Friday, November 9, 2018

feed my sheep

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.                     John 21:17
Last month was Pastor Appreciation Month where we gave thanks and appreciation to the men who stand in the pulpits and minister to us, but today I would like to ask you to show your appreciation to those who Shepherd your congregation. They too are the pastors of your church. The word "pastor" has become a common title for those who oversee our churches, guide us spiritually and look after our souls. The origin of the word comes from the Latin pascere meaning to feed.
We have three awesome men who 'feed the sheep' of Yuma Christian Church and take their job very seriously. They want the best for the congregation. But this job isn't always the easiest. 

Like the Great Shepherd, they give their lives daily for those who have been given into their care. 
Jeremiah 3:15(KJV) says, "I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."
Here are three ways to show your appreciation to your Shepherds: 

Be constant in prayer. 
1 Thessalonians 5:25(MSG), "Friends, keep your prayers for us."
Paul understood that even great men of God are human beings. Just like us, they sometimes find themselves weary, discouraged, confused, and vulnerable. Your Shepherds depend on your faithful prayers for them, their family, and their ministry. Be also in prayer for their wives. They can see and know the burden their husbands carry ministering to the congregation.

Be faithful to encourage.
Your Shepherds can and do get their encouragement from God, however, God often delivers that encouragement through our words and deeds.
Proverbs 12:25(KJV) "Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop; but a good word maketh it glad."
You can begin by going to your Shepherds and telling them thank you. Send a thank you card or maybe send them a gift. Take them out to eat after a church service or maybe give them a gift card to a local restaurant.

Be ready to lend a hand. 
Since we are a small congregation sometimes the bulk of the work is done by our Shepherds. Be ready to jump in and help. That might mean the physical upkeep of the building. If your not sure what can be done, don't be afraid to ask one of the Shepherds. I am sure they would love to have the extra help. 

Your Shepherds are a gift to you from God, placed in your church's life to teach, encourage, challenge, strengthen, and keep you growing spiritually. 
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13(MSG) "Friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love!"

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

i can't wait for christmas!


The Preacher and I have never celebrated Halloween as a holiday. We just didn't feel like Halloween lent itself to celebrating Christian values. And when our son was born, we decided to continue with our convictions.

During the fall season, when he was 4 or 5 years old, he and I would go for a walks in our neighborhood. I homeschooled and we would often take these walks to help him clear his head. As we walked down the street we were noticing how many of the homes were decorated for Halloween.

There were faux gravestones, giant spiders with giant webs, ghosts made of white trash bags and orange lights strewn in the trees.

Our son asked me why we didn't have any decorations in our yard and why we didn't go trick-or-treating. I then proceeded to explain to him the conviction his dad and I had and I told him some of Halloween's origins in a way I thought my young son could understand.

After my explanation, our son was very quiet, he didn't say anything while we passed by a couple more houses, decked out in all their Halloween glory.

He then stopped and exclaimed, "I can't wait for Christmas!"

I believe there is something inside all of us that wants to celebrate something.

If you choose to celebrate Halloween, please be careful while walking from house to house trick-or-treating. 

If you choose to wait for Christmas, then have fun anticipating all the Christmas decorating, preparing the food, and giving the gifts.

Just what ever you do, be sure to have fun and give God the glory.




Friday, October 26, 2018

appreciating the preacher

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”                                    – Isaiah 6:8 

The Preacher read this passage almost 39 years ago and echoed what Isaiah said. "Here am I, send me". He heard His call and obeyed. After all these years. After all the victories for the Kingdom. After all the trials and the hardships. He still loves the work that the Lord called him to do.

He is my Preacher too and I couldn't imagine a life without him. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

empty chairs


The Preacher and I first experienced the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, in October of 1995. Our son was 6 months old when we first attended.

We sat in hard plastic chairs under big circus-type tents. For three days we were held spellbound listening to storytellers telling Jack tales, folk-lore, personal stories of their families, stories of mythological creatures that hide under bridges in dark forests.

We were hooked. The Preacher and I decided we would not miss one year ever again.

We went home and began to spread the word – "There's this storytelling festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, you have to come with us!" We told our friends and we told our families. We told any one who would listen. We invited them all to come and sit with us under the tents and listen.

Eventually they did! Each year during the first weekend of October, we had friends or family members joining us on a three day adventure. We loved seeing their excitement upon discovering this storytelling thing.

This year we traveled to the small town of Jonesborough to experience it again. On the first day I was sitting in one of the same hard plastic chairs that I had sat upon 23 years ago and I looked around. The hour of storytelling had not yet begun. People were still arriving, slowly moving about trying to find the perfect seat. My row of seats were still empty. In my mind's eye I could see everyone who had shared this festival with us. I saw them, as if they were sitting right there with me. It was a bittersweet moment. I began to miss them all:
Hank & Alice Smith, Lula Mae Kuhn, Grandma Joan Smith, Brenda Beiter, Aimee Beiter, Michelle & Greg Bontrager, Michelle & J.D. Richards, Jennifer & David Ward, Samuel Smith, J.Keith, Jennifer & Jonah Smith, Tim Johnson
Some of these friends and family members have gone on to be with the Lord, some have moved away and we haven't seen them in a long time, some are in situations where it just isn't possible to join us.

This year we had the joy of introducing the festival to our dear friend, Bill Glover, and we were delighted to find out that the Preacher's preaching buddy, Tim Johnson, would be joining us again. 

We still tell people about the festival. We believe everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime.

This has become more than just a festival to us. It has become a reunion. A reunion of friends, family, stories and memories.

I would like to close this post with a video of Kathryn Windham at the age of 92, closing out the 2010 Festival. Kathryn passed away in June of 2011. It's a little long, 15 minutes, but if you have time, please listen.



Sunday, October 14, 2018

love me always

“Your goodness to me has been overwhelming. How tender you are, though I am often as tough as gristle. How patiently you have loved me since you made up your mind to love me always.”                                 ― Jan Karon, Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good: The New Mitford Novel

Happy Anniversary my love!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

bridges, love and graffiti

The Bridges of Madison County, especially the Roseman Bridge, have taken on a new meaning for a lot of people. They are not just a by-gone mode of transportation over a river, they are a symbol of love due to the book, The Bridges of Madison County, published back in 1992.

It was a legendary love story of a forbidden love. And people now come far and wide to get a glimpse of the bridge where it all started. Some come to stand in front of the bridge, get down on one knee and declare their love and get engaged and even some get married there.

While walking through the bridges you see that people have left their mark. They have written their name and the name of the one they love on the beams of the bridges. I don't condone graffiti but I couldn't help, when reading some of them, but to smile knowing that they are declaring their love for all the world to see. I don't know Jim and Kerrie but on the date they wrote their names I know they loved each other.

I had to take some pictures of the 'love graffiti', I even found 'Jesus graffiti' and I took a picture of Olivia's graffiti. I thought Olivia's was just too cute not to share. Also there was one that talked about dancing in the rain. I thought it was very fitting for the Preacher and I. On the day we visited the bridges it was raining but we had a great time driving to each bridge and reading all of the love letters in each one.

The last picture is someone declaring that graffiti is wrong which I thought very funny.










Sunday, September 30, 2018

bridges of madison county

Roseman Covered Bridge 1883
Did you read the book, The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller?  There really are covered bridges and the Roseman Bridge was on the cover of the book. This past week we were able to visit the bridges that are located in Winterset, Madison County, Iowa. 

Upon visiting the Chamber of Commerce in Winterset you are given a map to show you how to get to the bridges. None are being used anymore, but all are still intact and will probably be there long after the concrete and steel bridges, that replaced them, are gone. Some were tore down and built back up in another location to keep them preserved, others are in their original locations, sitting above the rivers that have been flowing below them for a hundred years or more.

Today these bridges mean more than just a mode of transportation of years gone by. They represent a love story thanks to the book.
Hogback Covered Bridge 1884
Cutler-Donahue Covered Bridge 1871
Holliwell Bridge 1880




Friday, September 14, 2018

where things are simple

As the summer winds down I realize that the camping trip we will be taking at the end of the month will probably be our last trip of the season. 

This made me reminisce about the many camping trips that I have taken over the years.  

Today I thought I would share pictures of the different campers that our family has owned over my lifetime.

Unfortunately, I was not able to find pictures of the first camper that the Preacher and I had. The camper where our son learned to love the outdoors and looked forward to having adventures.


Kuhn Family Vacation, Wisconsin, 1960's, Franklin Trailer
Kuhn Family Vacation, Lake Superior, late 1960's early 1970's

Lula Kuhn, 1980's, Brookville, Indiana

The Preacher, 2017, Golden, CO

Camping has been in my family for as long as I can remember. 

Thanks Dad and Mom for giving us the love of adventure, the appreciation of the outdoors and sharing the beauty of this country!

I need a break from all the noise.
I want to breathe clean air

   and swim in clean water.
I want to sit on the porch of an old
   cabin and listen to the stillness.
I want to be out where things are
   simple and every breath is
    a reminder that there is beauty
     and magic left in this world.
–Brooke Hampton





Friday, August 31, 2018

fear he is a liar

Fear came into our lives this past week. It came by way of a phone call. Fear has come in the past as a call and it again came to visit me. A battle was soon to take place. A battle between doubt, fear and faith. 

As I am listening to the person on the other end of the phone, fear is slithering through the line. Slithering as if he is a snake coming to attack. He is coming through the phone and wrapping himself around my mind and my heart. 

Upon ending the call I began to cry, to weep for the "what if". Doubt was creeping through my body, and at the time, I couldn't stop it. 

For the rest of the evening fear and doubt held me captive. All day Saturday I still felt like I was in their grip. Sunday was a mind-numbing day. It didn't help that the Preacher's sermon that day was on Unanswered Prayers. I kept questioning God, questioning myself, questioning the whole situation.

I remembered what the Preacher said in a recent sermon..."faith comes out of the pain". I had to find my faith again.

Yesterday the Preacher and I had a meeting to attend in Brighton. The drive to and from Brighton takes approximately 4 hours. On this drive I had tuned our radio to the SiriusXM station, The Message. It felt like every song was lifting the fear out of my heart and mind.
"Fear is a liar, He will take your breath, stop you in your steps; Fear is a liar, he will rob your rest, steal your happiness; Cast your fear in the fire, 'cause fear he is a liar; Let your fire fall and cast out all my fears, let your fire fall your love is all I feel." – Fear is a Liar, Zach Williams
Today I feel much better. Fear no longer haunts my mind and I don't feel its grip on my heart. 

I know fear and doubt will try to slither back in on another day. But with prayer, the words of truth that I find in the Bible, Christian songs, and the love of our family, I will fight to keep fear away. 
"This is how I fight my battles" – Surrounded, Michael W. Smith


Thursday, August 23, 2018

action = prayer


a field guide to NOW, by Christina Rosalie, has been sitting on my book shelf for some time. The television sits upon that book shelf and every night while watching TV, my eye seems to be drawn down to its title. 

I purchased the book in 2013. I read a few chapters but life seemed to press in and I moved on to other things. So I never finished the book. 

I feel that the Lord is bringing me back to its pages. Maybe there is something that I need to learn from Christina's words.

I read the first chapter today which is titled Action. The author talks about documenting the now, the present. Action = a gesture or movement; the process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.

My action right now is being in continual prayer. The Lord has been leading me to several scriptures and teaching me about prayer. And I have been praying like I have never prayed before.

When will the answer to the prayers come? I don't know. But prayer is the action that I am taking.

My gesture is to lay everything at His feet and like David says in Psalm 46:10, I am trying to be still and know that He is God. 
Leap with arms flung wide toward the heart of your life. Christina Rosalie
The heart of my life is my husband and my son and right now the only thing I can do is to fight our battles with scripture and prayer.



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

porter


Meet Porter, our newest border collie and member of the family. 

Our home is again filled with dog toys, barking, growling, cat and dog fights, dog treats, and water spills. It is also filled with a puppy that knows that he is loved and a puppy that gives that love back to us. 



feed my sheep

Jesus said to him, “ Feed   My   sheep .                     John 21:17 Last month was Pastor Appreciation Month where we gave thanks an...