Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When you want bad people to be good

"I know in my head what I am supposed to do.  The only thing is that in my heart I still want to do what I have always done." (Cypress House resident, Oct 2013)

She summed it all up in a nutshell.  Her words echoed what Apostle Paul said to the Romans all those years ago:

 For I do not do the good I want to do, 
but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 
Romans 7:19

We are faced with this reality daily with the teenagers we work with.  We see them gain knowledge and learn to make the right choices.  But often, when returning home to the former environment...well, Romans 7:19

I heard a sermon on the radio the other week from Erwin Lutzer.  There was a portion of his message that I was just nodding my head to, saying "yes" over and over again (good thing I was in the car by myself).  He didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know, but it was good to hear it from someone else.

A few of the high points (my summary, emphasis mine):

Only God can turn bad people into good people.

"...All these behavior modification programs out there showing people how to behave, how to make right choices.  But we are creatures bent toward desire.  We follow our desires.  And unless our desires change and align with who God is, then all our "learning of behavior" will be for nothing.  Because we have to desire to do the right behavior.  It can't just be head knowledge.  It's got to reach to the heart..."

...and only God works in the heart for good.

Pray for people that they might be healed, but only God can take a bad man and make him good.

Behavior modification – you can say "here's why this isn’t good"

But in the end when the guy has freedom he does what he wants to do because his desires remain unchanged.

To change desire is well nigh impossible and humans are desire driven

Where do you get this change of desire?

Only God can do that change.  To take a bad man and make him good is a miraculous work.  That is God at his best

When he saves sinners like you and me, it’s God at his best.
 Such a good reminder for me.  We can want people to change, show them how to change, but unless they desire something different, they will continue to do what they do.

Their core desire needs to change, and only that can come from God. 

A great reminder for myself.  Do my desires line up with God's desires?  Good question....

Do yours?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lifesong Mission Moment

13-10 MM Email

Orphan Sunday. From many sources, one voice. On November 3rd, 2013, thousands of events will echo across America and around the globe, all sharing a single goal: that God's great love for the orphan will find echo in our lives as well. (from OrphanSunday.org)

One Day. One Voice. One Purpose. // Orphan Sunday

Does your family, small group or church have plans for Orphan Sunday? There are so many ways that we can honor orphans collectively as the Body of Christ on Orphan Sunday. Here are just a few:
  • Advent for Orphans Calendar -- see explanation below
  • Orphan's Table -- share a meal eaten by orphans around the world. Gather with family, small group or church for the meal, discussion and prayer.
  • Partnership Packages -- easy-to-follow Orphan Sunday event plan, enabling you to partner with an organization to create a simple event!
Other Resources -- videos, prayer guides, sermon notes, t-shirts & more!

To learn more about Orphan Sunday or find an event near you visit OrphanSunday.org.

Advent for Orphans Calendar

Advent Home Page Slide
This year, make Advent about more than just eating chocolate.

We are so excited to announce this year's Advent for Orphans Calendar! What is Advent for Orphans? It's a creative way to celebrate Advent with your family, small group, church, etc. while loving and providing for orphans around the world. It's especially great for families with kids!

Request your free Advent for Orphans Calendar today at www.LifesongforOrphans.com/Advent.


Impact of Advent for Orphans -- Read about the impact Advent for Orphans had on Blake & Christine's family last year. Read More

More Orphan Sunday Event Ideas -- Struggling to think of an event for Orphan Sunday? Read through examples of past Orphan Sunday events. Read More

I AM LOVED -- Watch Christian Alliance for Orphan's Official Orphan Sunday video!  Watch Video

Share Orphan Sunday -- Share the joy of Orphan Sunday with your friends by posting badge & banner on your blog or facebook page. Get badge & banner

Monday, October 21, 2013


A couple posts back I mentioned how I was learning more and more about the importance of  prayer and how we humans underestimate it all.



And how thankful I am for praying friends and family.

I have been privileged to be a part of a prayer group for a missionary family.  And to be part of a small prayer group of women from church.

Since joining these two groups in the last year my prayer life has increased. 

I've found how much I love to spend time just bringing others before the Father.  Laying their concerns at His feet, and all the while He is working in my heart.

I have seen the testament of prayers being answered: sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes wait.

But always answered.

I have heard others saying that they looked back at a very difficult time and have no idea how they made it through.  But knowing that they only way they did was because they were being carried by prayer.

The loss of a mother.

The loss of a child.

Moving across the ocean to a third world country.

A possible cancer diagnoses.

All times that, despite the horrible circumstances, people felt held by their Father, buoyed up through prayer.

On a much less critical note: I too have been thankful for the prayers said on Paul and I's behalf over the past month as we made the final push for the Columbus Marathon this past weekend.

Seeing Paul's ankle after he injured it a month ago, I didn't see it being possible that he could run 26 miles on it.  The pain and cramping I had in my foot made me wonder if I could put 13 straight miles on mine as well.  It was going to take a miracle.

Thank you for praying (and continuing to pray).  Praying and believing.

We were so thrilled to run in memory of Bryer, in support of his family, and in praise of God and His mighty works. Please keep praying for the Largent family, as they live life without their little "Champion."

Prayer is an awesome thing.  And may all glory go to Him.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunday is race day!

Well, we are just a few days out from the BIG DAY.

Despite our injuries, we are going to run this thing.

Because of this little guy.

In years past we have run for the fun of it (yeah, I know), to get us back in shape, and even just because it gets us back to Columbus, a city we think very fondly of.

But this year, we run for Bryer.  We run for all the littles that never will get a chance to stretch those legs and run umpteen miles just because.

At least not on this side of heaven.

So on Sunday, we would appreciate prayers.

Prayers for Bryer's family as they stand at Mile 21 and courageously cheer on runners, even as their heart is sure to be breaking over the fact that their little guy is not with them.

Pray that despite the injuries, that Paul can complete the 26.2 miles successfully and well, upright.

Columbus Marathon 2009

Sunday we run in memory of Bryer.  A short life that brought much joy and love to those who knew him.

Sunday we run for God's glory.  Because He has given us these bodies that can move and freely praise Him.

Thanks to those who have supported us so far (and there is still time to give if you haven't yet!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A note to Owen, on his 7th birthday

We were rushing down the backroads, our speedometer telling us we were very much over the speed limit.  But at the state I was in, I just wanted to get there.

He was breech.  They rushed me into surgery.  Within 10 minutes of being at the hospital




And here we are 7 years later.

You bring so much good to our lives, Owen.  Your inquisitive mind.  Your desire to do the right thing. 

But we know you were not given to us to keep.

We know you were placed in our care so that you could grow up to love God.  And serve Him.  And bring His name glory.

You've done so much growing in your first 7 years and we are so excited to see you continue to grow into the man God desires you to be.

I could get all weepy and talk about how I want you to stay my little boy forever.

But you aren't, so I won't.  You are God's, and I just get to keep you for a little while.

So keep growing.  Keep learning.  Keep striving toward the Higher Goal.

We love you, Owen.

Happy Birthday.

Friday, October 4, 2013

September Lookback

Well, September, you flew right on by.  I realized today that it is October the 4th.  4 days into the next month.  Yikes.  Sorry, I didn't even say goodbye...

We had some ups.  We had some downs.  But every month gives us that.  I won't hold that against you.  You gave us some last hurrah's of summer.  A few record breaking 90 degree days.

You gave us gorgeous sun rises.  And some beautiful moonscapes.

I appreciate the learning moments.  Like how incredibly important prayer is.  And how we humans underestimate it all. 



Thankful for praying friends and family.

And most of all, thankful for my God.  Because, well, even you, September, wouldn't be possible without Him.

 Grabill Days:  Pie eating contests and sack races.  I've been coming to this fair since I was Hannah's age.  And each year I think I love it more.  
Despite the looks on their faces, they enjoyed the pie...I think.
 Maddie took 3rd place in the 3+4 year old division...
 ...and Owen took 2nd in his!
 Hannah, our creator, with a robot she built for Owen.  Not sure about the pirate face she's making...
 Maddie loves to "clean" the windows.  1 part windex, 9 parts water to conserve the stuff
 Sigh.  Yet another goodbye.  We miss you, Maria!
 Seriously gorgeous sunrise caught right outside our back door.  When looking out the window I noticed everything had a bright pink tint.  I stepped outside and found out why.
 And a really cool moonrise the next evening
 Maddie had a chance to go with some of her buddies to the zoo.  She may already be betrothed to the little cutie beside her.  No competition from the pretty dark haired girl.  That's his cousin.
 Owen and his tree climbing. 
 Celebrating a weekend of running a 10K and then feasting at a birthday celebration

 The Suvar cousins
 And the well-loved Aunt Kat
And this.  This is the extent of my fall decorating.  

But I am OK with that.  White pumpkins just get to me.  I don't know what it is about them, but I love them.  These were volunteers that cropped up in our garden from last year's toss-outs.  How cool is that?