Lost Car Keys

Lost Car Keys

I lost my car key the other day. Now if you really know me, you aren’t surprised. Losing my keys has been a problem I have had for most my life and it has only exaggerated this last year when we bought a car with a phob that I am not able to connect to my other keys. So now I am not just trying to keep up with one set of keys but I have to keep up with two sets, one for the car and the other set for the house and church. 

 

The other problem with this key is we only got one when we bought the car and to replace it or get another one would be at least a hundred dollars or more and that just isn’t in the budget. 

 

So the other day when I lost the one and only car key, I searched everywhere in the pocket I always put it in, in my purse. I retraced my steps to see if I left it around the house somewhere. I looked in the car to see if I left it there. I check my bag I take to church every week. I even asked the guys that live in my house if they had borrowed my car and kept the key in their pocket. (which they often do)  

 

You see there is only one way I don’t lose my keys and that is I have only 2 places I put them, when I come in the house. They either go in a special pocket in my purse or I place them on the same table top in my house. That way if someone in the family needs my car they also know where the key is.  So when I couldn’t find them I was so confused. Had they accidently dropped in the trash? Had they fallen behind some piece of furniture? 

 

I was baffled as to where they could be. But I decided not to freak out about it. After extensively searching everywhere I could think of. I just decided to leave it alone. Walk away from the problem and do something else that I knew I could do. I refused to worry about it. Once I had done all I could do to find it I just decided to go about my day I figured I’d deal with it later.

 

I left my purse sitting on the floor by the hutch in my dining room. I went about my business and about an hour or two later I came back around by my purse from the opposite direction and happened to glance down at if rather than looking at it from the side view of it sitting on the table, as I had done, the whole time I was digging through my purse looking for the key earlier that day. 

 

When I looked down from a higher perspective you know what I saw? You guessed it! I found what I had been looking for. I found the key. I had forgotten that I had put it in the outside pocket of my purse. The one that  I never use. As soon as I saw it, I remembered when I was in a hurry the other day instead of putting it in the normal place I had put it there. As I looked down over it from the higher perspective. I saw it just barely sticking out of the side pocket.

 

As soon as I saw it, I immediately knew that it was like life. Often times we have a problem and try with all our might to fix it. We do everything within our powers to make things perfect,but we often only see things from one perspective. 

 

That perspective comes from the way we have been raised or opinions we have adopted over the years and values we hold dear to us. Those come from the way others have treated us, T.V. Show and News reports. Our surroundings can often dictate our perspective on life. 

 

That is why it is so important for us to have a higher perspective of life. We have to rise above what this world says is acceptable and look to the one who created the world, God Almighty. When we look to Him who is the beginning and the end of everything. Who with one word spoke this world into existence. How could we not have a different attitude? How could we not find things that we never expected to ?

 

When we change our perspective, and look at life through the vision that God has. We will begin to see the good in those around us. We will see hope where we once saw only defeat. Because contrary to popular belief. We may not be seeing things the way that God sees them. 

 

We only have one view of things. We can only see the here and now and what has happened before. But God sees the here and now, He knows what has happened before and He also knows what is yet to come. He sees in 360 vision. 

 

There is a lot of talk this year about 2020 vision. Which it is important to see clearly. But we also need to expand our spiritual vision to 360. We need to ask God to help us see everything He is trying to do around us and when we can’t see it clearly we need to know that we can trust this God, who is the creator of the universe and giver of life. The God of Abraham Issac and Jacob. 

 

There is so much anxiety and fear happening in this world today. I believe in many cases it is happening because we are trying to do everything on our own instead of trusting in the one who already has the plan anyway. The one who orchestrates everything in the heavens and earth. The one who sees all sides and knows all intents of the heart. When we realize that we are love unconditionally by the Almighty God. It releases a whole new area of freedom in our lives that we don’t have to be worried or concerned that things didn’t go our way. 

 

I heard a great saying the other day. “God will mess up your plans to get you on His purpose”  So next time you become full of fear or anxiety or something doesn’t happen the way you think it should. Ask yourself “I am I seeing this through God’s perspective with 360 vision?”  then Let’s ask God for a new perspective of what is really happening and be willing to put our fears aside for a moment and trust that He is working all things together for our good! (Read Romans 8) ‘

My Pet Peeve

My Pet Peeve

I have a Pet Peeve! I know you are probably sitting there thinking, this nice lady that writes this column could never get upset with anyone. NOT! In fact if you ask my family they could probably give you a list of things that they would say I have a pet peeve about. 

 

A Pet Peeve is defined as “something that a particular person finds especially annoying.” 

 

Being raised in a minister’s home. My parents were far from perfect as most parents are, but one thing they taught me was to serve others. There wasn’t a home we moved into that, that in the process of discussing who would get what bedroom that my mother didn’t say “We need to plan for a guest room”  

 

Now I wouldn’t even consider my mom a great hostess because I rarely remember her even having guests over for dinner. But my mom was always ready to host an overnight guest. So much so that we planned our whole lifestyle around it down to how we slept.  Whether it was for a guest speaker coming into town that would be preaching at our church or for family that always lived far away from us, that mom prayed would come and visit but rarely did. 

 

I remember when we didn’t have an extra bedroom my parents got a trundle bed and put it in my room so there would be room for an extra guest if we needed it. That is just what I was raised with to serve others. 

 

So in this modern day society where communication is at our fingertips one of my biggest pet peeves is people who say their profession is to serve others but they never respond when you reach out to them. Nothing irritates me more than for me to text  message or call someone and they never reply or take hours or days to do so. 

 

Some people think God is like that. We pray or ask God for something and then it doesn’t happen they way we thought it would or we think He doesn’t respond and our feelings get hurt. We feel unloved and rejected by God. When the truth is God always answers. Sometimes His answer is Yes, sometimes His answer is no and other times His answers is wait a little while. 

 

Often times when we don’t get a yes or no answer right away. He is telling us to wait a little while. Waiting doesn’t have to be a waste. It can actually be a projective time of prayer and growing in a deeper relationship with God. It is a perfect time for us to draw closer to Him and we do that by patiently waiting and trusting Him and He works it out. 

 

In this modern day society where we can have information at our fingertips in seconds we often think we serve a God who should give us what we want and we want it right now. But we forget we serve a God who knows all and sees all, including what the future holds and more importantly we forget that He loves us more than we can even hope or imagine. In fact, His love is so extraordinary that honestly our minds can’t comprehend it because we have never been loved like that. 

 

We also have to remember God isn’t a genie in a bottle that we just call on when we want our wish to come true. That would actually make us the God. Which is more often what we end up really wanting after all it is our natural tendency to want our way and it is what the whole living by faith has to do with us giving up our well to follow His because He is God. 

 

Faith is trusting God. I think that brings me back to my pet peeve. I want my way and when I reach out to someone who says their life is serving others and I expect a timely response. Because bottom line they aren’t God and I don’t always know if I trust them, But I can trust the God they serve. 

 

I’ve had to realize that I can’t change people, but I am responsible for my response to them and in that I have to look to God above to help me be who he wants me to be and just because I believe people who are called to serve others should be available to others in a timely manner doesn’t mean everyone is called to that and I can rest in even though things don’t happen the way I plan them, I just rest and trust in the fact that God said He is working all things together for good to those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 28 

The Camper Cushions

The Camper Cushions

If you have been following this column then you know there has been a lot of things happening behind these parsonage walls! You know that back in September, Jeff and I felt God confirm in our hearts that we should join the U.S Missions Department with the Assemblies of God. Where we will be over Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico Churches, Helping connect churches with needs from Construction to Clerical with other churches and individuals that can help meet those needs. Our Goal is, Strengthening Churches, Changes Lives, One Project at a Time. Because we still believe the local church is the way God plans to bring people closer to Him. 

 

If you have followed this column you also know when we felt God calling us to this ministry we knew we were going to need a few things to make that happen, Since we will be traveling about 40 weekends out of the year, we need a newer to us vehicle that gets good gas mileage and must have good heat and air, unlike the car we have now and frankly our present car as so much other things wrong with it, it isn’t worth fixing. 

 

Secondly, we knew we needed a place to live in Tulsa which will be more centrally located to our area as well as a camper and truck to pull it with since, we may need to stay gone for longer periods and don’t want the added expense of hotels and never not want to be able to helps someone because of their inability to house us. 

 

So we just begin to thank God that He would provide these needs. After all, Matt 6:8 says “ He knows what we need before we even ask” so if He knows what we are going to ask, because He already knows what we need. I believe He also knows what we are going to need before He asks us to step out in faith and do something for Him. 

 

You may already know that since we stepped out in faith and shared what we felt God calling us to do,  in November, God has since given us, a home to live in for free in Oklahoma, and a camper for free as well. Now! You may be thinking that is Amazing! But, this past week before we went to pick up the camper, the owner said, “I was recovering the cushions for you and I ran out of material” She went on to say so she went into a second hand store to see if she could find something that would work  with her present material, and guess what happened? She not only found the exact material! But it was cut in 2 exact pieces the exact size that she needed. 

 

Now you can’t tell me that was an accident? I believe with everything within me that God is working all things together for our good and He has called us to this time and this place. I believe that someone somewhere was making something out of this material and had two pieces of material that God ordained just for her to use on our camper before either of us knew she was even going to give it away.  

 

You know why I believe that? Because His word says. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 

 

It also tells us in Luke 12:7 that He even knows how many hairs or lack thereof are on our heads! So why wouldn’t God care enough about this mission He has called Jeff and I on to supply the most minute detail that we need! 

 

Let me tell you something! If He will do it for Jeff and I He will do it for you too! But watch what that verse says! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who  have been called according to his purpose.”

 

There are some requirements. First we need to love Him and I believe it’s more than an attitude of “Well I don’t hate God?” attitude but it needs to be a genuine love Him more than life itself attitude, that you’d give your life for Him mentality. That He isn’t just someone you call on when you have a problem, but He is your constant friend that you talk to everyday and He talks to you. 

 

Secondly, It says “have been called according to HIs purpose. We all have a calling on our life, God has called us all to follow Him and what His word says, but if we truly love Him, referring back to the first point “for those that love Him” We are going to do what He says so if He says leave your church that you love and have a secure income in to step out in faith and trust Him to supply your needs through donations from your friends and others every month, then you do it! 

 

Trusting He is calling you to do that! Or maybe it is trusting God to supply the need of a missionary like us and feeling God is asking you to help but you know you don’t have the extra finances to do it. Maybe it is just calling up a friend and checking on them, but you are shy and you don’t want to bother them. Maybe it is asking someone to come over to your house and eat, but you don’t really like to cook and you are afraid you house isn’t clean enough. 

 

I don’t know what God is calling you to do, but whatever that strange thought you have in your head bouncing around that, seems crazy to even consider and it is greater than you could do on your own and if it helps others or shares God’s love with someone, I am betting it is God speaking to you. Especially if it seems like there is no way you can do it on your own. 

 

So what are you going to do with that call? Let me tell you that if you will trust Him, I promise He will meet you there. Just like the cushions in the camper, God’s got a plan for whatever He is calling you to do. He already has made a way and He knows what you will need before He asks you to step out in faith and do it. He is just waiting on you to take the first step! So what are you going to do? 

 

Jeff and the Ice Cream Cone

Jeff and the Ice Cream Cone

Jeff had just gotten his drivers license and decided he was going to drive down to the corner store and get an ice cream cone. His nephew Trey, who was about 3 or 4 years old at the time was visiting his Mamaw and Papaw so Jeff decided to ask the little fellow if he wanted an ice cream cone too. Trey who was preoccupied as little ones will be, told his Uncle Jeff, No, because as little ones will, he was focused on whatever he was doing at the time and didn’t want to stop doing that. 

 

So Jeff made his way up to the store and since the ice cream cones were 2 for a dollar Jeff thought “Why not?” and bought two. As he was driving back home he began to eat one of them and walking in the door of his home with two ice cream cones in his hands, Jeff nephew saw them both and asked for one. 

 

Jeff, thinking he would teach the child a lesson told him “No!” because after all, Jeff had asked him earlier and in Jeff’s mind the child should of said yes then and not waited till he got back home with one. Well, as little ones will. Trey began to cry and as Jeff tried to explain why he wasn’t going to share his ice cream cone with his little nephew. Jeff’s dad hearing his name sake, first born grandchild crying, came in from the other room to investigate the cause. 

 

When Jeff explained his side of the story, which didn’t hold up very well in grandparent court that day.  Jeff’s dad told Jeff to give Trey one of his ice cream cones. This did not make Jeff happy at all, so he offered Trey the half eaten ice cream cone. To which Jeff’s dad shook his head and said, no give him the uneaten one. This made Jeff even more anger so he slammed the whole ice cream cone down on the table making the cone crumbled and the whole thing landed on it’s side, on the table, which ensued louder and more hysterical crying from the child and a look from Jeff’s father that could kill. 

 

Jeff’s dad Trammell told him to go to his room where he would deal with him later. Jeff protesting the whole time did as his father asked and walked to his room. Upset at the injustice that had just happened in the room when his 16 yr old self was just trying to teach the spoiled grandchild a lesson. At least that is howJeff saw the situation that day. 

 

After Jeff’s dad had cooled off, and Trey had calmed down. Trammell came into Jeff’s room. Jeff was fulling expecting his father to give the corporal punishment he was use to in situations like this. In fact, Jeff says he even pondered how many pairs of underwear should he put on, to lesson the blow of the how situation could turn out. You know, kind of pad the consequences per say. 

 

But this time when Jeff’s down walked in to his room, it was different. He told Jeff who was now as tall as his father and weigh more than Trammell did. “Son, your getting to big for me to whip now, You know what you did is wrong,” Then Jeff’s dad added “ I think the best thing for you to do, is just kneel down here beside the bed and ask God to forgive you” 

 

Oh! Jeff says at that point all he could think about was he just wished his daddy would spank him! Anything but having to confuse his sin to God. 

 

Jeff was reminded of a valuable lesson that day James 4:17 says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin” 

 

Jeff knew the right thing to do was to share. In his heart he knows the little kid didn’t really have the cognitive abilities to make that decision of not wanting to go with Uncle Jeff to get and ice cream cone, and would always choose an ice cream cone as soon as he saw it. In fact that might of been part of what made Jeff buy 2 ice cream cones that day. 

 

But the bottom line is, Jeff knew the right thing to do was to share, the right thing to do is to always care for those weaker than ourselves and bless those who can’t help themselves. 

 

During the holidays, sometimes this can be the hardest thing to do. Often times we might see people who haven’t given us the time of day the other 364 days of the year, but yet all of a sudden want to be friends with you this one day of the year. 

 

Our natural instinct might be to ignore them or avoid them, after all, one could think “If they don’t care about having anything to do with me the rest of the year, why should I have anything to do with them on this one day?” 

 

But is that really the right attitude to have? Again, we need to refer to James 4:17 I think this might have been the first verse I ever taught my children “He that knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, to him it is sin”. 

 

We often know the right thing to do but our want to, is often lacking. Jeff knew he needed to share, but he wanted to make a point to his little nephew and his opinion of what needed to be done, superseded what he knew was right at the time which caused his father to have to bring his attention back to the right thing, and that is what would Jesus do. 

 

Isn’t Trey a lot like us though, how many times has God called us and wanted to give us a good gift, but because we are to busy doing our own thing, we push Him aside in essence telling Him. No! Only to realize we had made a mistake and we wanted what He had. 

 

Luckily it is never too late for us to get on our knees and ask God to forgive us and tell Him we want what He has offered us. God isn’t as petty as we are and although we may reject Him all year long He is always waiting with outstretched arms to welcome us home. He loves us and wants to forgive us of anything we have done. 

But just like the scene around the table at Jeff’s parent’s home. Our life can be chaos until we decide to do what we know is right to do. 

 

God’s word says “If we will confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9. It is only when we confess and decide to walk in God’s will that He will walk with us and help us in the chaotic times of life. 

Jeff and the Pink Tutu

Jeff and the Pink Tutu

When our kids were little our Christmas tradition was for Jeff to wake up our children in a Santa Clause suit. It was one my mother made for Jeff when our oldest was just about 3 yrs old. So until all three of our kids went to college, this was the routine on Christmas morning.

Santa would go from room to room, waking the kids up, then like the pid piper, we would all follow him down the hall to the living room where we would all gather around the tree for Santa to read the real Christmas Story out of the bible, we would then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus usually around some sort of cake with a candle. Then Santa would hand out the gifts and leave, shortly after Jeff would come into the room and tell the kids, rubbing his eyes as if he had just woke up saying “Why are you all making all this noise you woke me up!” 

 

Because of this happening we never had to have “the talk” with our kids about who Santa really was. Our kids just figured it out, that Daddy is Santa. 

 

Amy must have been about 7-8 yrs old when she came to me one day and said “Okay mom!, I know who Santa Clause is and I know who the Easter Bunny is, But who is the tooth fairy?” When I just gave her that look that said “Hello!, It’s the same person silly” To which she responded in shock “You mean Daddy” To which all I could picture in my mind at that very moment was what it would of been like, if my husband had asked my mother to make him a tooth fairy costume instead of a Santa Clause suit. The image of my 6’3” 300 pound husband in a pink tutu, sneaking into the kids room at night to retrieve the tooth under their pillow,  flashed before my eyes and I just blurted out “And you should see him in his Pink Tutu”  

 

You know, in this life there will be a lot of things we don’t understand. Life rarely happens as we plan it, but it is the mature Christian who, in whatever circumstance they are in and says “I trust you Lord!” 

 

Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” 

 

Part of submitting our lives to Christ is realizing that we don’t always understand why things happen nor will we always like what happens in this life. But the truth is, whether we choose to submit our life to Christ or not. There will always be something that happens in this life, we don’t like or understand. The question is “What will we do when those times come?”

 

Will we react like a 2 year old who doesn’t get her way, by throwing ourselves on the floor and kicking and stomping our feet or will we realize that in this life hard times will come, bad things happen and when we feel overwhelmed and frustrated and yes, even mad. We can lean on Christ, Trusting Him. Because He also tells us in Romans 8:28 it tells us “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 

Did you know we all have a purpose? God designed every one of us with a purpose and a plan for our life and the first plan He has for all of us. The one thing God is more concerned about more than anything else is our character. He is less concerned about our comfort and more concerned about our character. He so desires a relationship with us, that He will do whatever it takes to pursue us so we will acknowledge His existence. 

 

Maybe you’re like Amy was,  and you just don’t understand everything that has happened and where it all comes from. Maybe you have been looking for some mystical character to come and rescue you from all your problems. But the truth is there is no magical character that is going to take away all your problems. Christ even told us in His word, “In this world, you will have troubles, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16)

 

Just like my kids looked forward to Santa waking them up each Christmas morning, We need to look to our Heavenly Father when troubles come and bad things happen we need to run to our Heavenly Father and know that we may not understand now what is going on. But we can trust that nothing that happens to us, has not already when through the hands of the heavenly Father and He is prepared for whatever comes our way, He will find a way to bring good out of bad if we will keep focused on Him. 

 

Just like when Peter stepped out of the boat on to the water, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. He was walking on water, but when he started focusing on the storm and the waves around Him. It was then He begin to sink. When we keep our eyes on the Father, nothing is impossible. We can defy all odds of what the world says will happen. But the choice is up to us. 

 

Will you focus on what you don’t have, or didn’t get? Will you be negative and depressed on this most joyous of seasons? This is the day we celebrate the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! This is the day we honor the son of God who gave up His home in Heaven to come to earth because man had done the unthinkable and separated himself from God by choosing to do what He wanted instead of following the plan God had laid out when He created him. 

 

That battle goes on today… We can choose to live our life for ourselves and how we think it is best, or we can choose to follow the creator of the universe and trust Him. 

God Knows What We Need Before He Even Asks Us!  (the story of our camper)

God Knows What We Need Before He Even Asks Us! (the story of our camper)

Last week we talked about how God’s word says He knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:8)  I also shared how deciding to become US Missionaries we were thanking God everyday, for several things. 

 

Most important thing for us is that our budget needs to be raised before March and it typically takes 2yrs for the average missionary to raise their budget but we need to do it in 6 months.. Just as any missionary, we have to raise our funds to live on. This includes traveling and administrative fees as well as an income for living expenses. All this is going to require about 100-150 of our friends to donate about $50 a month to us and we are asking them to commit to at least two years if possible for us to get started. 

 

Being fully supported we will be able to help connect Churches with needs to other churches who might not have the resources or abilities to accomplish those needs. We’re doing this because we believe the local church is still the plan to reach the lost in America and there is nothing like the local church when the local church works. Without a doubt we believe that everything that has happened in our lives have led us to this moment in ministry.

 

However there were 4 other specific things we begin believing for God to provide us with as well. We know God has to do all of this, because this is His ministry and if He wants to see it go forth, It is only going to happen with His help! 

 

The first thing we were believing for was a home in Tulsa, so we would have a place to live during the week when we aren’t traveling.  I told you last week, how miraculously God provided that for us. You can go to http://www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com if you missed it. 

 

Second was a newer to us vehicle because, short of a miracle,  the present one, will not make it, because of all the miles we will be traveling on weekends. 

Thirdly, a Travel Trailer or Camper of some sort, We know there will be sometimes when we have to go to places for extended periods of time to minister and often churches won’t have funds to put us up in a motel. So we need something we can stay in. 

 

Fourthly, a Truck to pull the Travel Trailer with,  because Jeff’s truck is on it’s last leg but very sentimental to Jeff because it is the last thing Jeff’s dad ever gave him before he passed away.

 

For the last 3 months since we have known about this move, we have just simply been thanking God everyday for Him providing for us with what we needed and after we were given a place to live earlier in November, let me tell you what happened Thanksgiving week. I got a text from a friend. In the text it said “I think I have a camper that will work for you, it’s 25 ft lite model with new tires, I have done a lot of work on it” 

 

Then the next text from her was asking us if we wanted to come over and look at it. After setting up a time, Jeff and I made our way to her house and couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw it. It was everything we were praying for. She had even gone in and remodeled it just the way I had been dreaming about doing to one, if we ever got one and she had reupholstered the cushions in my favorite color, Blue! 

 

We couldn’t believe it, I was in shock, But I still wanted to confirm exactly what was happening so I asked “How much do you want for it?” To which she responded “Nothing, this thing has sat here for a year and a half I have never taken it out camping, I have only used it to camp here in the yard with my grandkids and it needs to be out doing ministry”

 

Wow! Jeff and I were just blown away! I mean how awesome is God! It just goes to prove, that God not only knows what we need before we ask Him anything, but it goes to show, that He knows what we need before He asks us. to do anything! 

 

God knew we were going to need all these things, and He knew how He was going to provide it. It was with the help of just ordinary people who live ordinary lives trusting God everyday for what we have,  because we know it is all God’s anyhow!

 

After all this happened, I was talking to our oldest son and sharing with him the exciting news of the house and the camper. I told him “I just can’t believe what God is doing” To which our oldest responded “Mom, I don’t know what this is such a big deal to you” He added “This isn’t the first time you have stepped out in faith and God provided for you” 

 

He just said it so matter of factly, it took me back. First it made me grateful that I had raised a boy with so much faith. But it also made me reflect on why he had that faith. In part I believe, It is because Lee has seen us pick up and move our family of 5 to a town where we didn’t know anyone, to plant a church in a town we had never lived. He saw God provide then, time and time again. Even the bank gave us a loan for a house before Jeff had even started a job. 

 

I can think of countless other times, where God has showed up and Lee saw the miracles He performed in our lives. The fact is when God wants us to do something He makes a way. But He expects us to take the first step. It wasn’t until Jeff and I stepped out in faith and told people we were becoming US Missionaries that He begin to provide. 

 

The question God is asking all of us today is “Do you trust me?? So let me ask you this question “Do you trust Him?”  What has God asked you to do, that may seem impossible and there is no way you can do it? I believe God is asking you like He did Jeff and I to step out in faith and just do it. 

 

Just like Jeff and I, until we stepped out in faith God didn’t meet our needs. We can read in the bible and find the same scenario time and time again! First people did what God told them to do then, God provided. 

 

Often people will say “But Alesa, how do I know it’s God talking to me?” Well, first off a thought or idea will come to you and won’t leave you alone. Secondly, we know the only other ways thoughts come to us is through, the devil or ourselves and let me tell your right now,  If it’s a good deed, or anything to do with promoting the mission of God, it isn’t the devil talking and if it has anything to do with giving or doing something you have never done before that will probably cost you something or it scares you, It isn’t you. 

 

Because God is ultimately asking “Do you trust me?” That is what faith is, the bible says That faith is the assurance of what we can’t see so faith requires trust. God knows what we need before we ask or and He knows what we need before He asks us. We can trust Him. 

Thanksgiving needs to be Thanksliving (the story of our Tulsa Home)

Thanksgiving needs to be Thanksliving (the story of our Tulsa Home)

Well, by the time most of you read this article, the Turkey and dressing will be a distant memory along with the chaos of Thanksgiving and you are probably beginning to plan for what Christmas activities you will be having  with your family and friends. 

 

For us this year it was a little discombobulated, as it wasn’t possible to get all the family together at one time with the kids different schedules. So Jeff and I split our time and one week headed to Oklahoma with our son and his family,  to celebrate and then planned on being at home for the actual holiday with our younger two children. 

 

It was fun to see the family in Oklahoma with our 3 grands. One of the most special moments was when we sat around the table and before we begin to eat our oldest son,  continued on the tradition that our family has which is, starting with the youngest and going around the table saying what we are thankful for. 

 

I tell you there was nothing that made this Mimi’s heart happier than when our youngest grandchild who is 3 yrs old,  said without hesitation when asked what he was thankful for?, said “God” now normally at our house, we don’t allow you to say just God, because we tell everyone we expect that, we want more details of what God has done for you. But since this was not my house, and our grandson is so cute and only 3yrs old. I didn’t mind.  I mean after all, that kind of says it all doesn’t it?  

 

Everything we have is God’s.  We don’t own anything and we have nothing without God. That is becoming ever more real to Jeff and I as we begin to prepare to become missionaries.

 

We resolved before making this commitment, we would probably have to give away most of our things and would have very little. But we also realized that if we were going to travel the country for God. There was going to be a few things that we know we were going to need and He was the only one that was going to be able to provide them. 

 

So we just began to pray and thank God everyday for our budget to be raised.  Traveling and administrative fees as well as an income for living expenses is going to require about 100-150 of our friends to donate about $50 a month to us and we are asking them to commit to at least two years if possible for us to get started. So we can go around connecting people in churches with needs of other churches who might not have the resources or abilities to accomplish the Lord’s work . 

 

But there were 4 other specific things we begin believing for God to provide us with as well. First was a home in Tulsa so we would have a place to live during the week when we aren’t traveling on weekends. 

 

Second was a newer to us vehicle because, short of a miracle,  the present one, will not make it, because of all the miles we will be traveling on weekends. 

Thirdly, a Travel Trailer or camper of some sort, We know there will be sometimes when we have to go to places for extended periods of time to minister and often churches won’t have funds to put us up in a motel. So we need something we can stay in. 

 

Fourthly, a Truck to pull the Travel Trailer with because Jeff’s truck is on it’s last leg but very sentimental to Jeff because it is the last thing Jeff’s dad ever gave him before he passed away. 

 

Knowing all these needs could seem a little daunting but honestly we have just been thanking God everyday for providing these needs for us, because He knows the needs. He knew the needs before He asked us to do this  work because He sees our tomorrow. The bible says in Matthew 6:8 “your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” 

 

Well, you know what else it should say? It should say “He knows what we will need before HE even asks us to do something” 

 

None of our needs came as a surprise to God, it wasn’t like He was sitting up in Heaven thinking “Oh! I should ask Jeff and Alesa to do this” and then when He asks suddenly realize we were going to need a budget and supplies to do it. No! 

 

He sees our tomorrows before we even get there and before He asks us to do anything. So that is why we have been trusting God for what we need and thanking Him for it before we even see it or get it. 

 

About 3 weeks ago, I got a call from a friend in Tulsa who asked had we found a house yet? When I responded no, she began to tell me that she and her husband have a rental house that  need some work, and with her husbands work schedule and recent stroke, he hasn’t been able to get the work done, but if we were willing to do the work, they would pay for the materials and let us live in it as long as we wanted for free. 

 

Well, with Jeff’s background in construction that didn’t seem to be a problem except for the time it was going to take to do it. We didn’t want it to interfere with us getting on the road to minister. But as we begin to tell the story to some other friends we have in Oklahoma, they begin to say “Hey let us know and we will come help you?” One even said “I’ve got a couple of friends and we will just come up there for a couple weeks and knock it out for you” 

 

Wow! What an answer to prayer!! We didn’t have to beg God, we just simply thanked Him for providing what His word already says He will do for us. “ My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory” Phil 419 So we now have a home! #1 need checked off the list! Thank you God! 

 

Now the question is, what do you have need of today? What has God called you to do that seems impossible to you? Do your realize there is nothing impossible with God? Do you know that if you believe in and trust in and rely on God that He says He will provide what you have need of? Maybe you have been thinking about helping support our ministry or another one but you think there is no way with your budget that you can do it. Do you know God saw that already and He is the one that has put that desire in your heart? You may not be able to travel and help other ministries but you can be the conduit to get us or another ministry to fulfill what God has called them to do.. 

 

I believe not matter what God is calling you to do, if it is helping a stranger pay their grocery bill at the check out or making a donation to a ministry God is the one who will provide that if you step out in faith and commit to doing it for God. 

 

Maybe your thinking, well how do I know it’s God? Maybe it’s the devil or maybe it’s just me?

Trust me the devil is never going to tell you to do anything for God and frankly, the very fact that you are even considering doing something that you don’t have the budget for isn’t something that come naturally. It is only through a propromting of the Holy Spirit that things like that happen and God is say “Do you trust me?”  So I guess the question is “Do you?”

 

We didn’t have a home given to us, before we stepped out in faith and announced we were going into missions, we didn’t have any budget raised before we stepped out in faith and said we will do it. (we still have more to raise but at least it we have more now than when we started)

 

We stepped out and God is providing every stepping stone we need to fulfill his work. So, What will you step out in faith and believe God for today? 

 

Whatever it is, don’t forget there is no need to beg and ball and squall asking God in fear. Simply Thank Him, Thank Him  that His word says He will provide and then trust Him to do it. 

 

Buying our First Home

Buying our First Home

My daddy was a preacher and because of that, we moved quite a lot and because we moved a lot that means I went to a lot of different schools, 9 to be exact out of 12 yrs. But along with going to a lot of schools, I also lived in a lot of homes and out of the 17 and half yrs I lived at home, only one of those homes my parents owned, the rest were parsonages.(A home provided by the church for the minister)   So needless to say all I ever wanted in life was a home that I owned. 

 

So imagine my excitement when Jeff and I were approved for our first home loan and we found a home we fell in love with. The only problem was the house we loved was appraised for about $5,000 more dollars than what we were approved for and although the homeowner had told the realtor to go ahead and sell us the house for what we could afford. The realtor was determined to try and get more money for it. So, while our paperwork was going forward she was still showing the house to other potential buyers. 

 

When I found this out I informed that agent under no uncertain terms that “You can show that house all you want but I know God has given us that house so you are just wasting your time” 

 

You might say “How do you know that, Alesa?” and I would tell you, that I know that because there were confirmation after confirmation of things that I prayed for that God gave me in that house. The first one was, I prayed that God would give us a house where all the woodwork was stained except for the kitchen and Amy’s bedroom. Secondly, I wanted white woodwork in those rooms, this home had all that. 

 

Also, Jeff didn’t even have a job at the time, we were in the process of moving to Kansas City area to plant a church and Jeff only had a promise of a job, he hadn’t even started working yet. Yet, we were approved for a loan. I wanted white kitchen cabinets, tall ceilings, and a house with a history. This home had all that. 

 

So I knew in my heart God had given us this house. The day came when we closed on the house and we had our final walk thru with the realtor before getting the keys. 

 

As we looked over the house one last time the realtor told me “Alesa you were right, God has given you this house” She went on to tell the story of a woman who she had showed the house to and the lady was ready to buy it, had the money and everything but when she went home and told her husband, he said “You can buy it but I am not moving”

 

The realtor confessed she had tried her hardest to sell that house to someone else to make more money but everytime she did it fell through. 

 

You may be thinking I wish God would answer my prayers like that. You maybe wondering how did you know Alesa? How can you be that confident? 

 

And I would have to tell you, because I have a personal relationship with God. He isn’t the friend I just talk to once a week. He isn’t the person I call only when I’m in trouble. I know Him through reading His words in the bible and constant communication with Him and He knows me because He created me. 

 

He also knows that I am willing to follow His plan even when it isn’t want I want. 

 

You see I never wanted to be married to someone who served in the military and I never wanted to be married to a pastor.  Not because I didn’t think those jobs were admirable or I didn’t appreciate what those people do, I just didn’t think either of them made enough money for me and I wanted more than what those salaries could provide but yet when God called Jeff into the ministry, and the military, I knew that it wasn’t about what I wanted anymore but it was about God’s will and following the plan He had for our lives. 

 

So I gave up my dreams my plans and we follow God’s. That’s what I really think having a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about, No longer following what you want but following what His will is for us and as Rick Warren’s famous quote says “It’s not about me” 

 

When you have that kind of relationship with the creator of the universe you can know what His will is for your life, because when you’re willing to give up your will, desires and ways of how you think things should go. Then God will know He can trust you enough to tell you His innermost secrets and the direction that He has for your life

 

Now does that mean I always get what I want No! Does that mean I am always certain of what to do, no!

 

But I have learned when I sense my life is about to change and God is up to something I continue to keep doing the last thing He told me to do until I see the next open door. 

 

That’s called faith It’s called trusting God no matter what it looks like ahead and following the plan He has for me. 

 

The bible says “Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists” Hebrews 11:1

I was telling this to our son Chad the other day. He has been sensing a change coming in his life and he is uncertain of what to do at the end of this semester. I reminded him, When following Christ He usually only gives us one step at a time. So we just do that last thing He told us to do until we get new directions. 

 

We can’t get so focused on looking ahead that we forget the task at hand but at the same time we must always be listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit that is living inside of us if we have given our lives to God. 

 

The question today is who are you following? Are you following your will and your way or have you totally submitted your life to Christ? Is there something that God has told you to do and you haven’t? Are you listening for His call on the next step He desires you to take? When He does speak to you , are you willing to move no matter what He tells you to do?

 

God is looking for people who are willing to follow after Him no matter what the cost. No matter has scary or crazy it may look. You see what I didn’t tell you in that house buying story Is that Jeff and I were moving to Kansas City area to plant a church and we didn’t have any other contacts in that area but us,  we started that little church with the five members of our family and it grew to 50 in just a year’s time. We stepped out in faith to follow what God has called us to do. 

 

When other church planters had churches coming alongside them and helping them, partnering with them and even sending some of their congregations to help them. 

 

It was just Jeff and I and our kids. What the old school preachers would call pioneering a church with no help from anybody else but God, and you know what we found in that season of life God is all we need and He’s all you need too.  Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

 

Jeff and The Lawnmower

Jeff and The Lawnmower

When Jeff was a kid he loved to tear things apart, just to see how they worked. Oh! It didn’t have to be broken for Jeff to want to dive into it and tear it apart. It just needed to have moving parts that got his inquisitive mind working. 

 

Honestly, that is why he is so good at repairing and building things today. Because he took everything he could get his hands on apart as a kid. Sometimes even destroying it. But more than likely his exploring of how things worked and attempting to put it back together again often let to great success. Jeff is an amazing man who just has the ability to see something and is able to either build it or repair it. But his ability didn’t come without some challenges. 

 

Jeff must of been about 11 years old when his dad pulled up in the driveway with a brand new Dynamark lawn mower from Lowes, in the back of his truck. As Jeff’s dad pulled it out of the truck bed and onto the carport,Jeff  was standing there all, starry eyed, looking on. His father told him “Jeff there is nothing wrong with this lawn mower, so I don’t want you to put a screwdriver, a pair of pliers or a socket set on it, do you understand?” Then as Jeff’s dad walked away. He told Jeff “Don’t you forget what I told you son” looking sternly in Jeffrey’s eyes and pointing his finger at him. 

 

As Jeff’s dad drove away, Jeff just couldn’t stop thinking about the shiny new lawnmower in the carport. It didn’t take long for Jeff to begin to think “Hmm…??  that lawnmower has lights on it, I wonder how those lights work?” So Jeff being the inquisitive young man he was, decided to go out and investigate just how those lights worked. 

 

Sometime later Jeff’s dad returned from the errand he had been on and drove back into the driveway only to see his brand new lawn mower’s lights laying on the floor of the carport with the hood up of the mower up and Jeff right in the middle of it all, Trammel, Jeff’s dad barely got the truck stopped before he jumped out and headed straight to Jeffrey and the lawn mower. Needless to say, his dad was not happy! 

 

Stomping over to Jeff, his dad said “Boy! What did I tell you? ” To which Jeff proudly replied with the most honest, innocent straight face, remembering every word his dad had said  “Daddy, you told me not to put a screwdriver, a pair of pliers or a socket set on it, but you didn’t say nothing about a crescent wrench”

 

 I will let you guess what happened next but I think it goes without saying there was some major punishment involved.

 

You know a lot of us are like Jeff was on that day as a little boy, in our walk with our Heavenly Father we want to live right on the edge, following the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law.

 

In 2 Cor 3:6 Paul told the church He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  What Paul is saying here is, there were some ministers who were living only by Moses law but the Holy Spirit had come and therefore there needed to be some grace added to their preaching as well. The truth is they were living by the letter of the law and not by the spirit in which it was intended when it was written. 

 

For instance the Ten Commandments says “Thou shall not Kill” and while it is wrong to kill someone out of malice. It is okay to protect ourselves, but at the same time we kill people with our words everyday.  Does that make it okay because we didn’t take their life? No!

 

Much like, Jeff who was following the letter of the law His father had told him but in that, He totally missed the point in what his daddy was trying to teach him.Trammel had said
“I don’t want you to put a screwdriver, a pair of pliers or a socket set on it” 

 

Did that mean it was okay for Jeff to take the lights apart with a crescent wrench? No! And there was a consequence for the choices Jeff made. That is a lot like life we live. When we try to live by the letter of the law instead of the spirit of which the laws were written for, there is usually a consequence to pay if we choose to push the limits of the laws that were written. 

 

For instance, it is legal to drink and even the bible says, Proverbs 23:20  Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk; don’t eat too much food and get fat. But it is so much more socially acceptable for people to be overweight than it is to be drunk. Yet both have consequences to deal with.

 

How about this week, we not try to skid by and just do the bare minimum or get over on someone because technically we can. Let’s live a life that is honorable before God and pleasing to Him. Because if we due,  the bible promises there will be a more rewards than consequences.  

 

Spirit Lead Me

Spirit Lead Me

One of the very first memories I have of attending a community event in Greensburg KS was hearing the school choir/ talent night at the High School, a young girl got up and sung,  Oceans by Hillsong. It was a new song to me but the words stuck in my head for days. 

That night, something was changed, in me and looking back, it was the beginning of something that would dramatically change my life through out the next 6 and a half years later.  The chorus to the song continued to run through my mind “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior.”

For the next 6 years, I believe God was personally challenging me to begin to step out in faith and trust Him more. You might not realize this but I have suffered from a lot of anxiety and depression and most of it has stemmed from previous ministries experiences I have had, either as a Pastor’s wife, or Preachers daughter.  In many of those experiences I was made to feel less than capable, less that good enough, So coming to Greensburg and stepping into being a Pastor’s wife one more time was quite the step of faith for me. 

When you live in the proverbial fish bowl called the parsonage, you never really feel like your life is our own and being in a small town, where I felt like every time I walked outside my door people were looking out their window watching my every move did not help. (and trust me I know it happened when one of my neighbors told me they saw me walked out to my car in my PJ’s to get something one day) 

Nor did it help that when I walked into public places and people stared me down, looking me up and down as if to say “Who are you and what are you doing here?” As if I was not worthy to be in there town because they didn’t know who I was or where I was from. 

All that simply pushed me into an even more secluded lifestyle than I had previous had in the City, living in Kansas City it never bother me to go out and about, because people in the city could care less if you walk outside in your yard on your PJ’s. But in Greensburg every eye was on me when I went outside and I felt it.  

Looking back, I took the first step onto the water of faith by starting to write a religious column for the paper.  It was easy, I could express my faith, click send on my computer and WA-LAA! A few days later it magically appeared in the paper. I did that for about 2 yrs when one day magically an email came back to me from someone I had never met before, at the same address I had been sending those columns to, the email asked “ Would you be interested in a job?”  

Days later, I will never forget as I got off the phone with the editor telling her I had made my decision to write for the Kiowa County Signal. I pointed my finger to the heaven’s and told God “I know what your trying to do here and I don’t like it!” 

See what He was doing was “ Letting me walk upon the waters, Where He had called me, Taking me deeper than my feet could ever wander,  And I knew that my faith would be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior.” 

If you had ever asked me if I would be writing for a paper. I would have laughed in your face. But God asked me to step onto waters where I had never been before,  I had no education, no degree to do it, I was totally unprepared, except for God, who gave me the gift of gab and the ability to put that on paper.I knew God would go with me. 

These last few years writing articles about this community for the paper has done more for me personally and spiritually than anyone could ever know. It has stretched my faith, it has helped me to build relationships and get to know this community that I have now fallen in love with.

Before writing for the paper, I got out of my house maybe 2 days a week, I literally planned all my errands around Sunday and Wednesday so I didn’t have to leave the house and see anyone, just to assure, I wouldn’t get to many of  those weird looks when I walked into places. I wouldn’t feel that feeling that I wasn’t good enough to be here because people didn’t know who I was. 

You see those first few interactions I had with the community had so fed into the anxiety and issues I had dealt with in past ministry experiences all my life, that I allowed it to isolate me and that is exactly what satan wanted me to do! 

I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone, which was the four walls of my house, but that email that ultimately led to a phone call, that opened the door for me to write for the paper, was just a confirmation of what God had been telling me and that was “Get out in the community!” That email led me to meeting so many people and gave me an open door where even being a pastor’s wife in town could not. 

We read in Exodus when God called Moses to free the Israelite and Moses asks God “Who am I to do that?” then God responds “I will go with you” confirming what was written in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” 

I don’t know what fear is holding you back from doing but I will tell you, that God has a plan for you and no matter what He asks you to do. He will go with you. Don’t allow fear to hold you back because you have never done what God has asked you to do before.

That song is about Peter who standing in a boat on the sea,he asked Jesus to allow him to walk on the water to him. Peter chooses to take a step of faith and walk on the water to Jesus, 

Peter’s step of faith was bigger than the step he took on the water, before he fell in. See Christ was with Him and He picked him up and Christ ultimately let Peter, to go on to share the good news of Jesus to the gentiles,  something I am sure he never thought he would do as a Jew. 

In this life, we only have two choices to live for ourselves or live for Christ. The question is who are you following?

Will you honestly ask “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior.” and be willing to follow?