Apparently, David Cook’s song he sang on AI when he won is the number one download on ITUNES. This is cool. They are making their rounds on all the different shows. They did a little mini concert on the Today Show together. I cannot wait to hear Cook’s album. It was great to see him and Archuleta again. They truly are amazing singers. They seem so nice and humbled by this opportunity. I wish them well!
Our Pastor is starting a new series and a guest speaker kicked it off. It is called doors. It was awesome and really spoke to me. This message was preached by Troy Maxwell and our pastor, Dennis Rouse, wrote his own notes on the sermon.
This weekend, I was pleased to have my good friend, Pastor Troy Maxwell, bring the opening message of our new series, DOORS. He had some great points, so let me recap his message here.
Life is full of doors – doors that influence us. Doors are points of entry, access points to something in our life. They can also be an exit point. Yes, there are physical doors – those we walk through every day. But there are also spiritual doors such as the door of our heart, as in Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”; relational doors, such as marriage – moving us from independence to interdependence; life-changing doors – like becoming a believer; and defining-moment doors – those moments in your life that define you, when everything changes – your perception, your hearing, your heart.
Doors can restrict you, like when you see a door that says, “DO NOT ENTER.” Doors can also restore you. Think of being alone with God behind the closed door of your prayer closet. And, doors can release you – into something new or out of the confinement of being alone or trapped. Life is full of doors.
Today, God is calling us to walk through the Door of Courage. Webster’s says that “courage is to act in accordance with one’s beliefs in spite of criticism, persecution and the possibility of failure.” Life throws seemingly insurmountable things at us constantly. It takes courage to go against them. Think about David facing Goliath, or Esther approaching the king unsummoned. It takes courage to stand in a pulpit and declare, “I have a dream…” as Martin Luther King Jr. did. It took courage to do what Joshua did, leading the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
In Joshua1:1-9, God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous. We can learn three things about courage from this exchange. First, courage is standing up in who you are. God wanted Joshua to stand up in who he was. He wants the same for us. Let go of the past and stand up in who God created you to be. God has called you to a job that only you can do, and there are people that you are supposed to lead into an inheritance. Someone is waiting on the other side of your obedience, so stand up and discover who you are. The more you have the courage to stand up in who you are the more God can use you.
Next, courage is standing for something. We have to stay focused. Too often, we have weak convictions about strong issues and strong convictions about weak issues. Will you fight for your conviction about the power of the blood of Jesus, or for your family, or for your witness? You see, courage is standing for Christ and your convictions when it’s not popular. We have to talk it, think it and do it so that our life becomes the message.
Finally, courage is standing through fear and discouragement. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the presence of God that overcomes and outlasts fear. Courage is knowing that God will be with you no matter what, that He will never leave you or forsake you. It’s okay to have fear, but it’s not okay to have that fear motivate you. Stand through the fear. Stand through the difficulty. God is there. He’s close. Trust that He knows what you’re going through, that He cares and that He is definitely at work.
Don’t let the enemy “dis your courage.” This is one of his greatest weapons. God has given us a much greater weapon to overcome discouragement. Isaiah says, “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Praise is powerful. It is the gate to God’s presence. When we focus on the greatness of God, our problems look so small. You can praise your way right through the door of courage. Today, I encourage you to decide that you’re going to allow God to take you through your fears and discouragement and walk through the door of courage!
So I heard in the news that the British newspaper snapped a picture of Fergie’s daughter, Bea. She is 19 and looked like she was having a great time in the ocean. The caption was very degrading and made reference to her size. The sad part is a woman wrote this. This is what most women look like not the size two twigs that Hollywood portrays. I think this is appalling especially because she is still a teenager. I am glad her mother is standing up and saying back off. I am not even this girls parent but this makes me angry for her. I know what it is like to be made fun of for weight. It happened to me all through school. Until I made myself skinny, by not eating then people stopped. Even then you are still always looking over your shoulder am I gaining weight etc. It is not healthy to be obese but if you are curvy who cares. In some cultures that is considered feminine to have hips and curves. As women we need to stand up for each other, stop putting each other down because of looks, weight, discipline styles.
My grandmother said she was out with a friend eating breakfast and someone commented that they had a big appetite for all that food. So, who made them King to comment on what someone else orders. Mind your own business. The friend my grandmother was with has colon cancer and she has lost so much weight so let her eat what she wants. Maybe if that person knew why she was eating so much they may not have made that comment. People need to think what if that were my daughter, mother, friend would I would be saying this stuff then. Or what if that were you being looked and examined by the world. You make think twice. The Biblical principle still applies, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I am so excited. I figured Archuleta would have won but it was awesome see them call Cook’s name and his mom and brother joined him on Stage. This year I liked both the guys and they both seem so nice. I thought it was nice that Simon apologized too. I went back and listened to Cook’s performances again and I thought he did a better job than I first thought too. Congrats David Cook and I cannot wait to hear his album. He has been my favorite all season. Simon called this at the beginning of the season if it stayed a talent competition Cook would win Idol. I loved seeing Carley and Brooke and Michael John’s last night. Good luck everyone!
Here is the weekly e-note from our Pastor based on what he preached on last weekend.
Are you starting to see a difference in the way you interact with the lost? Do you see how being relevant, engaging and authentic can open the door to people’s hearts? As we seek to connect with the lost, there is one more characteristic that is essential to winning them. Like Jesus, we must be Life-givers.
The people of this world are weary and scattered. This makes them vulnerable to a lot of things. They’re always trying to fill the void in all the wrong ways. They don’t know that we have the answer. The only way this will change is for the church to connect with people. And we cannot do that if we’re religious. We have to get REAL.
The harvest is ready! Too many of us are walking through life with our heads down, so focused on ourselves and our problems that we fail to notice how ready the harvest is. Jesus says, “Lift up your eyes…” How many times have we seen our neighbors and not really looked at them? We need to see that there are people all around us that are ripe for harvest. This was a challenge in Jesus’ day; it remains the big challenge of Christianity today. But Jesus came to break that off of us.
The Lord is counting on us. He commissioned us to be His voice, but looking at the church today, there’s no doubt that we’re falling behind. Why? Because too many people in the church have their heads down. We’ve gotten too churchy, too religious, too concerned about ourselves to care about the lost. But God wants us to have a life-giving attitude, like the Good Samaritan, that says, “What’s mine is yours and I’m going to share it.” Most of us don’t think like that, but unless that changes, we’ll never win one person to Christ.
We cannot just be people that go to church. God is calling us to be life-givers. How? Start by serving your neighbors. Then, share in their interests. Care enough about them to find out what interests them and enter into their world. As you do, they’ll open up to relationship. Learn to be culturally relevant. Take the posture of a learner. Ask effective questions that draw things out of them, and be a listener. Don’t try to cram things down their throat. Finally, discover their need and then guide them to the only One who can meet it. If you can find their need and offer a solution, they will listen to what you have to say.
As you seek to meet people’s needs, you will become a tremendous soul-winner. I challenge you to get in there, find out about their needs, share your story, and then offer Jesus. We have the solution inside us if we will just be relevant, engaging, authentic and life-giving. Somebody in your life right now is depending on you to share Jesus with them. Lift up your eyes, see them and give Life!
Lisa Bevere came and spoke at our church this past weekend and it was awesome. Our pastor wrote his thoughts on her message in his weekly e-note. This was really good! I hope you enjoy!
|The Purpose of a Woman
It was such a blessing to have Lisa Bevere speak about God’s calling for women this last weekend, Mother’s Day weekend. Not surprisingly, her message was encouraging, challenging, and right on. Several of the points she made really stood out in my mind, so I’d like to highlight them here.
God created us, both men and women, for dominion, not domination. Dominion is when a person uses their influence to cause those under them to flourish. Domination is when a person forces their will upon another. While God intended us to exercise dominion, the fall twisted that purpose into a struggle for domination. But in Christ, we can recapture the truth. Men and women are not enemies, we’re allies – stronger together than we are separately. Male and female, exercising dominion together is what truly captures the image of God.
God created women, especially mothers, to fulfill a specific role in His kingdom – to create an environment in which the seeds He is planting can flourish. You are called to nurture – to be strong, to care and to give. Despite the time of difficulty that seems to be upon us, this is not the season to start hoarding and stop giving out of fear. It is the season for women to give. Remember, it is in the hard times that God’s people flourish…unless they fear.
So, women, if you will go forward, trusting God, you will have the opportunity in the next decade to address the problem of the widowed, the orphaned and the poor; to unite together and say, “That’s enough!” to social injustices. It’s time that the church be known for caring, not judging. That’s where the heart of a mother comes in.
Mothers, this ministry begins at home. You need to have the house everybody wants to come to, the marriage that everybody wants to have. Nurture your husband, nurture your home. Start by understanding that most men hear love through words of affirmation and affectionate touch. I’m sure you would agree that everybody deserves to be loved in the way they hear it. Realize that you are not called to train your husband and serve your kids, as is commonly thought in our culture, but to serve your husband and train your kids.
Let your kids see the love you share. Every child needs to know that mommy and daddy are in love, and that they, the children, are loved, looked for and watched out for. Nurture your children and the gift of God in them. Don’t use your strengths to point out your children’s weaknesses, but rather to identify and nurture their strengths. You always strengthen strengths to displace weaknesses. God is looking for an army of fathers and mothers to position their children to inherit God’s promises – not our fears.
If we are ever going to rise above the petty and destructive struggle for domination and exercise true dominion in this earth, both men and women need to understand that this is what God created women for. I want to challenge you, women, to pursue this calling whole-heartedly. And, I want to challenge you, men, to love and give of yourselves to your wives in this endeavor. Together, you will have a tremendous impact on your children, your communities and the world for Christ!
Pookie received an accordion from a relative. Anyway, I did not know that Pookie had seen one on my husband’s computer and said she wanted one. He said, “Well you need to pray for one. Ask God for one for your birthday.” She said “Mommy, I prayed after that. I asked God to give me an accordion for my birthday.” I have to say this is such a rare thing to get someone so it had to be God. My cousin has never had children and she felt led or thought this would be a great gift. Pookie has been playing ever since. She loves it and Peanut loves her playing. Peanut said last night after Pookie played “la la purty (pretty)” La La is music.. I thought this might encourage you in your faith or help you if you are asking God for something. He does not always answer our prayers the way we want but I thought this was so amazing that a 5 year old child believed God could give her an accordion and he did.
Our pastor is doing a series on being real. Here is his message through an e-note:
Pastor Dennis Rouse:
Have you ever wondered why people in the church seem so disconnected from those outside the church? Do you, yourself, feel uncomfortable around lost people – not quite sure how to interact with them? The problem is that all too often, once we start going to church, we stop being real. We tend to get caught up in our little church world, doing churchy activities, hanging out with other churchy people and speaking with churchy language. We start withdrawing from the world and become completely disconnected. So much so, that many of us have completely forgotten how to connect in any meaningful way with the lost.
In a well-intentioned but misdirected attempt to become more like Christ, we have, in reality, become more like Church. Simply put, we’ve become religious. But let’s face it, the whole reason Jesus came was not to teach us how to be more religious. Rather, He came to reveal a real God to the world. Jesus didn’t spend most of His time in “church”, but in the world, amongst real people.
One of the enemy’s best tactics in his war against God’s kingdom has been the substitution of religiosity for true relationship with God. If we’re not careful, we can allow this religious spirit to take over our lives and destroy the impact God intends us to have on the lost. Rather than being loving and real, people that operate under a religious spirit are hypocritical, image-conscious, position-conscious, legalistic, pretentious, dogmatic, covetous or judgmental – usually all of the above. Beware of these things!
Church is not about being religious; it’s about equipping people to share the gospel with others effectively – just what we cannot do if we’re being religious. You see, when we invite someone to accept Christ, we’re inviting them to be like us. So, we have to ask ourselves whether our lifestyles are inviting people to a religion or a relationship. Jesus’ whole lifestyle was built around relating authentically to lost people and introducing them to the principles of God’s love and reconciliation. He did this naturally, without pretense and without being religious.
If you want to be a REAL kind of Christian, begin by realizing that the most important thing you can do in this life is lead someone to Christ. God has given ALL of us the ministry of reconciliation. Next, invest real time with your unchurched/unsaved neighbors. As you do so, understand that authenticity begins by demonstrating real love that says to the other person, “I really care about you.” Finally, know that the more real you are with others, the more open they are to hear what you have to say. Be real and be ready, when the time comes, to give an answer for your hope.
This week, I challenge you to go out and engage with someone in your world – in your neighborhood or at your job. Invite them into your life. Have a real conversation that opens their heart to you, to Christ in you. Live a life that doesn’t stand in the way of the sinner, but one that leads them to the Lord!
I have made this for many people in my family and it is my absolute favorite lasagna recipe. I got it from Kraft and it is easy and simply delicious.
Here are a few tips:
You can use low fat ricotta, cheeses and lean or extra lean ground beef to make this healthier. I use wal-mart brand oven ready lasagna noodles. I spray the foil with Pam cooking spray. I also use Prego garden combination spaghetti sauce. One it is lower in fat and two it has lots of veggies so my kids will eat it and not realize it is packed with veggies it also is the best tasting sauce to me without breaking the bank. I also add garlic salt when I am cooking my ground beef just to give it some more seasoning. I know this works because my friends husband is pretty picky about his food and he cleaned his plate of my spaghetti. My friend got my cooking tips for how I make it and that is it garlic salt in the meat and in the cooking of the pasta along with extra virgin olive oil and prego spaghetti sauce. Now back to the lasagna. I hope you enjoy and it is absolutely delicious and easy!
1 container of ricotta cheese (15 oz)
2 ½ cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup of fresh parmesan cheese
1 egg lightly beaten
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 1b of cooked ground beef
uncooked lasagna noodles (3-4 noodles per layer)
1 cup of water
Making the lasagna:
Preheat the oven on 350*
Mix ricotta cheese, 1 ¼ mozzarella cheese, ¼ parmesan cheese and egg until well blended
After ground beef is cooked, pour spaghetti sauce into the pan, pour 1 cup of water into spaghetti sauce jar and shake it up and add to meat sauce. (The meat sauce will be runny at first but the water helps the noodles to cook so the finished product will not be runny).
Add 1 cup of meat sauce to the bottom of the 13 X 9 inch pan (noodles will not stick by doing this step)
Add 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture and meat sauce. Repeat 2 more times or until you run out of room. Top with remaining meat sauce.
Sprinkle remaining cheeses. Cover with greased foil and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked.
Remove foil and bake additional 15 minutes until bubbling. Let it cool for 15 minutes than serve.
I believe this is the title of this book by Ann Nolan. I heard it on the radio. It sounded interesting. She was saying that moms always put everyone else first and not themselves. I was just thinking about this yesterday and talking with a friend. We do put everyone else first. The laundry, the kids, husbands, chores, volunteering at your child’s school. It is hard not to. I do take a little time out everyday just to eat lunch and chill while Peanut is napping. I may watch a favorite TV show or something. I am also starting to get back to getting on the treadmill. I did it for a while then I got sick and you know the drill. She said let your time be personal to you whether that is listening the radio, taking a nap, reading a book or taking a walk. I sometimes will take a longer shower just to pray, sing and be by myself for 5 more minutes.
Also get your husband involved by taking date nights as a couple without the kids just to rekindle that relationship. Husband and I are using a little of our stimulus package money from the IRS to stay in a hotel, go to a movie and go to dinner for our anniversary. We have not been on a date since Valentines. This is all local but we wanted to to do something special just the two of us. I am looking forward to it. We are not taking a vacation because are trying to pay off our debt but we wanted to do something for us.
What do you do to get a little mommy time to yourself?