Friday, December 30, 2011

Kissing 2011 Goodbye

Just one more day left of 2011! Can you believe it? It's been a good year. The Lord has done many wonderful things this year in my life, my family's life and my church's life. It has been a blessing. I've learned to trust the Lord in all new ways. I pray that you have grown closer to God this year. That you can look back and see that He has stretched you, used you and taught you. That is what our true hope should be for 2012 as well. So many things that we think matter in our future, really don't matter that much. It matters that we are following Jesus and that our families are. It matters that we tell others about Him. We should work our hardest and do all we do to bring glory to our Creator. We are so blessed. If we know Jesus, we will be blessed in 2012 regardless of whatever bad or good happens. There is no reason to live in fear or anxiety. He sees the beginning and the end and nothing that happens next year will take God by surprise. So, bye to 2011 and hello 2012!

Exciting news! My Mom has finally begun to blog! Today she blogged for the first time and I am honored to present to you the sage wisdom of Pam Brown displayed in Silver Linings and Such. I'm more than confident you will want to learn about the mother of a strange child like me! You may wonder what she could possibly have to say (and for that matter, what I could possibly have to say!), but the life of a homeschool, Pastor's family is more exciting than you think!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Well, all....Merry Christmas!!! I really love Christmas Eve because the end of the celebration is not yet really in view. It's the day every year when the anticipation is at its height. It is not quite Christmas, but almost! Months of preparation build up and right now it is peaking. I'm still having a hard time believing that tomorrow is Christmas and an even harder time that 2011 is almost over! We really need to enjoy every moment because time really does fly.

Enjoy this time with those around you. These days are for making memories and celebrating the fact that the Son of God came to earth to save us, actually every day is. But this truly is "the most wonderful time of the year" in my opinion. Remember the One from whom all blessings flow. He deserves all praise. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!

I need to tell you about the two best parents I know. The father being my very own, Kevin Brown and the mother being my very own as well, Pam Brown. They are the best couple you can imagine and today is their Anniversary! They have been married 21 years and I'm extra happy they got married because I came along because of it!


My parents are unusual. They rarely ever fight. The way they act in public is really how they act. Dad and Mom support one another, encourage one another and love one another. They are a true example of how a husband and wife should be according to the Bible. I'm not saying they're perfect. No one is. But they always do one thing. Settle problems. I have never seen a cold shoulder between them. They may disagree but they always settle the problems. They realize that marriage takes three and the third is God. He really is the first because things are done through Him.

I say all of this to say that I love my parents. I'm blessed and honored to be their daughter. I wish them a very Happy Anniversary. The one thing that I wish they hadn't have done in all the time they've been together was getting married three days before Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Love of Christmas

It's that time of year!! Fudge, cookies, old Christmas music, lights and decorations, corny and predictable Hallmark movies, red and green, fellowship and merriness. Christmas. I'm completely amazed that it is 5 1/2 short days till Christmas! I really can't believe that it is already here. But I better start believing it because it will be over before I know it.

So, to share Christmas joy with others, on Saturday I went along with some friends from the Monday night Bible Study I go to, to give clothes, food, and the love of Jesus to homeless in Winston Salem. I never fail to be amazed when I'm doing mission work. Over 220 people came and many received coats and clothes to battle the fierce cold. And it was cold bright and early that morning. Two of the men in the group took off their own coats to give to the homeless. I was amazed at the love of the group. Before we knew it the homeless were bringing brand new clothes they'd received from other homeless shelters to give to us as a sort of "trade" for what they took. Many refused to take even when it was obvious they needed it. They would go tell their friends and leave some clothes for others. Needless to say, it was a great blessing to be apart of the that ministry. Mission work is always a great blessing!

Back to Christmas. I still just can't believe it's here... but you already know that. Lately I've been thinking about all the gifts and I've realized that they really don't mean that much to me anymore. Since just coming home from Ethiopia 2 1/2 weeks ago and then serving the homeless, I've just seen how spoiled we really are. It's not bad to give gifts and to have money to buy gifts, but I guess where I get stuck is when we become nearly obsessed with them. We can say that we're not, but compared to the starving and cold world around us.... we are. We get so surrounded by the "American Christmas" that we forget. What do we forget? We forget that the very One who came on that first Christmas came as a sacrifice. He came because He loves us, SO we must love others like that. 

Show extra love to others this week, especially widows and widowers and those who are hurting. We never really know who is hurting so that means, love everyone!!! I'll try to blog again before Christmas but by then you all will be too busy to read this. I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all! And as Tiny Tim says, "God bless us, every one!!"


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Story

Adam......Abraham..... Joseph..... Moses...... Ruth.... David.... Daniel... Esther.. Job. Mary. Paul.

We all know them. The people of the Bible. They've been on countless Sunday School lesson pictures, countless books. They've been preached about, taught about, sung about. They are the chosen people that are in the Bible.

But they were real people. They were afraid. They were unworthy. They were sinful. Liars, murders, slaves, foreigners, adulterers, lost, afraid. Yet, they were faithful, trusting, courageous, loving, and patient. That is why we remember them.

Last night I went to a concert called "The Story." It was made up of songs to tell the story from Genesis to Revelation of 18 different Bible characters. The songs were each incredible and sounded just like what you would imagine the people they talked about to sound like. The lyrics just touched my heart. There were many impressive artists there including Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli, Selah, and Newsboys. Max Lucado spoke between some of the songs.

It was incredible how in three and half hours you saw the hearts of many of the Bible characters I've "known" my whole life. But to see them as more than just another person, but instead as a small story inside a larger one. They aren't random people, but part of the tapestry. Each of their burdens and victories help show the power of God.

I am apart of that story too. I'm not in the Bible, but I am a child of the King. I'm a heir. God wrote my story and He sees the beginning and end. He sees where it fits in the big story and He knows my purpose. Sitting listening to the sweet lyrics of the songs, I could only thank Him for letting me be apart of such a story and for writing it in the first place.

The lyrics of the song, "How Love Wins" (the song of the Thief on the cross) touched my heart like no other.... Please read these words:

This is how Love wins, every single time
Climbing high upon a tree where someone else should die
This is how Love heals, the deepest part of you
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds
This is what Love says, standing at the door
You don't have to be who you've been before
Silenced by His voice, death can't speak again This is how Love wins

Climbing high upon a tree where sinful man should die. I know the story, but it helped me see the picture. And to be reminded that I'm apart of it. I'm called to live for King Jesus. So are you. We are called to let Him cover and fill our everything. Max Lucado said something last night that stuck with me, "Eventually, if you let Him, Jesus will fill you up so much that there is more Him in you than there is you in you."

That's my desire. I want to be like the people in The Story. They were unworthy, afraid, and sinful. But they were faithful. When the Spirit called they answered and changed history. It may not have seemed big at the time when Moses was in the weeds, or when David was in the fields, or when Ruth was a heartbroken widow. Looking from the outside, if you were to have walked up on the cave the night of Jesus' birth you may would have smiled and walked on thinking, "Another poor child. Born in a filthy rotten manger, how sad." You and I would have walked on.

The story is made up of little things. It is made up of seemingly unimportant people. The story is not just today.... it is for forever. Max Lucado also said, "You're life is not just the tiny dash between your birthdate and date of death on your tombstone." It is forever. The story is written. We must live it and praise God for it and finally, tell everyone about it.


Click How Love Wins (Singer- Steven Curtis Chapman) to here the full song. Here are a few more of my favorites....

**Your Heart (David)** (Singer- Chris Tomlin)

Alive (Mary Magdalene) (Singer- Natalie Grant)

The Great Day (The Second Coming) (Singers- Michael W. Smith and Natalie Grant)

Be Born in Me (Mary) (Singer- Francesca Battisteli)

To see them all and learn more visit, The Story.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Heart Not Torn

I blogged on this very subject back in February. Relationships. Romantic ones. It's a touchy subject. I usually get a little flack when I broach upon it, but oh well, I do anyway!
I've felt led to go to this subject again because it weighs so heavily on my heart. It is such a difficult topic though because so many don't like to think about this angle of relationships.

It's like I've said before, young tweens and teens dating each other just for fun is really dangerous. Like gas and fire. I have known and know countless teenagers who have promised themselves and others that they were just not going to get their hearts get tangled, but soon enough it is bound to happen... and it does. It continues to amaze me the amount of teens that wrap themselves in such problems. It doesn't have to be something that you just do. Something so serious should be pleasing to God and at the right time. God's time.

It's something that we should at least think about. We can't tell ourselves that it doesn't matter. 97% of highschool seniors are no longer pure. That is crazy. Let me just put it out there... it is not bad to wait. It isn't bad to trust God for the right one.

Another thought. If you are a Christian, shouldn't your very first desire be for that person you get into a relationship with be a Christian as well? Many teens have said to me something like this, "Well, I really think he's saved. He has the Bible as his "favorite" book on Facebook and his parents go to church. His Dad may even be a deacon." That's all great, but if you don't know almost immediately, then there is a problem. We should never have to guess or think he or she may be a Christian because of their parents or upbringing.

Okay, Katy. So what do you think is appropriate?? Well, it isn't about what I think, it is about the Word and it says...

1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.

Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Not even a hint. So for me that means none. Pretty simple actually. I just don't date, it makes it easier. Some may wonder, "How in the blue blazes are you ever going to find someone?" Well, I'm not going to find someone. I don't have to. God has him chosen for me. God will bring him to me or me to him. I could know him now or I may not. I don't have to "put myself out there" to find out. A lady in my church named Kathy Eller once gave an example when I was very young. She may not even remember this, but it stuck with me. We were at a girl's sleep over and she talked about dating and relationships. She had a paper heart and said that it is new and fresh and as we date and break-up it gets torn. She ripped small pieces of it off and threw them on the floor. She said that when you kiss your boyfriend, their goes some of your heart and when you tell each other things not meant for each other's ears, there goes more of your heart. She told us that one day you get married and she showed us the scrap of heart left. "And this is all you have left." I'll never forget that. This is all you have left.

Many already know this stuff. They know that God has their future spouse chosen and much of what I've said is old hat. But the culture can easily seep in and suddenly we're recreational dating. And it's "not serious." Not serious dating is the worst kind, because when you're not serious and just having "fun" you have no purpose in what you're doing.

I don't have it all together. I don't know everything. But I have chosen to wait. And when the time is right I'll know. I want there to be a purpose behind any relationship like that in my life. You know? That doesn't mean that I sit in a glass box, it actually gives me freedom to talk and be friends. And it's not miserable, it is purposeful. I want a heart that's not torn. A full and clean heart. Where is the safest place for it? In the hands of God. So that is where it stays.

If yours is already torn, save what you have left. It's never too late to save your heart. Jesus never runs out of second chances.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Adventure to Africa

I'm home! How can I possibly sum up two incredible weeks in one blog post? I can't. I will probably post about the trip several times in the future.
It really has been a hard but yet wonderfully blessed journey. It was incredible to step off the plane into Africa again. The memories just flooded in as we made our way into the depth of Ethiopia a few days after arriving. We arrived in Alaba Kulito after a 6 hour drive from Addis to a wonderful, welcoming family. Ministry began hard two Sundays ago. It was a rocky start as Kandace got a stomach bug the first Saturday night. I can tell you that we really had to rely on the Lord and He was faithful. She was better within 12 hours and recovered from the weakness within of few days.

The villages we visited were amazing. It left me speechless by the joy of the people. The poverty level there is about as low as you can imagine and it was an honor to be able to share the Gospel with the "outermost parts of the earth." And that it was. Kandace, I and a girl named Abigail Jacobs taught the children in nine of these villages. I had such joy to tell them that they are loved by Jesus. They soaked it in and made every bumpy mile to those places worth it.

The people were so caring and loving. The host family fixed us three meals a day. It was Ethiopian food so we had some struggle adjusting, but they even fixed us popcorn and homemade french fries to give us a taste of home.

My Dad taught in the main church in Alaba. It has over 2,000 members and is what they call the "Mother Church." The village churches are offshoots from this one. Dad had a blessing teaching the many men who sacrificed to come miles from home and sleep on the church floor so they could here the Word of the Lord.

The children absolutely stole my heart. They couldn't be anymore precious.


 Obviously, the main goal of the trip was to spread the Gospel, but it was also to encourage the churches there. When they see us come from 7,000 miles away to help, they are encouraged. It has nothing to do with the rich helping the poor, or Americans helping Africans, it is all about Christians supporting Christians. I told the children at every village as they stared at out white skin or rubbed my hand to see if the white would come off, that color doesn't matter. We are all children of God if we are saved by Jesus. It means nothing what color our skin is. Neither is better than the other.

Like always, toward the end of the trip I was ready for home and a bath! The Lord taught me MUCH patience. Right when I thought, "I can't go any further... I'm so tried." God boosted my strength. It is a hard trip. I will admit it. There are no showers in Alaba, no toilets, and no American food. You are plunged into another world. It literally looks like 2,000 years ago. It isn't easy, but the Joy of the Lord is so great that many Christians have no idea how it feels to feel Jesus that way. These people are warriors for Christ. Muslims are predominant. Over 95% of the people in Alaba are Muslims. Every morning a Muslim chant is sounded over loud speakers throughout the surrounding area. It is one of the saddest and eeriest sounds I've ever heard.

I was very ready to get home after a 20 hour plane ride and bed bugs which had somehow made their way into clothes (I was thankful for new clothes in the Addis airport!). But once again the Lord stretched me as we stood on the plane in Atlanta waiting to get off. We had 57 minutes till our next plane took off for RDU. We still had to go through immigration, baggage, customs and then find the terminal! I nearly had a nervous breakdown. We were so close to home and yet we could miss our flight! But God is SO GOOD. We zoomed through immigration, and customs, we slung our luggage off the belt and ran, I mean RAN through the airport on wobbly legs. It was like on Home Alone when the family was trying to get to their plane. People may have thought we were nuts, but hey, WE MADE IT! It was an exciting ending to the day.

Home had never been so sweet. I almost kissed the floor. No matter how great a trip is, there is no place like home. The Lord did amazing things. He really stretched our family through this and made us stronger, He blessed the church in Ethiopia and allowed many to hear about Him all over Alaba. I say that is a pretty good trip. I'm so thankful for our awesome team of the magnificent 7... Dad, Kandace, Cindi Jacobs, Abigail Jacobs, Jason Hatley, Dale Jennings and me. What a great group.

It is beyond wonderful to know that the Lord is pleased. There is NOTHING like mission work, especially when it is in the "outermost parts." All of us as children of God are missionaries, we are called to this. It was an honor. It is an honor. Jesus be praised. We are nothing, but He is everything! Amen!



Friday, November 25, 2011

A Mom of Noble Character, Who Can Find?

Today is my wonderful Mother, Pam Brown's Birthday! Today I'm in Ethiopia, but truth is that I'm writing this before I go to Ethiopia and have set this to post on my Mom's birthday! But regardless of when I posted this, I love my mom and she is completely wonderful. She has allowed her husband and two teenage daughters to leave for two weeks and miss Thanksgiving and her birthday. My mom is so unselfish. Many women would NEVER let their families do that for the Lord. They would want what THEY want. But not my Mom. I know most children say that their mom is great, but I'm not kidding. She has sacrificed and given more than any woman I know. She has taught me at home for years, has encouraged me, loved me, and given constantly. She doesn't take hardly any "me time," because she says that it is not about "her" but about God. Isn't she just amazing? If I can be half the mom and wife she is, I'll be doing good. I love you mom. I'm sorry we're missing your Birthday, but the Lord is going to bless you for letting us go. Thank you for everything!! I can't wait to hug you when I get home! 
My Mom and Andrew

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Africa, Here I Come!

After months of praying, weeks of preparing, and days of packing. My Dad, my sister and I are leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow morning! This whole process has been a roller coaster in my mind. But I am finally ready. I'm actually excited. I'm not just saying that, I really am. I'm also anxious, but I know that the Lord is sovereign and He is my Father. He'll take care of me. Paul said that to "live is Christ and to die is gain." So to live is great and to die is even better. Now, I'm not hoping or planning on dying!! But still, God is my Shepherd. 


I still can't believe tomorrow is the day. People ask and wonder, "why are you doing this?" They may even think it is neat, but they still don't get it. Maybe you don't. Well, here is my answer for why I go to a dirty, poor and somewhat dangerous country for two weeks. I go because of LOVE. Jesus loved me and so I love others. Sure, you can love by sending a check, but when those people see you in the "mess" it leaves them speechless. They see, feel and hear the Love of Jesus when you go to them. Mission work is not an option, it is a command and not just to those missionaries you support, but to YOU and ME as well. So I am honored to tell hundreds of people in a faraway country that they are loved. 

It will bless them, but this trip will bless us. It is great to serve others at home, but something about going to places where you don't get a shower for nine days and where there are Muslims around, make you stronger and more thankful. Those people really need to know that others are partnering with them. It isn't about Americans helping Ethiopians, because that sounds like rich helping poor. No, it is Christians helping Christians. They are not some "project," but brothers and sisters in Christ who need help sharing the Gospel in the surrounding areas. 


I'm honored and blessed. I am, however, going to miss everyone! I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be thankful always not just on that day. I love you all and will see you again on December 1st!  I'm sure I'll have a boatload of stories to tell!! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'll Soar

Ever had a verse that just follows you around? Well, I have and it has been Isaiah 40:30-31:


30Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.


It's been around a lot lately. I keep thinking about it. And it's like God has given it to me as a gift. One of comfort. I keep seeing "The Lord shall renew their strength." Sometimes I feel that my strength is nearly worn out.  Kind of like when you're doing push-ups or sit-ups and you start to quake. Your muscles are so tired and they just want to stop. But when they get like that, you know one thing... they're getting stronger. But at the moment they feel weak, and all you know is that it hurts.

That is how life is sometimes as a Christian. You get tired. According to those verses everyone gets worn down. But God promises to renew our strength, with one condition.... that we "wait on Him." We have to put our trust in Him. Many Christians want God to renew them, but they don't want to have to show any faith or trust. It is critical that we trust in Him. And then my favorite part is about soaring on wings like eagles. I was always the kid that wanted to fly, I dreamed about it, watched Peter Pan all the time and loved planes the moment I stepped on one. I love it because it feels so free. That is what we will feel like when we put our trust in our Father and let Him restore us. The burdens will be laid at His feet and we'll be so light that we can soar.

I love the song "Stronger" by Mandisa. The chorus goes:

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger


So, when it is hard, use it for His glory and remember that God never leaves His children behind. He is making us stronger.


Speaking of being strong, today we are celebrating strong men and women who have served this country.... Veterans!! So, I'd like to take this time to say, "Happy Veteran's Day!" I can't thank enough the many people who have given their lives to serving this country. Thank you all, past, present and future!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Letting Go

I am a control freak. I just am and it is wrong. I always want to know what is going to happen, when it will happen, where it will happen, and why it will happen. And I have to know everything that will happen. Yes, I sound like a joy don't I? Not so much sometimes. 


But my life just doesn't always happen like that. In fact, no one's life is like that, especially if you are Christian. You just never know what will happen. It makes my heart pound and my hands get sweaty and Satan whispers in my ear, "Everything's going to fall apart. You don't know what's going on and I know that things are just going to crumble. Look how bad everything looks. It's so bad." And sometimes... I believe him. 


My Dad, Kandace (my 13 year old sister) and I are leaving for Ethiopia in two weeks from this Wednesday. Two weeks. I went two years ago this past May and it was awesome, but crazy hard at the same time. I've told everyone how hard and how amazing it was. But lately I've just been thinking about the hard parts and thinking... holy cow, I've actually chosen to do that again?? And then there are all the preparations. Lesson plans and lesson plans and... lesson plans. 


And then, I think about how many of my best friends are leaving. They are either leaving the county or the state. Some permanently and some not. I think about me and how I'm left in the dust. It makes me irritated.


I was thinking about how God just must not really notice these problems in my heart and how I'm doing all this alone, or so it seems and how I didn't think that this or that could ever be possible, because apparently I'm at this alone. All of that I knew was false, but I was still thinking it, just the same. 


I was reading in Jeremiah 32 half-heartedly. Not really paying attention when I read in verse 26, "Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 'I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?'" I stopped. What? "Is anything too hard for me, Katy? Have you forgotten that I am GOD? Every detail of your life is laid out before me. I know what I'm doing. Now, what isn't my fault is your attitude." Ding, hello! Katy, wake up! That moment God said... NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR ME. Not your life, not family or friends or school or even.... Ethiopia. 


I went to see what was going on with Jeremiah and why God said that to him. Jeremiah was told by God to buy a field in the Land of Canaan. The Babylonians were taking over and Jeremiah didn't understand why God was asking him to do such a thing. The story really had little to do with me, but not the one part that stopped me cold. I remembered that Jeremiah was called the "Weeping Prophet," because after 70 years of preaching the word of the Lord, he still had no converts. Talk about feeling like you're living a pointless life! When I had looked back I saw that before God had said that to him, Jeremiah had said to the Lord in his prayer, "Lord there is nothing to hard for you." Jeremiah, just like me, knew the truth, but it was having a hard time making it from his head to his heart. I still don't understand everything and I can easily let Satan's demonic forces whisper in my ear, but I know the truth. I know the Truth and the truth sets me free. 


We can't dispute God's will, but we can seek to learn what it means. For me, I just have to let go. Of people I love, the truth about places I'm going, of friends who leave and I have to let go of my life. It isn't mine anyways. Easier said than done. But I have to keep trying. 



Monday, October 17, 2011

When the President Comes to Town

Today President Obama visited the high school a mile and a half from my house. He taxied right down the road that I've ridden all of my life. I didn't go see him at the school, but I watched him live on TV. Earlier today I road by West High and it was covered in people. The tickets to see him were sold out before I even knew about them. News reporters, the secret service with their cool shades, and police scrambled around. Cars covered every inch of space that people didn't. And then late this afternoon, he arrived. The President of the U.S. arrived in our little town. People were thrilled. Even those who don't agree with his policies couldn't help but be in awe that the most powerful man on the planet was in Millers Creek, NC. Days before his arrival, secret services checked and searched all the premises of West Wilkes High school. Everything and everyone had to be just right. The President was guarded at all times. Everything was put in order and then re-put in order... because it was the President and it had to be perfect. 
  


It got me thinking about how much work went in to protecting a man with a title. A man. People clamored and fell all over themselves just for a picture of him and just, maybe to shake his hand. 



One day we will see Jesus seated on His throne and the feeling of awe that many felt of the President in their midst will be nothing compared to the God Man before them. The King of everything. The Ruler of all things. More powerful than any President or Leader and more important than any man. Jesus is more than a leader. He is more than a man. He did more than lead a nation. He was killed. And then he rose from the dead. He lowered Himself to nothing, so that we might be saved. I don't believe that we will be able to stand before Him, but that we will bow. In fact, everyone will bow. All Presidents past and future, all Emperors and Leaders and Kings will fall to their knees and say "Holy, holy, holy." No matter what religion, they will one day call Jesus "Lord." But not all will get to live with Him forever. The ticket to Heaven is Him saving you by you calling on His name. And there is still time to get one. 


For Jesus, there will be no body guards. No one can hurt Him. He will call us by name. I believe that He will hug us and tell us that He loves us. Jesus will. Not some man who got elected to lead a nation. Not a movie star. Not a famous athlete. But Jesus who died and rose again and took our sins. He will. The President of everything will. Now, that is something to get excited about. 




Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Past's Bridge to the Future

I watched the Living Waters documentary a couple days ago called "180." It was unbelievable. The documentary started out with Ray Comfort just asking people off the street if they knew who Adolf Hitler was... less than 10% did. From there Ray Comfort asked the people if they thought the Holocaust was a good or bad thing. Most said that it was bad. Later he asked them about abortion and many saw no problem with it. He compared it to the Holocaust and completely blew their minds when talking about something many consider no big deal compared to something many consider so terrible. But he showed them that they are really both terrible and very much alike. It was a completely amazing 33 minutes. I recommend you watch it. I do, however, suggest that children under the age of 12 or so not watch it as there are a few video clips and gruesome pictures of the Holocaust. 


That documentary also helped me see just how clueless we are a a nation. We don't even know who Adolf Hitler was. Get this, 45% of 17 year-olds can't place the Civil War within half a century of when it took place. About half of highschoolers think that Columbus sailed to America after 1750. 20% of 17-year-olds don't know which country we were fighting against in WW2. People don't know and have never been taught.... or at least taught so that they will remember. History has fallen through the cracks. I used not care much about history until I saw how vital it is to know what has happened in the past. There is the saying that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. I believe that is the case for this nation. Those who move away from God always fall apart and we have been doing so for a long time, but within the last 50 years, more than ever. Thankfully, my parents have instilled in me a desire to know history. I find that many young teens and children don't care about the our nation's past. They don't care about what is happening in the world around them and they couldn't care less about politics. Well, I have some news.... We are the next generation... and we are clueless. My generation in general (not all) don't know or care and the parents don't tell us what we need to know. It is going to show in about 30 years how much we've lost.  


We need to be informed. Not infatuated, but informed as to what is going on around us. As each generation keeps dropping the ball, it is only going to get worse. The U.S. is one of the most failing countries in passing history to their children. 


History can be so interesting, but we often clump it in with every other subject in school and think that it is just a bunch of stories. What a sad reality. The truth is, the past is the guide to the future. We need to look back to look ahead. 


But all that to say... you really need to watch "180" if you are older than about 12. It is amazing. It isn't about needing to know history as much as what I've just talked about but more about the importance of human life, in the womb and out. 


Check it out at, http://www.180movie.com/.

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the Sand

I just got back from vacation. It was wonderful and so nice and refreshing to spend time at the ocean and doing nothing, but eat, get battered by waves, laugh, and play Rook. It was glorious. 


The last day we were there I was playing in the sand. I was digging a deep hole because I had nothing better to do. I was digging in the wettest part of the sand. The water was almost up to where I was digging. I just kept digging there. Once the hole was deep, I made a gully that would bring the water to the hole. I packed the sand so that it wouldn't be easily destroyed. It was perfect. Suddenly the water washed over it and some sand broke off and fell into to hole. No big deal, I just pulled the sand out and repaired the damage. But in less than 30 seconds it had happened again and my gully fell in. As I worked to repair it, water destroyed the hole. I kept trying to repair the hole and gully even though the water kept destroyed them. I got up and went to help Clara do something and when I came back the hole and gully were completely gone. I realized that trying to rebuild it there was a waste of time simply because the water would keep ruining it. 


That experience reminded me of life. Sometimes we as people keep trying to build up our lives of our own accord in the wrong place. It is easy to build it where the sand is soft and moldable. When the water took it down, I didn't try to move up the beach away from the water but I kept letting the water knock it down. I was digging in the wrong place, because it was easy. 


Satan often saturates parts of our lives, making it look easy and enjoyable to work there. But when we start working there it keeps being destroyed because we are in "Satan's territory." The water kept destroying everything I did. All I needed to do was move away from the water. The dry sand was harder to use and took more work to build, but it didn't get washed away. 


In life we often wonder why everything is falling apart, why it is so hard to "be good." It is because we are trying to live where Satan has persuaded us that it is best and then he keeps destroying where we are. We just need to move away from him. 

Jesus waits to build our lives the way HE wants. It 
is always best and it is solid there. More solid than sand. As solid as a rock. 


Jesus said, "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." (Matthew 7:24-25 ESV) 


It's worth letting Jesus build up our lives where He wants them and in His way. It's never too late to let Him have your life. Not just as Savior, but as Lord. He knows the plans He has for us, they are plans that are to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Hallelujah! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Do Everything

I've started to blog several times this week and a few times today, but I am at that point again where I have so much to say that I can't pick something. I'm not going to write a post that tries to include every idea because that is just... annoying. I have done that before though! 


What should I blog about? Well, I'm looking straight ahead at the calender on my wall. I can't believe that today is already the 16th of September. Of September!! Isn't that crazy? Time flies. I feel like I just got back from camp in July... but in a way it does feel like it has been a few months. Life is just so short. We all know that. I've even blogged about the shortness of life before. It is just short. Even if you live to be 100, compared to the earth's 6,000 or so years, it is short. And compared to eternity it is VERY short. So now I'm thinking about how much time I waste. God really has given us all one life. One chance to use it for Him. Often I just use it on myself. I am too thickheaded to realize that if I live for Him that He will reward me in Heaven. Humans automatically gravitate to the path of least resistance. We do what feels nice and is most comfortable, thinking, "We only have one life! Better live it up!" But "living it up" for ourselves is really pointless. 


Everything we do should be for God's glory. The boring, the exciting, the... everything. It reminds me of Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Do Everything." I LOVE that song. It's happy and upbeat and lightens my day. The chorus goes: 

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you
Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do



Listen to the whole song by clicking Do Everything


Wow... I got all of that out of looking at my calendar. I should try to do blogs more often by just looking at objects in my room and talking about them! 


Enjoy this cool day, and if where you live is not as freezing as it feels here today in N.C.... well, enjoy this warm day! 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Than Just Saying

I can't believe that I'm blogging right now. I have an exam at 3:00 and should be studying, but the more I study the more nervous I get. So, I'm going to talk and think about someone that I want to think about... God. I've not blogged in eight days anyway so I need to get on here. 

Well, I was watching a video of Francis Chan (author of two amazing books, Crazy Love and Forgotten God) last night (when I should have been studying ;)). He was talking on the simple topic of "following Jesus." He was talking about how in the church we "follow" differently than we would anywhere else in the world. As a kid it was easy. We played "follow the leader." It was simple, you just did exactly as the leader did. Well, now in the church we've come to this point where we often say, even if we don't out loud, "I'm following Him in my heart." What if a kid was sitting by the side and said, "Yeah, I know it looks like I'm not following, but I'm following in my heart." Francis said that we wouldn't tell a child of ours to go clean their room and allow them to come back and say, "Hey! I memorized what you told me to do. You said, 'go clean your room.' Oh and by the way mom/dad, my friends and I are going to have a study every week on what it would look like if we cleaned our rooms!" That would be absurd. The parent just wants to kid to DO IT. It's great to memorize it and talk about it, but it is most important that they do it.

Aren't we like that as believers? We talk about serving and following Jesus. We tell people that we follow Jesus. But then when people look at the "room" (our lives), they see a contradiction to what we say. Jesus said in Matthew 15:8-9, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’" It's easy to talk, but it is hard to live that talk. Christianity is hard. Not the watered down Americanized version, but early Church Christianity is hard. The American version is "going to church," the early Church version is "being the church." I believe that some churches are starting to see that following Jesus is more than singing a few songs on Sunday and listening to the preacher preach for 40 minutes. Being a Christian means everything we do is to bring honor to Jesus... Monday through Sunday. 

I love what Chip Ingram once said, "If you are really born again, then nothing should have to prod you to act like a believer. You can tell if you're really "saved" by whether His commands are burdensome." 

Following Jesus is not that complicated. I'll use the Nike logo: 



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Before The Throne

Last night I went to a Monday night Bible Study that I've been going to lately with some different people from Mt. Pleasant. It is such a wonderful group. Most of us happen to be in our late teens and 20s. It is so awesome being the youngest one there and look up to those honest believers. They aren't perfect. In fact, it is just a group of sinners. Mixed from a vast array of backgrounds. But we come together with one thing in common, a love for our Savior. 


Yesterday we were talking about prayer. Prayer. That word is used so much that sometimes I just overlook what it even means. The prayer that we were talking about is not flowery prayer, but intense prayer before the throne of God. The prayer that is the sword against spiritual warfare. The kind of prayer that honestly,  we probably don't do often. But those are the prayers that terrify Satan and his demons. Why? Because they are what bring about amazing things among God's children. But I was sitting there thinking how hard it is to pray like that. My mind wanders and if it is early morning I'll be praying... and then all of a sudden, well... zzzzz. Yeah. That kind of prayer is hard. Really hard. That is when I realized that maybe it should be. How many churches have you attended where the people pray? I mean intensely, on their faces before God. What's wrong with most Christians and churches is that we really don't pray. We may ramble on some list and pray passingly for Aunt Betty, Grandma and Mom as we are half dosing. In church we pray before the sermon or after. The preacher says something that sounds really nice and we usually don't listen to most of it and come up out of habit on the "amen." Now, there is nothing wrong with lists or pretty prayers. And I'm not saying that we're falling asleep in prayers all the time. But isn't it easy to pray like that or see praying as nothing more than a list to read off or something pretty to say? Not always, but sometimes it is for me. 


What we need to see is that we have access to come before the throne of God and talk to Him as a Father. If we could see what intense, Spirit-guided prayers do to the spiritual warfare around us then maybe we would see it as what it is... AMAZING. We aren't talking to the ceiling, but to God. We shouldn't ask for things constantly, but nor should we be afraid to ask our Father for blessings. He wants us to talk to Him like His children, but also in total honor and respect. 


The thing about prayer is that it isn't easy. But we have to remember that Satan wants to do one thing more than anything... keep us from talking to his enemy. If we don't fellowship with God, then he knows that we will not be likely to notice when or what He wants us to do. Dear friends, it hit me last night that if we would truly pray, that our lives would change. Our churches would change. And more in our nation would see the wrong road we're walking down. God has so much to show us, but we are often satisfied with how things are. Let's go before the throne of God. He is waiting. 



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earthquake

People in Washington D.C. evacuated from buildings
I probably wasn't the only one who felt like I was in a boat in rough seas for about a minute this afternoon. It was a crazy feeling. Everything was bouncing off my desk and the whole room literally groaned. For one moment I thought that is was very unsafe to be inside. I yelled through the house that whatever was going on needed to stop because it had to be bad for the house! 


I later found out that it was not a truck or an out of balance washing machine, but an earthquake. Thousands of people from Georgia all the way to New York had felt Virginia's earthquake. It was very close to Washington D.C. (which I thought was kind of... interesting). But I honestly thought that the East isn't supposed to have that magnitude of an earthquake! If I wanted that we could move to California! But once I began to think back about that few moments of the earthquake, I realized how completely powerless I was to what was going on. The roof could have fallen on my head! It made me realize how little I am. I may think I'm in control of this or that but God controls nature. He is so powerful. I am so small. 


It made me think that that is how it is going to be after the Rapture... only a hundred times worse. The news said that cell phone carriers got completely bogged down and that people closer to where it happened were running outside in terror. The whole world will be like that during the seven years of the Tribulation. 


God has the power to do anything. Just that minute or so of shaking in my room left me in awe of our Creator. How great He is. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

God Owes Me... Nothing


I was thinking about how much I expect from God. How I ask Him for things and think that since I try to live for Him that somehow He owes me. That I deserve it. Deep down I know that I am a sinner and that He doesn't owe me anything, but often I just don't think about that. Have you thought that if God didn't love us that He would still be worthy of our praise? If He had never done anything for us, He would still deserve our respect and honor simply because He made us and He hasn't wiped us off the map for our sins. As simple as it may seem... God didn't owe us His Son. Jesus didn't have to die for us. God doesn't have to take care of us, nor love us, or protect us. But He does.

I don't deserve anything. If I were killed tomorrow because I am Jesus' follower, I still wouldn't have earned God love. There is nothing we can do on this earth that will ever have "earned" us even a small blessing from God. It leaves my mind boggled to think that He is right and just, but He is also love. He chose to reach down from the glorious glories and live among us to die for us. Not only did He do that, but He now takes care of us!

My Dad made a point today in church that staggered my mind. "How many times do we say that we are going to give Jesus our everything and then we hold back?" That doesn't seem too profound, but it hit me hard. Because of this loving Savior's love I constantly tell Jesus, "I love you with ALL of my heart! I am yours. Everything I am and have is yours. I'll do whatever you want, Lord." But after that comment I rewinded in my mind and remembered all the times I had said that and then totally "fallen off the wagon." I said it and then I just didn't do it. It was dishonest. I am like Ananias and Sapphira when they said that they gave all they made off of the land they sold to the church, but they really only gave a portion. I say, "I'll give you everything," but then I whine about something that is so little. I am willing to go to Ethiopia, but am I willing just to hold my tongue when someone is rude? Those "little things" show our true love for the One who loved us and didn't have to.

The greatest blessing any human could get in front of us... the undeserved love of the only God and King. We must live with ALL of our hearts for Him. Easier said than done? Jesus said, "be perfect for I am perfect." We will never be perfect, but we can try. We can't use that as an excuse. And then, we must share the Love of God with those around us. Because it is a miracle.

 

Visit my friend, Jason's blog. He just posted an awesome post about sharing Jesus' love. It is well worth reading and is from someone who truly strives to live a life that honors God. Just click here.

Thank the Lord, He reached out for us!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just a Chat

I haven't blogged in 10 days... and there is no excuse. I just haven't. Honestly, I've not wanted to waste your time with a boring and useless post, but I appear to be doing that now! Oh well, I have decided that my posts are usually "heavy" so I will just talk to you without a topic to bring me here this time.

Well, it feels awkward now (like how it feels when you see someone you haven't seen in a long time and after formalities you just stare at each other). Well, I'll tell you something personal to break the ice. Are you ready? I've felt OLD lately. For Pete's sake, I am four days in to being a senior in high school (homeschool). And I just feel completely OLD. Now, I know some may say... "Oh, child! I'm 97, you're not old! I'm old." Well, that is true. No! I am kidding! Really! But honestly, I finally feel... old. It makes me sad and happy. I'm not saying that 17 years old means anything, but for example, I feel like how you feel when you have been enjoying yourself doing some relaxing activity and you look at a clock and see that you have passed hours and it felt like minutes! I just feel like I've past so much wonderful time. But with that said, I still sleep with a baby blanket. Whoa! You didn't except that! Actually, I use it to prop my head up and it happens to be the softest one, so I use it. Kandace says, "Yeah, right." Maybe I'll get through this feeling old phase as I get older. That was like a pun or something. Ha ha!

I hear Dad practicing his sermon as I sit here. I love it when I hear him talking to the walls downstairs. It sounds like this week's sermon is going to be good. Ahh. I love it.

I must say to end this completely awkward blog post, that my life is wonderful. Not because of anything I'm doing or because of anything that is happening around me. My life is wonderful because I have been saved from a miserable existence. I'm really rescued. I live as a blessed slave to the ONLY God. The Creator whom even if He hadn't bought me at a price, would still deserve my life. But He actually loves me. He calls me His child. So, my life is splendid. No matter how old I get, I am a child. A child of the King. So I choose to live for Him. I try (but fail often) to love what He loves (what is righteous) and hate what He hates (sin). Because He loved me enough to die for me... I want to love Him enough to die to myself.

Friend, thanks for reading. Know one thing, before you go. You are loved.

Now, go find something better to do with your time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Missing Lines

I went to a concert with the Annie Moses Band performing last night in Greensboro, N.C. It was wonderful, as always. They performed a song that I has heard them do many times, but it gave new meaning to me this time. They wrote it and it was the idea of Benjamin Wolaver. Benjamin had spoken at devotion during FASA (Fine Arts Summer Academy) about the problem of "missing lines" in Christian's morality. The song went right along with that idea. Here are the lyrics to the chorus and second verse of the song "Blush":

When hands were gentle and words were kind
And love could wait a long, long time
And private matters held their hush
And grooms were gallant and brides would blush

Does it seem a silly dream played back in black and white?
Pearls and gloves and hymns of love
The lines of wrong and right
Well let's hush the cynic for just a minute
And let the dreamers dare
To dream of love that never fails
Oh won't you take me there

So it left me thinking about the "lines" of wrong and right. What if things were where they belonged? Now, matters that don't belong in the open are just spouted out. Even in the few short years since I was little, things have changed so much. It seemed more acceptable to be innocent then. These days even what some consider "cute" TV shows are brash and display lewd talk. The lines of childhood and what belongs there are blurred.

The big thing for me is relationships between young ladies and young men. The lines have nearly been washed away in this aspect. I've blogged about dating before but, this whole topic has resurrected my thoughts on it. Everything is so flashy and tacky and absolutely loose that is leaves me a little dizzy these days. I love the line in the song, "When love could wait a long, long time." When love waits it is strongest, mark my words. But waiting seems hard. Actually, it isn't as hard as imagined. It is actually enjoyable and peaceful to wait on that love for God's timing. But see, the lines has been broken for so many young people. And many are happy just to push the lines a little, just to have some "fun." But it is dangerous.

Lines are good. When certain things are reserved for certain things, each area is defined. The world says to break lines, that you are more free if you do. Well, have you ever seen a picture that a three year-old has colored in a coloring book? The lines are there but the child has simply ignored them. You can't tell what color belongs to what part of the picture. Every color is everywhere and it leaves a messy blur. That is what happens when we ignore the lines in life. God has placed boundaries that are revealed in His Word that are meant to be acknowledged and kept. It is for our own good.

Annie Dupre made a comment, "What if these ideas aren't old and outdated but really are the ways of Christ followers?"


Monday, July 25, 2011

Fine Arts Summer Academy 2011

The past two weeks have been a marathon. My family has been in Nashville, Tenn at the Annie Moses Band Fine Arts Summer Academy. It has been a packed two weeks of music and for me, acting. I loved it! There is no place like the stage! But as much as I love the stage, it is most important that I am there to bring glory to Jesus and use my gifts for Him. That is what FASA is all about. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and make music and act like we'd never been apart.

This video sums up the whole camp. It is one of the final songs from the Final Gala at the end of the two weeks. It is amazing. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, fast forward up to 5:10. Keep in mind that all the music (about 50 pieces in the whole show) were learned in only the time we were there at camp.


Half of the orchestra (it was so large that the other half played in the second half of the show).

Singing in a bluegrass band.


Kandace (on the far right) singing in a bluegrass band.

FASA is intense and hard work, but is worth every moment of rehearsal and practice when we get to the final show and see the bounty of the hard work. It is extraordinary. The Wolaver family (the Annie Moses Band) put it all together. They arrange all of the music, write the show and organize everything months in advance. I'm so thankful for all they do to inspire young people to make His praise glorious!

Time flew by and now I'm home, but rejuvenated again. I've learned and been stretched all to do more for the Kingdom of God. What a blessing!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Home



I don't usually post about my home life. And I honestly wasn't even going to post today, but I thought that I would tell you about my home.

It is the most beautiful place in the world (with the exception of a few Hawaiian beaches that are probably nicer... :)). The air smells of sweet honey-suckle and mountain air in the summer. Right now the grass is lush and everything is green. My home sets on a hill where there is a perfect view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


We have a large garden of red earth that produces more beans and tomatoes than we could ever eat. And I perspire more than should be allowed picking its bounty. 


Sometimes if I listen closely as I am in the garden I can hear the rushing creek in the woods and a whippoorwill calling out.


In late June and early July we pick blackberries. June bugs buzz in the green leaves and we pick the juicy berries.

My dear piano.


A day doesn't pass that I don't sit at the piano and play those ivory keys. There is nothing except God's Word that brings me such peace. I love the guitar and the viola, but the piano floats me away and I love it (especially when it is tuned).

The inside of my home is more precious than it's beautiful surroundings. It is a place of love and peace. The sound of Daddy's deep voice or fast little feet in the hall. The aroma of hot chocolate in the winter and summer salad in the summer. The Waltons are on at 8:00pm and popcorn soon after. Devotions on the worn out couch and the goodnight kiss before bed. My creaking stairs up to my attic room and the quietness of a restful night.

I couldn't ask for a better home. I love the place I live, but I love the people that I share it with more. My three best friends are also my siblings and are not perfect as I am not perfect, but they are my family and I love them. At some point it became unpopular to like your family, but we don't care. A family loves when you're not perfect, helps when it's inconvenient, praises another, and just cares because they should.


That is my home. That is my family. And I'm thankful for everything on my little hill I call home. And mostly because God's presence is here.