Thursday, January 31, 2008
Ryan and I just got back from the Bahamas at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning. We had a lovely time, missed our son tremendously, and really enjoyed having bonding time for our marriage. God is so good, and we are so appreciative of all the good gifts He continuously pours into our lives. I will post more about our trip later this week.
While we were in the Bahamas, we stayed at an all-inclusive resort; so we only wandered off the hotel campus once during our stay. At night, we would try to partake in the evening's more tame planned events, which two of the nights was a sing along at the piano. The resort hired a local man named Heston to come play the piano and have guests sing along to classic songs from 50's to 70's. Ryan and I loved this part of our trip, as we both like to sing.
To say Heston was talented is an understatement. More than anyone I've ever witnessed, he had an AMAZING singing voice and the piano playing skills of a professional. Without a doubt, he could be a famous musician someday. Time and again, the many guests singing around the piano would gape at his talent and skill.
On the first night Ryan and I did the sing along, I watched Heston closely and noticed that he didn't ever sing the word "Lord" if it was flippantly placed in song lyrics (example: Good Golly, Miss Molly). I also noticed that in one song it said something to the effect, "do you believe in the good Lord above" . . . to which Heston quietly pointed upward and said in a sing songy answer, "Yes I do!" When Ryan and I got back to the room of our hotel wing, I told Ryan I thought Heston might be a Christian, and I hoped we could find out more.
Well, God arranges things nicely. Ryan and I got to the piano early the next night, and when Heston arrived, the three of us chatted a bit. Heston was ecstatic when he found out we lived in Orange County, California. His father, who recently passed away, was a pastor who had been visited by Rick Warren. Because of this, Heston had also met pastor Warren and wanted to come visit Saddleback church desperately. He chatted briefly to the fact that he was currently deciding as to whether to use his gifts more in his own church or step back for sake of job and family. I was so inspired that God allowed this conversation! Heston asked for our e-mail address, as to which we gave him, along with our church's website and I Peter 4:10 written below it all: "Each one of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." Ryan graciously ran up to our room and gave Heston a copy of the book he was reading, "The Call," by Oz Guinness. Though Ryan was two chapters shy of finishing, the book spoke to the use of gifts our Creator gives us and how God may or may not use you to work in a church job. It spoke perfectly to the dilema Heston was facing. (Certainly not a coincidence).
Though you might be thinking that God used Ryan and I to minister to Heston, He also used Heston to encourage us. Upon hearing we were Christians, Heston smiled and said, "I knew it!" Among all the drinking (many drunk) and scantily clad guests, Ryan and I stood out to him. He told us that he had noticed us the night before, because our conduct was so different from the others in the room. He said it was "a breath of fresh air." Now I certainly do not want to sound prideful in writing this part. If anything, it made me feel disappointed that I don't hear this more often from strangers. I don't count it too great of a success that Ryan and I stood apart from a group of rowdy, drunk all-inclusive hotel guests. How difficult is that? My point in all of this is that it made me feel encouraged to live a life set apart with more vigor. I never assumed Heston was watching us, but I am glad my witness was not tarnished with sinful behavior. Because Ryan and I were living as Christians set apart from the lures of this world, the Holy Spirit was able to prompt us in conversation and action to help another person. I feel energized in my battle to live boldly and get through those "awkward" times with a resolve not to compromise just to "fit in."
I don't know if we'll hear from Heston. He said he wanted to take his family to Orange County this next year, and, if so, he would e-mail us. God certainly works in unexpected ways, so don't be surprised if we introduce you to our visitors, Heston and his family, in front of the church some Sunday. Either way, it was a meeting that encouraged and strengthened me in my walk, and it underlined the fact that God is everywhere--even at a piano bar in the beautiful Bahamas.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by
prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And
the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus."
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the
ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your
head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3
This last weekend was our Brian Head, Utah ski trip. We were going with Ryan's family and our mutual family friends, the Van Schoicks. All of us were driving the 8 and 1/2 hour drive, so I bought many Wiggles and Elmo DVD's the week prior, found and borrowed ski clothes for our family and spent a couple of days packing.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
In December, I took a break from my I Thessalonians 5:11 posts, but I wanted to make sure I started off 2008 well and posted one before I leave on the first of our two January trips. (see post below). Today, I want to acknowledge and encourage the labor and hard work of Tana Larson.
If you have partaken in any manner of Women's Bible Study: listening to CD's, gotten a notebook independently, come on a regular basis or perhaps even just used the prayer notebook that WBS graciously offers in the Compass Book Store, then you have benefited from the work of our sister in Christ, Tana.
Though there are many dear sisters who work vigorously to help Tana coordinate all the facets of this ministry, Tana is the go-to-person for Women's Bible Study. Under the direction of our Women's Ministries director, Stephanie Schwartz, Tana directs, emcee's, and oversees Women's Bible study at Compass Bible Church.
I remember the first Compass Thursday Night class this fall. I was running between childcare, the church and the Compass Room, because we had gotten so many new Thrive attendees, and we were juggling our first night. I ran into Tana in the parking lot, and I stopped to chat with her about shifting members in our WBS small group, due to its size. She had spent the last two or three weeks accomodating requests, graciously enduring "suggestions" from members, and trying to balance and get leaders for all the small groups. Most of us would be tired and not really excited to further discuss yet another roster problem. Tana met me with a smile and patiently listened to me ramble about our new moms needing spots and the size of our group. I left the conversation encouraged myself and feeling like the leadership of the ministry cared about my opinion. I also realized how MUCH Tana works for this ministry in ways that most of us don't realize. She had been up late (that is understating it) into the evenings e-mailing, calling and getting rosters finalized. Never would she broadcast that to the group.
Something I hear over and over again about Women's Bible Study is how much women grow and are confronted with the truth of the Bible when they attend. Another often heard remark is how ORGANIZED this ministry runs. People joke about the fact that, of course, women's ministry is organized and detailed in planning, but it is overlooked that the organization is due to the efforts and planning of its leaders, which includes our hardworking Tana!
Tana is a very outgoing, caring sister in Christ. If you sit by her or run into her at a function, she'll gladly chat, often bringing her conversation to point to God and His attributes. I am so blessed by all she does for WBS. For the past two and a half years (since I was able to stop working) I have watched my personal walk take direct, truthful and benefitial encounters from the lessons given on Wednesday morning. If you looked at the list at the top and realized you have benefited from Tana's hard work and direction, take a moment to say thank you when you see her. She is a dear, effective worker for God's glory.
I Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
We started slowly, having him go on the carousel first. Did you know that a carousel has moving parts (up and down) that go around and a merry-go-round has static horses that only go around in a circle? Anyway, we then tried Pinocchio, which proved to be a bit darker and scarier than I remember. Thankfully, Carter was enthralled with the moving car and the loud music more than he was bothered by the dark creatures plagueing the rider. In the picture, you can see Carter hanging from the line directors like a monkey (his feet are hanging, though you can't see it.) Again, this was for the amusement of all the moms laughing in sympathy for me. We went on Dumbo, which Carter liked, but called "swings" for the rest of the day. The Casey Jr. train proved to be a hit too, as Carter admires and loves anything locomotive related. He happily waved to all the tourists as he chugged by them in the monkey cage. We also went on the real train that goes around the whole park, which Carter found amusing for only the first five minutes. I think he likes to look AT the train, but riding it and not being able to see it isn't the same. It took about half an hour to go around the park, and they kept asking him to sit down, which most of you know is NOT his forte. We then went on Pirates, which he doesn't find scary yet. He was interested in the fact that the whole ride is a tunnel, and the excess of water features also gave it a thumbs up. It's a Small World was fun, but he was starting to get tired. He wanted to wiggle out of his seat and was hard to contain. Again, the water and tunnels kept him somewhat satisfied. In the end, we also partook of Toon Town and walked around Tomorrowland and Adventureland. It got amazingly cold as the day progressed. We knew it was time to leave when his teeth were chattering and his hands shaking--despite a long sleeve shirt, a thick sweatshirt with a hood and a heavy canvas jacket with a hood over that. He lasted until we got to the car, but the warmth of the automobile and blankies we had waiting in his car seat were too much to resist. As we drove away from the gigantic Mickey and Friends Parking Structure, he was snoring away, dreaming of tunnels, trains and Disney magic.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is