Monday, November 30, 2009

No Excuses . . .

I have no excuse as to why I haven't written on my blog lately. I wish I could tell you that like katie from my new favorite blog  I am so busy taking care of the 12 african children that I have adopted at the tender age of 21.

Or like Hoodmamamel, I am in desperate need of funds in order to keep MercyStreet running efficiently.

Oh, there are countless others that aren't wasting their lives . . . .

So, until I figure out exactly how not to waste my life, I will leave you with words from John Piper's book, yep, you guessed it, "Don't Waste Your Life."

"You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, perhaps just one, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by one great thing. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on into eternity, you don’t need to have a high IQ. You don’t have to have good looks or riches or come from a fine family or a fine school. Instead you have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things—or one great all-embracing thing—and be set on fire by them."


I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early 
retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball 
and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it  wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. Over against that, I put my protest: Don’t buy it. Don’t waste your life."

"Desire that your life count for something great! Long for your life to have eternal significance. Want this! Don’t coast through life without a passion."

Monday, November 16, 2009

We are gearing up for another trip to Peru in January. I can't wait!!!! CAN'T WAIT!! We are very excited. Can you tell? I normally use lots of exclamation points when I write but today I am full of them. I don't really think it is a good sentence unless it needs an exclamation point. You really should read my facebook posts.  I am not sure that I have ever written one that doesn't have at least one sentence with an exclamation point.

Anyway, two ladies going on our trip to Peru are going to be able to meet their compassion kids for the FIRST time. I am so excited for them!! (Yes, I did it again! smile) Here is a touching blog of one lady's first encounter with her compassion child. Read it here, please. I just have to say life if full at the moment. Come to think of it, it usually is. But, we have had heartbreak here. Heartbreak we knew was coming, but it hurts just the same. Hurt is hurt and our heart breaks. A precious
man that I have known since I was very young went to be with Jesus on Sunday. Praise Jesus He conquered death for us; that is all I can say right now. He did it and we are eternally grateful!!!! (That deserves many exclamation marks.)

One thing I am learning and just beginning to understand is that I can't fix everything. It is a hard lesson for me. I want to sweep in and just fix it,take the pain away, heal the wound. One thing I know, the only person who can help you carry your grief is Jesus. He is the ONLY way to heal from the grief of this world. Sure, we can bring food, run errands, sit and cry together but in the still of the night or at first morning light when you just realize that it wasn't really a bad dream, Jesus is IT!!! And because of His grief, we are healed. (Isaiah 53) I can't fix it but I KNOW a God who
can! Let Him heal your heart. The coolest part of that is that He takes that grief we thought we couldn't bear and comforts us and walks us through it daily. Then one day, we realize that it was through that grief that we found Jesus and we know Him like we have never known Him before. Just like Job, at the end, we realize that though we had heard about God, we finally SEE Him
for who He is - the "I AM." Glory!

P.S. Sorry for all the exclamations and bold type. I was preaching to my computer and just couldn't quite figure out a way to express the depth of what I was feeling! Also, I just can't help but turn a post that I had meant to lead you to another post and stinkin' end up giving a mini-sermon. Man, you would think I would be out of words by now. Hey, at least you don't have to live with me. You should have heard the sermon I have our oldest the other day. We are helping this lady fix her house that was damaged in the flood and he didn't want to go help because he was "tired." Yes, I did it. I lamented to him about how he sleeps on a king size bed each night while this poor family is sleeping in muck. So, be thankful, you are only subject to me some of the time!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Help is Needed!

I have told you about this site many times and I love this family. Please, if you can, help them and their ministry. 

Here is her post:

An old friend, seasoned in the ministry of the inner city, once used this illustration and it forever changed the way I see and work out the call of the gospel in my life.

When his son was little, his greatest joy was to help his daddy do almost anything and everything.  Whenever they would pull into a gas station, he would beg for the opportunity to help fill up the car.  Almost always, our friend would succomb to the pleas of his son and begin the process that allowed the child to be 'helpful'.  He would unbuckle him from his carseats sift him from the car.  Then he would steady the boy while he wrestled with the nozzle.  Being much too weak to pull the trigger, this daddy would wrap his giant hand around his son's and squeeze the handle for him.  Inevitably, there'd be splashed gas and the nozzle would drag across the paint on the car leaving a scratch to be buffed out later.  Once the tank was full, the nozzle would be replaced into it's cradle, and the child replaced into his seat, buckled in, ready to go, clearly satisfied with a job well done.

Truth be told, our friend didn't need his son's help.  If anything, he often hindered his progress - made it messy, slow, and fraught with mistakes.  Alone, he was capable of completing the work perfectly every time.

But as a father, who desperately, unwaiveringly, wholly loves his children, he allowed his son to help because he knew that his son delighted in doing the work of his father. 

And he delighted in his son.

For six years, Mercy Street has existed to serve the community of West Dallas.  In our own brokenness, we have tried to humbly come alongside the beautiful, residents of this community to serve them, to love them, to be the hands and feet of Christ and to live worthy of the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Could He do it by himself?  Of course. 

And, I'm guessing without a personal i.v. drip of Diet Coke and a stash of Milk Duds. 

But He, in His perfect mercy, invites us to participate with him in His work - because He knows His children delight in doing the work of their Father.

For the first time, Mercy Street is in need of formal fundraising.  Giving across the nation is down 35% and we have not been immune to this statistic.  What's not down, though, is the number of children, and their families, who want to be a part of this ministry.  Kids wait outside for the doors to open at every event and,  on a daily basis, children are asking one of the mentor coordinators when they can get a mentor. 

One of my best friends, Jennifer, who I love dearly because she is so painfully honest, has told me more than once why she gives to the ministry. "Girl, I give what I give so I don't have to do what you do." We laugh and but the truth is, we couldn't do what we do without people like her.

So, here's the deal.  Trey very sweetly, and with chocolate, asked that I put the need out to my friends in the blogosphere.  One of our fundraising goals is that 250 new donors would pledge $25 a month.  I know a lot of ya'll readers live here in Dallas but many of you live in other countries, like Florida, and we need you all. 

If you so feel led (no pressure), would you consider giving to Mercy Street - partnering with us to continue to do the the work of our Father?  If so, the Mercy Street logo below, or on the left sidebar, is a link that will take you to a secure site where you can give. Also, feel free to forward this to all of your friends.  I won't get mad at all.

On a side note, if this is your first visit to my blog, take heart, I don't ask for help all the time.  I swear.  Unless it comes to laundry advice.  Or hair advice.  Or good ideas for meals that look and taste like I spent a lot of time but I actually just defrosted and microwaved them.  To those - I'm guilty as charged.

Also, please forward and pass this info along to other bloggers, your friends etc.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books! Plus, the "meaty" vs. "mindless"

I was just updating me reading list of what I am reading, have read or have on my amazon wish list. Let me just tell you. My amazon wish list is HUGE!! I am loving the kindle for my phone and having to resist just purchasing books that are automatically downloaded right then and there to my phone. Oh, the temptation! However, there is nothing better at 1 am when you can't sleep and you have read every "mindless" book you own and you need something to help you sleep. I know, I am crazy. I read all the "meaty" books during the day when my brain is actually working and the "mindless" books at night. It is not that the "mindless" books are not actually "meaty" but they teach you a lesson without actually having to think about it. (I mean Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers, enough said!)  I am one that after about 7pm my brain starts a steady decline.

Ok, while looking up the author for "Quest for More: Living the For Something Bigger Than You, I just found a gold mine of books. It looks like the guy that wrote this "Quest for More" is also the man who wrote "Age of Opportunity" which is hands down the best book about raising teenagers (other than the one TRUE book, the Bible.) Oh, I digress. Not the the bible is a digression, it is just that I am having trouble getting to the point of this paragraph. The point is, Mr. Paul David Tripp has written oh so much, I have never even heard of? Oh my, he has written one for the midlife crises called, "Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God," "War of Words, Getting to the Heart of your Communication Struggle," "Broken-Down House," and much more!

So, on the right side of my blog is my book list. I am now waiting for yours. What are you reading now? "Meaty" or "Mindless?" I am headed out for a road trip today and I will have countless hours to download items to my kindle. Ideas, please.

Oh, and just a small side note. I AM GOING TO SECRET CHURCH TONIGHT!!! Oh, yes, my birthday wish is happening! (Thanks to Brad and my church for sending us!)

Mary Kassian

I read Mary Kassian's blog often and lately she has been contrasting Girl-Gone-Wild vs. Girl-Gone-Wise! What a fun way to show us how to be wise women. I loved today and wanted to share. I think you will enjoy too!


How she handles her money and resources
Girl-Gone-Wild: Circumspect
Girl-Gone-Wise: Indulgent

Girl-Gone-Wild: “SI have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.” Proverbs 7:16-17
Girl-Gone-Wise: “She opens her hand to the poor and raches out her hands to the needy… she makes bed coverings for herself…”. Proverbs 31:20-22

“‘Smart Girls Get More” is a wildly successful ad campaign that promotes the United Kingdom’s best-selling young women’s magazine, “More.” The message shouts from billboards, buses, TV commercials, radio spots, sponsorships, and competitions. It inundates British women with the idea that if they are smart, they will get more-more men, more sex, more celebrity gossip, more beauty, more fashion, more products, and, of course, more of the magazine that supplies all the latest and greatest information on these pleasures. “Cuz Smart Girls Get More!”
Although that particular ad campaign hasn’t run in North America, it’s the clandestine message of virtually all mass marketing efforts. Merchandisers want to convince us that we need more of whatever it is they are selling. The Bible’s perspective differs from the world’s. Constantly buying more stuff isn’t a trait of a woman who’s smart, it’s a hallmark of a Girl-Gone-Wild. The Wild Thing is an indulgent, voracious consumer who pursues pleasure through the purchase of material goods. A Girl-Gone-Wise thinks differently about the way she spends her money. She’s circumspect. She understands that everything she has comes from God. She tries to honor Him by being a good steward of all her resources. She treasures the riches of the Kingdom more than the riches of the world.
The fact that the woman in Proverbs 7 takes such care to detail the extravagant luxury of her possessions gives us a clue as to her attitude towards them. It’s clear she has an underlying attitude of self-importance and self-indulgence. She wants the young man to be impressed and to hold her in high regard. She wants him to admire her, and to charm him with all her finery. She wants him to affirm that she is really something. She’s like the harlot, Lady Babylon, who indulged in the “power of luxurious living” and in the “passion of sexual immorality”, and seduced nations to “drink her wine.” (Revelation 18:3)
The passage in Revelation informs us that Lady Babylon was a greedy consumer. She was a shopaholic who bought all sorts of exotic imported merchandise: “gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.” She was extremely fond of these “delicacies and splendors.” In her mind, they were status symbols-”must-have” items. The latest and greatest in Babylon’s More magazine was “the fruit for which [her] soul longed.” (18:12-14)
Nowadays, we’ve substituted designer jeans for purple cloth, satin sheets for fine linen, French perfume for frankincense, 5-star restaurants for cattle and sheep, BMWs for horses and chariots, nannies and housekeepers for slaves, but we’re just as greedy and self-indulgent. Like Lady Babylon and the Proverbs 7 woman, we’re caught up in the endless quest for more. We spend and spend, even if we don’t have the money.
A Girl-Gone-Wild is a voracious consumer. She treasures the things of this world more than she treasures Jesus Christ. She settles for fleeting pleasures that do not satisfy her deepest needs, and in the end, ultimately destroy her soul. The world tells us that smart girls get more. But Scripture says that if we’re truly smart, we won’t settle for the “more” the world can offer. We’ll want immeasurably more than its cheap, temporary thrills. The problem is not that we desire beautiful and precious things, but that we have a faulty perception about what is most beautiful and most precious. We settle for treasures that wear out, break down, and can be stolen, when we ought to set our hearts on riches that last forever.
The Bible teaches that what you do with money-or desire to do with it-can make or break your happiness forever. The Girl-Gone-Wild who makes material riches her goal in life has the wrong values. However wealthy she may appear, she is poverty-stricken in God’s sight. In His economy, the truly rich woman is the one whose main aim in life is to serve him as King. Her wealth lies in the currency of faith and good works, opening her hand to the poor, and reaching out her hands to the needy. She has a heavenly bank balance that no one can steal and nothing can erode. She lays up for herself treasures in heaven, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) The Girl-Gone-Wise knows that heavenly treasure is the kind that smart girls get more.
© Mary A. Kassian

This is a pre-publication excerpt from “Girls Gone Wise in a World gone Wild,” © Mary A. Kassian to be published by Moody Publishers in 2010. All rights reserved. You are welcome to link to this post, but please do not copy and/or reproduce this copyrighted material without express written permission of Moody Publishing.

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