May 22, 2008

Adventures in the Big Thicket!

If you like to read stories to children, you've gotta check out this book!

A very close friend of mine, Kira, has the coolest collections of children's books. She loaned me this book to read to the kids, and I tell ya! I took me right back home to the south. I started reading and found my accent...that southern draw...whatever you want to call it creeping into our story. The stories in the book are sooo cute, and it seems that the author tries to fit every slang term and phrase that he can into the stories. As a mommy, I found it rather amusing.
Thanks, Kira! For such a great book to read! and
to those who have not read this book, it's a keeper!

Happy Birthday, Margaret Ann...

Margaret Ann Gucker, You are 2 years old!
The things I want to remember about you at this age are
such special memories. The way you always are giggling
instead of talking. It's a happy little way to communicate
with a cheerful little smile.
I love to see you on the rocking horse (you think you own it, and for now,
you do!)
I love to watch you nurture you little dolls and try to be the
best little mommy to them. When you see your baby brother crying, you
are quick to go find a pacifier or blanket to soothe his little cry.
I love the many faces you make. It gets so much attention,
and makes you one of a kind. Your little coy looks and
big open mouth smiles.
Someday, sissy, you won't have that pacifier in your mouth,
and I really do think I will miss seeing you keep track
of that little lovey. Speaking of a lovey, your pink crochet
blanket that you rub under your nose reminds me that you feel sleepy.
I love the way you hide nearby to be close to me after I put
you to bed. I see your little feet stick out around the corner as
you lean against the fridge. I find you in many places as you have fallen asleep
outside your bed.
Margaret, you are a special little girl, and my baby girl.
I love you soooo much! Happy Birthday sweetie.
You are 2.
Posted by Picasa

Dub has baby food!

So here it sweet little baby had his first bowl of oatmeal this week.
I started noticing those longing eyes staring at my food as I ate. I thought...already?
Could it really be time? NO!!!! Not the little baby who I never want to see grow up!
He was so excited, and it's here. Solid foods for the little man.

Go J-Dub! Quite the little participant!

So here's a cover I made today from a wool sweater. It's for the next size up. He likes to sport his new covers..hee hee

This last picture I couldn't resist taking. Don't you just love that HUGE smile?
~6 months old already~
Posted by Picasa

May 21, 2008

Worship Leading

I think most people would agree that it is rather vain and destructive for an assembly to argue over worship music, style, song selection etc. The splits and divisions which have resulted from something that should be drawing brothers closer together begs a reconciliation with the scriptures. These things shouldn't be, and it is the job of every believer and every assembly to seek conformity with the Biblical pattern.

It appears that at the heart of the mater lies a wrestling for control over the music. Where there are authorities and powers at play (other than the Spirit of God) then wrestling and striving for control will always be close by. Creating positions like a worship leader may help solve disputes, and give some sort of centralized direction to the singing of songs, but it will never accomplish true agreement and unity among believers. This can only be accomplished through the Spirit. (To the doubter: Yes, He is real and He is able)

What would have to change for the Spirit, through the assembled body, to have the rightful rule over worship and singing? Are there some structures which war against the manifestation of the Spirit? Paul the Apostle seems to think so. He also says that tearing them down is the work of believers.

What would have to change so that we could follow the pattern of the scripture, and be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Is it possible in the assembly to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God?
What would happen if when you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation and all things were done for building up one another?

For this to happen would it require a change of belief about how the body of Christ is to assemble together? Remember, nothing every changes without repentance. Remember also that repentance always has a cost.

Think about this: When worship is led by the Spirit, through the whole body, it puts the glory where it belongs. It also allows for potential disaster because you have to take your hand off the wheel of the assembly and stop controlling it. We put ourselves in a position which requires God to be present and to lead his body or there will be in a wreck. All we need to do is get out of the way and have some faith in his promises.

Think about it: You would always have the opportunity to bless the assembly with an old treasure or even a new song. You would have the opportunity to love one another and give preference to their desires in a way that is freely given. When things are out of order and there is a "train wreck" then questions can be asked and problems addressed rather than sweeping things under the carpet. It allows the Lord to bless the assembly with unplanned and unexpected blessings.

As a word of encouragement, I see this happen every week. The Lord honors those who walk by faith and seek to keep his will at any cost. Our assemblies have overflowed with blessings as a result of repentance and change, and we continue to be amazed how the Lord shows up in so many different ways. It is not a good idea to try to put Jesus in a box and conform him to our traditions. He's not a tame lion :-) but he is Good!

Regarding those who are currently trapped in traditions which keep the Spirit out, remember that Jesus still found his way into a locked upper room. The Spirit blows where he wills and there is always hope. May he walk through walls to find them. Amen.

May 19, 2008

Mount Hope

Since J-Dub was an ity bity little guy, he has helped me
carry the laundry from place to place around the house.
This weekend, I realized that he just might not be able
to fit much longer! This baby stage is just going too fast!

We went to the Mount Hope Cemetary on Saturday. It was a
breezy and cool day. The hills and trees were just beautiful.
I found head stones that were from the late 1700s. Just
amazes me that this place has been around that long.

I'll bet you are wondering where Maggie is...
She was around. She just didn't make it into any

A few of the hills had very tall stairways
to get to other areas of plots.
There are tombs there and big monuments too.
The stained glass on a few of the tombs looked beautiful.
We looked down one hill, and it looked like a building facade, but
it was really a tomb that was built into the side of a hill. Very
Posted by Picasa

May 17, 2008

Where have all the prophets gone?

I have been wondering lately, where have the prophets gone?

So much of the OT writings were by the prophets and about the prophets. What a significant part of God's ministry to his people! Even the NT speaks of prophets as an normal part of the body.

When I speak about the gift of prophecy I am referring to the biblical concept. Their function was not primarily telling the future, or giving "new" direct revelations from God. The primary ministry of the prophets is to bring what God has already spoken back to his people and call them to repent in the light of his word. The prophets served as watchmen who warned, rebuked, and reminded the people of who God was and what he was about. They warned about the consequences of disobedience, lack of faith, and forgetting the words God has spoken.

Isn't one of the major themes in the history of God's people that they are always going astray? Continually going after other gods, idols, nations, and images.? Always requiring judges, prophets, and a few righteous kings who call God's people to repentance from their whorings, wanderings, and unions with the world?

So where are the prophets today, in these Last Days? We know that things are winding down and that there will scarcely be faith left when Christ returns. We know that the spirit of anti-Christ is already at work in the world and against the church. We know that the enemy is subtle and deceptive and seeks to divide and devour. So where have the prophets gone? Where is the cry of warning in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation?

Prophets are never popular, and if the patterns of scripture are still valid it is usually people who claim to be the people of God that seek to kill them. Darkness and deceit hate being called into the light and those who bring light and warning are targeted quickly by those who love darkness. Jesus said
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matt 13)
Has all that much changed? Are the last days getting better or worse?

So where are the prophets today? Is there room for them in the typical church? If a prophet showed up on a given Sunday, would they be allowed to speak to the people? To warn, to rebuke, to correct the whorings of our day?

Even in Jesus day, visitors were allowed to speak in the assemblies. Prophets were allowed to stand and speak to the people. What about today?
Is there room in the busy order of contemporary services? Is there room for other speakers who aren't pre-approved? What if God sent a prophet today, where would they find opportunity in the traditional church? What if it was the leaders or rulers of the assembly whom God wanted to rebuke? Would a prophet be denied an opportunity to speak?

Take a look around you and I am sure that you can see at least some of the sins in the midst of God's people that need rebuke. I am sure you can see errors that require warnings and correction. Let each of us open our eyes to recognize that we too must have errors which we are currently blind to.

Watch for the prophets and listen for them. They will be the ones saying things which are hard to hear. Things bitter to the taste, but sweet to the stomach. Things that look like death, but bring new life. Be wise and listen for rebuke! If you want to grow in Christ it will only be in the areas where you are currently ignorant.

I don't think you will find many prophets within traditional or institutional churches. There are too many competing authorities. Prophets are usually outside the camp, standing in the wilderness where they can be found by those who are watching and listening.

May 14, 2008

Our Family

We had a nice Mother's day lunch with our family. Bill and his dad sure do look sharp in their new Fitness boxing sweatshirts!
Here's Lanie and Jarod with baby Dub. They were have so much fun with the kids...
Grandma Alice in her glory. She and Maggie were chillin'.
AND the boys in their "dirt shirts". These are presents from Grandma and Grandpa. They just got back from a trip. David told us that he wants to wear this shirt for the rest of his life. His daddy informed him that unfortunately he will outgrow the shirt...David says, hmmm...I guess I just want to wear this shirt everyday until it's too small. I haven't been able to peel it off for three days now...Fortunately, after his bath, I was able to slip it into the laundry. What a cutie pie! Oh, he and Luke also think that the point of a dirt shirt is to make sure to get it very dirty. Luke mentioned that he should get some paint on it...hee hee
Posted by Picasa

Mother's Day and More

Did I ever tell you that I'm absolutely in LOVE with my family? My children are soooo precious to me!!!

JW (who seems to be taking on the name of his great grandpa...Dub), is now rolling to his tummy everytime we put him on the floor. I just love to see that sweet little smile! Right there, he's on a lovely quilt that his great-aunt Sharon made him. Doesn't Luke have the most precious smile?
Here is our family picture on Mother's Day per my request. It's nearly impossible to get everyone to look at the same time. Especially when we have 2 cameras pointing at us!!!! I find these pictures pretty comical.

Now this is my new favorite blanket for a cover-up when I've gotta feed the baby.
My friend, Amy made this for me, and wow! I really didn't think I needed ANOTHER blanket around, but this fabric is so nice and light. It isn't hot and folds up very small to fit in even the tightest packed diaper bag. Don't you just love the sparkle?

This week, I found this bamboo shade on clearance, and took the opportunity to get my boys a new shade for their room. Theirs had started falling apart, so it was due. Turned out, it was pretty much see through. I found this cute fabric, and modified the shade to become a nice starry window. The boys really get a kick out of it. David even asked if he could got to sleep with the light on so that he could see the glitter in the fabric. I thought that was sweet.

I made a curtain for the back stairwell, and have one more to go for that hallway. Pictures coming soon!!!!
Posted by Picasa


No passage of scripture better fuels my understanding of what it means for the Gospel to be lived out in the Christian life than Paul's words in his letter to the Philippians:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

It's found in chapter 2 if you want to read it in context.

WOW...In yet another place he calls us throught the cross, not around it!

May 11, 2008

"House Church Movement"

Recently I have heard some talk of a house church movement, which seems to be a big thing both locally and abroad.

While I find this interesting for a number of reasons, I have chosen to decline participation in such a movement.

Yes, our assembly meet in homes, but the idea of a "movement" revolving around where you meet seems contrary to what the Lord has taught us about being the Church. If what gives a group its identity is based on externally measurable things then it simply becomes a new denomination which allows people to pigeon-hole each other from a distance.

I am quite sure there are many groups which meet in homes, but are led by different spirits, just as there are many people led by different spirits within a traditional institutionalized church. It's not the location which is essential, but the Spirit which is at work. This can't be known at a distance or measured externally, but only through relationship. Meeting in homes has made it easier for us to keep the assembly personal and to actually know each other. If it became necessary to move out of homes and into some other sort of building, it wouldn't be a big deal as long as the unity and relationship is preserved. This is what we have been pursuing (unity, agreement, understanding, growth, compassion, love - Church the way Jesus intended) and the reason why we have ended up meeting in homes. Simply put, it is the only place we have to meet, and it works very well!

If I were to visit your assembly, would we come to know each other? Would there be time to focus on discussion and working through our understandings of the scriptures to build agreement?

Or would the main focus be on listening to a monologue and assuming that we are in agreement because we are without an opportunity for others voices to speak in the assembly?

We don't seek to fellowship with other house church people, but rather with those who desire to be disciples of Jesus, and are not afraid to pay the price of following him in Spirit and truth. Getting close to people leaves you vulnerable, and can often be messy, but would you have it any other way? Can there be real unity without it?

New Hymn - #2

Gather at The Table
(To the tune of The First Noel)

At the table of the Lord, where the brethren meet.
There’s the heart of assembly, and fellowship sweet.
To know, and to be known. To declare where you stand.
Pilgrims must walk together in this foreign land.

Our bodies are clean, yet we still wash our feet.
We’re aware that our sins may cause sickness or sleep.
Confess, repent, keep your conscience clean.
Bless-ed is the pure heart, for the Lord shall be seen.

We remember through the bread, where the Lord of Lords led.
His body was broken, follow me he said.
Rejoice and do not fear, to carry your cross.
On the day of redemption you’ll suffer no loss.

In the wine we see the blood, of a covenant made.
Forgiveness of sins and a debt that was paid.
One cup is shared by all, and all are made one.
Keep watch o’er your brother, so says the Son.

Heavenly marriage that is forged, groom coming for bride.
An early taste now of what God will provide.
Dining all together now, a love feast so sweet.
Eternally joyful at our saviors feet.

May 7, 2008

5 Generations

I just ran across this picture today.
This is a very special picture to me.
It was the last time that I saw my great grandmother
before she passed away. Doesn't she look beautiful?
So here's from left to right:
my mother Vicki, Great Grandma Scott, my
oldest David, myself and my grandma Lovetta.
These women mean so much to me!

What a legacy that Grandma Scott left behind!

Guess which baby!

So here's the challenge...can you guess which baby is which?
It seems that people like to say things like:
Oh, he looks like...
Can you tell them apart?

Ohhh!!! I just love babies!!!!

May 6, 2008

flowers, bugs and playing outside

For the last few days, we've been outside as much as possible. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous and mild. It seems like I can work in the garden as much as I'd like, and never break a sweat (even in the sun!).

This morning, I told David that he would be taking his wooden sword to Grandma's to play outside. This is a new one that he only plays with outside. A few minutes later, the house seemed quiet. I looked around for the boys, and lo and behold, they were sitting in the van with their shoes on, seatbelts on and swords in hand. They were waiting patiently for me to get the rest of us out there. That made me laugh! I don't remember them ever being that independant to go somewhere!

They just ran and ran outside up and down the hill and into the woods. By the time I was ready to leave for our house, they cried that they wanted to play more...I thought that was cute.

I went out and got a few tomato cages for our garden and also a few marigolds to put in. This year, I found the Pom Pom type because I think that variety is very cute as opposed to the scraggly looking little ones. I hope it keeps the critters away for now.
Today, David found a little container with a lid, and informed me that we need to go out and catch a few bugs to put in his cage. It made me think of how many earth worms I have run across in the last week. A TON! I tilled up the vegetable garden and planted my little plants and seeds, and at home, I've been cleaning up my garden a bit and pulling weeds (already!) BY THE WAY, if anyone has suggestions on killing a crazy little vine in your flower garden, please share. I have one that is coming from our weed infested yard into my flower bed. I'm contemplating using stump killer on the vine directly but am nervous the poison will seep into the ground and kill the perennials...Ok, that was a random thought!

Anyway, while at the garden store, I found a beautiful annual that I'm putting in my garden at home. It's called a Gazania Daybreak. I've never seen anything like it.
I can't wait to see how it does in the flower bed. I read that I will be able to overwinter it if I bring it indoors. We will see! My package says it has pink ones with the strip too. Pretty cool.
Well, it's late. I should go to bed. I'm fussy in the morning if I haven't slept well.