I was looking and reading back over our blog – spending some time “remembering” what the Lord has done. It caused me to be thankful that I had blogged. I guess as a form of journaling to go back to, but also the source of encouragement it had been for others. So I will set my heart on this blog thing again and see how long I can last.
We are counting down our days until school at the academy begins…4 days! I am excited to get to know and grow with 23 students and 3 teachers this year. We will learn about God and His creation and His divine ways of doing things – numbers, language, creation, testimony and history! I will try to remember to upload pictures from the first day. But for now – pray for us. We really want LivingStone Academy to be something different than we have seen before. However, the problem with not having seen something before is that we have NO IDEA what it looks like! So we are trusting in the Holy Spirit to guide and direct.
Friday was a beautiful day here in Alabama. We have had a very mild winter (we’re afraid the berries haven’t gotten cold enough to produce) and the day was sunny and warm. Terry and I took a ride up to Little River Falls to walk the new boardwalk. It is very nice.
Two Sundays ago the weather was the same. The air was a bit cool, but the sun was toasty warm. (Ask me again in August how I feel about the toasty sun!) I sat on the deck in Terry’s new lounger and let the my face soak up that toasty warm sun. I thought about what Pastor Chris had preached that morning about John 3:16. We all know it but it is worth another look. Read it again in context and let the love of the Father’s Son soak into your spirit. Really know that God loves you. Chris said we should always remember these three things—–1. God is good. 2. God loves us 3. Jesus did not come to condemn but to save. Sunshine can warm my face, but only the Sonshine can warm my spirit! Thanks be to God!
We have implemented what we are currently calling Friday Night Sit and Soak. All it is really is an opportunity for encounter. We play music from 7 – 9. A person can come and go and they please. There is music, worship flags, study tables, bean bags, camp chairs, and GOD! We had been doing this off and on for a number of months just among a few of us, but in December we opened it up to the community. It is a great chance to set aside time just to be with Him, to love on Him, to worship Him.
I believe worship is the place of encounter. And one cannot encounter the Living God without something changing. Worship is the place where my life was changed and transformed. Oh, I’ve got a bit to work on, but this is where my true growth started and this is where it will continue. You see worship adjusts our focus to Him and suddenly we are not focusing on ourselves and our stuff. There is a line in a Jonathan Helser song, God is Love, that says, “Look how small our fears are, from up here, up here in His heart. Look how small the enemy is, compared to our God, compared to His heart.” We suddenly have a new perspective and when we are side by side with His heart, our hearts begin to beat with His – we begin to hear His heart - and our heart changes forever.
If you are in our community come join us. You will never be the same! If you are out of state or out of country – find a place of encounter. It can be your home, your car, your church, anywhere. But the point is to be intentional! —Katie
It is January 21st and we have daffodils popping up! Some of them even have flower buds on them! WOW! I love this Alabama living! More important, there are also signs of new growth in our ministry outreaches!
Our Monday morning, Business Owners Prayer has attracted two new businessmen. They are both Fort Payne natives and are very excited about what God has done in their businesses. Both have incredible testimonies regarding answered prayer. I am excited because I feel that once we get several ”credible witnesses” established in this group, it will take off. By credible witnesses I mean someone the community knows and respects.
The other “sign of growth” is on the government front. Chris, Joyce, and I have been regularly attending the Fort Payne City Council meetings. Our purpose in being there is to pray for these men as they conduct the city’s business. In December, Councilman Watson, recognized us publicly, by thanking us for our attendance and expressed his gratitude that we care. This past Tuesday, he and the council President both came and talked with us after the meeting. Councilman Watson, who is a pastor, again thanked us and told us how important it was that we are there because when we come in, we usher in the presence of God. The Council President concurred!
We thank and praise God for these little signs of growth. They are encouragement to us.
January has become a month of new things as we walk in the new year. One of these areas is in our Academy. Last Thursday we had a full house as we began worship with 20 people-a mixture of children and adults. The children are feeling much more comfortable with each other and with the adults. Chris has been coming to morning worship and he challenges everyone to particpate. After worship it is fun to watch the children find their own workspace and begin their work for the day. We are seeing some of the newer children beginning to take more responsibility for their work. And most excitiing, we are seeing more smiles and hearing more laughter.
God is good and faithful as we wallk out what He has called us to do. We see this as an opportunity to pour God into the lives of these chidlren and to ” encourage, equip, and empower” them for their future with the Lord.
with a smile in my heart,
Just the other day was October 20th and I remember that as the date God gave me that we would be moving tow years ago. At first I thought we would move to Alabama when we sold our house, but after the Pattersons were already here I wanted to know when we might move. So I asked God and into my head dropped the date October 20! We felt that was from God and on October 20, 2009 we arrived in Alabama to make our new home.
Terry and I recently went back to Ohio to visit with friends and family and it was a joyful visit, but I have no regrets about leaving Ohio. In fact, I think we have been surprised how easily and quickly Fort Payne has become home. God is very good!
As I was relating this to Katie yesterday as we shopped and delivered food, she said October 20th also was the date last year when we finished the Mentone home makeover. Wow, what a lot has happened in these last two years. God has filled our days with ministry to this community. He continues to prepare the way, having us make connections that lead us to further ministry.
Most recently, we have felt an explosion of the need of the people here. Or maybe, it is because we, as a ministry in town, have become more well known, especially as people who help. This week we had a new request for a student to join the Academy, someone had their water turned off, someone couldn’t pay an electric bill and another family didn’t have any food.
There needs to be a transformation of our minds to realise that putting pennies in a little plastic loaf of bread in October for world hunger, doesn’t quite meet the need. Our responsiblilty as God’s people requires more. As God has surely been changing me over these last two years, our minds need to shift into Kingdom mode from a worldly Christian mode. May the Lord open our eyes to see our neighbors, open our hearts to feel their pain, and open our minds to know we are the ones who God has placed here, or wherever you live, to be Jesus to those who need the help and hope of our Savior King.
Blessings to you, Joyce
Several weeks ago a couple living up the street from us had told us that they did not have a refridgerator or a stove. They have been in their rental house for six months without either appliance! I told them I would see what I could do.
I put out an email appeal to my business contacts explaining the situation and in less than 24 hours I had a reply from our former realtor. She said that she had a client who had moved to South Carolina and she had a refridgerator to give away. I went up to look at it, it needed some cleaning up but it worked fine . I then made arrangements with Chris to go get it.
On the day that we went to pick up the fridge we happened to stop at a shop to talk and the owner ask what we were up to, so we explained where we were headed. The owners father happened to be sitting in the shop, overheard the conversation and said, “I have a stove that you can have. Let me get it cleaned up and you can have it” This gentleman happens to own and operate the local appliance store! (Do you think this may have been a divine appointment?) So, Chris and I head up the mountain, pick up the fridge, come back home, and clean it up. By the time we are done with that, the stove is ready to be picked up. This is where God is so good - beyond measure - the stove is an exact color match to the fridge!
We delivered the stove and refridgerator and the couple are sooooo happy! The wife told us several days later about her first home cooked meal in over 6 months…fried green tomatos, fried potatos, chicken and dumplings…um, um, good!
An added benefit to the story, the couple came to church on Sunday! Both enjoyed the service and the husband recommitted his life to Christ! YEAH GOD! It is so much fun being in the center of what God is doing!
Ok, so while I was jotting down my thoughts about the Ultimate Father, I began to think about how much Chris resembles God’s nature with our children. So in honor to the wonderful father Chris is – here’s my TOP 10 reasons why Chris is the best father around….
1. He is a man after God’s heart and God’s Presence. He is never satisfied with where He is. He is always pursuing more. This is contagious in our household.
2. He provides for our physical needs and with that being said, he is wise about what is a legitimate need and desire.
3. He provides for our desires as well!
4. He leads our children down a path I’ve seen few truely go before us, not giving attention to the status quo, rejecting worldly ideas about what is “good wisdom” or holds importance. This path is called the WORD OF GOD.
5. He sets the example for worshiping the King! He worships in spirit and in truth. So my children worship in spirit and in truth – well, learning how to anyway.
6. He trusts in no man. He trusts in God alone. He prays for my children. He prays for their healing, their salvation, their protection, their destiny.
7. He believes in them. He has vision for their future and He speaks that vision to them. He believes in their destinies and invests into their destinies.
8. He lovingly trains and disciplines them. He follows God’s heart for each one, never pandering to their childish ways, but keeping the expectation on the standard. He is neither passive nor aggressive. He is consistent.
9. He is raising our boys to gentle men, but not sissys. He is raising our girls to be sure about who they are, but not “independent”.
10. He says he’s sorry to them when he’s wrong. He is humble before them.
Sounds like THE Father to me. Thank you Chris! I certainly could NOT do this job without you! Katie
So we are not ones to really celebrate hallmark holidays – sorry. However, I have some thoughts to say about this “Father’s Day”
The Father showed His mighty awesome power to save yesterday. At church we got to witness 3 salvations and 7 baptisms (another blog on that to come). That is my Father at work in hearts around us. One of the baptisms was my son Jonathan. That is my Father at work in my 9 year olds’ heart. My Father received our worship to Him. My Father gave us a word through our pastor. My Father made Himself known to us all at church. My Daddy is a GOOD Daddy! Now that I will celebrate! Katie