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?

Reverse Psychology

Reverse Psychology

When Jeff and I were first married, he was in the military and about 4 years later he went into the ministry. I was raised in a ministers home and let’s face it living in a minister’s home could be considered, like living in a fishbowl.  But yet when you know that there is nothing else you can do because God has so lined up your life to place you and your family in that profession. You either surrender or live a life unfulfilled and miserable. 

 

In fact,  I would say Jeff and I were set up, or more like pushed into a corner to go into the ministry. You see Jeff had been out of work for 6 months and one day when Jeff was asking God to give us a job. God reminded Jeff “I already gave you a job when you were 12 yrs old at a youth camp I called you into the ministry”

 

The problem was, God also gave Jeff amazing engineering mind, and as many may know, there isn’t much Jeff can’t build or repair. He is amazingly talented and for many years those abilities has supplemented our minister’s income allowing us to minister where many couldn’t because they would need to make more money. 

 

So I have had a running joke for about 36 years now and it goes something like this. “There are two things I said I never wanted to be the first one, was a military personal wife, and the second was a preacher’s wife, So now I am telling God I never want to go to Hawaii, and hoping I can use reverse psychology on Him” 

 

This joke usually gets a good laugh because we all know the old saying “Man makes plans and God laughs” The truth is, we all know that it doesn’t matter what we want, if we truly want to follow God’s plan for our lives we have to submit our will to Him and there is no reverse psychology going to work on the Creator of the Universe, ever! The bible tells us that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21NIV

 

There was one other thing though,  I have whispered in my heart, that I never wanted to be, and that was a missionary.  Despite the fact that Jeff tried to stand at every church conference we ever attended, when they asked all the missionaries to stand. His reasoning of why he was standing when,  I would jerk on the hem of his suit coat to sit down was “Well I am a missionary from Alabama to Kansas” I would just roll my eyes and tell him “That isn’t what they are talking about, now sit down” in my mean momma voice, as I tried to hide my head of embarrassment.  

 

You see I never said I didn’t want to be a missionary’s wife out loud,  because by the time I decided this I had already realized that if I say I am NOT going to do something out loud, God will hear it and make me do it anyway! At least that has been my experience up to this point in my life as you can judge from my other protests above,  so I was of course just going to think it and it wouldn’t really count. Would it??

 

Then Jeff was elected by the other pastors in the state of Kansas to serve on the Kansas Assemblies of God board of directors we call Presbyters. In this position, he traveled all over the state assisting some of the smallest churches in Kansas with whatever he could do in various areas, all while still serving our church here in Greensburg. Our hearts broke as we felt helpless in some situations by the needs they had. 

 

Because we believe there is nothing like the local church when the local church works, the problem was some of our Kansas churches aren’t working to their full potential because of various, needs they have, from building repairs to ministry worker needed. 

 

So Jeff approached the Pastor over all the Assembly of God pastors in the state of Kansas and asked “What about making a special position for this ministry need?”, only to find out there was no budget for it. Disappointed he walked away wondering why God put this desire in his heart if He wasn’t going to help Jeff fulfill it? 

 

Several months later through a series of events, Jeff was asked to be a speaker at one of our Kansas Family camps. Where he met Billy Thomas another speaker, Billy and Jeff hit it off right away,  because Billy previously pastored in Georgia and was born and raised in De Soto KS where we previously lived before moving to Greensburg. Billy didn’t talk that much about his position in the Assemblies of God except for the fact that he was the director for the US MAPS Department but we didn’t really know what that met,  and at camp were weren’t talking much about that. Except for the fact that Billy wanted Jeff to have him out to our church to preach.

 

Jeff said he would see what he could do, but honestly inside he brushed it off, because frankly our church is small and we didn’t want to have him out unless we knew we could give a good offering because we know how hard these missionaries work. 

 

Then, fast forward even more months later, and because Jeff served on the board of directors, he was asked to attend a meeting in Springfield where the Assemblies National offices are and guess who Jeff saw again? You guest it! Billy Thomas and guess what the first thing Billy asked Jeff “When are you going to have me out to preach? Well, backed into a corner again, Jeff books him for a service. 

 

So Jeff decided he wanted to have Billy over to the house for dinner the night before he spoke and invited anyone in the church to join us so they could get to know what kind of ministry he does. As Billy talked, He shared that he oversees all the RV Volunteers and Church teams who help do physical labor of work on churches as well as Missionary Associates who are people who serve in non pastoral ministries in the church, like children workers, tech teams, etc.. He also added that he needed a Field Director for Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico to help oversee all those ministries in those states and the director would need to have Heating and Air Conditioning, Construction, Electrical, Plumbing experience, and it would be good if he has been a church planter and pastor. 

Jeff and I looked at each other and knew this was the mission that God has been leading us too! Because what Billy said was like reading Jeff’s resume he has all the qualifications for it and the more Billy talked the more we realized it was the exact job that we saw was needed here in Kansas.. 

 

That is why Sunday Oct 27 Jeff told our congregation, we are becoming US Missionaries with the MAPS Department of the Assemblies of God. Our last Sunday in Greensburg will be March 15 and we will be moving in April to Tulsa Oklahoma where we will be centrally located as Field Directors for Kansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, we will be traveling about 40 weekends out of the year to churches all over these states, in order to connect people who can help, with those that need help. Jeff will be overseeing the construction of two churches in Kansas this next year. 

 

And we are on a new adventure with God, and Yes, I am now a Missionaries wife! Something that I had only spoken in my heart that I didn’t want to be, but the truth is God knows our every thought and hears our every prayer and He isn’t doing this to punish me, because the desire He put in our hearts would not allow us to do anything else but this. We are extremely excited about our new adventure.

 

The most challenging part is that we now have to raise our own budget for our living and ministry expenses and that only comes from donations from friends and churches that are willing to step out in faith with us and help the local church be the best it can be. So check out http://www.millers4usmissions.com and see everything we will be up to and don’t forget Whatever you have planned, God’s plan is best so just follow it,  because reverse psychology never works on God!

Two All Beef Patties Special Sauce…

“Two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun.”  Was the lyrics of the McDonald’s franchise commercial song for many years as well as their famous Big Mac recipe. Another famous jingle was “Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce special orders don’t upset us all we ask is that you let us serve it your way!  Have it your way at Burger King, Have it your way at Burger King!”

 

The two commercial Jingles that are years old contradicted each other specifically because one was telling you what you were getting on their sandwich, while the other was telling you “You can have whatever you want if you come eat at our restaurant” 

 

While McDonald’s was known for its fast customer service and strategic and concise drive thru abilities when it first opened up. It was doing fast food like no one else ever had before. It seemed to be the best business plan on the market. Because everything happened the same way and the speed was possible because there were no changes to the orders.  

 

Then Burger King came on the market and started telling customers “We will give you whatever you want,  you can have it your way” and customers loved it because, let’s face it, there isn’t a whole lot of people that want to be told what to do,  let alone what to eat.”After all don’t we all prefer to make our own choices and do things the way we think they should be done?

 

 Its is part of the free will that God gave us. When He created us, He created us with a free will to choose for ourselves. He could have created us like every other creation He made, that must follow all of His commands without their own will. But God gave us His creation made in the image of Him a choice. That is why we feel most of the time we are the experts in our opinions. 

 

I am reminded of a verse in the Bible that gives us a choice. Deut. 30:19 NLT “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.” but then He goes on to tell us “Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” 

 

God tells us to choose life, He gives us a choice but then He gives us the answer to the test. He wants the best for us and He has a plan, and as bad as we want to do things on our own. He knows what the future holds so it is wise to listen to Him. 

 

Just like McDonalds who’s tried and true tested system of fast food management. God’s reach is bigger than any fast food venture. God wants the best for us. But He knows in this life there is going to be temptations to not do the right thing. He knows there is evil in this world and we have a choice to follow what He wants us to do or what the devil wants us to do everyday. As this world continues to go those lines are often not as clear to someone who is not as educated in God’s word as they could be. 

 

So God tells us to choose life. So what does life look like to you and to me? Is it living up the life we want,  doing whatever we want, when we want as long as we aren’t hurting others? I believe God has carved out a path for us in His words with guidelines and directions if we will choose to follow it.  James 1:22 ESV tells us to “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  See there is going to be plenty of people who heard the words of God they may be attenders every week to the church and sit in the pew, but they are only hearers of the word. They are religious without any relationship with the father. They have a list of the do’s and don’ts and if you cross one of those don’ts they decide you aren’t worthy of their friendship or love. They cast you aside and make you feel like you aren’t worthy of their presence let alone God’s. 

 

That is a hearer of the word is a person who is just checking off the to-do- list, without any relationship with Jesus Christ. Maybe you have encountered someone like that, who made you feel bad about something you did or believed. The truth is a real follower of Christ can love someone who isn’t like them or doesn’t agree with everything you believe or do and can still love you right where you are. A real follower of Christ understands that you can love someone who is different and doesn’t believe in the God you believe in and that doesn’t mean you condone what they do or agree with it just simply means you are treating them like Jesus would. 

 

Not every person believed in Christ when Jesus walked the earth, and yet Jesus walked with them day after day. The Bible says Jesus hung out with the drunkards so much the Pharisees called Him a drunkard. So don’t tell me “You don’t want to be associated with those kinds of people” Whatever those kinds of people are? If you are a follower of Christ it is your job to associate with those kind of people and every kind of person because everyone needs Christ’s love. 

 

1 Cor 13:13 tells us,”and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”. Did you hear that? When they asked Jesus what is the most important thing, He told them “Love”. 

 

So who have you decided you can’t love? You can’t have it your way in this situation. God says we have to love everyone and in that aspect we need to show them love. Does that mean we sometimes don’t have to set boundaries if there is a possibility of abuse? No! But we can still love and pray for that individual. What it means is no longer when you hear their name or see their face does your gut  turn over and a rage boils up inside of you or you will,no longer will walk past someone without speaking, because you think you are better than they are. 

 

We just don’t get to have things our way in this area. We are to be a BE’ER of the word, not just doer’s or hearer’s but BE who God has called you to be and that is His love! Just like He walked this earth and loved everyone, we need to do the same. Now, get yourself to church this week and learn more about how He loved everyone because we weren’t meant to do life alone.

Feel the Love

I love weddings. I have told you this? I just love, love! If you have hung out with me very much it doesn’t take long for you to realize that. I have loved weddings since way before I was married and almost decided to be a wedding consultant. I am creative as well as have the gift of organization. (remember my story last week on we all have a gift?) 

 

So putting any event together especially weddings is just fun for me and because I enjoy the decorating part and I have two single children yet. I have started collecting a few things for their “one day” wedding. I even try to stay on top of the latest trends and styles going on in weddings. 

 

One of the ways I do that was by following some wedding pages on Facebook. There they ask different questions about what to do at weddings. It was also there that my eyes were opened to a whole different world I didn’t realize was out there. Oh! I guess I knew it happened but I didn’t realize how much.  

 

It’s there I realized that we have an epidemic in the world and that is the institution of marriage is falling apart. It’s falling apart because we no longer value it anymore because many think it’s okay to just live together. In fact according to the U.S. 2010 census living together has never been more popular. There it was reported 7.5.million couples are living together before or instead of getting married. That is 15 million people.

 

Due to this great mass exodus of the realization of what God’s word says about being married there is a lack of having weddings. We have a generation of people who have never even been to a wedding. So you can imagine the questions that are being asked on this Facebook page. Some of the things that I think are the most basic knowledge are unknown to most. Why because they aren’t seeing it. They aren’t seeing it lived out in front of them so they don’t know what to do. 

 

Our church just finished giving its third free wedding away this year and as I walked around last night looking at the almost 100 candles we had lit on the tables,  towards the end of the evening most were almost completely gone. They were melted completely down into the candle holder.
As I looked at them a thought came to me, “Well at least we got our money’s worth out of them because they are done for, useless and over with” another thought came to me after that. “But they represent something that has just begun” 

 

As we walked around cleaning up after the wedding, table clothes were ripped. Drinks had been split on the table runners and the candles all melted. The place looked somewhat in disarray. But it wasn’t because the guest had been abusive to the property, but simply the natural wear and tear of the day. Kind of like life isn’t it? . 

 

All I could think about was doesn’t this just represent marriage. Everyday wear and tear on our lives, struggles come and life goes on. It was at that moment I was reminded “What looks like an ending here in this room, is just the beginning for that couple” and so I begin to pray for them. 

 

In that pray I believe God spoke something in my heart that every church going so called Christian needs to hear. “That is why it is so important for we as followers of Christ live out what He did in this world, what Christ did more in this world than anything else is, He loved. He loved people right where they were.”  

 

If we read John Chapter 4 we find the story of the woman at the well. Where God goes out of His way and against all customs and traditions of His culture to this city and believe because He went because he wanted to talk to this woman. He was on a mission from His Heavenly Father.

 

He wanted to meet her and live the love out before her. See if your read, she knew “about” God but she didn’t know the God. Because know one had lived it out before her. She had only heard stories of the God

 

But Jesus told her in vs 10 “ “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” and then she responds in vs 15 ““Sir, give me this water..” 

 

Jesus didn’t care that she had 5 husbands and was living with another. Verse 18 “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”

 

He showed her love and because of that she came to know Christ and the bible says in vs 34 she said. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” 

 

Then it goes on to say” 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.” 

 

Jesus showed love to a woman who wasn’t of his culture, sex or stature and back in those days it was unheard of and looked down up on by everyone for a man to even talk to a woman and for a Jew to speak to a samaritain was considered a terrible thing to do. 

 

But Christ stepped outside the comfort zone of the culture and even his friends and loved with the love of His Heavenly Father.  In most churches today, we still don’t condone living together outside of marriage. Because the bible doesn’t but that doesn’t mean we don’t love the people that do. 

 

In this day and age when it is such a common occurrence, we as the church must step up and be a light into a world that does not know. A world that has only heard of what marriage can be. 

 

If we have the gifts and abilities to bless others with this gift of a free wedding we need to do it. We need to use whatever gift God has given us to bless others and do it in love because that is what people will see in us. 

 

I heard a phrase the other day that “People won’t always remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you make them feel” Let’s make sure when people what away from us, just as that Samaritan woman did with Jesus, she feels the love she has never felt before.

A Place Called 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 every time 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. 

Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Recently, Jeff and I were privileged to be a part of my cousin’s daughter’s wedding. I say apart because, Jeff performed the wedding and I was the day of coordinator. Which is a fancy term, that basically means I told everyone what to do that day, but my family would probably say that was nothing new. 

 

There are two reasons why this was such a special occasion. The first is because it was kind of surreal going back home for this special occasion.  You see,thirty years ago, it would of been my mom and dad doing this, because that is just what their role was in the family. When anything came up that needed a preacher, my mom and dad were the ones the family called on. Because my parents were both ministers with the Assemblies of God for over 40 yrs. 

In fact it was 18 years ago my mom performed the wedding of my cousin and his wife, only because my daddy had already gone home to heaven. So to say we keep things like this in the family is sort of an understatement. It truly felt the mantel was passed on to Jeff and I, not only in ministry but by performing the wedding in the exact same church where my mom performed my cousin’s wedding, and now his daughter was getting married. 

Another neat thing about this special event is when we went back to this town I was born in (Iola Kansas) and where Jeff and I served in the church not once but twice, we not only got to see many friends from our church there. It was endearing as we drove around town remembering all the blessings God had brought us while we lived there.  

Now our life has never been without problems, so we were also reminded of the difficult times as well. But because we kept our focus on the good, the bad didn’t over shadow us, even going to the graveside of my parents was not a disappointment because I know where they are and it isn’t in that grave, but it is in heaven. 

One thing that was a surprise though was how much smaller things felt. As Jeff and I was driving to the park entrance, He even made the comment “I remember it being a lot further down this road” and when we entered the old church, where we had pastored, I made the comment “I remember these rooms being bigger”. 

Now had the street gotten any shorter or the room any smaller since the last time we were there? No, but our mind had made them much bigger than they really were. In the six years since our last visit to the town and the probably 20 plus years since we had been inside the church, nothing had changed about these places but in my mind they were so much bigger. 

Isn’t that what happens to all of us though, and I don’t mean just physical things but just about any idea we have in our mind can be blown up much bigger than what it actually is. For instance someone says something to you and you might not think anything about it right away, but if you sit and dwell on it, the longer you think about it the bigger the conversation can get and the more offense we can take. 

We often allow things to fester and grow in our minds much bigger than they actually are. Romans 12:2  reminds us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Satan doesn’t want us to be happy and at peace, that is why he drops negative thoughts in our minds that we focus on. Because he wants us to focus on the bad in every situation.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 …… Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (TLB) 

If we only dwell on the negative in our lives, we will end up magnifying everything we think about over and over again for an extended period of time and the truth is the situation or the issue often isn’t as big has our mind imagines it to be. 

I remember my dad telling the story of a church he pastored where there was so much offense between two families in the church that they refuse to speak to each other and sat on separate sides of the church. One day my dad brought the leaders of both sides of the family into his office and told them, “It is time this feud stops! Now tell me why you can’t get along? What happened between your two families that has made you so mad?” The two people thought for a moment and looked at my dad and said “We can’t remember” Here they had been mad at each other for 40yrs., refuse to have anything to do with each other, all while calling themselves Christians and they couldn’t remember what they were mad about? 

Satan had taken something that obviously wasn’t that big of a deal and magnify it into a family feud that lasted years and who knows how many countless people were turned off of the idea of knowing Christ because of these so called Christian’s actions. All because they had dwelled on something way to long and allowed Satan to make it much bigger than what the situation obviously really was. 

So what are you thinking about? What keeps you up at night? What has you so angry you are refusing to speak to someone? Whatever it is, try stepping back and focusing on Phil 4:8.  Because you aren’t doing it for the people you are upset with you are doing it for you, and because God asked you to, and God only asks us to do what He knows is best for us.