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Saturday, 27 June 2015

Rainbows and Celebrations

"The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." Genesis 6:5

Any clue when this verse was written?  Feels like it could apply today to me (and no I don't mean today in terms of the recent vote by the Supreme Court.  That would be too simple really.  I mean today as in the time in which we find ourselves living).  This verse was actually said right before God sent the flood to destroy all mankind (except for Noah who walked with God and was considered righteous and his family).

I love rainbows and the fact that after the flood, God placed a rainbow in the sky to signify his covenant to Noah and to all people that he would never again destroy mankind by flood.  When I look at rainbows I think of the sins which made God sorry He had created man and I think of new life that Jesus brings.  I don't think of celebrating homosexuality no matter what our white house or a Facebook application says.

So what do you celebrate?  

Pride, jealousy, hatred, lust, anger, idolatry, envy, adultery, fornication, murder, lies, greed, homosexuality, gluttony, the love of anything above God - all sins. While it's easy to look at one of these and make it the hot bed topic of the day (especially if we see it present in someone else's life), the truth is that in God's eyes we were all guilty and all in desperate need of grace. Jesus came, died and rose to conquer death and provide a way for us to receive forgiveness for our sins and be reconciled to a perfect, sinless God. Not just for the sins that happen to be the most popular ones to our culture at the present time but for all of them. He wants to pour out grace overflowing into all of our lives.

So what are you guilty of? What sin do you celebrate in your own life or in the life of another? Do you laugh when your coworker describes his affair or do you go along with it when someone asks you to lie for them? Would you do just about anything to have that extra money in your bank account or to get ahead at work?   Do you watch smut on TV and laugh at and envy those who will do nearly anything or anybody to get noticed? If you are one that celebrates someone else's sin is it because you truly think that sin is not really a sin or is it because you are too afraid to go against the masses?  

So what do you celebrate?

"Abortion is a woman's choice. It's not really a baby until it's born."

"I don't have enough money to give to starving children around the world but let's meet at Starbucks for a latte later to pray for others to give."

"Yes we're divorcing. We grew apart and just don't love each other anymore."

"I go to church when I don't have something else going on and if I like the pastor and the music is my style."

"Everyone lies on their taxes"

"All men look at porn. It's natural."

"He doesn't treat me the way I deserve to be treated. That's why I had the affair."

"Living with my boyfriend or girlfriend is the best way to find out whether we should get married or not."

"I've always been this way. I can't change"

“The reason why I will kill you is you are infidels…we must establish Islam in this country"

Sin is never to be celebrated.  We are called to fall at the feet of our creator and to confess our sins to Him and to receive the grace and mercy He so willingly wants to pour out on us. He wants to help us find life and a life that is abundantly lived.  Do you want to find life?

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.…" Revelation 20:11, 12

Sunday, 7 June 2015

A good visit home and what lies ahead

To summarize this trip home is difficult to do.  It was great fun but not extremely restful. This seems to be a reoccurring theme for us as a family however. :) Everything was a bit of a whirlwind with a long list of day by day things we had planned, none of us remembering what the next day held which made us all laugh. Things I recall (these are not in order of importance or date)...

  • Lots of time at Christine's new house with Chloe's cousins and Aunt Lee Anne.  Lots and lots and lots... :) Slip and slides, bath time with ice creams, birthday sleep over's, bunny and puppy fun, swings and seesaw craziness, grilled cheeses and about a thousand games of hide and seek.
  • Several meetings with Jon Deans and one also with the guys coming over to work with us for the Great Exchange next week.
  • The pregnancy announcement that we will be expecting a nephew to join the Mill's party of five in November.
  • Great catch ups with mom and dad and fun just sitting with mom eating chocolate easter eggs and drinking wine for dinner when the husbands were in SC.
  • A nice day and a half spent with Mark and Dusty (my cousin and his son) from Vacaville, CA.  Dusty is moving from California to Boston to study pharmaceuticals.  
  • A good visit with Tyler, our full-timer from Birmingham, Alabama that God willing. will join us in September in Germany.
  • VBS every night for five days for Chloe and her cousins was a big hit.  Held at WFBC, over 500 children and probably nearly 150 volunteers hosted.  Can you say, madness??
  • Breakfast visits with Brennen, Brita and Brenda.  Lunch with Mel and the kids, Mike and Dede.  Dinner out with the Schacher's and my best friend Melody.
  • Luke Knight's baseball game in Social Circle and explaining the intricacies of baseball to Chloe.
  • A way too short catch up with Patti at one of her yard sales for Haiti.  We'll have to do better at Christmas.
  • Emma Lyn's 4th birthday party.  Theme: Sophia the First, Food: Sprinkle donuts and wonderful breakfast sausage balls and casserole's.  Guests: The family from both sides and lots of Emma's friends from preschool.  Extra Special: Trip to the library for bouncy castles, petting zoo, blue grass music and crafts.
  • Chloe Lee's 4th birthday party.  Theme: Everything princess.  Food: Princess cake and ice cream.  Guests: Immediate Family and Rapunzel, Cinderella, Elsa and Anna (aka Charlotte, Chloe, Emma and Lily) Extra Special: A trip to chuck e cheese for Chloe and her cousins and Aunt Lee Anne
  • An afternoon with Kay, Stacey, Mary Beth, Clark and Joan.  We served pecan pie and lemon meringue pie (because Kay likes anything "lemon"), sat on both porches (screen and Christine's front porch) to rock and took a tour of the Mill's new diggs.
  • Date night with my husband at Logan's steak house.  He loved throwing the peanut shells all over the floor!
  • Three days with Alan and Chloe at the lake fishing, swimming, golfing, Mexican dinner, North Carolina girls adventure day and movies.
  • Memorial Day weekend trip to the lake with the immediate family plus my uncle Ray and aunt Mary Ann and my cousins Julie and Ryan from Rhode Island and Vermont. Fun memories: Going out on the boat, eating at the Mexican restaurant and at the Lighthouse, swimming in the salt water pool, staying at the hotel in Seneca and eating m&m waffles in the morning, 
  • Alan and dad going up to the lake for two days of just man fishing and them not catching a single thing but their story of getting caught in torrential rain and hail on Lake Joccassee was pretty funny to hear.
  • Adoption recruitment fair at GA Square Mall and Adoption orientation meeting went well with Bethany.
  • Watching my husband rebuild a brick wall for mom and dad that had been uprooted and fallen due to tree roots.  He only got about 1000 bug bites and went through 3 or so changes of clothes in the 90 degree heat each day he worked. :)
  • To Atlanta with mom, dad and Alan to see CS Lewis's book, "The Great Divorce" adapted for the stage at the Woodruff Arts center.  It was their gift from us for Mother's and Father's day.
  • Chloe had her first visit to a pediatric dentist and loved it.  We were told she has beautiful and very clean and healthy teeth.  Hooray!
  • Monday night bible study with a lot of our dearest supporters and missing hugs off Shirley Carter, a staple to the group who passed away two months ago.
  • A lot of soul searching and praying about next steps for us as a family and for our ministry in the year ahead.
  • Lots of email, skype calls and back and forths to nail down plans for the Great Exchange, Hochschultage and craziness which starts three days after we return home 
  • Lots more emails and messages, phone calls and legalese back to England where we're currently selling Alan's home.  Praying things finalize in the next two weeks and that our dear friends Mihai and Simona will finally be home owners!!
So what's ahead...
  • Two teams arrive this Friday into Heidelberg to help us with the Hochschultage and the Great Exchange.  The first team consists of two girls coming to work with us for a month from Pioneers in the US.  The second team is the Great Exchange team consisting of two men from a church in Normaltown in Athens. 
  • Friday is also the day Chloe's 4th birthday will be celebrated at kindergarten.  Mom has to bring American cupcakes. :)
  • Sunday night will be the kick off for the Hochschultage
  • Monday - Friday we will be attending prayer breakfasts, doing the Great Exchange through the day and going to nightly events.
  • Sunday is the Living Neckar -  all day church services, evangelism and activities on the Neckarweise.
  • Monday the Great Exchange team leaves.
  • Tuesday 23rd  - July the 8th - serving with Sam (our short-term missionary from Belfast) and our Pioneers girls finishing the construction of the loft, working with students at the University and volunteering doing mini projects around town.
  • July 9th - 12th - Awakening Conference, Nurnberg
  • July 13th - Pioneers Edge team leaves for the USA and Sam also returns to Belfast.
Please if you think of it pray for us over this next month.  Pray God will do great things in the lives of the 5 working with us and in the people we come into contact with.  Pray for our future plans to adopt and for Nicole and Tyler coming to work with us in just a few months.  Pray they get their visa's and that God would use them both in a mighty way!