I just wanted to let you all know that my husband is back and has finished the Bar exam...thank you for all of your prayers. I will post in November to let you know how he did...I can't believe it takes so long to get the results back.
I also wanted to let you know that I will be away for a few days. My husband and I are going to Seattle for my cousin's wedding. We will be back on Wednesday, August 3rd.
Today is my one year anniversary with my husband. I am so blessed to be married to such a wonderful person. I would do it all over again without giving it a second thought. I am even happier today than I was the day I married Alex. He's amazing. So, sweetheart, happy anniversary and cheers to many more to come. I love you and good luck on the Bar Exam.
During this upcoming week, my husband takes the California State Bar. The test is three days long: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The test is eight full hours of examination each day. If you could, please pray for my husband. Pray for a peace that overwhelms him, a clear mind, and the ability to recall all of the law he's been studying for months. This test is particularly important since he's in the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps gives its officers two chances to take it, when they're part of the JAG unit, before they redesignate their commission. This is his first attempt and hopefully the last. The thing that is especially difficult about this test is that they don't find out the results until sometime around Thanksgiving.
Thank you for your prayers. They are much appreciated.
We had another wonderful discussion on Monday with the high schoolers about the book Captivating. We actually revisited a lot of what we discussed last week since we had three new girls. There was a lot of self-discovery on their part. They became very open and vulnerable.
Here are the new questions that we discussed and sent home with the girls to reflect on:
In the story of Deborah, we see a woman confident in the position in which God has placed her. Does that seem normal or somewhat odd that society, at the time, resisted?
How do you think the Bible, our Culture/Society, and the church define Women?
How has your life defined you? Do you agree?
God is calling you out to a purpose. Not necessarily a specific career, but a purposeful life. What pulls at your heart? When you hear about it, something inside you says, "Here I am, send me!" What is that thing that tugs at your heart that is so hard to ignore?
I know it's hard. There's a voice in your head telling you "no" you're not good enough. And maybe you have stopped daring to think about that thing anymore. Ask God to show you what's in the way. Write it down and then remove the obstacles from your life. Dig out that invitation Jesus has given you and accept His invitation to dance.
Those of you who are reading the book? If you've had any thoughts triggered that you wouldn't mind sharing, I'd love to hear them. It helps to hear other's take on the book when creating our study. Thanks...Have a great day!!!
I have another job interview tomorrow. It's for a 4th grade position. I really am stoked about this interview. I would love to teach at the school and at this grade level. Please pray that if it's God's will, I would make a good impression during this interview and that I would be offered the job. Thank you so very much!!!!
Last night at church the following question was posed:
" Do I seek God/give to God expecting that He then would owe me?" "What is the spirit of my heart when I give or do something? What should it be?"
These questions are profound. They are things that I can never ask myself enough. These types of questions make sure I am always keeping myself in check.
Last night we looked over the scripture of 1 Samuel 4. We went through the whole chapter and afterwards there were some amazing discussions that came about.
We specifically looked at verse 4 ("So the people sent men to Shiloh, and they brought back the ark of the covenant of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim. An Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.") and discussed how we, as Christians, should want to make a difference. We should want to make an impact!!!
We also discussed 2 Corinthians 4 and the glory of God (the presence of God). We need to make ourselves available to God!!! Let him use us in the way that He wants to use us.
We were also challenged with this question:
"How do I know when glory (presence of God) has departed my life?"
We know when:
~we lose more battles than we win ~we make decisions without consulting God ~we "use" the things of God (I did this for God, now he He owes me__________) ~wicked men do the things of the Lord (worshipping idols, half-hearted worship) ~the enemy no longer respects God ~lost people don't see the difference in MY life (I need to live above reproach) ~proven leaders begin to tremble and give up ~we stop looking for the glory ("I'm doing alright, I don't need anyone else")
Last night's message really triggered some good thoughts in my head, so I just thought I'd share the gist of the message with you all. Hope you all enjoy and are as moved to thought as I was!!!!
It appears that there are several different view points on Christianity, but no matter what the view point, the big picture is that Christ came to save us, all of us. For some of us, we have accepted Christ into our heart and then make it our mission to build relationships with people and then through those relationships share the love of Christ and what that means. For others, they accept Christ into their hearts and then they aren't sure what to do, but it is usually not their fault. The Church has done a great job of expressing the need for evangelizing, it just hasn't done a very good job of correctly showing its people how to do that. So, as a result "Christians" have gone around sharing the 4 spiritual truths. This is great, but a lot of times it comes off in an offensive way. I mean can you honestly tell me that people coming up to you on your way to the fireworks, the mall, the coffee shop, the video store, etc and asking you or shouting from a street corner: "if you died tonight, do you know where you'd be going?" is an effective way to spread the gospel? Okay, so maybe you'll get a few people to accept Christ this way, but then what? They are left alone with this decision because they didn't know the person they were talking to from Adam. Thus my hypothesis that relationships are the key to sharing the gospel. Truth put into words may be helpful, but truth lived out through action is effective and an example of life application of the gospel and the truth that someone is accepting by asking Christ into their heart.
All of the above aside, I think that The Church has put emphasis on the wrong thing. Yes, salvation is important, I'm not denying that, but is that all Christ's message was about? If that was it, why would anyone accept Christ before they are were death's doorstep? Christ cares about how we live our life: feeding the poor, taking care of the environment, loving our neighbor, worshiping God, etc. If it was purely all about salvation there wouldn't be so much in the bible about how to treat others in the here and now.
My friend in the blog world received a comment to one of her postings that I had some strong feelings about. Here is what I posted in reply:
"I have to address your comment:
"I know that it probably would not occur to the emergent folks or to those who do not ascribe to attending church...."
First of all, that is a rude comment. It is comments like that which divide the church. It appears to me that you have had a bad experience with the "emergent folks" and that you view them as "in the wrong" or "sinful." Why else would you blatenly segregate yourself from that group, who are also Christians and love Jesus?
I am a regular church attender and do not think pastors or elders are scary, nor would it be a bad idea to talk with them. If she wants to do that, she probably will, or her friends that actually know her outside of the "blogworld" will help walk with her to go meet with them.
Either way, what's wrong with telling someone "I'll be praying for you?" In my experience, people who have a problem with that are people who don't really believe the power of prayer changes things. That it's just a saying Christians use to make themselves feel like they're doing something with the least bit of effort.
Also, if you really do have a problem with "emergent folks" don't you think it would be more effective to approach them politely rather then belittle them? I don't think Christ ever belittled the people he disagreed with. In fact, he poured their love on them and made a point to do it publicly. Instead of taking, my guess is a bad experience, out on everyone else, why don't you go to the Lord and figure out why you are so against these people who just want to spread the love of Christ, as I'm assuming you do. Why are you so negative towards your own brothers and sisters in Christ?
Christ calls us to love people unconditionally, not to judge them. We are to be accepting and loving, not condemning and rejecting. It is not our place to make calls on the state of someone's heart, nor should we be trying to. It doesn't matter if someone is black, white; straight, gay; Mormon, Christian; young, old; criminal, citizen; poor, rich; modern, postmodern; etc., we, as Christians are called to love on all of God's creation, which include everyone in the above listed groups, not just Christians.
This is purely my opinion, but I suggest next time before you go and make comments that are rash, rude, and offensive that you think about how Christ would view those comments and that you decide if it is something that would help unify the kingdom or divide it. "
What do you guys think about this person's comment? I know you can't see the whole comment, but let me put it in context for you. This guy was saying that "emergent folks" and those that don't attend church would not think of recommending going to the pastors or elders of a church to someone who is struggling with something. I took offense to that and I don't even label myself "emergent." I am just someone who loves Christ and doesn't want to see the church divided any more over petty differences and I want The Church to be a place where people feel welcomed and not condemned.
Well, we had a small group tonight, but we had some great discussions. We showed a clip from Hope Floats. For those who have seen the movie, it is the scene where Bernice is trying to tell her dad that he wants her...he wrote it in his letter, but he just drives off while he she is sobbing.
This scene parallels with the stories in chapter four of this book. Tonight, we discussed how we have to make sure that we know who we are, that we find out what we stand for and what makes us tick before we let others totally shape us and make us who they want to be. To follow up this conversation we showed a clip from runaway Bride. We showed the part right after the Luau when Julia Roberts runs outside is followed by Richard Gere. They then have a key conversation that explains why Julia keeps running. She doesn't know herself...she doesn't even know what kinds of eggs she likes.
It is so true...in this world it is easy to think you like something because other people do, but if you were by yourself would you still choose the same thing? We spent a long time talking about experiences that have helped us to become who we are today and what some of the high schoolers need to do to identify who they are and who they are becoming.
Some of the questions we left tonight with are as follows:
Eve was the crowning glory of creation; not least, not an afterthought, but truly the 'best for last.' The chapter suggests that we as women are the beauty of the image of God. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
As you watched the clip from "Hope Floats," how did your heart feel as your watched Bernice pack and then try to get into the car with her father? Have you ever had an experience in your life (doesn't have to be with your father) where you heart felt like Bernice did as her father drove away?
Define in your own words:
Seductive, Alluring, Inviting, and Captivating
In your mind, do these words have a positive or negative connotation? Would you want to be described by any of these words? Why or why not?
Read the story of Deborah in Judges 4-5. How does this story fit with, or challenge, your perception of women in the Bible?
Well, that sums up what we did and what we left our students with...hope you enjoy!
I have finally made time to get back to one of my favorite past times: running. I know many of you probably think I'm crazy for enjoying running, but seriously you should try it. It is so freeing and inspiring. In the last three days I have run about 12 miles. I don't say this to boost myself up, but rather to illustrate how much time I have spent to illustrate some points later.
I have had some of the best prayer times during my runs that I've had in weeks. There are no distractions around me, just God's beautiful creation and the wind blowing through my hair. Running is such a stress reliever and really one of my favorite times to connect with what I'm truly feeling deep inside, as well as to just talk with God.
Lately, I've felt a little depressed and not really sure why. Not sure if it's because I am a teacher and now on summer break with nothing to do. If it's because I am still dealing with the mess I mentioned earlier about losing my job for standing up for what I believe in. Not sure if it's because I am trying to figure out why God would give me a teaching job every year, but then take it away at the end of each year. I don't know why I'm feeling depressed, but I just simply have been. Well, last night I was really feeling like that and after my run, I felt so much better. I poured my heart out to God. I shared with him why I thought I might be depressed. I poured out my heart to Him. His presence was so strong.
Anyway, all this being said, just wanted to throw out one of my favorite ways to connect with God and to truly be alone to listen to what He has to say!
Last night at the fireworks I began looking around. Everyone was there. Didn't matter how people looked, dressed, talked, mingled, etc...all that mattered was that they were there helping to celebrate our country's freedom. Why can't church be just as accepting? We're suppose to belong to this all loving church body, yet half of those people last night probably wouldn't set foot inside a church. Partly because the church is so condemning (don't get me wrong, there are black and whites as to what is right and wrong, but we still need to be loving even to those who aren't perfect, which is all of us), and because it seems to be such a hypocritical place. We can change that.
I was so upset last night about the stupid tracks that were being handed out last night. To sum it up, these particular tracks were saying that we could rid the USA of cancer, poverty, AIDS, evil, etc if only people would turn from their sin and turn to God. It said it was our fault that little kids are dying from cancer. Now really, who would want to join somewhere that made them feel like all of the worlds' problems were their fault? Seriously!!! I would have gone up and said something to the people handing out these terrible things, but they were very young kids. The people who wanted these things handed out didn't even have the gull to do it themselves. They had to put innocent young children in their place on a street corner instead.
Today is my husband's 25th birthday. We have had so much fun. We have spent most of the day together. We watched the movie Murder at 1600. Awesome movie!!! We had a homemade lunch. Then we went to pick up our friend from the airport. Then we ran some fun errands together and finished up at Cheesecake Factory to have dinner with my husband's parents. To finish the night off we gave our kitties flee baths. They were actually really good and didn't make a fuss!!!
I love Alex so very much!!! Happy birthday babe!!! Can't wait to spend every birthday from here on out with you darling!!!
I love to get up early and work out. It starts my day off with energy while giving me peace and quiet as well as time to myself to talk with God. I am married to a wonderful man with whom we have a beautiful daughter and a dashing son! Life can't get much better than this!!