Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Point Exactly.

It's very interesting how God's timing works. 
Our house family here in Costa Rica had actually just had a discussion on violent movies....
Are they okay to watch? Can we watch and enjoy them? How much violence is too much violence?
David brought up the verse,
"it is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, but what comes out."

Okay, so let's go to context: Mark 7

Mark 7

That Which Defiles
 1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.[a])
 5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
 6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
   “‘These people honor me with their lips,
   but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
   their teachings are merely human rules.’[b]
   8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
 9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe[c] your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[d] and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
 14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” [16] [f]
 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
 20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

So where do we go with this? I encourage you to ponder the words of Jesus. Think about them. Meditate on them. As a house we had an hour long discussion on what this means. What is coming out of our hearts? What are we putting into our hearts that enters through our eyes and ears? It's true, what we eat doesn't make us unclean. Let's not misinterpret scripture...but what are we filling our hearts with? What are we putting in our minds? What are we looking at? Listening to? Meditating on? Isn't it time we as Christians stood up for what we say we believe in? Start practicing it? Start reading God's Word again instead of getting sound bites of it on Sunday mornings with an occasional snack of it on the Christian radio? Actually use it to fight against the demonic that is present in our world and really, really good at deceiving us because there are people that actually like being deceived?

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things."
~Philippians 4:8

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A new princess in town

Tonight marked the official kick off of the new princess club. The princess club for girls in their teens and early twenties. What a great turn out! There were 10 girls, including 4 of Abigail's friends who I had never met. Tonight was an introduction to the club. We talked about the goals of the club and what we're going to do for the next few weeks. The girls seemed really excited. As part of the club, to make it official, we took attendance, read our theme verse, and wrote out rules for the club. The girls themselves wrote the rules. They were as follows:

1. We can share openly what's on our hearts because this is a safe place.
2. No gossiping or sharing secrets outside of the club.
3. We are united.
4. We will accept all girls who come into the club regardless of where she comes from or who she is.
5. Justice and equality for all.

The girls then made and decorated their princess diaries. Each week we will write out a Bible verse and whatever truths we learn about that week. It will be like a diary or journal of all that we're learning and doing. They all seemed to have a lot of fun decorating their books with stickers, glitter, and papers.

 Our club verse is Colossians 1:9-14. Carmen, who is helping to lead the group. Shared what this passage means to her. It was really awesome to see her share her heart with the girls and they truly listened:

9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

Continue to pray with me for the continued growth of these girls, that they would feel truly loved by God and step into their identity as princesses. In the coming weeks we will talk about their authority and power in the kingdom of God, their identity as daughters of the King of Kings, and all about the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Identity in Christ

Here we go again! It's time for another Princess Club!!! This time, though, the focus is on older girls. Tomorrow Carmen, a married mother of 2 who goes to our church, Abigail, and I will have our official kick off. We've invited 20 teen girls from across the community. The theme of tomorrow will be identity in Christ. I will keep you all posted on how the first day goes...Obviously. Please pray!!! The girls range in age from 14 to 22 (with the exception of Tutis, who is 12, but exceptionally mature for her age and does EVERYTHING with us in the church. She's also in a high risk home, so it's very important that she's surrounded by positive women figures). Five of the girls already have babies and 2, I just found out, are pregnant. This girls are at high risk for early pregnancy, dropping out of school, drugs, and alcohol. This club will focus on the same themes as for the younger girls, but with a mature edge and age appropriate crafts, etc. SO EXCITED!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Mini Miracles

This is Escarleth (Pronounced like "Scarlet"). She is 11-years-old and live in the Tahoe. That means I can see the roof of her house from my balcony because it's right across the street. Last week I went down into the Tahoe to play with the kids. 

(These are the kids in the Tahoe)

So we're playing. The kids are climbing up on the rocks and showing me how high they can jump. They're running in races and dancing around. They're pretending I am a jungle gym and climbing on me, too. So all of a sudden Escarleth comes over to me and says her leg hurts. I asked what happened. She was hit by a car while playing in the street a year and a half ago and broken her leg. Every once in a while it still hurts. 

I tell her that Jesus doesn't like to see us hurt or in pain. Would she like to pray with me and ask Jesus to take away the pain? YES! So I call the other little girls, Paola, Yuli, and Emilee. I tell them that Escarleth's leg hurts. I explain that Jesus doesn't like to see us hurt or in pain and in the Bible it says we can ask him to take the pain away.
So we do.

All of a sudden she looks up with a twinkle in her eye.

"Does it still hurt?" I ask.

"NO! Wow! That's so COOL!!!" She exclaims.

And she runs off to play without a second thought.

Faith like a child.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ephesians 1: A good reminder

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

It's in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what's coming, a reminder that we'll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Life of a Tall Girl

I found a blog dedicated to tall girls with all these funny quotes about being tall...Here is my rendition. LOVE!

 For some reason people always love standing on chairs to take pictures with me :)

 Actually, this was one of my favorite teams...Look how many guys were taller than me!! We officially had a 6 and up club which = awesomeness!!

 I remember an awkward moment here at a bank in Costa Rica. They had mini cameras set up at "eye level" so you could talk to the teller who was upstairs. I didn't realize my "eye level" was actually "chest level" until I caught a reflection of the camera shot. AWKWARD!!