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!