Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My youngest, Max can say some really funny things. He can do some really funny things too. Not too long ago I found out that when I dropped him off for Wednesday night church, he had gone into the men's bathroom, put on his ninja gear (head to toe mind you) and was sneaking behind objects and rolling in the floor as if he was in a Steven Segal movie. Crazy. But in Max's mind....I think it was pretty darn real. There are more stories...believe me....but I want to explain this picture for now.

I came home from work to find Max and a friend playing around and I had to do a double take when I saw the mustaches on the faces! After laughing a moment....I said what are you guys doing? They quickly responded...without laughter...."We're just being men".

Of course......of course.....

Psalm 16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Lord, thank you for my life and for allowing me the joy of being a mom. Every truly a gift. I'm filled with your joy. I pray Lord, that we will all continue to see your hand in our lives through the gift of laughter...friends...and family.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Days of Summer

How do you make the most of the last week of summer??? That is the question that is going through my house in a big way right now. Granted...this question is not as serious as what would you do if you only had a week to live....but to some....its essentially the same.

We are filling this week with sleeping late, midweek sleepovers, hanging out with friends, spontaneous movie nights....whatever. The last few days will be fun! And then, I have to face the fact that I am now the parent of a junior in high school, an 8th grader and a sweet 4th grader too. least there is still one in elementary school, but not for long....I see that happening fast too.

I remember my summer days as a kid and how they seemed to go on and on. But my days were really summer lazy days filled with play time and just fun stuff. I loved that time....and want my kids to have great memories too.

So, enjoy your week and have lots of fun. I like what the Bible says about numbering our days. Realizing that they are valuable....and a gift from God. Each one is an opportunity that we will never get to do again. Wow! That is really cool and sometimes scary to think about.

Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom

Lord, teach us to number our days so that we live wisely and without regret. Thank you for our families and the many blessings you give us! You are a most gracious God and giver of good, good gifts, days of summer...being one of them!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What do they see when they look in the mirror?

You know...I typically think that I am pretty good at being positive in front of my kids. I mean, I avoid the typical negative words about others and I hope that I do say more positive things about others in front of my kids rather than the negative. But I wonder what they've heard me say about myself. Do they hear me when I complain about being too fat, too tired, too old looking, too gray or whatever???? I hope not. I don't think I do that too much, but I've noticed something in my youngest that I NEED to try and curtail as much as possible.

Max has recently talked so much about dieting, fat, losing name it. At first, I thought he was just modest. You know, when he didn't want to swim without a swim shirt....or he wants to wear a shirt to bed, stuff like that.Now I know its because he does not like his little belly that is a bit more soft than it used to be. He is almost 10....and growing like a weed. Nick went though this same thing and ended up having a few years of chubbiness...then he totally grew out of that! But, lately before Max eats, he'll say, "Mom, I think I've lost weight". What this tells that he is feeling guilt about what he is about to do. Something I know about all too well.

I don't want him to associate guilt with food or develop bad habits. As his mom, I can help make sure he gets all the good food choices he needs and I can affirm good choices too. Buy less junk....that's an idea too. But I asked him, Max, do you think you are fat? He just looked at he had been hiding it so well. He then said... "Mom, I don't think I'm fat, I just don't like the way I look sometimes. You know like when I said I liked the picture of me and you and you said you didn't like it cause you looked bad without make up". Ok....why does that make me feel bad as a mom? I'm not sure. I guess because I feel somewhat hypocritical when I tell him to like himself for who he is...and I in turn.....want make up to 'like' my picture more. Ugh...I can complain and blame things on the pop culture and the images I see on magazines... but I also have to look at what I am saying and doing at home to promote self image as well. I felt awful when I heard him say this. Like he totally picked up on my self worth being tied with the vanity of make up!!! Good grief.

I want Max to be proud of who he is and also learn to eat well too. Max is not fat by any means, but he is approaching an age where I can see him putting on a few extra pounds before puberty. Somewhere he learned that fat was not good nor acceptable and he doesn't want to be that way. I'm probably not making much sense - but what I am trying to say is that I want him to feel good about being Max. In every shape and size while his body is growing into the man that he will be one day. We'll eat well and learn what is best for his body...but true acceptance can only be found in Christ. ( I guess I can't find it in make up either huh?)

Anyway, to totally honest with myself and words today, here is the picture Max liked. I guess that is my step out to say its not my best but my son really liked it...because we were having a great picnic day in the park last week. That should matter more to me too! Ah....freedome. or not.... LOL.

Hey...if you have any food / nutrition ideas...please send them my way. Max is more inclined to go for the sweets rather than the I do want to help him feel good about himself and eat well too. So...your ideas are more than welcomed here!!!

Psalm 139:15

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A2 Preview Service THIS SUNDAY!!! Yes...that means like tomorrow!

Hey everyone! I thought I would repost a message from our pastor, Chris Goins. I also want to invite any of you to join us for this special night!!!! Here you me if you want to know more...or COME WITH US!

Hello a2 Friends and Family:

Our first official a2 PREVIEW SERVICE is just a few hours away.

With that in mind, I wanted to attempt to answer a few questions and give you one last reminder before the BIG EVENT.

Question 1: What is a PREVIEW SERVICE?

It’s an all out worship experience. A time for us to worship our GREAT GOD, to be challenged by God’s Word and to enjoy fellowship with one another.

With that said, come prepared to worship. Be ready to meet some new friends.

A PREVIEW SERVICE is an opportunity for us to learn, to grow and prepare for what’s ahead when a2 begins meeting on a week to week basis.

Question 2: Who should attend?

Everyone. That’s right. Invite your friends, family, work associates, the guy or gal next door, the people at your gym, your college room mates, your high school gym teacher... You get the picture. Invite everyone.

You still have time to invite someone to join you this Sunday night. Shoot them off a text. Give them a phone call. Send out an email. Let’s really go the extra mile and expend a little extra effort to make this Sunday evening a great night.

Question 3: Will child care be provided?

You bet. We will have nursery, preschool and elementary child care this Sunday PM. Your kids are welcome to attend.

Question 4: What time is the service?

The service will take place this Sunday evening, July 27 at 5:30.

This Sunday evening, July 27
5:30 PM

Question 4: Where will the PREVIEW SERVICE take place?

Thanks to Bill Robbins, one of our a2 Launch Team members, who worked to secure meeting space at the Inverness Vineyard Church on Valleydale Road. Here’s the address.

Inverness Vineyard
4733 Valleydale Road

Question 5: How should I dress?

Most people will dress casual. But from the outset, we want to create a “come as you are” kind of culture at a2. If you’re most comfortable in a suit, tie, or bow tie. Wear it. If you’re like me and prefer a pair of blue jeans, wear them. COME AS YOU ARE.

Question 6: How long will the service last?

Probably about an hour and a half. Immediately following the service, for those who want to be part of the a2 Launch Team we will also have some LAUNCH TEAM BREAK OUT SESSIONS that will last about thirty minutes. All in all, we should finish up by 7:30 p.m.

Question 7: Can I do anything?

You bet. Here’s your assignment:

Pray like crazy for God’s anointing upon our time together.
Invite someone to attend.
Be a greeter. From the moment you arrive, meet as many people as you can and help us create a warm, loving, enthusiastic environment.
Worship like crazy.
Get involved.

Janet and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday evening. If you have any questions, give us a call.

Chris and Janet Goins
205.979.3633 Home
205.447.5948 Chris’s Cell
205.447.6239 Janet’s Cell

Friday, July 25, 2008


I recently wrote this verse on the chalkboard that hangs in my kitchen. It could never have been more true than at Middle School Registration yesterday.

Ecc 10:4 Calmness can lay great errors to rest

When I found that verse on Monday it just hit home with me. It seemed perfect for my kitchen....a perfect reminder for me and my family as we are MOST spirited! But, as my week has gone on...the verse has intrigued me in a big way. So this morning, I find myself wanting to know more.....why was that verse there? What is before and after that verse???? So I go to Ecclesiastes and I read. How can anyone read that and find the Bible NOT relavant to today? I pray that this blesses you in some way - because it surely has blessed me and I KNOW it will help me on my day entering a more than busy weekend.

Ecclesiastes 10 (The Message Translation)

1 Dead flies in perfume make it stink, And a little foolishness decomposes much wisdom.

2 Wise thinking leads to right living;
Stupid thinking leads to wrong living.

3 Fools on the road have no sense of direction.
The way they walk tells the story: "There goes the fool again!"

4 If a ruler loses his temper against you, don't panic;
A calm disposition quiets intemperate rage.
5-7 Here's a piece of bad business I've seen on this earth, An error that can be blamed on whoever is in charge:
Immaturity is given a place of prominence,
While maturity is made to take a backseat.
I've seen unproven upstarts riding in style,
While experienced veterans are put out to pasture.

8 Caution: The trap you set might catch you.
Warning: Your accomplice in crime might double-cross you.

9 Safety first: Quarrying stones is dangerous.
Be alert: Felling trees is hazardous.

10 Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work;
Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.

11 If the snake bites before it's been charmed,
What's the point in then sending for the charmer?

12-13 The words of a wise person are gracious.
The talk of a fool self-destructs—
He starts out talking nonsense
And ends up spouting insanity and evil.

14 Fools talk way too much,
Chattering stuff they know nothing about.

15 A decent day's work so fatigues fools
That they can't find their way back to town.

16-17 Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup,
And whose princes party all night.
Lucky the land whose king is mature,
Where the princes behave themselves
And don't drink themselves silly.

18 A shiftless man lives in a tumbledown shack;
A lazy woman ends up with a leaky roof.

19 Laughter and bread go together,
And wine gives sparkle to life—
But it's money that makes the world go around.

20 Don't bad-mouth your leaders, not even under your breath,
And don't abuse your betters, even in the privacy of your home.
Loose talk has a way of getting picked up and spread around.
Little birds drop the crumbs of your gossip far and wide.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh the places you will go....

Isn't that the name of a Dr. Seuss book??? I think yes! I have to say from time to time I get tired of my job. I guess everybody does. But I do enjoy getting out and talking to people. Yesterday after I wrapped up a trade show, I dropped in on a client who has truly become a friend. She is a meeting planner for a large church in Atlanta, whom I'm convinced is a gift from God to me!!! I love it when God drops people in your life like that...don't you?

Anyway, as we were leaving her office yesterday she told us we were just in time to avoid the shut down of I75 for the President! Well, my work friend and I thought we were just in time to grab a Starbucks and enjoy the action. We are so touristy! But we had fun. Although, I had to tell my friend Sheri several times to PLEASE quit talking about anything terrorist related......let's just watch the fun....I don't want to be questioned! Here is a picture of the President's ride into Atlanta! It was cool.

You can see the President's limo in the back...the third car I think. There were several motorcycles and helicopters everywhere.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't call me Dude...

Alright.....there are several books out there that address this already...but I am going to use the world of blog readers to try and get some answers. SERIOUSLY....when did it become even an option for my boys to address me as "Dude". The son I am referring to is Max. Though he is just 9...he acts so much older at times. I don't mean that necessarily as a compliment to his maturity. I am referring to the older part like a teenager in the smarty phase! you are with me.

Anyway, the other day while with his friends I called out for Max to stop doing something. I truly can't remember what it was. He looks at me and just says, "Dude....we're just blah blah blah..." I didn't hear another word. I thought...Dude??? I let the first one go. (that was a mistake....because there was soon a second dude)

Bottom line - we are having to crack down on this rising attitude. It's like it has just come out of nowhere. Please don't get me wrong!! He is still a sweet boy and precious as ever...just in need of a little soap in the mouth if we can't put this to rest soon. I think because he's our third....we are defiantly more relaxed with him...and sometimes...that is just not good. Not good for Max - because he doesn't learn that respectful attitude he should embody. You know?

Look at that little face??? Can you just picture that little face calling me Dude? Ok...those of you who know my family well, probably are not as surprise as I seem to be right now. I guess I've just woken up to find....we need to reign him in a bit. I need to find a Bible Verse to tape on the mirror in the boys bathroom. What have some of you used in the past to get your point across???

Anyway....word to all you mothers out there....we are not now nor will we ever be let's not allow them to call us that ok???? Any advice for me??? Seriously.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He went the Mosque

Hello friends! Thought I would give you the update that Nick and his friend went to the Islamic service with his friend from school. They went to lunch afterwards and discussed the service and how his church (Christian church) is different than the Islamic religion. No resolutions...but I hear it was a good conversation between good friends. I am so thankful. Nick said it was definately different. He also said that the entire service was pretty much centered on defending their religion and how to combat what people tell you is not true. In fact, Nick said that the speaker said that the Koran has to be true because it has truths inside it that you can google and find back up yourself. WHAT????? That is the proof??? The back up resource is an internet search engine??? Well...I was not there and that is not all of the example...but its the main part that totally throws me. I won't type everything he said...but the gist was that it was a session on defending your views.

Nick said that everyone was most gracious and that he felt very welcome - but sad for them at the same time - because you looked around the room and knew where they were all bound to spend eternity if they did not change their lives and find real truth.

Nick and his friend Caleb have now asked this friend from school to come to a Wednesday night service with them. Please pray with me that he goes. I am praying for Nick's friend and him coming to know the Lord. Please pray that with us!

One last note - you may remember that a while back I blogged about Nick truly getting into some hymns that he heard at Kevin's grandfather's funeral. Well, the thing he liked most about the Islamic Service was kind of querky to me. He said it was cool because the guy just had a stand in front of him. (We call that stand a podium) He said that they didn't use all the power point stuff and all that. He seems to have an affection for all things 'old school'. I wonder if its because he's seen too much 'unauthentic' flashy stuff where it becomes about the stuff and less about God. His affection for hymns, straight up talk....makes me wonder. But don't worry....he didn't like the Islamic service!

Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and he who wins souls is wise.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Giver of Good Gifts....

Yes, God is good....and so are husbands! This past Friday night, my sweet husband and I had a fun date night. He is such a sweet husband and a giver of good gifts too. When we got in the car and began on our way - i looked in my purse and there was a camera case. Inside that camera case was a new pink camera just for me.

I love to take pictures and he always has our other camera with him for work stuff. I expressed a while back that i would love to have my own camera.....and now I do. He was excited to show me the functions and all the cool things it could do. I was just excited to see that it was pink!

Here is one of the first pics I took in the car. It was fun! I love that my husband truly is a cheerful giver!!!!!

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

My Place

I love getting up in the mornings and having 'my time'. I truly need that time to get ready for the day. In all the fun of summer - I have to admit my routines some times get tossed to the side. I go and go....and then eventually, begin thinking....'I've got to have some time'. What begins to be evident in I've missed my time alone with God. My 'tank is running on empty' some would say.

This weekend, while Kevin was away I did some SERIOUS cleaning. Now, that may not sound like the ideal Saturday night to you - but for was GLORIOUS. I felt so good once I went to be Saturday night. One of the things I did was move my side table back to my living room. Back around Christmas, I moved it into my bedroom beside the bed to accommodate the Christmas tree. I replaced it with a smaller table that could fit beside our tree. After the tree came down.......I just left the smaller table. It was nice for a while....but it totally altered 'my place'.

It felt different and I knew it each time I sat there. I've spent many mornings praying over my husband, children, job, friends, family and for myself in that spot. For me...that is holy ground. I know....that my God meets me there each day. I love that. I need that....and I've missed that!

So this morning.....when I read His word...and listened for his room was right. Ah.....its the little things. But...its a big thing when we seek him right?

Psalm 46:10

"Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth." (and in my living room)

This may sound totally insane for some of you....but maybe you need a spot too. Somewhere that you feel God meets you each day. We know that God is all around us and the Holy Spirit...walks with us - but a place is special and I find I NEED it each day. A place where I can be still and know. Do you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's Life

I was listening to Rick & Bubba this morning after I dropped Scout off for his Atlanta Conference and Mission Trip. Those two always seem to have something interesting to talk about. Part of today's show was on kids and the World Series of Baseball for kids. The question was raised as to why there are so many different world series competitions. For some reason the state of our culture is to make everyone feel better now….let everyone go to the World Series if they want to….even if they didn’t earn it. It may sound harsh…but it really is true.

No longer do we have kids playing ‘competitive games’ during play time at school. Now, the 15 to 20 minutes that they have true play time is planned for ‘group’ fair play. We don’t ever want to make anyone feel bad. But when we leave school and enter the real world…..who makes sure we have the ‘fair play’ then? I think we can all say that it is quite competitive when we are out their on our own. I like what Paul from the Bible said about running the race.

I Corinthians 9:23 - 25
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever

Life is a race and that means….eventually you win, or lose.

Here is a fun email that I got from my uncle not too long ago. Funny…but true reminders of how our times have changed. Maybe we all need to be old school with our kids more. I am finding this to be true with my oldest. He is baffled that we actually want him to apply for a job at a grocery store. Not what he has in mind as a first job. I remember my first job – Showtime Pizza. Not glamorous at all...but at least I had a job. Nick is finding that $20 doesn’t fill the tank for too long. He’ll get it soon. Alright….enjoy the list!

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem! . The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

What God said to me today. today, I took our youngest to camp. He was so excited!!! He loves camp with his friends. I had been in his cabin for only minutes when he was already eating beef jerky and promising scary stories to his friends. will be a good week. I love that for him. Here is Max as we were leaving this morning.

After I dropped him off, I drove through my old stomping ground! It is always amazing to me to see how things change over time. How things are so different than what I remember. For some reason....when I drove by my high school, a Bible Verse ran through my mind.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever

I began thinking about the way I felt when I was in high school. The feeling you may remember too, of feeling like this is the best. All the things as teenagers we feel that make us totally vulnerable to our peers. It is amazing how many kids (including myself way back then) who have their worth tied into their feelings of all that matters within their high schools.

Looking at these pictures of my old school, I see how its changed. Still an operating high school...but its lost much of its glory. The other pictures are key spots I would go as a teenager. The smaller storefront was a Turtles Store. How many cassettes did I buy there? I have no idea. I know that I bought my treasured A-HA cassette there. That was totally a great album. Remember them? So fun... anyway - the point is....they didn't stand the test of time did they?

This is the Old Turtle Record store. Before then...I think maybe it was a Magic Platter. Remember that one?????

Its like driving through this area was a reminder to me that though I thought everything back then was so wasn't. Well...some was and I did some great things as a teenager. But the whole popularity, fitting in....all that stuff...just so didn't matter as much as I thought it did! Looking ahead, I have 3 boys that are going to think the same thing. And they won't be able to see it either when I tell them that there are things in this life so much more important than their 'here and now'. They'll see their high schools and friends and totally think that I don't know what I'm talking about. My job will be to help them hide THE WORD in their heart as much as I can because I do know...that all else will fade away. Success and accomplishments during their school time is so important. I'm not saying that it isn't. What I am that it is not everything. And, if I don't have the God part to marry with it...I'm missing something big for my kids.

The Grass will wither....the flowers will fade but the Word of MY GOD will stand forever! Longer than my poor high school and everything else! I guess....its a reminder for me to be realistic that my kids aren't necessarily going to 'get it' during their time in school....but God's word will stick with them regardless. A reminder for me to remember how it feels.....and to not expect them to be everything I was not. Did that make sense to you? It does to me.....maybe it makes more sense to you than you think. Hmmmmmmmmm

yeah, that's me and my girls from high school. They were from my church youth group...Oh the stories we could tell!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Something just for fun my brother in law is a HUGE Beatles fan. I mean HUGE! If you know me, then you also know my husband loves Elvis.....that's the same kind of love that Ken has for the Beatles. Now you might get it. Anyway.... Ken saw this one picture of The Fab Four and thought...hey...we have 4 cool looking kids....let's see what we can do. One hour on a Sunday and is our tribute to The Beatles...Johnson Style. Enjoy!

Who are these great looking boys??? From left to right, there is Nick, Alec, Scout and Max Johnson. Now get the JohnSONS? Ha! We had fun....they, surprisingly had fun too!

Are you wondering how it turned out???

Hello family and friends! I hope that you had a great holiday weekend! Ours was wonderful. We spent some time with my family here in Birmingham and then we drove to Nashville to be with Kevin's brother and his family. It was great.

On the 4th - I posted about Nick's invitation to the Mosque. Well, the friend never called Nick back about final plans. Nick thought he would just go to the Mosque and look for his friend...but we thought that was not the wisest idea. We'll wait on another invitation. All in all, it was a good and I think the discussions it allowed us was the best. I am also glad it did the same in some of your homes. I heard from some of you and that was really cool.

Have a great Monday!

Friday, July 4, 2008


Happy 4th of July! I love today. I typically love Homewood Park on this day and 'Thunder on the Mountain' as we call our Redmountain Fireworks set to dramatic music - her in the Magic City. But today....I love some quiet time. No huge plans today until later....gotta love that. Last night we enjoyed a competitive game of Phase 10 with our friends that lasted from 7ish until well after midnight. Honestly....we were all pretty punchy right at that midnight hour when Nick said the strangest thing. I think his exact words were, "Oh yeah, I need to be at the Mosque by 1pm tomorrow". Literally all 4 adults sitting at that table....just paused and then kind of laughed. That was until we found he was serious. You see he has a Muslim friend who is on the football team with him that has invited him a time or two to visit the Mosque with him. My first mama reaction...was absolutely not. But, in Nicks rebuttal, he pretty calmly said, I don't see what's wrong with it, I'm not going to become Muslim and I think that this will help my friend agree to come visit my Wednesday night youth group. do you argue with that? The five of us then had a discussion on what is bad and good about going. I love what our friend and children's pastor then said.... "you just can't bow to any false god or idol". He mentioned going is one thing...but participating is another. Nick seems to get that and said he wouldn't participate he is just trying to find a way to get his friend to come with him. I love the passion there...but the process makes me nervous.

My other son, Scout has been invited several times to go to services at The Kingdom Hall with his friend from school. We've never allowed this. My feeling is that he is too young and too new in his walk with the Lord to understand the dynamics of that group. We love his friend and he comes around quite often. We've invited him...but of course, he is not allowed to go with us. But...we still enjoy him as our friend. Maybe one day.....Scout will be asking us to support his actions when trying to reach out to his friend. Oh....what will I do then?

This all reminds me of a day about 3 or 4 years ago when my husband let a couple of Mormon young men into our house. He offered a cool glass of water to them on a hot day while they pounded the pavement. (Mark 9:41 I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.) After they had been in our home a few moments and we had exchanged hellos....they were quick to ask.."So are ya'll LDS?". "No", we answered with a smile..."why do you ask?". (the obvious answer was that we were smiling and actually allowed them into our was kinda clear by the attire who they were) We developed a relationship with these guys over a couple of weeks and though we never attended service with them...a story for a later date, when we talked about the differences in our faith...they agreed to come to a Friday night service we were having. I'll never forget the face of one of our pastors when we walked up that night with our Mormon Friends in their black and white attire...and Elder name tags. His face was priceless...and his words were something like.."in all my years in a Church of God...I don't think I've ever seen this". All of that to say, the experience allowed us to talk about our God...our Jesus and we know that made way for God to work in those men. We might not have seen the final result...but we were part of a plan because God's word never returns void! Am I right??

So...breaking this down, if I really want my kids to have a passion for winning souls - I guess that will mean at times....I have to trust God and the discernment the Holy Spirit gives to me. I know that Nick knows.....there is one Jesus...named Jehovah Yahweh - I AM. So, our plans today....include Nick's visit to the Mosque at 1pm. This might not work for you....but in our seems to fit with other examples that are pretty similar. What I mean is that I see and can hear God saying..."This is why you are SHARE MY WAY". In fact, I see it all around us in the way our lives are changing with church in general. We all have different assignments here on this earth and we are all here to touch different people, even the Muslims....Jehovah loves them too.

Independence, freedom of religion....freedom in Christ. The dictionary defines freedom as the quality or state of being free,the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action, liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another.

Life in Christ is the ONLY spiritual life based upon freedom. Freedom to choose a life with Christ. He NEVER forces himself on us. He waits....He wishes to live and walk with us and enjoy life. How different for our Muslim friends. How beautiful.....if we can lead them to that true Freedom.

When was the last time you shared the opportunity of True Freedom with someone who needed it? I'm just asking.....I'm asking myself the same thing.

John 3:16-18 (The Message translation)

16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

2 Corinthians 3:16 - 18

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Good List

Many of you know I love to read all kinds of raising kid books! Especially those on boys. Speaking of boys....don't you love that picture of those handsome boys? That is my nephew in the center, Alec. We are looking forward to seeing him this weekend. I thought the picture was great for thinking of boy books and boy stuff in general. Anyway, back to books. Often I find them and pass them onto Kevin. I think we have enough to share with most parents we know! Have I read each cover to cover? Most, yes. Others, looked more appealing in the bookstore! Last year, a good friend of ours Darrell Garret gave Kevin a book on raising boys. It is written by S. Truett Cathy. The book is called, ‘It’s Better to Build Boys Than Mend Men’. Cool title huh? Kevin read this book in a just a few days. He has recommended it highly to many of his friends as well. I recently gave it to my boss who is in the throws of raising his 16 year old son. Need I say more??? Anyway, after talking with my boss on the book and why he liked it, he mentioned a list found within the book. It is written by H. Leo Boles and truly is a great life list. I was thinking of the list this morning and a few of the things I could add to that particular list myself. I thought since it sparked thought in my life and things I want to share with my kids…..I would share it with you too.

Things I wish I had known before I was Twenty-One

That my heath after thirty depended in large degree on what I put into my stomach before I was twenty one.

How to take care of money.

That a man’s habits are mighty hard to change after he is twenty-one.

That a harvest depends upon the seeds sown.

The worthwhile things require time, patience, and work.

That you cannot get something for nothing.

The folly of not taking older people’s advice.

The value of absolute truthfulness in everything.

That what Mother wanted me to do was right.

Dad wasn’t an old fogy after all.

More of the helpful and inspiring messages of the Bible.

The greatness of the opportunity and joy of serving a fellow human being.

That Jesus Christ wants to be my Savior and Friend.

That is a great list isn’t it? What about you? What would you add to that list? Me? I would add these to my things that I truly wish I would have known before I was 21!

A Sister is a friend who is there when your BFFs forget who you are and where you live.

Authentic friendship is found when you stop pretending to be perfect.

The Holy Spirit is moving around me. Active in the wind, the creation and that little voice inside my head.

Keep a Journal…you won’t remember where you’ve been or the many cool things that God does for you if you don’t.

Oh…there are more……and probably they are similar to yours. Go journal some down and then share them with your kids. They have a few years before they turn 21!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If you see Nick on the sure to wave!

Well, it’s official – our oldest son, Nickolas passed his drivers test yesterday. He was so excited. We were too…..we see less driving to the football field in our future! Woo Hoo! After he passed his test, Nick was filled with a new confidence we had not seen in him before. Maybe confidence is not the right word. Maybe…it should be called ‘foolish wisdom’. All the sudden he could give anyone driving advice! So, maybe it was not all foolish…whatever you call it…he felt good!

Kevin and I sat on the couch last night as we handed the keys to our son. Nick took a friend with him on his first solo journey to the movies. It was very surreal but exciting too because I remember how cool that felt. Total independence, or at least I thought that at the time! Anyway, our deal was that he was to call us when he got to the movie theater. Guess what happened? No call. So, being the mom that I am, knowing the movie had already started – I called his cell until he answered. (Teenagers don’t turn off their cells in the movie…they only silent them. You know… they don’t want to miss an important call) So, he finally answers and tells me the movie started so he can’t talk. Excuse me….you forgot to call me was my reply. “Oh…mom, I forgot. I’m sorry. We’ll you can see that I got here safe. So everything is fine”. I had a moment to tell him that “no…it wasn’t all fine and if you are going to drive you MUST listen and obey me. This part is about me and my security in knowing you get where you are going safely”. I wasn’t angry….just needed him to know this is an important part of us allowing him to drive now. And…it was dark! He should be glad we even let him go!!! Right?

So…its time to be very clear with our rules. With Nick being the oldest…this is the first time we’ve had to go over driving rules and expectations. I would love to hear from some of you who have already been here…or ideas you remember from your teenage driving days. What advice do you have for a first time parent of a 16 year old?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No subject off limits!

Wow, the subjects we have to talk about with our kids get crazier and crazier don’t they? Just when you think you’ve talked about the scariest thing….there is another subject just waiting to become the next shocking topic. This past weekend we visited The Church at Brookhills to hear David Platt talk about Homosexuality. We knew it would be enlightening and we were not disappointed. The fact that our teenagers deal more directly with this subject should encourage all of us as parents to hear more on how to biblically discuss this with our kids. Kevin and I have had conversations with the boys before, but I will admit – that most conversations were lacking a bit of biblical authority and scripture. Sometimes as Christians we know just enough to be dangerous. Just enough to misquote and believe what we think is the truth. Do you know what I mean? The bottom line is this – I took a million notes and have a few things outlined in my Bible, but I still don’t feel adequate enough to wrap it all up for you. I totally encourage you to visit the website for The Church at Brookhills and listen to the podcast on this one. Do I think you’ll like it? Well, my 16 year old could not write notes fast enough on Sunday am. That tells me it might capture your attention as well!

Homosexuality has been a subject that our oldest has been hit with a few times. He has had friends from both church and school admit to struggling in this area. Our culture encourages the behaviour. Our teens are encouraged to experiment, go with what feels good. In some ways, they are taught that the Bible is not the absolute – its been translated one too many times to be completely accurate so don’t look only to that source. YIKES!!! The most accepted trend seems to be with girls experimenting and experimenting in very social situations, like parties. Its totally no big deal for a girl to kiss another girl. Its not even considered disgusting. That…breaks my heart. There are teenage girls, that one day, will deal with guilt and shame and possibly even addictions they just walked right into during their high school year. Bottom line – God is clear on sexual issues and it is in the Bible. We need to be constantly affirming the word of God in our children as an absolute authority. ABSOLUTE. Something that Platt also said Sunday was that while we need to be absolute and strong within our convictions, we must also love people….even the people that go against our lifestyle and our convictions. You don’t have to condone what they do…but you are called to love all people and teach your children to love. We cannot morally decide what sin is ok and what is an outrage. That doesn’t make much sense does it. All sin is equal in the eyes of God. Sin is sin…and we are all sinners in need of HIS grace. Thank you Jesus for your grace!!!!

There is a pretty new song out right now called ‘I kissed a girl’. It is by a young singer named Katy Perry. You may not know this, but Katy Perry was raised in a Christian home and before she broke out as an edgy secular singer, she was singing for God. She was a Christian recording artist and was under the name Katy Hudson. A lyric from one of her songs, Faith Won’t Fail from 2004 “For He’ll prevail in the midst of all my trials and tribulations. And He’ll prevail in the midst of all my sin and temptations”. What happened and how are Katy’s parents? Are they completely disheartened? Do they question what they did???? What they didn’t do???? I have friends who have teenage children who they are praying will find their way back to God. Its been a reality for me to see that sometimes, no matter what we do or pray, free will allows and even demands that our children walk their own spiritual journey as they grow older. It is for this reason we have to be sure we are equipping our children with the word as much as possible. Remember, the bible tells us that though all of our temptations are different, He will not allow more on us than we can handle.

I Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

So that means when our kids become an age where they are responsible for walking in their own spiritual walk, they will have the ability, tools, gifts…everything….they need to make their own decisions if we bring them up in the way they should go. As parents, that is a part of our releasing that into His hands. I am beginning to learn how to do that. Their spiritual life is not about me, or Kevin. So my reaction to my kids when they fall or make a wrong move, has to be one of teaching and sometimes discipline because its all about THEM and their walk with God. We have to teach them to find their trust in the Lord. Wow…what a job! But one with amazing rewards too. Check out the music your kids are listening to. Are there songs that you need to discuss with them? What about Katy Perry…any of her songs on your teenagers IPOD? Check it out and see. And…for a list of other songs you may want to check out…click on the link to the top songs for this week below.
P.S. Don’t forget to visit The Church at Brookhills website for David Platt’s podcast - AMAZING