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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Child of the Church

My mind keeps rolling this phrase around..."I am a child of the church".  

A child of the church...what does that mean, how did and does that impact who I am today and tomorrow, is it significant, positive or negative?

As a Christian parent I know the scripture from Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."(KJV)
I love the way the Amplified Bible says it, "Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God's wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it."

I took this scripture to heart every day when I was raising my children...it was my anthem, my hope, my driving force to make sure I taught them right, leading by example and not just sending them to learn but taking them, teaching them, sacrificing for them, pouring myself out so they could learn how to seek God, know God, understand God's will for each one of them.  It was my great joy to be so involved in feeding them Spiritually and Physically.  You know a Mom loves to feed her children.

My grandmother fed us physically and spiritually...
her desire is for all her family to know Jesus

But now my children are raised, raising children of their own, working in this world.  I still feel the same draw for my grandsons.  To make sure they are children of the church.  

There it is again, "A child of the church".  What is that?  Being raised in church...yes.  Being involved...yes.  Being a member of the family...yes.  

There are so many positives about being raised in church.  I could sit here and write till my fingers bleed on how being raised in church has positively impacted my life in all areas from marriage to parenting to friendships to work ethic to career, etc.  But I want to speak about something that only a Child of the church can understand (a Pentecostal view).  

More than just preaching...

Greatness over Servanthood...Me over Thee...My Calling is Greater Than Yours...Use Me and Not Them (or at least more than them).  

We have this over inflated view of our calling, thinking it is going to make us famous.  We are going to be the next Holy Ghost filled big shot, filling the churches with our followers, disciples, fans, groupies...WHAT?  We get a Word from God about being used greatly and think it means..."I'M GONNA BE FAMOUS!!!"  Watch out world, here comes Kimi the greatest Christian who ever lived...lol.  

We forget to look at those who taught us, poured into us, girded us up with prayer, fasting, prayer, fasting...fought spiritual battles for us...sacrificed for our benefit.  We look at them as failures because they don't have a name of influence, they are on a back street teaching children and not on main street with their names in lights.  Our lips speak only of what they required of us and not of what they gave us.  We expect them to be our servants while we are not willing to serve anyone, because we are going to be used GREATLY!  

Here's a throne for ya...bahahahaha

This is a trap.  It is a deception of perspective.  It is a lazy view of our responsibilities.  It is the "Why doesn't the church do this or that?" and God is saying, "Why don't you?"  I have heard with my own ears, "that is not my calling and I will when I am ordained."  If you don't do it now, you won't do it when you get ordained and truly you should never be ordained if you aren't willing to serve others.  

One of my favorite pics...Presley giving Jacob the mic...preferring her cousin
A servants heart right there.

Mark 9:34-36Amplified Bible (AMP)34 But they kept quiet, because on the road they had discussed and debated with one another which one [of them] was the greatest. 35 Sitting down [to teach], He called the twelve [disciples] and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all [in importance] and a servant of all.”

 I love the calling.  I love to see those moving and living within the calling on their lives.  I love it when I see young people step up to be chosen for the work of God.  But I have to warn you, it is work.  It's very rare for someone to become famous doing the work.  But as a young man told us the other day, "With all the lives touched by this church and Bishop...the teaching and disciplining that has come from here...this church is all over the world.  It's like a big church with a bunch of little churches inside." (my paraphrase) He is right.  It's not about the big crusades as much as it is about the daily grind.  The investing of ourselves into the lives of others.  Giving till it's uncomfortable.

A great work being done right here...prayer

As a child of the church I have to remind myself to be a servant.  When we grow up in something, it can lose it's uniqueness, allure, beauty in our eyes.  We no longer see what is so special about church, the church family, the work of the church.  We don't see the person sitting next to us, we only see their imperfections.  Our perspective has become altered through our own desires and ambitions.  They become a number and not a sheep or a stepping stone for our Glorious Calling.  

Don't tell me church isn't unique...embracing all kinds...lol
I am not trying to be a downer, but to encourage you to embrace the call, show up to be chosen, look for ways to serve...LIVE INTENTIONALLY, SERVE INTENTIONALLY!!!  Remember it's a daily thing.  Really it starts with LOVE.  
Love God, Love Others, Love the Work.

Monday, May 9, 2016

How Is Your Ripple?

Someone is following in your footsteps

In my life no matter where I have worked or volunteered, I always take a leadership role of some sort.  I don't know how it happens but 99% of the time I end up leading in some way.  

Now as a Pastors wife of a small local church, I find myself wanting to lead with intentional purpose.  Asking myself, "what is the vision and how do we get there?"  I don't want to lead our precious people down a wrong path, just winging it as I go along.  My desire is to constantly point them to Jesus.  As Paul said, "Follow me as I follow Christ"-1 Corinthians 1:11.

I have a hard time with people who profess themselves as leaders but never show up for the job.  You can't lead from the rear...my husbands favorite saying in business.  You have to show up with your gear ready, prepared for the job at hand.  If you are always late, guess what, your employees will imitate your leadership.  If you always tear down your boss, your team will do the same, except, you are the one they will tear down.  Your effectiveness as a leader will be ruined and your job will be in jeopardy.  You will be no longer be an asset to your employer and the people you were training will be impaired.  Your splash of ineffective leadership will ripple through the ranks (so to speak).  This is in the business world, in your home life and in the church.  

In your home life, if a mother is constantly putting down the father, the children will live their lives disrespecting their father.  The father will never have the voice in their lives that he is suppose to have.  Their relationship will be impaired and it will effect the relationship the children will have with other men throughout the rest of their lives.  It goes the other way to...if the father is abusive physically, mentally or emotionally to the mother...the ripple is seen throughout generations (as a rule) without the intervention of Christ.  When Christ enters into the relationship, things change.  

Intentional leadership is relational.  As I build relationships with those souls that God has entrusted me with, I began to desire to see them grow and flourish, mature, become leaders, fishers of men, Spiritual adults.  So they start reproducing new leaders and become Intentional Leaders.  If I don't have relationship with them, then I won't be intentional on the way I conduct myself, showing up won't be a priority, living like Christ won't be my goal.  I won't see the importance of my attitude, preparation, showing up.   I will lead by bullying or complacency, leaving those I have been entrusted with, scarred, broken, impaired, abandoned.  

Intentional leadership alters my speech, my conduct, my attitude, my emotions, my gait.  

I always told my kids that good or bad they are witnessing to someone.  The same goes with leadership...good or bad, you are leading someone.  No matter if you want to or not, someone is watching you, imitating you, learning from you.  It is a great responsibility but just think, what if you lead someone to Christ just by them "Following you as you follow Christ!"  What a legacy.

In my devotion this morning the question was asked..."How's your ripple?"  I ask you, "How's your ripple?"  Our leadership today is our splash, but the ripple will continue, good or bad...again, "How's your ripple?" link

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Is it the way I talk or the way I walk?

Is the way I am living my life giving honor to God or is it taking the name of the Lord in vain?  

This is a question or my take on a question from the devotional I read this morning.  

To take the name of the Lord in vain is so much more than our speech...it's how we take His name as a way of life.  

When I became a Christian, I made the decision to be Christ-like...taking on His identity...His ways become my ways...His thoughts, my thoughts...His sufficiency...His qualifications.  His gift to me is His identity.  How am I using, taking care, appreciating this precious, life altering gift from God?

Growing up I never gave this commandment much thought.  Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain= NO CUSSING!!! No saying, "Oh My God" or shouting out "Jesus Christ" in anger or amazement...(still a good rule of thumb).  I never thought it went much deeper than that.  It was a pretty easy commandment to keep since I knew that saying such things would lead to a pop on my behind or soap in my mouth (also a good rule of thumb for parents).

But now I must dig deeper.  This commandment is directly connected to how I view myself. You Version Unqualified  

Do I truly see?  Do I truly know this Christ, this Lord that I am to be like?  Do I know what His identity entails?  Do I choose to take it and live it out or will I take it in vain...not living in a way that brings honor and lines up with the Lord my God?

Taking on His identity

7 You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. -Exodus 20:7 AMP

We see how the Amplified Bible says in brackets "profanely".  In the dictionary it goes way beyond our speech.  It says, "to treat (a holy place or object) with great disrespect."  That takes it to a whole new level beyond just our speech.

I guess my challenge today is, how am I taking the name of the Lord my God? 
How do I treat others?  How do I treat my own body?  How am I living this life?

God wants to give you His name in your situation, in your weakness, and in your need.  But you have to choose to take it. youversion quote

One of my favorite photos I have taken of my back yard.  Love it!!

This is post 500!!!  Thank you to all who have been reading this blog...all 500 posts.  It is a way that I dance. 

One of my favorite songs is I Hope You Dance and this blog is part of my dance. Thank you for being my dance partner and I hope the dance continues.  

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Favor Is Costly

I have to tell you that Mary, the mother of Jesus has been on my mind since Sunday.

This little girl, knowing what others would think of her, knowing that it could end her life and would end the life she knew...willingly accepted the call to carry the Son of God.  

Truthfully, my thoughts of Mary began in January when Bishop Estep (my father) spoke about favor.  How Mary found favor...but favor doesn't mean obstacle, pain free living-just the opposite.  

 Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” - Luke 2: 34-35 NLT emphasis mine

Simeon told her that a sword will pierce your very soul...how many times did that happen throughout the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  

Blurry, but this is Me, Bo and Jake (1 year)

I am the mother of one son.  I had him at the ripe old age of 18!  I tell him that we grew up together.  I thought I was very mature.  I thought when I found out I was pregnant with him at 17 years old, that I knew everything there was to know about being a good mom.  I was 100% wrong!  Because of my youthful faith I didn't see my shortcomings.  Sometimes our ignorance works in our favor.  I didn't know to be scared by my lack of wisdom...I was gonna be a Mommy and I loved my baby.  That is all that mattered to me.  

Me and Jake when he was 6 mths old.

My whole adult life, I have been the mother of Jake.  Mary's whole adult life, she was the mother of Jesus.  Never knowing a moment when her heart wasn't occupied by this intense, all consuming love for her son.  Now, unlike me (sorry Jake), Mary knew that her Son was the Son of God.  That the life He was to lead, was full of obstacles because of others sins, problems, prejudices, unjust lives.  Every time someone spoke out against her Son, her heart was pierced.  

Sunday Night, Bo and I watched The Passion Live on TV.  I loved it.  When Trisha Yearwood (portraying Mary), stood next to the cross, with her hand placed on the spot where her Son gave His life...I couldn't help but feel a little of what Mary had to be feeling.  As a mother, the pain would be too much to bear.  With tears streaming down my face, I heard my father's words, as he preached to us, "And a sword will pierce your very soul."  

I told Bo that I couldn't imagine what she had to endure that day when Jesus was crucified.  Listening to everyone scream, "Crucify Him!".  All the venom and hate for her son, her little boy, her heart...knowing that He loved everyone who was screaming for His life.  

Bo told me that she went through so much after the angel came to her, she had experienced hate before.  My response was, "No, as a mother, I can take someone throwing rocks at me...talking about me...wanting my head on a platter but I can't handle when someone attacks my child."  The agony I feel inside is so deep when I see my child in pain.  It is unlike anything else.  To see hurt in their eyes, my heart is pierced.

So yes, Mary was favored but favor is costly.  

This Holy Week, I am drawn not only to Jesus but to His Mama.  I know she would have willingly taken his place if should could have.  Not that the Bible says this but as a Mom, I would beg for them to take me instead.  

I am thankful for the sacrifice of this women who became a Mom as a child. Giving her whole life so that the world would be saved...even the ones who crucified her reputation on the cross of gossip and hate.  Jesus even died for them.  This love has no beginning and no end.

Jake with his son Bo...the cross in the background reminds me
that the cross is always present in our lives.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Blessed Life: How I See It...

Blessed Life: How I See It...: In the chaos all around us...riots, police shootings, discord all around, I am encouraged.  I see God's hand working through it all.  I ...