Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reflections of 2009 - 20 Questions for you

I'm not one to make resolutions because of the reasons below.  (Why set myself up for failure?)  I like this post from (In)Courage and I thought I would pass it along to you, in case you don't know about the site (but you should!)  I plan on reflecting on 2009 with the hubs, whether he wants to or not (ha!) and this list will definitely help.  Happy New Year!

20 Questions for  New Year's Eve Reflection

A new year is a great time to reset your internal clocks, re-calibrate your settings, and re-chart your course. There’s something encouraging and natural about using a fresh calendar page to make new goals in your life, which is why new year’s resolutions are so popular.

But made in haste, resolutions can be pointless at best, discouraging and depressing at worst. When they’re vague, broad, and unreachable, you’re almost setting yourself up for failure. But when they’re specific, productive, and attainable, resolutions can truly be an ebenezer in your life for some healthy changes.

I’m in favor on new year’s resolutions – but why not also use the turn of the clock to reflect on this past year? Before deciding on how you want 2010 to be different than 09, take a moment with your journal and answer some – or all – of these questions.

These questions can be a catalyst for digging deeper into personal reflection, or they can be icebreakers between you and your spouse for a New Year’s Eve conversation. However you want to use them – use them to your benefit.

Reflection Questions for 2009
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
5. Pick three words to describe 2009.
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2009 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2009 (again, without asking).
8. What were the best books you read this year?
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
16. What was your most challenging area of home management?
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
19. What was the biggest thing you learned this past year?
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2009 for you.
If you'd like to print this list, head to Simple Mom for a free PDF download.  And after evaluating these questions, head to the blog tomorrow to find questions to help you plan your goals for 2010.
What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?
by Tsh

Picture from John Haslam (Thank you!)
Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Thoughts of 2009

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee has this random thing going on and I thought - what the heck...I'm game!

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?

Gross?  Not really - but I would prefer that each of us have our own, unless we're talking about James.  Seriously, would I find it gross sharing a drink with my husband??  Nope.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)
I've learned that sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you want something or try for something, someone else is going to put in half the time or half the effort, and still get it.

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?
Around the 1st.  Makes it easy when you don't put up much.
4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:
Well, since that's in a day, I'm going for nothing. Staying alive? :-)

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?
Winter is not my favorite month.  However, if I have to chose being cold or being hot (aka summer), then I'll chose Winter.
6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?
I have not.

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?
My plans include staying awake!  I don't know what James & I will do. 

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?
Just a new year!

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)
It would be a little of all - Linda said a Dramacomedy or something similar to that. 
10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.
Too much time on the computer, in general.  I don't spend too much time blogging or even reading blogs anymore.

11. Who runs your household?
This is a bad question, Linda.  (I'm agreeing with her - she said it was a bad question - why did she ask?) I don't know how to answer that.

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.
I don't usually do hopes/dreams. I don't know why - it's sorta bothered me over the years, but not enough to become a dreamer/hoper (not to be confused with a hopper).  I am enjoying a season of hearing God speak to me and I long for that season to continue. 

Psalm 103

Have you read Psalm 103?  Someone needs to read this and hear what God is saying.  Is it you?  Or is it just me?

Psalm 103 (NLT)

A psalm of David.

1 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

2 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.

3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.

4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

6 The LORD gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

7 He revealed his character to Moses
and his deeds to the people of Israel.

8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

9 He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.

10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

12 He has removed our sins as far from us
as the east is from the west.

13 The LORD is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.

15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.

17 But the love of the LORD remains forever
with those who fear him.
His salvation extends to the children’s children

18 of those who are faithful to his covenant,
of those who obey his commandments!

19 The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the LORD, you angels,
you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
listening for each of his commands.

21 Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
who serve him and do his will!

22 Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the LORD.

Reveal yourself to me Lord!  Thank you for your mercy.  I will praise you with all that I have and all that I am.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One True God

Here's a video put together (by our team leader) of our trip to India. Makes me weepy just watching it.  Enjoy!
Monday, December 28, 2009

There is a Love

(Thank you Mr. Lessin, Meet Me In The Meadow)

Because someone needs to know --

There is a love that
extends to the breadth,
descends to the depths,
ascends to the heights,
and transcends all
that all our hearts can ever imagine.

May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God?s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP
Saturday, December 26, 2009

Final day in the mission field

One of the things we had to do each time we presented the gospel was try to explain what sin was to people who had never heard of sin, the one true God or Jesus.  It always made for an interesting time.  (This is usually when the chaos would break every single thanda and at every single presentation.)  We were called the share the gospel and to disciple the people - let them know how they can grow in Christ.  We weren't there to tell them how to live or what they could or couldn't do once they accepted Christ as their Savior.  I tell you this in hopes that I can convey the meaning behind the story I'm about to share.

Through one of the nationals with us, this man had just accepted Christ as his Savior and he wanted prayer.  It was very common for us to pray with the people  in the village - even though we tried to explain that God answered their prayers too.  Our prayers were not any more special than theirs.

This man wanted to prayer so he would not drink or smoke (probably marijuana) anymore, because he knew it was wrong.  What was so amazing about his request is that the Holy Spirit let him know these actions were inappropriate for a believer in Christ, not one of us. 

I've certainly had my share of struggles with addictions and I was asked to pray with him.  When I started praying for him, the Spirit took hold and I was a powerful prayer warrior for this man.  Not because of my feeble words, but because of His mighty words.  He had to sense the presence of the Holy Spirit like I did because we were both weeping when the prayer was over. 

It was one of the most powerful moments with God that I've ever had and trying to put it into words is almost impossible.   I was so humbled and grateful to be used by Him -- throughout the whole trip -- but in particularly at this moment. 
Monday, December 21, 2009

Cake Wrecks: Ho Ho Horrors and more!

Do you follow Cake Wrecks either through the blog, Facebook or twitter?  If so, you know that the creaters are featuring a charity every day to help raise awareness and more importantly money for certain charities.  If I had the time, I'd be linking everything for you, but I don't.  (I shouldn't even be looking at the internet right now!)

I'm telling you because my family & I lost everything we owned in a housefire when I was 11, but we did NOT lost each other, unlike this family....I know times are tight this year for you and for everyone, however, if we each give a little ($1) it can potentially add up to a lot.  Will you give?

(Even if you can't give, you should take a daily look at Cake Wrecks.  It's good stuff!)

From Cake Wrecks:
Today's charity is something different, so I hope you'll bear with me. You see, on Tuesday night 27-year-old Amanda Buckland lost her husband, her 4-year-old son, her 8-month-old daughter, and everything they owned in a house fire. (The house they'd recently begun renting had no smoke detectors.) She and her 12-year-old stepdaughter only escaped thanks to a quick-thinking neighbor with a ladder.  (Added by Cathy - You can read about the story online.)

Take a second and think about that level of loss. I, for one, cannot even begin to fathom it.

So today, John and I are donating to the Buckland Family Trust, which was set up by Amanda's employer. I hope you'll join us by donating your dollar, too.

Go to CakeWrecks to donate and see the other links.
Sunday, December 20, 2009

Journal Entry - Last day in India

Under Answered Prayers in my prayer journal, I wrote the following on 11/28 (which was the day we checked out of the hotel and started our long trip back to the US):

Overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit working in me.  Praise the Lord for the anointing and the knowledge of how I want to live in Him.  God is good indeed :-)
Saturday, December 19, 2009

India - the fourth day in the mission field

It's been incredibly difficult to put into written words my time in India, and when you consider I'm rarely at a loss for words is really incredible in itself.  My camera didn't really work well so I've relied on other people's pictures but just to tell people where they are. I didn't save any of them. My fellow team member emailed me some pictures last night and it didn't take a lot of effort to save/post them, so...

The fourth day in the mission field had some difficult times.  By this time in our week, we were supposed to be following up with thandas (villages) we had previously visited but somehow we were going to new thandas.  Quite honestly, I can't even remember where we started that morning, because each day is similar to the one before (in some ways).  Here are the parts I remember...

We were driving to a thanda and I looked up and in the distance I could see something large and white in the field ahead.  As we drew nearer to it, I was told it was a monkey god statue.  I can't even begin to describe to you how large it was, and to be frank, I don't want to give a lot of thought to it.  It was large enough to see probably a half mile or more away.  It was very ornate and had it not been a statue to a monkey, I would have been positively impressed.  We drove a little further up and there was a Krishna temple.  The people we were about to visit obviously worshiped something.

We stopped at the next thanda and Sharon (the other North American on the team) gave the presentation.  I had the sense something just wasn't right. Oh the people were welcoming enough (India is a very welcoming country) and they listened to what Sharon was saying, but at the end of the presentation, chaos erupted.  It wasn't something you'd see on TV or in a movie, it was a subtle chaos.  (We dealt with chaos every time the gospel was presented - this was different.)  For probably one of the first times, I sensed God talking to me.  He was telling me to leave.  He was not welcome in this village.  They were not ready to receive Him.  Our welcome was rescinded.  Our team leader had told us we would encounter thandas such as this.  Jesus told His disciples they would encounter towns such as this in Luke 10:5:15.  Praise God I listened to Him and the team listened to me.  We wiped the dust off our feet and left this thanda.

By now we were all pretty rattled.  I was overwhelmed and the nationals were a little confused.  Sharon was distraught over an experience she had.  What I really wanted to do was just find some place and have our lunch and have some time to regroup.  (Ok, truth be told what I really wanted to do was go back to the hotel and be alone and just process everything.)  However, this isn't what happened.

We went on to the next thanda, which is where we were supposed to go to begin with. See, the thanda we had just left we weren't even supposed to go to.  When we arrived at the next thanda, the difference in the atmosphere was palpable.  God was welcome here.  He came and His presence was known!

Bhadru (the translator I mostly worked with) and I presented the gospel to the people and while all of them didn't run up and accept Christ as their Savior, you could sense their willingness to listen and ponder what we were saying.  They warmly welcomed us into their village and the people who did come forward and made a declaration of faith were not mocked (as they were in other villages).

On this day, there were four little girls who came forward and accepted Christ as their Savior and a mother (who wasn't one of their mothers).  One of the little girl's parents listened to the gospel and when their little girl accepted Christ, they thanked us for being there.  Her parents needed time to think about everything but they seemed glad she had made the decision she did. 

Everyone needed to return to the fields (it was harvest time) but her family offered a place on their property to eat our lunch and relax.  It was a wonderfully shady spot and very peaceful.  Overall, this thanda was peaceful.  I could sense God's presence there.  He was preparing the soil for another time.

I was amazed at the differences in the two thandas we had just visited.  I was overwhelmed at how God worked through me and at how I listened.  It certainly made for a great end of the fourth day in the mission field - of that there is no doubt.

We were able to return to the thanda the next day but I'll save that story for another day. I just want to end this post by saying God turned a negative experience and turned it into something beautiful, as only He can.  He can take an ordinary mom and turn her into a mighty warrior for Him and for His kingdom work.  I praise You Lord.

40 Loaves by C.D. Baker

40 Loaves
by C.D. Baker

 Are you looking for a thought-provoking devotional book to begin the New Year? Try 40 Loaves: Breaking Bread with Our Father Every Day by C.D. Baker. Spend the first 40 days of 2010 with daily readings that will renew your hungry spirit. Each “loaf” is a big question that stimulates discussion, investigation, and contemplation.

Here’s a summary:
“Why don’t I have more faith?”
“Why am I so bored with Jesus?”
“Why are Christians so hard for me to like?”
There are many questions we’re not supposed to ask when playing by the religious rules. It makes people uncomfortable. So why is it that Jesus invited questions and even asked some of them himself? What is it that you’re afraid to ask God? It’s a risky prospect to begin asking–but far riskier to continue simply trying to get by without knowing. Author C. D. Baker asked himself 40 soul-searching questions which started a conversation in his heart and ultimately showed him more about God than He ever expected.
Can we become more honest with who we really are and find who God says He really is at the same time? Come indulge yourself in daily readings with an honest exploration of your secret fears and thoughts, and know that you will always be welcomed in God’s unconditional love.
Search me, O God … and know my anxious thoughts.
–Psalm 139:23 NIV

My thoughts:

This is a small book with a mighty purpose.  I would recommend this book for anyone who is looking to start a daily prayer/devotional time and isn't sure how to get started.  I would also recommend having a journal or notebook to go with the book so you'll be able to make notes or write down your thoughts as you journey through each loaf.

Author Bio:
C. David Baker founded an award-winning business before redirecting his career to write full-time from his small farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He is the author of eight books, including six novels, one of which was nominated for a Christy Award. He has contributed articles to the Christian History Institute’s international publication Glimpses, and to Christian Singles magazine. Baker has a Master’s degree in theological studies from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

To learn more about or purchase this book, go to  This link will take you directly to the book.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can you fill me?

This is a repost.  I just read the post from Lysa TerKeurst and came back and found this post. If it's your first time reading it, enjoy!

We've gone on a short road trip. I'm not happy hair, my outfit, my bra (hello honesty), my shoes, what I have packed to wear and I left my tennis shoes in my car. We're going to be schlepping all over the place and I have no tennis shoes to wear. What was I thinking? Throughout the short weekend, I keep talking to my myself...Here's the gist of what I'm saying:
You're inadequate. Whatever you're wearing and brought to wear isn't "cute". How will you do your hair without styling products? Why didn't you bring those? Did he just look at another woman? Are you sure you're losing weight? You look heavy in those mirrors. Should you be eating that? Why can't he just tell me what I need to hear?
On and on I go. I've now worked myself into such a tithy and I want someone to make it better. So, naturally I go to James. (This is going to work out well.)
Do you still find me attractive? Do you think I'm pretty? Can you ever answer any of these questions adequately enough to take away all of my insecurities and doubt? I need you to fill me up.
The next day at Sunday school I'm sharing all of this with my class and I talk about how he just couldn't seem to tell me what I needed to hear and would it be too much for him to affirm me?

We've been working through Beth Moore's Measureless Love. Beth (she's my BFF so I can call her Beth) talks about who we're measuring up to, who we're measuring God up to and who we're measuring up for. That person we're measuring up for (Hi James) will never be able to fill us up and keep us full like Jesus will. If I'm not Jesus full, then I'll be desperately trying to get everyone else to fill me up. (ouch) If God is showing you something about yourself (sometimes it's over and over and over), then He's wanting you to kiss it goodbye! Goodbye insecurities and fear and self doubt and condemnation!

When we had a few minutes alone, I apologized to James for putting him in a position he was never going to be able to fill. (Of course, he had no idea how upset I had been!) Only God can fill me up. Only He can be the One who can give me total and unconditional love. I never have to wonder how He feels about me.

Will today be the day that I finally allow God to fill my cup with all the fullness of God? Will today be the day that I grasp that if God doesn't condemn me, then who am I to condemn myself?

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Eph. 3:19

Praise You Father for not condemning me. Thank you for allowing me to come to You when I start doubting myself. You will fill me up Your fullness and all I have to do is ask. I empty myself of my sinful nature and ways, pride, idolatry, condemnation, of the need to please everyone for my own sake, for looking for constant affirmation from others who can't possibly give me what I need way down in the marrow of my soul. I thank you for allowing me to say this prayer to you throughout the day or whenever I feel condemnation rising up. Fill my cup, Lord. I want to be full of You and not me. ~ Amen
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

There aren't really any lions or tigers or bears here but I wanted something catchy and that's what I came up with.

I have so much I want to share about my trip to India but finding the words to speak or write have been really difficult.  Also, I had some technical issues (camera not working) and so I have to wait on other people to either post or send me pictures.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

I have two or three book reviews that I need to write up and post too.  I thought I'd have more time in India and on the flights to read, but I was so focused on the task at hand (or being miserable on a plane) that I wasn't able to read too much.  (I did read 2 really good books and will get those reviews up soon.)

I have two people I'm supposed to mail books to from last month's (or was it the month before?) giveaways.  Bear with me ladies!

My roomie in India has gifts of prophecy, discernment, prayer, and more.  She told me that my verse is Psalm 27 and that I need to really read Proverbs (for the wisdom it holds).  I told her that out of all the things I saw in Ps. 27 was that I need to wait on the Lord.  Of all things - who wants to wait??  Wait on Him I shall do.  But, I will not be idle in my wait.  I will continue to pray and study and mediatate on His word.  I can sense changes around me and I can't wait to see what He has in store!

Over at Beth Moore's place, she's recouperating from surgery.  Her daughter, Amanda, was asked what Beth's favorite verse was because a friend wanted to have the verse by her in the hospital.  Guess where the verse is from? Psalm 27:4.  Well, I want to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord forever too, which is why I'm going to wait on Him.  I just love the little threads that weave my spiritual quilt together.

Sophie over at All Access wrote about the last Deeper Still conference.  One of the topics, which she shared, is discernment.  I've been praying for discernment!  I'm going to post her post here.  Thank you Sophie!  (I love a post that includes the word skeedaddle - thanks Sophie!)

by Sophie - December 14, 2009

When I found out that Beth Moore was teaching on discernment at last weekend's Deeper Still, my ears perked up a little bit. Because I'll be honest: discernment, especially in relationships, is one of those things that's been sort of tough for me in the past. I do not like confrontation EVEN A LITTLE BIT, so there have been lots of times when I've ignored a flag in my spirit for the sake of keeping the peace.

So, a lesson on discernment? Yes, please. Bring it on.

Beth began her session with 2 Corinthians 2:6-16, and she said that if we as believers are going to learn to "mind our spiritual gut," so to speak, we desperately need divine revelation in our human encounters. But before we can have confidence in that spiritual gut, we need to know whether or not we can trust what we sense.

This is where a how-to list would be super helpful, wouldn't it?  Well, I am so happy to provide one.

Beth said that there are four questions we need to be able to say "no" to before we say "yes" to our spiritual gut in a given situation.

Remember: 4 NOs = 1 YES.
Here are the four questions:
1. Am I a critical or suspicious person by nature?
2. Am I jealous or do I feel threatened?
3. Do I have anything selfish to gain from this?
4. Are my emotions clouding my discernment?

Beth reminded us that discernment is NOT a critical spirit. A critical spirit is carnality, but discernment operates within the fruit of the Spirit. She also said that we're not called to love blindly; we need to remember that "being entangled with somebody is not the same thing as being in fellowship with them."

Oh, that's a good word.

Anyway, if you answer "NO" to all four questions, and if you know that you know that you know that the flag in your "spiritual gut" is legitimate, what do you do?

Well, according to Beth, when you truly discern that something is off in a situation, you pray and listen for one of four instructions:

1. Run (2 Timothy 3:5). Have nothing to do with them. Obviously if this applies to a situation in a marriage where someone is in physical danger and needs to leave, that person should also seek Godly counsel about what the next step should be once he or she is in a safe place. But if it's the sort of deal where you sense an emotional danger with a friend or acquaintance - or if, heaven forbid, you find yourself thinking about doing things you know you shouldn't do - then SKEDADDLE. Get out of there.

2. Take a step back (Proverbs 4:23). Watch. Listen. Pay attention to what's going on. The flag may be so you don't move too quickly in a situation or in a relationship.

3. Ask questions. If the answers don't add up, ask God if you are to lovingly confront. But do not - DO NOT - do this over the phone. Loving confrontation should always be done face to face. (I missed the Scripture reference here - sorry!)

4. Learn to love with eyes wide open (Obadiah 1:3).

Beth closed by saying that we should be careful not to be cynical (Psalm 116:11), and we must always remember Philippians 1:9-10: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ."

That's some mighty good wisdom, isn't it, girls? Yes, it is!
Friday, December 11, 2009

Eyewitness Blog Tour

It is my pleasure to bring you Frank Ball’s blog tour for his book Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story by Frank Ball (WinePress Publishing).

About the book:
Eyewitness reaches people who seldom go to church or read their Bibles. It compiles the information from the Gospels and hundreds of other Bible verses into one chronological story laid out like a story without reference or verse. The result is a seamless combination of the four gospel books that will appeal to customers across the board, even those who would not normally purchase a Bible.

About the author:
Frank Ball was the Pastor of Biblical Research and Writing at Anchor Church in Keller, Texas, for three years. After thirty years of research and teaching the life of Christ, he began a twelve-year project to analyze every gospel story about Christ and put the events into chronological order.

Ball says that this project wasn’t his idea at all. He just had an unexplainable desire to do this chronology, and along the way he realized that God had a plan.

The interview:
1. The gospel stories have existed for some two thousand years. Why put them chronologically together now?
Nine out of ten Americans own a Bible, but the people who most need to hear the message don’t often read the book. They believe Scripture is outdated and too difficult to understand. Would they read the story of Christ if it were presented as a single story that is easy to understand? Most of them say they would, so Eyewitness answers that need.

2. Why do the Gospels appear to have conflicting stories?
At a crime scene, eyewitnesses always have different testimonies about what happened. Because each gospel writer had his own point of view and spoke to a different audience, the information is actually complementary, not conflicting. The apparent conflicts disappear when we use each viewpoint to compile a complete and compelling story.

3. How was writing and recording events different two thousand years ago?
We now use a computer keyboard to rapidly type and edit text that prints on our laser printers. In the first century, writers had only their parchment scrolls in which every word was hand written, one character at a time. Cut-and-paste editing and simple rearrangement of details into chronological order didn’t exist. Writers naturally put down information as it came to mind, giving us a flow of thought that isn’t always in date sequence.

4. What is the significance of John’s gospel being the last one written?
If John were to introduce his book to us today, he might say, “Let me tell you the rest of the story.” There wasn’t much need to repeat what had already been written, so he gives us clarification of events that were already being told and retold, as well as eyewitness reports that are found nowhere else. Unlike the other writers, who were not always chronological, John unfolds most of his story in date sequence in relation to the Jewish feasts. This gives us a chronological guide for putting all the biblical information in order.

5. In what way do you think the readers of Eyewitness will have a clearer understanding of the nature of God?
Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” If we can see what Jesus is doing and hear what he is saying, we become eyewitness of God’s nature. Because the words in Eyewitness are more like what we would read in a novel, readers are able to visualize themselves as present at the gospel events. It’s the next best thing to actually being there, walking with the other disciples.

6. How many different Bible translations were necessary to complete this project?
Hundreds of scholars have invested countless hours in the production of good translations. In the development of an easy-to-read wording for Eyewitness, translators’ handbooks and more than fifteen popular translations, as well as the Greek and Hebrew texts, were considered.

7. Is the Bible flawed in presenting the life of Christ in four separate books?
No, not at all. Each author’s report has its own perspective and meets a different audience need. Matthew points to the fulfillment of ancient prophecies to prove Jesus was the Son of God. Mark, the shortest of the Gospels, is the quickest to read. Luke, being a physician, gives many important details. And John adds clarity, chronology, and new information. Eyewitness was written for those who don’t read the Bible and for people who are helped by seeing how the story unfolded, chronologically.

8. Why do you think Eyewitness appeals to people who seldom attend church?
Even professed atheists and agnostics have questions about the meaning of life and what happens after we die. Eyewitness isn’t a book of difficult-to-understand rules that threatens punishment if we don’t do everything exactly right. The life of Christ is presented in a way so people can easily understand the value of loving our enemies and helping people in need.

9. Where can we find out more or purchase a copy of Eyewitness?
Please feel free to visit my web site at

If you would like to have Frank speak to your group, church, or writers conference, click here.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for posting information on my blog.
Monday, December 7, 2009

Put off the Old and Put on the New

The following is from the prayer journal I received from e3 Partners prior to leaving for my trip. It was a great prayer journal and it got me in the habit of journaling, which is really neat to look back on, even if just a few days, and see how God is working in your life. The list below was included in the journal and I've found it very useful and I wanted to share with you! I hope you are able to use it in your daily prayer time.

From the journal:
We put off the old and put on the new-
Consider the aspects of your "old nature" that keep getting in the way of your living the life you desire to live and put them off as Paul instructs (Ephesians 4:22-24). But don't stop there. Ask God to help you put on those opposite positive character traits that will strengthen you for His life and service, such as:

Help me to put off pride (Proverbs 16:5)--and
put on humility (James 4:6).

Help me to put off my critical nature (Galatians 5:15)--and
put on kindness (Colossians 3:12).

Help me to put off lack of love (John 4:7, 8, 20)--and
put on unconditional love (John 15:12).

Help me to put off worry (John 14:1a)---and
put on faith and trust in God (John 14:1b).

Help me to put off impatience (James 1:2-4)--and
put on patience (Hebrews 10:36).

Help me to put off unforgiveness (Mark 11:26)--and
put on forgiveness (Colossians 3:13).

Help me to put off my temper (Proverbs 25:28)--and
put on self-control (Proverbs 16:23).

Help me put off unbelief (Hebrews 3:12)--and
put on faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6).

Help me put off neglect of Bible study (2 Timothy 3:14-17)--and
put on Bible study, meditation (Psalm 1:2).

Help me put off lack of burden for the lost (Matthew 9:36-38)--and
put on compassion, witnessing (Acts 1:8).

Help me put off lies and exaggerations (Ephesians 3:25)--and
put on speaking the truth (Zechariah 8: 16).

Help me put off prayerlessness (l Samuel 12:23)--and
put on praying (I Thessalonians 5:17).

Help me put off procrastination (Proverbs 10:5)--and
put on diligence (Proverbs 27:1).

Help me put off gluttony (Proverbs 23:21)--and
put on discipline (I Corinthians 9:27).

Are there any you can put off and put on that you'd be willing to share?  I'm a work in progress and I'm so glad I can come to Him and ask to be made new.  Amen?!

(When I was looking for a picture, I came across this article from eHow - How to Keep a Prayer Journal.  So, in case you didn't know how or why, there's some instruction. Also, the article had this: A great online journaling program is Go-Journal found at Or, you can ask me or someone else.  I believe journaling and daily prayer time looks different for everyone! The picture is from the eHow site.)

Hearts at Home

Everyone loves a good sale, Right? We'll let me tell you about a great one:

It’s a Hearts at Home

Black Friday after Black Friday Sale Dec. 7-11

Did you sleep in on Black Friday? Did you drag yourself out of bed, but still miss out on some awesome deals because you were standing in line too long at one store? Do you still have shopping to do, but dread the crowds, traffic, and cost? Let Hearts at Home help!

Their Black Friday sale has been extended to the week of December 7-11. Shop in the convenience of your own home and receive an unprecedented 25% off all of Hearts books and merchandise. They have great gifts for everyone in your family.

Find gifts for friends, teachers, bible study leaders, bus drivers, and everyone else on your list. You may even find something for yourself. This is a great time to stock up on all those Hearts at Home books you’ve been wanting to read.

Let your family know how much you would love a Hearts at Home gift certificate so you can use it for your Hearts at Home conference registration and/or Mom’s Night Out tickets.

Go to, choose your gifts, and enter code “HEARTGIFT” upon checkout. You will receive 25% off your total purchase (before tax and shipping).

I also want to fill you in on a couple of other great opportunities!
Be sure to check out Jill Savage's blog this month (she is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home). She is doing one giveaway A DAY through Christmas.

And, if you stop by the Hearts at Home blog December 8 - 11, you will have an opportunity to win a Heart's at Home prayer journal. The prayer journal is a brand new resource from Hearts at Home.

Merry Christmas from Hearts at Home!
Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Christmas Meme!

I'm following Robyn - what can I say?  I have time before my nap...

Here goes.

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? I like both but I'll pick hot chocolate, especially when it's extra creamy and maybe some marshmallows!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? I don't remember.  I think Santa might switch things up depending on the time. 

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I like colored lights but white lights are much easier.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Let me answer it this way - two teenage daughters with boyfriends.  Moving on.

5. When do you put your decorations up? I used to put things up on Thanksgiving. but sometimes I don't put anything up.  But, tomorrow after church, we're decorating.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Cheese straws, sausage balls and fruitcake cookies that my grandmother makes :-).

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? I always loved the magic of Christmas and waking up in the morning to Santa having arrived.  I loved the anticipation while we waited for everyone to wake up before we could even see what Santa had brought. 

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I think I was in 3rd grade and we were riding the bus home.  One of my brother's friends told me and I was devastated.  My brother, who wasn't usually nice to me, said that he had known for a while but he didn't want me finding out. 

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Whatever lands on the tree is how it's decorated.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Snow is much better appreciated from afar.  When we lived in Seattle, we'd go play in the snow and I found I enjoyed the hot chocolate in the warmth of the car more. 

12. Can you ice skate? NO!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My mom has always made Christmas so special.  It's hard to remember one certain Christmas and gift.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? JESUS! I want to make sure my girls are celebrating the birth of Jesus. 

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I don't have just one favorite :-).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? The girls are older now but when they were younger, I would love to gather them up, read Twas the Night Before Christmas and the story of Jesus' birth.  After the stories, we'd let them open up one present and then get everything ready for Santa! 

17. What tops your tree? An angel.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I give much better than I receive.  But, who doesn't love receiving gifts? 

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum? I'm Switzerland when it comes to candy canes. Totally neutral. (I'm keeping Robyn's answer.)

20. Favorite Christmas Show? A Christmas Story :-)

21. Saddest Christmas Song? One that goes on and on??

22. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Casting Crowns, While You Were Sleeping.

If you decide to participate, let me know and I'll pop on over (just like Robyn said she'd do!).

MERRY CHRISTMAS my dear friends.
Friday, December 4, 2009

God is Glorified!

Report from India!

So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. Acts 16:5

Pray that God would glorify Himself by igniting a church planting movement of biblical (Acts) proportions by planting new churches daily in Banjara thandas (villages).

God's pleasure revealed -- praise Him all His children!

For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. [1 Samuel 12:22, ESV]

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like a fire among thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
[Psalm 118:8-14]

Though each village is surrounded by those hostile to the Gospel - Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, tribal animists, communists called Maoists - His truth was declared in the thandas (villages) surrounding Hanamkonda and Khammam and received. God has become our salvation!

Specifically, from the 15th - 20th of November in Hanamkonda, we (IN09K) were privileged to see 3,163 hear the gospel; to see 115 receive and profess faith in Christ as Lord and Savior; to individually disciple 111 of those new believers; to gather together during the week (after the initial proclamation of the gospel) 1,976 believers and seekers for teaching and preaching; and to plant 14 new church fellowships during our week there. Thank You Lord God!

(This is my trip) -- From the 22nd - 27th of November in Khammam, we (IN09G) were privileged to see 2,701 hear the gospel; to see 179 receive and profess faith in Christ as Lord and Savior; to individually disciple 102 of those new believers; to gather together during the week (after the initial proclamation of the gospel) 585 believers and seekers for teaching and preaching; and to plant 13 new church fellowships during our week there. Thank You Lord God! Do continue to pray our nationals are able to plant additional new churches in the weeks to come.

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. [Acts 4:12]

We praise and exalt You O LORD for indeed You know the beginning from the end: You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; You are my God; I will extol You. Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! [Psalm 118:28-29] in Jesus' name, AMEN.