Who do you know Part 2

Who do you know Part 2

The other day I was driving on 54/400 highway and as I was coming over the hill an 18 wheeler blinked it’s lights at me, as he was approaching me coming from the west as I drove east. I took it as a warning,  I didn’t need to slow down as I had my car on cruise control. I use the cruise partly because my legs are almost to short to reach the petals in our car,  so when I use the cruise control on long distances drives because, it just makes it easier than stretching my ham string for an extended period of time. The other reason I like using my cruise control is because I like making sure I am driving at a safe speed. Sure enough as I went over the hill, there were two state troopers sitting over on the side of the road.  That little scenario got me to thinking.

I appreciated the truck driver, being kind enough to warn me of the upcoming possible ticket. I mean after all he didn’t even know me, we have never met, nor will we probably ever meet. But I wander just as the driver was concern enough to warn me.  Are we as concerned with people enough that we do know to assure they don’t stray from what they should be doing?

In this offense driven society we can often be afraid to speak up for fear of offending someone. But the bible says

…… if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1

…. if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

Last week, we talked about “It isn’t about where you live, but who you know” Being that,  when we know Christ, we should want to be like Christ and what did Christ do for us, but gave himself for us. So that we might have eternal life with Him in heaven one day.

You know my husband and I have always had 2 different philosophies of ways to raise our children, one of us wants to protect them from everything and warn them from anything that might harm them. The other is happy to just sit back and them figure it out on their own. “After all that’s the way I learned” is the quote from the person who thinks it’s okay for their kids to figure it out on their own. I’ll let you figure out which one of us thinks what. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we have opposite opinions because we help keep each other balanced.

But my point here is, Isn’t that like a lot of us today as we see our friends, stubble in their walk with Christ? How many times have you sat back when see someone you know go down a road of life that they don’t belong. But because we didn’t want to “offend them” or “ruffle any feathers” we just sit back on cruise control and watch them as they are about to go in the ditch on this road called life.

See I don’t know about you but I believe God holds us accountable for those He has put in our life, we hold their eternity in our hands and yet instead of being like the driver who warned me of the impending troopers, We sit back and “let them figure it out for themselves” In fact in Ezekiel 3:18 says …. I will hold you accountable…

If we will pray to,  “See people with Christ’s eyes, Hear with His ears, and Love with Christ’s heart.” Then we will be more Christ like. Christ loved us enough to leave us a book called the bible that can guide us through this down this road of life and He left us here to share the understanding with others. In the loving caring way that Jesus did when He was on this earth.

That’s why, It isn’t about where you live, it is about who you know.  So, Who do you know that needs the love of a Savior? Who do you know that is hurting and needs a friend? The bible tells us that He loved the unlovable, He hung out with them so much that people began to accuse Him of being like them. It’s up to you to be that friend, it is up to you to come along side the hurting and be their friend. Instead of living your life on cruise control, so you don’t strain any extra unnecessary muscles. That may mean that others might not approve of you hanging out with “those people” cause they might not fit in your “group of friends”.  But that didn’t stop Jesus and it shouldn’t stop us. It is time for us to reach out beyond the imaginary walls we put up around ourselves and love everyone just like Christ did.  Keeping in mind, people don’t really care what you know until they know you care. So it may take some time to invest in the emotional bank of these people, (if you haven’t already) before you have enough in there to make a withdraw. That is why we have to be strategic in reaching out praying and asking God “Who can I bless today?”

Because it’s up to you to blink your light (Christ’s light) and warn the person coming toward you when possible trouble is ahead for them, and not leave them to just figure it out on their own, even if it is “how you learned” !




It isn’t about where you live, but it is about who you know!

It isn’t about where you live, but it is about who you know!

The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook when I saw someone who’s name I didn’t recognize post how thankful she was to live in a small town because “Where else can you go out to eat and the waitress hold your baby so you can eat with both hands” she continued on saying that she was thankful she lived in a small town because her children would have life long friends.  This took me back a little bit because although she may not of met it to sound like this, she gave the impression that only these things can happen if you live in a small town.

See I have lived in small towns of a few hundred, to big cities as large as 2.5 million. I attended 9 school in 12 years. I have attended churches as small as 5 people and as large as 5,000+.  So I think I can speak from experience that it isn’t really about the “small town” or “big city” at all.  It isn’t about where you live, but it is all about who you know.

See, in my opinion small towns are nothing more than like living in a Middle/High School cliques fest. See school is great as long as you are in the right crowd. If you are in the cool crowd then you are accepted by everyone and looked up to in some cases. Everyone in school from middle school up is place in a invisible hierarchy depending on your reputation. If your a jock, that’s great but miss up one time or are seen with the wrong crowd then your social life is pretty much over. I’ve seen people in small towns be so completely isolated because they have made some mistakes in their life. They have been told, businesses aren’t hiring, when that very day the company had posted on Facebook they were.  Actions from these wonderful small town people, have totally devastated this persons financial life and if you don’t have any money you are stuck in the town so it just becomes a snowball effect.

So see it wasn’t about living in a small town for this young mother, it was about her hanging out with her friends (which was probably her waitress or the restaurant was so slow the waitress had nothing better to do)

Because kindness isn’t isolated to small towns anymore than safety is.

See we have been to restaurants in big cities where waitresses walked across the street to purchased a Dr. Pepper, for my husband simply because it wasn’t a brand of cola they carried. Why? Not because she was a friend but because she wanted to give good service, not just to us but to all her customers. In fact service was so good, we didn’t even realized she had left until after she returned and told us.

I have also, been to restaurants in small towns, where we couldn’t get the waitress to refill our water glass because she was to busy talking to her “friends” and we were strangers in the community so apparently in her opinion we weren’t worthy enough for her to be bothered with.

I’ve sat in small churches where no one spoke to me and I have attended large churches where I could barely get through the crowd because everyone wanted to stop and talk to me.

See none of these examples are as much about where you live as much as it is who you know.

That really needs to be our opinion as Christ Followers. “It isn’t about where we live but is about who you know.” The bible says when talking about the end of the world that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away . Matt 24:35

If you have study anything about the end times then you know that everything is in line for the Lord to come back. Never at anytime in history have we been so close as we are today to seeing His return.

The question is, “Do you know Him well enough to get taken up with Him when He comes back to get His bride?”

Matthew goes on to tell us in Chapter 23″ 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour[f]your Lord is coming.” 

I know the bible says no one knows the day or the hour, but we can see that the prophecies have been full-filled and we need to be watching for Him . We need to be ready and while we wait we need to be making sure others are ready to go with us. Romans 3:23 says ” All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 6:23 NIV “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life” Then Romans 9:9-10 AMP says “because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous—being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].”

I like that last verse, “Whoever believes in Him [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] will not be disappointed [in his expectations].” Did you see that “adheres to, trust in and relies on” part. Anyone can say they believe in God, the devil believes in God. But he isn’t going to heaven. We must “adhere to, trust in and rely on” if we expect to get to heaven. 

See if we are really doing that, then it doesn’t matter where we live, because it is really about who we know, and the bottom line is if we know Him, we will live like Him. So, no matter if it is a small town or a large city we will treat others as we want to be treated. We will rise above the High School hierarchy and love others no matter, what their past or present is. Because the truth is if we can’t love each other and get along down here on earth, we aren’t gonna make it up there. (Heaven)  Then, it really will matter where you live.

Because I am Mimi, But God is God.

Because I am Mimi, But God is God.

So, last week I told you about the innocence of our almost 2 yr old grandson praying,  while we got to spend sometime with his sister’s when they were sick. What I didn’t tell you about was what the girls did as they started feeling better. Our 8 yr old found the buzzer to a game they had. So she decided that anytime she needed something from Mimi, she would just buzz the buzzer. Which the better she got, the more often she buzzed that buzzer. She buzzed it because she needed a drink. She buzzed it because she needed something to eat, she buzzed it because she wanted her stuff bear off her bed (the top bunk of the bed which required me to get a broom just to try and reach it) and 5 minutes later, she buzzed it for her stuffed cat that was also on the top bunk which again, required more unique maneuvering because this Mimi isn’t climbing on the top bunk of the bed.

Her older sister wasn’t quite as annoying with it. But she had her own special kind of manipulation going on. As I fluffed the pillow I had just bought for her, pouring on some sympathy for her just for affect. I asked in the most empathetic tone of voice I have ” Can Mimi get you anything to drink or eat” as I check her head for fever and kissed the top of her head,  to which she responded in an equal empathetic voice, “No, but a crisp twenty dollar bill would be nice” that is when I almost took the pillow and smothered her……. all in fun of course! We had a good laugh and I told her maybe next month ( For her Birthday)

Oh! But that isn’t the funniest part! Our 8 yr old, informed me during our visit that, I had forgotten to give her a dollar the last time we were together because I had asked her to do something and had forgotten to give the promised reward. The story didn’t sound completely untrue, I mean I did remember there have been several times I have told the kids if they do this, or that I will give them a dollar. But I really didn’t remember doing that at our last visit. But I went along with her request and assured her I would take care of it before we left. Now remember, we were already there for her Birthday and we always give money for our grands Birthdays so, she knew she was getting money already.

Fast forward to the day she opens her presents and as she opens up her cards and counts her money it is $41. When her mother asks “Why is it $41” (because it was an odd number). At that point I explained my forgetfulness with a twinkle in my eye and a smile on my face, so our daughter-in-law asks our 8 yr old grand “What did Mimi forget to pay you for” to which Viola responds with a huge smile on her face and pride in her voice “Nothing, I was just playing a trick on Mimi” The whole family roared in laughter as I explained. I was pretty sure I was being had, but thought I would play along, (after all a dollar wasn’t going to break me)

Now as you can see my Grands are not perfect! They can be as ornery and manipulating as some adults at times. But, as ornery as my little’s can be, they still believe when they are told they are loved. In fact that is probably why they push the limits at points because they know they are loved. They know Mimi would do anything for them. I know from the story above, it sounds like I give into them all the time. But there are some times I do say “No”.

Now they don’t like it when Mimi has to say “No”, in fact the almost 2 year old breaks down and cries anytime he is told, “No”.  And I wonder if it is possible that he does so,  because he feels loved so much and he doesn’t want to disappoint us, or is it the fact he knows if he cries we might give in, or maybe, the fact that he just doesn’t want to submit to the will of those in authority over him. My guess is, it is probably all of those at one time or another.

If we are honest with ourselves, aren’t we all just a little like my grands. We to often want what we want, when we want it. We to often think we can tell stories to our Heavenly Father, in hopes to get our way,  when He knows everything anyway so we aren’t fooling Him. We may promise to go to church, if God will just heal our loved one. We try to convince Him we need this or that, because without it there is no way we will be able to make it. We have our own little buzzer we try to push when we want something from God. But, what happens when we don’t get what we want? Do we cry because we don’t want to submit to His will? Do we cry because we hope God will just give in. Okay, we probably don’t cry, but sometimes we whine, we pout.  We get mad at God and act like children.

Dying to our will is something we battle with everyday? But see, there is a difference between us and our children. It’s age, because of our years of experience, we actually have the ability to look back at our lives and see the many times God has been faithful.  In this town especially, we can see the hand of God and how He took what satan met for bad and turned it to good.

So why don’t we trust Him again, when the hard stuff comes? Why don’t we rely on Him because we know He has our best interest at heart? Look at what this town has already went through, remember where you have come from??If we will just look around we can see the hand of God’s faithfulness and how much He loves us.

But all to often we get angry and bitter when things don’t go our way.  The years have worn calluses on our hearts to the point we have harden it toward anything that might not fit into our agenda or when God doesn’t answer our buzzer.

My grands wanted what they wanted and yes, I passified them while I was there, because I can, because I am Mimi. But we have to remember God is God and as much as I love my Grands, God loves us more and if they had asked for anything that wasn’t in their best interest I would of denied them their request. Why? Because I love them. Lets not forget, God is watching out for you. Trust that love. Remember there is no greater love than His.  Read John 15:13

Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, in Greensburg KS,  Mom, Mimi, Creator of the Blog “www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com“, Speaker and Columnist.

True Love

True Love

This past week we got to spend sometime with our grands. We went down to celebrate a late Birthday for our youngest grand-daughter Viola. You see we didn’t get to go on her actual birthday because we were sick with the flu and so everything was post-pone a week. But when we arrived. Viola and her sister Bella were both sick, which allowed Mimi some very important snuggling time. We sat and watched TV together, and Mimi was the nurse maid to make Viola. my famous PB&J crust-less sandwich (a favorite of Viola’s and according to her sister, Viola loses all ability to make her own sandwich when I am around) I gave meds when needed, kept the liquids coming and just generally loved on them and held them to give them as much comfort and attention as possible. I hate when by babies are sick, I hated when my kids got sick and I hate when these little’s get sick. But I do love the snuggle time.

Another favorite part of my time spent with the little’s, was when sitting around the table as my son asked our almost 2 yr old grandson did he want to pray. Immediately he responds in the softest sweetest voice “Yes”and without missing a beat he quickly bows his head, and says “Jesus” then there is a pause, and again we hear “Jesus” while his little head is still bowed, he repeats the scenario a couple more times, then we hear a little babble followed by a clear loud “Amen” and he raises his head because it is apparent he is finished. (I know because I watched the whole thing, it was just to precious not too!)

I tell you nothing melts this Mimi’s heart like seeing her children and her grand-children grow in a relationship with Christ. Why? Because I know, all the stuff of this world will not last, any inheritance I might leave them is just a vapor in the mirror of eternity. But if I have in some small way instilled in my children and grand children the importance of a active relationship with Jesus Christ, and they pursue one,  then I have truly left them all they will ever need in life.


But if I have in some small way instilled in my children and grand children the importance of a active relationship with Jesus Christ, and they pursue one,                       then I have truly left them all they will ever need in life.


Spending time with my family, made me think about how,  if I love snuggling with my babies and my heart melts when I hear our grandson say a sweet prayer,  even though I may never know exactly what he said, but simply seeing the heart in which it was said in, melts mine. How much more does it melt Christ’s heart when we spend time with Him? How much more does He crave a little time with us?

You know through out the few days we were with our kids, we asked our grandson to pray multiply times, not ever once did he say “No” or ” I don’t have time”. No! It didn’t matter what he was doing he would immediately stop and repeat the scenario above every time.  His heart was always immediately open to talking to Jesus.

I wonder, if our hearts our as open. I wonder if when God taps us on the shoulder, and ask ” Do you want to talk”? Are we as sensitive to Him and as open to Him as our little grandson was?

The bible tells us in Matt: 19:14  KJV But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

I don’t know about you, but when I think of children, I think of their pure innocence. Their ability to unconditionally trust what they are told. The verse above says “For such is the kingdom of heaven.” I believe we need to have that same unconditional trust in God as children have in us to get to heaven.

In fact the Amplified Version tells us in Matt 18:3  “I assure you …..unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

On this day of  “Love” celebrating Valentines. we don’t need to forget about the greatest love, and that is the love given to us by our Heavenly Father.  How do we know He loves us more? Because He tells us in John 15, NIV

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends,…..  17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

He gave His life for us because sin had separated us from Him and He desired so much to spent time with us, He was willing to do anything to have that relationship back. He loves spending time with us and so desires for us to take the time and spent it with Him.

Scientist tell us that the greatest need in humans is to feel, Understood, Validated and Appreciated. I don’t know about you but to me that sounds a lot like love.  The problem is we often look for these things everywhere but where we should. See, God placed those desires in us so we would search for Him. He wanted us to come to Him.  The problem is, we look for love in all the wrong places. We want others to make us feel good, we think owning certain items will give us the validation we need. We think having sex with someone is love.

We get all caught up in thinking we need to feel some feeling, when the truth is. Love is a VERB, not a feeling.  Love is action and there was no greater action taken in our behalf than when God sent His only Son to die for us. That is Love. In fact the Bible says in 1 John 4:8 “… God is Love”

The truth is that the true fulfillment we are looking for doesn’t come from others but can only be found in our relationship with Christ.

So let me urge you today. If you are looking for love, if your life seems empty. I have good news, there is a Heavenly Father that loves you and wants to spend time with you. Just as I cherish every moment with my family. He cherishes every prayer that is prayed, every moment that is spent with Him. He wants you to know that He believes in you, that He has felt every pain you have felt, He has cried with you in your times of discouragement and defeat His heart breaks every-time yours does.  He has been waiting this whole time standing there with out stretched arms saying ” Come unto me” He is just waiting for you.

Won’t you come to Him?  Just like my 2 yr old grandson did and bow your head and pray. It doesn’t have to be long or even make sense to anyone else, because God understands. He already knows and can’t wait to be with you!






Selfless or Selfish

I’ll never forget when the sweet little old lady in one of our churches who didn’t come to know Christ until much much later in life,  told my husband ” Pastor I don’t want to tell other people about Jesus, because I want to keep Him all to myself. I don’t want to give Him away!” What this little lady didn’t realize is that the more we share Jesus with others the more real He becomes to us and in us. His love grows as we share Him. We don’t lose Him. To not give Jesus away is a selfish act and if we are going to be Christ-like we need to be selfless just like He was, when He gave His life for us on the cross.

I was reading an article today by Jason Inman from Life.Church where he shares some examples of selfish things we say all the time and then the selfless option that Christ would really like us to see. Take a look at what he says,

  1. When we pay off our debt, we’ll start giving more.

Selfless: We’ll give and not hold back. (Proverbs 21:26)

  1. The neighbors are driving down the value of my home.

Selfless: Hey, I know you’ve been busy lately, and I have an open weekend. When’s a good time to come help with your yard? I know you’d do the same for me. (Matthew 7:12)

  1. I’m sure someone else has already invited them to church.

Selfless: Do you want to come church with me? You’d be welcome to join us for lunch afterward, too. (Matthew 28:19)

  1. Maybe next time.

Selfless: You know what? I’d love to. (Luke 6:30)

  1. I wish I could help you, but I don’t have any cash on me.

Selfless: How are you? Can we get you someplace warm to eat? (Luke 10:25-37)

  1. I want to pray more, but the morning is like a circus in my house.

Selfless: When I put God first, everything else gets in line. (Proverbs 3:6)

  1. That’s great, but did you hear what I did?

Selfless: *nods *smiles *listens (James 1:19)

  1. I worked hard for what I have—they can do the same.

Selfless: I share with others because Jesus said that’s how I share with Him. (Matthew 25:40)

  1. Sorry sweetheart, Daddy’s really busy.

Selfless: Puts down phone, “Come here. Will you show me that again?” (Matthew 19:14)

  1. I’ll serve and volunteer more when I retire or when I have less work.

Selfless: I started serving, and now it’s like a breath of fresh air every week. (Proverbs 11:25)

Often times what we don’t realize is that we all make choices everyday that either shows Christ love or shows our selfish side. This sweet little lady, had found a love like she had never had before, so she was afraid that she would lose this amazing love she had found if she gave it away. But I am here to say, we are never more like Christ, than when we give love away.

Part of walking with Christ is dying to ourselves and doing what God wants us to do. I believe He uses everyday experiences for us to practice that death. We don’t want to over commit ourselves at church, because we like our freedom and the ability to not have to be at church each week when we just don’t feel like it. So we refuse to volunteer at church. See we are thinking of ourselves first. Maybe you are a busy parent and it is much easier to stay in bed then to get up and spend time with God. But we know ultimately, spending time with God is what we need to be the best parent we can be.

The truth is though, we do what we want to do. That is why we have to teach ourselves to deny our wants and do God’s will.  So why not this week lets make a conscious effort to think before we speak and choose to do what He would do? Before we say “No, or I can’t” Why not ask yourself “What would Jesus Do?”. “Is there an bigger eternal purpose to this situation?”, “Could God use this for His glory in this?”

I am thankful, that our sweet little friend discovered the joy of giving herself away and showing Christ love in practical ways before she passed away. Even in her ill health, with many physical issues that caused her at times to not even be able to get out of bed and when she did, she walked with a walker. She allowed God to use her, by writing notes and cards to people. She sent the we missed you cards and birthday cards out for the church. She also used the phone and computer to encourage others. Before she passed she made it her mission to encourage others and she didn’t let her disability keep her from it.

I think when we stop looking at the mirror and begin looking at our life through a magnifying glass and ask God to help us see with His eyes than we will have a different perspective of what we should be doing. Less of me and more of God needs to be our motto this week.



New Years Resolutions…. New Life

New Years Resolutions…. New Life

It’s a New Year and with New Years usually comes New Years Resolutions. One of the most popular resolutions is “To lose weight”.  My family has battled the “Battle of the bulge for all our lives” Some people say, weight issues are hereditary and others say it is environmental or learned behaviors. Looking back on my life, I have always had friends that didn’t have any weight issues. They could eat anything and look good no matter what, while at the same time, I could just smell what they were eating and would gain 10lbs. And let me tell you it hasn’t gotten any easier since I hit my last couple of Birthdays. Turning 29 years old for the 23rd time is so not easy!

Each of my skinny friends have encouraged me,  they give me suggestions, work out with me, walked me through diets and for a time, I totally change my lifestyle and I see some positive results for a season. But sooner or later,  I slowly go back to what I am comfortable with and my old habits take over. Then my friends basically give up on me. Sometimes, we talk a little less, after that, other times they just drop the subject with me when we are together. I realize it is a sensitive subject and one most don’t want to tread. So I understand but I gotta be honest, some days I just want that friend who will take me by the hand and sometimes drag me to do what is right.

This got me thinking….. See in the 40 plus years of ministry my husband and I have been in, I think I know how my skinny friends feel when I fail at my new diet plan. Countless times my husband and I have reached out to someone who wasn’t following Christ, or often someone who wants help reaches out to us. I can’t tell you how many times we have come along side our friend encouraged them, and pointed them in the right direction. They start coming to church, going to bible study, we hang out, they accept Christ as their Savior. They begin to change their ways, giving up their old habits and following after what Christ would want for them to do. They start dying to themselves and we begin to see God do great things for them, and then it seems like they hit a wall. They slowly drop out of church or they start to come periodically. They drop out of bible study, and slowly but surely they go back to their old ways. They lose their passion.

This reminds me of a guy in the bible who lost his passion. See David was a King who as a young boy was a fierce warrior. Sure he hung out in the field with the sheep (the lowest of jobs a the time)  but that didn’t discourage him, he knew his job was important so he would practice his warrior moves, slinging the sling shot I can see him using his walking stick as a sword and waving it in the air toward the imaginary opponent. The bible tells us he was honored all around the country as a warrior, they even sung a song about him.  But, one day several years later he is home, he stays home from a battle that he is suppose to be at and he gets in trouble. Why? because he lost his passion. He got distracted. You can read about him in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, he ends up losing a son, murdering a man. But yet the bible calls him a man after God’s own heart, not only once in the bible but twice. 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22. Why? Because over in Psalms scholars say that he wrote these words after he made all those mistakes. ” Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10.

I don’t know about you but in my life I have made some mistakes, not that my laziness of not working out when I should or failing to meal prep correctly is going to send me to hell, but it does stop me from having the abundant life that I could have. Just like my friends who fall away and return to some of their old ways. They aren’t able to live the abundant life God has planned for them.

I don’t know if you have ever lost your passion for something, but static’s show that by the end of January the fitness clubs aren’t as full as they were on January 1 and I am willing to bet there is something you have lost your passion for. I am even willing to bet maybe your aren’t serving Christ with the same vigor and determination you once had. You have gotten lazy in your personal bible study. You have been laxed at going to church, maybe you have even given up on God because something happened that you just didn’t understand why. Let me encourage you to get back to giving God 150% of you! Let’s make this New Year the Year we go all the way.

I Came Kicking and Screaming All The Way To Kansas

We were living in Atlanta at the time and marrying a southern man I never expected to live anywhere else but the south until, that infamous phone call came. It was so long ago, telephones hung on your wall.   We call them landlines now, and if you lived back then, you might have had one in several rooms of your home. We had one in the front of the house in the kitchen and another in the back of the house in a bedroom. My parents had two as well in there home where they lived in Kansas.

One day my parents and Jeff and I were having what we would now call a conference call when each of us just got on one of those phones connected to the wall in our home and we all talked to each other.  In the process of the call my parents once again invited us, or maybe it would be better described as begged us to move up to Kansas where they had retired. Being raised an only child and now having the only grandchild, my parents were desperate for us to move closer to them. But I was confident that was never going to happen. I knew our fate was destined to stay in the big city. I was completely okay with that because I had been to Kansas (as my grandparents and extended family lived there) and there was nothing there I wanted.

Once again my parents were asking, but I was convinced that I would, as my parents had, live so far away from my family that we would simply only see each other once or twice a year. Until, Jeff told my parents “Well, I tell you what, if you find me a job up there we will move” I didn’t say anything while we were talking to them on the phone, but as soon as we got off I asked Jeff “You were just pacifying my parents right? We aren’t moving to Kansas, are we? To which Jeff responded ” Yep! We’re moving!” I immediately reminded him that Kansas was in the North and we lived in the South. Because I was certain he had lost his mind for a moment.  In my attempt to bring him back to reality I reminded him of all the reasons why we would need to stay in Atlanta, before moving back to the forgotten world of this place they called Kansas.

Finally, after much aggravation on my part, Jeff just said ” I feel like God wants us to move to Kansas” Well, Now I was confident not only had my husband lost his mind but so had God. Because this was not in my plan and if you looked at our bank account, as I informed my husband, there wasn’t enough money for us to get down the road, let alone move from Atlanta GA to Kansas. Jeff assured me he believed this is what we were supposed to do.  Still, in disbelief, I informed Jeff. Okay, I will go but only if God provides the money and you know it will take at least $2,000 to move. Confident that I would not have to worry about it happening because it was such an outrageous idea,  (now I wish I would have said $10,000) I am certain God was sitting up there saying  “Oh! ye of little faith” because in 2 weeks we were pulling up in a U-haul to my parent’s driveway. Miraculously, in that time God provided the money and we moved. (and that is another story)

See none of that was in my plan, and even after God proved himself by providing the money for us to move, I was still in doubt and confused as to why God was taking us to Kansas. Frankly, I did not want to move here even though it is my birthplace. But God began to uncover His plan for us just 6 weeks later. When my mother, in the middle of the night, called out to us from my parent’s bedroom as we slept in the next room ” Alesa, Jeff come quick your daddy is dying” As Jeff and I raced to my daddy’s side.  I got to experience something I had prayed for. You see many years earlier I had prayed ” God,  Please don’t let me by like my parents and live so far away that when one of them is dying we have to hurry and drive thousands of miles away just praying we get there in time.”

As Jeff and I talked after daddy’s death. He revealed to me that while he was working in Atlanta one day. He was under a house and felt like God had said ” If you want Alesa and Lee to spend any more time with her family, you need to move to Kansas and you need to move to Kansas now ” Jeff said he knew that something was gonna happen and he wanted to make sure I was with my family. There was just something about what he felt God was saying that Jeff knew we had to move. Jeff didn’t know the prayer I had prayed. But God did!

Last week I shared in this article, about how circumstances that come into our lives, might not be what we expect or even want but we can trust the one who brings them to us.  Just like Joseph did as he told his brothers that God used the bad things they did, for good.  (Gen 30) I can look back now and see what God was doing, and how my dream that Jeff and I being the original Chip and Joanna Gains was not in His plan! He had a greater calling for us. Kansas is where our ministry began, Kansas is where the miracle of last 2 children came, and for the past almost 30 years we have loved and lived in Kansas.

Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God said ” I know the plans I have for you” notice that word plan is plural. My daughter reminded me of that the other day. So that means God has multiple plans for us to do. If Jeff hadn’t listened to God or worst yet if he had listened to me and we had stayed in the south. I am not sure what would have happened, but I am confident of one thing, our lives would not be the same,  we would not have been touched by the special people we have met here in Kansas and I hope somehow we have touched peoples lives here as well. I am so glad we can trust God’s plans for us. As we enter into 2018 let us resolve that we will trust His plan even when we don’t understand it and especially when we dislike it!