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Archive for the ‘ministry life’ Category

The likely hood of making military friends while living on The Island is quite high, and we have already said good bye to two families over the past year.  I have decided the process of making new friends only to have them move a few months later absolutely stinks.  I have also decided that the fruit you receive from putting yourself out there is totally worth it.

Every few years these families pack up everything they own to start over in a new place.  Yes, they signed up for this, but no one understands the unique pressure this puts on a family.  Each of the families that we have gotten to know have endured multiple deployments to scary parts of the world.  The spouses of these soldiers are strong and caring, raising their children as single parents for months at a time.  They do admit to moments of weakness, wondering why they agreed to this life style, but they are deeply patriotic, deeply committed, deeply spiritual.  Their mobile life in the military seem to have given them a better understanding of gracious and inclusive living, and our transition to The Island would be not be as easy without them.

So, today we say “We’ll see ya when we see ya” to some special friends. The heart ache is deep, but we are better for having shared these past months of musicals, drama classes, youth group activities, camp, coffee dates, and fabulous text streams of laughter and tears.  God bless you McDees!  We’ll see ya when we see ya.

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It’s Friday.  Ah, we made it.

I look out my window and there is a line of intermixed palm trees and monkey tail trees.  Beyond that line is a large cemetery.  It’s constantly busy.  If people aren’t having a service to bury a loved one, then they are sitting around a grave stone enjoying a picnic.  A few of the headstones are surrounded with solar lights, so at night it is very easy to see them from the road.

A few mornings a week my youngest and her pappy take a walk around the cemetery.  They go in search of life; ferrel cats and jungle fowl.  They have named certain ones, and are delighted when they see them.  They always come back with a great story, or a song that they made up as they were walking/running along.

We are still amazed at how the cats and chickens hang out together in the cemetery.  We almost didn’t believe the hubby the first time he came back from a walk across the street, but he has pictures!  Thank you smart phone.  There were clearly roosters strutting along side the cats, and momma hens leading lines of chicks right next to sleepy cats.  One day there was a bunny hopping along the path.  Wow, isn’t this what heaven is supposed to be like?  The lion sitting peacefully next to the lamb?

Two verses come to mind as I think on the seeming peace and tranquility of the cat and chicken hangout.

Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

At time these verses are challenging.  “Really?  Be at peace with EVERYONE?  ALL THE TIME?” or “Oy, Holy? That just takes too much effort,  I give up” may be the response that we want to give.  Ok, maybe it’s just me.  Look again at the first part of that verse.  “Make every effort” is what is says.  “Do your best” is how I read that.  Phew…I know that I’m not perfect, but so does God.  He wants me to try and do my best, knowing that I’m not going to be perfect until I see Him face to face.  Seriously, I feel like a weight it lifted off of my shoulders.

I will try my best to be at peace with everyone, and to strive to be holy.  I’m so thankful for the grace that God shows me when I fail and choose to pick up an offense that isn’t mine or just plain don’t want to forgive.  Thank you God for some silly cats and chickens that give us a fun reminder to live in peace.  Time for a walk across the street.

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Knowing what to share here on the blog is tricky. (I just took down a rather personal post.)  Some times I feel like it would be a really great place to pour my heart out; to see if anyone else feels the same way about things.  Being in ministry with a rather high-profile church makes that tricky.  I don’t want to put anyone’s reputation in jeopardy, and I certainly don’t want people to have any more fuel to add to the fire of the current climate if they take something that I say out of context.

Sometimes though, the burden that comes from being a pastor’s wife and worship leader (less of a worship leader these days) is heavy.  Recently I heard someone say, “Leadership is lonely.”  That is so true.  At times it’s difficult to not be offended by things people say about your husband or your ministry.  I hold on to offenses way longer than my husband.  That leads to isolation and discouragement.  It’s in those times that I know that I must spend time a deeper time with God.  For me that means extra time reading the bible, more time on my knees, and taking every thought captive.  I can easily follow a dark road if I don’t stay keep my thoughts account current.  It’s the only way to allow my Savior to carry the burden of ministry.

Today I grab a go-to verse to carry with me.  I know you’ve read it on my blog before.  It’s Philippians 4:4-9.  It’s in the NIV.  I appreciate how in verse 8 it addresses “brothers AND sisters.”

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

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Journal In A Jar

Today’s paper strip question:  “What about your family makes you happy?  Share a moment where they made you happy.”

I struggle with the word “happy” because it is such a fleeting emotion.  I much prefer the word “joy” because it is something that grows deep roots, and is felt even in the most dire of circumstances.  Here is the new question.  I ask those of you reading to ponder it.

“What about your family brings you joy?  Share an example.”

I know without a doubt that I have an unusual family situation.  I have been married to the same man for 20 years.  We homeschool our kiddos.  We enjoy spending time together.  Our parents get along, and have never had a difficult time accepting each other as family.  We’ve enjoyed many holidays together.  I know that if I never have more than this that I will die completely satisfied.

One of the biggest sources of joy for me lies in the Yayas kitchens; both my momma and mom-in-law’s.  It’s truly is the hub of the house.  During those first years of homeschooling, the cousins and sis-in-laws gathered once a week around Yaya’s kitchen island.  We would cook or do a project.  The kiddos would end up in the playroom for down time and watch a video while the “grown-ups” ate lunch or sipped on tea.  Those were precious times.  When my brother moved to town to pastor a church he and my sis-in-law joined us in Yaya’s kitchen for Thanksgivings or Easter or for an evening together.  My nieces grew to know my sis-in-law and know that she cares for them.  My mom and Dad are called Aunty and Uncle by them.  These moments fill me with joy to overflowing, and I will cherish them forever.

 

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Life Journal: Release

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John the Baptist had a few buddies complain that Jesus was baptizing people on the other side of the Jordan River.  I can only imagine the commiserating going on between John’s followers.  Jesus was honing in on their territory.  He was taking the attention away from his cousin John.  Maybe they weren’t invited to as many dinners, or maybe they had lost their favorite spot along the river.  Perhaps it was that they weren’t the first ones being asked the difficult questions anymore.  Whatever it was I think that it comes down to one basic thing; they were no long everyone’s first choice.

John’s response is what we would hope every great leader’s response to be.  He expresses great joy in the fact that he worked himself out of a job.He tried to explain it to his followers.  There are some jobs that requires one person to set the other person up for success.  God called him to prepare the way for the Messiah.  John did that, and now it was time to step down.  It was time for John to release.

Within the church we don’t always do a good job in the hand off.  We aren’t always told why positions change.  It may cause us to doubt our calling in the first place.  We question our relevancy.  We doubt our worth.  It sets us up for a poor transition where we may not rejoice when we hear our replacement coming.

At times over the last 20 years of ministry I have allowed my value get wrapped up in my work.  There was one particular section of time in my life where I was put in a position of authority that I had longed for.  I loved it everything about that season.  After about two years, things started to shift.  I had less authority as the leadership above me changed.  I didn’t understand why, and no one was giving me any input when I asked for it.  I found that I didn’t sleep well at night because I kept rehashing conversation after conversation and asking God what I had done wrong.  I assumed things.  I stopped living out Philippians 4:8-9, 8 “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”  I finally pulled it together after I just let everything go.  Every dream, every hope, every desire I had I just put on an “altar” before the LORD.  I stopped asking why I wasn’t allowed to serve as before.  I started asking God how He wanted me to serve.

From time to time I still deal with the pain in the loss of that ministry.  I miss the people who I worked.  I long for another season to serve in that way.  I believe that God will have another opportunity for me.  It’s all in His time.  I believe that my work now is all about the word “know.”  I must dig deeper into God’s word and allow for times of quiet so that I will hear God.  I must come to know God in away that I never have before.  In that process I allow Christ to become greater by understanding my position as a child of God.

 

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It has been one year…

I had stayed up all night before my early morning flight. I still had so much to do. The youngest fell asleep watching “Enchanted” on the bed next to me as I wrote notes, as I packed and repacked, and as I asked God one last time if this is really what He wanted us to do.

We had spent the days leading up to my flight packing up the house, thanks to the help of family and friends. I don’t know what we would have done without the generosity of those people who gave us boxes and packing paper, and helped us pack and clean. It was all so overwhelming to move out of our home of 16 years, but the comfort and care given by those precious ones was like salve poured over an open wound.

Those last moments spent locking up the house were bittersweet. I took a picture of the barren front room, that a few years earlier I had painted a deep red found on the reject paint shelf at a local hardware store. I walked past the case once filled with treasured books and knick-knacks, like the Korean wedding ducks given to us on a Holt trip and the small wooden bowl that is the first present given to me from my mother in-law. The kiddos sat on the counter in the blue room, that was actually taupe color, for one last time. I snapped a picture. I hid that moment in my heart as it spilled over with gratitude for the gracious gift God gave us in being able to buy this house. I paused one last moment by the front door, my hand resting against the door frame, thinking this would soon be a home filled with another family’s memories. “Bless them Lord,” I whispered, “May this be holy ground.” I wiped the tears from my eyes as I pulled the door to and turned the lock.

In a few hours we would start over. Where would we rest our heads? Where would we put our Christmas tree? What about my piano? Would my children feel at home? I had I stop thinking. I had so much left to do. I would save the inner dialogue for the flight.

It’s been one year since I stepped off of that plane to make this island my home.

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Tonight our Frontlines Team, those that serve in sound, stage, video, lighting, vocals, drama, halau, and as musicians, came together for some family time.  The video team had a fun game to play, the Halau (or dance team) had a great drama about the internal monologue that happens sometimes contrary to our outward appearance, and our team leaders shared from their hearts words of admonishment and encouragement.  There was a strong theme to the evening; we need to let go of offenses and do a better job of loving people.  We watched Pastor Wayne’s teaching on Character Auditions and what it means to serve on the Frontlines.  We ended the evening in prayer and with the anointing of oil.  As team members left they each, including pastors and leaders, signed character contracts renewing their hearts to follow the code of conduct required by active members of the Frontlines.

Here is the link to watch the Character Auditions teaching by Pastor Wayne:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/34998530″>Character Audition – Pastor Wayne Cordeiro</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/newhope”>New Hope Oahu</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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