Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Drunk Church

These men are not drunk as ye suppose seeing it is the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.
Acts 2:15-16

Craig preached an awesome message recently about the church becoming intoxicated on the new wine, the Holy Ghost of "Joel's Bar." He used some thought-provoking parallels:

A drunk man never gets enough.
(The more Holy Ghost you get, the more you want.)

A drunk man is not choosy
(A drunk Christian doesn't care who is preaching, or what song they are singing)

A drunk man doesn't care what people think of him--many times he acts foolishly.
(A drunk Christian worships unihibited not caring what people think.)

A drunk man doesn't feel pain.
(When I am full of the Holy Ghost, you can't hurt my feelings.)

Oh that I would be so full of God's Spirit that I could say with Paul, "None of these things move me."

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Licorice Tea

Yes, my kids shared their sickness with me, so this tea has been my constant companion. Feelin' better now though...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Home Missions

This weekend our family headed 3 hours south to Temple, Texas (just south of Waco) to minister in two home missions churches. It was a very humbling experience. I was once again reminded of who the real heroes are among us.

Saturday night and Sunday afternoon we were at Abundant Life Church with Bro. & Sis. Carter. They started this church just 3 years ago, and already have a building and about 20 people.

Sunday morning we drove north about 20 minutes to be with Bro. & Sis. Wolfe. Because of sickness in their church, there were only 8 people besides our family. After church the Wolfe's invited us to their mobile home for dinner before driving south again to the Carter's church.

I was so thankful to have our kids with us. Saturday night Bethani boldly stood and testified (something you don't hear of much anymore--especially in a large church setting.) Tiffani and Jeremi joined me and we sang a trio. (We teased Jeremi that this was his debut). My kids so generously 'shared' their 'sick germs' (as one of them used to call it when they were little) and after the first night, I was unable to sing at all. Tiffani stepped up to the plate and sang while I played on Sunday. Both churches were without music, and we did our best to help with the worship services. It was such good experience for my kids. Jeremi even got to play the drums! Craig delivered his heart to the people, and built their faith. They said that we encouraged them, but the truth of the matter is, we were the benefactors. We left humbled and inspired.

Both of these couples have young children, and are working secular jobs and working in their communities in order to cultivate the church God has called them to plant. They are spending the prime years of their lives sacrificing to build the Kingdom of God. Wow! These are the unsung heroes and my hat is off to them.

By the end of Sunday afternoon's service, we realized that, if we would hurry, we might be able to make it for the last part of our home church service in Dallas. The message last night was powerful and called each one of us to do trust God and step out in bold acts of sacrifice. I do believe God is trying to speak to me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Vision Forum

I recently came across a catalog put out by Vison Forum, a trusted FAMILY company who is on the same same page I am when it comes to family values. It is a company started by a Doug Phillips, his wife Beall, and their 8 children: Joshua, Justice, Liberty, Jubilee, Faith, Honor, Providence, and Virginia. They have been doing this for 10 years, and now there are more than 50 people pictured in their "staff" picture! They sell whole books that convey, in their words:

The importance of distinctively Christian education through presuppositionally biblical training and parent-to-child discipleship; by pointing fathers to their duties as household shepherds and women to the nobility of femininity, industry, motherhood, and home; by reminding Christian men of their duty to sacrifice for "women and children first"; and by encouraging a culture of virtuous boyhood and girlhood.


Can you believe they even have an American Girl Doll alternative?? You can see their online catalog here. Last night I told Craig, "If I just had tons of money, I would buy everything in this catalog!!!"

We don't

So, instead, we took the catalog to our library. They had several of the books we found in the catalog, and we are going to try inter-library loans in the Dallas area. We are also scouring the web for more of these hidden gems. Jeremi has especially enjoyed the first G.A. Henty novel: The Cat of Bubastes. It is set in 1250 B.C., and apparently the main character meets up with Moses in Egypt.

Cool, huh??

Monday, January 21, 2008

Quiz Tourney

Last Saturday I went to Pastor Foster's church in Dallas to watch Bethani and her team quiz in their first tournament of the year. Bethani has been fairly diligent with memorizing, and thus far has committed about 32 of the required 40 Bible verses to memory. In my opinion, that in itself makes her a winner. The fact that she came home with a red and blue ribbon is just icing on the cake.

Watching her at the board was--It was one of those inside proud mommy moments--you know the kind--that moment when you are so glad to be able to say: "That is my child." Now, don't get me wrong, I have had the 'other' kind of moments (you know that kind too). But, hearing her answer question after question of details related to specific Bible verses made me thankful for all of the foundation work that we mommies do throughout their lives. She really has worked hard this year--mostly on her own without much of my help. (Paying her .10 per verse has perhaps been some incentive.) Sis. Jassi does such a good job working with the beginner team.

Now we start on the next 40 verses...

Friday, January 11, 2008



Recently I was describing our post-Christmas home as 'wonderfully bare.' I really do enjoy the holidays with all the lights and garland and decorations, but then by the time the new year gets here, I am ready for simplicity.


It is a funny thing. In our materialistic-driven society where accumulating more stuff, running out of places to put the old stuff when the new arrives, buying a bigger house because we have more stuff and then renting a cubicle down the road for the excess stuff only to sell the old stuff in the spring yard sale...

Simplicity. Less really is more.

I think back to our RV days. Craig and I traveled for 9 years with a van and trailer evangelizing all over the U.S. Our lives were simple. We started out with just Tiffani. Our little home was just that--little, but it was home, and so cozy. We could only carry the essentials. We had 6 Corelle plates, bowls and saucers. We had just one set of sheets for each bed, and 4 towels. When they were dirty, we washed them and put them back. Our wardrobe was simple, we were rarely in one place for more than a week, so it wasn't a problem. Our lives were simple, and we had more time.

A few years later, we were blessed with Jeremi, and we got a trailer that was a little bigger. Four years after that, God sent us Bethani and we got yet a bigger trailer, but, our lives remained simple. Uncluttered.

Looking back, we have fond memories. Today, I am wishing for that same familiar feeling. I want my surroundings to be simple. I want my heart to be uncluttered. Oh, I'm not talking about moving back into an RV. Rather, I want to free myself of the things that don't really matter. It seems that I can get so caught up in maintaining my life that the things that are really important somehow slip past me. I can get so focused on taking care of stuff that I lose sight of my real priorities.

I will never forget what a Bro. Smith in the Carolina's said while we were evangelizing. We happened to be at their house, and one of his children came running to him with tears coming down her face. Apparently a toy or something had been broken by another child, and she was very upset. His wise words to her were: "Remember, honey, we love people and use things." He was saying to her in not so many words, 'I know that you really liked that toy, but you love your friend, and your relationship with her is more important than things.' That thought has never left me.

There are many goals that I have for myself in this coming year, as we all do, but one of them is to simplify my surroundings, keep only the things I use, and love people.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lazy Afternoon

Today after school, we all walked up to the library, checked out some books, came home, and lounged around the living room each engrossed in his own world, yet together. It was a simple, pleasant afternoon. After a while, I got a tea tray, chose some pretty cups and saucers, and served everyone some hot chai tea. It was a lovely afternoon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

In The Kitchen With Orzo

No this is not a person with a big red nose, floppy shoes and oversized mismatched clothes blowing up animal balloons. This is a whole grain that resembles rice in appearance and pasta in texture.

I have recently been inspired by my friend Jaime Gibbs to revisit the idea of whole grains and fresh live foods. She made such a convincing case for oat groats that we made a trip to Whole Foods ourselves today. Of course, it didn't stop with the oats.

The bulk food aisle has always been our favorite. We also had to get short grain brown rice (hopefully like the rice served at P.F. Changs,)whole wheat gluten flour, couscous for Jeremi, millet, sea salt, and the usual granola snack for each person in the car in their own little plastic container.

While standing in front of the little containers with plastic shovels, Tiffani recognized the orzo. She exclaimed, "Oh look mom! They have orzo! Can we get some?" Now, you have to understand that we used to have this little grain from time to time, but it has been a very long time. In fact, I don't think we have had it since we left RV life. We certainly had to get some, even if just for posterity sake.

When we got home, she wanted to cook it up right away. Tiffani found a recipe and began putting it all together. After tasting it 2 or 3 times along the way to ensure that it was 'al dente', she said to me, "It has to be just like I remember."

Well, it turned out nothing like I remember. I would have remembered this one. Tiffani made it very healthy, fat free and delicious! She is a very good cook!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas 2007

Two weeks ago our computer was put to sleep and then resurrected at the Schobert hospital. Since then, Craig has spent his evenings restoring it so that we feel comfortable and at home with it again. Thus, I have not been on much. Nevertheless, I want to catch you up on our holiday.

It has certainly been a fun and eventful December. Jason and Amanda came on Christmas Eve and we all surprised them with their own photo album with their wedding picture on the cover.

Our little family of five enjoyed Christmas at home the next day, and then the day after Christmas we began the long journey over the river and through the woods to Nana and Papa's house. It was a tight squeeze with 3 kids in the small backseat of the Avalon, but the fighting didn't get too intense. (insert laughter here)

Nana and Papa spoiled us as always. Tiffani got another iPod dock (Nana and Steven are really gonna have to compare notes next year--last year it was ice skates!)

Bethani got the coveted Heeleys,

Jeremi got clothes and $75 toward a trick bike,

I got 800 thread count sheets (single-ply mind you...) and Craig became the proud new owner of a Navigator (as in the device that tells you where to turn, not the SUV.) I think I have just been replaced. (On the way home, he was very smug as, while I slept, he maneuvered through the back country from Allen on Stacy Road. I woke up as we were approaching the high school, and he gleefully announced, "This thing is COOL!!"

Thursday morning, my mom and I hit the mall for Macy's day-after-Christmas sale, and we certainly made a haul. They were practically giving stuff away. How could we say no??

While in the St. Louis area, we enjoyed the annual Kessler Christmas party on Friday and then visited with my mother's side of the family on Saturday.

On Sunday we preached for Scott Graham at The Sanctuary in Florissant Valley. What a great morning it was. There were so very many friends of ours, many of them from Bible College.

I was thrilled to see my long-time friend and maid of honor, Tonya, and FINALLY meet her new baby.

We were very saddened to get the news that Sis. Dugas, the wife of the Bishop of their church, went to be with the Lord about an hour after we left the restaurant. She had been very sick with a brain tumor. Sis. Dugas was a precious, extremely talented and godly woman, and we will all miss her very much.

Well, that brings 2007 to a close. God has been good to us again this year, and we give Him thanks for His many blessings. We are excited about what He has in store for us in 2008!