Friday, September 28, 2007

Weary in the work, but not weary of it.

My husband recently gave a lesson from I Thessalonians to our marriage group at church. It was focused on being thankful for God's motivation of faith, hope and love. He started the entire night with the illustration that our relationship with God should create change in our sinful lives. He spoke of how, when he was a bachelor, he would take leisurely lunches at work, go to the gym, socialize and then work late into the evening. When he got married, the new relationship inspired him to work harder during the day so he could get home at a decent hour in the evening. The birth of our son was an even newer relationship that spurred an earlier hour home due to an early bedtime for Carter. Relationships can inspire and motivate change. How much should Christians' most precious relationship, that with our Heavenly Father, create action and change in our behavior and attitude?

The specific point that spoke to me the most was the discussion of how we spend our time. As nonbelievers, our focus and time were spent on ourselves. As Christians, faith leads to work and love leads us to service to others and God. This is the change we should see. I Thessalonians 1:2-3 states,
"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We
continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus
All this is possible because of the motivation of our hope and salvation! It gives us the endurance to become the servants that Christ so desires for us to be.

Often people shy away from "overcommitting" themselves, or they don't step into service because they don't want "burnout." Ryan addressed this with a famous quote from D.L Moody. It is said that Moody was having a particularly stressful week and was extremely tired. People around him saw his fatigue and asked him to cancel his immediate plans and meetings in order to have a break. His response was no. As it was told, he said, "I am weary in the work, but I am not weary of it." He wasn't weary of it because his focus was not on himself. He was looking outside of himself and at others. He had the eternal perspective that heaven is for rest and comfort. As Christ modeled and explained, for His followers, this life is for servitude, all for the Kingdom of Heaven.

I am not saying that rest is unbiblical. God set up a day of rest because He knows we need breaks and respite. Sleep and relaxation are gifts given to us to RENEW us for more work, not to become excuses to REPLACE our time to work. This doesn't sit well with most Christians in today's consumer culture. Even within our church, the needs are many, the harvest is plenty, and the workers are few.

To just list a few examples at our church, the childcare ministries team is desperate for workers. The toddlers' room and nursery are often understaffed. Thursday nights, the coordinator was almost in tears over her dismay at what to do. She had three cancellations at the last minute and no substitutes to work in certain classrooms. AWANA needs leaders, and thus has had to turn away new sign-ups to a waiting list. The Navigating Motherhood ministry needs table leaders to effectively disciple all the new women who are attending, many of who are not Christians and this is their only exposure to church. These are just needs I have heard about THIS WEEK. What would be exciting is if the needs were known, announced or heard, and too many volunteers stepped forward and excitedly asked to represent Christ to others. For now, unfortunately, some of the harvest is being neglected.

What about the command of I Peter 4:10? "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms." How can we say we are burned out serving others and God? We are tired because we focus on how much time we aren't able to serve ourselves. This battle will always leave us unsatisfied and upset. Our goal of comfort and "balance" needs to change into a motivation to obey God and put ourselves last. "But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves." Luke 22:26

I certainly was reminded of my own selfishness by this sermon. How easily I pout when Carter awakes early and my sleep or "down time" is interrupted. I groan inside when someone approaches me to work at church in an area I don't always find easy and enjoyable. I often panic when someone starts a question with, "Can I ask you a favor . . ." Instead of being dragged into service with reluctance, I need to joyfully jump at helping others because it is molding me into the likeness of Christ Jesus. I know God will provide me with the strength, endurance and love I need to be effective. If I keep the right perspective, I can better understand the point of D.L. Moody. I might weary in the work, but I won't weary of it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Encourage One Another: Elizabeth Lamparter

I Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." It is time for a I Thessalonians 5:11 post! I really enjoy picking someone weekly to thank, encourage and spotlight for others to recognize. Today I am writing about my sister, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is one year and a week past her diagnosis of breast cancer. Last year she struggled with this disease, and, I am so happy to say, God, in all His power and sovereignty, graciously provided healing and provision for Elizabeth and her family. It was a joy to celebrate with Elizabeth this last weekend, as we all participated in the Susan Komen breastcancer awareness event.

What I have enjoyed witnessing in Elizabeth is her praise and recognition that God is her physician, healer and Lord. She is able to point to Him when speaking about healing and making it through this difficult year. We know God allowed the cancer to come to Elizabeth for His purposes, but we also know that, in this case, He healed her and gave her the strength and ability to face the challenges and anxieties of cancer.

We have been studying trials in Bible Study this week. The first chapter of I Peter 1:6-7 tells us that trials are given to expose the genuineness of our faith.
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had to
suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of
greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be
proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is
The speaker further illuminated this by telling the metaphor of a pearl. Irritants applied to oyster shells create valuable pearls. One reason God applies trials to our lives is to reveal the value and strength of our faith--to us and others (He already knows!). What struck me as most poignant was the fact that, for each individual, God knows exactly how hard and how long a trial we require. He gives us no less and no more. Some of us will have gigantic pearls! That is comforting when we are pressed on all sides!

My sister, Elizabeth, has a beautiful "pearl" of value after such a strenuous trial. She recognizes her Heavenly Father in all of it, and she has memories of clinging to Christ when earthly people and wisdom could not give her relief or answers. Whether or not God heals us, removes pain, or stops a trial, we should be joyful that God is in control and has an ultimate purpose. As Christians, we are saved (the goal of our faith--the salvation of our souls) and are being made more and more holy through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. May our trials bring out sin and impurities in our hearts that God can remove, so our faith can be proven genuine and we can better mirror God's character to others!

Monday, September 24, 2007

September 23rd, a busy day!

Sunday started with an early morning, as we all met in Fashion Island to walk in the Susan Komen walk for breastcancer awareness. This disease runs in my family, affecting my aunt, Ryan's aunt, and my sister. Both my aunt and sister are blessed survivors, and it was a joy to celebrate God's healing and provision for them as we walked the course. After the walk, Ryan, Susan--my mother-in-law--, Carter and I went to the Corner Bakery for breakfast before heading to church.

That afternoon, we celebrated my birthday with my family at my parents' home. You can see some of my nieces and nephews in the pictures above. I'm 33 now! I pray I can have a great year ahead, serving God and others and growing closer to my Heavenly Father.

Ryan and I celebrated my birthday a day early, on Saturday, by going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Diego and eating at Jake's in Del Mar. It was a beautiful day, and it was fun being together without Carter and spending precious time laughing and just talking. Of course my very thoughtful husband also decorated the house with birthday decorations, had a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me and had some fun presents to open. It was a very blessed birthday, with the best gifts being time spent with those I love!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Encourage one another: Scott and Heather Gilmore

Well, in the spirit of I Thessalonians 5:11, I am going to encourage our good friends, Scott and Heather Gilmore, today! They have been our leaders, friends, mentors and precious brother and sister in Christ. We are so appreciative for who they are and all they do for the body of Christ.

The first gift that God has bestowed upon both Scott and Heather is the ability to be warm and effusive in conversation with just about anyone. You are put at ease immediately, and you can't help but smile, as they energetically talk about family, the Lord or, of course, the Tennessee football team. In our Thrive (marriage) ministry at church, they co-lead with us. God has graciously given the quiet, rather reserved Hawleys, in the Gilmores, a much needed tool for warmly and genuinely welcoming people into the group.

The Gilmores have the gift of hospitality. Heather and Scott always open their beautiful home for meetings, never denying anything to guests. On more than one occasion, we have taken over their precious daughter's bedroom in order to put Carter to sleep in his Pack and Play. Every detail of a get together at their home is well-done. There are always flowers, snacks to munch on as dinner cooks, and scented candles lit. They embrace Christ's command to serve others in practical ways. Mark 9:41 says, "I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward."

What is most impressive about the Gilmores is their ability to share the gospel anytime and anywhere. They have huge hearts for the unsaved, and they take those divine appointments seriously. Scott often brings the gospel into his teachings, and it is amazing how he has stories of saving co-workers and friends from staying children of God's wrath. Both of them obey the command of I Peter 3:15. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . ." It is a bold example to all of us suffering from the sin of timidity. As Pastor Mike said this weekend, they are great examples of not only staying away from unrighteous behavior, but ALSO of taking the proactive step of always speaking the truth to others, no matter what the response may bring.

Finally, the genuine faith of the Gilmores is evident in their darling and precious children. Seth and Selah melt your heart with their thoughtfulness, kindness and obedience. They have seen empathy and submission modeled through their parents, and, because of this, it is something they practice as well. I truly hope Carter can be such a sweet child and servant to others someday. Deuteronomy 11:18-19 reminds us, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."
If you see the Gilmores this week, tell them "thank you." They pour their lives joyfully into others, and I want them to know others recognize their sacrifice.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

"There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the most
harmful habits in life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized
for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic." (20)
I am reading A. W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. My wise husband encouraged me to read it, and I have found many powerful and important nuggets of information about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I am only now on chapter 4, but each chapter is short and deeper than many lengthy and wordy books that cross my path. I find myself rereading each chapter before I can move on to the next.

Chapter 2 is entitled The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. Tozer points to the fact that when God first created man, he had already prepared an earth full of things for entertainment, pleasure and usefulness. However, these items were all external and were to be under man's authority. God was above man, and only God was to be in the shrine of the heart of man. Then sin changed these dynamics. Since sin entered the world, "stuff" and people mistakenly dwell in the hearts of man, leaving God to a secondary place in our priorities.
Tozer states, "Things have become necessary to us, a development never
originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole
course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution." (16)
We have all failed miserably at the first commandment. There is the constant struggle to not put "idols" before the Lord our God. We fail miserably.

Tozer gives the example of Abraham. He was asked to give up his cherished and long awaited son. People read this story and cringe. God couldn't possibly require the life of someone's child, they assume. Is that opinion or Biblical? God will not be dismissed to a lesser position, and even children, spouses and family should not come close to standing where we place God in our lives. Anything we "possess" is really God's and not ours. We have no right to ask the Potter why He does what He does with His clay. Read the accounts of David or Job. They certainly were asked to give up family at some point, both for different reasons. This is given a less shocking light when our perspective is adjusted to realize all people, lives, things, and time are the Lord's. We never lose them. They are never ours. God graciously loans us and entrusts us with people and things to enrich our lives.
"We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for
their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved
relatives or friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came
not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and
nothing is really safe which is not so committed." (20)
As Christ says in Matthew 16:24-25, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it."

I know we all struggle with this sin, and I pray that you recognize God's sovereignty in all things, even the giving and taking of your possessions. Start each day by giving it to him before you can sinfully think otherwise. It is when we cling to time, people or things, that we selfishly get upset when our presumptions are not the reality. Our obedience will be apparent when we submit to Him and ask God what to do with our time, people in our lives, or things with which He has blessed us. Don't let your perspective or possessions inhibit your pursuit of God.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A trip to the zoo and a meal of noodles

I know I have been remiss in posting lately, and, as with most of you, it is due to fall ministry all beginning this last week. I have a thousand ideas in my head for posts, but I will simply begin today by updating you on the Hawley mini-vacation that we took.

Sunday and Monday we stayed in San Diego for some wonderful family time. The drive down was smooth, though I might naively believe that because I was catching up on some glorious sleep both down to San Diego and back home. We stayed in our favorite, kid-friendly hotel in San Diego, the Embassy Suites, across from Seaport Village.

Upon arriving, Carter ran around the lobby, giddy with excitement at the water ponds everywhere, the enormous American flag hanging in the center of the hotel, and, mostly, the glass elevators, running up and down the center of the building like ants on a wall. Of course, he wasn't as excited to be IN the elevator, though climbing to our room on the eleventh floor put him in a prime position to see the giant American flag looming in the air.

We had taken Carter to this same hotel last spring, and he was just walking at that time. It was amusing to see him jumping on carpet patterns and running down the halls to beat mom and dad to our destination--usually on the way to a meal, yelling food items out like a short order cook. "Pancakes" and "milk" were the preferred items that day. Carter also enjoyed seeing the turtles playing in the lobby pond. Every time they swam under the bridge, he'd extend both arms, palms up, and say, "All gone." Whenever we had to leave the turtle area, he'd make sure to politely wave and say, "Bye, bye" to the turtles.

We ate dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter, where Ryan and I were able to relax for an extended period of time. How, you ask? Noodles. We discovered butter noodles (spaghetti), which will entertain and feed Carter for almost half an hour. In fact, he was so enamored with noodles, I believe they usurped pancakes on the favorite food scale. After a nice dinner with actual conversation, Ryan and I strolled Carter over to Horton Plaza to walk around a bit.

We all enjoyed a nice sleep that night and woke up early to Carter's cry for escape from the pack and play crib. After some Telatubbies, we rode the glass elevator back down to the free breakfast in the lobby. Again, we had a fairly pleasant meal, as Carter rediscovered his love for pancakes. I tried to get some egg and sausage in his little tummy, but it was all in vain.

After showers and packing up, we drove to the San Diego Zoo to use our zoo passes and spend the day looking at animals. We had a great time seeing all the animals, though I am starting to think Carter doesn't understand animals don't really look like cartoon pictures on a puzzle or in a book. At times, he seems more amused with Curious George than the real monkey swinging in the zoo.

We stayed at the zoo until about 12:15, and Carter made it clear that it was naptime. Not even the strange, pink flamingoes could convince him otherwise. Indeed, upon arriving at the car, he fell asleep in the amount of time it took to buckle him into his car seat and to start the car. He was happily snoring away as we drove home, dreaming of elephants, polar bears, and monkeys on trees. As I mentioned earlier, I joined him in blissful sleep, and poor Ryan drove us home from our delightful get away.

It was a wonderful trip, with time together as a family during such a busy season. And now we know the magic of noodles . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Encourage One Another: Dan and Beth Lauder

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." I Thessalonians 5:11
It is time for a I Thessalonians 5:11 visit! This post is such a joy for me to write, because it is the culmination of YEARS of prayer and supplication on this couple's behalf. I am so happy to rejoice with them, and I hope you do too as I tell their story . . .
Dan and Beth Lauder have been close friends of ours for about five years now. We met them at a marriage Bible study, where they were our small group leaders. Their biblical dependence and caring hearts set them apart immediately. We knew we had found a couple who loved the Lord and others.
Through the years, I have been in accountability, along with numerous Bible studies, with Beth. We both have similar job experiences, teaching in the same school district. I count her as a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She and Dan have ALWAYS had servants' hearts, continually serving others in small group leadership, in sending cards of encouragement to people who are in need of support, in helping with youth ministries and in taking the time to really listen to and know those around them.
Over the years, we have been praying for the most wonderful blessing for their family--a baby. Knowing both of them well, we knew that they would be incredible, godly parents. Through the years, Beth and Dan have clung to Christ and come back to Him over and over again with open hands, giving all their desires and dreams to Him. They relied on His good timing, His direction and His path for them. Their faith remained strong. In fact, their Christian walks flourished and their boldness was sharpened. They embodied the promise of Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
He said "no" for awhile. Though this has HURT tremendously at times, through the tears, they always saw the cross and the hope that God has given them in their salvation. They knew His choice was the best for them. Romans 8:18, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
Well, I am so pleased to say that God's choice was to give them a baby this week. A sweet, beautiful baby girl is blessing their socks off, and I am moved to tears with joy and thankfulness to our precious, precious Savior. I know that if God had continued to say "no" to a baby, they would have followed Him in their faith all the way, knowing His plan was best. This is the wonderful example they are to all of us.
Joy in all circumstances--that is the Lauders. His grace is sufficient, but He allows us even more because He loves us! What a wonderful, gracious Savior.

"Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God,
how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
" Psalm 147:1

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

Feminine Appeal: The Honor of Working at Home

I have been reading Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney. In reading the sixth chapter, entitled The Honor of Working at Home, I found that her book exposed feelings that I wasn't aware I had. I truly recognize the error of feminism and the fundamental problem of denying the biblical mandate for submission from women. I understand that being at home with Carter is a wonderful honor, but a selfish side of me has secretly missed the prideful recognition I got at work.

I'm an achievement driven individual. In school I aimed for straight A's. At work, I was concerned with accolades, awards and my reputation at the school at which I taught. Even with my need for these trivialities, I understand that pride is the sin that yearns for such things.

Carolyn reminded me of whom I ought to please through my job as a homemaker. First and foremost, I am to please God. I am doing all things for His glory, and I should know His grace is sufficient for me. (II Corinthians 12:9) No matter what my circumstances, I am to be obedient and loving. Kindly and graciously, God has given us earthly benefits for our service too. All the wonderful blessings that come with working at home are often foggy in the middle of a tough day. Here is a little reminder if you are finding today a particularly difficult leg of your race. I hope the following quote blesses you and gives you joy if you are facing a particularly hard day.

This excerpt is a little long, but it certainly is worth the read. On pages 114-115, she says,

"When I reflect upon my past twenty-nine years as a homemaker, a virtual
collage of memories floods my mind: Family Night every Monday.
Reading with my husband by the fire. Tucking my children into bed at
night with a song and a prayer. Waking them up for a surprise "pajama
ride" to Dunkin' Donuts. Reading Little House on the Prairie to my
daughters or Paddington Bear to my little boy.
Counseling a newly wed couple through their first disagreement.
Evenings of fellowship, food, and laughter with friends. Throwing a baby
shower for my unsaved neighbor. Extending hospitatlity to overnight
guests. Praying with other women in my living room.
Long talks with C.J. over a cup of coffee. Enjoying sweet forgiveness
after resolving a family conflict. Extending family dinnertime
conversations. Sharing with our children the good news of Jesus
And I'll never forget this memory: I was standing at my kitchen sink,
washing the breakfast dishes, when Chad entered the room. He was only four
years old at the time, and he began running in little-boy circles in front of the
refrigerator. He was singing a song he'd made up, and it went like
this: "You're the best mommy in the whole world! You're the best
mommy in the whole world!"
Though his song had only this one refrain, he continued for a full five
minutes. I stood there with the dirty dishes, watching my son and
thinking, I have the BEST JOB in the whole world!
My hope for this chapter is that as a fellow homemaker, you too will

I weep when I read these words, because I know how true they are in my home. There is nothing better than Carter, in his one and a half year old manner, running his crooked gallop straight to me, hugging my legs tightly, looking right up to me and smilingly and joyfully exclaiming, "Momma!" This is how he says, "I love you," and it is better than any teaching award or perfect report card I could ever receive.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Modesty Matters

For a biblical look at modesty and women's attire, take a look at this post on Pastor Dale's blog:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Delight of Loving my Husband

God has graciously provided me with a very thoughtful husband. He listens intently to my likes and dislikes, fears and dreams, and struggles and victories. I often am blessed by his sacrifice. I might awake to find a sweet note commenting on an earlier conversation, or I find much needed time for prayer since he took our toddler down for breakfast as I finish my quiet prayer time.

A friend just told me that her acquaintances were mocking her for the strength and sweetness of her marriage. They laughed and made comments such as, "Just wait. He won't be bringing flowers home in a few years." Another chided that the romantic part of marriage is only for newlyweds and you just settle into a comfortable/thoughtless routine over the years. This was spoken at a church meeting!

Titus 2 certainly disputes the unwise words of these women, and I hope we see the error and sin if we have let our marriages become unloving and unthoughtful. I am reading Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney, and she tackles this very topic in chapter 2, entitled The Delight of Loving my Husband. Titus 2:3-5 says,
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves
to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women
to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at
home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not
be reviled."
These verses describe a high calling, but one that God so graciously provides in model to us. As we become closer and closer to Him, our sanctification should create MORE unity and MORE love in our marriages. Our desire to serve and encourage in love should outweigh our need to be served and loved.

Mrs. Mahaney brings up a very interesting point about the Greek used for the word "love" in Titus 2. When the Bible gives directives to women, it uses the word phileo. This type of love is passionate, affectionate, joyful and tender. The men are given the word "agape" when directed to love. This word, agape, is more of a love of sacrifice and service. Mahaney explains,
"I believe that Scripture's specific commands to husbands and wives regarding
their duties in marriage attest to our respective weaknesses. Men may be
weaker in showing sacrificial love and are therefore exhorted to undertake
it. But I believe women are generally weaker in exhibiting an affectionate
love--thus the instructions given to us in Titus 2. In fact, women will
often continue to sacrifice and serve their husbands even if all tender feelings
for them have subsided." (pg. 34)
This is so true for me! I can easily make dinner, clean house and tend to Carter with a bad heart or attitude. What is harder for me is to be joyful, loving and affectionate as I serve!

What happens to our affections? Why do we start to be bitter or self-centered? We allow sin to take root in our hearts and eat away at the godly love we should demonstrate. So easily we can pinpoint our husbands' weaknesses, but we need to focus on the gifts they possess. A Biblical focus and thankfulness are thoughts that can replace any sinful tendencies of anger, hate, slander or bitterness. This is not to say that we cannot Biblically admonish sin, but flaws or habits that just personally rub us the wrong way are not to be highlighted.

To be direct, who are we to nag our husbands and roll our eyes at their imperfections? Goodness! We too quickly forget who we are without the grace of God. Charles Spurgeon is quoted in this chapter and puts it well. He says,
"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not
expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten
thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in
his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and,
therefore, he is not disppointed when he does not find it."
We need to see our husbands in the same light we see ourselves--fallen sinners in need of a gracious and merciful Savior. Our patience will vastly improve when we recall how much we need forgiveness and understanding for our own flaws!

Marriage should not just become a union of duty. It should be marked by joy and adoration for one another. Our sense of forgiveness from God should create a heart of thankfulness and not one of expectation and entitlement. Cultivating such a marriage takes work and a Godward focus in your union. If anything, such investment and biblical truth should make your marriage better and better with each passing year. The immature facade of love, that can appear strong in an early relationship, will strengthen and increase with the mortar and brick of a relationship built on Christ.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Encourage One Another: George Igawa

John 13:14-17-- "Now that I, your lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

It's time for our I Thessalonians 5:11 Wednesday! In the spirit of that verse, each week I pick a person who has obediently blessed others in some way and encourage him or her in these actions. Many of you will immediately recognize the name of my person this week: George Igawa. Romans 15: 17 best summarizes George's perspective on serving others.
"Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God."

I picked George Igawa because he is an obedient and willing vessel for the Lord, yet he flies under the radar for many people. You can find George doing anything from preparing and giving a sermon to blowing leaves off the parking lot early before church services. On Thursday evenings, you might spot a glimpse of George as he runs from room to room trouble shooting and happily setting up the requests for all the ministries that night. In fact, if there is a need, you will often find George filling that need with his mostly unrecognized service.

In co-leading the Thrive ministry, we often have requests for the church, and George, being the adult Bible studies director, gets to hear about our emergencies and requests the most often. He has graciously stepped in at Thrive and blessed us with teachings on numerous occasions. Last year, we had a last minute cancellation, and George had to prepare and give a teaching to the group with only one day of preparation. This weekend, as always, George had a ministry table elegantly set up for our group sign-ups, and even moved us to a different location (upon request) with nary a word.

What I most appreciate about George is his intense love for the Lord and the humility that results from his thankfulness to his Savior. He is beyond bold in his accolades for Jesus Christ and the spotlight is never on himself. In fact, this post will most likely be uncomfortable for him. I know he is merely being obedient as a child and servant of God, but I want to encourage George that he is doing an outstanding job and is a positive example to many of the flock. I am thankful for all he does to serve Christ's church, and I am happy to acknowledge such a humble and active soldier in God's army!
John 13 :15 "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done
for you."