Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Thoughts On Giving

Every Friday evening, my family takes part in the American Chinese Fellowship downtown. I have been privileged to build wonderful memories and learn valuable lessons as the Bible study teacher of the junior high/senior high girls' Bible study for the past 3 1/2 years. Currently, I am teaching lessons that I write each week as part of a course I call the ABCs of Christianity. Every week, taking a different letter of the alphabet, we study a name of God, a principle of Christianity, and a country of the world to pray for.

The following is an excerpt from our "Letter-G" lesson this past Friday night on the principle of giving.

Giving

There is much in God’s Word about the topic of giving. Various form of the word “give” are used 1392 times in the Bible. Most of those verses talk about God as the ultimate Giver and all the many things He gives to His creation. Some of those verses talk about His desires for people to give back to Himself or to give away to other people.

Giving is an act of self-lessness, which is probably why God talks about it so often. He wants us to always be thinking of others, and not ourselves. The concept of giving does not just refer to giving money, although that is a wonderful gift to bless others with. The Bible talks about many offerings that God wants us to give. Here are a few:

* Glory to God – Psalm 29:2

* Thanks to God – Psalm 105:4

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18

* Ourselves unto prayer - Acts 6:4

* Ourselves as a living sacrifice unto God, dedicated to His service - Romans 12:1, 2 Corinthians 8:5

* Money and physical items to:
~ the poor/needy - Proverbs 19:17, Proverbs 22:9, Proverbs 28:27

~ the Lord's work - “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in My house, and prove me now herewith, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10


The words of the Lord on Giving:

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

“Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over shall men give into your bosom.” Luke 6:38

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Monday, September 15, 2008

Church At Our House

Yesterday afternoon, a crowd of folks from our church came over to have a Sunday service together. Since we were the only church members with electricity, our house was a good place to meet. :-) We had a delightful time singing together, sharing praises and testimonies to the glory of our God, listening to the Word preached, eating soup, doing puzzles, playing games, and fellowshipping into the night!












Hurricane Ike

"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullnes thereof...[He] layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: [He] maketh the clouds his chariot: [He] walketh upon the wings of the wind." (Psalm 24:1, 104:3)

As Hurricane Ike whipped through our city on Friday night with powerful fury, God's incredible might was made known to me in a very real way. I have seen many intense storms, but never witnessed a hurricane firsthand. To think that my Father walks upon the wings of the wind and rides the clouds as a chriot is an amazing thought! I stand in awe of the fact that He as Creator is bigger and more powerful than any storm.

My family and I feel deeply grateful for God's almighty protection throughout the duration of Hurricane Ike. We have emerged from the experience with no bodily harm or damage to our home. A fence in the backyard toppled over, a pine tree on our side yard was uprooted, and a fruitless pear tree in the front yard has been greatly diminished. But these are all such minor issues compared with those who lost homes or loved ones. Our hearts go out to the many in Galveston who will be returning to a ravaged coastal town and homes that have been destroyed.

We were without electricity for only 18 hours. This is an amazing miracle considering that it was predicted that power might not return for 2-4 weeks! We were among the first in the city to experience a return of electricity on Saturday evening, much to our surprise and relief! Going without this daily luxury for just a short time has increased my appreciation for something I have always taken for granted. It also makes me realize how spoiled we Americans are. Countless millions live in countries where running water and electricity are non-existent, and they survive without a problem. I am grateful for this small taste of "missionary training" since it is very possible that God will take me to some country in which having no electricity is a normal way of life.

Even though we have been greatly blessed with electricity, many others throughout the city are still without it. Traffic lights everywhere are not functioning making traffic even more chaotic than usual. My dad has encouraged us to stay home as much as possible in order to conserve on gas since it is nearly impossible to obtain right now. Stores, also, are out of food, so we are rationing what we have to make it last. Thankfully, the Lord has taken good care of us. We have sufficient provisions and should make it just fine until the food shortage passes.

My sister is fondly known as the "news reporter" of our family and as such, she has been snapping pictures right and left throughout the whole hurricane adventure. Here is a small taste of what we've been experiencing lately:

Boarding up windows...


Extra water stored and ready

Mom and Dad enjoying the breezy evening right before Ike blew in (notice the tree in the front yard - only half will still be standing after the storm!)

Katelin wanted to show how windy it was getting!

Clouds rolling in

Our fence toppling over during the storm


Our own leaning tower of pizza :)

Hello neighbors!

Our dilapidated tree

Branches/trunks from the tree piled up on the drive way

The following are pics from other houses/yards around the neighborhood:


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Some websites to take a peek at!

Leslie Ludy's new website is now up and running! There are some great articles there to read as well as resources to enjoy. It can be found at:
http://www.setapartgirl.com/

A ministry in Haiti by the name of Danita's Children - Hope for Haiti has really gripped my heart over the past month and a half. I encourage you to join me in prayer for this wonderful outreach to the orphaned, poor, and destitute of Haiti. Their website is very well done and shares detailed information about the ministries taking place there:
http://www.danitaschildren.org/

Gospel for Asia is another ministry I wholeheartedly endorse. They specialize is training and supporting native missionaries to carry the Gospel to all corners of Asia! The website for GFA is full of valuable resources as well as general information regarding missions, their ministry, and the opportunities to get invovled. It is a great place to learn prayer requests for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are ministering under difficult conditions:
http://www.gfa.org/

Biblical Womanhood online is one of my favorite daily stops! Crystal Paine is a wife and mother who always has a great thought to share regarding homemaking, one's relationship with Christ, or family relationships. I especially appreciate her simple and down-to-earth applications of Christian living as a virtuous woman. You can find her blog at:
www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog.htm

Lastly, if there is anyone in the Houston/Katy area looking for a church, my pastor has just recently begun a website for our church. Come visit us online at: http://www.thechurchatkaty.com/ (Or drop by for a real visit in person on Sunday morning!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

One Cute Fellow

A couple weeks ago, Zion came to me in the kitchen where I was making breakfast to inform me that he was wearing a fire-fighter's hat. I laughed so hard when I saw what he was really wearing!



On my last day of work this past Friday, I caught some footage of Zion reading to himself on the couch. He didn't know I was filming him. It was such a rewarding experience to stand there, hidden from his sight, and realize just how much has been sinking into his little brain as we've read countless books together over the summer. I love to hear his descriptions of the "big" and "witt-le" animals that he is pointing out to himself! I guarantee you won't be able to watch these clips without saying, "Awwww....how CUTE!" :-)


video

video

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Many Faces of Ethan

"Why is my brother out there without me? Doesn't he know that I am absolutey necessary to his happiness in the backyard?"

"Boy, I wish I could go out and play too!"

Katrina, don't you see how sad and pitiful I am when I can't go out and play?

Oh! Is that a camera you have?

Well, in that case, let me smile for the camera! (Never mind the runny nose. As my dad says, I got in a fight with a slug. :-)

Ahoy mate! Don't you like my blocks?

Howdy.


Look how well I can walk now! I practice a little every day.

Check out all my teeth! I'm not such a baby anymore. I can actually chew food now!

Then again, sometimes I'm very much a baby. Sometimes I cry when I don't get my way, but Katrina doesn't give in to me anyway, so I don't know why I bother.

This is my excited face!

In the end, you've got to admit I'm a pretty cute little guy.