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Class Time

Its the first day of school. Little Jeannie woke up early, lunch money in hand, nervous and excited all at once. What will today bring?  What will it be like? Her mom and others have tried to answer her thousand and one questions she has asked over this year to get her to this point but still she wonders with in unbridled fears and anticipations. New starts. They are so hard. But something we all have to do in life. Here I am at another new start at a very old-time in my life.  Who would have thought …me an artist. Yep I know I have loved art I took every art class in school and college possible but never seemed to excel in it. My kids all had  art projects and here mom is still wanting to finish it. At one point we were missionaries in Namibia . Africa and I painted a life-size wall murals on our walls and my husband forbid me to have a paint brush because he thought th kids bedrooms and bathroom murals were going to creek into the living room but still it alluded me.

Until one day I took an oil painting class. wow it was easy. Since then I have poured thousands of hours into my painting and now recognized an artist and soon to go to finish my certification classes as a teacher in Florida. I look at the sunset and I think I want to paint that I see a child in a native costume and think I want to paint them. It is peaceful, joyful and fulfilling to paint what God has put in your heart and even more to teach other how to do it. Weird what God does in your heart and life. I would have never guessed I would be at this place. me an artist.

 

                    You can Paint! 

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Most people are in bed at this time. But sadly, the husband is out of town on business and I can’t sleep. Funny when you first get married its hard to learn to sleep with someone else now years have past and I find it hard to sleep without him. What can I do…. I guess I can sleep with the dogs. No they hog the bed….think, think , think…I can a paint!

So up I go to start painting in the middle of the night. It is so weird that at my age I can find a new hobby that I LOVE! I wake up wanting to paint think through the day about what I want to paint next and get almost slap happy looking forward to the next time I can take a class and learn something new. I am not the best but I’m slowly improving.

It is remarkable that all these years I never knew just how much I loved to paint. I really am looking forward to being able to get certified to teach painting as a teacher. Maybe next year,  it’s expensive.  Off to painting I go!FullSizeRender

 

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11. All of us experience change in our lives. Change is the one constant in our lives. There are changes that we look forward to and change that we fear. However, one thing is for sure. Things will not stay the same no matter how much we would like them too. When a life change occurs, we have two choices in how to respond. We can despair that a change has come and assume that things will be worse, or we can look with excitement at the new possibilities that the change presents. This month is a change for the Sr. Members of the Young Family.

Changes this month

    1. BTG – we closed the doors
    2. Dianara moving in.
    3. Jacoby getting a job
    4.  Jacoby and me  sharing in caring for Lanara
    5. Me going to job interviews.
    6. Ron and I planning of 33 anniversary two week trip to Alaska.wlEmoticon-smile.png

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

imagesHAPPY WORSHIPPING MOM

With God leading me, I will always choose  road lest traveled even if it leads me closed roads because I know God will always open up a new one. What joy is it to serve God!!!!!

 

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“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” ~Aristotle

Thank you LORD for people who criticize me.

1. It helps me learn a little about my faults so they can be corrected.

2. It helps me to learn who my true friends and true leaders over me are.

3. It helps to break intimidation off my life.

4. It helps me to know who I am in you and sense your love and your presence.

5. It strengthens my resolve to focused on your call and vision

Thank you Lord because I am a person who people are critical of, because I am a women who is following you call and vision. LOL …. You are so God Lord! Your ways are wondrous and marvelous.

Oh God how unworthy am I of your call and vision. Help me to be a women of passion! My heart cries out for your love of a people who are lost and broken. They do not know you because of lack or labors. They have not heard of your love and saving power of redemption.

I may not be as polished at others, smart as others, supported as others, liked like other and a am not a man. But I did not call myself, I did not give myself a vision. Like other women before me I am an obedient hand maid trying to serve God the best I can. Criticism is my friend.

1 Corinthians :25-29

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

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How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"Isaiah 52:7

 

images00VOEIGH

When Ron and I started first talking about starting a church we did not know what we were doing.guess what that is still true today. Everyday were growing; God is still teaching us.

The surprise I have had ha been when you talk to people that are discouraged and have not had much opportunities to serve God about doing something for God that is hard but matters. They are all over that. “Count me in.” I would like to help with that.”

Mature leadership that are talented, experiences , trained, many I have come back to and said we are ready to start give them a time to show up and  some have even picked departments to serve to work in and you will never see them again… A year later you ask them where were they, what happened ? And they complain about no place to serve and are off in a new divine  lead direction.

It has made me wonder about us Christians true ability to hear God’s voice and if things are hard not going our way how many times God allows us to follow his permissive will. We miss out on so many blessings because of excuses.

Why me God ? What can I do ? I’m too young ? Why not someone else God ? God I’m too old I have to many responsibilities. Why me?  God I need to be paid to do this others are paid. Why me? God this will cost me something. Why me?   Even the great hero’s of the Bible sometimes questioned God’s orders.

For my peer group, the most common excuse is age, and money- what can we do when we are only 18, 19 or 20 , 50, 80 ? Jeremiah felt exactly the same, in Jeremiah 1:4-5 we hear his call from God and in verse 6 we see his answer to that call. He was only 20 when he started his ministry. King, Josiah was only 8 when he became King, Samuel too was really young when he was called, Abraham we so we can’t really use age as an excuse.

Then Abraham bowed down to the ground, but he laughed to himself in disbelief. "How could I become a father at the age of 100?" he thought. "And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?" Gen. 17:17

Next we have the "He can’t really want me to do that, can He ?" excuse. There are many differing reasons for this, they include seeing the call as silly.

Many of us have avoided the call of God to work in some places or with some types of people. We see these areas as off-limits, their people as untouchable, AIDS patients, those with terminal or disfiguring diseases like cancer or leprosy, racial minorities. People always have and probably always will feel the same about that.

Jesus was often being attacked by the Jewish Leaders because He spent time with these types of people, read what he says about "untouchables" in Luke 19:10. Do we follow the same example, or do we shy away from these people ?

Jonah in a similar way had problems with his call in Jonah 1:1-3. He did not want to go and preach God’s word in the land of his enemies. His reason – and ours deep down probably in a similar situation – is that he disliked the people so much he didn’t want God to save them.

After some subtle persuasion Jonah agrees and finally learns his lesson – and hopefully we do too – in Jonah 4. Have you ever like Jonah tried to hide from God ? why ? Is it really possible to "escape" from his presence ? (see Psalm 139:1-16).

Another common excuse is "Why not him ?", God obviously has the wrong person and we need to help him out by telling him. Does the last statement seem a bit illogical to you ? However, we often feel that there are people better suited to our individual call than us. However God has created each of us uniquely and has a special task for us all (see Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16 & Jeremiah 1:5) He knows us better than we know ourselves, so he will always pick the right person – not always the most suitable person – for the job.

You may feel that God can’t or won’t want to use you because of your sinful nature, however God thinks differently. One of the most Anti-Christian men of New Testament times – Saul – was converted and then mightily used for the glory of God, see Acts 9:1-19.

Often you may feel that after all the failures you’ve had in trying to do his work that God won’t ask you again in a hurry. Acts 2 and John 21:15-17 show God’s answer to that statement.

Sometimes we agree that God’s idea will work with the people He has selected, but the time is just not quite right for us. Jesus, however gives a clear response to the "not just yet" group in Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 9:57-62.

Although following God is our choice, God asks us when we are able to do the task, even if we don’t agree. Sometimes we disagree because we don’t see ourselves capable of achieving the task that God has laid before us. Moses too felt the same way, in Exodus 3:11,6:30 tell us how he reacted to his call. Yet when he finally agreed he was more than capable.

Do you have anymore excuses left ? Or are you now ready to answer the call, like Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 ? —

There are many reasons why God would not want you, but don’t worry. You’re in good company!

– Moses stuttered.
— David’s armor didn’t fit.
— John Mark was rejected by Paul.
—- Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
—– Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
—— Jacob was a liar.
——- David had an affair.
——– Solomon was too rich.
——— Abraham was too old.
———- David was too young.
———– Timothy had ulcers.
———— Peter was afraid of death.
————- Lazarus was dead.
————– John was self-righteous.
————— Jesus was too poor.
————– Naomi was a widow.
————- Paul was a murderer. So was Moses.
———— Jonah ran from God.
———– Miriam was a gossip.
———- Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
——— Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
——– Elijah was burned out.
——- John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
—— Martha was a worrywart.
—– Mary was lazy.
—- Samson had long hair.
— Noah got drunk.
— Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
– So did Peter, Paul–well, lots of folks did

Suck up the excuses…Stand up and say here I am God uses me.  Stop limiting God by your conditions. Then watch God is joy use you.

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DANGEROUS!!  I’m an import from California. In the south when I talk about what the vision I have for Alabama and how to change Too Dangerous Logo Finalthe face of church everyone says ….ah, she’s from California.  True, but I have lived in the South more than I lived in California.  I like it here. I have also heard “…gasp she is a woman!….that’s why her vision is different.”  Yep.. I’m a girl! The vision I have is bigger than my gender and nothing to do with it.

Why do people see the vision I have for the way we do church as dangerous? It is because they live in a small town mentality.  I recently read a blog about small towns written by singles and felt there was so many correlations to the way we do church and what’s wrong with the church I thought I would share the summation made by that blogger.

“All too often the general population of the small town becomes so wrapped up in each other and each other’s lives that they completely forget that an outside world actually exists. They reject new ideas and alienate anyone from the outside world and look upon them as a possible Viking invader. There will most certainly be a hierarchy of who to know and who not to know with potentially hazardous results if you were to befriend the “wrong people”.

Fortunately if you find yourself in this situation you will also be aware that an outside world does actually exist with people who have diverse and open minds and are prepared to move on with the times as to secure a better world for future generations.

The very fact that you and only you in a whole town of interbred misfits know of such a place gives you the power to pack your bags and get out of there before your brain stops working and you begin to resemble something from the walking dead.”

I really do believe that’s how we do church. We have adopted a small town mentality about everything we do. Even big churches, when you strip off the hype reproduce themselves into the same pattern and same mold.

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”  Corinthians 1: 27-31

This is the verse God gave me when he called me. I have walked in that calling for 30 plus years. I do not see the way we do church as relevant or vital to reach the 70% or the college age who walk away from God. Most churches are still focused on the traditional family. Non-traditional families and singles get mentioned only in passing. Yet census data has long shown the percent of “traditional” families decreasing and in fact “traditional” families now make up less than half of all families.

dangerousThe church needs to reach the lost. So God has called us to form Bridging the Gap Ministries. We are a church…we are just starting out. We will do it different. Watch my Blog or our web page (www.BTG-Ministries.com) to see where we are doing it, when we are doing it and how we are doing it. We believe in the message of Jesus Christ,  but we see it being presented in a relevant manner to the masses of over looked and marginalized people groups.

We are DANGEROUS for Christ. Watch us win the world!

Love
Jenny!

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We missed it!

I sit across the table and I see a young man slightly overweight funny and very intelligent. I listen intently with deep questions of where did we Christians go wrong? Was he hurt by a church? Did his parents show him religion instead of a relationship with Jesus?

Still he fills my head with questions as he says, “Church is not relevant to my life. It has no meaning to me. Religious games are played by people and leaders. It is not for me.”

“If you could find a church that was different what would it look like?” I asked.

“Very different from what I see here in the south. California churches are different or should I say you can find different churches. They feel different. It’s not just the dress it is the attitude of the people. They love you without judging; they’re just real.”

“So are you saying”, I asked, “you will never go back to church because you don’t live in California?”

“No, he said I’m still looking for a church that is different.”

“But how do you know it’s different if you never go to church? I ask”

“Because everyone I know will be talking about it, he said”

I would like to say he is one in a million young adults who are de-churched. For every one of his excuses I could come back with a rebuttal but arguing with a person who cut their teeth on a pew and was exposed to all experiences of church from radical faith to boring business meetings I am left with unsettling questions about how we (me and the rest of the leaders of the faith community) do church.

I always thought as a youth pastor you give kids radical true faith, fun youth group and you have laid a foundation that is unshakable. I still believe that’s true. But I never thought about what happens with these kids when they are young adults and we offer nothing for them? The thought when I was a teen of the 80’s was service and it’s time to grow up and sit with the adults or stay in youth ministry and be a youth leader. For me I cannot remember graduation to adulthood. I always stayed in working with the teens because it was my heartbeat. When my kids became teen and I no longer worked as a youth Pastor because I wanted them to have a youth pastor that was not their mom. I was the youth worker, and with some of my disabled kids and it was the only way they could go to youth group. I am now 53 but because I have never been out of youth ministry. I look at adults my age and go maybe I’m the young 53 year olds of the new generation who love online games, water slides and amusement parks or maybe I just never grew up? But it is the silver years of a person who never was not a youth worker.

Where did we go wrong with the 70% of young adults who left the church this year?

I guess this morning I have woken up to a call that I have been hearing stronger and stronger as days past….How are we doing church wrong? How can we stop the statistics and reverse them?

How can we do church different? How can we stay relevant to a generation who screams out for honesty transparency and love?

We really have not done church much different in 20 years. Twenty years ago the church got rid of the choir and went to worship groups not really the worship leader doing it all. We got rid of hymn books and went contemporary, but we still do church the same way with the same format. Some church dress less formal but it is still the same format.

In fact in some ways it is a little less personal. Because of computers and texting a person can go all week long and never truly talk to a person. But, I am no way anti-technology I may become violent if you take away my cell phone or my I Pad in my purse.  🙂

This morning I read in my Bible

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings

This morning I am laying my heart before the Lord and asking …have I become all things to all men so by all possible means I might save some? Have I asked young adults to fit into a mold called church and when they have not dismissed it? Or have I rethought church so it is all things to all people so by all means they can be saved? This is the challenge God has placed before me rethink church for a generation who never got it.

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