Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Full House

What an exciting summer it's going to be...first, I go to the beach with my family in June, followed by my life-long best friend's wedding in Nashville, then 2 weeks at home in NWA, THEN 2 girlies will be coming to stay in Puebla with me for the rest of the summer!!  I am so excited that two of Fellowship's finest, Ryan Duffy and Hayley Hill, will be spending about a month or more here, serving at El Camino and working on their Spanish.  It's going to be a great summer and I can't wait to have them here.  I love that other people are getting to be a part of what I have been blessed to experience through the relationship between Fellowship and El Camino.  These two girls will be such a blessing to our ministry and I can't wait to have them...right next door.  :)  They will be living in the other apartment at the house where I live.  So looking forward to this!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Good Friday or Good Business?

This Good Friday was unlike any other Good Friday of my life.  In a lot of parts of Mexico, this is one of the biggest days to celebrate.  But they've got it all wrong.  Some of my friends live in a town called Pueblo Nuevo, where every year they do an all day, full-on, semi-real-life passion play.  (two different groups do it actually.)  So, I thought, why not head over and check it out.  My friends and I walked around the town for a while, taking pictures of the beautiful designs they make on the road up and down the streets with sawdust, flowers or sand.  They are beautiful!  Some are just designs, others are murals, even Jesus' face.  We were all so perplexed at how they make it stick to the road because it doesn't blow away very easily.

Then we walked up to the town center where there was a huge fair.  Tents of hundreds of merchants selling any and every thing and food you can imagine lined the streets leading to the top of the hill.  This is where I was blown away.  One side of the open field was covered with carnival and fair rides, the other filled with chairs in a semi-circle formation for those willing to pay to watch the passion play, and all this madness separated by the rigging where they would later "crucify" Christ.  The whole thing was so odd.  We decided to leave and come back later to see the crucifixion part of the play.  About 6:00, the procession of Jesus and the crowd came through the street past their house and we followed them up the hill to see the crucifixion.  Soldiers, slaves, whips and all were very real.  As I stood there in the crowd with the crucifixion scene in front and carnival rides behind, surrounded by people drinking and carrying their souvenirs and carnival prizes, I was so saddened.  How sad that they celebrate Friday...don't they know what's coming on Sunday??  He rose from the dead, people!  THAT'S the day to celebrate.  The biggest day of the year they celebrate in this town, and they don't even get it.  I was praying the whole time that maybe someone in the crowd would really understand the significance of the whole celebration and experience Easter in a whole new way this year.  I know for me, this year's Easter celebration was all new. I hope you had a blessed Easter weekend too!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When God Talks Back

I often wonder and am quite perplexed by this very thought of God talking back...hearing God's voice/knowing whether or not it is in fact God himself speaking in that voice I hear is often difficult for me.  I'm reading Jesus Calling right now and I often wonder, "Did she really hear God's voice this clearly everyday or did she skip some days because she wasn't sure about what he was saying?  Or did she make it up sometimes?"  Crazy, I know, but I really do think these things in my head.  I think I still have a lot to learn about "being still before the Lord" and listening to His voice.  Just this morning  I read a blog by a pastor, Dan Kopp, about this very thing.  It was a great should check it out either on his blog : or just read it here below...

"Comedian Lily Tomlin once said, “Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?”
That quote may make you laugh but it points to something that is part of our Christian worldview, namely that God is not deaf or mute. We talk to God through prayer and we believe God can talk back.
And yet if this is true — and I believe it is — then why don’t we hear God’s voice more clearly and more often than we do?
As a Vineyard pastor I receive a church planting magazine called “Cutting Edge.” In the current edition, pastor Ken Wilson reviews a forthcoming book by Tanya Luhrmann called “When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God.” An intriguing title indeed! Much of what you will read below is paraphrased from that article.
In modern society most people must work very hard to experience God. This may sound jarring to you, yet it was what John Wimber (founder of the Vineyard movement) believed.
Why? Because the busyness of our lives and our worldview in general often obscures or marginalizes God and our experience of Him.
The bottom line: there are obstacles to be overcome if American Christians are to experience God. A person must be pulling to put in the effort.
People learn to experience God in the way that humans learn many things.
We need to help people view their minds as an inner landscape where God is already at work, often through whispers or nudges from the Holy Spirit. And it takes work — mainly, the work of paying attention, of comparing notes with others and with Scripture, of noticing patterns — to discern this presence.
As we head into the climax of Holy Week — Good Friday and Easter Sunday — put forth some effort to practice the presence of God:
  • Turn off the “noise” in your life like the TV and sports talk radio to make room for the still, small voice of God.
  • Pick up a Bible and read portions like Mark 14-16 over and over again.
  • Spend time “being still.”
  • Pray Psalm 139:23-24: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Grab a journal and record the thoughts that come to mind.
  • Treat church on Good Friday and Easter Sunday as the “main event” of those two days and not something to “get out of the way” so you can have your family party."