Friday, June 26, 2009

Sweet Fellowship

We had the wonderful privilege of getting together with our dear sisters, Tara and Kelly, the other night in celebration of Kelly's 23rd birthday! What sweet fellowship it was! Our times with Tara and Kelly are always characterized by much laughter, encouragement, and great memory making --- and Wednesday evening was no exception! We love you girls!

The Beautiful Birthday Girl

Tara sharing about her blooming relationship with a fine young man...
(Read more here!)

Fellowshipping into the night...

Praising God for dear friends!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Update on Kate 'n Nate

Life continues to be full of the joys, challenges, and hilarious moments of living with a sister who is engaged to be married.

The joys: staying up late into the night talking wedding plans and Nathan news. (Oh yes, and having a perfect reason for teasing her all the time is quite fun too!)

The challenges: coming to grips with the fact that for all practical purposes, Katelin thinks my laptop is her special friend. :-) Yup...despite the fact that she is in the throes of planning a major wedding and figuring out how to move across the world, she is also very much in love! And that means lots of Skype calls with a certain someone as well as numerous emails a day! It's a good thing I learned how to share in kindergarten...because I'm getting lots of practice doing so with my computer. :)

The hilarious moments: let's see...where do I start? I suppose I could tell you about the time that Katelin walked out of the house with her hairbrush in hand instead of her cell phone. Or maybe I should mention the time she locked herself into the house while home alone, leaving her house keys dangling in the keyhold outside? Then there was the time she put a pitcher full of iced tea into the cabinet instead of the fridge. Oh! And by the way, all three of these occurrences happened on the same day! I think you would have to agree with me that her mind was probably somewhere else. =)

A girl in love sure provides laughter for the household! (Don't worry - she was laughing too!)

As far as the Nathan side of the update, he's back in Ukraine involved in their missionary organization's annual summer outreach program: Carpathian Mountain Outreach. To learn more about what they do, and to see pictures of their experiences, go to:

In closing, here's a little snippet of a recent video chat via Skype that Kate 'n Nate enjoyed (and that they were kind enough to allow the publication of). Hope it makes you smile!

K: "Have you eaten supper yet?"

N: "No, not yet. And I didn't each much breakfast or lunch today either!"

K: (exasperated) "What am I going to do with you?"

N: (with his cheesy grin and raised eyebrows...) "Cook for me??"

K: (sighing) "You need a wife!"

N: "I'm workin' on it!!"

K: "FASTER!!!!!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Planting Seeds at the Salon

As I made plans to get my haircut with Gloria, at Courtyard Salons, I began praying that God would open an opportunity to talk with her about Jesus and the way of salvation.

She had cut my hair exactly one year ago, and I remembered her to be a talkative woman from Equador holding to the philosophy that the most important things in life include a college education, a good job, and happiness. During our last meeting in her boutique, I don't think she quite knew what to make of me --- a girl who spent her time traveling the country giving Christian retreats for young ladies and studying Bible college courses in her free time. :-)

Arriving at the salon, I was glad to see that Gloria remembered me. She is a great conversationalist, and so we easily began chatting about current life happenings as she lathered my hair in freshly-scented shampoo.

I told her about my new job at Care Net, and she wanted to know how college was going. I also told her about Katelin's upcoming wedding. (She found it hard to believe that my sister and her soon-to-be-husband actually want to live in Ukraine --- a place she deemed as poverty-stricken and difficult!) Then, we talked for awhile about her family and what all of her grown children are doing with their lives.

Somewhere along the way, as I explained once again why I wasn't following the typical path young people take, I remember sharing that when I was 14, I gave my life to Jesus Christ. He became my Master and King at that time and ever since, life has been about doing His will...not mine. Even with this interjection of personal testimony, I didn't sense it was the right time to turn the conversation in an evangelistic direction. As I prayed while she worked, I asked God for an opening if He wanted me to share. And if not, I asked for His Spirit to keep my mouth shut.

As the conversation continued throughout the snips and styling of my hair, she ended up bringing up the topic herself! She asked me if my dad was a preacher. Smiling to myself, I told her no, he is a business man. Then she said, "Then, how did your parents raise you and sister to be this way? What religion are you?"

"I'm a Christian," I replied. "But I don't really view Christianity as a religion. It's actually a relationship with God through His Son Jesus. Do you have a religious background?"

"I was raised Catholic," she said. "But I'm not a practicing Catholic. I'm not really anything. But I don't smoke, drink, do drugs, or anything like that. And I talk to the man upstairs everyday."

"Do you know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die?" I asked.

"No. How can you know that? We'll just find out when we get there."

"A God of love doesn't want you to have to fear dying or have questions about eternity. By then, it's too late to make any choices. We have our lives on earth to make choices that will determine where we spend eternity. And because He wants us to know what to expect, so we can make the right choices, He's given us the Bible. The Bible is His Word, and in it, God tells us how we can for sure where we will spend eternity one way or the other."

I don't know if Gloria had ever heard this reasoning or not, but she seemed to seriously contemplate what I was saying. Then, she went off into this long story about how one of her client's had a church-going husband who was mentally messed up and abused her terribly. I think the point she was getting to was that she didn't understand how someone could be a church-goer like that and then in home life be such a monster.

After her long story was told in completion, I tried to gently steer the conversation back to the topic I really wanted to discuss with her. I shared how the Bible says all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. "Think about a bunch of people trying to jump and touch the ceiling," I explained. "While some of them will be able to jump higher than others, none of them will be able to touch the ceiling. Some people may have lived better lives than others, but none of us are "good" enough to meet God's standard of goodness which is perfection. As hard as we try to be good, there are still times when we don't live up to even our own moral code of conduct, let alone God's." Then I proceeded to explain sin using the Ten Commandments. I told her that lying, stealing, dishonoring parents, and hating people are just as serious to God as murdering and using drugs. She seemed to follow fairly well.

"Think about it," I told her. "If we could get to heaven by doing good works, Jesus wouldn't have had to die on the cross for us. His death would have been in vain! But it wasn't. Jesus chose to take on the sins of the world, your sins, and mine and be punished for them in our place. The wages of sin is death --- in hell! --- but He provides a rescue plan. He gave His own life blood so we don't have to be separated from God for eternity in a horrible place of torment. Then, He rose from the dead to prove His power over death! And He offers to us the same gift of everlasting life."

I finished up by sharing the rest of my personal testimony of salvation. I don't know how much really sunk in with her, but I was grateful for the opportunity to plan Gospel seeds.

Then, she told me she likes to listen to Joel Osteen on TV on Sunday mornings because all his messages are so positive. (They certainly fit quite nicely with her philosophies of life.) I told her to be aware of the fact that Jesus didn't always preach a feel-good message. He preached messagse on repentance from sin and sacrifice for the cause of obedience. Hmmm...that was new for her.

As I handed Gloria her check for the job well done on my hair, I also passed over to her a Gospel tract in a pretty little holder that someone had made for me out of colored paper. (It contains a detailed description of the 10 Commandments and how we all fall short, as well as the good news of our Savior!) "Here, this is for you to read," I said. "It will tell you how you can know for sure the way to heaven." She took the tract with a smile and indicated that she would read it.

Praise the Lord for opening a door of utterance to speak the Gospel! He is so good. Please join me in praying for Gloria. She needs the Lord, and I pray she will find Him.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Praising God for 24 Years of His Faithfulness...

Today, I am celebrating every breath, every heart beat, every sunrise and sunset from the past 24 years; all of which are tremendous gifts from my Creator. What an immense privilege it is to know Him in a personal relationship and be able to call Him Father.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to comment on the last post! You have made the week so fun as your comments have been trickling in throughout each day! I am thrilled and delighted to know a little better who the readers of this blog are. I must admit, I have been quite surprised by several of your names --- having no idea that you read this little slice of the blogosphere. From Maiden's Quest attendees to old friends, I have been so excited to learn of you all!

If you are a reader of this blog, and still haven't commented to say so, please do so here (even if you think I already know about you)! It will be a huge blessing!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Birthday Wish

My birthday is this week, and while I'll admit it sounds a bit presumptuous, I'd like to receive a very special gift! I would LOVE the privilge of knowing who I am writing to when posts are published on this tiny little corner of the web.

So, if you are a reader of "Living for Jesus," please let me know!

Please leave a comment on this post (even if you've left comments in the past), stating your full name...or at the very least, the initial of your first name along with your last name. This way, I will know exactly who you are!

I am so looking forward to becoming better acquainted with all of you who make up the readership of this blog! Thank you in advance for such a wonderful birthday gift! :-)

"The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted."
Psalm 18:46

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Learning To Fish

After 10 years of being a Christian, I feel like I am just now learning how to be a fisher of men.
Much of this is due to the books I've been reading by Mark Cahill entitled: One Thing You Can't Do In Heaven and One Heartbeat Away. God has been teaching me so much through these books and giving me the boldness I need to put into practice what I've been learning. If you want to be challenged in the area of evangelism, I highly recommend making a visit to as well as reading his books.

Inspired by what I've been reading, I've begun praying regularly for divine appointments with people that would be opportunities for witnessing. God orchestrated two such opportunities this past week that brought great excitement and challenge to my life!

The first one came last Monday morning. (I'd been praying specifically for witnessing opportunities to come to my office since I now work a desk job four days a week. Lo and behold, God answered immediately!) The printer technician who had been finishing up a repair job on one of our machines brought me some paperwork at my desk. He heard me talking with a client on the phone about our services and asked if he could also benefit from our free gifts of baby clothes and diapers. (He has a baby back in Jamaica where he's from.) I gladly packaged up some items for him to take. When I handed the bag over, I also gave him a tract and said, "I don't know what your religious beliefs are, but I'd like to give this to you to read in your spare time. We are able to give you these baby items today because we love the Lord Jesus here, and He is the One who makes it possible for us to have this ministry through the generosity of fellow Christians."

That one statement ended up paving the way for at least a one-hour conversation with this man! I was amazed! He was in no hurry to leave for the next job, and seemed to be genuinely interested in discussing (and debating!) spiritual matters. He was born to Chinese immigrants in the country of Jamaica and has lived in America for 20 years now. With Jamaica being a real melting pot for lots of different religious beliefs, this guy seems to know a little something about all of them and has embraced various aspects of each, finding it difficult to believe that Jesus is "the only way." Needless to say, we had a most interesting discussion. :-) I felt very prepared to answer his objections about the Bible and Christianity thanks to reading the book titles I mentioned above!

Unbeknownst to me, the ladies I work with at Care Net started to pick up on what was happening in my front office and graciously began covering for me whenever the phone would ring or a donation drop off was made. They were so excited to hear from down the hallway this conversation that God orchestrated for me to have with our printer technician, and rallied around me in intercessory prayer as well. It was an awesome day!

After over an hour of conversation with the tech guy, he left for the next job. By then, I had been able to give him two different tracts, a Bible, and the promise of a book in the mail. I plan to send him One Heartbeat Away as it will answer a lot of his questions and also present the plan of salvation in a clear, concise way written especially for the non-believing. Please pray for this man! I sense that he is on a quest for truth but he's not sure he really wants to find it.

The second opportunity that came this past week for a witnessing conversation arrived on my own front doorstep! We had two windows in our kitchen repaired, so I struck up a conversation with the repair man. (He didn't know what he was in for coming to our house!) Amazingly, I discovered him to be a very similar case to the technician at work! Joe was in no hurry to get to the next job, but seemed to enjoy our lively discussion of God, evolution vs. creation, the 10 Commandments, Jesus, salvation, and eternity. Our discussion lasted for probably 30 minutes. I was able to share the whole Gospel with him and found him to be very open, albeit skeptical and confused over many matters. I sent him off with a tract and the book One Heartbeat Away. He accepted both with genuine gratitude. So, pray for Joe too!

God has taught me much through these two witnessing opportunities this past week. While it's been a stretching experience far exceeding the comfort zone I've been used to, I am excited about future learning and growth in the area of this kind of "fishing." Most importantly, I want to be a faithful messenger of the greatest message ever told, with the hope that the seeds God allows me to plan and/or water will bring forth fruit unto everlasting life and rescue a multitude of souls from hell.

To God be the glory, great things He is doing!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thought for the Day

Keeping the War in Mind
By K.P. Yohannan

Can you imagine an airline pilot flying a 747 over the Atlantic Ocean and in the middle of the flight forgetting his destination?

One of the strongest and most successful attacks of the enemy on the work of God is to cause us to forget our purpose and our goal. All of a sudden, we find ourselves totally wrapped up in “normal living,” no longer able to answer the questions, “Why are we here? What are we doing?”

The Bible very clearly tells us that we are here not for ourselves but for the cause of a lost world that has never heard the name of Jesus and for its multiplied millions of souls who are heading for hell.

How can we forget nations like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and China, where there is so much spiritual darkensss and physical suffering? How can we so comfortably live for ourselves while millions slip into an eternal hell? We can do it because our enemy has managed to replace our purpose as a Christian with a desire for comfort and self-realization.

You see, it is often in emergency or crisis situations that we are roused to action. For example, seeing the burning house where our own child is trapped inside would surely motivate us to do something about it.

But we have forgotten the reality of the lost who are heading to an eternity in hell and the urgency to tell them of salvation. In our forgetfulness, we lose sight of our motivation and purpose.

We must keep the war in mind – at all times. Let us not forget why we are here!

What about you? Are you willing to stand in the gap for a person, a village, a state, or a nation? The Lord was looking for a person who was willing to make such a commitment when He spoke through the prophet Ezekial and said, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekial 22:30).

Make a list of 10 people who don’t know the Lord and pray for them daily – fast and pray. Witness to people about the Lord wherever you are. Carry Gospel tracts or booklets and pass them out. Find out about the unreached nations and people groups of the wolrd and adopt them as your prayer focus. Pray and believe for their salvation.

You are called. What are you waiting for?

Selection from the book Reflecting His Image, by K.P. Yohannan.