satan is our true enemy. Satan is our accuser, tempter, deceiver and adversary. Satan is working overtime to try to convince us to doubt God’s truth and he wants us to believe his lies. It seems as if Satan is deliberately attacking those who believe in Christ.

I say this because there has been some crazy things happening lately. There has been a lot of squabbling over various things. I know there are always going to be differences and differences of opinions. I do feel that there is a spiritual warfare going on and I don’t know how people can’t see it.  Maybe I just see things from a different perspective. While our church is a very loving church, there have been some that aren’t acting as if they are loving. Maybe this is why I have been having all of these Mission and Outreach things on my heart right now. When there are people who are involved in conflict, it discourages those  who are seeking  and searching.

As for my own personal feelings, I done with those who gripe and complain constantly. When they keep saying, “we need to change this”, or “we need to do that.”. Well, the “WE” is “ME and YOU“. It is vital to run as fast as you can away from temptations to sin and to focus on praying against Satan’s plans to hurt you and to hurt other people.

I asked a few questions earlier about why not use your skills and special abilities to help others. Why is it OK to just sit there? It isn’t OK. Even if you can’t physically go out of the house or to donate your time or money, you can pray. Prayer is the most powerful tool there is. Our church offers opportunities for people to come to the church and pray for students and community members. I wonder how many people realize that Pastor Ray goes out to the parking lot, sets up a table, gives away Bibles, water and tracts. He prays for each and every person. Since Stan passed away, it has only been Pastor Ray. I get a bit ticked over this one as you can tell. I don’t get why there aren’t others that are willing to help pray. It doesn’t cost a dime. I didn’t even realize that he has been the ONLY one to show up and pray for the students at Dixie State University. I hope on this next one in September that there will be a few others that will help.

Where: Church Parking Lot

When: Tuesday, September 6th and Weds, 7th from 9am-11am.

Then as I was talking to Pastor Ray, something else came to mind and that is the Mid-Week Bible Study of Ephesians. I never really paid much attention to this little tid bit till my friend brought it up. Why is it during the summer months that people feel it is important to take a three-month break from Bible Studies. I have been coming to my church for over 20 years and I have never really noticed that. But, literally people stop living in the summer months. I wonder what God would think about taking a three-month break from Him. Sorry, another one of my triggers.

I wonder what the Fowler’s in Ethiopia would do if they could only have studies on nice days where no air conditioning was needed? The Fowlers are missionaries that live with the Gumuz people. They live in a shack basically. None of the modern amenities that we have.Yet, the tribes they are reaching will walk hours to go to church. They sit on dirt floors.  I know I may offend some people by what I am saying, but I just don’t get it! We stop going to Bible Studies because it is to hot outside or that we have a disagreement. Shoot, I disagree on many things. I use those times as a learning tool. I crack open my Bible and I ask God to show me what the truths are. If I don’t understand what my pastor is saying, I ask him. Lord knows I don’t like the music that is sung all the time. But, at least I can go to church and I’m not there for the music.

I was pretty shocked to see that there was only 6 people who came out for the Bible Study. The way I see it, it seems evident that Satan is trying to wage war and we need to be standing firm against him. If you would like to go to the mid-week Bible Study at my church, it is;

St. George Community Church, 95 South 800 east

  • Wednesday–1:00 PM – Elliott Hall, Ephesians, Pastor Ray teaching all summer.

Ephesians 2:1-10 – Exhibitions of God’s Grace

Observe Paul’s flow of thought: You were dead, but God made us alive and raised us up with Christ. You deserved his wrath, but now you’ve been saved by grace. Amazing. And why did God do it? Verse 7: “So that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

In closing I just want to say that  as Christians we are engaged in war. We need to keep in mind that Jesus will be returning soon and our time is limited, so is the time that we have to live on this earth. I know my days are numbered, just like anyone else. I plan on making the most out of my time by fighting evil and sharing the Gospel with anyone and everyone. 

 

 

Mattie Bennett

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Mattie Bennett

When I was in high school in the 80’s I lived in Willcox, AZ. There were many people who helped me get through all of the things that was going on in my home life. Even if they didn’t realize how things were within our home, they knew something wasn’t right. One of the many people who was literally person of joy was Mattie Bennett. Mattie went home to be with the Lord in 2006.

Her son Harry Myers was the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Willcox. Her grand-daughter Diana was a good friend of mine. Since my family was off their ever-living rockers, there was the Myers Family which included Mattie Bennett.

My friend Shirley Morganti posted this picture. I know many who don’t act their age. I hope I am one of those people. When I seen this saying posted on Shirley’s wall, I immediately thought of Mattie. As I write this, I have a smile on my face when I think of her.

I had to have been around 14 yrs old when I first got to know Mattie. I was over at the Myers house like I was most of the time. Mattie comes into the house with this big smile. Mattie had this presence when she entered the room. I don’t know exactly how to word that since Mattie was Mattie.

She and I got to know each other quite well. It is because of her that I write poetry. One day after Mattie came to pick me up from my house to take her to hers, she and I sat down in front of her sewing machine. I was hoping to God that she wasn’t going to make me sew. The only time I ever sewed anything, it fell apart. I didn’t realize that there is a temporary stitch on sewing machines, lol. Well, I will leave the rest up to your imagination lol.

While Mattie was sitting in front of her machine, she was sharing her poetry and how her poetry and writing helped her deal with things in her life. She would write down her prayers or whatever came to mind. To this day I wish I would have saved some of her poems for my own use, but that isn’t possible.

After she and I went through her poems she invited me into the kitchen where Dink (her husband) was making homemade cornbread. I’m sure there was some soup in the meal somewhere, but the simplicity of Matties words really spoke to me. Mattie took my hand into hers and told me that no matter what anyone else does to me in this life, that God loves me and He won’t leave me. Of course I just bawled. It was the simple gesture of her holding my hand and sharing her words that touched my life.

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We got on the subject of age somehow. She was telling me that I believe she was in her 60’s. I was in shocked. She lived her life in such a joyful way.  I’m guessing she had a bit of a ornery streak, which is OK too. I have seen many people who were younger than she was that was cranky, beaten and obviously never took care of themselves. Mattie was far from what I would consider old. Mattie had a youthfulness about her.

I know many women that are like that and it blows my mind when they say how old they are. I think that people needs to stop counting the years and live each day in a way that is joyous. Mattie showed me that even at 60 you can be 16 lol. She would tell me all the time she was like a 16 yr old. Even though her hair was salt and pepper, she had the heart and joy of a 16 yr old. She did tell me eventually she will be 40 and that will be at the end of her life. She was larger than life in my eyes in so so many ways. There are so many stories I can share about Mattie.

Mattie took me home around 4 in the afternoon. She knew if I was gone to long that I would be in deep trouble. Not a little bit of trouble, but a lot of trouble. I ran away from home a few times till I finally made it out of the abuse and beatings.

But, on the way home Mattie asked me if I was going to go to church the next day. I told her I would be, but I have to be up around 4 or so to do that. She asked my why so early. I told her that my parents did not want any of us kids going to church. They do allow it to show face, but the only way I could go to church is if all the chores are done. Not just my chores, but all chores. So, that was hanging cloths on the clothes lines and whatever else.

Then she told me as she was hugging me, she said I will show up to pick you up and you will go to church. I did my chores and Mattie showed up and honked the horn. I told mom and dad that I was going to church now since Mattie was there to pick me up. I got yelled at and all kinds of other profanities. But, Mattie and I knew that mom and dad weren’t going to stop me because it would look bad. Mattie made it possible for me to be able to go to church.

I don’t know if many knew some of these things about Mattie. One of the ways she would make it possible for me to go to church was that she would use her sewing as an excuse. She would tell me that I should bring cloths with me to church and tell my parents that she was going to sew them up for me. There were many Sundays that I would go home with Mattie, have cornbread and fresh chicken eggs from her eggs. As I think of this memory of Mattie, I wonder if she ever told anyone why I was over there all the time. I confided in her more than anyone else. I felt safer with my words when I talked to her.

Mattie got to the point where she would call over to the house to tell mom and dad what time they would be there to get me. She didn’t ask if I could go or not. She just assumed I would go and told mom and dad good night and that was it, lol. Over time, it was easier to go even though I still had to do all the chores and I was half-dressed running out the door. Which I got in trouble at church a few times for not wearing appropriate cloths. Dixie Myers didn’t know my situation and I wasn’t about to share it with anyone. I just told her I would try to do my best next time.

Matties youthful attitude and the love she showed me molded me in a way that still touches my life today. The Myers Family was the family that I used as an example for how I raise my kids and live my life. To me, they will always be family. Mattie taught me to stick up for myself. She made me stronger when it came to how I talked to my parents. There were times I had to literally fight to get out of the house. It was a physical and emotional departure each Sunday and Weds. I wish my sister Joyce could have found this kind of support outside of the house.

When I finally left the house for good when I was in my teens, I let my parents know that while I loved them, I couldn’t continue living my life this way.  Even as a young teenager, I knew that I had to do something. Something had to change. It took a number of people to help me get out of the house and get to where I would be safe. There were a number of people who took a chance to help me, even knowing they could get in trouble with the law. I wish I could have taken my sister Joyce with me. I had to leave her behind and unfortunately she got the brunt of the punishment after I left. I have carried a great deal of guilt over the years about leaving Joyce behind. I can’t go into what happened to her since that is her choice to share, but she carried the brunt of the abuse after I left in so many ways. I knew what the Bible said and I knew something big had to happen.

Nothing in my house was Godly. It was a battle each and everyday when it comes to fighting to even talk about God. Mattie told me that one day I should write and make sure to always stick with God. God would see me through everything. I thank God for all the people it took to raise the person who is writing this. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the Matties, Myers and secret helpers to get me out.

One day I hope and pray to see Mattie again. She went to be with the Lord a number of years. It broke my heart when I heard she is with the Lord, but at the same time I rejoice that she is with the Lord. She probably looks like she is 16 again, lol.

 

 

 

Eye For an Eye- Tit For Tat

With all of the craziness going on right now Exodus 21:23-25 came to mind. I would think all Christians would know this verse since it is used for the most part the sense of punishment. As I was listening to the DNC/RNC sides and why they think they are the best candidate, this verse is known as the “an eye for an eye” concept.

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My brain has been working overtime on this verse, and that is because I have been imagining all kinds of craziness. So, let me take you on a stroll down my crazy lane thoughts and then I will go into what the concept of “an eye for an eye.”

So, here it goes;

  • If someone stole a candy bar or another item, then they would have their hands chopped off. It is better to lose your hand instead of loosing your life.
  • If you broke someones leg or other bodily part, then they would lose their leg.
  • If you lusted after a man/woman, then you would lose your site. I would think we would have a lot of people running around with no eyes. Not what I want to see.
  • If someone a county bombs us, then we are to bomb them in return.
  • If someone kicks you, then in return you would kick them.
  • If someone burns you, then in return you would burn them.
  • In Exodus 21:16 it states that whoever kidnaps a person then they should receive the death penalty.

The idea of “an eye for eye,” which is also called jus talionis or lex talionis ( Latin, ‘law of retaliation’), may have originated in ancient near-Eastern and Middle Eastern law, such as Babylonian law. Basically what they are saying is that the punishment must fit the crime and there should be a just penalty for evil actions. If we were to take “an eye for an eye” alone, we would find people with no eyes, hands or fingers missing and heads rolling around because their mind was thinking about things it wasn’t suppose to.

Again my thoughts return to the phrase”An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The whole world would be blind and have no teeth. I guess that would be a good way to lose weight, lol. If you can eat since you have no teeth, then you may have a problem.

Old Testament Times

In  Deuteronomy 19:20-21.  The “eye for an eye” points out where God was pretty much letting them know what the punishment would be for anyone who gets into their mind that they would injure another person in a physical way.

The follower of Christ lives by the law of forgiveness.  Not only are we to avoid seeking revenge on our enemies, but we are to show them love (Luke 6:27).  I have a bit of a problem in this area. I know that we are supposed to love our enemies, but I have a hard time doing that. The way I respond is that if they are going to do this to me, I am going to get even and make them pay for what they are doing. It’s pretty easy to justify doing to them what they did to me. However, that those who are believers in Jesus Christ, that we should NOT be revengeful since that God is in charge.
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While I was looking into the whole ‘eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ I decided to venture in the slapping of the cheeks.I would like to add that if someone slapped me,  I may have to deck them, lol.  We are also told to not resist evil. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

When we read about God in the Old Testament He spoke about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I’m willing to bet that God wasn’t intending us to retaliate if anyone does something to you. He isn’t giving you the green light to get even with them if they would poke your eye out. And when they do that, you go chasing them down like a mad woman so you can poke his/her eyes out. I would guess it would be hard to go running after them if you had no eyes. Hmmm! If he knocks your tooth out, then you best be getting some pliers and get his. Hopefully they will fit in your mouth lol. Seriously, don’t go chasing down people so you can poke their eyes out or to get their teeth. That’s pretty barbaric if you ask me.

I think I have problems with the turning the other cheek thing because I am an American. In our society we are conditioned to think that we all have certain rights. Which we have probably more than any other country. I can’t help but feel that while we are demanding all of these things that we are missing the point or grace and forgiveness. I honestly feel that we are the ME society instead of focusing on love. We are conscious of what our rights are. The mentality is that “you’ll never get away with that.” All the while under your secretly plotting on how you will get even.

With the presidential elections coming up and all the campaigning, my heart and mind is distracted. While I was watching the conventions for the Republicans/Trump and the Democrats/Hillary, I couldn’t help but notice how on the outside they look courageous, strong and made of steel. While I am watching this fiasco happening before my eyes, it became apparent that there are those who look down on the people. I find it shameful that there are those who would sell their souls in order to be part of the inner circle.  I can’t stand in unison with someone or associate with someone who goes against what is right. I’m not willing to choose the lesser of two evils. It doesn’t matter who the lesser of the two evils are, evil is evil no matter how you spell it out. You have those who look up to these candidates as if they are going to be their savior.

As I looked at all of the people in the crowds during the conferences and in our country,  I couldn’t help but think about Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Those who were welcoming Jesus wasn’t proud nor over the top, but simply humble. Jesus, the King of Kings, chose to demonstrate His humility by riding on a humble creature. As He rode into Jerusalem, they were cheering him. As I watched these historical moments that were spread out for days, I would listen to the crowds as they praised and worship the candidates as if either of them greater than Jesus, it makes me ill.

One of the things that I have noticed lately is that we have groups that are fighting for their rights and these fights take place in our society. As we see these things play out, lawlessness becomes the norm. People are demanding their rights and selfishness is taking place. We all have certain rights, but when those rights hurt others, then we need to re-evaluate them. Just because we have a right to do something, that doesn’t mean we should. People are loosing sight of who and what is important. The ugliness of the human heart struggles to get even with mankind and anyone who thinks differently. Morals are being thrown out the window .

As I ponder the meaning of “an eye for an eye,” and “turning the other cheek,” I go to Romans 14-15, where it says, “Don’t use your liberty to make anyone stumble.” Yes, we have rights, but there are times that those rights are offensive to others and not pleasing to God. It seems like people are seeing how far they can push the envelope and fight for what our rights are. I guess I have the mentality that I live here on this planet, but it isn’t my home. As I look at how society is unforgiving, vengeful and retaliate it makes me want to see Jesus Christ coming in to save the day.

As I think about the Sermon on the Mount, I couldn’t help by notice the similarities of our time. The scribes and the Pharisees believed they were self-righteous based on their own merits. They beleived that they could enter the Kingdon of God because of their own self-righteousness.

FYI- What’s With Turning the Other Cheek?

In Western society today, one person spitting on another is a contemptuous, especially offensive insult. In the time of Jesus, being slapped on the right cheek was similarly offensive. The average person was assumed to be right-handed, thus the perception was that striking a person on the right cheek required with a backhanded slap. That action was one of the more egregious insults in the ancient world. It communicated utter contempt toward someone considered inferior. In fact, it was such a serious offense that both Jewish and Roman law allowed a victim of this kind of slap to take his abuser to court and demand restitution. Source- Beliefnet.com.

Answering God’s Call

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For about 10 years now, I have been have been having a difficult time when it comes to local missions and outreach. I live in a town that has so many outreach opportunities that I can’t even wrap my head around it. My friend Lisa and I have been having some discussions on how to reach out to those in our area that needs to know about Christ.

I use to be the team leader for the Missions and Outreach board at my church. I am still on the board, but there has been very little going on with it. I stepped down as team leader because I was really bothered that most of the ones on the board has this thought that signing a check and giving people money is all that is involved with Missions and Outreach.

I asked my previous pastors about going into the community and talking to those around us. God put it on my heart that something else needs to happen.We need to be reaching the unsaved, lost and broken people and families in the area. Over time, I became frustrated and pretty much threw in the towel. I wasn’t seeing anything done that I would consider reaching out to those in our area.

Even though I remained on the board, I was no longer active when it came to reaching out to those who have been beaten down physically, emotionally and financially. I was at a point where I couldn’t see some of those at church wanting to really do anything. They were in their comfort zone and they were happy with check writing.

I totally get that there are people who can’t physically go out into our community. But, there are other opportunities to serve. I sincerely believe that God has given each and every one of His children unique gifts. We should be finding ways to share the Gospel by serving others in the name of Jesus Christ, and by making a difference to those who are homeless, hungry, depression and have lives that are broken and shattered.

When I first moved to St. George, it was like a foreign country. My daughters were upset that we moved to a state that was for the most part “Mormon.” It was a hard transition for all of us. My husband was on the road most of the time and would be gone for weeks and sometimes months. We didn’t know anyone when we came here. Thankfully when we were getting my husband ready to start his job we found a church.

Since I already met the pastor while we were here, it was a plus. The only negative about the church was that there were no kids or young adults. For the most part, there was only seniors there. My daughters couldn’t make friends since we weren’t “Mormon”. I knew I needed to get something going at church. They needed friends and so did I. I talked to Pastor Keck about getting something started. I didn’t know what, but something had to be done. My daughters were treated as outsiders and many of the parents that had children that were “Mormon” wouldn’t let the girls associate with their kids.

Eventually we were able to get a youth group going. The youth and young adults consisted for the most part of those who were shunned by the community. They didn’t feel like they fit in anywhere because they weren’t the normal for around here. It took probably about a year to get something going, but it did happen. The reason it happened is because we kept on keeping on.

After about 6 months, we had 4 kids, mine included to be part of the youth group. Within a year I would say there was about 10 kids. After a year or so, I finally met someone my age that was also Christian. She would help me with lessons and the kids. Little by little the group grew to around 3o children and some families with children. I didn’t feel that outreach was a gift that God gave me.

We have been going to my church for over 21 years now. When we first came here, there wasn’t much diversity. When we started the youth and young adults, we had many at church that would go out of their way to reach those who many gave up on. Most churches didn’t want the kids and the young families that came to the weekly meetings and to church. The reason why some churches didn’t want them there was because they couldn’t really pay tithes because they had nothing. Many of the kids were abused and for the most part the streets where raising them. Some of the kids came from alcoholic families and some were involved in drugs themselves.

One young man was into music that was very dark. He would challenge me and would try to shock me by coming to church wearing gothic clothing, piercings and so on. I would never comment about what he wore. I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in his soul and sharing the Gospel with him and the other children. After a few months he stopped wearing gothic cloths and was more respectful of those around him. He had a smile on his face. He even got to the point where he was the first one to church for our evening Bible Studies and times or worship.

None of the other churches wanted them. But, I welcomed him with open arms. What was awesome also was that the people at church would do whatever it took to help. We had some who would frown when the families that lived on the street came to church, but for the most part the people at church welcomed them with open arms.

Barbara Antrim mom Ann would be there each week to help serve snacks and would give the children rides to and from church. Each month we would have a simple dinner for the children and the family. It wasn’t the church that paid for it, it was the people who volunteered. If people couldn’t cook, they would provide pizza or whatever it was that they needed. There was probably 5 or 6 people who would show up to help. Some of the members who donate privately or pay for the kids to do something special.

These children and young adults lives were changed because of people answering God’s call. Some of these children that attended our youth and young adults meetings are now living their lives for Christ. One young man is a pastor. Another child who wanted to commit suicide because he was told that he was worthless and would amount to nothings since he was going to our church is working with children that have special needs. Another young lady that never felt loved unless she was with a man, is now happily married and a mom. Lives are changed when we answer the call and we love those who may not feel love from anyone else.

The reason I bring this up is that there is a need that has to be filled. We can’t just sit around and wait for someone else to do it. I’m going to talk to Pastor Ray about some things that God has put on my heart.

In a world that is filled with pain and darkness it is our responsibility to share our experiences of God and to reach out to those who are in pain. We aren’t doing anyone any good if we just sit in a pew each week and let live pass us by. I feel very stong about answering the call. Even if a person will pray for others, that is awesome.

We don’t need to go to another country in order to be involved in “Missions and Outreach”. We all can make a difference by meeting the needs of our community and world by sharing God’s love in a variety of ways that build relationship and provide opportunities to share God’s plan of salvation.

  • Isaiah 6:8“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me”
  • Matthew 25:37-40, Jesus said, “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’”
  •  Luke 18:16-17, Jesus taught, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Some of the areas that I would like to talk to Pastor Ray about and I am hoping that others will join in. I know physically it will be difficult for me to do everything. My prayer is that others will jump on board and answer the call. God puts all of these things on my heart and I know that He will provide those who have a desire to make a difference.

I know that life is busy, but there is comes a time where we need to walk alongside those in our community and help them discover God’s awesome and amazing love for them. When we reach out to those that are strangers right now. It’s time to get off our hinny’s and share the good news of what Jesus hs done. Jesus Christ died for sinners, He rose again and He is alive today. Now is the time to shout from all the mountains about how He changed our lives and how awesome and exciting it is to love and serve others. God has a purpose for each and every one of us.

There are many forms of outreach, but what is important is that we live in the midst of a mission field. It doesn’t matter where you live, each and every one of us has an opportunity and a responsibility to verbally share the gospel and to reach out to those beyond the walls of our church and to serve those who are in need.

There is a perfect song that I listen to on Klove that God spoke to me through. The song is called, “Do Something” and here are a couple of verses.  Once there was a person who prayed, “God, there is so much suffering around me… why don’t You do something?”

She heard nothing. All day, the frustration and indignation continued to grow inside her. Then suddenly, that evening, God spoke to her: “I did do something; I made you.”

I’m going to be praying that God sends the right people to help with reaching out to those in our community.

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Supporting Pastors

Recently God has been speaking to me about the my church. I have absolutely no issues with him. On most days, I totally agree with him on whatever the sermon may be on. But, there are times when I give him this look and can’t help but what in the world he is talking about. I’m fairly certain that most everyone has had one of those moments when they just didn’t get what the pastor was saying. It doesn’t matter what church or what country people reside in there will always more people.  People are always going to have an opinion.

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I can’t help but wonder about the mindset of our world. I honestly feel like people have lost respect for those who are in positions of authority. You can sit there in your living room and see it all around you. People are wanting to tear down others and they want to tear down everything. The world we live in is self-destructive and driven by pride. Pastors are emotionally beaten down by those within the church  because they weren’t happy with the sermon. If I left every church that I went to because the pastor said something I didn’t agree with, then I wouldn’t be going to any church.

As I sit in my seat and listen to the sermon, my mind is somewhere else. He will always say that we need to focus on what God is wanting us to hear and to basically clutter our minds. My friend and I were talking music at churches. There are some you can feel the joy as they sing. I have also been to some churches where the music was more like going to a funeral. I guess to some, it is a joyful sound, but there are times when it is far from joyful.

It’s seems as if Pastors all over the world are under attack. I appreciate Pastor Ray and Kathi. There are the obvious attacks from those outside of the church throughout the world, but they are also being attacked from their own disgruntled members. If people are that unhappy and all they can do is grumble, then maybe they need to re-evaluate their relationship with Christ or what is going on inside of them. They need to also stop blaming others because something isn’t going according to their ways of seeing things.

What gets me is that there are people out there who have it in their minds that if they don’t agree with what the pastor is teaching, then it is OK to exit stage left and they make sure they let everyone know they were right and they should side with them. Instead of going home and studying the Word of God, they get their panties in a upraor and that ends up causing division and a ton of hurt feelings. I brought up before how that happened at another church I went to. Because of disagreements, they end up causing hurt among the members of the church, church leaders and so on. I would bet any amount of money that this behavior and actions aren’t pleasing to God.

As I think about Pastor Ray and his messages, I was feeling guilt. The reason I say I was feeling guilt is because I haven’t been doing what I should be doing. I don’t think many at our church really understands everything that Pastor Ray does. He doesn’t put himself on a pedestal and have people look at him. Instead he is putting himself into the lives of those who don’t have a church home. Most people don’t affiliate themselves with one particular church or faith. He will stand outside with a few others from other churches and witness and share the gospel with anyone who will listen.

Last week he was in Cedar City doing what is called, “open air preaching”. Click here for the link to listen to his message. As I was listening to his message and what s a couple of the guys that went with him to take part in this and to pray for others, this is when guilt entered my heart. I felt terrible that those who didn’t attend our church was with him and there wasn’t anyone from our church that I know of. He stood there sharing the Gospel with all who would listen and yet nobody from our church showed up to stand with him or stand up for Christ.

I totally get that there are those who aren’t able to do this because of physical limitations, schedules or being preoccupied. We are living in a time where our time is being used for everything else. Pastor Ray also makes it a point to show up to local events and opportunities to share the Gospel. Each and every month, he will go to the First Friday street fair here in St. George. He packs up all the stuff, sets up the canopy and prepares the table and will pray and talk to anyone who will listen. I knew he did this, but I didn’t know what all was involved and how most of the times he does it alone. I have a great amount of respect for those who put themselves out in the publics eyes and risk bashing and laughter.

Pastor Ray also have the prayer station in our churches parking lot. Every now and then someone from church will show up to pray for those who may be prayers. But, most times it is just Pastor Ray out there. We have a hand full of people who will show up and be there. Usually it is the same people. I know that Pastor Ray feels blessed to have those who are willing to help be there.

The other night my friend Lisa was over at my house and we were discussing how people want to see all sorts of things to be changed. We need more kids, we need more time, we need better music, we need, we need we need. As we were finishing up our discussion, we realized that God has pointed this out to us because we need to be proactive. It isn’t just Pastor Rays job to do everything. He is one person, but he needs help. Pastor Ray never complains, but I can see it in his eyes that he feels discouraged and frustrated. I don’t see how he wouldn’t be.

There was a friend of mine who I lost track of many years ago. He was the pastor of one of thr churches. I attended.  The people at that church were horrible to him. They pretty much dictated what he needed to say and do. I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t have him schedule his bathroom breaks. The congregation made his life a living hell. It was as if he was babysitting a bunch of 2 year olds. People would squabble over the craziest things. Eventually he through in the towel.

Instead of criticizing and finding fault , why not encourage instead of discouraging. Is it has to feel terrible to know that people don’t appreciate what a pastors job and I  appreciative? Every once in a while it would be nice if pastors were told that the sermon meant a lot. Or to let them know that the pastors are in need of prayers just as much as anyone else.

All pastors are in need of prayers, honest feedback. They are also in need of friendships and help just as much as anyone else. Pastors can’t do it alone. Pastors and church leaders needs your emotional support, prayers, honest feedback.Think about how you feel when you know when the phone rings it is something bad. Or that you hear from a certain person, it is going to be endless complaints.

People are demanding of a pastors time, energy and counseling. We all should be praying for him and other pastors we should be there to help. A pastors job is 24/7. Even though technically he gets vacation, I’m pretty sure he is still called all the time. I know I am guilty of texting my pastor when I am having issues with someone or something. A pastors time is just as valuable as anyone elses and just because a pastor is a pastor, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have problems.

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Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).

I would like to encourage church attendees to be more proactive. There is always something you can do. I don’t know if those at church realizes how much time and thought goes into bringing special music, programs,  and movies to church. I also realize that not everyone drives. But, it is disheartening to organize something special and only a few people shows up.

We have started a Movie Night for church and it is free. Last month we had only 7 people show up. For myself, I was upset that there was only that many that showed up. I totally get that people don’t go out and drive at night. I get it, I really do. But, at the same time, I was upset that so much has put into having an enjoyable night and only 7 were there.

Pastor Ray showed more compassion than I did. I don’t handle “no shows” very well. I think it is disrespectful. I am praying though that we have a good turnout for the move this coming Monday  July 18th at 6:30 PM we will be showing the documentary “The Cross, Jesus in China.

I’m going to end this by saying,that it may seem easier to engage in false peace by appeasing people. It is hard to speak truth when they may become angry and walk out of the church. I know I may get myself in trouble over this one. But if people are so petty over disagreements and decide it is better to get into arguments over these, then it may be a good time to re-evaluate why you are going to church to begin with and if you need to work on your walk with the Lord.

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And I also want to say that it would be nice to see more people get involved in church things when it comes to reaching those who needs to be reached. Just because we are getting older, it doesn’t mean we are dead. As long as there is air in our lungs and we aren’t hanging out with the daisies 6 feet down, then we can be used to help advance the Kingdom of God.

I would like to ask you all to keep Pastor Ray and Kathi in your prayers. I will be praying for them. Even though he hasn’t said anything about people not getting involved, I still feel the need. Also, keep all pastors in your prayers. You never know what someone is going through. Just because someone is a pastor, it doesn’t make them exempt from life.

Not So Politically Correct

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Have you ever heard the phrase “be careful what you say”? Our world is full of the who political correct mindset. It isn’t politically correct to talk about Jesus Christ. It isn’t politically correct to say that Jesus is the only way to be saved. If you talk to the wrong person you would be seen as  “intolerant” and “unloving.”  When the same-sex marriage was approved and I posted on Facebook that I believe marriage is between a man and a women , I have a firestorm of hate filled comments. They didn’t pay attention to the rest of the post about how even though I don’t believe that and why I don’t, I still respect the choices that others have made. I had many private messages about what I said from Christians. Most of the comments were about how they agreed with me, but they didn’t want to say anything because it was easier to say nothing since it isn’t politically correct. Hence, many Christians have found it easiest to just say nothing.

Political correctness (PC) is defined as “a term that describes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, religious belief, disability, and age-related contexts.

  • Philippians 3:20–21 ,  But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. One of the things I have been thinking about in the term, “politically correct”. This is one of those areas I have a hard time with. It seems as if we are to be tolerant of all things and all people. The word, “tolerant” use to mean that we much put up with people and ideas even when we don’t agree. The meaning of “tolerant” now means at we must tolerate all faiths, lifestyles, moral values and all things that people say or do are equal. If we aren’t tolerent, then that makes a person “intolerant” when it comes to those around us.

As a Christian and a believer in Christ, it makes me wonder where this leaves me since I am a Christian. I believe that all people have a choice and free will. But, this doesn’t mean I should be “tolerant” and accept those things that do not line up with what the Bible says. Jesus said, ” Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).

According to the world, the term “tolerance” would make those who are Christian “intolerant”. All you have to do is turn on the news to see what I am talking about. The media are in part guilty of defining ‘intolerance’. I can’t even count how many times people will post things on Facebook or in the news where people will say that we all serve the same God or no God at all. All beliefs and faiths are equal and we need to love and accept people for who ever they are. I have no problems with loving each other since we are told to love one another. But, there is no way I would consider my faith and my God as being the same God that many believe in. More and more there is an ever-increasing ‘intolerance’ towards Christians.

I use to think that we should all come together and be united. When it comes to putting my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, I don’t feel like I should be affiliated with groups and even some churches that feel like we should tolerate and love each other, no matter what they believe. I believe that we should be teaching those around us and raising our children and grandchild to love and embrace people, but that doesn’t mean we need to embrace all beliefs if they aren’t lined up with what God’s Word says. There will be times when we will be hated and seen as being intolerant or no politically correct, but we must still speak the truth and showing those around us that they are loved.

While it is difficult to share our faith in a world that is filled with hatred , we must continue to speak the truth. We must humbly pursue truth. It may be difficult to speak the truth in today’s climate, but Jesus said

  • “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” he added, “But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

As I watch events unfolding, I have no problems seeing that the worlds views are against what God has said. A few days my pastor went to Cedar City to pray for people and to preach to those who may not go to church. So, he brought the church to them. It is important to get the word out. As Christians it is our responsibility to educate those around us.

There will come a day when it will be against the law to admit you are a Christian. My daughter Jessica and I were talking about how the world is turning against God. Eventually we could be imprisoned for doing what Pastor Ray is doing. Eventually it will be against the law for me to blog about Jesus Christ. If we lived in one of the third world countries like Iraq and other countries, we would be killed because we are Christians.

It is apparent to me that Christians and non-Christians are accepting of all groups in the name of unity. We should be united in some things, but when it comes to faith in God, I won’t be a part of activities that goes on in my town or in the world that is not Biblically correct. I don’t care how politically correct it may be. What God says should be the guidelines for all of our behavior and decisions. Even if it isn’t politically correct. I am more worried about pleasing God then pleasing the world. As a Christian, I have chosen God’s truth of popular opinion.

Our pastors and Christian leaders should be reaching out and reminding people who we belong to God and that He loves us. When I hear pastors or church leaders say that we have to tolerate all faiths, I can’t do that. I know a few pastors who are into the whole please people instead of God. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they know what the Bible says. But when they have their own personal agenda and they believe that all faiths are equal, I have issues with that. I would think that God would have issues with the whole, “we must unite” or we must tolerate all people. Ummmm, I would think He would and is upset over the things going on.

As I was watching the video that Pastor Ray shared, I couldn’t help but wonder about when was the last time I shared the Gospel with those that aren’t going to church. I was talking to one of the ladies at my church about some of the things and sermons Pastor Ray shares and we discussed how some goes to church because that’s what they do. They have always done it, but they don’t know why. It is actually pretty sad. I do my best each day to share the Gospel with others. Usually it is through social media or through this blog. I am willing to bet that there aren’t many that goes to church in a building will put themselves into situations that would make them seem intolerant to others.

I actually enjoy witnessing and I would love it if there was a service on Weds evenings where there is a time to share testimonies and to focus on prayer at church. When I was younger, we had a Wednesday evening service. It wasn’t like our regular Sunday service. I would say that most of it was on prayer.We had alters to pray at and those who couldn’t pray on their knees would come to the front pews and pray there. People would pray out loud if they chose to. There was times of sharing our testimonies or offering praise. Now, I am getting off topic, sorry about that. My mind got distracted.🙂

While I was working at Lins, I always wore a cross on my apron. Lins is a grocery store and I was a cashier. My line was the sappy line since people were always crying. The customers knew I was Christian and they would come to me when they checked out to see if I would pray for them. There was a time when one lady was weeping because her dad had cancer. A gentleman that was behind her told me that I shouldn’t be doing that because it isn’t “politically correct”. He also told me he was/is an atheist. After he was done, I let him know that I have no problem that I am NOT politically correct and that I would pray for his heart to open up. I got the look on that one. I was shocked he didn’t complain, lol.

The reason I bring that up is that is because not everyone has the gift of sharing the Gospel like Pastor Ray and not all people witness the way I do. But there is always times when you can talk to others. If you don’t have the words to speak, you can share the Gospel and love of Jesus Christ by living your life in a way where people will know that you are a believer in Christ. Sometimes actions speaks louder than words.

Since we live in a world where Christians are killed and hated, we need to be careful about what we say and do. But, we also need to realize that we don’t need to worry about being “politically correct” or “tolerant”. We should be intolerant about things that are not pleasing to God. Each and everyday there are opportunities to witness to others about Jesus Christ.

In closing I just want to say that it is politically incorrect to let people know that Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved and He is the truth, and the life. Only Jesus can change lives. Only Jesus can change our love for one another and change our hearts.

  • For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love  (Galatians 5:6).

The church now days are in a bit of a quandry. Christians are not only told, but they are commanded to be the salt and the light.  Christians are commanded to be salt and light in society . These are things that Christians must do in a loving, caring and not being judgemental. Jesus made sure to always love people when we told the truth. Because of what Jesus instucted Christians to do, it is percieved as being “politically incorrect” and “intolerant”.

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  • Matthew 5:13-16.  “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven

Increasing Lawlessness

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I have been watching the news a lot today. It is so sad that a sniper killed 5 police officers in Dallas. My heart goes out to them in so many ways. It’s hard to really put into perspective what is going on in our world. This will go down as one of the most senseless killings in history, or at least in my heart.  As I was watching all of this happening,  I couldn’t help but be thankful that officers like these went in and protected those who were in harms way and ended up being killed so others can be safe.

From what the news was saying the gunman was angery over the recent fatal shootings of two African-American men by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota this week, the same reason behind the peaceful march.

 

People are saying over and over again that, “Black Lives Matter”. I don’t have a big issue with people saying this except that “All Lives Matter”. It doesn’t matter what the color of a person’s skin is! I totally get why people are upset over lives being lost because of the color of their skin. I also believe that there are bad people in all races, jobs and in the world. Not all police officers are bad cops. Most are awesome. I don’t get why there are those who blame all police officers for being racists or law breakers. Either way, people shouldn’t be killed over if they are black, white, green or yellow, nor should people target and hate those who are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual! People shouldn’t be killed because of their faith or no faith at all! All people deserve respect! All people have a right to live point-blank! You don’t need to agree with someone in order to respect them or to let them live.

 

There is no way for me to wrap my head around what is going on in our world. With me being a Christian, the only thing that brings me any sense of peace is what the Bible says about what will happen as we wait for the second coming of Christ. Even though it still makes me very sad to watch these things happen before my eyes.

I guess in my heart there is a deep sense of urgency and I really can’t wait for Jesus to return now.  There are all kinds of people who have theories on when Christ will come again and  I don’t know the exact date or year, but I do know that I sure hope and pray it is ASAP.

Jesus spoke on the Mount of Olives about “lawlessness” that would take place in the last days. He gave this prophecy to His disciples, when they asked Him what to look for directly before Christ’s Return. Is increasing lawlessness a sign that the end of the world is near?

In Matthew 24:12 it says, “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” The Greek word translated as “lawlessness” or “iniquity” in most versions of the Bible is anomia. It means “lawlessness—without law.” The definition for “Lawlessness” means “not regulated by or based on law; not restrained or controlled by law.”  Which is why when things that happen like in Dallas and in our world, I can’t help but expect Jesus Christ to come riding in on his white horse and saving the day.

My daughter Jessica hates watching the news because of all the bad things going on. A day doesn’t seen to pass when there isn’t murders, robberies, rapes and riots going all. Parents are killing children, children killing parents or terrorists killing police officers or those who think differently such as ISIS killing Christians. Humans are being killed by other humans in the name of peace. Yeah, RIGHT!!! Lawless acts are an everyday occurence and those committing these acts in my mind are pure and simple EVIL.

I went to the Dallas Police Department Facebook Page to let them know that they are in my thoughts and prayers. While I was on there, I was sickened by some of the people’s comments that they left for the police. Most people had kind words for them and offered their sympathy. If you would like information about prayer vigils and services for the fallen officers, you can click here for more information on this. But then you have those who talked about how they deserved to die. WHY would people think this way? I don’t get it. I know that we are told to expect “lawlessness”, but it doesn’t make it easy to watch it play out in real-time.

This may not be a popular comment but I can understand why people are getting “conceal and carry” permits. I didn’t think much about guns being something needed in public places or churches until the shooting happened to people going to church in Charlotte, NC or people being killed while trying to protect innocent lives. There are those who feel they feel the need to carry a gun because they see society becoming more and more lawless and they are afraid of being victimized. For myself, I would have no problem if someone who has a license to “conceal and carry” a gun to church. In a world that is becoming more evil as each day goes by, I have no problem with it.

I do think that in today’s society, we need to be able to protect ourselves from killers and terrorists. Jesus and a ton of prayers protects me from demons and Satan, so I am all good in that department.