Subscribe to our blog!
Previous blog posts
Search our website
We're on Facebook!

Our Blog Contributors

Myra Balok
Lisa Barber
Daisy Danielson
Stephanie Gardner
Beth Husband
Melissa Lamie
Braelene Miller
Stacey Pardoe
Debby Snyder
Cindy Stewart
Linda Vester

Verse of the Day
Wednesday
Aug272014

The Monkey and the Gourd

As I pack up another box for a garage sale, I look around to see if I have made a dent in the amount of “stuff” I am trying to reduce. I seem to collect all kinds of things--sheep (statues only), books, snowmen (stuffed, of course), teacups, books, cats, kitchen utensils, old bottles, books, and blankets to name a few!  Okay.  I am NOT getting rid of the cats; they are family, but, really, how many blankets (throws, etc.) can one couch hold (at this point the number is five and counting). 

I appreciate family history, and I display several precious items (those few remaining) which were “brought over” with my Irish ancestors many generations ago.  They are meaningful and allow me to share both personal and historical background with my children and grandchildren.  Those can stay (until, of course, they are passed on to the next generation).  But all the other things?

I remember a story once told to me by a missionary who had served in India.  You know those cute little monkeys we see in pictures with organ-grinders?  Poor little things.  Anyway, how they are caught is interesting.  (There is a connection here; hang on).  Small holes are drilled into gourds--just the right size for a little monkey hand to wiggle in.  Next, peanuts or other desirable treats are placed in the gourds.  These gourds are then situated in areas where the unsuspecting monkeys live.  Being curious by nature, the monkey finds a gourd and wants the treat inside.  What does he do? 

He (or she, of course) pushes his hand into the gourd, finds the treat, and grabs it.  When he tries to remove the prize, he cannot because his fist is too large to fit back through the hole.  He refuses to let go and is easily caught since he only has one hand to use in an escape (the other, of course, is encumbered by the gourd).  It doesn’t occur to the monkey that he could release the peanut, hit his prey on the head with the gourd (I added this part because that’s what I would do!), and swing away.  No.  He is caught because he won’t let go.  Got it? 

I think I am like that.  My stuff weighs me down.  However,  I am discovering another truth in my journey with God and that is to learn to be grateful and satisfied with what I have.  Paul uses the word content:

...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13 NIV)

I once lived in a house with a large dining room, so I bought a large dining room set.  Now that I live in a smaller house, my small dining room is wall-to-wall furniture.  It is still lovely (mostly) and completely serviceable.  Do I really need a different, smaller, dining room set?  No. Do I want one (my fist is in the gourd here)?  Yes.  Am I going to buy one?  No.  I am learning. 

My comments are not meant to induce guilt; women are nest-builders, and we love to create beautiful nests, right?  God created us with this desire.  In this country it is so easy to satisfy this desire, but I am talking about the “additions” we make to our nests which sometimes crowd out more important opportunities for our spiritual lives.  Letting go of many of our “wants” allows us to be more flexible and have more financial resources to share (and support) with others.  Can we be content in all things?  It is a question worth asking ourselves. 

Well, If you need anything, let me know.  I probably have at least two of whatever you need.  I never want my stuff to mean more to me than you.  Life in Christ is an interesting (and challenging) journey.  Perhaps you are further along on yours. 

Share, would you, what God is teaching you?

Myra

 

Monday
Aug252014

John - Week 9

Hi Ladies!

Here's lesson 9 in the book of John.  Today we will enter into Jesus' last week of His life on earth and see many of the events that take place.  One of my favorite verses in this section is near the end:  "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."  LOVE.  That is what the watching world needs to see!

Download Lesson 9 here.

May the Word of God meet you right where you are today, and transform your heart and your mind!

With much affection for you all,

Stephanie

(Previous lesson here  -  All lessons here)

 

Wednesday
Aug202014

Be a neighbor

Last night several police cars and an ambulance showed up on our street.  A neighbor taken away on a stretcher. People in the neighborhood calling relatives to let them know what happened.

As this was going on outside my window, I remembered again that the Lord had brought me to this neighborhood for a reason.  I keep talking about how I am to do something to reach out, and yet I do more talking than doing!

My neighbor, whom I have only greeted once and with only a sentence, is now in the hospital.  I do not know how serious the condition.  I do not know if this family knows the peace of the Lord.  I know nothing about them.

It was no coincidence that yesterday morning I watched a MOPS video on the 'Art of Neighboring'.  What if Jesus meant that we should actually love our neighbors?  Yes, read that again.  Love your neighbors.  Maybe it could mean the actual people next door!  

It puts a different light on it when you look at the word literally as neighbor and not just as people in general. It makes it more personal, doesn't it? Right in your own back yard.

In the video they suggested getting to know the 8 people who live around your house.  Start by writing down their names.  Then introduce yourself.  Start small conversations. (You can check out the website for more information here)

It's time for me to get out of my house.  It's time to stop talking, and start doing. It's time to start walking my neighborhood and praying! (See Stephanie's blogs on what happened in her neighborhood, when she did!  See this blog for the challenge and this one for what happened!)

It is not easy for me to talk to people when I first meet them.  I am always uncomfortable with what to say.  But I am going to pray for opportunities and even more, for the Lord to give me the words in my conversations.  

Words that show that I care.  Words that show the love of the Savior.  Words that speak life.

So what about you?  How many people in your neighborhood do your really know?  Are your neighbors strangers, aquaintances, or do you have a relationship with them?

Check out this video and the Art of Neighboring site to get some ideas and inspiration.

I heard a statement that said there is not a lot of difference how Christians and non Christians neighbor. Let's get out there and make a difference, one neighbor, one block at a time! For God's glory!

Linda

Monday
Aug182014

John - Week 8

Hi Ladies!

Here is Lesson 8 in our study of John.  We are going to see a blind man healed (and address some of the reasons behind suffering), Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and Lazarus raised from the dead.  What a week!  There is so much to see in these passages.  May your eyes - and more importantly, the eyes of your heart - be open to what the Lord wants to show you this week.

John Lesson 8

All glory be to God,

Stephanie


(Previous lesson here  -  Next lesson here  -  All lessons here)

Friday
Aug152014

Who Doesn't Love a Good Story?

I don't know about you, but I love a good story!  Stories come in many ways, shapes and sizes.  A book you can run your hands over, a Kindle or Nook, stories on facebook, the newspaper, or on TV.  But I think my favorite stories of all are those that someone shares.  

The ones that tell about how God has worked in their lives, how He has done amazing and sometimes almost unbelievable things! I guess in a way, this is one of those stories.

Many times in my life, God has shown me the same 'theme' or 'message'. He does the same thing to me in ministry.  Sometimes he does it to get my attention.  Other times it is for confirmation.

I can't tell you the number of times I have questioned continuing this blog and website, when he has had someone come up to me and tell me that they had just read a blog that blessed them.  Or I will see that someone has started to follow the blog posts, or facebook liked us.  Not too long ago I discovered (during a particularly difficult period) that within a 3 day period of time, we had people from 26 countries visit our website!  And some of them were from countries that do not have many believers.  That was a very humbling time for me. God told me not to take this lightly and he was using for his good purposes in his own way.  Got it!

So now for the story I started tell.  (I can get distracted on this subject!)

In February we had our prayer and planning retreat for Heart to Heart.  At the end of the retreat, a few of the Retreat committee planners, believed that God was speaking to them about this years Fall Retreat.  The speakers were to talk about their 'God stories'.

It was no small coincidence that later that evening, one of my friends told me she believed God was telling her it was time to share her story!  There was our first confirmation.

We later had a retreat planning meeting and had several possible names for speakers, that God had given us the previous year, to use in the future.  Over the next few months we prayed independently and came back with a list of speakers.  

We spoke to the women on the list and asked them to pray about speaking and sharing 'God stories' at the retreat. And little by little we came to find out that God had spoken to each one of them that they were going to speak!

We are so excited for all the Lord has in store for us this year.  Won't you please join us?  It will be a fun and amazing time!

This is the last Sunday to sign up!  (We are now able to extend sign ups for a few more days, to Thursday, August 28th.  After that we will be turning in our numbers and the sign up is over.)  

Don't miss it!  And now, here are the details...

Fall Retreat 2014

Sign ups @ GCAC anytime in the main office or visit our sign up table on Sundays, through August 24th.

 

promo video...

 


 

 

 

More retreat details...

Each lodge has two sections with bunk beds.  We will put you in a bottom bunk until we get to our limit of 80 guests.  Once we fill those spots you will be assigned to a top bunk (unless someone is willing to switch with you :)  

Each lodge has a sitting area.  Please be considerate of those in the sleeping section and have your fun time in the sitting area or main dining room! We don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but at the same time if someone needs sleep and quite time, let's be respectful of that. 

Registration opens at 5pm on Friday.  We will not have dinner available, but will have a late night snack after the Friday session, so please plan accordingly. 

Things to bring...
Bedding, towels, and toiletries
A travel mug if you want to take coffee out of the dining area
A journal and Bible
Comfortable clothes
Your phone chargers! 

We plan to have some things available for purchase to help with upcoming mission trips and also to support overseas mission projects.  In addition we will have a consultant from Premiere Jewelry - who will be donating some of the profits to our GO Team trips next year!  What a great way to support those who are GOing!  So if you are looking to do some early Christmas shopping, be sure to bring a little extra cash and support missions at the same time!

Cell service is available.  We suggest that you keep your phone charged so you can use it for some of the fun things we have planned throughout the weekend :)  (But please keep the ringer off during our speaking sessions)

Here is the link for directions to McKeever - take a look around the website and see what a great place we will be going to!

If you have any questions - please let us know!

Can't wait to see what wonderful things God will do there!