5:19 PM

I'm Alive...and I'm Moving

Posted by amy |

Wow, it's been WAY too long. I'm incredibly overdue on a blog post and I really have no idea if anyone is still out there. But, if you are...bless you... AND...my blog is moving to...

http://www.tuneofgrace.blogspot.com/

And I promise I'll try really hard to be a more faithful blogger.
See you there!

1:17 PM

Truth for our Times

Posted by amy |

The following is an incredible article written by John Piper. In which, he makes a surprising correlation between the recent plane crash on the Hudson River and the Presidential inauguration. You WILL want to read it. I am thankful for and challenged by the depth of wisdom and measure of grace and humility with which Pastor John communicates such powerful truth. May the mercies of God win the heart of our new President.

The President, the Passengers, and the Patience of God
January 21, 2009 by John Piper

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed at being treated better than we deserve that we must exult in the all-sovereign God—the God of birds' flight and Obama’s rise. When King David pondered how many were God’s “wondrous deeds,” he said, “I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told” (Psalm 40:5). That’s the way I feel watching God’s public mercies in the last few days.

Have you considered how unlikely was the crash of USAir flight 1549 in the Hudson River on January 15—not just the rescue but the crash itself? Picture this: The Airbus A320 is taking off at an angle—maybe 30 degrees. It’s not flying horizontal with the earth. Not only that, it is flying fast—not full speed yet, but perhaps four times as fast as your car would go at top highway speeds.

The geese are flying horizontally with the ground, more or less. They are not flying in a cloud like a swarm of bees. They fly level with the ground, often shaped like a V. In view of all that, what are the odds that, traveling at this speed and at this angle, this airplane would intersect with the flight of those geese at that very millisecond which would put a bird not just in one of those engines, but both of them?

Two laser-guided missiles would not have been as amazingly effective as were those geese. It is incredible, statistically speaking. If God governs nature down to the fall (and the flight) of every bird, as Jesus says (Matthew 10:29), then the crash of flight 1549 was designed by God.

Which leads to the landing in the Hudson River—which is just as unlikely. The airbus now has no thrust in either engine. The flight attendants said it was as quiet as a library in the plane without the sound of engines. The plane is now a 77-ton glider with its belly full of fuel. Captain Sullenberger decides to land in the river. Anywhere else would mean one big fireball.

He banks and misses the George Washington Bridge by 900 feet and glides the plane into a perfect belly landing. A few degrees tilt to the front or back or the right or left and the plane would have done cartwheels down the river and broken up. On the water, the flight attendant does not let passengers open the rear door. That would have flooded the cabin too fast. The emergency doors and front doors provide exits for everyone and the plane floats long enough for all of them to climb out. Ferry boats are there almost instantly. The captain walks the aisle twice to make sure everyone is off. Then he leaves. Later the plane sinks.

If God guides geese so precisely, he also guides the captain’s hands. God knew that when he took the plane down, he would also give a spectacular deliverance. So why would he do that? If he means for all to live, why not just skip the crash?

Because he meant to give our nation a parable of his power and mercy the week before a new President takes office. God can take down a plane any time he pleases—and if he does, he wrongs no one. Apart from Christ, none of us deserves anything from God but judgment. We have belittled him so consistently that he would be perfectly just to take any of us any time in any way he chooses.

But God is long suffering. He is slow to anger. He withholds wrath every day. This is what we saw in the parable. The crash of Flight 1549 illustrates God’s right and power to judge. The landing of the plane represents God’s mercy. It was God’s call to all the passengers and all their families and all who heard the story to repent and turn to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and receive forgiveness for sin.

I am writing these thoughts on the evening after the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American President of the United States. I cried twice today. There were two points when I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. Once was when I prayed with some brothers after Obama’s speech and was overcome with the sinfulness of my own racist background. The other was in trying to express my emotion to an African-American brother about what this must mean for him.

As much as I reject Obama’s stance on abortion, I am thankful to the bottom of my soul that an African-American can be President of United States. The enormousness of it all is unspeakable. This is God’s doing. The geese were God’s doing. The landing of Flight 1549 was God’s doing. And the Obama presidency is God’s doing. “He removes kings and sets up kings” (Daniel 2:21).

And I pray that President Obama has eyes to see. The “miracle on the Hudson” and the “miracle in the White House” are not unrelated. God has been merciful to us as a nation. Our racial sins deserved judgment a thousand times over. God does not owe America anything. We owe him everything. And instead of destruction, he has given us another soft landing. We are not dead at the bottom of the Hudson.

O that Barack Obama would see the mercies of God and look to the One whose blood bought everlasting life for all who trust him. The parables of God’s mercy are everywhere. The point of them is this: God is a just and patient Ruler, and Jesus Christ is a great Savior. Turn. Turn. Turn, O President of the United States and passengers of this planet.

Full of thanks for all God’s mercies,
Pastor John

3:59 PM

Oooooh-NINE!

Posted by amy |

What is it about New Years that makes the whole world crazy for resolve?? Each year in January billions of people make decisions...choices...commitments...to change. Even as I sit here and type my mind is flooded with all of the things I hope to accomplish, do, see, be in 2009. And this year I'm curious, why do we do this? Does it really make a difference, or does it just make us feel better for the few short days, weeks or months that we actually follow through with such commitments? Right now the tv is on in the other room and I've just heard at least three commercials for weight loss and gym specials going on NOW! And to quote a friend..."The next two weeks will be the busiest time at Memorial Park all year". Such resolutions range from health habits to relationships, to spiritual deiciplines, and on and on. Now before I sound like the ghost of New Years past and get called a "scrouge" let me just say I love what resolutions stand for, I think they're great. I just know that every year I end up disappointed with myself, and it's this failure to follow through that leaves me and a big part of the rest of the world feeling frustrated. Can anyone relate? What exactly are we going wrong?

I resolve in 2009 to make my resolving look a bit different. Let's do a little word study on "resolve" shall we...

Definition: decision, determination
Synonyms:
boldness, conclusion, courage, decidedness, design, earnestness, firmness, fixed purpose, intention, objective, project, purpose, purposefulness, purposiveness, resoluteness, resolution, steadfastness, undertaking, will, willpower

I would now like to connect my thoughts in regard to new years resolutions to a book that I am currently reading that has nothing to do with new years, but has everything to do with change. The Miracle of Life Change, How God Transforms His Children by Chip Ingram, previously published as Holy Transformation. The entire book is based on Ephesians Ch 4.

Here are a few quotes from the book...

"How can we claim that Christ makes a difference in our lives when our lives don't really look that different from the rest of society? Until we can answer that question clearly, we will continue to cast doubt on the validity of the gosepel we proclaim"..."The kind of change I'm talking about involves the supernatural. Our goal is not a remodeled you accomplised through hard work and self-effort, but a brand new you that thinks, acts and feels differently because the Spirit of God has taken up residence within you...the kind of change you can't fake"..."I have come to realize that the average Christian simply does not know how spiritual growth and transformation really occurs. Somewhere along the line, the clear teaching of Ephesians 4 has been replaced by hopeless busyness"..."Failure to change frequently results from spiritual ignorance. Many Christians simply don't understand their identity in Christ and the grace they have received. The ignorance destines them to the "try hard, do good, fail" syndrome."

There will definitely be more blog posts to come as I continue through the book. Hopefully that's enough to wet your appetite and help connect my thoughts as I take a look at new years resolutions and the commitment to change I hope to make this year. I can't really speak for anyone else, but I've realized that my own personal failure has come in making my own best effort to do something different rather than realizing than my own best effort doesn't amount to much apart from the power of God at work within me. If I want to eat better or exercise more or be better with my finances or be a better friend, sister daughter then I MUST make Christ Lord of my life in these areas. I have to acknowledge that there is no best effort on my part that makes me able and ask for eyes to see the supernatural work of God that is constantly at work in and around me...but perhaps I fail to see because I fail to take the time to do so. Its in realizing that I cannot that the God of the Universe, my heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone else in the universe, can come in and say LET ME!!

May 2009 be filled with a greater supernatural work of God in your life and in mine. He is able and in Him so are we. I can't wait to share my victories with each of you. Be blessed in the new year friends!

8:10 PM

On Holiday

Posted by amy |

I love the Christmas season. It's filled with some of the best moments of the year...special time with family and friends, cold weather (occasional snow), twinkling lights, baking, Christmas music, decorations and best of all....the advent of Christ and His long awaited birth.

I spent an amazing week in St. Louis visiting my family. This year I'm especially thankful for my precious niece, Mikail, who is almost a year old and my second niece, Gracyn, who is due to arrive in February. It's so fun to watch our family grow. The Lord is SO good and we praise Him for an amazing week together. I’ll let the pictures tell the story...

I pray your Christmas was a sweet time of blessing with those you love, celebrating not only the reason for the season, but the reason for life...Emmanuel, God with us!

family time--hanging out and playing games together
sweet mikail

mama & mikail

aunt aims & mikail

dani & nanny

nanny & pap

aunt sissy

game on

buzz word team 1

danielle & david

dad LOVES games!

sombody's ready for sleepytown

kitchen time--bakin' up yummies!
candied pecans

white chocolate yummy goodness

cheater turtles...so easy & SO good

rum balls...yum balls

christmas day--mikail's 1st!
i've been good all year

i bought her a hat

she didn't really care for the hat

she felt a little better about daddy's hat

she loved nanny's new gloves

dad's small gift in a HUGE box...so fun!

danielle painted this for gracyn's nursery

sara & charlie

aim & preggers

sisters

d and d & lil' m


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

11:07 PM

Silence

Posted by amy |

Check out this AWESOME blog post by Mark Driscoll on the lack of/need for silence in our lives. It's SOOOOO good...

http://theresurgence.com/silence

8:28 PM

The Singlehood Phenomenon

Posted by amy |



I recently came across a really interesting book. I'm a reader, and if a book grabs me you'll usually find me with my nose in it until I reach the back cover. I read all kinds of books, some related to work, some for my own personal growth, some just for the sheer pleasure of using my imagination. I work in full time singles ministry at a church. A lot of the books I read pertain to my job...discipleship, leadership, relationships, etc. For some reason a lot of "interesting" books in regard to dating and marriage seem to make there way across my desk. I'm not sure if people are trying to drop a hint or just aid me in my ministerial studies (I'll choose to assume the latter). Now, not all of the books I've come across have been worth the read. Some I don't even get all the way through, although there is great benefit in learning what NOT to do in relationships. But every now and then I come across one that I can hardly put down or stop talking about because the contents inside preach a message so contrary to today's culture that I want to shout it from the rooftop.

As a single person there are a lot of things about marriage that I don't know, but one thing I do know is this... marriage was designed by God and it's good (keep in mind that good and easy aren't the same thing). I also know that the legacy that is currently being left behind in regard to the sanctity of marriage, or lack there of, is leaving singles wounded, skeptical and downright fearful of something that if done God's way can be one of the greatest blessings on the planet.

Since working in singles ministry the past two years God has put a real passion in my heart for relational health, for myself as well as for others. Some may look at today's culture and wonder if marriage can redeemed. My friends, I believe it can. The marriage rate in the US has dropped drastically in the last decade. As a result, we have the oldest and largest singles population in our nations history. I'm not by any means saying that being single is bad. I would be talking to myself as well, if I were. However, as the contents of this book will show, the current singleness trend can be directly linked to many unhealthy thoughts, feelings and behaviors. And it's my hope that the following information will help us to take a step towards redeeming a genuine belief in marriage, as well as help us to see marriage the way that God intends.

The Singlehood Phenomenon sheds light on 10 brutally honest reasons people aren't getting married. The authors, Tom and Beverly Rodgers address real issues as well as provide Biblically based solutions. I'll let the book do the talking...

From the back cover..."The Singlehood Phenomenon is full of hope for singles who have yet to give up on marriage. Dr's. Beverly and Tom Rodgers address the top ten reasons singles aren't getting married and show how social trends such as cohabitation, rampant divorce, and the fear of getting hurt make finding a soul mate that much more difficult. Difficult, but not impossible! Deal with your skepticism about dating, love and marriage and overcome the reasons you stay single. Learn how to integrate psychological principles and biblical truths to develop healthy, godly love relationships."

Ten Brutally Honest Reasons People Aren't Getting Married:

1. Skepticism about love and marriage-I'd rather be alone than in a bad marriage.

2. Lack of faith in God's provision-I'm not sure if I have a soul mate.

3. Unresolved issues from the past-I always seem to attract unhealthy people.

4. Confusion about the rules-I don't even know how to date.

5. A poor understanding of the purpose of marriage-I think being single may be an easier way to live.

6. Fear of Getting Hurt-I don't want to be hurt again.

7. Wanting the perfect mate-I'm not a perfectionist, I'm just picky.

8. Not dealing with prior heartbreak-I don't want to feel pain.

9. An unbalance focus on career-I want to be established before I get married.

10. Concerned that the marriage will fail-I don't want to get divorced.

Any thoughts?

5:20 PM

Kiss My Face

Posted by amy |



In recent days I've found myself attracted to things that claim to reduce or relieve stress. So far I've tried just about anything that involves lavender and/or chamomile...from sleepy time tea to lotions and bath soaks. Today I was walking down the organic skin care aisle in the grocery store (HEB of course) and I came across another great claim to fame. At first glance I thought that only my recently revealed stress could be helped and then I looked on. Sure enough there was more than one answer to my problems...all thanks to a little product called "Kiss My Face"....kiss it indeed!

anti-stress

early to bed

active athletic...what???

I had NO idea there was still hope for me here!