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? 

 

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.  

 

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.

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.