Thursday, October 29, 2009
With my curiosity piqued, I ripped open the padded envelope and found this book inside:
The title page inside had a hand-scripted message from the author, Trudy Harvey Tait. She had written the message to me and said she hoped this book would serve as inspiration for the ministry. Now, I was really asking questions! I'd never heard of Trudy Harvey Tait (so I thought), yet she apparently knew of me and the Maiden's Quest girls retreats! "How sweet," I thought. The book's summary looked interesting, so I set it on my nightstand and planned to begin reading it that evening.
Much to my delight, I found this novel entitled The Velvet Curtain to be intriguing, inspiring, and convicting! In fact, once I started it, I could hardly put it down!
This novel, set in the 1980's era, follows the life of a young Romanian woman, who flees her country during Communism's reign to live with relatives in America. At 19 years old, her deep love for the Lord Jesus and commitment to His ways causes her to be quite the example for all who grow to know her. However, Esther finds that in leaving the Iron Curtain of her homeland, she encounters a new curtain in America known in the book as the Velvet Curtain - a lifestyle that constantly encourages compromise and tempts her to reject her Christian beliefs in order to live the American Dream. Though the compromises are often subtle, they are significant enough to put Esther on a pathway to destruction. Her only hope of escape requires a heart-rending decision and a return to the precepts of Christ. The question is, does she have the courage to take such action?
The Velvet Curtain is a well-written piece of literature complete with realistic characters, romance, humor, an engaging story-line, and a timely spiritual message relevant to so many of the issues young women face today. I was blessed and convicted and finished the book in two days' time.
Come to find out, the author's husband left a message a few days later stating that they saw our Maiden's Quest website and were appreciative that we had listed one of their books on our Recommended Reading page. It turns out that they are the authors of a delightful children's book I've read called Asking Father. The Taits run a small publishing company committed to using their press for the furthering of Christian literature. The Velvet Curtain is Trudy's first novel. They were hoping that by sending me a copy, I would recommend it to others, which is precisely what I'm doing! There is a sequel to the book called Behind the Velvet Curtain that I would also love to read!
If this book piques your interest, you can order one online here.
I just finished the last page of this very inspiring biography a couple days ago, and cannot recommend it highly enough! Ray Comfort, founder of Living Waters, is a current-day minister of the Gospel whom I greatly admire. His teachings on evangelism have impacted my life more than words can say, while his personal example is one I long to emulate. This autobiography called Out of the Comfort Zone is bursting with typical Ray-Comfort-humor as well as incredible stories from Ray's life that you won't believe until you read. Definitely an inspiration! It'd be worth asking for this Christmas!
If you are a Christian, you need to read this book! As Christians, we are commanded by our Lord to "preach the Gospel to every creature." Unfortunately, we are living in a day when the Gospel message has been watered down to a happiness-recipe or at best, an "acceptance" of Jesus through a cute little prayer that supposedly serves as a ticket to heaven. There is very little mention, if any, of the true seriousness of sin, God's judgment, hell, or the need for repentance.
This book will teach you the 'why' and 'how' of sharing the Law of God in conjunction with the saving Gospel of Jesus in order to reach sinners in need of a Savior. It is a must-read! If you don't have time to read this book just yet, start by listening to a one-hour audio clip on the Living Waters website entitled, "Hell's Best Kept Secret." Beware though - it just might change your life!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The following pictures were taken yesterday in our front yard right before we left for another couple's wedding. The pink and blue were not planned but certainly appropriate! I couldn't decide which pictures I liked best from our impromptu photo-shoot, so I'm posting them all!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
ARE YOU DESPERATE ENOUGH YET?
Mark 5:22,23 says,
“And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”
Mark 5:25-34 tells us,
“And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”
I met a guy one day in a prison that told me how he thanked God he was put in jail. I was kind of dumbfounded by his statement. But he said that was the event that finally got his full and complete attention to serve the Most High God. He said that when you lay on your bunk in that cell, there is only one way to look: Straight up to Almighty God!
An acquaintance of mine has just gotten into a lot of trouble with the law. Will this be his watershed moment of fully and completely trusting in the Lord in all that he does?
I had dinner with an old friend recently. He told me that he had been in jail, and when he was in there, another inmate had one of my books. He was stunned. He didn’t even know I had written anything. He read the book, and knew God was setting all of this up to get him back in line to serve Him completely with his whole life.
A wonderful woman of the Lord lives a couple of minutes from where the Yale student was killed recently. She has been over there doing some powerful witnessing to the students on that campus and giving out copies of One Heartbeat Away to them. If Virginia Tech didn’t get every college student’s attention, maybe the Yale event will. Or then again, maybe it won’t, and now something else will have to occur to wake them up.
That same lady also sent One Heartbeat Away to the man who is charged with the student’s murder. The book is going into that prison right to him. A guard even called her and told her how to get it to him. You see folks, when you boldly speak the truth in love, God uses those encounters all the time.
As I was writing this newsletter, I walked up to the front of the airplane to throw some trash away. I overheard a flight attendant use the word ‘ .’ So, naturally, I butted in! It turned out that she was chatting with a man named Joe who was going to see one final doctor for his cancer. This was it. Either he had the answer, or it was over. One thing we told Joe, was that only Jesus had the answer he was looking for. We were trying to get him to think about what happened when he died and all he wanted to talk about was living. It was interesting and frustrating all at the same time. He was very stuck in his Catholic faith, and kept saying he would be okay because of his good works. We took the time to pray that God would get his attention and for his cancer. When I walked off the plane, he was waiting for me. We talked some more, and he hugged me. That was nice, but means nothing the moment he dies. Please pray for Joe that he will see Truth before he dies.
So ask yourself a question: Does God have your full and complete attention? But if He doesn’t, ask yourself this question: What will it take for Him to get it? If 911, Tsunami’s, Hurricane Katrina, the word ‘cancer’, celebrities dying, etc. don’t get your attention, what will? Is it the collapse of the dollar? Martial law on the streets of America? A major earthquake? A nuclear weapon going off in America? He wants your attention. Will you give it to Him? If you are not born again, today is the day of salvation. If you are born again, today is the day to repent of anything in your life that is not in line with God’s Word, and get back on that narrow road. Don’t stand next to the narrow road. That is simply not good enough. You need to get on the narrow road.
That is actually a very good prayer for the lost people in your life. Pray that God will do whatever it takes to get their complete attention. That can be a dangerous prayer. I tell that to people for whom I have prayed that prayer: That God will wake them up and get their attention focused on Him. You don’t know how God will answer your prayer, but that person’s soul is certainly that important to the Most High God. You can be rest assured of that. The cross of the Lord Jesus Christ is all the proof that you need of that fact!
God is in the business of getting people’s attention. Make sure He has your complete attention in the coming days. It will be necessary to survive what is going to happen and to be used by Him the way that you and He really want before His return.
P.S. A lot of people have been asking how the talk I gave, The , at the Deeper Conference went. If you click on this link, you can listen to it: http://www.markcahill.org/listen3.html
If you would like the whole set of DVD’s or CD’s of the conference, you can click here and order them: http://indduplication.com/index.php?_a=viewCat&catId=64&PHPSESSID =2d17d6c57c372b94ad50b32576b09403
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
In case you're wondering where the blog posts have been lately, suffice it to say that I've been running on "super-busy" mode - a step up from the "normal-busy" mode - and there just hasn't been time for an update in awhile!
For starters, the pregnancy center hosted its annual Fall Fundraiser this past Thursday, which made for a full day. I started the day helping with set up at 8:00 a.m. and ended the day well past midnight. It was a most enjoyable event with about 270 people in attendance for the banquet/silent auction. The special music for the evening's program went really well - thank you to those who prayed!
Friday was a day spent in catching up on rest, cleaning house, and preparing for out of town guests.
It was WONDERFUL to see my DEAR friend, Kelsie, and her husband and children! I haven't seen them since my last visit to Ukraine which was nearly two years ago. They are on furlough in the States and were kind enough to come to town for the weekend! Kelsie attended Katelin's second bridal shower and Joshua gave a presentation at our church about their missionary work in Ukraine.
Needless to say, our weekend was packed full of fun and flurry as we participated in the bridal shower and fed meals to our guests. It was a great weekend!
Hopefully, pictures will be coming soon!
Monday, October 5, 2009
This particular Sunday started out like most others. I began the day with Bible reading and prayer. Since I was planning to teach out of Ezra, I read over the chapters ahead of time and marked which verses I wanted the children to read.
Next, I tacked two new missionary prayer letters to the church missionary bulletin board that I am in charge of and set it by the back door to be loaded into the car. These two letters were from two of our Rock of Ages Prison missionaries. One of them lives in the United States and one of them is a national missionary in Ghana, West Africa.
For a church that is still quite small at roughly 80 people, it is a real blessing to be able to support so many missionaries around the world. Currently, we support 12 families serving in Ukraine, Peru, Paraguay, Ghana, and the United States.
I spent the next hour getting ready for church and gathering my supplies for Sunday school and music ministry. Then, it was out the door we went!
We always get to church quite early which allows plenty of time to tune instruments and set up class rooms. The morning progressed with Sunday school and the morning service. Attendance was a little light due to sickness going around and the drizzly weather.
The children in my class did fabulously well with the reveiw game we played from last week's lesson. I was pleased to see how much they remembered! Since this week's lesson focused on the sin of the Israelites in inter-marrying with pagan women, our discussion centered around the importance of choosing wise friends and avoiding those people who tempt us to sin.
After church, my family came home and enjoyed warm soup for lunch followed by a restful afternoon. I practiced my alto part in a trio I'll be singing in with Katelin and a friend from church. Then, I ironed several shirts for my dad's upcoming work week while I watched the rest of a documentary about the life of George Muller. Lastly, I took a brief nap before returning to church for the Sunday evening service.
The Sunday evening service is my favorite out of the whole week! It's a smaller, intimate group on Sunday nights. We start out sharing testimonies of praise and answered prayer from our week mingled with the singing of favorite hymns. Then follows Pastor Taylor's message (which is always good!) and lastly, tear-down/clean-up (we use a rented day care facility). The tear-down time is always fun as it brings a real sense of teamwork and comraderie amongst the church family.
On this particular Sunday, however, while everyone else packed up our "moveable church" Katelin, Samantha, and I sequestered ourselves in another room with the keyboard to go over our trio. We'll be singing two numbers for the pregnancy center's upcoming fall fundraiser and we desperately needed a rehearsal! We didn't even get finished practicing the first song before the keyboard we were practicing on was needed to be packed away, so we brought Samantha home with us to continue the rehearsal in our own living room. It was great fun as well as hard work! Please pray that our music will bless the Lord and the audience at the fundraiser banquet on Thursday night!
At 9:00 p.m. we called it a night.
Whew! There you have it, ladies and gentlemen -- a week in my life! What a project! I enjoyed keeping this daily log, but I'll admit, I am glad my project of such an ambitious nature is over!
You've been a delightful audience. I wish you all God's best in this next week! May you seek Him first and foremost.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
For one thing, I RARELY sleep in until 9:00 a.m., but I was so tired come Saturday morning that I did exactly that. All this late night blogging has really taken its toll! Contrary to Friday morning, the sky was overcast and gray -- causing me to want to stay in bed all day.
However, that was not to be. As I lay there contemplating all that I needed to do that day, my sister came bouncing into our shared room a little past 9:00 with a request. Would I go with the family to Hobby Lobby in order to get buy wedding items and each be able to use a coupon?
"Sure," I mumbled. I dragged myself out of bed and pulled some clothes on, deciding today would be a glasses day since my eyes were too tired for contacts. And as for makeup, I just didn't feel like wearing it. (Needless to say, I probably would have prepared for the day differently if I had known I'd be running numerous errands around town all morning!)
I joined my family in the kitchen for some toast and then we piled into Dad's Tahoe for a quick jaunt to Hobby Lobby; a place we've frequented quite a lot these days! With the items purchased, we walked next door to Wal-Mart for a few groceries. I was still trying to wake up.
No sooner had we returned home, I climbed into my own car and headed out for the bank and drycleaner's. I also made a few stops for my mom along the way.
Back at home, it was time to do some much-needed tidying up! I could tell my time at home lately had been limited due to all the piles of stuff I had left in my wake. Normally, I like things as neat and tidy as possible, so all this clutter sitting around was starting to drive me nuts! I tackled the various piles and got about half-way done with the cleaning when I stopped to help Mom in the kitchen. She had been cooking up some new experiments for wedding food, so I decided the least I could do was help wash and dry dishes.
Once the last dish had been washed, dried, and put away, Katelin called us to the table for a scrumptious-smelling lunch she and her visiting friend, Hannah, had cooked. It was actually breakfast for lunch! We enjoyed sitting around together and enjoying a relaxing meal of eggs, baked oatmeal cake, and apple salad. Yum, yum!
After lunch, I finished my cleaning projects and took a nap. Yes, I know. It's pretty ridiculous to sleep in until 9:00 and then take a nap too! But I really was exhausted.
The nap felt great! I think I could have kept going all day. But once again, my mental to-do list caused me to drag myself out of bed and get back to work. :-)
Next on the agenda was a blog post. Then, I spent quite a bit of time calling the people on the wedding guest list to receive their R.S.V.P. With these new numbers, I tallied our figures and updated the family on the current head-count for the big event.
My last big project to tackle was a plan for the elementary kids' Sunday school lesson I'd be teaching at church the next day. Last week, we had covered the beginning of the book of Ezra, which tied in quite well with my Bible college studies. :-) It was unusal for me to teach two Sundays in a row since I'm on a rotation with several other teachers, but I had offered to cover the whole lesson of Ezra to keep things simple. For this Sunday's class, I planned a review game, read over the new lesson, selected a memory verse, and wrote out application questions for discussion with the children.
Dad then helped me hang a picture in the bathroom which I've been working on remodeling for the past three months. A much-needed shower followed, then a late dinner with the family. Katelin's friend Hannah was staying the night with us, so after dishes had been washed, us three girls changed into pajamas and piled into our room for a movie before bed.
Like I said, it was an unusual Saturday, but a productive one. I'll be glad when this week of blogging about every day is complete so I can return to decent bed-times! :-)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I slept in until 8:00 a.m. - a real luxury!
By then, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. I read my Bible and then hurried outside for a walk in the deliciously cool morning air. What a glorious morning it was!
Breakfast and a shower were next in order for the day. Then, at 9:45, I headed out the door to meet up with Mom and Katelin at the photo-shoot for Katelin's bridal portraits. The photogrpaher, a friend of our family, was to meet them at the church where he would set up a studio effect for the pictures.
When I arrived at the church ten minutes later, they were all unloading Mr. Hudson's equipment. Next, we began re-arranging the chairs in the sanctuary to create a blank area near the back wall where the traveling studio could be set up. It was then that Mr. Hudson realized he had accidentally left his back-drop curtain at home!
I offered to go retreive it while they continued to set up lights and talk through the photo shoot. He scribbled out directions for me and off I went! It took me an hour to drive to his house and back, so while I drove, I enjoyed listening to beautiful music and a taped message called "How to Think Like a Christian."
Back at the church once more, this time with black curtain in hand, I found that the studio was beginning to take shape! While Mr. Hudson finished setting up and Katelin donned her bridal attire, I seized the opportunity to make some phone calls to people on the guest list in order to find out whether or not they'd be attending the wedding.
Finally, everything was ready for the photo-shoot, and Katelin took her place under the lights. She looked stunning in her beautiful dress! Just like a princess. :-)
I wish I could post pictures from the shoot for you to see, but no one is allowed to see the dress until the wedding day...especially not a certain groom who happens to read this blog! Sorry to leave you all hanging, but I am under strict orders!
At1:45 p.m. I drove back home, grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch, and began preparations for the evening Bible study I would be teaching. Every Friday night, my family participates in a ministry called American Chinese Fellowship. I have been the Bible study teacher for junior/senior high girls for the past five years, and I LOVE working in this ministry! This year, I have advanced fifth graders and a college-age girl in the class as well, so the age range is quite spread out!
Having just finished a two-month study on creation vs. evolution, I made preparations for a new lesson on the topic of the Bible itself. How do we know it contains THE truth? How do we know it's the Word of God, and not just the word of men? How do we know it's accurate and trustworthy? These were several questions we'd be looking at as well as learning how the Bible is laid out with history books, poetical books, poetry books, and epistles.
We've been reading a few pages a week from Mark Cahill's book One Heartbeat Away, in order to cover his material on creation vs. evolution. I planned to continue to the 3rd chapter which tackles the subject of the Bible vs. other religious texts. I also used a book called 30 Days to Understanding the Bible to provide a few worksheets for the girls regarding how the Bible is laid out systematically. When these preliminary topics on basic study of the Bible are over, we will dive into a verse-by-verse study of one of the Gospels followed by the book of Acts.
After preparations for the evening's study were complete, I ran out to Office Max to make the necessary copies for the evening and then to Wal-Mart to purchase new folders for the new study. At Office Max, the Lord gave me the opportunity to share some Gospel tracts with the cashier and engage in a conversation about his personal faith. It seemed to me he was a believer who just needed encouragement in his relationship with God right now.
I got home from my errands in time to stuff the girls' folders with materials for our new study, pack my bag, and head out the door. On the way to ACF, I picked up my neighbor friend, Stephanie, who would be joining us for the new study, as well as Hannah, another friend who would be teaching the pre-school children's class. (My family stayed home in order to attend to ever-present wedding preparations!)
It was great fun to fellowship with Stephanie and Hannah (both 16) on the long drive downtown. Once we arrived at ACF, Stephanie and I helped serve dinner while Hannah set up her class room. We ate with other girls from my Bible study class. Following dinner, new visitors were introduced and then we sang a few hymns before breaking into small study groups. Since I am the pianist for congregational singing, my class always stays in with the adults until the songs are finished.
We started out our class time with our memory-work project of Genesis chapter 1, complete with motions. The girls are doing really well with this project and we are now about half-way through the chapter. When they memorize the whole chapter, I have promised them each a copy of The Evidence Bible (by Ray Comfort's ministry). They're excited to earn the Bible, so they're quite motivated to memorize! Eventually, we hope to quote the whole chapter for the parents.
The rest of the class went really well as we covered the material I had prepared that afternoon. The girls were all engaged in the study and contributed a lot to it.
At 9:00, we dismissed. Stephanie helped me tidy the room and put everything back the way we had found it. We rounded Hannah up and hit the road for home.
Back at home, I dashed off a quick blog post on Thursday's happenings (in order not to get too far behind!) and fell into bed around 11:00 p.m.
Stay tuned for Saturday's report!
Friday, October 2, 2009
Since I worked a 12-hour work day unexpectedly on Thursday, I came home around 9:00 p.m. and collapsed in bed! Thus, no blog post.
Here's a brief overview of Thursday to catch you up:
The usual morning routine started with my alarm clock ringing me to wakefulness. I had my quiet time, complete with a bit of much-needed journaling, got ready for the day, and left for work.
The day proceeded as usual with the same daily tasks: housekeeping, answering phones, taking messages, preparing ultrasound paperwork, computer data entry, greeting clients, answering counselor's questions, running off copies, handling mail-outs, and so much more!Thursday is my last work day of the week and I like to leave with every task done, so there's a fresh start to the new week come Monday. As a result, I ended up staying past 5:00 p.m. rather than going to our church's mid-week prayer service that night, in order to bring closure to the mountain of files that needed entering in to the computer database. (I've learned that if I don't stay on top of the files, they stay on top of me!) A quick bite of dinner from Wendy's gave a nice energy kick to tackle the paperwork.
On Thursday evenings, the pregnancy center is open with both classes and counseling appointments taking place. Staff members switch off running the front desk during such evenings. Since it wasn't my turn to do evening duty, I was able to hide out in one of the other offices and just focus on the data entry. It's amazing how much more can be accomplished when I don't have to answer phones or deal with a beehive of activity around me!
By 8:30 p.m., I sighed with relief. The last paper had been entered and the mountain of files had disappeared! I was done. Exhausted, but done.
As soon as I got in my car and pulled out onto the highway, I realized with dismay that I had left my camera in my office. Since the center was locked up and everyone was gone, I didn't want to go back for it. Thus, the rest of the pictures I took at work will have to wait for blog publication until next week.
There's not much else to tell about Thursday's happenings, except that I came home, greeted my family, checked email, and went straight to bed!